Making a "Best Of" movie list is very difficult because many studios release potentially Oscar worthy films very late in the year in hopes that the Academy and its short attention span might remember only the most recent movie releases. I have dealt with this problem the same way as I did last year. First there's my Best Of 2008 list. It is a top ten list of movies that were released in 2008 that I actually got a chance to see in the calendar year. The second list is called Honorable Mention. This is a list of movies that were either not released in 2008, movies that were either leftovers from the previous year or movies that I got to see for the first time despite the movie's release year. This is followed by the Best Players category. This list comprises of actors, directors, animators or anyone else who I felt had a big impact on the world of movies in the past year. Finally there's the ever popular Worst Piece Of Junk Award. I think you can probably figure out what that's all about.
Well, 2008 has come and gone. There were many movies that I thought were good but only one that I thought was great - The Dark Knight. I got to see The Dark Knight at my local theater and loved it so much I had to see it in IMAX. It was even better in IMAX but I recommend seeing it on a flat IMAX screen not one of those IMAX theaters in a dome. I've yet to see it on DVD but I can just imagine that it will be just as good. Heath Ledger will always be The Joker for me now. I'll look back at Ceasar Romero and Jack Nicholson but will chuckle. When I think of Heath's performance I will always remember the sick, twisted view he had of the villian. It was brilliant.
I also want to congratulate Christopher Nolan. He really has this Batman thing down. I just hope he can do another one and end it there. There's no need to run it into the ground. Batman should end up becoming less of a series and more of a franchise that changes and evolves depending on who directs or writes the screenplay. We've had Tim Burton's view and now Christopher Nolan's. I would like another director like Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson or perhaps the great Australian director Peter Weir to have a shot at the Caped Crusader.
I spent some time reading a lot of Batman graphic novels in 2008 trying to learn a bit of Batman history. I read The Dark Knight Returns by the much talked about Frank Miller. I liked it but don't think it's the big, great graphic novel that some people call it. Maybe it's just me or the fact it was written twenty or so years ago. I just wasn't moved by it. I also read the sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again but was very disappointed with it. There was just too much going on. I'm also not a big fan of Superman so that might have something to do with it. I also had a chance to read Batman Year One and thought it was brilliant as was the ten issue All Stars Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder. I loved the heartless Batman. It gave him a different look and kept it fresh. "I'm the God Damn Batman!" Great stuff and a guilty pleasure.
Let's hope that Watchmen can live up to the hype in 2009.
1. The Dark Knight - The best Batman movie ever made and perhaps the best comic book movie ever.
2. The Reader - Lot of twists and turns in this one.
3. Frost/Nixon - Kept me riveted to the screen. Great performances by everyone in this movie.
4. Wall-E - Another Pixar classic with a ton of social commentary.
5. Iron Man - Robert Downey Jr. is awesome.
6. SLumdog Millionaire - Who wants to be a Millinaire? No, that is not a typo.
7. Surfwise - A twisted family who lived a very interesting life in a camper.
8. Doubt - Great performances by Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Phillip Seymore Hoffman and Viola Davis.
9. Appaloosa - Fantastic western. There's not enough westerns anymore. Too bad.
10. Rachel Getting Married - Anne Hathaway's career role. Not a lot happens but if you like being a spectator in a disfunctional family's wedding this one's for you.
1. Into The Wild - 2007 - Not sure how I missed this one in 2007. This movie was just so different and riveting that it was instantly added to my all time favorite movie list.
This is one of the first movies in a long time where I ran out and bought the soundtrack. Eddie Vedder's music is haunting and fits this movie perfectly.
The ending is difficult to watch but if you ever wanted to just run away from home at least one point in your life and start all over someplace strange, scary and dangerous then
you have to see this movie.
2. Milk - 2008 - Great performances. Could win this year's best picture Oscar.
3. Young At Heart - 2007 - Great documentary about a group of elderly people coming together to sing modern music. This movie is as uplifting as it is tragic.
4. Juno - 2007 - This should have won last year's Oscar for best picture.
5. Cloverfield - 2008 - I loved this monster! Great take on the genre.
6. X-Files: I Want TO Believe - 2008 - Scully, Mulder, creepy movie, what more do you want?
7. U23D - 2008 - Bono and the biys were a blast to watch in 3D. Bono's version of Miss Sarajevo is unforgettable.
8. Kung Fu Panda - 2008 - I'm glad the movie stuck to its Kung Fu guns.
9. Transsiberian - 2008 - Take a trip on a train through Russia and see what happens.
10. Bolt - 2008 - A huge surprise! The hamster stole the show. Let it begin!!!
1. Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight - Fantastic. The pencil scene is awesome! He should win Best Supporting Actor.
2. Emile Hirsch - Emile Hirsch is slowly becoming one of my favorite young actors in Hollywood. I first saw him in the much under appreciated Girl Next Door and was impressed with his performances in Milk, Into The Wild and Alpha Dog.
3. Kate Winslet - The Reader Revolutionary Road - Please, please, please stop showing this woman naked. It's just better not knowing sometimes. Oscar winner for The Reader?
4. Robert Downey Jr. - Tropic Thunder, Iron Man - This guy's awesome. One of the best scenes in a comedy movie I have seen is the bit about actors going full retard. It's totally politically incorrect and hillarious all at the same time.
5. Sean Penn - He won't win the Oscar. Mickey Rourke is a lock but he's great in this movie.
6. Frank Langella - He doesn't look a lot like Nixon but he's awesome in Frost/Nixon.
7. Christian Bale - Rescue Dawn, The Dark Knight, The Machinist - This guy can do everything. But are we getting too much of him? Next up: Terminator.
