The Top Ten Movies of 2006

The Top Ten Movies of 2006

By Mercurio D. Rivera

More than any other year I can remember, the first half of 2006 was a veritable wasteland for movie-goers. Fortunately, the second half came through big-time, led by a triumvirate of Mexican directors (Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Fernandez Inarritu, and Guillermo del Toro) who left their mark on American cinema with three truly outstanding films (more later). This past year also saw Hollywood’s first attempts at tackling the subject of September 11th with the release of United 93 and World Trade Center, two very good movies that straddled the line between honoring and exploiting the heroes of that day. As a New Yorker who works across the street from Ground Zero, I can only say that, for me, it was still too soon. We also saw dueling movies about late-Victorian era magicians, The Illusionist and The Prestige, which provided solid—if not top-ten worthy—entertainment (the former a much better film than the latter). Other notable critics’ favorites that didn’t make my list include the flawed Flags of Our Fathers, which suffers from a lack of narrative drive and an unfocused viewpoint; Spanish director Pedro Aldomovar’s average-fare Volver, which can’t decide whether it is a realistic drama or a foray into surrealism: characters react to the return of their dead mother as casually as if they’d had a letter returned for insufficient postage; Will Smith’s vehicle, The Pursuit of Happyness, an uplifting but formulaic tale of the American dream, which makes for an excellent rental; and Borat, which provided a few good belly laughs, but which ultimately—like much of reality TV—I just didn’t trust; I couldn’t tell whether reactions were real or scripted.

Blow the trumpets, unfurl the banner and release the doves; here are the best movies of 2006:

10. Happy Feet. Moulin Rouge meets March of the Penguin and hatches a gorgeous, breathtaking animated adventure superior to either of those films. The protagonist, a young Emperor penguin (voiced by Elijah Wood), finds that he can’t sing the traditional mating call or “heartsong” of other penguins—but boy can he tap dance! When a fish drought is attributed to his un-penguin-like ways, tribal elders cast him out of the community, sending him on an odyssey to meet the “aliens” (human beings) who have been over-fishing the waters. With stunning, magnificently realized frozen landscapes, dizzying chase scenes, a wonderful score, and the traditional theme of individuality versus conformity—combined with modern lessons in global environmentalism—Happy Feet is the best computer-animated movie since Toy Story 2.

9. Dreamgirls. Bill Condon’s electrifying adaptation of the Broadway musical shows us the rise of the faux-Supremes girl-group, The Dreamettes, and the member they cast out along the way, played, ironically enough, by American Idol cast-off Jennifer Hudson in a bring-down-the-house-and-vaporize-the-rubble vocal performance. (When I caught a late-afternoon showing of Dreamgirls in a near-empty theater, the man sitting in front of me gave her performance of “And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going” a standing ovation.) When she’s not singing, Hudson’s acting is so average it seems unfair she’s the favorite for this year’s Oscar for best supporting actress. Beyonce, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx also shine, and while it doesn’t quite have the razzle-dazzle of Chicago, Dreamgirls is still wildly entertaining.

8. Apocalypto. Say what you will about Mel Gibson (he’s an anti-Semitic zealot with a drinking problem; there, I said it), the man is a master filmmaker and storyteller. This audacious epic, set during the decline of the Mayan empire, dares to tell us a story from the perspective of a young hunter in a rain forest community of hunter-gatherers whose bucolic existence is shattered when marauding tribesmen from the capital city, on the prowl for human sacrifices, decimate his village. When our protagonist and his tribesman are captured and transported to the city, he must find a way to escape and find his way home to rescue his pregnant wife and young son. Despite the boat-loads of blood and gore, this pulse-pounding adventure accomplishes what only the very best movies do: it transports us to an utterly alien world and makes us care.

7. Notes on a Scandal. Judy Dench plays an obsessed lesbian stalker and Cate Blanchett a pedophile who’s the object of her twisted affections in this delicious British melodrama. Densch’s character, a battle-hardened London schoolteacher (who also serves as the film’s unreliable narrator), slowly finds herself smitten by the young Bohemian art teacher who joins the faculty. When she catches her in a compromising position with a 15-year-old student, blackmail ensues, along with twists and turns and reversals galore that keep the audience spellbound as both ladies ignite the screen in a showdown for the Oscar.

