It’s Oscar night, so here’s my annual top films of the past year… – Would love to hear about your favorite movies in the comments below!
1. Slumdog Millionaire – Kind of a cliche from any movie buff, but it was my favorite film from 2008 (but wasn’t significantly better than anything else in my Top 10). Fresh and exciting, it will no doubt bring home the Oscar for Best Picture tonight.
2. Blindness – A thrilling sci-fi flick (which I’m a sucker for) about a world where everyone goes blind, that didn’t get the attention it deserved.
3. The Foot Fist Way – Hands down my favorite comedy of the year, fans of quirky indie comedies should hunt this down immediately. Lead actor Danny McBride should have taken home the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical.
4. City of Ember – Think “The Goonies” meets “Brazil”, if comparison gets you excited you must watch this film immediately (and bring the kids along). If that comparison doesn’t get you excited, you have no taste in movies.
5. Burn After Reading – Another fantastic film from the Coen Brothers that combines great drama, comedy, and Coen-style quirkiness. Not exactly sure why it didn’t get the respect it deserved (too close to last year’s No Country for Old Men?)
6. Changeling – Thrilling, true-story drama about a woman’s quest to find her lost son. Angeline Jolie deserves the Oscar for Best Actress tonight.
6b. Synecdoche, New York – If you like strange, mind-bending films…you will love this. If you don’t, you’ll hate it. This film is still running around in my head weeks later.
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Think “Forrest Gump” but not as exciting, yet still an epic story with a sci-fi twist.
8. The Wrestler – Mickey Rourke will take home the Oscar tonight.
9. Revolutionary Road – A powerful yet difficult drama that everyone who lives or had lived outside their homeland should see.
10. Gran Torino – Clint Eastwood, please live forever and don’t ever stop making movies.
11. The Fall – A bizarre fantasy with some of the coolest visuals I’ve ever seen. Must be seen on Blu-ray with a big screen, feel free to use other visual enhancements.
12. Taken – Hands down the best action film of the year, and I don’t usually like action flicks. Liam Neeson kicks ass.
13. Milk – Sean Penn is a genius and deserves the Best Actor award tonight.
14. Hamlet 2 – A hidden indie comedy gem.
15. The Dark Knight – Does anyone think Heath Ledger WON’T win Best Supporting Actor tonight?
15b. The Promotion – Totally forgot about this indie comedy gem starring Sean William Scott and John C. Reilly.
15c. The Reader – Just saw it, loved it, powerful film, Kate Winslett was fantastic.
15d. The Escapist – Escaping from prison? Awesome.
16. Frost/Nixon – An exciting recreation of an important moment in American history.
17. Wall-E – So cute…
18. Pineapple Express – Comedy meets action.
19. Young People Fucking – Another hidden gem from 2008 about five couples in various parts of their relationships during a night of sex. Watch this with your partner.
20. Religulous – Documentary of the Year.
21. Step Brothers – I am a sucker for anything Will Farrell.
Other favorite films that didn’t quite make the list: The Visitor, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Tropic Thunder, Role Models, Gomorra, Frozen River, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Appaloossa
Other good films from 2008: Zach and Miri Make a Porno, Yes Man, W., Semi-Pro, Rambo, The Onion Movie, Mama Mia!, In Bruges, Felon, Cloverfield, The Bank Job, Baby Mama, American Teen
Popular Films from 2008 that mostly sucked: Rachel Getting Married, Doubt, Happy-Go-Lucky, Iron Man, Seven Pounds
2008 Barley a Thumbs Up not mentioned above: Strange Wilderness, Man On Wire, Made of Honor, Henry Poole is Here, The Happening, Hancock, Forgetting Sarah Marshal, 21
2008 Thumbs Down to: What happens in Vegas, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Fool’s Gold, Flash of Genius, Be Kind Rewind, Righteous Kill, Quantum of Solstice, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Ghost Town, Drillbit Taylor, Baghead
Acclaimed Films from 2008 I’ve yet to see: The Reader, Australia, Che, I’ve Loved You So Long, Snow Angels (and sadly I’ve yet to see any Finnish films from 2008)