Film Intuition's Year in Review: The 2008 Film & TV Highlights

2008 has been a challenging year for mainstream cinema with most of my favorite movies flying just below the radar from independent filmmakers.

In fact, for most of the year, my favorite film has been the incredibly underrated and criminally overlooked In Bruges which was recently shoved to second place after seeing the incredible, unspeakably brilliant epic Slumdog Millionaire.

Yet, instead of dishing up a ranked Best Films of the Year List that's bound to get lost in the shuffle of too many similar Top 10 Lists, I wanted to give you something different as a critic who really tries to seek out movies that often manage to elude the multiplex by giving you an insider's view of the films that had me talking and writing nonstop.

Note: It can be argued that some of these films are decidedly 2007 entries but I'm judging based on when they were released here in AZ and/or when I was lucky enough to see them because good film is too important to be neglected.

Additionally, this list will no doubt be edited and added to when I get the chance to catch the titles I'd missed during the year.


Best Film of the Year:
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle)

Highly Recommended Must-Sees
(In Alphabetical Order):
Appaloosa (Ed Harris); Cassandra's Dream (Woody Allen); The Duchess (Saul Dibb); Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard); Frozen River (Courtney Hunt); In Bruges (Martin McDonagh); Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (Patricia Rozema); Married Life (Ira Sachs); Son of Rambow (Garth Jennings); Stop-Loss (Kimberly Peirce); Then She Found Me (Helen Hunt); Transsiberian (Brad Anderson); Turn the River (Chris Eigeman); Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen); The Visitor (Tom McCarthy); The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)

Best Animated Films of the Year:
Dr. Suess' Horton Hears a Who! (Jimmy Hayward & Steve Martino); Kung Fu Panda (Mark Osborne & John Stevenson); Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath); Tinker Bell (Bradley Raymond); WALL-E (Andrew Stanton)

Best Documentary of the Year:
Man on Wire
(James Marsh)


American Teen (Nanette Burstein);
(Larry Charles)

Best Foreign Film of the Year:
Mongol (Sergei Bodrov)


The Band's Visit (Eran Kolirin); The Grocer's Son (Eric Guirado); Priceless (Pierre Salvadori); Tell No One (Guillaume Canet); The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (Cao Hamburger)

Least Favorite Films of the Year:
Blindness (Fernando Meirelles); Fly Me to the Moon (Ben Stassen); Fool's Gold (Andy Tennant); Hell Ride (Larry Bishop); Henry Poole is Here (Mark Pellington); The House Bunny (Fred Wolf); How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer (Georgina Riedel); Jumper (Doug Liman); The Life Before Her Eyes (Vadim Perelman); Mamma Mia! (Phyllida Lloyd); Nights in Rodanthe (George C. Wolfe); The Promotion (Steve Conrad); Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster); Righteous Kill (Jon Avnet); Sex and the City: The Movie (Michael Patrick King); Sleepwalking (Bill Maher); Snow Angels (David Gordon Green); The Tracey Fragments (Bruce McDonald); Twilight (Catherine Hardwicke); Wanted (Timur Bekmambetov); The Wedding Weekend (Bruce Leddy); What Happens in Vegas (Tom Vaughan); Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Kevin Smith)

Performances Not to Be Missed:
Amy Adams (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day); Summer Bashil (Towelhead); Annette Bening (The Women); Josh Brolin (W.); Pierce Brosnan (Married Life); Madeline Carroll (Swing Vote); Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder); Robert De Niro (What Just Happened); Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder); Dakota Fanning (The Secret Life of Bees); Anna Faris (The House Bunny); Colin Farrell (Cassandra's Dream; In Bruges; Pride and Glory); James Franco (Pineapple Express); Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town); Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges); Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona); Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky); Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace); Famke Janssen (Turn the River); Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Step Brothers, Burn After Reading); Keira Knightley (The Duchess); Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon); Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight); Melissa Leo (Frozen River); Danny McBride (The Foot Fist Way); Demi Moore (Flawless); Viggo Mortensen (Appaloosa); Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading); Natalie Portman (The Other Boleyn Girl); Sam Rockwell (Choke); Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler); Mary Steenburgen (Step Brothers); Jason Sudeikis (The Rocker); Misty Upham (Frozen River); Shane West (What We Do is Secret)

The Most Underrated Films of the Year:
Ballet Shoes (Sandra Goldbacher); The Bank Job (Roger Donaldson); The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Andrew Adamson); City of Ember (Gil Kenan); The Dukes (Robert Davi); The Fall (Tarsem Singh); Ghost Town (David Koepp); The Go-Getter (Martin Hynes); Hancock (Peter Berg); The Incredible Hulk (Louis Leterrier); Miracle at St. Anna (Spike Lee); Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Bhahart Nalluri); Pride and Glory (Gavin O'Connor); RocknRolla (Guy Ritchie); Stuck (Stuart Gordon); Towelhead (Alan Ball); Under the Same Moon (Patricia Riggen); What Just Happened (Barry Levinson)

Best Scores, Soundtracks, & Songs:
Bottle Rocket: The Short Film; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Death Defying Acts; The Incredible Hulk; "The Little Things" by Danny Elfman (Wanted); Married Life; "The Name of the Game" Remix by The Chemical Brothers (Tropic Thunder); Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist; "Paper Planes" by M.I.A. (featured in Pineapple Express & Slumdog Millionaire ); Soul Men; Wanted; "The Wrestler" by Bruce Springsteen

Best Made for TV Movie:
Recount (Jay Roach; HBO)

Top 10 TV Shows:

1) Mad Men (AMC)

2) Gossip Girl (CW)

3) 30 Rock (NBC)

4) Chuck (NBC)

5) Dirty Sexy Money (ABC)

6) Swingtown (CBS)

7) Psych (USA)

8) In Plain Sight (USA)

9) Samantha Who? (ABC)

10) Cable's Interview Programs:
Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence
(TCM); Sundance Channel's Iconoclasts; Sundance Channel's Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...

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