6. The Last King of Scotland. An adventure-seeking Scottish doctor travels to Uganda where he winds up treating and befriending the country’s charismatic leader, Idi Amin (Forrest Whittaker in a sure-bet Oscar-winning performance) in this pulse-pounding drama. Seduced by the luxurious, hard-partying lifestyle of those in power—even winding up in a dangerous romantic tryst with one of Amin’s wives—the young doctor abandons his fellow aid workers (including a superb, unrecognizable Gillian Anderson) and becomes Amin’s personal physician and adviser only to realize, slowly, to his horror, that his patient is a bloodthirsty, psychopathic despot. I expected a political drama and instead enjoyed one of the year’s best thrillers.

5. Letters From Iwo Jima. Clint Eastwood’s deeply affecting war movie chronicles the lives and death of Japanese soldiers on the ultimate suicide mission: defending the island of Iwo Jima from U.S. forces. Unlike Flag of our Fathers, Letters hones in on the viewpoint of a few compelling characters, including an Olympic equestrian gold medal winner, a dashing general (Ken Watanabe), and most compellingly, a young baker aching to return home to his wife and baby. Eastwood uses their letters to loved ones as a dramatic device to humanize enemy forces like never before.

4. Babel. Alejandro Fernandez Inarritu’s brilliant 21 Grams and Amores Perros, which made my lists in 2001 and 2003, respectively, explored the theme of fate versus chance through splintered, non-sequential, intersecting storylines. This year’s ambitious follow-up, Babel, employs the same filmmaking techniques and tackles the same theme—along with the basic idea that most conflict arises from miscommunication—when a Japanese man’s gift of a rifle to his Moroccan tour guide triggers three suspenseful, globe-spanning stories set in Japan, Morocco and the U.S./Mexico. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are outstanding as a couple who travel to Morocco to try to salvage their marriage after the death of their baby, but the real standouts are Rinko Kikuchi as a troubled, deaf Japanese teenager and Adrianna Barraza in an Oscar-worthy performance as a Mexican nanny who brings along the two little American children she cares for to her son’s all-night wedding in Mexico with disastrous consequences.

3. Children of Men. Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron’s bleak vision of the future stars Clive Owen as a Londoner trying to save the human species from extinction after a plague has rendered all women infertile. In the year 2027 no child has been born on the planet for twenty years, governments across the globe have collapsed, and London has become a chaotic police state plagued by terrorism, religious cultists, looters and illegal immigrants (“fugees”) who are kept in cages on the streets prior to deportation. When Owen’s character encounters a pregnant African fugee, he embarks on a hellish journey to transport her to the fabled “Human Project,” humanity’s last hope to propagate the species, along the way meeting memorable characters like an unforgettable Michael Caine as a futuristic drug-using hippie. What makes this dystopian futureworld so frightening is that it’s only a slight extrapolation of present-day concerns about terrorism, government fascism, and environmental catastrophe. Intelligent and moving, this one is destined to become a science fiction classic.

2. Pan’s Labyrinth. The third consecutive movie on my list by a Mexican director is Guillermo del Toro’s unforgettable hybrid of political drama and dark fantasy. Set in 1944 Spain, Franco’s fascistic regime has taken over, and a young girl must cope with her pregnant mother’s marriage to a sadistic general looking to stamp out the final resistance fighters. It also happens that the young protagonist may be an amnesia-stricken princess of a fantastical mythological underworld who must complete three tasks given to her by a faun (half-man, half-goat) to regain her memories and take her rightful place in the royal pantheon. Grim, violent and imaginative, this poignant film stays with you long after the credits roll.

1. The Departed. Martin Scorcese is back in his element in this brilliant, brutal crime drama, his best since Goodfellas, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon as flip sides of the same counterfeit coin: one an undercover police officer in the Irish mob, the other a mob-connected cop on Boston’s police force. The labyrinthine plot explores the theme of identity, what makes us who we are, our beliefs or our actions, and has so much ramped-up suspense that you’re guaranteed to wear out the edge of your seat. Featuring a veritable who’s who of tough-guy actors (Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen) playing tough-guy characters, Jack Nicholson out-toughs them all as a mob kingpin with a penchant for dildos and threeways. Somebody please hand Scorcese the Oscar he deserves: he directed the year’s best movie.

