‘Dark Knight’ tops our list of the year’s best

Posted by · 9:29 am · January 6th, 2009

The Dark KnightIn lieu of a proper Tuesday list, I thought I’d do something a little different this year, since we have a slew of contributors and In Contention is no longer the brain space of just one person.  I polled all our writers for their individual top 10 lists, which you can find detailed after the jump.  But with the lists in hand, I pulled out the trusty abacus and went about the painstakingly in-depth analysis of each to surmise a collective top 10.  The results were interesting.

No film appeared on all five lists, which is already an accomplishment, I’d say.  Four films appeared on four lists and four on three.  The remaining two films on the collective appeared on two lists.  No film popping up on just one list was taken into account, so you don’t get to march with torches over a “Bolt” inclusion.

“The Dark Knight” became the obvious victor early on, but Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” came a lot closer than you might think.  I used a simple point system per ranking, but in all scenarios, the number of lists featuring a film was given precedence over points.  This made for a good tie-breaker here and there and, in some cases, caused for this film or that to leap-frog another.

Consider this my ultimate salute to our contributors who, I doubt I’m alone here, did a bang-up job in 2008.  Here’s to an equally splendid 2009.

In Contention’s top 10 films of 2008:

1. “The Dark Knight”
2. “Synecdoche, New York”
3. “Slumdog Millionaire”
4. “WALL-E”
5. “Milk”
6. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
7. “The Wrestler”
8. “Let the Right One In”
9. “Rachel Getting Married”
10. “In Bruges”

Honorable mention: “Gomorrah,” “Hunger,” “Pineapple Express”

(Individual lists after the jump.)

John Foote (column)
1. “The Dark Knight”
2. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
3. “Milk”
4. “The Wrestler”
5. “Revolutionary Road”
6. “Che”
7. “Changeling”
8. “Frost/Nixon”
9. “Slumdog Millionaire”
10. “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Brian Kinsley
1. “The Fall”
2. “WALL-E”
3. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
4. “Let the Right One In”
5. “Synecdoche, New York”
6. (tie) “Snow Angels” and “Pineapple Express”
7. “The Wrestler”
8. “Cloverfield”
9. “Towelhead”
10. “Kung Fu Panda”

Gerard Kennedy
1. “Rachel Getting Married”
2. “Man on Wire”
3. “In Bruges”
4. “The Dark Knight”
5. “WALL-E”
6. “Doubt”
7. “Milk”
8. “Let the Right One In”
9. “Slumdog Millionaire”
10. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Guy Lodge (column)
1. “The Class”
2. “I’ve Loved You So Long”
3. “Wendy and Lucy”
4. “Synecdoch, New York”
5. “Gomorrah”
6. “Happy-Go-Lucky”
7. “Hunger”
8. “In Bruges”
9. “Heartbeat Detector”
10. “WALL-E”

Blake Rutherford
1. “The Dark Knight”
2. “Synecdoche, New York”
3. “Slumdog Millionaire”
4. “Milk”
5. “The Visitor”
6. “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”
7. “Rachel Getting Married”
8. “Flight of the Red Balloon”
9. “The Edge of Heaven”
10. “WALL-E”

Kristopher Tapley (column)
1. “Slumdog Millionaire”
2. “Bolt”
3. “Synecdoche, New York”
4. “Pineapple Express”
5. “The Dark Knight”
6. “Hunger”
7. “The Wrestler”
8. “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father”
9. “Gomorrah”
10. “Let the Right One In”

→ 15 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: The Lists

15 responses so far

  • 1 1-06-2009 at 10:07 am

    Zac said...

    I’m not surprised that The Dark Knight is #1 overall. I wonder how many of the Best Picture nominees will be in the overall Top 10?

  • 2 1-06-2009 at 11:02 am

    Dan said...

    Guy is easily the only “guy” around here with a brain.


  • 3 1-06-2009 at 11:15 am

    jp said...

    the collective list is great!

  • 4 1-06-2009 at 12:13 pm

    Casey Fiore said...

    its a good list. no real complaints

  • 5 1-06-2009 at 1:37 pm

    Hans said...

    Wow, Dan. Crushed you shall be if TDK is nominated, no?

  • 6 1-06-2009 at 1:47 pm

    Dan said...

    The only suitable reaction will be to slit my wrists with a TDK Blu-Ray ® disc.

    I mean, c’mon.

  • 7 1-06-2009 at 1:49 pm

    JC said...

    And we’ll hold a candlelight vigil for you, with half of our faces cloaked in darkness. ;)

  • 8 1-06-2009 at 2:27 pm

    John Travolta said...

    Pineapple Express shouldn’t be on there. In Bruges should have taken its place

  • 9 1-06-2009 at 2:29 pm

    Kokushi said...

    John Foote have the best list.

  • 10 1-06-2009 at 3:25 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Actually, you’re right Travolta. That was a points gaff on my part.

  • 11 1-06-2009 at 6:20 pm

    Kevin said...

    I’m a bit miffed at the lack of praise for Frost/Nixon. Not one mention on anyone’s individual lists. It’s not my favourite film of the year but you can’t argue with the quality of its production values.

  • 12 1-06-2009 at 6:30 pm

    Hans said...

    Kevin, that seems to be the general consensus this year with Frost/Nixon: a good film with respectable production values and whatnot that will likely be nominated fo Best Picture, but will not receive enough passionate votes to win.

  • 13 1-06-2009 at 6:34 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    #8 on John’s list.

  • 14 1-06-2009 at 7:51 pm

    Chad said...

    Production values could not rank lower on my list of what makes a film great.

  • 15 1-07-2009 at 3:57 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I like the list, even if only three of my picks made the cut!

    Interesting that so much consensus built up around “Synecdoche, New York” … and they said it was divisive ;)

    And I agree wholly with Chad … tons of shitty films have great production values. Not that I’m saying “Frost/Nixon” is shitty (nor that it has great production values, for that matter). It’s just so… meh.