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As each year progresses, we keep a list of the films and performances that impress us. Obviously we don't pay eagle eyed attention to the films determined to sell you popcorn and provide nothing more than two hours of entertainment but by the time year's end arrives, the most enjoyable of these stand out like neon lights in the dark.

And so it comes to the time of the year where we toss the weekly dollar ratings out the window and look back on the year and think: "Do we remember any of the films we sat through in the last year???" The year was such a disappointment that the answer, in general, came back "No." Instead of the two or three dozen films we usually find on our lists when it's time to look, we barely cleared a dozen. So we went back through everything and scavenged. Two lists follow. One Top Ten, for the films that got big distribution deals and promotion. One, half its size, for the films that never made it beyond the arthouse.

Caught between the two lists is a film called Iris, starring Judi Dench, which was released for a week to qualify under Academy Rules. We don't work strictly by Academy rules (which say that Memento is an Adapted Screenplay since it comes from a published story.) though, since the film did open here in New York, we include it in the year. We have no idea how many markets will actually see this film when it gets its release in February. Odds are it will be small enough to fit in our "indie" category, unless there is enough critical acclaim or Oscar buzz that the studio decides to push it much wider. We're going to split the baby on its placement, which allows us to point to another limited release that would otherwise have been overlooked.

And for those desperate to know, we limit adaptations to books and TV/film.

For the first time in the seven years we've been running Cranky, an animated film makes the Top Ten. Indeed, the year was so thin that Shrek almost took Best Film honors, though we decided to follow the lead of the Academy, which established a longform Animation Award this year. Besides, it allows us to give the nod to even more great films,

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