Monday, January 01, 2007

the top 29 movies of 2006 (in other words a list of the movies i saw this past year)

29. Lady in the Water
This year I had a really hard time picking my least favorite of the year, so I had to sort of settle on this one. Ultimately, and unfortunately, the fact that it was an M. Knight Shyalaman flick is ultimately what did it in. I suppose the disappointment was only amplified when the movie was delivered by the same guy who did some of my all-time favorite movies. I know I'm not supposed to care so much about the pay-off in this one, but it certainly would have helped if I cared enough about the story and the fable and the magic without an end payoff.

28. Marie Antoinette
Fortunately this had an awesome soundtrack with The Strokes, Gang of Four and The Cure to ultimately redeem it from not being the worst movie of the year. I know I don't usually care for modern music in period pieces, but more modern music would have been more helpful. It's actually not that I hate modern music in period pieces... usually the problem is in the execution. It tends to be very very distracting. This movie could've used the diversion. I couldn't really latch onto the message. I saw a lot of senseless shots of Marie hanging out, but her conflict strangely wasn't fleshed out at all.

27. Last Holiday
Queen Latifah and her smugness have always bugged pretty hard. The annoying thing about this movie is that the characters in the movie absolutely adore her character although she's annoying.

26. Stick It
I hate shows about arrogant young athletes who have a hard-as-nails coach with whom they butt heads, but ultimately come to terms with teamwork. Fortunately this movie forsakes that formula half-way through and becomes a protest piece for unfair competitive gymnastics judging. Wait a minute! That storyline is all over the place! May as well stick it to a movie that doesn't even stick to a storyline. Lose-lose of course, since I already didn't care for the original storyline. Whoops.

25. Just My Luck
This is that one this year with Lindsey Lohan. Fortunately, I saw it at the drive-in, so just my luck, I guess I didn't really see it.

24. The Break-Up
Every year there's a movie like this on my list. A rom-com offshoot with big stars THAT ISN'T FUNNY. This thing had so much potential. There is a lot of comedic promise in a movie that bases it's whole concept on the worst part of relationships. Instead, it tried to speak to our emotions. Some people chided the people who didn't like the movie because the main characters don't wind up back together. I chide the people who really liked this movie for its realism, by countering that it was also wicked dull. Oh, and also, couldn't they possibly find a gayer song for that guy to sing than "Owner of a Lonely Heart?" I personally own at least 500 songs way gayer than that.

23. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
I don't have to tell you about this one. We all saw it. But let me ask you this: does anybody remember it?

22. Employee of the Month
Dane Cook and Dax Shepherd are funny. Jessica Simpson and Pedro are less fun to be around. Oh well, this one fell right where it should. I sort of hope Dane Cook cools it a little in 2007. He's loud enough as a comedian, so I get I huge headache when I see and hear him everywhere else.

21. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
I went out of my way to see this because I've always been fascinated by Tokyo and because (for reasons I've never been able to explain) the original Fast and the Furious was my favorite movie from that year. Did I like this movie though? I can't remember.

20. The Illusionist
It's too bad there were two turn-of-the-century magician movies this year. Otherwise, I might have given this one a better score. It was okay, but not interesting enough to warrant sitting in the uncomfortable Broadway Theatre. Also, Edward Norton has been way too full of himself lately.

19. Step Up
This year's dance movie. I wonder if anyone would notice if the biz didn't put out a movie about dancing in 2007. According to my girlfriend and my friendgirls, this was the best movie of 2006. I guess that means that the male lead was way hotter than the female lead.

18. Iceage: The Meltdown
I didn't see the first Iceage movie, so I was lost through the whole thing. That squirrel and nut bit was plenty funny though.

17. She's the Man
This was the high-school movie I saw this year. It's really strange that I love high school movies so much, considering how reclusive I was during high school. I guess it's just because I started getting into high school movies ten years before I ever went to high school. Anyway, this one is about a girl who pulls a Yentl and dresses up as a boy to get on the soccer team. Of course it's played for absurdity. The sexy guy who was in Step Up was in this one and for my benefit he was funnier in this one.

16. Akeelah and the Bee
Spelling bees are so hot right now, but I don't know how much more bee I can take. This, of course, is a standard involving drama with all sorts of conflict and trust issues and pride and stuff. One thing I never figured out though: what mother thinks her daughter winning a spelling bee is a step backward?

15. Superman Returns
It'd be nice if Bryan Singer hung around to finish off the X-men series instead of moving over to the Superman one. That way I think X-men would have scored higher this year. Anyways, this movie suffered a little with the enjoyable balance between tongue-in-cheek and straightforwardness. The original movies did a much better job at that. It's a hard battle. At times I wanted it to be more serious and at other times I wanted Parker Posey to make me laugh more.

