Note: this was originally posted on the Mission District site but I thought I would post it here as well for anyone who missed out.
Since the new year is upon us, this means there has been the inevitable storm of year end lists from all the usual suspects. Time. Pitchfork. Spin. Rolling Stone. I am in no way qualified to write a year end list, as I haven't even come close to seeing every good film that's been released, nor have I heard every good album. But you know what, you're the one reading this so you're going to have to read my uninformed opinions and that's just the end of it. So here's my top ten films and top ten albums of 2008, in no particular order:
TOP 10 films
That damn robot almost made me cry several times. Almost.
THE DARK KNIGHT
The best comic book movie ever made. Unbelievable performances from all the actors, particularly Aaron Eckhart and of course, Heath Ledger who will probably win the best supporting actor Oscar for his unforgettable turn as the Joker.
Perfectly cast and expertly directed by Jon Favreau. Plus RDJ is entertaining no matter what he does so this was just a super fun ride. Can't wait to see how this universe continues to expand in sequels and the eventual Avengers movie.
BURN AFTER READING
I wasn't sure how the Coens were going to follow up No Country For Old Men, but they managed to knock this out of the park. A screwball CIA suspense thriller comedy about a bunch of pathetic losers that ends up going to some surprisingly dark places.
A genius concept executed to near perfection by director and star Ben Stiller. Far superior to most of his other bland, dumb leading man romantic comedies. A performance of a lifetime from RDJ (who I clearly have a massive man-crush on,) and Tom Cruise also gets some of the biggest laughs of the movie so clearly I love this.
A heartbreaking look at a broken down man trying to return to his glory days which have long since passed. I have great respect for professional wrestlers and the personal hell they put themselves through in order to entertain people and Darren Aronofsky and Mickey Rourke clearly share that respect. This has been a fantastic year for acting performaces and Rourke's work here is right up there amongst the very best.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
An amazingly creepy Swedish vampire film, rent this before they inevitably screw up the American remake.
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
Guillermo Del Toro is a living God and Ron Perlman actually is Hellboy. I hope we get a Hellboy III after Guillermo is finished with those two upcoming Hobbit movies.
David Gordon Green's other movie that came out in 2008, Pineapple Express, was great but this was better (I know, I know, it premiered at Sundance in 2007, but it made its limited theatrical run in 2008 so fuck off I'm including it.) Absolutely devastating story featuring captivating performances from everyone involved, especially Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale.
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
It's really cool to see Seth Rogen, James Franco and now Jason Segel (Freaks and Geeks) becoming big movie stars. Segel did a great job writing and starring in this and goes to some amazing lengths to get some of the biggest laughs of the movie (he shows his penis.) Russell Brand is also really funny in this. I am always pleasantly surprised when romantic comedies are actually comedic and not retarded.
Top 10 albums
M83 - SATURDAYS = YOUTH
I think to make this album, this French band actually travelled back in time to the 1980's, lived there for several months hanging out with the Thompson Twins and making this music and then travelled back to the exact point they left so no one noticed they were gone. And thank God they did because this record is incredible.
BRITNEY SPEARS - CIRCUS
The comeback is complete. Circus is fantastic and I am amazed at the positive turn Britney's public image has made in the last few months. I am certain she is still completely insane though.
ROBYN - S/T
This came out in Europe in 2005 but was finally released in North America in 2008, yet for some reason no one really bought it. This is not cool, because this is actually one of the best pop records ever.
GUNS N' ROSES - CHINESE DEMOCRACY
It gets included here just for not being a complete disaster as many were expecting (myself included.) The fact that this is even out still blows my mind. There are a few great songs, but it is mostly just fascinating trying to wrap your mind around the amount of time and money that was spent on this album.
COLDPLAY - VIVA LA VIDA
A genius marketing move, the epic Brian Eno reinvention album that is really not that much of a reinvention at all. Fortunately that doesn't stop Viva La Vida from being really, really good.
KATY PERRY - ONE OF THE BOYS
A really expertly produced, well written pop album. Katy Perry has a great voice and doesn't irritate me like some other similar artists (Avril Lavigne.)
GIRL TALK - FEED THE ANIMALS
Maybe the best party record of all time.
FUCKED UP - THE CHEMISTRY OF MODERN LIFE
It's really interesting to hear these guys take punk and hardcore into strange new directions. This record is great but there is a good chance I am including it in this list just for indie cred.
ALPHABEAT - THIS IS ALPHABEAT
If there is any justice in the universe, this Danish 6-piece will soon be everywhere. They deserve it, this record is a modern pop masterpiece.
THE KILLERS - DAY AND AGE
More immediately accessible than Sam's Town with some filler but still really great overall. There is some interesting sonic experimentation but it feels much more natural and organic this time around. Brandon Flowers finally sounds like Brandon Flowers and not Springsteen or Morrisey.