The 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2008 - More Films to Watch

December 29, 2008

The 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2008

In less than 3 days it'll be 2009 -- but wait, there's at least 19 great movies from this year that you haven't seen yet! Back by popular demand, it's our second annual list of the 19 best movies that you didn't see in 2008 (see last year's list). Featured below is a hand-picked selection of the best independent and mainstream feature films that were either quietly dumped by studios, ignored by audiences, or just not marketed well enough. So to give these films some extra time in the spotlight, and to support some of the best filmmakers out there, we've put together this year end wrap-up for you. I want to encourage everyone to consider watching just one of these that they haven't heard of (or didn't want to see) beforehand.

If you spent the two hours or so that it would take to watch even one of these movies mentioned below, it would mean that much more to the filmmaker. This isn't about getting kudos for mentioning certain films, this is about pointing out movies that don't deserve to be forgotten and are begging to be watched.

American TeenAmerican Teen
Opened on July 25, 2008
Directed by Nanette Burstein
A documentary on seniors at a high school in a small Indiana town and their various cliques.
Why it's on here: At Sundance this year, American Teen became the festival's sleeper hit, fueled by immensely positive buzz coming from everyone who saw it. Despite what you may have heard, it's nothing like "The Hills" and is a fantastic inside look at the life of four American high school teens. If only just to see it once, American Teen is worth your time and money, as Nanette Burstein takes dry documentary storytelling and turns it into something exciting and entertaining.

Opened on November 26, 2008
Directed by Baz Luhrmann

Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.
Why it's on here: Despite all the talk about how it's not a movie that audiences want to see anymore, it's actually a wonderfully thrilling epic that only the likes of Baz Luhrmann could bring us. Yes, it's really two movies and that's initially hard to get past, but once you do, you'll find yourself being sucked into a sprawling Australian fairy tale lead by a handful of great actors. Even if you're annoyed by the dual stories in the end, I'm certain you'll at least admire the beauty of this great love story.

Opened on June 13, 2008
Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass
Four struggling actors retreat to a cabin in California in order to write a screenplay that will make them all stars. What happens when their story idea -- a horror flick about a group of friends tormented by a villain with a bag over his head -- starts to come true?
Why it's on here: Sony Picture Classics, who bought this film after its premiere at Sundance, screwed it over badly by dumping it during a crowded summer movie season and not giving it the support it needed. It's a very hard film to sell at first, but all they needed to do was get the right people in the theater. The Duplass Brothers are some of the best up-and-coming flmmakers around that use a refreshingly unique shooting style that plays into Baghead very well. It's a blend of horror and comedy like you've never seen before. You guaranteed to walk out of it with a smile.

Charlie BartlettCharlie Bartlett
Opened on February 22, 2008
Directed by Jon Poll

A rich kid becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school.
Why it's on here: Wait, you didn't know that Robert Downey Jr. was in more movies this year than just Iron Man and Tropic Thunder? Yep, he was in another one called Charlie Bartlett, and it was a great movie and he did a great job in it. But he's not the only highlight -- Anton Yelchin, who also plays Chekov in the upcoming Star Trek, was what made this movie so damn good. It's fun and rebellious and a great coming-of-age movie. And in more than one case, Downey Jr. steals the show, especially in a couple scenes at the end involving the pool in his backyard.

Opened on September 26, 2008
Directed by Clark Gregg
A sex-addicted con-man pays for his mother's hospital bills by playing on the sympathies of those who rescue him from choking to death.
Why it's on here: A devious and fun exercise in adapting the dark musings of the great Chuck Palahniuk, Choke explores the life of a sex addict trying to deal with a mother who is slipping away. With great performances from Sam Rockwell and Brad William Henke combined with twisted humor that can only come from the mind behind Fight Club, Choke is easily one of the most unique and authentically dark comedies of the year. If you dig deviance, this is one you shouldn't let pass by. (Written by Neil of FSR)

City of EmberCity of Ember
Opened on October 10, 2008
Directed by Gil Kenan

For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker.
Why it's on here: City of Ember was one of the biggest flops this year next to Speed Racer (which is on this list, too). Before it first hit theaters, I really didn't care that much about it. But I eventually saw it and was completely surprised. It reminded me of the kind of movies that I used to love as a kid, just full of wonderment and excitement. As long as you recognize that it is a kid's movie and not much more, it should be easy to sit back and enjoy this adventure just as much as I did.

The EscapistThe Escapist
Not Released in Theaters Yet
Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Frank Perry is an institutionalized convict twelve years into a life sentence without parole. When his estranged daughter falls ill, he is determined he make peace with her before it's too late. He develops an ingenious escape plan, and recruits a dysfunctional band of escapists -- misfits with a mutual dislike for one other but united by their desire to escape their hell hole of an existence.
Why it's on here: It was my favorite film from Sundance this year and could've been my favorite film of the entire year if it had ever actually been released in theaters. THINKFilm picked it up at Sundance but that company went under part of the way through the year, so it never hit theaters. It was in theaters in June in the UK and will be out on DVD over there in January. This is one of the best films that no one has ever heard of. It's one of the most intense and thrilling modern escape movies ever made, and that's a huge compliment!

The FallThe Fall
Opened on May 9, 2008
Directed by Tarsem Singh

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastical story about 5 mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances.
Why it's on here: This beautiful film took two years to finally hit theaters after premiering at a film fest in 2006. Although a couple of people caught it during its theatrical run, The Fall never turned into a hit despite glowing reviews. I was even surprised to find myself enjoying it, especially because the trailers didn't seem all that interesting. What you'll discover is a gorgeous historic epic built around an ensemble of great performances. The Fall was worth the two year wait to see in theaters and shouldn't be quickly forgotten.

