Top Ten Movies of 2008

Top 10 Movies of 2008

Trying to figure out my personal list of favorite, top ten, exceptional, "best" movies of 2008 was not an easy task. 2008 was an odd year for film. So many have gone on record saying it was a down year, but I don't entirely agree with that. While 2008 didn't have very many "great" films it had A LOT of good films. Of course, this is where making a top ten list gets difficult. So often you have one clear cut favorite and anywhere from 10-15 movies behind it that you simply need to figure out where they fall in the grand scheme of things. This year, my top five films are almost interchangeable and the bottom five and my Honorable Mentions could all compete for the final five spots, this just so happens to be where they all fell when I typed this list up.

This year I saw more films than I ever have before and reviewed 139 theatrical releases (so far) and one can only guess how many DVD and Blu-ray releases. Suffice to say, my opinion is rather well documented, yet I think I have a few surprises for you on the coming list and hopefully some placements that will get you talking.

When I create a list of top ten films I want that list to consist of films that I will continue to return to over the years to come, films that will continue to challenge me in some way. When I say "challenge" I am not speaking solely in cerebral terms as a film can challenge a viewer on a multitude of levels. Cerebral, of course, being the most engaging and long lasting, but emotionally challenging movies involve everything from action to comedy to romance. I want my favorite comedies to continue to make me laugh, my favorite action films to keep my blood pumping and my favorite romance and drama features to keep my emotions on edge.

Of course, I feel I must remind everyone reading this list that this is my list of ten favorite films. This is not the Oscars. This list is made up of films I expect will continue to entertain me for years to come. After checking out my personal list be sure to comment and include your own lists and comment on mine. That said, let's get underway beginning with my seven Honorable Mentions followed by my Top Ten films of 2008.

(in alphabetical order)

Ballast (Alluvial Film Co.)

Ballast is as good for its story as it is for how director Lance Hammer tells it. For as simple as this story of three lives affected by the death of one person is, the storytelling elevates it above its own simplicity. Using actors with little to no acting experience you won't find an amateur performance among them. Most impressive is the editing as Hammer wastes not a single frame of film on needless character exposition or plot threads that have nothing to do with the story. It's a wonder how the film can be pieced together so tightly yet flow with such ease.

The Edge of Heaven (Strand Releasing)

I never posted a formal review of The Edge of Heaven, but it is a film I can't forget after seeing it prior to the Seattle International Film Festival. I had recently watched the trailer online and couldn't quite figure out what it was about, but knew I was intrigued. Suffice to say, the film was light years ahead of its trailer and never failed to disappoint. The film tells the story of a collection of individuals as they all seem to be closing in on one another's story. Some of them make it, some of them don't and it is a journey you won't regret taking.

The Fall (Roadside Attractions)

I am surprised to see Tarsem Singh's The Fall is only at a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as I don't look at this film all that much differently than I do Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. I see them both as fairy tales of sorts, only one is dark and the other is light. Singh has a distinctive visual style as does Del Toro and the acting on the part of Lee Pace and little Catinca Untaru was a lot of fun to watch and makes for one of the more original films of 2008.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (IFC Films)

I don't have much more to say about this film than I have already said in the past. I consider 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days to be one of (if not the) best made films I have ever seen. I think director Cristian Mungiu tapped directly into human instincts with this picture allowing the camera to be the eyes of the audience almost literally in some scenes that shock as much as they awe in their inspired vision. That said, I never want to see this film again as it makes my insides turn due to its content and is the reason it finds itself here in the Honorable Mention as opposed to inside my top ten.

The Incredible Hulk (Universal Pictures)

The Incredible Hulk has bounced in and out of my top ten over the past couple of weeks so the night before putting the list together I decided to watch it again along with a few other films I wasn't quite sure where they should fall. Obviously it didn't fare as well and was edged out of the top ten, but it remains - in my opinion - the second best superhero/comic book movie of 2008. While Iron Man has the more appealing performance given by Robert Downey Jr. I felt Hulk holds together much better as a film. Both Iron Man and Hulk have story issues, with Iron Man having that awful ending following a stellar first half, Hulk comes with a similar "battle of the CGI beasts" at the end, but it fits more inside the overall film, far more than it did in Iron Man. On top of that, the sound design in this feature is truly amazing, on Blu-ray with the DTS audio track playing it is damn near as powerful as it was in the theater.

Milk (Focus Features)

I think Milk moved me as much as it did solely because I was not familiar with the majority of Harvey Milk's story. I did not know how it all would come to an end, even though it wasn't that hard to figure out, so much to the point that as it was happening on film I still could not believe it. However, I have a feeling this film will slowly lose my favor over repeated viewings as it will serve as a first time emotional ride and lose its impact as time goes by. Thus its placement in the Honorable Mention category and I almost considered leaving it out altogether.

