Top 10 Movies of 2008

Here comes my final Top 10 list of 2008.  In no particular order, these are the ten best movies that I saw in the theater during 2008 (a handful of them came out at the end of 2007, but were still playing well into 2008, so I think that counts).  I feel like I’ve seen less movies in the theaters this year, although it’s possible that I just saw less-than-stellar movies in the theaters. 

Disclaimer: The Dark Knight is not on this list.  Why?  Well, to be honest, I didn’t think it was all that good.  Yes, Ledger was awesome–his Joker is the only non-animated version of Mr. J that captured the character’s chaotic nihilism.  But, other than the Joker, I found the movie horribly dull.


1. Juno


There is absolutely no reason why I should have liked this movie.  It is nothing like the kind of movie I like.  There wasn’t a single giant robot, car chase, or zombie.  But, in spite of myself, I loved this movie.  I’m well aware that it has all to do with Michael Cera, J.K. Simmons and Ellen Page (mostly her, I think, since she pretty much looks like every girl I ever asked out in college).

2. Sweeney Todd


There are certain things that just work well together: Peanut butter and jelly, Jack and Coke, Riggs and Murtaugh.  Add to that list Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.  It really doesn’t take much to get Depp to throw on a silly costume and prance his pasty-faced ass around, talking in a funny accent.  Apparently, it does take some doing to get the guy to sing, though.  He does a pretty good job in this flick that blends another pair of things that go well together: revenge and cannibalism.

3. Iron Man


Yeah, I’m gonna say it: Iron Man was the best movie I saw last year.  It finally showed that making a good superhero movie is not rocket science, even when it happens to be about a guy who is (more or less) a rocket scientist.  Would it have been as good without Robert Downey, Jr. (in a role he was born to play)?  I’m not sure.  Thankfully, I won’t have to find out just yet.

4. Hellboy II: The Golden Army


Hellboy is probably my favorite comic book character.  Ever.  So, imagine how stoked I was when the first Hellboy came out and it starred Ron Perlman and was directed by Guillermo del Toro (the only guy who play HB and the only guy who could direct HB)?  Then, it kicked so much ass that it warranted a sequel.  Granted, the sequel is a little more del Toro-esque and less Mignola-y, but it’s still pretty sweet.

5. No Country for Old Men


I can’t imagine many people would fight me on putting No Country for Old Menon this list.  Movies rarely have a physical effect on me, but watching this actually made me tense, which is probably what the Coens were going for.  I would have preferred a little more of Tommy Lee Jones and his mildly retarded sidekick, Garret Dillahunt, but Josh Brolin’s mustache and Javier Bardem’s Michael Meyers-like Anton Chigurh more than make up for it.

6. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead


Okay, so there’s this Indian burial ground, right?  And someone decides to build a fast food chicken restaurant on it, you with me?  Naturally the spirits of the dead Indians are going to raise up, infest the food, and turn everyone who eats it into chicken-zombies (not zombie-chickens…trust me, there’s a difference).  If you’ve never seen a Troma movie than this might not be for you.  But, if you like blood, violence, sex, harmless nudity, and lines like “I’ll believe in the supernatural when I see it, talking sandwich” and “The ninja is right”, Poultrygeist is probably right up your alley.

7. Tropic Thunder


I must have been a very, very good boy in 2007, because the gods saw fit to give me two movies starring RoDoJu.  And, to be honest, the only thing powerful enough to counteract my burning hatred of Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise is my love of how awesome Robert Downey, Jr. is. 

8. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog


Most end-of-year talk about Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog refer to it in terms of television.  Personally, I think this little internet phenomenon has got “feature” written all over it.  Besides, Horrible is head and shoulders above most of the crap that the studios cranked out this past year.

9. The Incredible Hulk

Sure, Incredible Hulk is nowhere near as good as Iron Man.  But, it is way better than the first Hulk movie, and it’s even better than this year’s comic movie darling, The Dark Knight.  Norton made a pretty convincing Bruce Banner and the writers borrowed liberally from both the comic and the classic Bixby/Ferrigno TV series.  It almost makes me feel bad that Robert Downey, Jr. walks away with the movie with his ten second cameo (wait, that means this year had three RoDoJu movies!).