Hamlet 2Hamlet 2
Opened on August 22, 2008
Directed by Andrew Fleming
In this irreverent comedy, a failed actor-turned-worse-high-school-drama-teacher rallies his Tucson, Arizona students as he conceives and stages politically incorrect musical sequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Why it's on here: Whereas Choke was the quintessential dark comedy of the year, Hamlet 2 is the quintessential absurd comedy of the year. Steve Coogan shines like a young Gene Wilder as the whacky drama teacher that just about everyone had in high school. The story benefits from the smart and biting comedic mind of Pam Brady, who co-wrote the South Park movie. You'll get heavy doses of silliness, big scoops of absurdity and one giant musical interlude set to "Rock Me Sexy Jesus." What could possibly be better than that? (Written by Neil of FSR)

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I can say 10 of these I wanted to see but never did. Good List.

AllmightyKeim on Dec 29, 2008


I've seen about half of those, decent list though despite two of the movies have not released yet. One movie I'm sad to see didn't make the list was In Bruge, that's one of my favorites that came out this year. Could have made the list an even 20 😛

Nick on Dec 29, 2008


Overall a very good list (I'm glad Speed Racer, Son of Rambow, Hamlet 2, and The Fall were recognized), but I don't get why Nick and Norah is on here. Not that it isn't a good film, but people actually did see it-it wasn't a flop or anything (it made back its fairly modest $10 million production budget in its opening weekend), and its certain to do big business on DVD (which hits streets on February 3rd-in case you wanted to know).

Andrew on Dec 29, 2008


Good list, although surprisingly I've seen some of them.

Angelo on Dec 29, 2008


The commentary on Choke, Hamlet 2, Man on Wire, and Son of Rambow was very well-written. I must now go forth and see those movies 12x each... 😛

Neil Miller on Dec 29, 2008


I saw 6 out of the 10 and could say they would have been left better unseen. I didn't care much for AMERICAN TEEN and got only a few chuckles if any at SON OF RAMBOW. HAMLET 2 was down right awful (sans for Rock Me Sexy Jesus) and while AUSTRALIA is one to see on the big screen, I must advise you to tread with caution. SPEED RACER though was one of the worst of the year. Following a resemblance of a plot, the acting was awful and the jellybean colored CGI quickly became nauseating. NICK AND NORAH would be the only reccomendation I would give to see, espically for Ari Graynor espically. It is intresting though how most of these films were at the Philadelphia Film Festival, that's were I saw AMERICAN TEEN and SON OF RAMBOW. YOUNG PEOPLE FUCKING, BAGHEAD, and THE WACKNESS also played there too, among these films almost all of them made the festival rounds. However, if I could add a few movies I would say put on YOUNG@HEART, FUNNY GAMES and CADILLAC RECORDS.

Ryan on Dec 29, 2008


Charlie Bartlett? Bitch, are you for real? In all seriousness, CBartlett was nothing but a knockoff of Wes Anderson's far, far superior films. RDJ aside, it unspooled liked something a bunch of suits dreamed up to make money off of everyone who was waiting for the next Rushmore. Don't even get me started on the Harold & Maude references, which were twenty different kinds of wrong.

Chelsea on Dec 29, 2008


Taken was really good. Belongs on this list for sure.

Tom V on Dec 29, 2008


the Fall was amazing. if you love a good story telling movie, with great visuals (and if you don't I think you're crazy), then you should see this movie!

dave13 on Dec 29, 2008


Just went through and updated my Netflix queue. Thanks.

Collin on Dec 29, 2008


Speed Racer was terrible. I went into it with an open mind and was even psyched to see it. I have the mentality that kids movies can be enjoyed by children, teens, and adults alike, I was wrong on this one though. the pacing was way off, all of the races were the same, and it was scaled back way to much. it wasn't just a kids movie, it was a Barney film, nothing more than lame kids jokes and race cars. I did really enjoy the last 10 minutes, but it was to late to get me to love the film as a whole.

Al on Dec 29, 2008


I'd only seen two out of these three: Charlie Bartlett and Hamlet 2 and both were very meh, rental only type movies...

Webomatica on Dec 29, 2008


Hamlet 2 was really disappointing and pretty mediocre. The Promotion fared a little better but was still not great compared to what I was expecting. That said, most of the movies on this list are great (Speed Racer, Son of Rambow) or I haven't seen yet, so bravo Mr. Billington for a great list.

Itri on Dec 29, 2008


Hamlet 2 was great. I dont see why everyone is such a negative nancy. One of my favorite films this year, and it made me recognize Coogan as one of my favorite actors. its only flaw was trying to hard to be controversial in advertising, i think that is why some were disappointed.

Al on Dec 29, 2008


i loved speed racer!!! (despite what everyone says) and im glad somebody agrees with me 😀

chiara on Dec 29, 2008


I've got to echo Chelsea: "Charlie Bartlett? Bitch, are you for real?" If someone has 2 hours to watch this piece of hacky garbage, they should run out and see Rushmore or Ferris Bueller's Day Off or even the vastly underrated Igby Goes Down. Derivative, overacted, predictable, terrible.

FilmFemme on Dec 29, 2008


I didn't see Taken in 2008 because it opens in 2009.

Niko on Dec 29, 2008


i agree with you about Son of Rambow.....fantastic film. But you also forgot about SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, which i think was the best film of the year.

Nadir Ahmed on Dec 29, 2008


I am going to add a few of these to my list. Let the Right One in is phenomenal I hear. I will have to see if any are playing out here in LA.Good list IMO>

Mirth Nadir on Dec 29, 2008


Alex, the list aside, it's impressive to see that you are actually emphasizing your true feelings and using your voice to communicate your point of view to the powers that be. It's admirable that with the current articles and opinions you've expressed lately, you do care about the traditional movie going experience: from proper projection of the flick to theater experience and crowd behavior to the lack of quality flicks and flick tampering from major studios--you are using your voice and LOUDLY to communicate. I sure do hope the right people read your articles and actually initiate a certain form of action to make the overall movie-going experience much better. I tip my hat to ya Alex!

