Once again it's time for me to post my personal Top Ten Movies for the year! I saw a whopping 34 movies theatrically this year (not counting a small handful of second viewings). Despite that large number, there were still plenty of movies, especially in the case of limited release/indie films, that I didn't get to see. And since I can obviously only rank movies that I saw, I may admittedly be leaving some good stuff off the list.
Now then, since my opinion is so vitally important to you, let's get on with the list!
Top Ten Movies of 2008
Once again Pixar produced my favorite movie of the year (and by a long shot). This movie is very nearly perfect as far as I'm concerned, with endearing characters, and engaging and even moving story, and beautiful animation. A true work of art through and through.
2. Let The Right One In
I'd never have guessed a Swedish vampire movie would make my number two of the year, but when I saw this one at an area film festival this summer, I fell in love with it. A very dark and rather slow-paced story, but artfully and engagingly told.
3. Good Dick
Another little-heard-of movie I saw at the aforementioned film festival. A comedy with a rather dark and serious subject matter at its core. It's both funny and touching...and it has a title that makes you go...HUH?!
4. Iron Man
For my money, one of the best comic book movies to be made so far. Robert Downy Jr. simply was Iron Man, and he made the movie. I know there are complaints that it was a tad low on action, and that's probably true, but that didn't seem to affect my enjoyment.
5. Kung-Fu Panda
This movie surprised me! It's one of very few non-Pixar animated movies that I've thoroughly enjoyed in quite some time, but it was really good in its own wacky way. Funny and beautifully animated.
6. The Boy In Striped Pajamas
I'd never read or even heard of the book this was based on, so I can't compare it to that, but I really enjoyed this tale of a WWII concentration camp through the eyes of two young boys. A little jarring at first that both the Germans and the Jews have British accents...but you quickly forget it as you get involved in the story.
7. The Incredible Hulk
To think I almost didn't even bother to go see this one before I began to hear positive word of mouth, and here it is at number 7. I'm not a huge Hulk fan in general, but I found this to be a great adaption of the character. Sure, the Hulk looks a little obviously animated, but what can you expect?
8. The Dark Knight
As a Batman movie, I thought this was only so-so. But, as you could guess without even reading this, it's on the list because of the Joker. Possibly the best version of the Joker to date, not to mention one of the most fun (and creepy) movie villains to date.
9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Just a little bit on the slow side to be nearly three hours long, but all around an excellent film. Some of the most impressive visual effects I've seen so far, along with great performances and direction.
Between Disney's sorry track record in recent years and the apparent (and unfortunate) changes that were made to this film's original concept, I really didn't know what to expect. But it turned out to be rather enjoyable for what it was. Not really a classic, but it was fun.
A Few Random Honorable Mentions:
Hellboy 2 was just plain fun to watch. Whorton Hears a Who was yet another surprisingly enjoyable non-Pixar animated movie. Quantum of Solace failed to live up to its predecessor, but Daniel Craig is still an awesome Bond. Step Brothers was good for ridiculous, mindless laughs. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a silly-but-fun popcorn flick. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was a fine adaptation of the book, but it's one of my lesser favorites of the novels. The X-Files, while disappointing in many regards, had enough good points to satisfy a hardcore fan like me. Cloverfield, while featuring a thin plot and a lack of any likable characters, was a lot of fun for the same reason some people like roller coaster rides.
SO, what were YOUR favorites movies?