Much like senior editor Liz Rafferty said in her review of the top 10 music hits of 2008, it was hard to pick out a top 10 best movies of the year. Consider it a top 6, with those being the ones that were absolutely phenomenal and final four being decent runner ups. However, 2009 looks like it could be a much better year for movies after the remaining issues caused by the 2008 writer’s strike have faded away. And for anyone who criticizes the fact that “The Dark Knight” is number four instead of number one, go see the top three movies and you will understand.
In a year of few standout films, “Milk” was by far the best. Gus Van Sant directs a masterpiece about one of the greatest men and greatest accomplishments in the gay rights movement that, had it been released a month earlier, could potentially have stopped one of the biggest setbacks in the movement’s history – the passing of Proposition 8 in California – from occurring. With standout performances from James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin and – above all – Sean Penn, this was the movie to see.
This little film almost slipped completely under the radar. Based on the novel “Q&A,” this film is about Jamal Malik and how he went from being a “slumdog” to winning 20 million rupees on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” – all for the sake of his lost love. A truly moving story that mixes elements of “City of God” with the classic “Cinderella” tale, “Slumdog Millionaire” made everyone want to get up out of their seats and dance at the end.
“Wall*E” was Pixar’s last hurrah before being taken over by Disney, and they really stepped out on the line to make their best animated film to date. In a movie that is both touching and chilling, hopeful and catastrophic, Pixar made a film about a little robot with a heart that could end up being the first CGI-animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award.
Who’s to say what “The Dark Knight” would have been if Heath Ledger hadn’t died, but this film catapulted through the box office to be the biggest hit of the year, and the second largest grossing movie of all time (behind “Titanic”). Ledger’s performance was by far the best element of the film, but in the summer of superhero movies, “The Dark Knight” showed that a comic book movie can be more than just fluff, but a serious movie with an important message.
5. In Bruges
Colin Farrell sure as hell can play an Irish man. Nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for his work in “In Bruges,” Farrell gives his career’s best performance as a hit man who screwed up and is stuck with his partner (played by Brendan Gleeson) in Bruges, Belgium until their mob boss (Ralph Fiennes) deems that it’s safe for them to come home. Though not widely known, “In Bruges” is definitely a film to see and by far one of the best films to be released in 2008.