Spider on Dec 29, 2008


I agree with # 19

C on Dec 29, 2008


I agree with #18 slumdog millionaire is very good!!!!!!!!!!!11

C on Dec 29, 2008


Alex....you should have added one more Doc. Dear Zachary. Nuff said.

Heckle on Dec 29, 2008


If they were the "best movies" I would've seen them...So I guess they're not the "best movies" are they? (Though I did see Speed Racer and Choke.)

Jeep-Fu on Dec 29, 2008


I only seen 3. Charlie Bartlett, Taken and The Promotion.

ZzFDKzZ on Dec 29, 2008


I was looking forward to seeing Baghead, but not a single theater released it near me

L on Dec 29, 2008


Seen a dozen of them (films everyone should've seen, like Slumdog/Wrestler/BButton), the half dozen others are meh at best.

a horse on Dec 29, 2008


Alex- Your comment about Ping Pong Playa being the funniest movie of the past two years is actually loads funnier than the movie itself. The film is painfully average, at best. A little heavy on the superlatives, no?

Norm Schrager on Dec 29, 2008


+Slumdog Millionaire! It's a must see. Excellent film that didn't get a wide release.

Will S. on Dec 29, 2008


Very unfortunate i cant watch all of them since thay did not arrive in Malaysia except for Speed Racer that i enjoyed the most (my top movies for 2008 of course will be TDK) but i will sure looks for DVD when they arrived.

Uchiha Rifasha on Dec 29, 2008


Charlie Bartlett was fucking awful. Tried to hard to be Ferris Bueller for our generation and failed miserably.

Jack Donaghy on Dec 29, 2008


what about in bruges. i only know a couple other people besides myself and they loved it.

cali on Dec 29, 2008


about 15 of these i agree with, there are 4 iffys...

KyB on Dec 29, 2008


I saw a few of those, and some I really wanted to. They will get some love eventually.

tzarinna on Dec 29, 2008


Yeah, what about In Bruges? That was one of the best movies in a while, definetely the best film of 2008 no one saw. Though I am happy to report I saw all of these films in the theaters except for The Escapist. God bless L.A. and the Landmark, XD #31, Charlie Bartlett kicked ass! lmao #28, Ping Pong Playa was hilarious, lmao. But I'm asian so... wait, that has nothing to do with it. I guess I just like it then, lol

Jon on Dec 29, 2008


Not a bad list but i must say that TAKEN was definately movie of the year 4 me the action is awesome dont get many good action movies like that anymore. Us aussies already got the chance to watch it theartes back in september i think it was so believe me u guys dont no wot ur missin.

Donza on Dec 29, 2008


I absolutely hated The Promotion. Maybe it just wasn't my kind of comedy, but I honestly don't remember laughing even once during the entire movie. Aside from that, seems like a pretty good list. I'm definitely gonna have to check out some of these.

CardinalPride on Dec 29, 2008


i totally agree with speed racer was a great movie.

Padme on Dec 30, 2008


Completely agree with #37. Promotion didn't make me laugh at all. I regretted watching it, it was very slow and jokes were not very clever. And other than that it is a great list. A few of those I really wanted to see but never did. Son of Rambo looked awesome!

Davey on Dec 30, 2008


the promotion, speed racer and charlie bartlett were all garbage, in bruges, felon and redbelt should be on the list

the r on Dec 30, 2008


Slumdog Millionaire should be on this list - Arunabh Das

Arunabh Das on Dec 30, 2008


I think you might jsut be on to something here! Jess http://www.anonymity.at.tc

John James on Dec 30, 2008


i've seen 7 of those... and loved 6- didnt think charlie bartlett deserved a mention on this list... its not that great a movie... plus the lead character is insuffereable.. RDJ is great but the movie is riddled with cliches.

viral on Dec 30, 2008


I've got to agree with many of the above posters. Slumdog Millionaire was not only the best movie that you probably didnt see, but easily the best movie of the year. The list feels a bit contrived without S.M. considering all the oscar buzz around it.

Bob on Dec 30, 2008


(linkback) Cool or Boring? The 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2008 « FirstShowing.net [VOTE] - http://www.thriveorfail.com/343a6

Kevin K on Dec 30, 2008


Eden Lake In Bruges The Wrestler (?) Zeitgeist 2

xnatasx on Dec 30, 2008


A great list - thanks so much for highlighting these.

Stephanie on Dec 30, 2008


Charlie Bartlett was awesome, I really enjoyed it!

Andreas Climent on Dec 30, 2008


Oh yeah, and In Bruges was pretty bad. The twist was good but otherwise the movie was nothing special so it certainly shouldn't be on this list.

Andreas Climent on Dec 30, 2008


I'm sad to say that Speed Racer is the only one on the list that I've watched. I'm not going to say it's terrible, like everyone else, but I will say it's more a kid movie than anything else. The Wachowski's went way outside the box with it, and it's too much for most adults to handle visually. In it's defense, you've got to remember the source. The Speed Racer cartoon was pretty bad. I've had The Wackness, Chalie Bartlett, and The Fall for some time now, but have not watched them. Maybe I'll make them more of a priority.

TCox on Dec 30, 2008


It's "of their own volition", not "Fruition"

Lincoln on Dec 30, 2008


Any Pulp Fiction fans here: I'm surprised the dark hitman comedy "In Bruges" isn't getting any attention in these lists for 2008...wickedly funny, wonderfully shot and incredibly well-written. Martin McDonaugh's first feature...I'll be following his career for sure! Ralph Fiennes is as badass as ever, and Colin Farrell is actually hilarious/sincere. Best I've ever seen him for sure. And Clémence Poésy...stunning!