10. Cassandra’s Dream


Normally, I’m not a fan of Woody Allen movies.  They just never really did anything for me…most likely because the New York in Allen movies is not the New York I grew up in.  Mad Max is more like the New York I grew up in.  Anyway…I find that I enjoy Allen’s recent UK movies much more, and this one actually made me like Colin Farrell.


15 responses to “Top 10 Movies of 2008

  1. Well, it’s been brought to my attention by several folks that THE MIST actually came out in November of 2007…despite the fact that I have a very clear (and apparently very false) memory of seeing it in the Spring.

    It’s staying on the list because (a) I can’t think of a 10th movie worth mentioning, and (b) it’s a really good movie.

    Nevermind, I replaced THE MIST with POULTRYGEIST, which should have been on the list from day one. I really need to write these things down when I see them to avoid similar incidents in the future.

  2. I loved The Incredible Hulk! It really surprised me… You right that it’s not as good as Iron Man, but still… I didn’t think it was too far off.

  3. David Gallaher

    I don’t see Baby Mama on the list at all 😦

    Or, The Spirit or Slumdog Millionaire … or Bolt or the Wrestler ….

  4. @Karen I long ago accepted that movies based on already existing properties would never be the movies I would make. But, The Incredible Hulk is almost exactly the movie I would have made.

    @David Didn’t see any of those. Would have seen BOLT in the theater in a heartbeat. THE WRESTLER is a total rental. I’m still on the fence about THE SPIRIT.

  5. “The Incredible Hulk is almost exactly the movie I would have made.”

    That’s it exactly – I think it did enough to please diehard fans & a general audience at the same time. Not easy to do, but they did a fine job. It helped that Edward Norton was so good in the role. And I actually liked Liv Tyler, too – I thought she played Betty with a light touch and gave her real compassion.

  6. Heath Ledger was enough for me! But, yeah, I totally agree with Juno, Tropic Thunder, and Sweeney Todd. Hellboy II was cool looking, but other than that, I don’t remember much about it.

    Happy New Year!

  7. Normally I agree with you, but this time I have to say you’re way off about ‘The Dark Knight’.

    I thought it was incredible, even without Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker. I appreciate when a director of a comic movie treats me as intelligent and doesn’t have to force the concept down my throat (re: Superman Returns).

    But I forgive you, everyone is allowed one mistake.


  8. @Stark I know I’m in the minority about DARK KNIGHT (although I agree that SUPERMAN RETURNS was god awful)…but I’ve loved Batman since before I could walk and I have developed a very narrow concept of who he is as a character. And, as good as Nolan’s movies are, they still fall short of my expectations.

    @Karen I really like Liv Tyler and, even though I mocked her for wearing her “smart-girl” glasses, I think she did a very good job as Betty.

    @Jill My friend had the exact same reaction to the first HELLBOY. She remembered liking it, but couldn’t remember any specific details.

  9. ……..wait… don’t like Colin Farrell, handsome charming Irish scamp, alumni of my old school, who quite possibly could get the part of young me in my bio pic “Whiskey & P***y”?????…..F*** Y** Danno F**k Y**…………***bleep**bleep***

  10. I tried to catch him before all the cursing, Faust, I really did try!!! In my defense, it did peter out into bleeps…

  11. ……sorry about that Danno……that was over the top…..I mean it wasn’t as if you said you disliked Alain Delon……………….

  12. Of everything on this list, the last thing I expected to cause a problem was my Colin Farrell comment.

    Wow, 2008…you can still surprise, even when your demise is nigh.

  13. …..wait……”your demise is nigh.” That’s
    supervillain talk there Danno…..oh wait….you meant the year……I knew that…..
    Actually the Anton Chigurh/Mike Myers comment was the one that went over my head??? Wanna explain…..

  14. Chigurh had a knack for just being someplace. You rarely saw him moving, you’d just run from where you thought he was, turn a corner, open a door, and there he was waiting for you. Just like Ol’ Michael in the HALLOWEEN movies.

  15. I’m happy to see I’m not the only comics fan unafraid to admit that I didn’t like The Dark Knight. I’m pretty sure that movie had fifteen endings, each more boring and forced than the last.

    I definitely agree on Juno, Iron Man, and the Hulk, and this list reminds me once again that I need to see No Country for Old Men. And I think anything called “Poultrygeist” is something I need to find some way to see.

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