Quantum of Solace (Columbia Pictures / MGM)

I know many people did not like Quantum of Solace, but as I have already pointed out I don't agree with the majority of the criticisms. I saw Quantum twice in theaters and enjoyed it both times. In terms of these seven films listed in the Honorable Mention, this one best represents the eleventh spot on the overall list. It was action packed and established Daniel Craig as his very own Bond. It was far better than Casino Royale, which does not hold up to repeat viewings, and fully establishes a new world for Bond and MI6 as we now begin to move into an era where we will see the likes of Q Branch as well as a new Miss Moneypenny. I have a feeling the best is still yet to come.

With that, we now move into the top ten... Get ready for a wild ride...

  • Amit

    as i clicked on page 5, i was so sure it was gonna be slumdog millionaire... interesting choice brad [as your mother wud say]...haha, i actually kinda agree with you

  • joker47

    interesting choce for No. 1

  • Scott

    I still have to see another 10 or so movies from 2008 before making my end-of-year list, but my top 3 right now are TDK, In Bruges, and Slumdog Millionaire (in that order).

  • Israel Ortiz

    I walked away from Vicky Cristina Barcelona ever so uncomfortable, not because of the film but what I saw as Vicky and Cristina's resignation to who they are and the manner and quality of joy in their life, so to speak. It gave me that same feeling I get when I know I've let a major 'life' opportunity squander.

    And that narration was too fuckin' much but after awhile I guess Woody was going for that omniscient narrator vibe a la Barry Lyndon. William Makepeace Thackeray for the 21st century.

  • Pufferbuzz

    didn't you say that definitely, maybe was one of your honorable mentions?

    FROM BRAD: No, my honorable mentions are the first seven films listed.

  • Ethan

    I was expecting either Wall-e or TDK to be your number one movie, actually, so this was definitely a surprise for me.

    Nice list though.

  • kassiopeia

    I love, love, LOVED In Bruges, Wall.E, Tropic Thunder and The Dark Knight. I also really enjoyed Quantum of Solace although I would argue that Casino Royale is the better film as it stands alone - if you haven't seen that, then QoS doesn't make a whole load of sense!

    Sadly I will be avoiding Benjamin Button, as due to it's main star's hunger for publicity, a darkened cinema is one of the few places one can escape from his face plastered all about the place. My loss I guess...

  • shirley

    the dark knight is the best movie of the year.

  • GregM

    What sucks about these lists are that many of the quality films either don't have wide enough releases or aren't available for home viewing. I'd love to check out The Class or Vicky Cristina Barcelona this week but can't, at least not legally.

    Hey, if I call up The Weinstein Co do you think they'll send me a copy of that announced and never delivered 6-disc Grindhouse set? They won't let my buy it so maybe they'll just hand one over.

    And now, for those interested, my Dark Knight comments.
    I had a lot of logical issues with TDK after my second viewing, most of which I've been able to dismiss after additional viewings. I get the feeling that the logic of the story is there, but to connect all the points on screen would have cut to over three hours. In fact there are some glaring editing issues with the motions of characters and placement of vehicles, but given the scope that's somewhat forgivable. For me, best movie I saw this year, most enjoyable movie I've seen in a while.

    And, of course, SPEED RACER!

  • Joel

    Ditto, Shirley.

    My official top ten:

    1. The Dark Knight
    2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (though it's a very small step below TDK)
    3. WALL-E
    4. The Fall
    5. Tropic Thunder
    6. Changeling
    7. Bolt
    8. Cloverfield
    9. Young@Heart
    10. Wanted

  • Garrett

    Here is my top ten of 2008
    10 Hellboy 2, i know you didnt enjoy it (Brad) but i enjoyed it alot
    9 The strangers
    8 Saw 5
    7 Wall-e
    6 The incredible Hulk
    5 Ironman
    4 Yes, man
    3 The curious case of benjamin button
    2 tropic thunder
    1 The dark knight
    There you have it. some of you might not agree but these are the movies that i loved the most of 2008

  • adu

    I have lots left to see, but as of now

    Benjamin Button
    Dark Knight
    In Bruges
    Iron Man
    The Fall
    Horton Hears a Who
    Kung Fu Panda
    Pineapple Express

  • casey

    I'm glad people are mentioning In Bruges i thought it was brilliant and i agree about the cinematography. Brendan Gleeson is one of the most consistant yet underated actors working today, so delighted he has gotten recognition from the golden globes. I was worried the irish humour wouldn't translate across the atlantic but glad it did. Isn't it hilarious yet dark at the same time.

    Here are some of my other favs!