14. Monster House
Coming of age animated Halloween movie. Lots of right ingredients. I'm not sold on the computer animation with human characters. They tend to look pretty spooky and not in the good Halloween way.

13. Mission Impossible III
At least J.J. Abrams made it better than MI:II. What it really needed was more Philip Seymour Hoffman. A good action movie is more driven by the villain. Also, I would have done one scene differently. Remember the part where Tom Cruise goes into the building to recover something, but they didn't show it? He just comes flying out a window and we don't know what happened in there. It would have been better and funnier if Jonathan Rhys Meyers or another underused member of the team did that particular task and we kept the point-of-view of Tom Cruise intact (since it's pretty much his p.o.v. for the rest of the movie anyway). That way we don't break the storytelling mechanisms already set up, we're treated to an out-of-place unknown sequence that could be played for laughs and it doesn't look like they just ran out of money for another special effects sequence.

12. Dreamgirls
This was the last movie I saw. One could possibly say I prepared well to watch it by viewing five Broadway musicals during the course of the year. It was nice to see Eddie Murphy in a performance I appreciate. Reminded me of his stellar James Brown impersonation on Saturday Night Live. What makes next to no sense, however, is Jennifer Hudson being nominated in the Golden Globe for best supporting actress while Beyonce Knowles nabs the best actress nomination. Rest assured, if the roles were reversed we'd probably still see Beyonce running for best actress.

11. The Heart of the Game
I thought I'd do myself a favor and bunch all the documentaries I saw all right in a row. This one was pretty good. It's about girls' basketball. I saw it on a plane. The guy next to me didn't have headphones and kept asking me what was going on. So people always tell me that girls can't play basketball, but they do have two things: 1) they can play better than me. 2) Their intensity is only amplified by all that estrogen.

10. An Inconvenient Truth
I love hearing people discuss the environmental fate of the world. Either we're all going to die real soon or there is absolutely nothing to worry about. The wide expanse between the arguments leaves a lot of room for just about anything (which makes me excited to fill my recycling bin and save up for a Prius). In the meantime, I liked Al Gore's movie because he showed clips from Futurama.

9. Who Killed the Electric Car?
Speaking of Prii... this one is far less an environmental documentary than it is a study on the many interests involved in the marketing and consumption of a product. In this case, it's a super ugly car with a cool engine.

8. Scoop
Some Woody Allen movies are worse than others, but I've never seen one I didn't enjoy (although I was with a group of people who started Bananas but the group got bored and we turned it off). Anyway, this one is a step down in quality from his last one, but at least it was more enjoyable. It was probably best that Allen did something light after the 5000 pound weight which was Match Point. Lots of the jokes were groaners, but I really appreciated Allen's humorous chemistry with Scarlett Johanssen.

7. The Queen
I never imagined the royal family even had any pull in the U.K anymore. Pretty interesting to see things from the royal side. Maybe we were wrong to start the Revolution. Nah, things are probably better this way.

6. X-Men: The Last Stand
No matter what if you make a movie about my favorite comic book team, you'll score your movie in my top ten. Like I implied earlier, though, something is missing without Bryan Singer. It might be more intimate characterizations or something. Still, on the other hand, we're treated to giant mutant battles and a wicked sexy killer Jean Grey/Phoenix, so it's still pretty exhilarating for me.

5. V for Vendetta
I snuck out of work to watch this. For some reason I don't remember everything about it, except that it looked smooth and stylized and perfect. Pretty much it made me drool over the upcoming Watchmen adaptation.

4. Rocky Balboa
In essence this is really a remake of the first Rocky film and it uses the same formula that totally works. Drab depressing beginnings, followed by building trust with the support group, followed by the intense training sequence accompanied by a sudden burst of 70s music followed by the most intense fight you've ever seen. Of course, the fight wouldn't be nearly as good without all the building up to it, but that's the beauty of it. The payoff becoming a real payoff because of our investment in it.

3. Casino Royale
I miss the old James Bond, but this grit is definitely a direction I don't mind seeing the franchise take. That chase scene at the beginning was pretty awesome wasn't it? I'd love to get that guy on a superhero team. His special power could be running away.

2. The Prestige
Here's a list of stuff that anyone could use to make a movie I would automatically totally dig. Get the guy who plays Batman and get the guy who plays Wolverine and pit them against each other. Have both characters narrate the film at different times and through the eyes of the opposite character. Enable both characters to be cunning enough to not only hide their tricks from each other, but also hide them from us. Set the film in the past but also bring ridiculous science-fiction elements to it. Get David Bowie.