The near-misses include at least three movies that might have cracked the list any other year: 11. Little Miss Sunshine (oddball comedy about a quirky family’s Vacation-style road trip to a child beauty pageant—with the funniest ending of the year); 12. The Queen (Helen Mirren captures the essence of Queen Elizabeth II in this compelling drama imagining the behind-the-scenes reactions of the Royal Family to the death of Princess Diana); 13. Little Children (dark drama starring Kate Winlset as an unsatisfied suburban housemom who, on a dare, kisses a stranger in a park, and the consequences that follow); 14. An Inconvenient Truth/Who Killed the Electric Car? (Two documentaries guaranteed to educate and infuriate: Al Gore’s lecture on the looming threat of global warming, and Chris Paine’s account of the fate of electric cars that would feasibly reduce our dependence on foreign oil); 15. The Devil Wears Prada (entertaining chick flick about a young assistant’s experience in the fashion industry, with a sensational Meryl Streep as Cruella de Ville with depth); 16. Casino Royale (a terrific character-focused Bond film that almost manages to escape its spy-film genre boundaries); 17. Snakes on a Plane (a hilarious celebration of the B-movie and future audience-participation cult classic); 18. Slither (touch-in-cheek horror movie about parasitic alien slugs who transform ordinary Joes into flesh-hungry zombies); 19. Curse of the Golden Flower (China’s Tang dynasty meets Aaron Spelling’s Dynasty in this visually breathtaking martial arts soap opera).

26 Replies to “The Top Ten Movies of 2006”

  1. Mercurio, you said:

    “Pedro Aldomovar’s average-fare Volver, … can’t decide whether it is a realistic drama or a foray into surrealism: characters react to the return of their dead mother as casually as if they’d had a letter returned for insufficient postage…”

    That’s called Magic Realism and it’s everywhere in Latin films (and literature). One example that comes to mind is “Like Water for Chocolate,” (Como Agua Para Chocolate), which has characters that don’t react as we might expect them to towards the supernatural.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103994/

  2. My problem was with the uneven approach to magical realism, if that’s what was being attempted. One character expressed shock to the mother’s return from the dead; the rest were fairly ho-hum about it.

  3. After reading the Evil One’s list I realized how few movies I saw last year. Out of the 19 I’ve seen three, and one of those was on DVD. I guess I’m not thrilled the NYC movie viewing experience.

    I’ll keep the list in mind when I next vist NetFlix, though.

    -Devin

  4. Devin, if you can get to the times square AMC in the afternoon, during a weekday, the huge theaters are usually empty, especially if the movie’s been out for a while. That’s my favorite way to see a film. (unless of course it’s Snakes on a Plane)

  5. Dave,

    I only saw two of the movies on your list: Who Killed the Electric Car (with you, in fact) and The Devil Wears Prada (recently on DVD). I wasn’t that impressed with DWP. The story was predictable and I didn’t really care about the characters or the world they inhabited. It was definitely a chick flick, although I saw it with two other guys (Lou and Marc). We spent the rest of the night trying to figure out who the chick was. It turned out it was all of us.

    I wished I saved David Elliot’s Top 10 for you. As always, it was very eclectic. Below is some of what he wrote and his list for the worst movies of 2006.

    WORST MOVIES

    (we rank the most rank on top):

    1“Miami Vice” Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell act with their hair in Michael Mann’s pumped macho spree, a vacuum on steroids that “revives” ’80s pulp trash but without the fun.

    2 “Freedomland” Joe Roth’s urban hell folds piety (cop Samuel L. Jackson: “You gotta let go, and let God”) into Julianne Moore’s agony as a guilty mother obsessed with a dead child. Excruciating.

    3 “Adam & Steve” The worst gay sex comedy ever made. Each actor in it, not only Sally Kirkland, seems a serial career victim.

    4 “Apocalypto” However harsh, pre-Columbian Mexico was not this miserable mudslide of sadism. But Mel Gibson has to rip our hearts out.

