Picks and Pans Main: Movies

updated 09/15/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

SUMMER'S BEST & WORST
Superheroes, stoners and scary singing! Our critic looks back

BEST IN SHOW
The Dark Knight's riveting actors (led by Heath Ledger as the chilling Joker) and relentless storytelling made it the greatest superhero film ever.

FUNNIEST PERFORMANCE, INTENTIONAL
In a summer packed with hilarious roles, none matched the comic calibration of James Franco's barely there pothead in Pineapple Express.

FUNNIEST PERFORMANCE, UNINTENTIONAL
He gave it the old college try, but whenever Pierce Brosnan broke into song in Mamma Mia!, we couldn't keep a straight face. "S.O.S." indeed.

SUMMER MVP, MALE
Stick him in a metal suit (Iron Man) or blackface (Tropic Thunder), and Robert Downey Jr.'s brilliance still can't be muzzled. Even his The Incredible Hulk cameo was the best thing in that disappointing film.

SUMMER MVP, FEMALE
Her films were much smaller than Downey's, but Penélope Cruz's turns in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Elegy were just as unforgettable.

WORST ENDING
Who's the bigger sucker: Sex and the City's Carrie for ditching her individualistic ideals yet again, or us for continuing to watch her do so?

BEST COMEBACK
Tom Cruise has often been a punch line in recent years, but his foul-mouthed, fat-suited turn as a studio exec in Tropic Thunder finally had us laughing for the right reasons.

LEAST MEMORABLE
Raiders of the Lost Ark still resonates after 27 years, yet the disposable Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull—poof!—faded from memory moments after viewing. Are we positive it actually came out this summer?

MOST ROMANTIC
The touching courtship between two robots in Wall-E perfectly captured first love in all its gawky glory.

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