8. Christopher Nolan - One of the best directors in film making.
9. Pixar - These guys have no clue on how to make a bad movie. Even their bombs are better than most people's hits.
10. Meryl Streep - She's just fantastic in Doubt.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - I wish George Lucas would just go away. This movie was a disaster. The opening nuclear bomb scene was an unfortunate sign of things to come over the next two hours. This movie just got worse as it went along. Horrible acting, lame special effects and some of the worst writing in some time. George, please do us all a favor and just fade into obscurity. You had your day about 30 years ago but it's long gone.
5 - Excellent 4 - Good 3 - Fair 2 - Poor 1 - Terrible 0 - What In God's Name Were They Thinking? - (No longer used. Created and used in 2001 only for A.I.) Juno - 2007 - 5 National Treasure 2 - 2007 - 3 Mr. Brooks - 2007 - 3 Captivity - 2007 - 2 The Boondock Saints - 1999 - 3 La Mome (La Vie En Rose) - 2007 - 3 The Painted Veil - 2006 - 3 Cloverfield - 2008 - 4 There Will Be Blood - 2007 - 4 Perfect Stranger - 2007 - 2 The Invisible - 2007 - 3 Atonement - 2007 - 4 Eastern Promises - 2007 - 4 Away From Her - 2006 - 4 Vacancy - 2007 - 3 Gone Baby Gone - 2007 - 4 The Contract - 2006 - 2 Jumper - 2008 - 4 Night Watch Nochnoy dozor - 2004 - 3 Elizabeth The Golden Age - 2007 - 3 Resident Evil: Extinction - 2007 - 3 Vantage Point - 2008 - 3 Black Book Zwartboek - 2006 - 4 U2 3D - 2007 - 5 The Omega Man - 1971 - 2 Lawrence Of Arabia - 1962 - 5 Gone Dark The Limit - 2003 - 1 Darwin's Nightmare - 2004 - 4 Shooter - 2007 - 3 30 Days Of Night - 2007 - 4 Find Me Guilty - 2006 - 4 Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - 2006 - 3 The Good German - 2006 - 3 SherryBaby - 2006 - 3 The Man From Laramie - 1955 - 4 The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance - 1962 - 4 Spirit Of St. Louis - 1957 - 4 Disturbia - 2007 - 3 The Forbidden Kingdom - 2008 - 3 Forgetting Sarah Marshall - 2008 - 4 Iron Man - 2008 - 4 Alpha Dog - 2006 - 4 Young At Heart - 2007 - 4 Oceans Eleven - 1960 - 3 Fracture - 2007 - 3 Wild Ocean - 2008 - 3 The Andromeda Strain - 2008 - 2 Beautiful Boxer - 2003 - 4 The Assasination Of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - 4 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - 2008 - 2 The River King - 2005 - 3 Rescue Dawn - 2006 - 4 Control Room - 2004 - 3 American Gangster - 2007 - 3 The Happening - 2008 - 2 Harakiri Seppuku - 1962 - 4 Kung Fu Panda - 2008 - 4 The Host Gwoemul - 2006 - 4 Hit Man - 2007 - 3 Wanted - 2008 - 3 The Incredible Hulk - 2008 - 3 Things We Lost In The Fire - 2007 - 3 Wall-E - 2008 - 5 Hancock - 2008 - 3 Dan In Real Life - 2007 - 4 Hellboy II: The Golden Army - 2008 - 3 The Dark Knight - 2008 -5 We Own The Night - 2007 - 4 In The Valley Of Elah - 2007 - 4 Saw 4 - 2007 - 3 The X Files: I Want to Believe - 2008 - 4 The Man Who Would Be King - 1975 - 3 The Machinist El Maquinista - 2004 - 4 The Fountainhead - 1949 - 3 Lucky Number Sleven - 2006 - 3 Into The Wild - 2007 - 5 Bug - 2006 - 3 Tropic Thunder - 2008 - 4 Traitor - 2008 - 4 Transsiberian - 2008 - 4 Burn After Reading - 2008 - 4 The Counterfeiter Die Fälscher - 2007 - 4 Rightous Kill - 2008 - 2 Girl 27 - 2007 - 3 Eagle Eye - 2008 - 3 Appaloosa - 2008 - 4 Blindness - 2008 - 4 Next - 2007 - 3 Zelery - 2003 - 4 Knockaround Guys - 2001 - 3 Novocaine - 2001 - 2 Body Of Lies - 2008 - 4 Hot Fuzz - 2007 - 3 Max Payne - 2008 - 2 Kinky Boots - 2005 - 3 Pride & Glory - 2008 - 3 Nightmare Before Christmas 3D - 1993 - 5 Rambo - 2008 - 2 Saw V - 2008 - 3 Changeling - 2008 - 3 Attack The Gas station Juyuso seubgyuksageun - 1999 - 4 Snow Angels - 2007 - 4 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Le Scaphandre et le papillon - 2007 - 4 Martian Child - 2007 - 3 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa - 2008 - 3 Bobby - 2006 - 3 The Other Bolyn Girl - 2008 - 3 Good Luck Chuck - 2007 - 2 Quantum Of Solace - 2008 - 3 Bolt - 2008 - 4 Surfwise - 2007 - 4 Sex, Lies and Videotape - 1989 - 2 Australia - 2008 - 3 The Libertine - 2004 - 3 Rachel Getting Married - 2008 - 4 Trust The Man - 2005 - 3 Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders - 2006 - 3 Milk - 2008 - 4 The Day The Earth Stood Still - 2008 - 3 Slumdog Millionaire - 2008 - 4 Seven Pounds - 2008 - 4 Ma Vie En Rose - 1997 - 3 Frost/Nixon - 2008 - 5 Doubt - 2008 - 4 The Curious Case Of Bengamin Button - 2008 - 4 The Reader - 2008 - 5