    The dark knight!
    loved this and i didn't particularly enjoy Batman begins. Heath Ledger is without doubt the best thing about it and you are waiting for him to appear when he's not in a scene but it holds up on its own merit. However it was way too long and the sound quality was poor. I thought it could have been the cinema's volume but its the same on dvd. did any one else find this? Also Christan Bale's batman voice was nothing but distracting and i was disapponted cillian murphy wasn't in it more... blink and u will miss him

    The strangers
    Some people hated this but i was scared! I hadn't read anything about it so it was a pleasant surprise as i don't generally enjoy horrors but it was very effective in my opinion

    Lars and the real girl
    I really liked this even though its far fetched. The acting is great and i love patricia clarkson and ryan gosling

    Haven't seen the main players for oscars as they haven't been released here yet but looking forward to The Wrestler!

  • Scott


    In regards to your list all I can say is: see more movies.

    If movies like Saw V are showing up on your list, you need to get out and see some less Hollywood stuff. Hell you could at least hit stuff that's got more mainstream-ish stuff in it that's still more independent than Iron Man or Saw. See In Bruges, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, etc. etc. etc.

    Unless you really do just enjoy crap.

  • Scott


    How can you be disappointed that a cameo wasn't longer? The Scarecrow was never going to be in more than that, it was just meant to say that Batman has been doing stuff like this the entire time we haven't seen him between films, and that Scarecrow is a loose end he's tying up.

    I can't imagine how you think the sound quality is poor, because it's not. If you think the sound effects are underwhelming that's fine, but I particuarly liked that you don't hear a big WHACK everytime Batman hits a criminal.

    The Batman voice, I think that's a take it or leave it thing. It didn't bother me except in a few very isolated spots, but I wouldn't say any of it detracts from the film because I see the reason for why the voice is deeper than in Begins: he's supposed to have gotten deeper into this persona, and his voice is the best way to reflect that.

    Things like the voice and the sound effects aren't always particularly "cinematic," but what I like about them is they bring a level of verisimilitude to the movie that just isn't there in older Batman films (even Begins is way more popcorn than TDK).

    Lars and the Real Girl came out in 2007, also, although I'm assuming then that you don't live in the US so then I don't know.

    Now that I've insulted two posts in a row, I think I'll leave for now.

  • Ethan

    Y'know, Brad, I didn't think about this while I was typing my original post, but I gotta ask you something. You say that TDK isn't a 'masterpiece', but you gave it an A+ review. Isn't 'A+' reserved for absolute perfection? Your ratings may differ from mine, of course, but I need a little clarification on this.

    Also, I'm really happy you put TIH, Quantum of Solace, and the Fall in your honorable mentions (though they're in my personal top 10...). All of them are horribly underrated and overlooked.

  • casey


    I realise Lars was more of a 2007 movie but it was only released here on limited screenings this year.

    I'm not insulted at all it is my opinion and i stand by it. I felt the sound quality was poor in that i kept having to adjust the volume settings at home i.e the action scenes were too loud and the other scenes were very low. My brother agreed with this and he watched it on a seperate tv. However this is a non starter as in my first post i stated that it was the sound quality not the sound effects that i had a problem with!!!

    I was disappointed Cillian Murphy wasn't in it longer as he is one of my favourite actors and i simply enjoy him being around. It may have served the movie for him to be i it for twenty seconds but personally i was disappointed. As is stated its a personal top ten with personal reasons.

    All in all i enjoyed it. I don't think movies have to be masterpieces to be enjoyed. Do you?

  • Brad Brevet

    @Ethan: I did give The Dark Knight an A+ and I stand by that review for how I felt at that time. However, after seeing it a second time in the theater and two more times on Blu-ray I would say my grade would probably drop to an A. This is one reason why I am not sure you will ever see me hand out an A+ ever again, just as I did not with Benjamin Button even though I thought I would after seeing it.

    The Dark Knight is a fantastic piece of entertainment, but not a masterpiece and even in my review I mention there are flaws but I graded it an A+ anyway. Just one more reason why a grading system really is a flawed way of looking at movies.

  • Dan

    I'm a big follower of yours Brad..and I'm sorry I don't comment on here more often but I virtually depend on your website for movie news. Glad to have found your site.

    I have yet to see: The Reader, The Wrestler, Australia, Revolutionary Road, The Class, Gran Torino, Che, Last Chance Harvey, Wendy and Lucy, Good, Frozen River, Gomorrah, and Defiance as well as a few others...but here it goes:

    I saw 65 films in theaters this year (I keep the tickets heh) and here were my favorites:

    1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    2. The Dark Knight
    3. Vicky Christina Barcelona
    4. Happy Go Lucky
    5. In Bruges
    6. Rachel Getting Married
    7. Milk
    8. Wall-E
    9. Man on a Wire
    10. Doubt

    Honorable Mentions:
    Frost/Nixon, I've Loved You So Long, The Visitor, Changeling, Seven Pounds, Iron Man, Slumdog Millionaire (The thing seemed too similar to City of God for me), and The Duchess.

    Still plenty of films to see so I expect this to drastically change as more films come to my area.

