Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Top 10 Movies of 2005....

Here it is, the moment you've been waiting for! The best movies of 2005!

A quick disclaimer: of course this list is based on films that I saw; if I didn't see it, then it's not on here. Also, these are the movies I enjoyed the most, not necessarily the most intelligent, or the most well made, just the most enjoyable of 2005.

Rock on.

#10: Waiting - Have you ever worked a service job? One where you have to deal with people (customers) all day? If you have, there's a good chance that Waiting will strike a chord with you. Starring Mr. Van Wilder himself, Ryan Reynolds, Waiting is vulgar, repulsive, and one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time. Luis Guzman is very enjoyable, as always, Ryan Reynolds is basically himself, and the rest of the cast works very well in the roles they're put in. Don't expect your views of the world to be changed by Waiting (only your views of going out to restaurants), and don't come in expecting to see Oscar-caliber performances. If you're looking for a good laugh, and you can deal with some vulgarity, Waiting is definitely something you should check out. "The Brains!"

#9: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - I had originally put King Kong in this slot, but when I gave it further consideration, I decided King Kong probably didn't deserve to be on the Top 10 list. I enjoyed the film, but as everyone else has said, it's a little too long. If some of the fat was trimmed from the movie, I think that it would have rated higher, and it would have been a better film. Then I put Jarhead in here. I had a tough time slotting that in here too; I'm not sure that in 10 years time I'm going to look back and say "you know, that was a solid choice for #9 in 2005." I think that I could have just as easily have put Munich in here, or Syriana, or The 40 Year Old Virgin. I also thought about taking this one out and making the list a Top 9, but that would have been lame.

So instead I put Episode III on here. Why? Well, in the theater I really did enjoy this movie. I enjoyed it enough to see it 3 times on opening day. Yes, there are many instances of bad writing, and yes, many of the performances were not particularly good (Natalie Portman really let me down in this one). That being said, I think that Ewan McGregor did a good job, and I enjoyed seeing the "conclusion" to the Star Wars saga. Slotting Star Wars in here is probably mostly a fan-boy pick, but it's not every movie that you get to see Yoda throwing his lightsaber into people and then pulling it out.

While I don't think that Revenge will be looked upon as favorably in the future, for the purposes of this list, I enjoyed this movie enough that it made its way onto the list.

#8: Unleashed - Jet Li is back in 'da house! "A non-HK Jet Li film being any good (Cradle 2 the Grave is a guilty pleasure, and Kiss of the Dragon is great when you watch it on DVD and skip to the good parts)," you ask? You betcha. This film is equal parts feel-good movie and badass beat 'em up, but that isn't a bad thing (which really surprised me). Yuen Woo Ping gets back to doing some awesome work here (the scene in the toilet is excellent), and Jet Li is always good. Morgan Freeman was very good in the movie, and I think this film helped shore up the fact that he's a great actor. I enjoyed Bob Hoskins too. I didn't expect Unleashed to be very good, in fact I expected it to be downright terrible, but I was very pleasantly surprised (a recurring theme this year, at least when you look at this list).

2005 needed a good kung-fu beat 'em up, and Unleashed was a refreshing taste in a year of so much bad taste.

#7: A History of Violence - When I saw this film, as it started, I said "I hope there's lots of violence in this movie." I wasn't disappointed at all. The cast here are all good, and Cronenberg's direction is great. The movies starts out a little slow, but when things happen, they happen fast and hard. A History of Violence doesn't pull any punches, and when something happens, you know it.

I really enjoyed Ed Harris in this film, and Viggo Mortensen showed that he can be good in something other than Lord of the Rings. Maria Bello put a lot of effort into her character, and everything comes together very well in this film. If you haven't seen it, I would definitely recommend it.

#6: Oldboy - A Korean import coming in on the list? Absolutely. Although it was made in 2003, Oldboy was released both in theaters and on DVD here in the USA in 2005, which means it qualifies for this list.

A tale of a man who's imprisoned, for reasons unknown to him, for 15 years, Oldboy is much better than I was expecting, and I had high expectations going into the movie.

I didn't get what I expected out of Oldboy, and I think that's one of the reasons why it's in the Top 10. Definitely worth checking out.

