At this point, I feel that there are four outstanding titles prohibiting the list from being compiled. Those are Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Revolutionary Road, and The Wrestler. In a perfect world, I'd say Che and A Christmas Tale are necessary viewing as well, but those are harder to get a hold of. I am hoping that the list will be completed by the time Oscar nominations are announced on January 22.
It will be easier, however, to quickly complete the vaunted "Worst of 2008" list, always a simultaneously fun and painful experience. Look for our Worst lists in the very near future.
Every year I am reminded that these year-end retrospectives are, ultimately, meaningless in the grand scheme of things. There are, even in the worst years (except 2006, where the quality was potent for about 10 movies, and then the well dried up), more than ten films worthy of consideration, and it usually depends on the subjective views each critic applies on any given day as to which films ultimately receive the honor of landing a spot on THE LIST. But as I always do, I must defend the undeniable fun of looking back over the year that was, and celebrating the greatest (and throwing one last sucker punch at the most dubious) of the year's cinematic achievements. The movies deserve it, one way or the other.
I am a movie guy...have been since I was about 5 years old. The movies have the ability to transport, influence, enrage, horrify, entertain, educate, and enliven. They can make us laugh or make us cry, turn us on or turn us off. Film is, if I may steal a term coined by Dr. Charles Derry, a SuperArt...an all-encompassing synthesis of writing, music, and photography. In choosing to honor these films by making lists, I choose to pay special homage to the medium that has wound my clock, jump-started my heart, enlivened my imagination, and opened my mind so many times. The movies mean the world to me.
And for that reason, perhaps these lists aren't so meaningless after all.
Happy New Year...Happy Cinema.