I did the Top 10 a bit different this year and went ahead and ranked them in order from 10 to 1. Since I have written about most of these in more detail over the last year, I’m just going to say a few words about why the film made the list. I’d love to hear why anyone agrees or disagrees with the choices.
10. Milk – Truly stellar performances by Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Emile Hirsch set this film as one of Gus Van Sant’s very best. The pacing was great and production design made the film a joy to watch.
9. The Bank Job – I loved the classic style of filmmaking on display from director Roger Donaldson. The story was intense and the resolution really worked for me.
8. The Fall – Tarsem’s imagery is just incredible and the story is odd but fun. I wanted to spend a week immersed in the fantasy world he created.
7. Frost/Nixon – Peter Morgan’s script is certainly one of the best of the year and an all around great cast lead by Sheen and Langella make this a definite top film.
6. Sugar – Hopefully this fantastic story of a Dominican baseball player’s immigrant struggle will get a theatrical release sometime soon. It is a very worthy follow-up to Half Nelson from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, one of the best filmmaking teams working today.
5. The Wrestler – Mickey Rourke’s stellar performance and brilliant filmmaking by Darren Aronofsky should allow this film to find a place in just about everyone’s top 10.
4. Reprise – Joachim Trier’s touching Norwegian film about two friends has the perfect mixture of comedy and drama and above all else, narrative innovation.
3. Rachel Getting Married – Anne Hathaway’s performance is definitely her best and probably the year’s best. Jenny Lumet’s script is also great. But what really impressed me above all else was the flawless direction by Jonathan Demme.
2. The Wackness – Yes it is aimed squarely at me with its 90s coming-of-age theme and amazing hip hop soundtrack, but it works better than I ever would have thought a film like this could work. Jonathan Levine has set the personal story bar for our generation of filmmakers and Olivia Thirlby will forever be the girl that got away. It is a true shame that more people didn’t see this film in the theaters – but as a consolation prize, it has been near the top of the pirated movie charts for months.
1. Let The Right One In – Very rarely does a film come along that crosses genre lines so well – horror, drama, emotional angst, love. Give it to Swedish director Tomas Alfredson and writer John Ajvide Lindqvist for leaving us all stunned.
There you have it. There are some notable films that didn’t make my list. Flicks that didn’t quite make the cut: Slumdog Millionaire, The Dark Knight, The Visitor, Man On Wire, Benjamin Button, In Brouges, Iron Man, American Teen. I have yet to see Waltz With Bashir or The Reader. But all in all, with a bit of Scandinavian help, I feel like it was a rather solid year. More solid than last year? Here my 2007 Top 10. What do you think? 2007 or 2008?