  • Dan

    Or maybe not the Duchess...I'll be honest...I fell asleep towards the end...tough week ;)

  • Dan

    Brad...what changed your mind about Slumdog Millionaire...I have to double check but I think you gave it an A and really enjoyed it. was a fine film..but doesn't deserve the buzz it is getting. The love story didn't really connect with me. And like I said above, it just felt too much like City of God, with the exception of the TV show.

  • The Angry Troll

    The ten BEST movies of 2008 wasn’t any easier to come up with than the worst movies list was. In fact, I had trouble even coming up with ten, so the last two are kinda just there to fill out the list. I liked the movies, and quite a few that aren’t on here. But sometimes I like a movie for other reasons, not necessarily because I think it’s good.

    And like the worst list, I didn’t see everything that came out this year. Only somewhere between 60 and 70 of them, so this is what I consider the best of that group.

    This would be one of the ones I mentioned I liked for some reason other than its quality. The movie did have more funny stuff in it than I expected, considering Seann William Scott is in it, and he really has yet to be funny in anything. What made me enjoy this movie were all the KISS references. I admit, I am a huge Kiss fan – have been since the late 70’s/early 80’s. So for me, that, coupled with their being nothing better to fill this spot, made this movie.

    Okay, I like Anna Faris. I think she’s funny and cute. And that’s what I thought of this movie. Some of the “dumb blonde” moments were a bit much, but overall I liked it.

    I really enjoyed this movie, up until about the last five minutes. The Trace Adkins thing I could have done without. But otherwise, an immensely entertaining film. And the fact that the whole thing is one giant shot at Michael Moore is simply a bonus!

    7. WAR, INC.
    I know a lot of people who didn’t like this movie, but I thought it was great. It was John Cusack doing what he does best, those kinda quirky characters. The supporting cast was hysterical; Ben Kingsley and Dan Aykroyd in particular. I wasn’t expecting much from Hilary Duff, and while she wasn’t great, she at least held her own.

    6. MEET BILL
    Aaron Eckhart and Elizabeth Banks are terrific in this film. The only real weak spot is Jessica Alba, but then, she’s the weak spot in almost every film she’s done. Other than her, it’s a funny movie.

    I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of Kevin Smith, or of Seth Rogan. I went to see this because of the controversy over the title, and Elizabeth Banks, and I ended up laughing myself silly. Yeah, it’s sometimes crude but really, considering the subject matter it kinda HAD to be. And the cameo with Brandon Routh and Justin Long was hilarious. The first decent movie from Kevin Smith since Chasing Amy, and one of the funniest of the year.

    Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino together? What’s not to like? Admittedly I am a huge DeNiro fan, so maybe I’m not always objective about his films. He has been involved in some less than stellar outings though. And Pacino has made some that simply suck. (Simone?) But the projects they have done together are usually pretty impressive. Heat was pretty damn good, and Godfather is a classic. I don’t think this one is destined to be a classic, but it WAS enjoyable, and in a year such as 2008, without many great films, it does stand out as one of the better ones.

    I don’t know when this happened, but I actually like Ryan Reynolds. I remember a time, not that long ago, when I couldn’t stand him. Van Wilder, Waiting, and making the third Blade movie unwatchable, I couldn’t stand him. I don’t know what happened or when, but suddenly he’s actually good. And shows it in this film. He’s funny, dramatic when he needs to be, and the movie is actually…heartwarming. I don’t think I have EVER used that to describe a film before. Normally the movies trying for that end up being pretentious, but this time it actually worked.

    I have listened to and read the arguments against this movie. People are upset about the fridge scene, or the aliens, or whatever other tiny detail they decide has ruined their life. They complain about how unrealistic some of this seems. To these complaints I have answered, “Have you even WATCHED the other three?” Indiana Jones, like it or not, has never been about realism. It’s been about outrageous adventure, over the top fun. And this offered plenty of over the top fun. Sure, it’s not as Good as Raiders, or even Last Crusade, but it’s better than Temple of Doom was, and also better than almost everything that came out this year.

    1. IRON MAN
    This is what a fun comic book inspired movie is all about. It’s the best one since the first Spider-man, possibly the best since Superman The Movie. The story makes sense, the effects are awesome, the characters are fleshed out enough, but not overly so. It has some realism to it, but it doesn’t beat you over the head with it. Comic books AREN’T real. Superheroes AREN’T real. I mean, c’mon! Guys who fly, or turn green and huge, or have the proportionate strength and agility of a spider. Or even the more ‘human’ ones. These are guys who, in the real world, would end up arrested or in the loony bin, so the ‘realism’ thing is kinda silly to me. That said, this is a FUN movie. Comic books are FUN, and making movies based on them that aren’t fun seems kinda…stupid to me. My initial reaction to the casting of Robert Downey Jr. was the same as it was to the casting of Michael Keaton as Batman 20 years ago. Kind of, “What are they THINKING?” I was wrong then, as Keaton was by far the best cinematic Batman, and I was wrong again this time, as Downey made the perfect Tony Stark. And that made this movie work, and the most fun to be had at the theater in 2008.