    5 “The Da Vinci Code” Ordained hit, foredoomed dud, lurid in pretension, loony in plot, this mess could have confounded even Leonardo.

    6 “Click” A clunk. Adam Sandler is a cute architect who smokes manly cigars but plays with lives childishly, using a magical remote.

    7 “The Good German” Not good, no way. Steven Soderbergh wastes Cate Blanchett and George Clooney in a dreary postwar Berlin, and the main rubble is Paul Attanasio’s cornball script.

    8 “Tideland” Pathetic gothic wallow from Terry Gilliam. Its purpose seems to be the dragged-out mental torturing of a bereft girl.

    9 “Time to Leave” Art kitsch. Francois Ozon’s film of a vain young Parisian dying slowly milks his exit with pedantic, drippy solemnity.

    10 “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” Sucker bait. Bloated with budget, barnacled with effects, this octopus of excess turns Johnny Depp into manic merchandising.

    – DAVID ELLIOT

    TOP PERFORMANCES

    Resisting a fierce itch to include Judi Dench and Peter O’Toole (his “Venus” and her “Notes on a Scandal” open here next month), these performances seem 2006’s best in show:

    Penélope Cruz as Raimunda, “Volver” Poorly used in American and Euro films, the gangly beauty returns to Spain and finds a new amplitude, playing Pedro Almodovar’s enchantress and sexy survivalist.

    Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro, “The World’s Fastest Indian” A Great Old Guy to rival Walter Huston (“Treasure of the Sierra Madre”) and Richard Farnsworth (“The Straight Story”), Hopkins’ motorcycle man gives us a new vision: biker stud as gutsy codger.

    Nicole Kidman as Diane Arbus, “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus” As the layered core of a gorgeous, erotically charged film, Kidman turns fragility to strength and finds her muse along with Arbus’.

    Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II, “The Queen” With subtlety, wit and a touch of English pathos, Mirren re-crowns Liz by showing the sensitive person behind the chilled doily manner. Even a little dullness works.

    Forest Whitaker as Gen. Idi Amin Dada, “The Last King of Scotland” The big actor fills a huge role as clown/creep Amin, a dictator who terrified as if by divine right. And yet, with bizarre showmanship.

    TOP DOCUMENTARIES

    Some 2006 documentaries shot away complacency with robust advocacy or condemnation. No, “Borat” was not a documentary. Most of “World Trade Center” only seemed like one. Five very real ones:

    “An Inconvenient Truth” The remarkably charming Al Gore heats up the hard news on global warming, lucidly. Denied the presidency, Al should become U.N. secretary general with special powers for de-warming.

    “Deliver Us From Evil” The stunning spiritual biopsy of a pedophilic priest who smarmed into homes and destroyed lives. The extra shock is how far he was protected by the church hierarchy.

    “Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man” Warmly intimate but not a schmooze or snooze, Lian Lunson’s tribute to the sad-souled Canadian bard of love and loss rivals any of his best albums.

    “Shut Up & Sing” The doc by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck stands up and cheers for the embattled Dixie Chicks, gals who paid a price for free speech but did not choke, musically or politically.

    “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till” The Noir Film Festival gave us this nakedly candid probe of a 1955 racial murder that can still lacerate your nerves and engorge your mind with rage.

    TOP ENTERTAINMENTS

    My Top 10 has streaks of entertainment, notably “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Science of Sleep” and boorish “Borat,” but none are defined by that. These are, very enjoyably:

    “The Ant Bully” A kid falls into the bug zone and is rightly humbled. The year’s most amusing animation, antsy with fun, never spraying overkill.

    “C.S.A.: Confederate States of America” Kevin Willmott takes an old question (what if the Confederacy had won and survived?) and answers it with a subversive pseudo-doc, satirically biting.

    “The Devil Wears Prada” As Amanda Priestly, priestess of fashion, Meryl Streep purrs while clicking stiletto heels of wit, ruling a very funny script and string-pulling the sweet, unaffected Anne Hathaway.

    “Duck Season” The Latino fest imported Fernando Eimbcke’s charmer about teens and a pizza delivery man enjoying slack time and reverie in a Mexico City apartment. It casts a neat, fine spell.

