Originally posted on January 1, 2006
It’s the 1st of the year and time for me to send out my 2006 best and worst films of the year lists. My movie-going habits plunged a bit this year and I only saw 85 films in the theater and 25 on DVD. I believe this is attributed to coordinating mutual schedules with friends to see a movie that caused me sometimes to suffer movie withdrawal for a few weeks. One lesson I’m taking with me in 2007 is that it’s ok to not have a wingman for every film I want to see.
My Top 10 Best Films of the Year List
The most entertaining and riveting film of the year. All of the performances were top notch but Leonardo DiCaprio was the stand out with his searing portrayal of a conflicted soul.
2. HALF NELSON
Ryan Gosling was so extraordinary in this film that I saw it twice just to watch his heartbreaking and flawless performance all over again. All of the facial nuances and little things that he did with his hands reminded me of how I felt the first time I watched Marlon Brando in ON THE WATERFRONT. Gosling deserves the Oscar. A wonderful story with a knock out performance by Shareeka Epps made this film a cinematic treasure.
A quiet American film that was simply a masterpiece.
4. NIGHT WATCH
This Russian Sci-Fi film is the first in a trilogy with the second film due out in 2007. I loved this film so much that I saw it twice. It contains jaw-dropping special effects, subtitles that at times viscerally respond to dialogue and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Hands down the coolest film to hit theaters since KILL BILL.
5. THE FOUNTAIN
This may have been the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen.
6. ROCKY BALBOA
It’s a perfect bookend to the franchise and every bit as good as the original. This movie was jam packed with rousing scenes that were completely unexpected and reminded me why I love this boxer. Most notably, a great, genuine scene where Rocky tell his son that life is what you make of it. It
7. UNITED 93
Very powerful and highly emotional experience. Nicely paced.
8. LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
Wonderfully written smart comedy with a lot of heart. Preston Sturges would have been proud.
9. LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD
This film proved that Brooks is still a genius and can still make me laugh so hard that I can barely breathe.
10. CHILDREN OF MEN
A Sci-Fi film that is dark and intelligent and completely overwhelming.
Honorable Mentions: Reincarnation, Stranger than Fiction, The Omen, The Illusionist, Hard Candy, The Queen
My Top 5 Worst Films of the Year List
Part of the “8 Films to Die For” series that played select cities one weekend in November. I just got out of another film in the series REINCARNATION that was so smart and creepy that I got greedy and decided to see the next film playing. Big mistake- it ended up being the most laughable and atrocious film I’ve seen in years. I felt compelled to “boo” when it was over but refrained when I noticed the cast and director were in the same theater. Seriously, it was so bad; it went past good and back to bad as they say in GHOST WORLD.
2. MIAMI VICE
Nicely shot is about the only redeeming quality I can say about this film. Dialogue was cringe- worthy in countless scenes, the music was overdone and I had to hold my laughter in some of the more “serious” moments.
3. THE GOOD SHEPARD
This movie was a complete mess. Flash forwards, flashbacks, flash sideways- what the hell is going on and do I even care? This film made me look at my watch and that alone gives it a spot on my worst list. Mind numbingly boring and seriously, what’s up with actors spanning 30 years and not aging a day. Jim Emerson had a spot on review on rogerebert.com that explains the disaster far more eloquently that I ever could.
4. ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL
So disappointing especially because of Zwigoff’s past efforts. Too many annoying and unfunny moments to count that I wanted to scream.
5. MUTUAL APPRECIATION
This beginning of this film was fun and then the entire picture went completely awry. It was jam packed with scenes that thought they were much more clever then they actually were. The result was a pretentious mess that went on entirely too long.
Special mention for the “Most Disappointing Film of the Year”: LITTLE CHILDREN
I saw Todd Field’s first film, IN THE BEDROOM three times and it was #2 on my top ten list of best films in 2001. I loved all the silences in BEDROOM- so much was said by the quiet scenes in the film through the actor’s looks, unspoken words and the beautiful shots of empty rooms and roads. As Ebert wrote in one of his reviews, Spacek and Wilkinson were “masters of the hidden struggle beneath the surface.” LITTLE CHILDREN was the antithesis of BEDROOM because it wouldn’t shut up. And I’m not talking in a clever Eric Rohmer sort of way. When the actors weren’t speaking, the incredibly grating narrator popped up to explain thoughts of the characters that were so bracingly obvious, you had to wonder what Fields was thinking. Winslet and Haley’s extraordinary performances are the only thing that saved this film from making my worst films of the year list.