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Top 10 Movies from 2005

May 11, 2006

While working on my Dave Chappelle’s Block Party review for Friday, I thought I’d dash off my Top 10 from 2005, just to get something up and give you a feel for my tastes:

  1. Kung Fu Hustle
  2. Walk the Line
  3. King Kong
  4. Good Night, and Good Luck
  5. Hustle and Flow
  6. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  7. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  8. Brokeback Mountain
  9. Capote
  10. Munich

I’d love to see your Top 10s.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. Brad Glaser permalink
    May 12, 2006 8:59 pm

    I should start with the caveat that I didn’t see as many films last year as I normally do, mostly due to our movie theaters being down for a few months and Netflix not re-starting delivery here until recently. From your list, I’ve actually only seen six of the movies, and five of those also make my list. Brokeback Mountain was the one exception, which I liked but found to be not much better than the gay version of The Notebook.

    With that said, here is my Top 10:

    1) Munich
    2) King Kong
    3) Sin City
    4) Good Night ,and Good Luck
    5) The Aristocrats
    6) Walk the Line
    7) March of the Penguins
    8) The 40-Year-Old Virgin
    9) Syriana
    10) Wedding Crashers

    The break point in my list is between 5 and 6, as everything in the top half I truly loved. I was happy to see King Kong so high on your list, Micah. I think it was a terrific, moving, vastly underappreciated epic.

  2. Ryan permalink
    May 12, 2006 11:27 pm

    I would love to submit a list here. However, I think I need a good resource that lists out the movies of 2005. It is sometimes hard for me to remember the movies I saw during the year and whether they were actually 04, 05, or 06 or 1987 for that matter.

  3. Ryan permalink
    May 12, 2006 11:57 pm

    Nevermind, didn’t need help. There are some movies on your lists that I want to see that I am pretty sure would make my list if I ever see them. However, here is my list based on what I have seen.

    1. Munich
    2. Sin City
    3. Walk the Line
    4. Crash
    5. Batman Begins, generally don’t like the batman movies but this one kicked ass
    6. Good Night, and Good Luck
    7. Capote
    8. Harry Potter: Goblet of fire-I know I’m a dork
    9. Enron: The smartest guys in the room
    10. Match Point

    Match Point I saw just the other day so it is sticking in my head. Like I said, I’m sure some of the movies from your lists would make my after I see them. Brokeback should probably be on this list but I think my opinion was affected by the over the top hysteria hype that it received. My biggest problem with the story was that the distance in the movie between a couple of straight cowboys roughing it to two gay cowboys was very short. Not a real big build up of tension between the two which makes the makes it hard for me to really by in later to the idea of either of them actually being straight with this one exception. I wonder if released prisoners get giddy like a school girl at the chance to be reunited with their prison bitch on the outside? Two guys who hump each other after a few weeks in the wilderness because it’s cold outside are homos plain and simple.

  4. May 13, 2006 8:14 pm

    Interesting. From each of your lists, I’ve seen all the movies, except:

    The Aristocrats
    Harry Potter
    The Enron documentary
    Match Point

    So I can’t speak to those choices, but I’m awfully interested by both of you choosing Munich as your favorite film of the year. As with all Spielberg films, it’s impeccably filmed and edited, but didn’t that ending gnaw on you? While I understand from a storytelling–and political–perspective why he wanted to bring the two narratives (Israeli revenege, Palestinian terrorism) together in the end, he couldn’t figure out a sensible way to integrate them. The way he intercuts between scenes from Munich and Avi in New York makes the overwhelming suggestion that Avi is tortured by that event in some way, but that doesn’t really make sense. Besides the obvious fact that he wasn’t there, isn’t his whole character development centered around the idea that his actions in the Mossad have lost their moral basis? By thinking of the events in Munich, doesn’t that imply the opposite: that he’s obsessed with the moral basis for his actions? By reassociating Avi with the basis of his actions, doesn’t that climactic scene make nonsense of the movie’s central idea: that revenge unleashes an unending spiral of violence, and brings no satisfaction (political, moral or psychological) to the avengers?