    “The Matador” Pierce Brosnan urbanely stretches as a cheeky, rumpled rogue who upends the lives of squarish Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis. Like Noel Coward, he has truly “a talent to amuse.”

    – DAVID ELLIOTT

  6. Snakes on a Plane? Really? I enjoyed the movie of course, but it wasn’t great. Part of its appeal was the audience participation, but I’m surprised this came so close to making your list. Then again, maybe the other choices were even weaker.

    Did you ever get to see The History Boys?

  7. Matt/Devin,

    The AMC theaters also offer half-price matinees on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays before noon. I didn’t get to see many movies this year either–part of it was the cost, part of it was a lack of free time, and there were also fewer films I was really enthusiastic about seeing in a theater when I might have a better experience renting it on DVD. If you aren’t in a hurry to see a movie, it’s actually cheaper to buy it than it is to pay for two tickets…

  8. I’m disappointed you’ve polluted my annual top ten list with the ravings of that hoity-toity San Diego critic. I disagree with so much of what he says, but where do I begin? First of all, his bias against movies with any violence in them leads him to do his readers a disservice by including the epic “Apocalypto” on his worst list; he’s so wrong (for all the reasons I noted above). I’m surprised he didn’t include the ultra-violent “The Departed” on his worst list too. “Click” with Adam Sandler, I’m embarassed to say for fear of losing all credibility, was pretty solid. It veered toward sappiness, but overall I thought it was a clever, successful popcorn flick. “The Da Vinci Code” was admittedly a bore, but not ten-worst worthy. I am in agreement with Mr. Elliott, however, on “The Devil Wears Prada”–though not with you apparently. It was breezy fun. You’ve just got to learn to embrace your feminine side, man.

  9. Mercurio says:

    “‘Click’ with Adam Sandler, I’m embarassed to say for fear of losing all credibility, was pretty solid.”

    I haven’t seen it, but do yourself a favor first and google “time stop porn,” which is all really “Click” aims to be, in this author’s humble opinion: teenage fantasy made into a (PG) film.

  10. Dave,

    Pollute your annual top 10 list? I was only trying to insert some sanity into it! Only kidding. I think DE gave The Departed 2 stars (of 4). Below is his review, if you are interested.

    DWP breezy fun? I don’t know about that. It certainly was predictable. Let’s run down the checklist, shall we? Girl comes to the big city to make her mark. Check. Gets a job she has no chance of getting because of her down to Earth pluckiness. Check. She’s hopelessly out of place and ridiculed. Check. She transforms from ugly duckling to swan. Check. She,s finally accepted yet begins not to like her “new” self. Check. Utimately she returns to her true self and is rewarded for it. Not only that but her harpy of a boss ends up respecting her (giving her the cliche you-remind-me-of-me-when-I-was-young smile at the end). Check and check. Oh yeah, she ends up in the perfect job at the end and all is right with the world. Check. Weren’t you a little underwhelmed by it all? Now I’m glad I didn’t see the rest of your movies. I’m sure I would have to argue about them with you as well.

    Scorsese stumbles badly with weakly plotted ‘The Departed’

    By David Elliott
    MOVIE CRITIC

    October 5, 2006

    ‘Nobody gives it to you, you have to take it,” snarls Jack Nicholson at the start of “The Departed.” Nicholson takes the movie with dancing brows, mandarin sighs, brutal zingers and a lewd smugness that make his Francis Costello a dark draft of Boston Irish ale.

    Costello, who has a spade beard and fancies opera, rules a small piece of Beantown. A throwback, the cocky primitive swaggers amusingly over his small, vicious gang. He has almost all the brains, and even the savviest of his killers (Ray Winstone) is like an ape dimly aware of James Cagney.

    Martin Scorsese’s film, stretched like an epic but often feeling like a TV series chopped and packed as a movie special, relies on Nicholson to steal scenes of unsure worth. He is at the center of rival young cops on the state force (the “staties”): Leonardo Di Caprio’s Costigan, whose rootless identity makes him an easy inside plant in the Costello mob, and Matt Damon’s Sullivan, as a kid favored by Costello and now a snappy, hustling detective spying for Costello in the force.

