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Your views: 'Dark Knight,' 'Happening' stand out

  • Story Highlights
  • "Dark Knight," "WALL-E," "Slumdog Millionaire" among CNN.com user favorites
  • "The Happening," "The Love Guru" among viewers' worsts
  • "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" divided CNN.com commenters
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By Todd Leopold
CNN
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(CNN) -- "Knight" good, Night bad.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" has divided critics -- and CNN.com users.

The late Heath Ledger plays the Joker in "The Dark Knight," the No. 1 box-office hit of the year.

That was the upshot of the responses from CNN.com users when asked what their favorite -- and least favorite -- movies of 2008 were.

"The Dark Knight," the blockbuster continuation of the Batman saga, was named the best movie of the year by several respondents, while M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening," the latest film by the onetime "Sixth Sense" wunderkind, was roundly hooted.

Though the praise for "Dark Knight" was largely uniform, with occasional fanboy-ish enthusiasm -- "Why is there any discussion?" asked JMF -- the derision for "The Happening" was varied and brutal.

" 'The Happening' had a terribly high disappointment factor due to my expectations that it would be as good as 'The Sixth Sense,' " Kelley wrote.

"I only saw this because my wife and I were over at a friend's house, and for some reason he really wanted to watch it. I had given up on [Shyamalan] long ago. ... I expected nothing," Justin wrote. "What I saw was probably the worst written script and one of the most ridiculous stories I have ever seen in a movie. I ask you, why is this guy still allowed to make movies? ... Why? Why?"

Given "The Happening's" mediocre box office, which followed the mediocre box office for Shyamalan's "Lady in the Water," studio executives might be wondering the same thing. Video Watch some of the year's biggest bombs »

Many commenters agreed with CNN.com's Tom Charity that "WALL-E" was the movie of the year. Read Charity's list of bests and worsts

"Any movie that could convey so much using a machine who is more human than the actual humans ... this movie deserves a best picture nod," Mandy T. wrote.

Claire, however, disagreed. "I could BARELY sit through this movie. The second time I saw it was on an airplane, which helped me go to sleep faster."

Claire, there are a couple CNN.com staffers you should meet.

"Twilight," the vampire tale based on the bestselling book series, which was awaited by some moviegoers with an eagerness that rivaled a "Harry Potter" film, lived up to expectations for its fans.

"My husband, kids and I have seen 'Twilight' six times in the theater. No other movie got us to go out twice, let alone six times," Tristen wrote. Video Watch some of the year's biggest hits »

Don't Miss

"Finally a movie that is not marketed to 14-year-old boys whose standard of entertainment equals people getting naked and stuff getting blown up," Laurie added.

Samlam, who did not give his age, had a few words for "Twilight" fans, however. "[It's] a film for wannabe goth girls looking for sappy romance and no substance," he wrote.

In general, films tended to receive mostly raves -- "Slumdog Millionaire," "Frost/Nixon," "Milk," "Let the Right One In" and "Iron Man" were others named as favorites -- or pans, such as "Max Payne," "Love Guru," "The Day the Earth Stood Still" ("Note to studios. If you're going to remake a film, you should try and make it as good if not better than the original," wrote Amber) and "10,000 B.C."

But some films made both lists -- none more so, it appeared, than "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

"AWESOME," D.W. wrote

"The acting [was] top drawer. Sets and set dressing incredible," Clyde wrote.

But those who didn't like it, loathed it.

"If not the worst, easily [the] biggest disappointment for me was 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' " Scott McGinley wrote. "Despite amazing art direction and cinematography, [Brad] Pitt was completely emotionally flat. It felt like 'Meet Joe Black' rips off 'Forrest Gump.' What a let-down."

"I believe that there are so many 'critics' that say this is a work of art that the general audience convinces itself that it must be," Chris wrote.

The nation's movie critics are equally divided. Charity put it in his top 10; the Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan panned it, writing, "[It's] as enervating as it is long -- and at 2 hours and 47 minutes, it is quite long."

Other films that divided CNN.com users included "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and "Hancock."

Indeed, both major Will Smith movies of 2008 -- "Hancock" and the tearjerker "Seven Pounds" -- inspired both praise and hostility, with some finding them enjoyable and others finding them ludicrous.

Though CNN.com's commenters are an admittedly small sample, their picks indicated the breadth of movies out there and the strong desire to be moved, provoked or simply entertained for two hours. Above all, their comments emphatically suggested that they expect value for their time and money. If a trailer looks bad, or reviews -- whether from those in the media or from friends -- are bad, people won't go.

Or, at least, they'll try not to go.

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"I agree with another poster that I can't say I'd spend money on the worst movies," Gabe wrote, "but unfortunately for me, I saw Vin Diesel's apocalyptic movie, 'Babylon A.D.,' and wanted to ask Vin personally for my money back."

Mr. Diesel, you've been warned.

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