The Best Films of 2008

To qualify these have to be released theatrically this year or on DVD for smaller market films. It’s not right to put up a film like Waltz for Bashir when hardly anyone had a chance to see it. I’ll list Martyrs and Ex-Drummer when their time comes and people have had a chance  to see them.  (And yes, the first half of Wall-e was my favorite animated film of the year.)

The Rape of EuropaThe Power of SongMy WinnipegHeavy Metal in BaghdadBigger, Stronger, Faster

Documentaries

1. The Rape of Europa

The relationship of art and war just about blew me away. The ultimate battle.

2. Pete Seeger – The Power of Song

Yeah, this sounded as boring to me as it does to you. Turns out Seeger’s life is a phenomenal American story.

3. My Winnipeg

This is a documentary! Dramatized in Guy Maddin’s surreal style, but it’s still a doc. And bloody brilliant at that.

4. Heavy Metal in Baghdad

Playing Metallica in the pit of hell in the face of certain death. That’s raw.

5. Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Steroids are safer than cigarettes?

[Honorable mentions: Man on Wire, Gonzo: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson, and Young @ Heart]

The Baby's Room / To LetNightmare DetectiveThe Last WinterRogueFrontiers

Horror

1. A Xmas Tale / The Baby’s Room

From the 6 Films to Keep You Awake series, these were also the most surprising. Keep an eye out for Spain! 

2. Nightmare Detective

J-horror gets a breath of fresh air.

3. The Last Winter

An ode to The Shining that accomplishes what The Happening set out to do.

4. Rogue

Tasty human.

5. Frontier(s)

Tasty human.

And now…

The LostFunny GamesLet the Right One InPineapple ExpressThe FallTimecrimes

1. The Lost

The one Jack Ketchum movie you don’t want to miss. Well, unless you have a weak stomach.

2. Funny Games

Yeah, you can hate me now. And no, it’s not because Naomi Watts is in her knickers most of the movie. Masterful.

3. Let the Right One In

Go ahead. Sink your fangs deep into my arteries. I succumb.

4. Pineapple Express

Perhaps the only film here I teared up at.

5. The Fall

Wait, I think one tear dropped at the end of this. In slow motion. A carnival of red-faced clowns gasp…

6. Timecrimes

Time-travel hasn’t been this fun since Michael J. Fox.

RepriseIn BrugesThe Band's VisitShotgun Stories

7. Reprise

Norway! You’re on the film map! I look forward to more.

8. In Bruges

Great acting, script, and… city. More pulp!

9. The Band’s Visit

Sweet and romantic in the middle of nowhere.

10. Shotgun Stories

White on white crime in the middle of nowhere.

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10 Responses to “The Best Films of 2008”

  1. Alex Barkett Says:

    Yeah, I think we’d have a lot in common had I seen more of these. I thought In Bruges was really great, such a surprise. I really want to see Let the Right One In. I differ a bit on Funny Games but that may mostly be due to my allegiance to the original. I had no desire to see a shot for shot remake, Naomi Watts or not. I’ll definitely try to check many of these out. Next year I plan to watch many more new releases. Should be fun.

  2. Adam Sweeney Says:

    I love that you didn’t take the easy route with films like The Dark Knight, choosing instead to focus on smaller market flicks. In Bruges, The Fall and Let the Right One In all would make my top 20. Superb films all around. I have to admit I haven’t seen some of the ones you mentioned, but I will check them out now that they’re getting such high praise.

    And Martyrs is the epitome of the phrase “fucked up.” You know this.

  3. jeredunn Says:

    Thanx. Can’t blame anyone for not liking Funny Games. Now if you don’t like The Dark Knight, I wouldn’t tell anybody. It’s safer that way…

  4. jeredunn Says:

    And I forgot about Mongol!!!! Oh, well…

  5. limehousechappy Says:

    Excellent selections. You left out “You don’t Mess With the Zohan!”

  6. jeredunn Says:

    Zohan!!! Now I have to redo the whole lot..thx chappy…

  7. Anonymous Says:

    How can Wall-E and Dark Night not be in your top 10 of 2008…shame on you

  8. jeredunn Says:

    What is Wall-e and Dark Night? Where can I find those? 🙂
    Oh, the fact Haneke had the audacity to make a shot-for-shot remake, and that every shot seemed better than the German version, made me like Funny Games even more.

  9. Alex Barkett Says:

    Hmmm…better you say? Alright I’ll check it out. Give me 8 months. Time of the Wolf is my favorite Haneke. Set it after the apocalypse and I’m sold.

  10. jeredunn Says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Cache, but I need to make sure Wolf is in my queue.

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