    The story is simply about which mole will be outed first by the other. Vera Farmiga is Madolyn, the rather naive police psychiatrist the young bulls share, the one female treated somewhat humanly. Others are whores and porn bait, and Nicholson is the master misogynist, spewing foul lingo and absurdly insulting a teen girl.

    Departed from the film is too much of Scorsese’s talent. Irish Boston is not his turf. Letting Costello feel superior to pedophile priests is a dismal reduction of Scorsese’s famed Catholic themes. The director’s taut ricochet of profanity and violence feels rote and showy, a lesson pounded into an increasingly jaded class, with a sagging crescendo of murders.

    “This ain’t reality TV!” Costello barks, but we could use TV realism like the far more subtle show about the morally compromised Rhode Island Irish, “Brotherhood.” Stapled together with computer scans and cellphone calls, and cheap devices like Madolyn’s youthful photo (to bring out Costigan’s sensitivity and Sullivan’s basic indifference), the story crams in hot tunes or some sex whenever the threat of violence sags.

    A shortfall is that Damon and DiCaprio play morally slushy characters, lacking much growth or complication. They fret their roles, fatigued by lumpy writing, though Damon fits the milieu. Not just king rooster Nicholson but other old pros like Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin grab the stage easily, and Mark Wahlberg is effectively simple, as an angry cop defined by hate.

    The script has Hong Kong roots (“Internal Affairs,” 2002), yet no star can save the warehouse episode with visiting Chinese hoods, not even Nicholson sneering, “No tickee, no laundry.” Scorsese has never had a great ear except for songs, and his itch to pick up a scene with a jolt, a snapper, a crudity, often betrays his actual sensitivities.

    Main scripter William Monahan (“Kingdom of Heaven”) achieves a rhythm of industrially low-grade and sadistic hysteria. A lot of talent bought into this, but can they sell it? Crime stories have become incredibly generic, and though this is not a pit like “Miami Vice,” some bursts of good staging and imagery only serve to remind us that Scorsese is a streak gambler who can get stuck with the wrong hand

  11. Please! No more DE reviews! That guy is so out of touch with the mainstream that it’s tough to bear. How many of his “best” movies have been recognized for excellence? How many movies did he pan that are Oscar nominees? He writes about “The Departed” that “the story is simply about which mole will be outed first by the other.” That’s like saying Citizen Kane is simply about who or what is Rosebud. The suspense in The Departed was incredible! He should stay home and rent his feminine foo-foo French films from the 60’s and stop inflicting his warped sensibilities on the public.

    As for DVP (speaking of feminine foo-foo:)), it’s all about the execution, not the story arc. This is chick flick, after all; not the French Connection. You can break down pretty much every romantic comedy in the manner you did. And the performances were superb–especially Merryl Streep! In any event, the good chick flicks need to be recognized too, no? No? 🙂 Okay. By the way, you might try “Thank You For Smoking,” which, while it didn’t make the list, has a very cynical take on human nature and might be more to your liking.

  12. The only films I have seen in your top 10, Dave, are “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Snakes on a Plane.” As you can tell, I did not go to the movies much last year. I am also embarrassed to admit I saw “Click” too, and also found it a clever (and very timely) popcorn flick.

  13. I forced myself into the mire of the NYC movie scene last night and saw “The Departed”. Amazing film. I’ve always like DiCaprio, but he simply commands in the role. Every other actor was also simply outstanding and really made me believe they were those people, not just actors in those roles.

    It seems to me that the reviewer DE has some problems with the authenticity of the film. I have several friends who grew up in Boston and they all say that this is the ONLY film that has the local dialect and culture correct. If he doesn’t buy the violence, he needs to stop watching movies for a while and turn on the evening news in any city. And the language was over-the-top? Seemed pretty tame to me, but that’s coming from an ex-Navy man.

    I couldn’t tell you the last time I watched the Oscars, and I stopped caring about them three years before that, but it’d be nice to see this film pick up some little gold guys.

    -Devin

  14. Dave,

    It has occurred to me that you might be offended at my posting of a local critic’s negative review of your choice for number one movie of 2006. There was no insult intended. Your talking to someone here who hardly goes to the movies. So if you were insulted, please accept my apologies.

