My Favorite Movies and Models (Mostly Lego) of 2008!

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What better way to kick off the year in movies than with the incredible, "U2 in 3D" in IMAX?! MIND-BLOWING!

"Nim's Island," a fun kid's adventure.

"The Spiderwick Chronicles" (in IMAX!)

"Iron Man." AWESOME flick! Saw it twice!

"Speed Racer" (in IMAX!). I know it bombed at the box office, but I loved it and saw it twice!

My Lego Mach 5 with Speed Racer, 121 pieces.

"The Chronicles of Narnia Book 2: Prince Caspian."

"Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull." Harrison Ford still has it! Saw it twice!

"Kung Fu Panda" was great, and, in my humble opinion, a WHOLE lot better and funnier than "Madagascar 2"!

"The Visitor" (Oops! Snuck a limited -release independent film in among these blockbusters, but it was a really good film!). Saw it twice!

"Get Smart." Steve Carrell was charming, Anne Hathaway was wicked cool, and Alan Arkin had some great lines, but the crude humor rubbed me the wrong way. Great action sequences and gadgets though!

WALL*E. I'm just going to come right out and say it. I'm completely in love with WALL*E! Saw it THREE times!

To quote Scott Thill of Wired magazine: "One of the most ambitious, meditative and soulful animated sci-fi films ever made about machines, humans and their intersecting consumptions, Wall*E is more 2001 than Toy Story. This Pixar masterpiece charted the way forward for thoughtful speculative narrative with its head and heart in the right place."

Mo and Wall*E

Did I mention that we had WALL*E over for Thanksgiving? And who needs turkey when you can have fresh barbecued BUFFALO and chicken!

"Outsourced"! Here's another limited release independent film that was a true winner in my book!

In the "summer of superheroes," the clear favorite for me (and everyone else) was "The Dark Knight" (sequel to Batman Begins"). I saw it once in IMAX (breathtaking), and once in regular format. "Iron Man" was another favorite, but it came out in the spring!

"Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" was a real quiet offering after all of the blockbusters, but, nonetheless, very heart-warming and enjoyable, and with a very strong cast.

October is always a good month for quality films and October 2008 was no exception, this time with good biographies. "Flash of Genius" was a great film with a very strong performance by Greg Kinnear. It tells the true story of Dr. Bob Kearns, the inventor of the intermittent windshield and his fight against Ford Motor Company.

I was so glad to have seen "The Express," which seemed to get very little attention and advertising. It tells the true story of Ernie Davis, the first African-American winner of the Heisman Trophy in 1961. Spoiler alert: He was struck down by leukemia 2 years later. Before Brian Piccolo (Brian's Song) there was Ernie Davis.

Given the astronomically high standards set by Pixar, I didn't expect to enjoy "Bolt" as much as I did. But it was a real treat, especially in digital 3D!! In my humble opinion, the hamster stole the show.

In "Marley & Me," the "world's worst dog" made for a great movie! And as Roger Ebert pointed out: "The 2nd greatest headline in the history of The Onion is, 'Millions of pet owners demand to know: 'Who's a good boy?'" I'm sure glad that MY dog was better behaved as a youngster!

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars." If you are a Star Wars live-action "purist," you might not want to go near this movie, but I gave it a try and really enjoyed it. In fact, I saw it twice. It was like watching a beautiful video game for an hour and a half.

In my humble opinion, Clone Wars doesn't hold a candle to the live-action talents of Natalie Portman (Padme Amidala), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalder/Darth Vader), and Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan Kenobi), but it was still true to the spirit of Star Wars and had some interesting twists. Again, I must agree with Scott Thill of Wired: "Clones progress from drones to complex individuals, Jedis killed off too quickly in Revenge of the Sith finally land dense backstories, and battle droids emerge at last as fully formed comic canon fodder." And now it lives on in TV form on Cartoon Network.

Speaking of Star Wars, and moving now from movies to models, here is one of the Legos that I built on sabbatical: the Y-Wing Attack Starfighter, 1473 pieces

Star Wars Y-Wing Attack Starfighter

Pointing to my Lego 50th anniversary golden brick.

Installed in its final display area in my closet.

... and with a Luke Skywalker pilot maquette (6" high), and miniature Star Wars Jedi Knight figures around base