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Top Ten Movies of 2005

As the year comes to a close, we always see a lot of end-of-year essays, reflections, and lists. In particular, movie critics usually come up with their top ten movies of the year. Well, if they can do it, I can too.

We'll just ignore the fact that I only saw 13 movies this year. :-)

[Warning: There might be minor spoilers in the discussion. If you want to be safe, just read the titles, which are in boldface.]



10. Fantastic Four
A lot of critics panned this movie when it came out, probably for not being Batman Begins. But not every superhero movie has to be relevant, as long as its a fun romp. And Chris Evans nailed the character of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, perfectly.

9. The Producers
I never caught the musical on Broadway, but I did see the original movie in a revival house many years ago. Lane and Broderick play off of each other well. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Will Ferrell's performance, as he's not an actor I usually care for.

8. Sky High
This portrayal of superpowered children in a special school for their needs was light, fluffy, and amusing. Even if it was a ripoff of PS 238, a comic book by Aaron Williams that you all should be reading. I just wish they had put Lynda Carter in more scenes.

7. King Kong
Like Will Ferrell, Jack Black is not an actor I seek out. But he was perfect in the role of Carl Denham. And although many people have been impressed by the CGI rendering of Kong, I was delighted by the almost perfect recreation of New York City in the 1930s. The only flaw was that they weren't allowed to recreate the Columbia Pictures sign in Times Square. Replacing it with a Universal Studios sign was a good fix. And did anyone else catch the quick reference to Fay Wray?

6. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
An adaptation with additions that enhance the original source material rather than chip away at it. And Tilda Swinton made me believe in the pure evil of the White Witch.

5. Serenity
I know there are some people who felt that this movie was a complete washout, but I disagree.

4. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Nick Park's work has been entertaining me with its delightful whimsy ever since I discovered it. This full-length feature had something for people of all ages. And it didn't hurt that Nomi and I got to see it in a special screening with Nick Park taking questions after the film.

3. March of the Penguins
I kept seeing the cast list as "Morgan Freeman, and emperor penguins," and so I wanted to see Freeman leading the penguins on their march. But at least we got his wonderful narration. Best scenes, though, were over the credits, when we got to see the inquisitive penguins investigate the camera crew.

2. Batman Begins
Probably the best Batman movie ever made, and one of the best superhero movies ever made. If the tag of the 1977 Superman film was "You'll believe a man can fly," the tag for this one should have been, "You'll believe that a rich kid who sees his parents murdered in front of him actually would put on a bat suit and fight crime, as opposed to either going into therapy for the rest of his life or just handing his fortune over to support law enforcement." But I guess that would have been a bit too long.

1. Good Night, and Good Luck
Without a doubt, the best movie of the year. In fact, major film critics such as Dan Kimmel agree with me on this one. Given what's been going on in the country over the past few years, everyone who cares about civil liberties and our personal freedoms should see this film. It's happened before; it's happening to a lesser extent now; and it can always happen again.


And the three that didn't make the list? Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Comments

Harry Potter was OK, and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort was brilliant. But I only had room for 10 films on the list.

I wish Hitchhiker's had been better; as I said when it came out, for me it's a story whose natural medium is not film.

And Star Wars...well, I needed to see it for the sake of completeness. But that's about it. (Oddly, I always ended up loving the latter three Star Wars films within the first few days of seeing them. Then, as I thought about the films some more, I found myself disliking them.)
I wish I could see more movies. I don't think we see ten movies in a year. I do wish I had seen Batman Begins.

Surprised Spiderman II didn't make it, actually.

Yes, Becky and I both caught the reference to Fay Wray who was "doing something with RKO". It was cute.

I liked Kong, but dinged it for being way too pretentious. I could not help but roll my eyes at the whole "Heart of Darkness" thing, particularly the line "Hey, this isn't just an adventure story, is it?" Thank you Mr. Jackson. We get it. Now please stop with the slow motion shots and get back to the giant slugs. (Sadly, a small voice in the back of my head kept saying "on islands, the evolutionary trend is to smaller size, rather than larger, as there is an advantage in conserving energy in a limited environment that offsets the advanatge of large size. Why is everything on Skull Island so big, anyway?" Of course, I kept yelling during the Kong v Tyranosaur scene: "Yo! I'm a comet and your a . . . .dinosaur. O.K., yeah, needs work."
Surprised Spiderman II didn't make it, actually.

