Every once in a while, a year comes along that contains an exceptionally immense amount of quality filmmaking. This is when a “Top 10” list becomes especially difficult. Because I’m making this list long after the fact, I’ve come to realize that 2008 was such a year. I’m not sure if the long wait was helpful, but it has given me a greater opportunity. Not only have I been able to catch up on films that I missed, but I have also had time to give certain films a second look.
Aside from selecting ten films from an entire year, the difficult task of composing a “Top 10” list is deciding its order. Many of the films on this list are so diverse and cannot be compared by simple means of numeric labeling. Perhaps I shouldn’t even use numbers, but I’ll keep with tradition.
These lists are completely for my own enjoyment. Yet, I hope they may act as a gateway for others to see some overlooked films.
Notable Mentions: Milk, Burn After Reading, and Let the Right One In.
10. Wall-E: This is Pixar at its best. I’m glad they didn’t milk it with any sequels… yet.
9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall: I boast that this is the best comedy of the last decade. Whether that is true or not, it is full of laughs generated by a solid screenplay and executed by an exciting cast.
8. The Fall: Screened in 2006, The Fall didn’t find a theatrical release until 2008. It’s one of the greatest fantasy movies of recent years with great storytelling and lovely visuals. Beware; this one may come with tears.
7. Rachel Getting Married: Anne Hathaway breaks away from her Princess Diaries stardom in this painful drama.
6. Vicky Cristina Barcelona: One of Woody Allen’s best achievements in recent years. As a film centered on human relationships and then some, it’s both the cast and Allen’s writing that fuels this film.
5. Man on Wire: A fascinating documentary about Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers.
4. Revolutionary Road: Like Rachel Getting Married and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Revolutionary Road dives into the pain that links certain people. In addition to great performances by its two leads (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet), Michael Shannon’s supporting role is one not to miss.
3. The Wrestler: I’m new to the professional wrestling world after my cousins introduced it to me during the summer of 2012. With that said, Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler is one of the truest movies of the year. While the story is fictional, the energy and reality is spot on in this sports drama.
2. Slumdog Millionaire: As the “Best Picture of 2008”, Slumdog Millionaire is a great ride. Full of drama, wit, and action, this film delivers on all levels.
1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Once you accept this film’s concept, it can become a very moving film. Noted for its similarities to Forrest Gump (also written by Eric Roth), Benjamin Button is an epic tale that is beautifully conducted in every way.