    That being said, :), I have to comment on your comment that I would probably like Thank You For Smoking because of it’s cynical take on human nature. So I’m a hardened cynic because I didn’t like DWP? I thought I was pretty clear in my reasons for not liking what I thought was an average, by-the-numbers, chick flick. Surely it’s okay to disagree with some of your choices? 😉

  15. Noticed some folks (men, it figures) missing nearly everything worthwhile in Devil Wears Prada. Perhaps you’re confusing the book with the movie. The book was a conventional, two-dimensional hackneyed tale. The movie was all about power, the woman, working in New York, and the complexities of the zero sum choices you learn as you become an adult. It was one of the only complex, realistic portrayals of a powerful business figure in movies that I can think of, and embedded in popular Hollywood fare at that. The real movie wasn’t even about the girl’s story, about which we could care less. It was about the successful people, Meryl Streep and, to a lesser extent, Stanley Tucci. And add in a dose of real minion entertainment in Emily Blunt.

  16. Other David R: Sharing our embarrassment at enjoying “Click” helps ameliorate the shame.

    SG: Movies are a matter of taste; of course you can have a legitimate contrary view of my #1 chick flick of the year! As for plastering all those DE reviews, you know his effete tastes drive me nuts so I assume you were trying to rile me up a little, to stir things up. Mission accomplished, and apology unnecessary. The Departed has appeared on literally *hundreds* of Top 10 Lists, and I could’ve pasted a bunch of them in response, but best to express our own views here, I think. I don’t believe you’re a hardened cynic b/c of your views on DWP, you’re a cynic because of your views on the beloved Will Smith. 🙂

    Gail: Sorry I just called DWP a “chick flick” yet again. You bring up some valid points about those other worthwile aspects of the movie. Although it was about the fashion industry, it reminded me of my first year working at a large law firm.

    Devin: Way to go! I’m happy to hear you made it into a theater and loved The Departed.

  17. As a close relative of “Mercurio”, my opinions on his Top 10 List have always been colored by blood – not the blood bath of Apocalypto or the blood gush of The Departed but the shared sensibility of a common family experience. Having been born and raised in New York and also having lived in San Diego for nearly a decade, I can certainly relate to his comments about the still-fresh wound that United 93 and World Trade Center could re-open and the “hoity-toity” musings of that San Diego critic. I agree that “Click” was almost disarmingly charmful and, with a few glaring exceptions, not your typical Adam Sandler fare. Mercurio has been trying to get me to see The Departed since it opened but I’ve resisted because I’m afraid that it might supplant The Godfather in my pantheon of all-time classics or, at least, that’s what he keep telling me. All in all, a smart list; one that will keep me going to the local Blockbuster throughout the months of February and March.

  18. Yes, it is I, the nothing-short-of-superlative Neptunio! Now waitaminnit…let me clear my head of the macabre visions of mutilation, maiming, and mayhem that seemed to reverberate throughout this year’s top 10 list. Yes, we all love to revel in the excitement of seeing the occassional slaughtering and butchering of our fellow man. However, I strongly feel that the lighthearted and kid-friendly films of the year were extremely, if not completely, overlooked and underrated. Seeing as how a great movie like Happy Feet waddled and sang its way on to the list, I was surprised to read that Monster House did not. Although entwined with kiddish humor, this flick (by Spielberg/ Zemeckis mind you) makes up for it with a surprising amount of suspense, and a healthy dose of heart. Not to mention the visually eye-catching animation in the film that is equally stunning in the CG world of Happy Feet. Animated works such as these two have enough charm to pluck at the heartstrings of the most cantankerous individual. All in all, the top ten list was solid, but try and keep a spot or two open for the PG films that truly deserve to sit on the higher rungs of the hollywood ladder. You’ve just got to learn to embrace your inner-child, man.

    Now…on with the slaughering!

  19. Nephew “Neptunio”: Good point on Monster House, a terrific, high-quality animated movie with some good scares, kiddo. It would’ve come in at #20 if I had just added one more pick to my list. In fact, consider it included in my Top 20.

  20. Agreed, Other David R. It felt like a hallucinatory trip, and while I wasn’t sure that I followed it, it almost didn’t matter. There was a palpable sense of dread throughout.

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