My Top 10+ Favorite Movies of 2008


This is a little late. but meh.

Let’s get some things out of the way, by no means am I saying the following films are the best, the best acted, best directed, best plot, or best anything of ever.

Although some of them very well may be in my opinion, or have aspects putting them above the rest, this list is my favourite. My most enjoyed. I will never forget them (maybe) and although there may be, even in my own opinion “Better Films” on some sort of technical level. Also placement is hard, for the most part some near the bottom are interchangeable and as time goes on so will my opinion on placement (for example from the beginning of December until now one film has dropped from solid 3rd fave to 10th simply because of me recognizing how much I enjoyed some other things better and let the hypeness ware off.) Update: The list must change. I know that is unprofessional but i found a film I forgot was 2008 and not 2007 and it deserves a spot, and hey, i posted this after midnight its almost done i swear, i’m also choosing to write a little bit more about the bottom half films.

This is THE list.

Honorable Mentions: Hellboy 2, Quantum of Solace.

11. Tropic Thunder.

I laughed at parts and not so much at others, but I enjoyed myself, and liked the interesting spin on the Stiller-frat pack formula, and will gladly accept Downey jr. into that celebrated list of stillerites.

10. Iron Man.

Simply a roller coaster. Not a fan of Iron Man the character going into this. But Favreau and again Robert Downey Jr. sell this movie.  Their version of the character is fresh, funny and entertaining. Stan Winston studio brings iron man to life.  It’s not Marvel’s “Batman Begins” by any stretch; however it’s the closest they have come to a great origin movie.  If it weren’t for the slow and formulaic ending this movie would be much higher on my list.

9. Kung Fu Panda.

Delightful movie. Jack Black sells this movie, with a strong supporting cast. It is well written, heart-warming charming, and beautifully animated. It is a sweet movie with a sweet message, yet it will have you laughing at all the hijinx. It added a new word into my vocabulary.Skadoosh.

8. In Bruges.

Colin Farell and Brendon Gleeson play 2 Irish mobsters on the lamb. Their boss (Ralph Fiennes) sends them to Bruges, Belgium to lay low. This movie is a guilty pleasure, not because its bad, but because you shouldn’t be laughing at the sick twisted things they say and do.  Suffice to say shit goes down and hilarity ensues. This movie isn’t politically correct which gets gets it props from me. Its the best comedy of the year, with some romance and action thrown in.

7. JCVD.

Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in a movie about Van Damme getting caught in a Belgian post office/bank during a robbery.  The cops think it’s him, but the fans support him. Meanwhile he is fighting to keep people safe while being held hostage himself. Van Damme deals with issues in his own life, caused by his fame and fortune, his drug addiction. Pure fiction about a real man with real problems. There is even a soliloquy.

6. Valkyrie.

Tom “show me the money” Cruise stars with an outstanding unknown and international cast, in the true story of Operation Valkyrie. A plot to topple Hitler and end the war in Europe. It is amazing to watch on the edge of your seat, just how close they came. That is half the fun of this movie. The other half is the great performances and authentic visual style.

5:

*

*

Body of Lies.

Ridley Scott brings us another masterpiece.  A story about on the ground intelligence gathering and anti-terror operations. DiCaprio plays the field agent trying to bring down a group he himself has worked over a year to expose.  Russell Crowe plays his handler back in the USA, and last but not least Mark Strong, offers an amazing break-out performance, playing the Chief of Jordanian Intelligence, whom DiCaprio turns to for help.  This is a film which sets the bar, and defines the modern anti terror movie. It highlights the great danger and sensitivity and importance of the war on terror and how it is fought.  Forget Gitmo; forget water boarding and torture forget the controversy. This is how the war on terror is being fought. Or at least Scott and company do an amazing job at making us believe this is how it is. It gives this new war, and the people that wage it a face which I felt was very much needed. This isn’t Die Hard, or Commando, it doesn’t have beefy or charismatic stars or cheesy catch phrases like the anti-terror movies of old.  It pulls you along for a tense ride and it doesn’t forgive or condescend to a dumber audience. For all that and more Body of Lies deserves not only to be on the top 10 but in the coveted #5 spot.

4:

*

*

Wall E.

Yes, that is correct, you heard me. Pixar can do no wrong. Once you look past and forgive them for the environmentalist wet-dream that is the back-story, and see Wall E for what it truly is: a visual and storytelling masterpiece.  This film is the most visually stunning and beautiful animated films of all time, the amount and attention to detail is mind-blowing. I heard complaints about the human characters and the live action stuff thrown in, but I applaud them for trying something risky, and those sequences were quite funny if you ask me.  The filmmakers can get a lot of emotion and personality out of the most subtle gesture. It is a classic love story, with a hint of adventure thrown in for good measure. I think sometimes that this was a film made on a bet, or a challenge, can you make a movie staring 2 robots and a cockroach with no dialog whatsoever for the first 45 minutes that melts your heart, makes you laugh and care more about the characters then most live action films? The answer was a resounding yes. 3 cheers for Wall E, the little movie that could.