    Really, the scene has it all backward. Avi is tortured by his own acts of violence, not others’. It would have been far more apt if while having sex, he couldn’t escape from his own acts of horror: killing the female spy with the blowdarts, blinding the tourist couple in the hotel, etc. That would have powerfully shown that even though he’s left a violent life, even during the most protected moments of intimacy, he’s still consumed by it.

    That being said, everything else about the movie was terrific: the suspense, the interaction of the Israeli characters, the very believable moral and psychological decay Avi and his crew experience, the final shot panning to the twin towers. But I can’t in good conscience consider a movie for a top five if it’s so narratively flawed.

    The other movie that I noticed both of you had near the top of your lists was Sin City, which was the last movie not to make the cut for me. I won’t argue with your choice, I completely understand it, but I want to make an observation about that movie: did you notice that the more cartoonish the actor, the more interesting the character? So that Clive Owen, who is a very naturalistic actor, made a very boring character; Bruce Willis, who’s a bit of a stylized action hero, made a more interesting character; and Mickey Rooney, who’s comically over-the-top in other movies, was by far the most interesting character. Personally, I think he should have gotten an Oscar nomination for the part. He should have received the gratuitous “nomination from an acclaimed, terribly violent film the Academy doesn’t quite know what do with” that William Hurt earned. I saw History of Violence, and while Hurt was quite amusing, he wasn’t doing anything that John Malkovich and John Lithgow haven’t done 20 times before. Rooney, on the other hand, took a big dumb cliché of a character and made him the most human thing in all of Sin City.

  5. Brad Glaser permalink
    May 14, 2006 3:58 am

    I just saw Match Point tonight, and it definitely jumps on to my list, probably at #6 between The Aristocrats (brilliant in its quirky way) and Walk the Line. It was easily Allen’s best work since Sweet and Lowdown and his most morally complex and interesting since Crimes and Misdemeanors (probably a Top Ten of the 80’s movie for me.)

    Ryan, Harry Potter was actually a near miss for me and by far the best of the franchise, so you’re not much more of a dork than I am, which isn’t really saying much.

    Micah, that’s a great observation on Sin City. It really makes sense given the attempt to bring a graphic novel to screen while being true, visually and stylistically, to its original medium. I want to address your thoughts on Munich, but quite honestly I’m tired at the moment. I’ll try to post my thoughts on Monday.

  6. Brad Glaser permalink
    May 14, 2006 4:02 am

    I know you said you didn’t nead it, but in case anyone is interested, here is a pretty cool link to a summary of a bunch of critics’ Top 10’s, with a summary of each movie’s placements at the bottom:

    I found it upon running into the same problem in making my list.

  7. Phil permalink
    May 15, 2006 3:30 pm

    Gentlemen –

    I couldn’t give a top 10 list either as I rarely go to the movies anymore, I just wait for them to come out on video. Many of the movies you have listed are on my list to see. Although I do think the following are very good movies, Munich, Batman Begins, Walk the Line, Sin City and Wedding Crashers.

    Speaking of Munich which I saw this weekend, although Micah finds it somewhat flawed, I think where Spielberg made his smartest move was in his casting. I think it would have been easy for a director to make this movie populating the Assasination Squad with known “A” list actors. Instead he chose to use actors who are relatively unknown in the States, although Daniel Craig will be known as soon as the next Bond comes out. I think this was a smart move because this allowed the story to be the star, not Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise et al going around blowing people up and you sitting there thinking, wow Tom Cruise is playing the same character he does in every movie.

  8. Phil permalink
    May 15, 2006 3:48 pm

    Ok I lie, here is my top 10 although it was a struggle coming up with 10 movies that I saw.