1. Match Point
One reason I picked this one as my number one is that hardly anyone I know saw it, so nobody can disagree with me. The biggest reason I picked it is because it was ridiculously effective in what it set out to do, which, to my understanding, was to make me as uncomfortable as humanly possible. I am aware of lots of people who loathed it for that very reason. For the same reason Rocky builds and builds on heroism, this one builds and builds on wickedness. Unfortunately, we don't realize that until we're too absorbed. It's kind of weird sitting in the theater completely uncomfortable, followed by telling everyone how brilliantly Woody Allen made it happen. Wait! This is a Woody Allen movie? Holy heck.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Abel said...

Lady in the Water was so dreadful. I really need to get out more...I think I only say about a handful of movies this year. It happens when you ahve kids.

January 02, 2007 8:17 AM  
Blogger laura said...

I only saw 16 of those, so I don't really disagree with you on anything.

Jennifer Hudson was definitely more of a lead in Dreamgirls than Beyonce. I think I read or heard somewhere that when it comes to nominations for best lead vs. best supporting its not uncommon to strategically interchange those so two actors in the same movie don't have to go up against one another. That way the movie has a better chance of winning more awards. Plus Jennifer Hudson (who deserves an award more than Beyonce) has a better chance of winning if she's not in the same category as Hellen Mirren.

January 02, 2007 9:21 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Nice comments- from what I can remember you weren't too impressed with Tokyo Drift. You didn't say you hated it though.

I saw 24 of the movies you listed plus eleven more ( I think - for some reason we had a hard time counting that night,didn't we?). I don't think that Step Up was the best movie of the year, I just happened to see it three times in the theatre....so sue me! :)

A few movies that I liked a lot more than I thought I would were:

Casino Royale - I'm totally digging the new bond. I actually beleive he could kill a man with his bare hands. I felt like Brosnan would have hurt himself.

Dreamgirls - I wasn't expecting too much, so I think I was pleasantly suprised. Jon- I totally agree with you on the actress vs.supporting actress issue. No matter, what Deena, err, uhh...I mean Beyonce would get cited for the lead. Jennifer Hudson better win. Then again, it is the Golden Globes so I'm not too concerned. I mean- they gave Madonna a Globe for crying out loud.

Prestige - I think this is probably my favorite movie of the year, with Rocky and Bond VERY close behind. This was a very interesting concept that I haven't seen before. Like you said, put Bowie in a movie and you have me sold.

January 02, 2007 9:42 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Put Christian Bale in any movie and it's pretty much my favorite movie of the year.

January 02, 2007 2:54 PM  
Blogger Rhett said...

Ok... the comment about Step Up and the male lead being hotter than the female lead was.... RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!! No girl will ever admit this, but that statement is an eternal truth.

January 02, 2007 9:28 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

I agree with Rhett. I don't think the girl in Step Up is good looking.

January 03, 2007 4:28 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

You are all wrong, that chick was way hotter than the dude on Step up.
Aunt Carol gave it a "Oh gawwww!" and a "Wwwwwwhat?"


Pros to Bond, blew my f'ing mind!

January 04, 2007 10:48 PM  
Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

I liked The Prestige, but I thought they layed the ending on a bit too thickly. It's always nice when a director respects his audience enough to let them figure the movie out on their own.

MTV sold V it as "a movie that makes you think," so I came into the theatre with inflated expectations. I should have known better. Still, I enjoyed the movie as a Friday night event.

I wish Singer had done X:III too.

Monster House is in my top ten. That movie was surprisingly entertaining.

Little Miss Sunshine is easily my number one. I remember thinking about seeing Match Point, but I think I opted for La Science des Reves instead.

January 05, 2007 4:13 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

here's my take on your movies:

29. "lady in the water"--granted, it's not m. night shamalamadingdong's best movie, but i think it ranks higher then #29 (and especially above stick it).

24. "the break-up"--it's weird because everyone loves jenn as rachel, but no one loves jenn in her movies. i liked this movie oddly enough, because i agree it was a little dull and disappointing. but i'm one of those people who liked that they didn't get back together.

23. "pirates of the carribbean"--ARE YOU SERIOUS??? this is BY FAR the worst movie i have seen not only in 2006, but also OF ALL TIME. and i still want to know--why were they half fish-half people???

19. "step up"--average for a movie, excellent for a dance movie (although no dirty dancing: havanah nights).

12. "dreamgirls"--really good, and i loved jennifer hudson. and i loved to hate jamie foxx. but i thought it dragged on a little bit.

1. "match point"--i agree with everything you said in your comment about this movie, except that i didn't like it. odd, considering most people who see the same movie together have the same opinion of it.

and here are the movies that should have been on the list:

1. little miss sunshine
2. babel
3. the pursuit of happyness
4. talladega nights
5. borat
6. failure to launch (maybe this came out in 2005?)

January 23, 2007 9:25 PM  

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