Paul Stanek on Dec 30, 2008


Waltz With Bashir. Beautiful film.

james on Dec 30, 2008


"Nights and Weekends?" Great list, but how is Joe Swanberg's latest not on it? Or how about Barry Jenkins "Medicine for Melancholy?"

jeremy on Dec 30, 2008


@jon- I don't think there's anything wrong with liking Ping Pong Playa because you're Asian. I'm guessing you got more out of the family humor than I did (not being Asian, I mean). The movie was a nice attempt -- sweet in a lot of ways -- but just amateurish in its shooting and editing style. As I said in my review, I'm sure it'll find a happy young audience on the cable rerun circuit. That's not necessarily a slight, but it's no better than that, in my opinion.

Norm Schrager on Dec 30, 2008


I added most of these to my Netflix. I'm really happy I came across this page. I guess Digg is good for something after all.

Daniel on Dec 30, 2008


Some of these films just fell under the weight of expectations (speed racer, austrailia). I thought those 2 in particular were pretty bad, but do appreciate its unique qualities. Still, unique doesn't always equal entertaining. I'd nominate Ghost Town, I believe it wasn't a big hit, but it was one of the better comedies of the year.

Tony on Dec 30, 2008


thanks for the heads-up(s)....I'll be catching some of these....

mike on Dec 30, 2008


Awesome list. Most of these movies can be found on netflix.

Zach on Dec 30, 2008


@Jeep-fu (24) "(Though I did see Speed Racer and Choke.)" That seems to have been a pretty common reaction.

absurdist on Dec 30, 2008


Speed Racer ????!!!! Seriously....? Easily the worst movie of the year, and for fucks sake, I'm a scifi freak, I watch everything in the genre, but this movie... dear lord, I wouldn't wish this piece of crap on my worst enemy.

Teq on Dec 30, 2008


I vote for Slumdog, Its the best movie I think I saw this year, Great cinematography, Great acting, Great story, Great music. I mean you should just watch it. Planning to watch it again 🙂

tom on Dec 30, 2008


All of you who are talking about how much they loved "in burges" are fucking retarded. that movie should have been called "in boring" because it sucked ass! Are you people on crack? I guess if you were smoking crack and watching "in burges" it might be semi-entertaining.

Amanda on Dec 30, 2008


Sounds like a "Straight To The Internet" distribution deal would really help these films. (Maybe they need to agitate for iTunes Music Store and/or Hulu.com to pick them up immediately after their theatrical run.) Amanda, that's just your reaction. Its not any kind of review or analysis. To be subtle about it, who are you that we would care about your reaction? You were just somebody who didn't bother to do their homework and insure that a movie would be of interest to them before subjecting themselves to it. It doesn't make me want to trust your opinion anymore than you could/should/would trust mine if all I wrote is "you gotta be fucking retarded to like this ass-suckage!"

Charles-A Rovira on Dec 30, 2008


"The Way We Get By" - Must see documentary. http://lab.wgbh.org/index.php?q=/filmmakers-residence/the-way-we-get-by

Oliver on Dec 30, 2008


So far I've seen two of these. Speed Racer is certainly worthwhile. It's lighthearted and the visuals really are stunning on blu-ray when viewed on a large screen. The Fall is totally incredible and was my favorite film that I watched in 2008. I would recommend it to anyone. Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru have amazing chemistry, and they gave this film an emotional resonance to go along with the already brilliant visuals. This is another one to watch on blu-ray if you can.

Brade on Dec 30, 2008


I must say..when I saw Speed Racer in the theater, I had a hard time. But when I rented the DVD (hey...I dig Matt Fox), I LOVED IT!!! Much easier to take in on the smaller screen. As far as your other movies, great list...I'll check these out. Australia was already on my DVD list (finally some kind of beefcake for us chicks). Thanks for posting!

Bry from Chi on Dec 31, 2008


Let the Right One In was Awesome!!! Would recommend to anyone who's into horror or vampire movies. Can't believe that they're already trying to do a remake for the US... God damn Hollywood!!! I'll have to check out some of the other movies on the list, The Fall... sounds pretty cool.

Omega728 on Dec 31, 2008


@63 "In Burges" "In Boring" Are you serious?

IK on Dec 31, 2008


Hey, it's my first time here. A cool + fun list (and yeah, if it matters, I think you've done rightly when you didn't include "In Bruges"). Really makes me wanna watch many of these. Thank you for dat, happy new year.

MMM on Jan 2, 2009


Are you kidding me ... Speed Racer ?! Just based on seeing the previews I could tell that movie was going to be down right awful. Thank god I never wasted my money going to see it. I do however enjoy mocking those who did. Honestly, I can't see a single thing listed here that even looks remotely interesting.

Joseph Engo on Jan 2, 2009


The 19 Worst Movies That You Didn't See (thank's to heaven) in 2008. I was expecting more of this post. I'm brazilian, and i can surely point at some good american "out of light" movies better than those above. You are american and like to look your own belly, so you should try looking it better, and clean it a little more.

Mr. Bunda on Jan 4, 2009


Nice list! Some of these movies are really cool!

Alexandre on Jan 4, 2009


The 2007 list seemed more interesting. The 20th movie: Jodhaa Akbar

axel on Jan 4, 2009


In Bruges are only for suckers who can swallow that kind of naive story... only thing that's worth in that movie is wonderful portrait of city Bruges which is under UNESCO World Heritage protection...

mr. no on Jan 4, 2009


In Bruge gets my vote for the best movie of 2008 that nobody saw. Maybe in bruge was in this list?? i stopped reading after i saw hamlet 2

kurrent on Jan 4, 2009


Son of Rambow is the best movie on this list. The others can suck it, especially Australia, Speed Racer, Choke (a bad adaptation of a great book), and Charlie Bartlett.

meheen on Jan 4, 2009


American Teen is an amazing movie! I live about an hour away from where it was filmed. My best friend acutally went to that high school for two years, so he really enjoyed seeing the people he knew. GREAT MOVIE!