    1. Hustle & Flow – Big Fan of Terence Howard.
    2. Munich – It’s one of those movies where you know the baseline of the story, but afterwards you realize you don’t know anything about it, and you want to read more. I am also convinced if it weren’t for the attacks Pre would have won Gold in Munich.
    3. Walk the Line – J. Cash. One cool dude.
    4. Batman Begins – As a non-comic book fan, it was cool to see how Bruce got his start and wonderful toys. Not often do you have a 4th installment in a series be as good or better than the original. Although i suppose you could argue that this is not a prequel at all but a different interpretation.
    5. Crash – Terrence Howard again. For an ensemble cast, I think it’s the Mexican lock smith who steals the show.
    6. Wedding Crashers – Anything with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, I am on board.
    7. Sin City – Pretty cool all around with the art production and stories. Also Jessica Alba, sooooooo hot!
    8. A History of Violence – Good movie, albeit slightly too long.
    9. Chronicles of Narnia – Good graphics, ummmmm yes I am straining to get to 10.
    10. 40 Year Old Virgin – funny. Good to see the guy from Undeclared and Freaks & Geeks get some work (Seth Rogen??). Paul Rudd is slowly becoming a comedic icon and this for some reason bothers me.

  9. Ryan permalink
    May 15, 2006 6:27 pm

    I need to see Munich again before I can respond to Micah’s comments. My general memory of the movie tells me that I would probably agree. I left the movie with a lot of questions and agree with Phil that I spent the whole time relizing that I didn’t really know jack about what happened in Munich or after. It was tops on my list because I found myself thinking about it for a long time after and the action scenes were perfect in my opinion. They were big and amazing but were very real and not too hollywood. Not a big surprise from Spielberg though if you have seen Private Ryan. I am very interested in the psychology of drawing a line between punishment and revenge in society so this movie gave me a lot to think about.

    Brad, glad to hear you liked Match Point. After I put it on my list i was concerned that maybe the movie sucked and I was just in a trance looking at Scarlett Johanson the whole time.

    Micah, I just saw history of viloence about a week ago and I couldn’t for the life of me understand how William Hirt received an Oscar nomination or how the movie received a nomination for screenplay. First, Hurt was good but he was on screen for maybe 10 minutes. Second, the worst part of this movie was it’s absolute lack of story development. We get very few details on this guys past, the bad guys just show up one day after what seems to be a very long time considering the age of his kids, he has a brief period of conflict on how he should handle the situation, then he just decides that all of his problems can be solved by killing everyone involved including his own brother, and finally it actually works out nicely and he is able to return to his american pie life. Another point that pissed me off about the movie… If you were running from your past in organized crime where people want you dead, do you think maybe you would move somewhere farther than a 1 1/2 days drive from your old hood? Plus, could we get some hint as to how he became such a skilled killer? Having watched enough mob movies and the Sopranos, mob hitmen are clumsy at best when they do their work. This guy was like Steven Segal. A few good points of the movie even if they weren’t explored fully enough… Was his histoy of violence passed geneticaly to his bitch boy son that turned out to be like the Waterboy if you pissed him off enough? Was his wife always this nasty? The chearleader scene, angry stairs sex scene, and full frontal scenes were almost enough to save the movie for me only if my parents weren’t in town watching it with Rachel and me.

    So you get the point, I thought the movie lacked any sense of a compelling story. I am a simple man though so I did appreciate the gratuity of the movie.

  10. Ryan permalink
    May 15, 2006 6:46 pm

    Brad thanks for the link to the critics lists. Was The Sea Inside really a 2005 movie? Had I know that, it would have made my list. It has beena while since I have seen it so i can’t too much of a comment but Javier Bardem is the shit. Great movie.

  11. May 15, 2006 9:13 pm

    A couple clarifications from Metacritic’s list of lists:
    -Hotel Rwanda was from 2004. It was nominated for Best Picture that year.
    -The Sea Inside was from 2004. Javier Bardem was nominated for best actor that year. And I agree that that was a great movie centered around an astonishing performance. Javier Bardem is indeed the shit.

  12. Brad Glaser permalink
    May 15, 2006 11:51 pm

    I think that those two movies making lists are an issue of some critics (not many) who base their lists on when the movie actually makes it to screens nationwide. I’ve read a couple of “small town” critics (that being anyone not from L.A., NYC or Chicago) complain that they end up with ‘tweener movies that they don’t see in time to get on their Top Ten lists for the year they were actually released.

