Spaulding's Top Ten Films of 2008

2008 really didn’t thrill me in many ways and I mean that in the medium of film. There weren’t many stand-out films or even that many that you hear so much about, but never get to see it until it comes to DVD. Sure there was a fair share of those that I’d watch repeatedly, but I found it extremely hard to come up with even ten that belong at the top of my list. Still, by thinking long and hard about it all, my list has been put together and you may agree or disagree…but this is my list.

10.) Wall*E

While it didn’t thrill me as much as other Pixar films have in the past; that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Wall*E is one hell of a cute robot and sure as hell know how to clean up his area and keep it that way. That part of the film truly appealed to the OCD side of me. Wall*E is very adorable and tells a very good story of finding your true love and doing whatever it takes to be with them. No matter if you’re surrounded by garbage or hitching a ride on an intergalactic spaceship to be at their side; you’d better just get there. I just couldn’t put it higher because even though I can’t truly explain it yet, something was missing from it.

9.) Saw V

Shocked I put this one so far down the list? Yeah, I was at first too but then realized that it wasn’t one of the better films in the franchise. Saw V saw (heh) what is possibly the only path to the finale of this franchise coming out next year. Supposedly the franchise will end with the sixth film being released in October 2009, but you never know now do you? And that is why we saw such a different approach with this film as opposed to the first four. Yeah the traps and all were there but not nearly in the abundance that they were in the last few years. They didn’t control the overall plot allowed the story to play out more and lead us in a direction that gave fans a touch of blood and a touch of development

8.) Appaloosa

Ok, so I’m not really a big western kind of guy but one comes along every now and then that kinda makes me dust off my boots. If I had boots that is. You’ll see me watching Tombstone and Unforgiven every once in a while and I absolutely loved the Deadwood television series. So when I had heard that Ed Harris would be in a western then it was a given it had had to be seen. And while I don’t put it ahead of Tombstone. or anything; it has worked its way into my short list of westerns to watch every once and again.

7.) Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I’m not really sure what to think about this film as it was a little boring at times and then made me laugh my ass off at others while some moments really touched me and made me sad or happy. Call it a roller coaster of emotions or whatever, but it still ended up being a decent film that put everyone’s comedic attributes to good use without overworking them and shoving them down our throats. Jonah Hill is used sparingly and Mila Kunis is frickin hot. Oh and this may be the first time ever that dudity (male nudity) didn’t offend me but made me laugh.

6.) The Strangers

There are not many films that scare me anymore, but this one kind of got under my skin and in a good way. The scares weren’t made cheap by just throwing out a bunch of jump moments or something grotesque but did it psychologically and got into your head. You are made to believe that this can really happen, and has. You’d hate to sit back and watch it by yourself when home alone because you’ll check every room before you go to sleep. And one thing that it did beautifully is make you give a damn about the characters and what happens to them. That makes a good horror flick.

5.) Burn After Reading

The Coen Brothers have done a masterful job of confusing the hell out of me for years, but I would expect nothing less from them. It amazes me how they can jump from such a serious and heart-stopping film like No Country For Old Men and then deliver the hilarity that had me in stitches. Maybe the thing that made me like this film more then anything was the performance of Brad Pitt. I’ve seen him in serious roles and romantic roles and action roles…but seeing him act incredibly retarded is right up his alley.

4.) Tropic Thunder

At first Tropic Thunder didn’t appear to be something I was going to enjoy or really give a care about, but then I watched it and quickly changed my mind. It has now become a film I drop quotes from on a daily basis. Robert Downey Jr. as a black guy is perhaps one of the greatest things to happen in any type of film in a very long time. It’s almost as if it was a role written just for him and he’s the best fake skin-color changed guy to come along since Eddie Murphy played a white guy in skit on Saturday Night Live so long ago. Tropic Thunder delivers the action and comedy without missing a beat. “Cover me ya limp-dick f*ckas!”

3.) Iron Man

Iron Man is just a brilliant film with a lead role of Tony Stark played by Robert Downey Jr. better then anyone in the world could have ever played him. He’s a millionaire, playboy, jet-setter, visionary, and superhero that is cocky, arrogant, lonely, and sincere. Now how the hell can anyone pull off something like that? Easy, watch Iron Man and see that Downey Jr. did it without breaking a sweat. Not to mention that the visuals and special effects made someone dork out like me and appreciate just how much attention to detail was given to the character of Iron Man himself.

2.) Cloverfield

You may have forgotten about this one coming out in 2008, but its original title was actually 01-18-08. Many didn’t like this at all, but I found it to be phenomenal because it is much more then just some monster movie. Not only was it done in a unique way with the handheld camera, which really wasn’t that bad, but it also had a deeper story then just to “survive.” Brothers are separated, families and friends lose track of one another, and a guy will do whatever it takes to save the life of the woman he loves. Meanwhile a giant hideous beast is destroying New York City and threatening to take over much more. But until you actually watch and listen to the DVD commentary, then you won’t have the appreciation for the monster like you should…no-one realizes that the monster is actually just a baby and scared without his mother.

That sh!t ripped at my heart I must tell ya!

1.) The Dark Knight

Really, was there any other choice? You’ve got to truly put everything aside that maybe you’ve felt about comic book films before and simply enjoy this. It is the film of the year no matter what category you look at because it delivers in every single aspect of it. People complained about Christian Bale’s voice being too scratchy or funny sounding…he’s supposed to sound different so no-one can figure out that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Many wondered if Heath Ledger could play the Joker and pull it off…the guy delivered one of the most masterful performances of the last twenty or more years.

I hope that Ledger wins an Oscar for “Best Actor” for his role as the Joker and that it happens without an asterisk. I don’t want it to be given to him because he lost his life or because it was “one last amazing acting job.” I want him to get it because of the job he did in the role and because it was flawless. I want them to give it to him because he deserves it and as if he was still walking on the face of this Earth. I want them to give it to him because he helped make this the best damn film of 2008.

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