Carmen on Jan 5, 2009


thank you for putting australia on here! i too thought it was epic. in fact i think my first words after seeing it were "that was epic!" and i've been very annoyed by the reviews that it's been getting. it's most definitely worth seeing, and even though it is two movies in one, i think that they are wonderfully sewn together in to one big story about the lives and experiences of the characters.

emily on Jan 5, 2009


I managed to see Speed Racer three times. Wanted to see The Whackness, Baghead and Choke, but they were both limited release over here and I hadn't the time to go see them. Dvds await. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist wasn't even released over here at all, dagnabbit.

Rosy on Jan 6, 2009


Redbelt and Ghost Town are good choices to put on.

Itri on Jan 7, 2009


I have refused to watch Speed Racer forever. Thought it looked like a piece of garbage. Because of this I checked it out. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Read my review if you'd like. http://www.myspace.com/brianriccireviewsmovies

Brian Ricci on Jan 7, 2009


A movie I saw that the critics (after loving it this summer) forgot was Transsiberian. It was breathtaking--the screenplay, the acting, the plot, the Siberian tundra that was like another brooding, beautiful character. The plot twists, the unpredictability, the fascinating characters were great. This movie is a gem. Everyone I talked to at the end of the summer who saw it said it was the best movie they had seen this year, and I agreed. It is one of the best of the year, but it seems to have dropped off the awards radar screen.

GeorgiaGirl on Jan 7, 2009


Charlie Bartlett is a complete piece of crap, and has been mentioned, a terrible Wes Anderson knockoff. Its inclusion on this list invalidates the rest of it. Awful, cliche garbage. On the other hand, The Fall was amazing.

Nick on Jan 8, 2009


aaaargh, Promotion???? It's not a comedy! More like a wannabe drama or whatsoever! Didn't make me laugh a bit (was author of the post on some drugs when he watched it? send me some too :p)

Scott on Jan 8, 2009


Greetings, you may remember me from comment #66. I have since watched The Promotion and thought it was pretty dang good. Not what I was expecting but reminded me a lot of Little Miss Sunshine in tone. The comedy comes more from realistically portrayed situations than attempted punch lines. Reilly and Scott play their parts excellently for this purpose, and the way they alternated between friendship and backstabbing is all too indicative of humanity in general. Insightful and entertaining movie...

Brade on Jan 8, 2009


The movies I saw: Charlie Bartlett Choke Let The Right One In Hamlet 2 Son of Rambow Charlie Bartlett was mostly forgettable. Watchable, but not amazing. Choke was okay. I think it was hard to adapt to make the story work and keep peoples attention. Perfect casting though as Sam Rockwell is excellent, but the the emotional and psychological underpinnings of the characters were explored enough. Let The Right One In (for those who haven't seen) is not an American style film. Its slow and scenic with a whole new take on the genre. Americans are impatient movie watchers, but the end is worth seeing it for sure. Hamlet 2 for the first half is kind of The Office "uncomfortable" to watch but more so. The second half is great once it all starts to gel. There are some nice laugh out loud moments, but where it lacks cohesion, it makes up for at the end. Son of Rambow. A neat film of good characters and imagination. I have it, but I've only watched it once. Need to again. P.S.- The Wrestler is good. See it.

JP on Jan 10, 2009


Oh no. I was really happy to find out someone put such a list together, but then... seeing 'Australia' on the menu kind of makes the author lose his credibility right away. Boo! (Ok, I might have a look at some of the other recommendations still, but you only get one more chance!)

Antti on Jan 12, 2009


Strangely enough, I saw all of those. But honestly, Australia? I'm from that country, and I'm ashamed of that movie. It got a better reception in America, than Australia itself, I know, I was there. It was stereo-typical, and represented everything Australia isn't. You want real Australian drama, read Bush Poetry. Speed Racer made me want to kill myself three minutes in. The acting was bad, the concept was terrible and the colour schemes and backgrounding was poor as.

Narkness on Jan 14, 2009


Taken? TAKEN? This whole list has absolutely no credibility due to the fact that Taken, probably the WORST action movie ever to have existed, is part of this list as a "must-see" movie from 2008. Let's see... Liam Neeson plays what is probably an even less believable role than the villain from Batman Begins, portraying and ex-CIA agent who has his daughter kidnapped while on holiday in France as he happens to be on the phone to her. His decision? To rescue her (alone, using his CIA skills) by killing every single person that appears in the movie. Using improbable, illogical and unreal "skills" he tracks her to the lair of Albanian gangters who specialize in kidnapping foreign girls from airports and making them sex-slaves. Among many questions you'll be asking yourself while watching this film you'll come up with "Why isn't the police involved in helping find a kidnapped teenager?", "Why has no-one caught on to the fact that an eastern European mafia is routinely kidnapping sexy American teens from French airports?", "Why is the general French public seemingly content that kidnapped teens are sold and used as sex-slaves?", "Why has every person even remotely related to the kidnapping operation been brutally murdered by Liam?", "How is Liam single-handedly achieving what professional police forces are incapable of", "Why is this film so darn retarded" and "Why is Liam Neeson so bad at playing a tough guy when he could be playing a lovable single dad as in Love Actually?". Seriously, anyone who thinks this movie has any merit to it other than "omg this movie is so hilariously bad it's worth watching just to laugh at it" has had their brain replaced by monkey dung and a taste in films similar to a black rappers taste for dressing in a subtle manner. Seriously Alex Billington, you are clearly a moron when it comes to recommending movies.