  • Brad Brevet

    @Dan: I wouldn't say I changed my mind necessarily and I agree it doesn’t deserve the buzz it's getting. I gave it an A- after debating on a B+ for so long and if you read my review I believe it reflects that. It's a good movie, but in my eyes good for watching once and that is about it, almost exactly along the same lines as Milk and the explanation I give at the end of that mention in my Honorables. Other movies in that category would be Doubt and damn near every documentary I saw this year.

  • Ethan

    Yeah, I know what you mean, Brad. Very difficult to grade a movie appropriately. There are very, very, very few movies I would give a 10/10 rating. TDK isn't among them. It definitely had its flaws, and therefore doesn't qualify for a perfect rating.

  • Jimmy

    Here it goes, in my opinion as a professional Actor, these were the top best films of the year...

    1) Doubt (Although the direction, cinematography, and even the writing at times was shoddy, it was a brilliant piece with wonderful performances)
    2) Slumdog Millionaire (wonderful story, and the acting was outstanding, even from the children)
    3)The Wrestler (Mickey Rourke is now legendary to me. I couldn't even speak after his loving performance)
    4) The Dark Knight ( I enjoyed it, I know it's overplayed, but Heath Ledger was fantastic, and the actual film is gorgeous. The other performances in it, and the writing however seemed shallow)
    5) Milk (Great story of humanity. Sean Penn was great, but I always thought that actors that get nominated for doing great biopics are taking the "easy way out". Directed magically, and if it weren't for Benjamin Button, I would pick Milk for direction)
    6)Cloverfield (To me, it was THIS film that made films a spectacle again)
    7)The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (It was beautiful. Very much like a lullaby)
    8) Wall-E (Can you tell I have a soft spot for beautiful movies?)
    9)Iron Man (It was the best superhero movie of the year. I do not count The Dark Knight as a superhero film. Robert was exactly what the roll demanded, and it shall I call it...effortless. I have always hated movies that use special effects as the "Here comes the movie MAGIC!" moments, but have found that they work best when they are used as they were in this film. offhandedly)
    10) Tropic Thunder & BOLT( I also have a soft spot for true hilarity. I have met and worked with other actors and directors and producers and agents like this, and it matches the experience almost to a T. You could tell that these guys were sitting in a room being drilled by the creative staff, and decided to make the greatest movie experience spoof of all time.

  • Dan

    @Brad Brevet:
    I apprecite the "repeat viewing" factor you put into it. I usually overlook that. Yes, I do not think I would be interested in watching Man on a Wire, Milk, The Duchess, Slumdog Millionaire, or Frost/Nixon again.

    I really liked Doubt...but it probably won't remain on my list once I see those still in very limited release. My problem with it, as well as No Country for Old Men, is the ambiguity. I hate endings that leave too many loose ends. I disagree on only wanting to see it once. Streep and Hoffman going at it was awesome. Unfortunatley, I felt the film didn't have the major showdown between the two that I was looking for.

    Also, is there any way to explain why there is so much love for Milk and Slumdog? I have a feeling critics tend to hop on the bandwagon at times, like There Will Be Blood or Atonement for instance (sorry Brad...I thought the ending sucked...made the whole second half of the movie feel pointless).

  • Sebastian

    I still have to see ALL of the main oscar watch movies. From that list I just have seen Wall-E, The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder and In Bruges that it's one of my all-time favorite movie. From this year I have seen a lot of movies but I couldn't make a Top 10 right now. I really laughed in Tropic Thunder, Iron Man was really good even with that shit of an ending. I really like Hellboy simpily because it was original and I'm a fan of Del Toro's work. The Dark Knight was incredible even with the not-logicals flaws, but my opinion is that if you see all the great performances, the hreat cinematography, direction and score, you just can't say it's a bad movie while it's not. Wall-E was really cool and a really good movie. The Incredible Hulk was good but it was too much CGI for me...
    Body of Lies I saw it yesterday and was really good.

  • Ian

    Best top 10 list of '08 list I've seen. What I liked most though, is that you gave props to what I feel is the most underrated aspect of TDK, it's score. Great write-up.

  • Steve

    Saw In Bruges again today. Such a great movie, I forgot how good Colin Farrell was in it.

  • Jerzey Jon

    Here are my top 10 movies of the year, and I've seen probably over 50 this year. I lost count but it's def. close to 50.

    Well, here are my top 10:

    1. Slumdog Millionaire

    2. The Wrestler

    3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    4. Milk

    5. Frost/Nixon

    6. Wall-E

    7. Vicky Cristina Barcelona

    8. The Dark Knight

    9. Gran Torino

    10. Revolutionary Road

  • Jerzey Jon

    @Dan: Slumdog Millionaire was amazing, I can def. see why it's getting so much buzz, it is hands down the best movie of the year to me.

