My Top 5 Movies of 2008

OK, so I thought about writing a Top 5 Movies of 2008, but after thinking about it, I decided it was hypocritical for me to do so. You see, in looking at most movies released in 2008, I guess I've only seen 20 of them to date. Considering IMDB has over 18,000 titles listed for 2008, I feel my Top 5 would be a bit limited.

However, I decided I still wanted to talk about my favorites of 2008. Yeah, it's about a quarter of the movies I saw this year, but I thought these were notable and that probably not everyone had seen them. So, without further ado, I give you some of my favorite films I saw in 2008. If you missed them, I'd recommend checking them out.

  • WALL-E: I expect a PIXAR film to be the best film of the year every year, and this one definitely did not disappoint. At first, I wasn't sure about the whole bleak future of humanity, but after a while I realized that it wasn't the point. The point is the passion, love and kindness of both the humans and the two main characters, which are robots. And, like every Pixar movie, they take computer animation to a whole new level.
  • Speed Racer: Larry and Andy Wachowski sure set the expectations of their fans high by making what became a huge hit, The Matrix. While most moviegoers will not see this as a groundbreaking film, Speed Racer is as groundbreaking as The Matrix in terms of special effects. Every moment of the film is a rainbow of the most vibrant colors and even the slowest parts of the film are cut together in really fast sequences. The Wachowski's definitely took anime into the live-action world with this one. Plus, the story is clean enough for most kids and will keep the adults entertained for the entire show as well - just don't expect a really deep philosophical metaphor or something. (Update: After another screening, it's not as clean as I thought and pushes the PG rating to new levels with language and some sexual innuendo, so parents may want to check if it is appropriate for their family.)
  • Iron Man: Before this film came out, I'd never really heard much about the Iron Man comic book character and wasn't expecting much. When I saw it, though, I was totally blown away. Robert Downey Jr. plays the smart and geeky Tony Stark, and after a traumatic experience, he decides to build a superweapon - an armored suit that he can wear. The technology displayed throughout the film is futuristic but in a fairly intelligent way, and Stark does a great job kickin' butt in that suit. Director Jon Favreau does an amazing job with this action film, and stick around for a hint of things to come from Marvel Studios in the next couple years.
  • The Fall: This film is just one wild ride. At first, it looks a bit droll as it follows a 10-year-old Indian girl through a 1920's hospital after she broke her arm. Soon, she meets a young stuntman for motion pictures who had also fallen, and this is where the real story begins. The stuntman begins to tell a fantastical story, which then becomes even bigger through the girl's overactive imagination. As the story progresses, both parties make stuff up as they go and insert themselves into the story. The film is rather violent and sometimes disturbing, but a great sight to behold, as most of the frames could be displayed in an art gallery.
  • The Visitor: A couple weeks ago, we were watching The Incredibles and a man from my parent's generation gave us a hard time about liking the movie so much. While I still consider The Incredibles one of my favorite films, he did have a point when he said, "Go watch To Kill a Mockingbird instead." He's right, they just don't make movies like they used to. When I left the theater after viewing The Visitor, one fellow moviegoer said, "It's kinda like the movies they used to make." Richard Jenkins does a great job as a boring, old professor until he finds a couple immigrants living in his New York apartment and he decides to let them stay until they could find a home. Jenkin's character, Walter, finds some new passions in life through music and new friends. Some may be put off by a somewhat heavy-handed social agenda, and although I think it's something important to think about, the main draw of the film is getting to know these vibrant characters.

What do you think? Have you seen these? Do you like them? Feel free to leave a comment and tell me and my readers what you think.




I just saw Iron Man 1-and-a-half-times, two nights in a row and loved it, too. One major regret is that my skepticism about yet another Hollywood A-List actor (Downey, Jr.) taking on a comic-based superhero action flick dissuaded me from seeing Iron Man when it was out in the theaters. Having seen it in its entirety, letterboxed on a old-school 27-inch TV and then seeing the second half the next night on a 32-inch LCD flat screen, I could tell how much of its impact I was missing.

The best I can hope for is another viewing in Blu-Ray format on a flat screen at least in the 40-inch range with surround sound and no inhibitions on volume level!

P.S. to Iron Man comment

The Special Features on the DVD I had (from Netflix) provide one of the rare instances I've seen with worthwhile deleted scenes. They show how the relationship between Stark and "Rhodey" (Terrence Howard) cold have been more fully fleshed-out and significant as a subplot.

Plus, the filming/editing info included as headers and footers in the extended version of the rooftop fight scene give a fascinating look at how a seemingly seamless scene can actually be a compilation of live-action scenes and special-effects work that the production crew and other companies involved in the production filmed and created over a period of many months.

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