Sunday, December 31, 2006

Best Of/Worst Of 2006

While I haven't seen everything released this year (I don't get paid to see films like some critics), I have seen most (if not all) of the big ones, and here are the best and worst of the crop:


1. Children of Men. This is an awe-inspiring film that pins you to the edge of your seat and makes you watch it with all of your senses on full alert. It is a tremendous achievement in direction, cinematography, acting, story, and production design. By the end of the movie, Children of Men has secured its place in the pantheon of great films and director Alfonso Cuaron firmly establishes himself as one of the most visionary and accomplished directors ever to get behind the camera.

2. The Departed. Martin Scorsese assembled a dream cast of male actors, all giving career-defining performances, and managed to knock this film out of the proverbial ballpark. It's his best film since Goodfellas, and the most entertaining, intelligent, and brutal movie of the year.

3. United 93. One of the most powerful and visceral filmgoing experience I've ever had. Director Paul Greengrass honors the victims on that flight without over-sentimentalizing anything. As a viewer, you are put on that plane, and you are going down. I could barely breathe by the end.

4. Mission: Impossible 3. Pure popcorn movie-going bliss and the most smartly-paced film of the year. Once it gets going, there's no stopping it. As an action thriller, this is as good as these movies get. It's an adrenaline rush of a film that truly is a "roller coaster ride." It's a heck of a filmmaking debut for J.J. Abrams (of television's Lost and Alias). I loved it.

5. Little Children. This is one of those movies, like American Beauty, that just nails suburban angst and does it with wit and style to spare. It's also a very intense, nail-biting thriller towards the end. Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson give superb performances.

6. Inside Man. Director Spike Lee makes his most accessible film to date, and takes what could have been a routine heist flick, and elevates it into a smart, singular take on a post-9/11 New York City. Inside Man is slick and entertaining, and features great performances from its three leads: Denzel, Clive Owen, and Jodie Foster.

7. Apocalypto. An intense, exciting, and truly kick-ass action/chase film chock full of period detail and like nothing else you've seen on screen this year. As a director, Mel Gibson should be congratulated for thinking outside the box and giving audiences something fresh and interesting.

8. Monster House. This is the best family film of the year. An imaginative throwback to those great 80s family flicks like The Goonies, it's fun for kids but even more fun for adults.

9. Dave Chappelle's Block Party. You may not be interested in a concert film, but no movie this year captured the humor, emotion, and enthusiasm of human beings of all different races coming together and getting along. It's uplifting and feel-good, and even if you're not a fan of rap or R&B music, it's hard to ignore the brilliance of these artists as they perform live.

10. Babel. There are individual scenes in Babel that are just so powerful and amazing, and while the whole film may not succeed in making the grand statement it purports to make, it is a satisfying, and visually and emotionally spectacular movie.

Honorable mention: The Queen, Borat, Little Miss Sunshine, Casino Royale


1. The Black Dahlia. A campy mess, and every actor is miscast.
2. Date Movie. Just because you reference a film doesn't mean you're parodying it.
3. The Lake House. Sandra Bullock cannot choose a star vehicle for herself to save her life.
4. Failure to Launch. Or as my wife likes to say Failure to Entertain.
5. American Dreamz. Even the title irritates me.
6. The Da Vinci Code. As dull a summer blockbuster as you're likely to see and a huge disappointment given the talent involved.
7. Snakes on a Plane. A bad movie that's just bad-bad, not good-bad.
8. Lady in the Water. Where M. Night fails himself as a storyteller. Laughably bad.
9. Miami Vice. It's hard to defend an action movie with an hour-long romance subplot in the middle.
10. Deja Vu. Preposterous action film with an even screwier concept of time travel than The Lake House.


At 10:35 PM, Blogger iv said...

so i'm still a bit behind, because some things either never shop up here or are less than charmingly late to the party.

1. brick
2. babel
3. blood diamond
4. inside man
5. little miss sunshine
6. casino royale
7. the departed
8. friends with money
9. em aye aye aye aye
10. the queen

you should know that i have yet to see marie antoinette, monster house, children of men, little children, tristram shandy and united 93 among many others, but i feel that any of these could potentially jump into one of the top positions.

further, what's with dreamgirls? that was a little too 'break into song' for me, which as a west side story fan doesn't immediately make a lot of sense, but still. that 'we are family' song was rubbish.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Hammer said...

Very good list Wally! You inspired me to purchase Brick after seeing at the top of your list. I definitely liked it when I saw it, but I think it'd be even better upon a second viewing.

I agree with Dreamgirls too. Not a fan. The "Family" song sucked, and it really fell apart in the second half--way too unfocused. And Jennifer Hudson sang brilliantly, but she wasn't all that amazing as an actress.


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