    The characters were memorable

    The plot was ingenious

    The directing was amazing

    This movie had it all.

  • someone

    If you say the Dark Knight has flaws you have to point them out. Anyway the dark knight may not be a masterpiece but it definately is better than Vicky Christina Barcelona. I mean the reason why it's better is not only does it attact me more but it has morals inside it( ex. such as the boat scene). Not saying that Vicky Christina Barcelona was bad(penelope cruz and Scarlett Johannson was HOT) its just that it wasn't nearly as good. The dark knight has better ratings on rotten tomatoes and metacritic.

  • Garrett

    @Scott: Well those are the movies that i enjoyed. just because my taste is different than yours, you shouldn't tell me i watch crap. everyone has different opinions. Those are my top ten and the are staying that way.

  • Adam

    An interesting list. I'm not entirely interested in VCB at this point in time (as much as I love Rebecca Hall and find Javier Bardem amazing, I want to get into Woody Allen via other films first), but it's neat to see Benjamin Button, TDK, Wall-E, and, in particular, In Bruges populating your list. I may not agree with Tropic Thunder in the Top 10 (I liked it, but I've seen better from all involved), it's still a good list. As it stands, my 2008 list is thus (NB: I live in New Zealand, where we generally get a number of films a couple of months after everyone else - hence I haven't had the chance to see The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road, Doubt, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon and other films I've been amped for) -

    1. No Country For Old Men (released end of January '08 in NZ)
    2. The Dark Knight (flawed it may be, but it's relentlessly thrilling and entertaining)
    3. Wall.E (beautiful film, with an emotional killer of a final scene)
    4. There Will Be Blood (released end of January in NZ)
    5. In Bruges (surprisingly dark and thoughtful, but brilliant nonetheless)
    6. The Escapist (I understand this hasn't come out in the US yet. It's a brilliant prison break film from first time British writer-director Rupert Wyatt, and it has a magnificent narrative, a blindingly good lead performance by Brian Cox, and stunning cinematography. See it as soon as you can.)
    7. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (a late entry, but a stunning film)
    8. Gone Baby Gone (released March in NZ)
    9. American Gangster (released start of January in NZ)
    10. Juno (released middle of January in NZ)

  • Thomas

    my top 10 as of right now:

    1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    2. In Bruges
    3. City of Men
    4. The Dark Knight
    5. WALL-E
    6. Frost/Nixon
    7. The Wrestler
    8. Milk
    9. Doubt
    10. Slumdog Millionare

    I'm giving serious thought to putting VCB 10th.

  • Kristin

    my top ten are:

    1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    2.The Wrestler
    3.Slumdog Millionaire
    4. The Dark Knight
    5. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    6. Milk
    7. Wall-E
    8. In Bruges
    9. Rachael Getting Married
    10. Role Models ( This movie doesn't exactly go with the others but I liked the end of the movie and the fact that it had some sentimental qualities to it)

  • Anne

    @Dan: I really don't see how you think city of god and slumdog millionaire are similar except for the drug lord subplot

  • Alex

    I was so worried Slumdog Millionaire would be your #1. I was pleasantly surprised.

    My list:
    1. The Wrestler
    2. WALL·E
    3. Frost/Nixon
    4. The Dark Knight
    5. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    6. Revolutionary Road
    7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    8. Iron Man
    9. In Bruges
    10. Waltz with Bashir

    Honourable Mentions-
    Milk; Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Let the Right One In; Tropic Thunder; JCVD

  • John

    My Top 10:

    1. Milk
    2. Doubt
    3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    4. Revolutionary Road
    5. Repo! the Genetic Opera
    6. In Bruges
    7. Australia
    8. The Reader
    9. Frost/Nixon
    10. The Air I Breathe

    Honorable Mentions: Rachel Getting Married; Fireflies in the Garden; W.; Tropic Thunder

    I didn't find much to like in Slumdog Millionaire or The Wrestler, and I'm one of those who can't watch The Dark Knight over and over because I keep finding flaws... so with repeated viewings, it's disappointing.

  • Doom

    There was only 1 film to see at the movies in 08, The Dark Knight! It's $530.9 million dollar gross speaks for itself! As for the rest of 08 films, wait till they come on HBO Showtime ect.

  • JM

    I still have a few more movies to see, but right now my Top 3 are:

    The Dark Knight (yes, it is a masterpiece)
    The Fall

    I also think "Doubt" and "Rachel Getting Married" will make the list as well. And maybe "Iron Man." I still need to watch Benjamin Button and "Slumdog Millionaire," though.

