Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Top 10 of 2008 (Finally)

Yes, I know it's already halfway through February. But it took me a while to see all the movies that I had a desire to see before I made this list. For your information, I completely skipped Benjamin Button, The Reader, and Milk - so while they may be Oscar favorites, I think they all looked fairly boring. You want to read what made my cut? The answer lies below...

10. Cassandra's Dream - This Woody Allen flick captured my attention from the very beginning and held it the entire way through. With great performances by Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, and Tom Wilkinson, this one earned its way past some solid movies to make it onto this list.

9. Rambo - The triumphant return of Stallone to the big screen after Rocky Balboa was worth the wait for Rambo fans. This installment in the franchise was ridiculously light on plot, but holy-crap heavy on the action. I've never seen so much graphic violence in a movie that doesn't feature massive army battles against each other, ala Braveheart and Lord of the Rings.

8. WALL*E - Pixar's animated flick was a great mix of social commentary and charming love story. If you haven't seen this yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. I was hesitant at first, but as you can tell, it was good enough to hold down the ocho slot.

7. Speed Racer - Yes, I am one of about four people who actually enjoyed this. I thought the Wachowski's did a great job with it, and the casting was admirable all the way around. A fun movie that dazzles with some ridiculous special effects.

6. Gran Torino - Eastwood's supposed final acting performance is one for the history books, capping off a phenomenal career for one of the few remaining living legends of Hollywood. Sure, the movie has its problems (bad acting from everyone else, pacing issues, etc), but all that falls to the wayside as we see Clint snarl and grunt his way through this movie as the racist war vet Walt Kowalski.

5. In Bruges - I said it before, and I'll reiterate: I've never seen a movie like In Bruges before. In a world where Candy Land, Ouiji Board, Monopoly, and Stretch Armstrong toys and board games are in production for major releases, the originality that In Bruges brought to the screen was amazingly refreshing and gives me hope in the industry yet. Colin Farrell delivers what I think is his best performance so far in his career.

4. Iron Man - 2008 was RDJ's year, and most people won't forget it any time soon. The comeback kid nearly stole the summer as the Marvel superhero, but it was the time when he was Tony Stark on screen that was most enjoyable to me. A great film with a talented supporting cast (Howard, Bridges, Paltrow) and a big hit for director Jon Favreau. Here's hoping the upcoming sequel is more "X2" and less "Punisher: War Zone."

3. Cloverfield - I freaking love this movie. I can't tell you how excited I was when I first read it, but you can go back and re-read my review of it to get a little sense of how much it impacted me on my first viewing. I've seen it one or two times since, and it still is as fantastic as the first time around. One of the best online marketing campaigns I've ever witnessed, great buzz going in, and a surprisingly successful January release with a cast of unknowns. Please don't make a sequel (it better be amazing if you do).

2. The Dark Knight - I was just thinking about this movie today, actually. A beacon of light and the lighthouse which guides all future comic-book films, The Dark Knight was a magnificent achievement that runs slightly long but you still don't want it to end.

1. Slumdog Millionaire - It wasn't even a contest. Just as Wristcutters firmly placed itself atop my list of 2007, Slumdog jumped to the number one slot and couldn't be tipped. The joy and exhuberance with which this film was shot and acted was amazing to watch, and the script was solid and (most importantly) original. Please go see it if you haven't yet - if you have a soul, you won't regret it.

There were some other flicks that I enjoyed in 2008, but the ones that made the list won the battle in the end. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Quarantine, The Wrestler, Appaloosa, Revolutionary Road, Pride and Glory, Eagle Eye, and some others were all runners up but couldn't quite break out. What were some of your favorites? Hit me up in the comment section. Until next time...

8 comments:

Head Hero said...

Only ones I haven't seen are No. 10 and No. 5.
What? Kingdom of the Crystal Skull didn't make the list? :] (joking)
What was it about Speed Racer that made you like it so much?
I know it was meant to be campy, but it was like a visual overload sometimes. It looked amazing and I enjoyed it, but why do you think it was THAT good?
Just want to hear your opinion is all. I enjoy hearing different opinions about movies.

Jacob said...

I agree all 3 of those (Button, Reader, and Milk) looked like like boring movies... I have no desire to see them.

Ben Pearson said...

As far as Speed Racer goes, I think the reason I rated it so high was the feeling of jubilation I experienced when walking out of the theater. As you know, we all see a lot of movies - so for one to impact me in a positive way, separating itself from the mediocre, and leaving me coming out of the theater with a big smile on my face? Priceless.

Jacob said...

By the way, I was glad you gave an honest account of your favorites and didn't just include all the critically praised films. I wrestle with how to distinguish movies I would call my favorites and ones I would call great or the "best movies of this year or that." Often my favorite movies are ones like Spaceballs and Caddyshack, not The English Patient.

Do you think there are two separate lists, essentially? Or should one's "favorite" be the same as a list of "the best movies"... ?

-Jacob

Ben Pearson said...

I honestly do think that there should be separate lists. I have that same problem rating movies on Facebook - do I rate them on the quality of the film, or how much I personally enjoyed it? There's got to be a separation.

Ashley said...

you forgot Tropic Thunder.
:D

Brie said...

I completely agree with slumdog's spot as #1 we should all have a second viewing night when it comes out on DVD!! :) Did you do a review for slumdog Ben? If you did I would love to hear the full review I'm sure it's brilliant.

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