  13. Bren permalink
    May 16, 2006 3:11 pm

    Hey so better late than never, and honestly I don’t know if I can even come up with a top 10 as I haven’t seen a bunch of movies from 2005 like Syriana, Aristocrats, Munich, Brokeback, Transamerica, Capote…so what business do I have making my list? Because I want to people to listen, dammit!! Anyways I digress…

    1. Walk the Line … this movie = good times, never wanted it to end
    2. Hustle and Flow… even better when you consider no company would make the movie… seriously when John Singleton wants to produce a movie about black written by a white guy, why question it? It’s like fuckin with Dre about backing Eminem…
    3. King Kong… Big fucking ape vs. 3 Tyrannosauuses (tyrannisauri?) while throwing hot chick around in air rules…and weird slime thing with big teeth eating guy’s head has me at hello
    4. Kung Fu Hustle … and I don’t like foreign movies,
    5. 40 Year Old Virgin
    6 Batman Begins … cool take on how Bruce became Batman
    … gets a little foggy after this…

    35. Good Night and Good Luck… more of a cool history lesson than good movie…acting was good (did Clooney really deserve best supporting?) but not nearly as suspenseful as other McCarthy films (can’t think of the DeNiro movie from early 90’s) did make me want to smoke more butts though

    75. Crash racism in La? didn’t we know that after Rodney King and OJ?

    284. Fever Pitch There’s some guy on guy porn that’s less gay than this movie

    2000. Taxi… note to self when Tony Bartone wants to watch a comedy starring Queen Latifah, fight him at all costs

  14. Bren permalink
    May 16, 2006 3:20 pm

    oh yeah

    I forgot Cinderella Man, Sin City, and Grizzly Man in my list to round out my top 9…and if Hotel Rwantda counts, then put that in there too to finish up my top ten….really no list is complete without a closet gay man with a Prince Valiant haircut feeling the heat off a bear shit on it

  15. Phil permalink
    May 16, 2006 6:14 pm

    Regarding Grizzly Man, I am sorry but the whole thing makes me laugh. A few years ago I saw a documentary on this dude and it explained what happenend to him. Basically he lived amongst the bears and followed them. But one weekend his girlfriend showed up and they disappeared and they believe the bears got them. It just reminds me of the scene from Anchorman

    Brick Tamland: [opposing women in the newsroom] I read somewhere their periods attract bears. Bears can smell the menstruation.
    Brian Fantana: Well, that’s just great. You hear that, Ed? Bears. Now you’re putting the whole station in jeopardy.

  16. Bill Musto permalink
    May 22, 2006 2:19 am

    Is it just me or was “Walk the Line” pretty much “Ray” with white folk? No doubt WTL was a good movie, but while watching it I felt like I had saw it already. Other than that I cannot argus with the other tops for 2005.

  17. May 22, 2006 3:28 am

    I’d say it’s just you, considering every person I’ve spoken to about the movie has loved it. But it’s more than just the force of popular opinion; what makes Walk The Line different–and better, I think–than Ray is that unlike most rock n’ roll movies, it feels like more than a Behind the Music special with actors. Ray’s central appeal, like a Behind the Music special, is seeing a rich and famous person make bad decisions and great music. Ray, while anchored by an amazing performance by Jamie Foxx, still followed a familiar pattern: humble beginning followed by meteoric rise followed by drug-addled success followed by fall from grace followed by wisdom and redemption. That it’s true (sort of–the guy had at least four more wives the movie didn’t show) makes it no less cliched.

    While Walk the Line certainly followed the same conventions (amazing how these guys all made the same mistakes, isn’t it?), it added something more than we’ve come to expect from rock n’ roll biographies, or film biographies in general, for that matter. It offered the viewer a reason to care beyond the spectacle of watching how a famous person became famous.

    Unlike Ray, where I cared about Ray Charles because, well, he’s Ray Charles, I cared about the two central characters in Walk the Line–Johnny and June–because I hungered to see the two of them together. By making their relationship the focus of the narrative (and not Johnny’s life in general), the writers of Walk the Line structured their film more like a romance than a rock n’ roll biography. Watching Johnny and June come together, and then break up, and then realize they’re made for each other, and then face obstacles to getting back together was more similar to my experience of watching Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca or Johnny and Baby in Dirty Dancing than it was to watching Ray Charles in Ray. And longing to see a romance consummated makes for a more powerful movie-watching experience, I think, than the simple curiosity that drives the experience of watching Ray.