#5: Four Brothers - I know what you're thinking, "Four Brothers at #5, WTF?!" Four Brothers is a good, old fashioned, revenge movie and I liked it a lot. Yes, I thought that Marky Mark did a very good job in it (he's hit a little mini-renaissance, with this and I heart Huckabees, and I expect him to excel in The Departed), and I enjoyed most of the rest of the cast, but not really Garrett Hedlund.

The story of four foster children who come back home to find out why their mother was killed, Four Brothers doesn't have a really different feel from John Singleton's other movies, and I thought that worked very well. Seeing this in the theater, I was expecting a bad film, maybe a movie "so bad it's good." I was completely wrong, Four Brothers was very enjoyable, and easily made my list of favorite movies of 2005.

#4: The Island - I really debated where this movie should go on the list. I think that The Island was incredible, and easily worthy of the #3 spot. That being said, there has to be a winner and a loser, and this time I'm putting The Island at #4, but that's not a bad reflection on the film. I think this could very easily be called a tie, but I didn't want two #3 films.

From director Michael Bay, The Island did horribly in theaters. And the DVD release is not particularly good (which I found odd), but it definitely is worth checking out. Starring Ewan McGregor and the oh-so-hot Scarlett Johansson, the Island has some interesting themes, great cinematography, and awesome action. While I wasn't enamored with Sean Bean's character (why can't this man get a great part every time he is in a film?!), he's always good no matter what he's doing. Don't miss The Island, since you probably missed it in theaters like everyone else.

#3: Sin City - Although not everything that Frank Miller has done has been good (see RoboCop 2), Sin City is quite good. It's violent, it's stylish, well written, and definitely worth the price of admission. I may have put this film too high on this list, as it does have flaws (Michael Madsen, why do you suck so terribly in this film?). The movie was obviously a labor of love and in this case it worked very well, and all-in-all it's very good.

I loved the visual style of the film, and most of the cast are very enjoyable. The writing is fun, and Mickey Rourke is AMAZING as Marv (which is something I never thought I would say). The movie isn't all style though, as the three storylines are interesting and tie together in little ways.

With a cast of well known names that's very large, there's a good chance there is someone in Sin City you enjoy watching act. And if not, there's always Jessica Alba.

#2: Batman Begins - A comic book movie in the #2 spot? Believe it! Coming into Batman Begins, I was pretty skeptical about whether or not the movie could be any good. While I thought that Christopher Nolan did a good job with Memento, but Insomnia put me to sleep (literally). David Goyer hasn't exactly been batting 1.000 lately (Blade Trinity anyone?), and Christian Bale is good, but could he pull off being The Bat?

Batman Begins is arguably the best film in the Batman series, and helped me to regain some faith in Hollywood (it was pretty much all gone). The visual tone of the film fits very well, and I enjoyed almost all of the cast. The notable exception was Katie Holmes, who was just a little too cookie cutter. She wasn't bad, she just didn't excel like EVERYONE else did. The writing is great, the story isn't bad, and the villain selection was great!

Comic fan or no, you owe it to yourself to see Batman Begins if you haven't yet.

#1: Layer Cake - This movie is FANTASTIC. That pretty much sums up my feelings on the film. It's a movie I find myself liking more and more the more I watch it. I've spent a good chunk of the year watching films, trying to find something that I liked better than Layer Cake, and there's nothing. Daniel Craig is outstanding as "XXXX;" this is the role that completely sold me on Craig being the next Bond. I don't know if he can channel XXXX for Bond (since many of Craig's other performances have not floored me), but if he can, that would be great.

Featuring a very enjoyable soundtrack, very good performances from all of the cast members, and some excellent camera work from first-time director Matthew Vaughn (good enough to land him X3, which he later decided against making), Layer Cake was a very pleasant surprise for me. With a use of colors that reminded me of classic Seijun Suzuki yakuza films from the sixties, Layer Cake is a joy to see. Layer Cake is quite easily the best movie of 2005 (even though it was made in 2004).

That's it for the Top 10 Movies of 2005, I hope you like them. If not, that's ok, just make sure you've got a good reason!

Coming next, the Worst Movies of 2005!


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