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The best movies of 2008 that you don't know about yet

Posted Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 10:01 AM Central

by John Couture

In what is quickly becoming an annual tradition, we are setting about to predict the Top Box Office movies of the year and the list of those movies that will be on everyone's tongues come this time next year, but few people know about right now.

Movies like Knocked Up, Juno and No Country for Old Men would fit the bill for 2007. Of course, last year we didn't do so hot with our predictions of the top sleepers for the year.

And think about it, by its very definition, picking sleeper hit movies should be an impossible task, but that doesn't discourage us one bit.

My colleague Tim Briscoe and I compiled this list of 15 films. They are our picks for the movies that not everyone knows about now but they most certainly will at this time next year.

And if our track record is any indication, we've just doomed all of these movies to be big busts.

Fool's Gold

Call it the National Treasure hangover if you will, but we think that audiences will still be in the mood for a good, old-fashioned treasure hunt next month. Sure, Matthew McConaughey doesn't have the best track record carrying big action extravaganzas *cough* Sahara *cough*, but considering that this is also his first re-teaming with Kate Hudson since their very successful match in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, we think sparks might fly one more time. Feb. 8.

Be Kind Rewind

Alright, this one is a little bit of cheat on our part. It's probably a pretty good bet that you've heard of this one as it's getting pretty good buzz for its debut next month, but we want to have at least one ringer on the list. Jack Black and Mos Def might be the new Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. Feb. 22.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Can Judd Apatow do no wrong? We'll find out in May as this interesting comedy finds a couple of TV actors Jason Segel and Kristen Bell looking to make the jump to the big screen. Interestingly, Segel plays a character called Marshall on his show How I Met Your Mother. That's good enough for us. May 30.

Choke

Unless you're a die hard Fight Club fan or a member of Chuck Palahniuk's cult like I am, there's a good chance that you have no idea what this movie is. And that might be a good thing. This is the second adaptation of one of Chuck's books and his one, the aforementioned Fight Club, seemed to do alright. This time, the subject matter of a sex-addicted renaissance re-enactor who connives do-gooders out of their money by pretending to choke in expensive restaurants might be too much to swallow. Or not. It debuts at Sundance next week, we'll know shortly. July.

Tropic Thunder

This was supposed to be another Owen Wilson showcase, but his suicide attempt last year forced director and best bud Ben Stiller to recast the part. Enter Matthew McConaughey. The cast is chock full comic geniuses and one cameo involving a bald, bearded and fat Tom Cruise has already brought about one threatened lawsuit. The basic premise of actors filming a Vietnam War movie being accidentally brought in to fight a real war sounds promising, as long as it's not Delta Farce 2. July 11.

He's Just Not That Into You

It seems that movies based on self-help books are all the rage these days and this one certainly seems to be the next one to benefit from our obsession with self-psychoanalysis. Drew Barrymore is the queen of rom-coms and Scarlett Johansson will provide enough eye candy to make it a real date movie. Of course, it does have the Ben Affleck curse going against it. Well, that and our annual sleeper curse. Aug. 1.

The Pineapple Express

Seth Rogen is the crown prince golden comic boy of the moment and he seemingly has the Golden Touch in anything that he's in. Of course, this pot infused story might really test the limits of his power, but if Harold & Kumar 2 hits big in April, look for this one to be the next stoner cult classic. Aug. 8.

Eagle Eye

If Shia LaBeouf can bring home the beef in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull then his follow-up should be enormous. Considering that Steven Spielberg is producing and Shia is surrounded by a top-notch cast, it would take a lot for this one to flounder. Aug. 8.

Zach & Miri Make a Porno

This movie actually begins filming on Wednesday, so how can we already put it on our sleeper list? Well, look at that title. Oh yeah, it also stars Golden Boy Seth Rogen and is the next movie from cult filmmaker Kevin Smith. Smith is known these days to cut his movies together while filming, so the film should be ready to come out by fourth quarter. The success or failure of The Pineapple Express will dictate whether they push it out this year to strike while the proverbial iron is hot or delay it until enough time has passed. October.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Is the world big enough for two When Harry Met Sally...s? I guess we'll find out in October. Juno and Superbad's Michael Cera takes the lead of a musician who asks a girl to be his "girlfriend" for 5 minutes in order to snow his ex. From there, it seems that their lives are inexplicably linked in romance and friendship. Oct. 3.

City of Ember

This movie is probably the biggest wild card on our list, but we like what we see when we look at the cast list. Bill Murray. Tim Robbins. Martin Landau. Of course, the science fiction/fantasy angle has been the death knell for many movies that have come before it, so there is a bit of trepidation here, but we think it will be a winner. Oct. 10.

Burn After Reading

After No Country for Old Men, we would be foolish to ever discount any future movies from Joel and Ethan Coen. And we're anything but foolish. With George Clooney, Brad Pitt and John Malkovich in the leads and the return of Frances McDormand to the Coen Brothers world, salivating would be more accurate in describing our state. November.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This movie is one that is probably getting the most buzz of any movie on this list, but it also has the potential to be the biggest bomb out of all of them. Brad Pitt anchors the F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation of the story of Benjamin Button, who is born at the turn of the 20th Century as a man in his eighties that begins to age backwards. The movie is quite ambitious in its scope, but it anyone can pull it off, it's director David Fincher. Nov. 26.

Yes Man

Is Jim Carrey still relevant in the comedy landscape? It seems that his dalliances into more dramatic roles have diminished his once powerful base of comedy fans. This movie is a return of sorts to his roots as he plays a man that agrees to a self-help principle of saying yes to everything. Is Jim Carrey back? That would be a huge Yes from us. Dec. 19.

Revolutionary Road

What happens when you can't sequelize the highest grossing movie of all time because the ship sort of sinks at the end? If you're Paramount, you do the next best thing, you get all the stars of Titanic together for a new movie. Revolutionary Road marks the first time that Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have reunited onscreen. And they even dug up Kathy Bates, just in case. Dec. 19.