The Year in Movies 2008

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Movie ClapperboardAnother year, another compilation of the movies I saw over the past year and to crown one as the best film and worst film that I saw all year.

2008’s movies have taken me nearly into February to see the full lot. I didn’t quite get up to last year’s 58 but still managed to see 51.

For a complete list of my 2008 films please check out the Movie Review Compendium for 2008.

The year was a tough one. I’d have to call this a pretty mediocre year in movies. The highs weren’t quite as high as last year and there were a lot of lows.

The five best movies of the year for me included Changeling, Man on Wire, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Mamma Mia! and Married Life. Each of these films stands out in their own way. Changeling was haunting and really didn’t get the credit it fully deserves. Angelina Jolie was tremendous and several scenes are still etched into my mind. Man on Wire caught me completely by surprise. Who could have thought that a documentary about wire-walking could be so riveting and fresh from start to finish? Vicky Christina Barcelona is, in my view, one of Woody Allen‘s best efforts in many, many years. It’s fresh, funny, romantic and nearly flawless. Mamma Mia! was definitely the “feel good” movie of the year. The only way I can imagine not liking it is if you just can’t stand ABBA music. Lastly, Married Life was just spot-on. Great performances in a thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining story.

Mamma Mia! PosterPicking the best out of this lot is quite a task. For me though it would have to be Mamma Mia!. I can’t recall seeing a movie that so thoroughly entertained just about everyone who saw it. Old, young, men, women….. It didn’t matter. And anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to sing so what does it say about a movie that got me to go to the sing-along version to sing out loud, in public, especially when it appeared we were just about the only ones in the theater singing?

That brings me to the rotten side of the plate. I’ve seen a bucket full of entirely forgettable movies and even more that I wish I could forget. The worst five films of the year for me were Quantum of Solace, Rachel Getting Married, Mirrors, The X-Files: I Want to Believe and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

X:Files PosterHere we had a James Bond film that should have taken Daniel Craig‘s first effort to new heights and instead just tossed that momentum into the garbage. We got loveable Anne Hathaway trying to act her way out of a home movie. We got to see Kiefer Sutherland playing a security guard in such a bad movie that I think maybe he saw a bad investment with Bernie Madoff coming and decided to bank some easy cash and we also got Harrison Ford back in Indie’s clothing only to have Shia LaBeouf and a horrific script ruin the party.

But the worst movie of the year was an easy one to spot. It was clearly The X-Files: I Want to Believe. This is a vehicle that ran out of gas in the last season of the TV show and should have been left for dead then. There is nothing memorable about this other than the ludicrous character that Billy Connolly played (and I like both the TV show and Connolly). I already have trouble believing anything in 2009 can be this bad.

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