    And when I make that Top 10 list, I'll have to include "Repo! The Genetic Opera" on there. It was not without its faults (and some obvious ones, too, like its bad dubbing), but in sheer audacity and originality it must not go unrewarded. Who knew that the director of Saw II-IV would choose a bloody rock opera as his next project? Okay, the bloody part we all saw coming, but who saw a cast that would include Sarah Brightman, Alexa Vega, and Paris Hilton? That is audacity. Starting up a roadshow tour for it when Lionsgate dropped in on its head with no marketing took guts. And the movie was just plain fun. I will not say the music was amazing because there are other musicals that surpass it, but the lyrics were ingenious, and the songs definitely grow on you. Plus the premise was downright fascinating, and the story worked a whole lot better than I would have dream. All in all, a most spectacular experience, and if any of you are in driving distance, go see it! I took my two sisters on a 35-minute drive across town to catch it, and we were not disappointed! One of them is even talking about wanting to see it again.

  • Kate

    Props for putting The Fall on here. Became my favorite movie the minute the credits rolled in. I don't feel like enough people know about it, though. It's magnificent.

  • Risa

    Slumdog Millionaire
    The Reader
    The Wrestler
    Happy Go Lucky
    Waltz with Bashir
    In Bruges
    Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The Dark Knight

  • Sam

    I have no idea how Slum Dog Millionaire and Doubt are not in your top 10 much less you're honorable mention list. You do realize that Slum Dog Millionaire took 4 awards at the Golden Globes(including best picture) and 5 awards at the Critics' Choice right? Did you even bother to see Meryl Streep in Doubt? Sorry for the bashing, but check out the small budget non Hollywood films man!

    FROM BRAD: You mean films such as The Class and I've Loved You So Long? Or maybe Ballast, The Edge of Heaven and The Fall? I just want to check, sorry for the confusion.

  • Mikw Schmid

    1. Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    2. Synecdoche, New York
    3. Rachel Getting Married
    4. The Visitor
    5. Happy Go Lucky
    6. Wall-E
    7. Slumdog Millionaire
    8. Doubt
    9. Frost/Nixon
    10. The Reader

  • Alex

    Get a brain.
    The list has many small movies.
    Maybe he just didnt like Slumdog Millionaire or Doubt.
    I didnt like Slumdog, and a lot of people don't.
    Doubt was good, but other than the performances it wasn't AMAZING.
    Golden Globes mean nothing.
    Slumdog has gotten many more impressive awards than Golden Globes.
    Like the guild awards of Baftas.

  • Risa

    1. Milk
    2. The Fall
    3. The Reader
    4. Synecdoche, New York
    5. In Bruges
    6. Wall.E
    7. Der Baader Meinhof Komplex
    8. Happy-Go-Lucky
    9. Waltz with Bashir

  • Risa

    I had to post a second list after watching Milk, The Fall, Synecdoche, New York and Der Baader Meinhof Komplex in the last few weeks.

    Among the oscar nominees, I'm still to watch Vicky Christina Barcelona which I honestly don't think will be able to penetrate the Top Ten.

  • Risa

    I've just finished watching Vicky Christina Barcelona. Does anyone else think that Rebecca Hall was snubbed at the Oscars?

    In my opinion, it should've been Winslet(Revolutionary Road), Kristin Scott Thomas and Rebecca Hall instead of Winslet(The Reader), Anne Hathaway and Jolie in those three spots.

  • Will

    Slumdog Millionaire???

  • Moneyhoney

    here are my top 10 of wHAT I SAW
    #10- The incredible Hulk- overall a well done movie
    #9- Body of lies- dicaprio wasn't his best and niether was crowe but im a scott brothers buff
    #8- Kung fu panda- angelina jolie's second best role of 2008 and it was just a funny, lovable movie
    #7-Tropic Thunder- Best comedy of the year no doubt downey was awesome in his "dude playing a dude disquiesed as another dude"
    #6- changling- Angelina's best role of the year great direction from eastwood
    #5- The curious case of ben button- Almost 3 hours long every minute worth it though
    #4- Iron man- gotta love downey and the superheroes
    #3- WALL-E- best animated romantic feature ever
    #2- the dark knight- like i said superheroes and ledger's best role ever(R.I.P)
    #1- slumdog millionaire- no words can describe it

  • Sebastian

    I still have to see movies like Revolutionary Road, Defiance and Gran Torino.
    I haven't/don't want to see movies like Milk, Frozen River.

    1. The Dark Knight.
    I'm really aware of all it's flaws and problems but still with that, we can forget the good performances, the incredible score, the great editing and superb screenplay. I loved this movie and it's one of my all-time favorite behind Moulin Rouge.

    2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
    This movie touch my heart in a way almost no-movie had make before. The story is literally about life. About the people thta we meet in life and how we change them or touched them in way or another. Great visual effects and really good performances, especially Tarajee P. Henson.