  18. Phil permalink
    May 22, 2006 12:54 pm

    I caught both Capote and King Kong this weekend. It was nice to see Peter Jackson team up those two Orange County stars (Jack Black, Colin Hanks) again. I am sure all of those who actually saw Orange County never thought they’d get a job again. Hanks was great in this movie as a supporting actor. Brody did a good job as well. I didn’t really understand the story between Mr. Hayes and and Jimmy, it really went nowhere.

    I didn’t think I’d enjoy Capote. I thought I wouldn’t be able to deal with his accent for an entire movie. I think my only disappointment came when the DVD crapped out during chapter 22, which is only the chapter where Perry explains what happened inside the house. I had to skip it and go to Chapter 23 but after the movie ended I was able to go back to 22 and watch it. Aside from Hoffman, I liked Clifton Collins Jr’s portrayal of Perry. I have seen Collins in a few things recently (most notable Thief on FX) and have become a fan.

  19. BIll Musto permalink
    May 22, 2006 2:32 pm

    Considering that it is the 5th modern Batman move made (I think) and that we’ve had a deluge of bad superhero movies lately, Batman Begins was a pleasant surprise. One of the best action sequel (or prequel) movies made relative to the original.

    (No Police Academy jokes please.)

  20. Jen permalink
    May 24, 2006 4:08 am

    Here’s my shot at 2005’s top 5 anyway:

    1. Walk the Line – the love story between John and June is so compelling. I saw this movie in the theater by myself and found myself smiling and looking around the theater at the end to try to share the love with anyone who would acknowledge me.

    2. Hustle & Flow – the scene at the bar between DJay and Skinny is so raw. I also loved the relationship between DJay and Nola. I think Taryn Manning was fantastic in that role.

    3. Brokeback Mountain – While I agree that their relationship seemed to sprout (is that a bad choice of words considering the subject? hmm…) out of nowhere that night in the tent, the tortured lovestory that followed was very moving and emotional to me.

    4. King Kong – I had no expectations that I would be as wildly entertained by the action and as moved by the relationship between Kong and Naomi Watts. I was a sucker for that big ape.

    5. March of the Penguins – Thanks for reminding me of this one, Brad. I must admit, I am a sucker for not only big apes, but most animals. And while “Myownworstcritic” passed out on the couch when we put this DVD in, I couldn’t have been more interested/worried for/thrilled at how these penguins soldiered on through their whole cycle of life process. Morgan Freeman’s soothing narration sure didn’t hurt either.

    5. Good Night and Good Luck: Solid movie. David Straithairn is great. Clooney’s pretty overrated, but they had to give him supporting on this cuz you know he wasn’t getting best director. I mean, Opie pulled it off, but Dr. Ross/Booker Brooks?

    And the two worst in my opinion:

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

    When I think about how grating each of the main character’s voices are in these movies, it makes me shiver.

    Well, there is nothing redeeming to say about Charlie & Choc. Period.

    As far as Capote goes, I am normally a huge Seymour-Hoffman fan, but I felt like he got the Oscar for this because they should have given it to him for past (and in my opinion)better performances, Magnolia comes to mind for supporting.
    When I first saw Capote, I thought it was ok. “Myownworst critic” got more out of it because he was more familiar with Truman Capote and In Cold Blood. So, I thought I would come to appreciate the movie more after I read In Cold Blood. I read it and loved the book, but it actually made me realize that the movie did nothing for me. I could not invest in Capote’s character or his obsession with Perry and his “suffering” as he waited for the ending for his novel. However, the real Capote’s telling of the murders had me hooked. If any of you haven’t read In Cold Blood, I highly recommend it. Capote is so skilled at narrative non-fiction.

  21. Jen permalink
    May 24, 2006 4:09 am

    Sorry, Top 6. Good Night and Good Luck is #6.

  22. Sue Garson permalink
    June 2, 2006 3:17 pm

    What’s your take on both Thank You For Smoking and The Aryan Couple?

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