Spider-Man 2 was a 2004 release, so I didn't count it towards the best movies of 2005. But it's definitely one of my best films of 2004.

And you really ought to see Batman Begins when you have the chance. But you probably already know that.

(Anonymous)

Spider-Man 2 was a 2004 release, so I didn't count it towards the best movies of 2005. But it's definitely one of my best films of 2004.

No, actually it wasn't. It was better than the overrated original film, but that was only because it didn't have a villain out of a "Power Rangers" episode.
I had read (in articles about the New Zealand "hobbits") that on islands, small things (like chickens) got big and big things (like people and elephants) got small. Doesn't explain Kong, but might explain the slugs - then again, I haven't seen the movie yet.
So riddle me this--why did they need to make a second The Producers movie? What was so wrong with the first one?
Jen, nothing was wrong withthe first one. It was a perfect comedy.

Remember, the second Producers movie is based on the stage musical, which was a little different from the non-musical movie.

Sadly, they left out one of my favorite songs - The King of Old Broadway. I think it would have been a better movie opening than the Opening Night song.
What do you mean, "non-musical movie"? It had "Springtime for Hitler and Germany"! That's the best song and dance number ever, with the possible exception of "Every Sperm is Sacred," that is. (I was raised Irish-Catholic, I gotta give props to a song about my heritage.)

(Anonymous)

What do you mean, "non-musical movie"? It had "Springtime for Hitler and Germany"! That's the best song and dance number ever, with the possible exception of "Every Sperm is Sacred," that is. (I was raised Irish-Catholic, I gotta give props to a song about my heritage.)

"The Producers" -- the original -- is one of my favorite all time movies, but it's not a musical. There's only three songs (if you count "Have You Heard the German Band?").

The new movie is fun, and a pretty decent transfer of the stage musical, but the original is classic.
Not enough musical numbers, maybe? :-)

More to the point, why did they do a remake of Psycho that was a frame-by-frame remake with nothing new added?
Now that I can't answer.
Disagree with FF; they don't ever do anything fantastic or even pro-active, after two tries casting directors should realize that Jessica Alba cannot project having a high IQ, while Julian McMahon was a good casting choice for Doom, I disagreed with just about all the changes to Doom, etc. Do think Evans did a good job with Johnny, but if they're going to dye Alba's hair to match Sue's, he could've gotten a dye job as well. And Chiklis did nail Ben Grimm's persona. So, a general plus on the acting (3 above average, 1 OK (Reed), 1 not (if they'd written Sue as a model/actress which was how the character originally had aspirations to, Alba would've worked)) but a major negative on plot(s) and character changes.

And I still maintain the big problem with Sky High is that if you cast Kurt Russell as a super-powered character in a freakin' Disney movie, you either go whole hog and name him Dexter Riley or at least have him wear a Medfield College t-shirt at some point.
I caught the Fay Wray reference too in King Kong. KK is #1 on my list, although it is the only one on your list I saw.

(Anonymous)

Top Ten

As you know, I see many more movies than you. I saw over three hundred last year. But then, I'm a professional. Don't try this at home kids.
:)

I had "Good Night, and Good Luck" as my number one film, and also had "March of the Penguins" and "Wallace and Gromit" on my list. I didn't have "Fantastic Four," but I did enjoy it, possibly because I grew up reading DC and not Marvel, and had no expectations.

I'll note that "Sky High" is a wonderful Disney family comedy, and a sure bet for my Hugo ballot. Highly recommended, even if it didn't make my ten best list.

Dan

Re: Top Ten

Hi, Dan! I'm assuming that all the "anonymous" posts I saw this morning were from you, although you only signed your name to this one...
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