3:

*

*

Cloverfield.

Of all the movies on my list, this one had the most staying power. I loved this movie.  More so then most people, it is a pure ride. A film other films wish they were, inventive, emotional, terrifying, and most of all grounded.  What I love about this movie is that, this is exactly how it would go down, the media coverage, the panic, and “Hud” six-pack recording it as it all goes down.  I had a blast at this movie, and produced by JJ Abrams, I am convinced this man can do no wrong.

Also I must say the best advertising for any film in years. The trailer alone goes from making you think it’s some romantic comedy/buddy comedy, then all of a sudden panic and terror, wtf  memories of 9/11, and then no title just 01.18.08

The movie is just long enough to tell its story, but its wicked fast, breakneck, balls to the concrete action. It more than lives up to its mysterious trailer. It’s ambiguous with a terror-in-ignorance inducing panic of NYC gone FUBAR.

A whole year later and I am still speechless about this film, I cannot think of enough amazing things to say about this movie to do it justice. Let’s just say this, if the next 2 films didn’t live up to my expectations, this could have been my favourite of the year. I’m a champion for Cloverfield, I won’t stop preaching it, I’m like, its main dude!

2:

*

*

The Wrestler.

Is a film about what it’s like to be an entertainer, I’m not talking about the 7 figure Hollywood stars that have it made for life.

Randy “the Ram” at one point in his career had it all, but now 20 years past his prime, he works weekend to weekend pay check to pay check working any odd job he can get and one night a week doing what he loves. He struggles to get by in a world where he is only appreciated for 15 minutes a week. He struggles and Mickey Rourke through his amazing performance allows us to struggle along with him.  He has the hots for Marisa Tomei’s character, a stripper at the local dive; they support each other, even for this brief window in time. She helps him deal with his estranged daughter.

I don’t want to give away the whole film, so let’s say this: The Wrestler is at times heart-warming, heartbreaking, downright hilarious, and then sad.  You may be thinking you don’t want to see a depressing movie, and although at times it is, for the most part it’s funny, or heart-warming. It’s a real story about real people, even if it’s a work of fiction. You will feel like you know “The Ram” personally by the end, and you will like him despite his flaws.

I came out of this movie inspired, and touched. It’s been a while since a film as done that to me. I was certain I had seen my “Best Picture” for the year. The streak would stay alive.  Then the Academy didn’t even nominate it. So I am cheering for the 2 leading cast members to win Oscar gold, just to make up for it. I urge you all to see it if it is still playing at your local indie house. Check it out on home video when it sees release.

Number 1:

*

*

The Dark Knight.

I was tempted at just writing the title and leaving it alone as a testament to the awesomeness of this movie, but then I couldn’t spend half page writing about it.

I love this movie so much I will not spoil 1 second of it explaining what it’s about.  The entire ensemble cast of this film is astounding. Let’s talk about the brilliant moves. Number 1, keeping Nolan and his team in place. 2. Bale is the best batman ever and keeping him and his sidekicks Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine on board was also a must. 3 Dumping the talentless hack that is Katie Holmes-Cruise , and replacing her with the charming, gracious and adorably stunning Maggie Gyllenhaal, along with 2 other major newcomers Aaron Eckhart and the late Heath Ledger, all 3 of whom giving amazing performances.

Ok ok so you want to know a little about the movie do you? It’s an action thriller, with plots and schemes, deception. It has balls to the wall action. It’s a high tech thrill ride that picks you up from the opening shot grips you tight, and has you feeling how it all came full circle, standing to applaud the final title. In the end it’s a story about 3 people and everyone else in between: The White Knight, The Dark knight, and the madman that just wants to watch the world burn.

There isn’t much left to say that hasn’t already been said about this movie. It is fantastic amazing. It goes 2 steps beyond how good a movie should be. I’ve seen this movie 3 times in the theatre, each time in IMAX. If you have the chance and haven’t seen it that way, it is out NOW; drive 1000 miles if you have to, you will never forgive yourself, and neither will your grandchildren’s grandchildren, if you can’t pass along the awesomeness of the experience.

The Dark Knight, in my absolute opinion, is not only the best film of 2008 but the best film of the decade. (Pending Avatar of course)

Once again, your number 1 film.

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