personal, idiosyncratic best movies of 2008 list

We could end up fitting one more movie in this year, but we probably won’t so Shaun and I did our annual sitting in a pub making our best-five-movies-of-the-year lists last weekend.

So again, the rules are these: the movie had to be seen, by me, in the theater during the calendar year in question to be considered. It looks like we did a pretty good job of seeing most of the 2007 movies in 2007, so unlike previous years we don’t have a ton of last year’s Oscar movies on this year’s list.

So here they are – links are to the Movie Review Query Engine.

No-brainer choices that would be on my list every time I made it:

There Will be Blood

Iron Man

My Blueberry Nights

The rest. These might change from day-to-day. There were a number of contenders – many of which ended up on Shaun’s list (ETA: Shaun’s list):

Man on Wire

Be Kind Rewind

The thing is this – this list is seriously idiosyncratic. The movies that make the list tend to be movies that stick with me. They may not be the movies I recommend most frequently to other people, they may not be the movies I can make the best arguments for why they are good or even exceptional. They may not even be the movies I feel the best about at the moment when I leave the theater. But when at the end of the year I have found myself revisiting a particular movie, performance or even movie moment more than once – that is the kind of film that tends to make this list.

This year, the movie that was probably most affected by this quirk was Rachel Getting Married. I really liked that movie, but we just saw it a couple of days ago. My brain wasn’t able to put it on the list that soon because I can’t separate out if it is near the top because it is the most recent good movie I have seen or because it will still be in that number six months from now.

The full list – WAY down from last year. This is mostly because puppy-having and movie-going do not mix well.

Charlie Wilson’s War


The Savages

There Will be Blood

Definitely, Maybe

Be Kind Rewind

The Bank Job

Girls Rock!

The Tracey Fragments

Iron Man



Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Incredible Hulk

My Blueberry Nights


Hellboy II: The Golden Army

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

The Dark Knight


American Teen

Burn After Reading

Man on Wire

In Search of a Midnight Kiss

Bottle Shock

Synecdoche, New York

Rachel Getting Married

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