RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE… AND LET THE MOVIE NERD DEBATE BEGIN.
LET’S REWIND TO 2008.
These are personal TOP 10s ranking Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn-munching blockbusters, indie films, b-movies, and cult classics.You never know, you might even uncover a hidden gem or two.
2008 had one heckuva #1 blockbuster with THE DARK KNIGHT raking in $997 million worldwide, pleasing the critics just as much as the audience. While there are a couple of massive box office successes, my TOP 10 is littered with some impressive indie films that may have slipped under the radar.
As always, the year had its fair share of shiny turds like 10000 BC, BABYLON AD, THE HAPPENING, INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, THE LOVE GURU, MAX PAYNE, SPEED RACER, and THE SPIRIT.
MY TOP 10 IS FOLLOWED BY HONORABLE MENTIONS AND THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
10. FUNNY GAMES
Hard-edged psychological thriller. Stylishly directed unconventional narrative breaks some cinematic ‘laws’ in intriguing ways. Stars Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, and Michael Pitt.
9. THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES
A character piece coming of age story that leaves you with a nice feeling. Impressive ensemble cast with Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keys.
8. IN BRUGES
Black comedy crime caper starring Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes, and Brendan Gleeson. Witty and violent. A surprise hidden gem. Hitmen are sent to Bruges to stay out of trouble since absolutely nothing happens there.
7. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Crowd-pleasing drama curled up in a romance. Stylishly directed by Danny Boyle (TRAINSPOTTING, 127 HOURS, STEVE JOBS, 28 DAYS LATER).
6. WALTZ WITH BASHIR
An incredible war documentary that uses animation to dramtaticize the past in very effective ways. Stunning visuals. Heart-breaking reflection. Entirely enthralling.
5. IRON MAN
Marvel Studios burst onto the scene with this mega-blockbuster. Filled with just as much laughter as action. A surprise success that worked on several levels.
4. THE WRESTLER
A brilliant character study about aging, centered around a fading wrestler reflecting on his life. An astounding return by Mickey Rourke. Marisa Tomei is also impressive in a co-starring role. Masterful storytelling and direction by Darren Aronofsky (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, THE FOUNTAIN, PI).
3. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Swedish vampire film that is a surprise character study centered around a young bullied loner. Stylishly directed with rich atmosphere and real scares. A morality tale wrapped up in an intense horror film. A hidden gem cult classic that got an American remake called LET ME IN starring Chloe Grace Moretz.
The hugest surprise of the year is a taut thriller from legendary writer, David Mamet. Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as an MMA instructor who follows an honorable code. Tim Allen and Hollywood swoop in to profit of his compelling teaching style and tournament structure. Emily Mortimer also stars adding a super intriguing thriller element from the opening minutes. This Hitchcockian mystery keeps unraveling like a page-turner. A true hidden gem worth tracking down for fans of David Fincher and John Le Carre.
1. THE DARK KNIGHT
One of the best superhero movies of all time. Heath Ledger’s Joker steals the show. Christopher Nolan keeps the focus on gritty realism giving us a hero without powers and a conflict centered on anarchy. Stylish action combines with interesting characters to make the perfect blend of Art and Popcorn.
BURN AFTER READING / CLOVERFIELD / DEFINITELY, MAYBE / FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL / HAMLET 2 / PINEAPPLE EXPRESS / RELIGULOUS / TROPIC THUNDER / VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA / WANTED
THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN
21 / ADULTHOOD / THE BANK JOB / BE KIND REWIND / BODY OF LIES / BOLT / CASSANDRA’S DREAM / CHANGELING / CHAPTER 27 / CHARLIE BARTLETT / CHE / CITY OF EMBER / THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL / DEATH RACE / DEFIANCE / DOOMSDAY / EAGLE EYE / HANCOCK / HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY / HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY / THE HOUSE BUNNY / THE INCREDIBLE HULK / INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL / JUMPER / KUNG-FU PANDA / LAKEVIEW TERRACE / NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST / PARANOID PARK / PUNISHER: WAR ZONE / QUANTUM OF SOLACE / QUARANTINE / RACHEL GETTING MARRIED / RAMBO / REVOLUTIONARY ROAD / THE ROCKER / ROCKNROLLA / ROLE MODELS / THE RUINS / SEMI-PRO / SMART PEOPLE / STEP BROTHERS / THE STRANGERS / SYNECHDOCHE, NEW YORK / TEETH / TRAITOR / TRANSPORTER 3 / TWILIGHT / VALKYRIE / WALL-E / THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE / YES MAN / ZAK & MIRI MAKE A PORNO
MY MUST-WATCH LIST
APPALOOSA / BOY A / BLINDNESS / THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS / CADILLAC RECORDS / THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON / DEPARTURES / DOUBT / THE FALL / FROST NIXON / GRAN TORINO / HAPPY-GO-LUCKY / MARLEY & ME / MILK / MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA / NOBEL SON / THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL / THE READER / SEVEN POUNDS / SON OF RAMBOW / TOWELHEAD / VANTAGE POINT / THE VISITOR / W.