Thinkyou'restupid on Jan 17, 2009


Son of Rambow is a honest touching one.

atmawarin on Jan 18, 2009


I agree with the whole Speed Racer thing. People didn't wanna watch it cause they thought the series was tacky and "uncool". But it was a highlight movie of the year for me. And I looove Michael Cera. God I love him. He does great in all his movies.

bombin on Jan 19, 2009


I love this!!! The last list (2007) makes me happy so much!!!! Thanks a lot, i'm happy again!! good movies, goof list ever... 😉

Tiago Cabral on Jan 20, 2009


Holy #90. Take a pill haha. Talk about over reaction to an opinion piece. I am just pleased to see Speed Racer get a nod. I've seen it on a few lists like this, and it warms my heart a little. I grew up watching the series and still love it. I thought the film was fantastic. I think it got a horrible rep from critics that can not just sit back and enjoy a film for what it is. Simply put. Its an escape, nothing more, to take film too seriously is to kind of lose the point. But maybe that's just me haha. Either way, Alex, thank you for sharing this great list, and JUST when I was starting to catch up on my "need to watch" list of films! 😀

Dr. Blindsy on Jan 20, 2009


What about Rachel Getting Married? One of the best movies this year, and I'm sure few people saw it

charlie on Jan 25, 2009


If you were a true fan of Chuck Palahniuk, you would know that Clark Gregg completely butchered Palahniuk's greatest novel. Choke is my number one all time favorite novel, and I was devastated when I saw the ending of Gregg's movie. Every bit of Palahniuk's book was a masterpiece, and the most important parts of his novel, including the resolution were omitted completely. The movie takes the littlest bit from the novel and twists it into a boring, uneventful movie with childish plot twists that would appeal to drunken college idiots everywhere. The actors chosen didn't even remotely mirror the characters. Chuck Palahniuk is known for his vivid descriptions and unimaginable secrets. I cannot fathom why someone would want to change something written so perfectly. If anyone hasn't read Choke and hasn't seen the "Choke" movie, I suggest you read the book instead. Take my word for it as a Palahniuk fan... the movie is not worth the money.

rachel on Jan 26, 2009


YES! THE FALL. Absolutely. Everyone should see The Fall. It's like... the epitome of good story-telling accompanied with amazing visuals. It's based on a Russian film called "Yo-Ho-Ho" That I have yet to get my hands on! But yeah, a definite see. For anyone.

Layla on Jan 28, 2009


Unlike my friend at #90, I thought Taken was not only one of the best action movies of the year, it's one of the best action movies I've seen in the last few years and one of the best projects Luc Besson has hung his name on in a long while. I thought it recaptured a lot of the grim action sense that made The Professional such an instant classic. (True, it lacks the great chemistry between Jean Reno and a young Natalie Portman, but Liam Neeson still does a great solo job in this.) Sure you could try to apply reason and logic to an action movie like Taken, but then you are obligated to do it to every other movie in the genre, and why inflict such a horrible wound on one's own cinematic enjoyment? Taken is a delivery mechanism to numerous well-executed (no pun intended) scenes of Liam Neeson shaking down the entire Parisian underworld, overturning a corrupt police unit, dismantling a secret slavery industry and opening cans of whoop-ass by the caseload. It's not high art or ground-breaking storytelling, but it is a first-rate action flick. As I wrote this, an ad for Taken played on TV. I sure hope this movie gets a good viewership, because it's a blast. As for my having a brain of monkey dung, as suggested by #90's post, let me say that there is nothing so sad as seeing a person so unhappy with something that he cannot even abide others deriving pleasure from it. I hope #90 sees a movie he enjoys, and soon. Otherwise, I fear his spleen may burst.

Bill Coffin on Jan 28, 2009


I've only seen charlie bartlett out of this list, but judging by how good it was I think i'll definitely be looking into the rest of the movies on this list

Ferrari Guy on Jan 31, 2009


No. 90 It is Alex's website and Alex's opinions. You are the kind of ingrate turd that I avoid at gatherings and get togethers, because you are the loud mouth college punk, puke that thinks he knows everything about everythiing, not just only cinema. You call the guy an idiot because he is recommending films, in which most of us, and I am sure including your ignorant self, didn't see. How dare you call him names. Fair enough to assume you find flavor in Hannity, Gingrich and Glen Beck. So amazing you added Charlie Bartlett on the list, save that I do agree that it was pretty bad, however great addition, and I am assuiming a majority didn't see it, also The Wackness. I was at the NIFF in Rhode Island and this was the feature presentation at the festival and I didn't get to see it, and then at the Provincetown FF, it was a feature there as well, yet again I missed it. Very excited to see it, as I was told it was very well acted, and beautifully written. Also, back to CB, in goes without saying, save Iron Man, (in which I refuse to see since I loathe comic book movies), his ability as an artist (Downey) is simply stunning. One of, IMHO, the greatest living actors today. Also City of Ember, Son of Rambow, and American Teen are all movies I had chances to see, but alas did not. I thank you very much for pointing them out again, as I probably would have not seen them for years. Son of Rambow I remember the director plugging it on myspace and actually communicating with him a few times, but alas life catches up. Slumdog people mention, but I am assuming with its fanfare of late, with award shows and of course the moronic Oscars, more people have heard of that than the others, hence your list of "...that you probably didn't see." Maybe that's what it's not on there people. Alex I can't believe its a whole year already since your last list, unreal....thanks again ken

ken on Feb 11, 2009


I watched Ping Ping Playa after seeing it on this list and was vastly disappointed. The movie has a few laughs but mostly is predictable with uninteresting characters. No one who saw this movie would say it was the funniest movie of the last two years unless it was the only movie they watched in the last two years. This movie is squarely aimed to appeal to Chinese Americans and very few others. Here is a quick summary for: "a loud mouthed twenty-something loser disappoints family, hangs out with children and then wins a ping pong tournament." If you want to watch a good movie about ping pong try the 2002 movie by Fumihiko Sori called "Ping Pong".

