Who would've thought that compiling a "Best Of” list was such a nerve-wracking experience? No joke—I've gone on blind dates that were preceded with less apprehension than this movie rundown. The biggest hurdle here was a matter of quantity over quality; I've seen so many films this year that I needed to make sure that none were being unfairly tossed aside like a number-two-girl, or Cadillac Records (Seriously, does anybody even remember that flick actually came out? Its release was like something Def Jam would do with a new Redman album.) The next dilemma was a question of "films I enjoyed the most versus ones I acknowledge as being superior works of cinematic art.”

After hours of deliberation, and a year's worth of stale popcorn and being bent over by the rapists at AMC, Loews, and Clearview Cinemas for $5 sodas and $12 tickets, here's my top eight films of 2008. I'll admit, there's still a few I've yet to see—but am dying to do so—that could've very well made the cut (Spain's time-traveling mindbender Timecrimes; Italy's lo-fi Mafia epic Gomorrah; and independent standouts/critical faves Ballast and Frozen River), and there's even a few that I tried my damndest to squeeze in (Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder and Roles Models, the year's best comedies; Milk, a quality biopic most notable for Sean Penn's stellar work; and the unexpectedly entertaining-as-hell Frost/Nixon). But alas, I was only given an eight-count to work with, and cheating with anything more than my personally-inserted "(Other) Honorable 8” would've been uncivilized.

Hopefully there are some films here that you've either yet-to-see or haven't even heard of before, which would make this list somewhat useful. And my mission would be accomplished. And yes, I do realize that people went gaga over Iron Man, including myself, but let's be real: it's a fun, smarter-than-your-average superhero ride, but one pretty much rendered dismissible (for list purposes) thanks to a certain Gotham City savior.

But before you read the Top 8, check these honorable mentions:

The (Other) Honorable 8

8. Doubt
7. Rachel Getting Married
6. The Visitor
5. Snow Angels
4. The Strangers
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Che
1. Quarantine

Special Distinction: 2008's Best Straight-to-DVD Film

A l'intérieur (Inside): I'll spare you the long-winded gushing on this one, since I wrote about it for King-mag.com months back. Released in France last year and deemed too gory/extreme/fucking-awesome for The Weinstein Company to release theatrically here in the states, Inside is, in my excitable opinion, the best horror film to be made within the last five years, at the least. I've seen it about 20 times now, and I'm never less than terrified and giddy. It's the kind of eye-rubbing, unbelievably visceral, balls-splattered-to-the-wall flick that you'll want to brag to your friends about having seen. Just remember who told you first.

Click here for the top 8 films of 2008