    3. In Bruges.
    Another incredible movie which being honest, I don't know if it have to be in 3er. or 2nd. place. There's not even ONE bad performances in this movie. Brendan does it incredible, Ralph Fiennes acts like I have never seen him before and Colin Farrel... what can I say of Colin Farrel? I would give him all the awards in the world for his amazing performances and a regretful hitman with a past tha overshadows him day by day. Hilarious dialogue and too many one-liners to say one in here.

    4. I've Loved You So Long.
    I rented this movie thinking that it would be one of those slow-kind of independent movie. But.. it wasn't it. It tells the story of a mysterious woman and every 10 to 15 minutes the movie reveals you a new shocking fact about his past life and why is this woman so depressive and stranged. This, with Colin Farrel, were the two biggest snubs of this year Academy Awards. Kristtin Scott Thomas does a Magnificent work as the main character of this incredible directed story.

    5. The Wrestler.
    I saw this movie the other with no wish to see it. Simply because for me Mickey Rourke was a beast and drug addict actor who get this one-chance in life. But once again... I was wrong. This man, believe or not, make tears fall from my eyes with his majestous performance as a wrestler in search for a REAL home. Great movie that gets into your heart and make you feel what Randy "The Ram" is feeling. Incredible job from the director, Darren Arafnosky(or something like that).

    6. Australia.
    Ok, let me explain Brad. I have realize that every good review that you see of Australia, the first thing you notices is that the author say "I'm a fan of Moulin Rouge" or "I loved Moulin Rouge!". You can check IMDB or Metacritic. So, I don't understand how you put that grade to this beautiful movie, being you a fan of Moulin Rouge (by the way, please one of this days when you're bored, make an official review of Moulin Rouge, with grade and everything:D) Personally, Moulin Rouge is my all-time favorite movie. Nicole Kidman does a great job and Hugh Jackman too. The editing is incredible and the cinematography is just unbelivable. The score is really good if you haven't notice. The few bad things are the CGI views and the begining of the movie (as also happen with Moulin Rouge).

    7. Synecdoche, New York.
    Another one that you hated... I'm a huge fan of Charlie Kauffman, and I loved his last movie, Eternal Sunshine. But this one, was simply crazy. But crazy in a good way. It had so much motifs like the burning houses and the huge warehouse. And this made my movie. It's so crazy that you loved. The comedic relief is really good and Hoffman does an excellent job. The ideas and dialogue are just unbelievable. Really loved this movie and it was one of the hardest movies to review of my life.

    8. Slumdog Millionaire.
    Personally, a totally overrated movie. Benjamin Button is one-hundred times better. Still with that, this isn't a bad movie at all. The performances are really good and the idea is really original. I loved the score and music. It's really a hymn to life and how people have to live it while others enjoy being rich and wasting money on things that are no that valuable.

    9. Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
    Huge Woody Allen fan. Ironically, last summer I bought all old films like Manhattan, Hannah and her Sisters, Annie Hall, and I see them all. I don't know how the Oscars didn't nominated it to Best Original Screenplay. Penelope Cruz does an excellent job as Maria Elena and Rebecca Hall acts incredible too. The music is really cool and the sotry itself is really interesting. Make me remember of favorite films like Before Sunset, Before Sunrise and Lost in Translation.

    10. Wall-e.
    Pixar has created a new generation of cartoon movies. And Wall-e is the best of it. Wall-e is a movie for the whole family and also is a movie that you even forget that you're seeing cartoons. The sound mixing is incredible as the idea. You really fall in love with Wall-e and feel his love for Eva. Incredible how this movie have get to where it is. Almost no dialogue, but with real feeling, the movie makes you feel real love.

    Honorable Mentions.

    Tropic Thunder.
    The Visitor.
    The Fall.
    Nothing but the Truth.

  • destiny

    nice list.. although i wonder why slumdog millionaire isn't part of the list... the story was original (definitely different from city of god), the musical score is just so moving and appropriate and the cast, esp the kids were very authentic, right on the dot (some (two of them i think) of them are real kids living in the slums right?).

    i have to agree, rebecca hall surprised me in VCB, i didn't know her before this... i'll be watching more of her movies..

  • Bustray

    Very nice list... although I think Milk was snubbed from the top 10. This would probably be mine:

    1. Milk
    2. The Wrestler
    3. The Class
    4. The Visitor
    5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    6. Man On Wire
    7. Revolutionary Road
    8. The Dark Knight
    9. In Bruges
    10. Role Models

    Honorable Mentions: Slumdog Millionaire; Doubt; Frost/Nixon; WALL-E; Iron Man; Waltz With Bashir

  • Thomas C. Polite

    I will never understand how one couldn't pick Slumdog Millionaire as their number 1 choice, nor will I ever understand how people who know anything about film don't think it deserved Best Picture. Truly the greatest film of 2010 and one that should go down as one of the best of all time.