Chirs Playa on Feb 11, 2009


The movie details on this website have been ripped directly from the IMDB website

Argonaught on Feb 16, 2009


Every last one of these movies either sound like garbage or is garbage. Except for City of Ember and Taken every last one of these movies are a true waste of time unless you like watching paint dry. I am sorry that stumbled onto this website that talked about movies for people with nothing else better to do with their miserable lifes.

Mad Hatter on Feb 17, 2009


We love you too, 103. xxx ooo

Bill Coffin on Feb 17, 2009


mad hatter: 'the one thing I love more than anything in the world is reading about movies, especially ones that are low low budget indies that I dont hear about, and since I dont watch tv, (talk about wasting miserable lives), I dont see trailers and most indies dont do trailers, and the ones that I usually miss, are the best movies around. I think the most ignorant of all people in this world are the ones like yourself for instance Mad Hatter, who lump everyone into some sort of unstable group because of certain likes and dislikes. That is like me saying just because the Mormon faith is based on some whackjob, that all Mormon's have psychological issues. I love reading this site. and my life is far from miserable. In fact I work three jobs, sometimes working 45 hours on one of them in a matter of four days, I have a summer cottage in a beach resort, a wonderful family, three or four close friends (anymore people get nosey), I just saved up four years for a BMW, and I am going to the Balkans to help orphans out for six month in worn torn Kosovo. I feel so sorry for you. Go watch Ironman, Dark Knight or something nominated by MPAAS.

ken on Feb 17, 2009


I'm glad you listed Speed Racer. I'm still debating between it and Son of Rambow for top spot on my best of 2008 list. Maybe you should rename the list: Movies People Didn't Get But Should Still Try To. Lol. I've heard loads of good things about Ping Pong Playa, too. Put it in my Netflix queue. Thx for the article!

Dee on Feb 17, 2009


Thanks for this list. I've made my way through almost all of these movies. Some I liked most but some not so much. But quite a few I probably never would have watched. The Fall was fantastic the visuals were amazing, Ping Pong Playa, and Young People Fucking were both entertaining and very funny. I look forward to your 2009 list.

David on Feb 24, 2009


How can you even begin to compare Garden State to Superbad? What the fuck...am I missing something? Your list means nothing to me just because of that comparison.

Seikp on Apr 11, 2009


I really liked 'Australia'. And that's all I'll say about that one. 'Let the right one in' was fantastic! The version I saw was german with english subtitles. It is a genuinely good vampire film. Not like the crap that tried to pass itself off as a movie like twilight, which was an insult to the book and author. I don't remember the number, but they said that 'let the right one in' was a slow movie, and I'd have to agree. If you don't have patience for good movies that start out slow, then don't watch this. But personally I thought it was great. And, yes, the ending is completely worth while.

Frances on Apr 12, 2009


taken was a badass movie i'm not gonna lie. 🙂

Danielle on Apr 13, 2009



Meiste1984 on Jan 22, 2011


Australia- BLEW-. Lovely views, great actors. crap story sped along foolishly wrapped up stupidly. Complete waste of time watching. See "Snowy River" or "Pharlap" to see how it could've been done. The rest were pretty close.

Tyrol on Apr 15, 2009


I lost all respect for this list when I saw Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. THE WORST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN.

Claire on Apr 16, 2009


been slowly making my way through this list man it's awesome thanks.

andrew on Apr 20, 2009


Choke was awful. Read the fucking book and stop watching movies. other than that, it's a decent list.

Kelsey on Apr 23, 2009


The commentary on Choke, Hamlet 2, Man on Wire, and Son of Rambow was very well-written. I must now go forth and see those movies 12x each

ahmet kekilli on Apr 27, 2009


Hamlet 2 was the worst movie I saw last year. Why it's on this list, I'll never know. It couldn't make up its mind what kind of movie it was. And it was boring.

Matthew on May 3, 2009


Taken wa the best movie EVER!

Vicki on May 30, 2009


I've seen 7 from your list, very nice list. I personally was completely unmoved by CHOKE (although I love Chuck P.) and BAGHEAD - actually no I was totally bored by them, not my thing. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the films on your list. BTW saw a great unknown, no name comedy, last night called SKILLS LIKE THIS and DRAG ME TO HELL is the best horror since LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. RossB.

Ross on Jun 6, 2009


Has this even been released yet or planned to be released? I haven't been to the cinema in quite a while so you could say I'm not "up to date" with movies! I'm really looking forward to this if it does hit the big screen though, should be great, I hope.

Buy Essay on Jul 16, 2009


I have to say, thank-you!! So much for the lists of Best movies you didn't see. I thoroughly went through the list for 2007 and found many gems that I felt priviledged to watch. Great movies! 2007 list and now the 2008 list are one of the first places I come to look, when looking for a film to watch. I must know, how far back do the lists go? Did this just start in '07? I'd like lists of the titles e-mailed to me from any previous years if there are any. Thanks once again and I'll be coming back very often!

AaronF on Jul 31, 2009


finally saw nick and norah's... wow it was really, really awful...a film entirely geared, ENTIRELY to the emo/myspace generation of horrible acting, horrible music and horrific styles garbage

ken on Aug 3, 2009


Thanks for the list! I appreciate you taking the time to do this, there needs to be more lists like this. I've seen six of these and working on seeing more. Man on Wire was great, I would HIGHLY recommend that. Australia and Charlie Bartlett were mediocre at best. I gave The Promotion a chance and it is NOT funny at all. I think Taken is a little over-hyped but worth watching. There seems to be some hate on Nick and Norah but I really liked it, the music was great. Still really want to see The Escapist, The Fall, and Let the Right One In. Off to watch The Wackness...

