I'm not a critic nor have I seen every single film released this year either in North America or in Korea. But it's always fun to sum up a year. So I'm selecting my personal 10 best films of the year. I haven't included the films I watched on DVD.

1. Hairspray

What's up with me and musicals? I'm a sucker for happy musicals like this one although this one is so radical that I don't even know if it's meant to be sarcastic. But you just can't stop the beat.

2. The Lives of Others

When it was announced as the winner of the Best Foreign Language Oscar early this year, I didn't even know it existed. Now it's one of my most favorite films of all time. And the ending is probably one of the best in many years.

3. Eastern Promises

Didn't expect this to be this good. Perhaps better than "A History of Violence." Of course, you can't talk about this film without mentioning the bathhouse scene. It will definitely be studied in many film school classes for years to come.

4. Michael Clayton

I admire and envy George Clooney for making movies not just he wants to make but also he has to make. It's like 70's are back for a while and the movies are finally catching up.

5. Ratatouille

Perhaps the best movie about Paris made by Americans. I give my applause to Pixar for creating an environment where a crazy idea like this one (cooking rat) can be encouraged and can actually be realized.

6. Towelhead (or formerly known as Nothing Is Private)

For sure, this will be the most controversial film in 2008. It created such a stir at Toronto this year. Compared with this, American Beauty is like High School Musical.

7. The Queen

It opened in Korea this spring so I'm including this one at this year's list. I'd recommend the film to every single actress alive. If you're serious about acting, watch Helen Mirren's interpretation of the character. Vulnerable and yet impenetrable.

8. Once

Where the hell did this film come from? What was even more shocking was, how well it did in Korea. It grossed over $1.4 M here. Almost unheard of. Is it just music or something else? It confirms my belief in cinema, which is, make a good movie and the audience will come.

9. The Bourne Ultimatum

Who says the studios make crap? Well, they do but once in a while, they show what good can come out of the system. And that the sequels can actually be better.

10. Knocked Up

Another guilty pleasure. But seriously, it's the most honest portrayal of man-woman relationship. I wouldn't call it a classic yet but it's definitely the Graduate of our generation.

Unfortunately, many Koreans disappointed this year. Hopefully, next year I'll be able to plug some good Korean films.

Meanwhile, happy holidays to you all!!!


kelvinwong said…
Thanks for your personal top 10 for the year, and the reason(s) you thought so.

I was encouraged by your comment about Once and your restored faith in cinema, i.e. make a good movie (something you believe in) and the audience will come.

I stumbled upon your blog in April and was the dude in May asking if you would read an original screenplay I was working on upon my completion. You had mentioned that I could forward you the synopsis, and if it sounded intriguing, you could have someone in your production company review it.

Well, I have finished it---something I believe in and feel it would make a good movie. Shall I just display the synopsis on your blog here, or did you want to email me your email address and I can forward the synopsis that way?
samokdaddy said…
I've seen a few of the films you've listed, but want to take the time to see them all. As a father of a four year old and a two year old, it's not easy feat. I'll keep reading your blog because you definitely have something to say.

Keep on trying with Expats. I was one of those goofy expats, only I was in Seoul. I really am looking forward to sitting in a theater and seeing this when it comes out.
Wonsuk Chin said…
Being a parent must be something. I'm going to be 40 next year but to be honest with you, I have no idea when I'll be a father let alone getting married.

Thanks for the encouragement. Producing is good but I gotta make Expats somehow.

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