Wednesday, December 29, 2004

My Top Eleven Movies of the Year

Now I didn't see as many movies in 2004 as I had in past years, but saw enough to pick the wheat from the chaff. With three days left in the year, I plan to see two more movies that may make the cut: Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic," and Alexander's Payne's "Sideways."

Here are my top 11 movies from January 1st-December 29th, 2004

11. The Village
Yeah, I know it was a glorified episode of The Twilight Zone, but Ron Howard's kid was terrific, as was William Hurt and M. Night Shamalamadingdong's regular, Joaquin Phoenix. Movies are about being taken to a different place, even if, well, you're here. Nice parable to post-9/11 paranoia.

10. Mean Girls
Adria and I were the two oldest peeps in the theatre on opening night. An 80's-style high school movie written by Tina Fey of SNL. Pre-hysteria Linsday Lohan was great, and it's always nice to see Tim Meadows getting work.

9. Man on Fire
Saw this on Pay-per-view at my in-laws. A great character study by Denzel, who blows his stack when the little girl who warms his heart is kidnapped. The moral: don't go to Mexico City. Ever.

8. Super Size Me
Watching Morgan Spurlock's body turn against him is terrifying, though he does show the guy who eats five Big Macs a day, and is the picture of health. A frightening expose on public school lunch programs.

7. Garden State
Oh, Natalie Portman. So cute, and so so young. Zach Braff is a S. Orange native, so now I can claim him as a neighbor. A smartly written riff on The Graduate, with less adultery.

6. Collateral
Love, love, love that Michael Mann. While I've heard that Jamie Foxx was terrific in Ray, he really impressed me as the cab driver who picks up the wrong fare. LA at night can be a scary place. The moral: don't go to Asian dance clubs after 2am.

5. The Incredibles
Not sure if I buy into Brad Bird's message on saving praise to only those truly special, but the animation, the plot, the evil lair, Elizabeth Pena's voice, and Edna Mode made for a super film.

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Finally, this franchise moves away from the candy-colored, to-the-book world of Chris Columbus do the forboding look of Cuaron. The dementors were super, as was the great scene with Harry and Snape in the dark hallway with Snape's wand producing a hypnotic, pulsing light. Shame we're shifting directors again for #4.

3. Farenheit 9/11
Was it gratutious? Yes, but with so much that the Bush administration has to answer for, extremely welcome. Not that it made a bit of difference in November. G-d help us all.

2. Spider Man 2
A sequel that surpassed its orginal. Alfred Molina made for a great villian in this truly character-driven superhero movie. The scene when Peter told Aunt May that he was responsible for Uncle Ben's death, and her reaction, was priceless.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I'm sure glad that I'm not Charlie Kaufmann. I'm really glad that I get to enjoy his work. An original fantasy about the real crap of failed relationships, with superb acting, editing and effects, pushed this title to the top. I really forgot that Jim Carrey was in this movie, a testament to his acting skills. Mark Ruffalo is great in everything he did this year, including Collateral and 13 Going on 30.

2004 movies I didn't see, that may make this list someday:
Million Dollar Baby, In Good Company, Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Ray, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Bourne Supremacy, Shaun of the Dead, Dodgeball, Team America:World Police, Hidalgo, Before Sunset, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.


AFishkin said...

Nice List. I would agree with most of it, but I did not see The Village, Man on Fire or Collateral.
I offer the following:

10. Manchurian Candidate
While certainly not the original, I thought Denzel and Meryl delivered their expected solid performances and Liev Schrieber did a fantastic job. I was never bored and felt I got my $10.50 worth of enetertainment.

9. Mean Girls
Lindsay Lohan...HOT!

8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
I agree that Jim Carrey once again has proved his versatility. He really is a great actor. I was even moved by Kate Winslet...HOT (although not as hot as Lindsay Lohan)

7. Garden State
I think this proved Zach Braff as a multi-faceted talent and I give him Huge Props for his music selection. This is definately the best soundtrack of the year. Don't forget Natalie Portman...HOT!

6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkeban
This was certainly entertaining and I felt it was a decent rendition of the book. I enjoyed it and I can't wait until The Goblet of Fire!

5. TIE - Farenheit 9/11 & Super Size Me
These were definately the two shockers of the year.
I agree F9/11 was gratuitous, but after reading Paul Begala's "Is our Children Learning", Al Franken's "Liars" and Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation", I believe every damn bit of these movies and I am glad I watched them.

4. Spiderman 2
This was the best comic book movie yet. I was rocked the whole time and Alfred Molina scared the crap out of me. Doc-Oc RULES! Oh yeah, Kirsten Dunst...HOT!

3. Incredibles
This was the eye candy movie of the year that also won my top comedy slot. Witty and sexy. Frozone RULES!

2. Ray
Jamie Foxx was just plain amazing. This better earn him the Oscar. I was not sure about some of the editing, but it didn't ruin it for me.

1. Kill Bill 2
While have loved almost everything QT has done, I felt the Kill Bill films, while borrowing from many influences was the best put together piece of the year. Part Crouching Tiger, part From Dusk Till Dawn... Great photography, great editing, great writing and even great animation. Yeah Uma's hot but not as much as David Carradine...great stuff.


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