Chris on Aug 22, 2009


Alex, Ken again so looking forward to your 2009 missed film list.I am sure 500 days of summer will be on it, or rather it should. Was really stunning seeing JGL on big screen again he is so amazingly beautiful on the screen and never gets the accolades he deserves. Nevertheless, I finally saw City of Ember and TOTALLY, totally thought the same as you did. It was like going back to the days of Goonies, it was such a great surprise, however I thought Bill Murray's character was deplorable, as I do Bill Murray in anything to be honest. He ruined the movie for me. Just bought Taken and The Wackness finally on amazon so I will finally be getting to see those, damn takes so long...time sure does go by fast, and I loved Choke as a reader it was great, but I refuse to see the movie as I will never watch Tom Hanks butcher Brown's epic. See ya soon

ken on Oct 29, 2009


@meheen I agree but the others aren't as bad as you make them out to be.

markeymark101@gmail.com on Nov 4, 2009


Have just seen taken and what a good film I would highly recommend but haven't seen any of the others yet. I'm looking for a film to watch with my daughter on the weekend so will try City of Ember as im a big fan of kids films and will give me an excuse to watch it. Many thanks. Khaled

beadstalk on Dec 3, 2009


Have just seen taken and what a good film I would highly recommend but haven't seen any of the others yet. I'm looking for a film to watch with my daughter on the weekend so will try City of Ember as im a big fan of kids films and will give me an excuse to watch it. Many thanks. Khaled Read more: https://www.firstshowing.net/2008/12/29/the-19-best-movies-that-you-didnt-see-in-2008/#ixzz0bNhv6DPz

??? ???? on Dec 4, 2009


I have seen the movie FALL... If you like color with guns then this movie is for you.

Anonymous on Dec 27, 2009


Australia was a great movie!

Aaron k on Jan 2, 2010


The commentary on Choke, Hamlet 2, Man on Wire, and Son of Rambow was very well-written. I must now go forth and see those movies 12x each

Etude House on Jan 2, 2010


Has this even been released yet or planned to be released? I haven't been to the cinema in quite a while so you could say I'm not "up to date" with movies! I'm really looking forward to this if it does hit the big screen though, should be great, I hope. Read more: https://www.firstshowing.net/2008/12/29/the-19-best-movies-that-you-didnt-see-in-2008/#ixzz0baWfjtMy

ahj w,jd on Jan 3, 2010


YES! THE FALL. Absolutely. Everyone should see The Fall. It's like… the epitome of good story-telling accompanied with amazing visuals. It's based on a Russian film called "Yo-Ho-Ho" That I have yet to get my hands on! But yeah, a definite see. For anyone Read more: https://www.firstshowing.net/2008/12/29/the-19-best-movies-that-you-didnt-see-in-2008/#comment-213271#ixzz0baXR58T5

hguhf on Jan 3, 2010


Every last one of these movies either sound like garbage or is garbage. Except for City of Ember and Taken every last one of these movies are a true waste of time unless you like watching paint dry. I am sorry that stumbled onto this website that talked about movies for people with nothing else better to do with their miserable lifes Read more: https://www.firstshowing.net/2008/12/29/the-19-best-movies-that-you-didnt-see-in-2008/#comment-213273#ixzz0baYmyzPm

ahj on Jan 3, 2010


All the movies are awesome! Its really admirable, U r going fantastic, just keep it up,

MuSiC LoVeR on Jan 5, 2010


Got a chance to check out baghead a month before and I must say that this movie should have got a lot more attention. One of the best I have seen so far. Thanks for the great list..

Mike on Jan 30, 2010


I have seen the movie FALL… If you like color with guns then this movie is for you.

??? ???? on Feb 5, 2010


"Australia"? Several of the other films, especially "The Fall," deserve to be here. But this overblown Luhrman would-be epic is one that I wish I'd never had to sit through.

Dan on Feb 14, 2010


Make a list for 2009 movies, These lists are always great!

yeye on Feb 15, 2010


I do not know any of this titles but I think allthe stories are well-known. I will take a look at some trailers on YouTube to decide whether any of this films should be watched by me.

Sascha on Mar 26, 2010


When you said people would "walk out of Baghead", you weren't kidding.

Sid_Viscousity on May 16, 2010


Oh yeah, and In Bruges was pretty bad. The twist was good but otherwise the movie was nothing special so it certainly shouldn't be on this list. Maja

Maja on May 17, 2010


in bruges was awesome. one of the best movies ever.

johnny on Jan 9, 2011


I've seen almost all of these...

Holiday on Jun 5, 2010


2008 was a good year to see movies:) I think I've seen almost all; except for "ping pong playa" Thanks for the momories Ninel

ninel conde on Jul 5, 2010


I've seen 15/19 of the movies on this list, and although I agree with some, Taken, Nick and Norah's and Charlie Bartlett - all disappointing. Other than that good list. Young People Fucking is gold.

Reyna on Sep 1, 2010


Australia was such a cinematic movie but it was so long haha. I remember thinking it was over leaving my apt to get icecream and then coming back to it finally finishing about 45 minutes later.

Andrew on Nov 1, 2010


Hey! Yaa that r great movies i've never heard before those movies name also.

Muhammad Shuaib Jaamie` on Nov 4, 2010


The commentary on Choke, Hamlet 2, Man on Wire, and Son of Rambow was very well-written. I must now go forth and see those movies 12x each Regards

Anna Boll on Dec 19, 2010


promotion,rambow,wackness i saw.. wackness was bad ,promo was ok , rambow was well just another family/softcore comedy style you know.. getting the ping pong playa though.. ty vm

Killah-Malmö-Law-Boggy on Apr 1, 2011

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