i know, i know. cap't listy mclisterson was so excited about this week in lists and what has he thusfar delivered... one lonely music list (I'd hyperlink to it but, um, just see below, like, the next post down). but fear not. more are on the horizon like a fleet of pirate ships ready to despoil your treasure-trove of preconceived notions. To tide over those poor souls stranded on a desert-blog island with nothing to do: top ten films I saw this year regardless of vintage. it appears i just don't go and see that many motion pictures these days. I wanted this to be an '06 films list but looking back on things I had to open up the netflix-ian floodgates and include a few choice rentals to round things out. a winner every one. enjoy.
10. Nacho Libre 'o6
Nacho disappointed me but nevertheless bounded his way onto this list ending up as the 10-spot, or caboose. with Nacho clad in those form-fitting spandex, i gotta admit this list has one strangely attractive posterior.
09. Kung Fu Hustle 'o4
another film that initially put me off. Yet the more i watched the greater it became, a send-up and homage all at once--and a gorgeous one no less.
08. Batman Begins 'o5
best comicbook movie ever? maybe not but my man crush on Bale deepened (further proof below) and it didn't hurt that Gotham was conceived and filmed in Chicago. chi-town represent or something.
07. Good Night, and Good Luck 'o5
short, intense, and completely revelatory. just now realized the last three films i mentioned were all a) rentals, b) terrific, and c) croftian slumber inducers extrordinaire.
06. the Prestige 'o6
I don't buy the accents but the premise is unbeatable: dueling magicians --flawless! the tone and scenery and all are pitch perfect and there's a David Bowie in the cast might i add. As I read Pynchon's Against the Day (700 pages down, nearly 400 to go) I'm finding the novel and this film may be kindred spirits. and that ain't bad.
05. Little Miss Sunshine 'o6
no movie this year left me feeling happier.
04. Pan's Labyrinth 'o6*****
*****okay, so I haven't actually seen this one yet. But i'm so sure it will so totally rock my world I'm giving it the 4-spot, my favorite number and bringer of good luck. Just watching the trailers is enough to send me into delirious fits of what my mother would call 'ants in my pants.' and since i shall be seeing it on december 29th it so counts for this year.
03. Stranger than Fiction 'o6
excuse me while i gush. the characters of this film are so well-thought-out and well acted that a potentially hokey conceit is transformed into a stroke of, well, not quite genius, let's say greatness. The movie's strongest acheivement? Will Ferrell's mortal struggle to prove his 'real-ness' is so effective it leaves most everyone else looking more and more fictional, and that I believe is the whole point. Stranger helped me to realize that in some pretty significant ways I behave quite fictional-ly and scripted to the point where made up characters would probably make much better human beings than I do. and that is not a value judgement, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact it makes life richer just as good art does. also it proves e m forster is a complete jackass.
02. the Departed 'o6
if i hear this is the best 'movie-movie' one more time I might plunge my head through this computer screen. forget for a minute that this implies that there are movies out there which are somehow tortoises or accordions or mathematical equations. but "people who like movies will really enjoy this movie." no shit. so will just about everyone else.
01. the Fountain 'o6
and now for a film that most certainly won't be celebrated nearly as much. divisive, over-wrought, wince-inducing--not things you generally want your masterpiece to be described as. And yes, I winced, yes I laughed at moments so awkward only the director could love them, and yes half of you out there (maybe a whole lot more than that) will completely disagree with me and pan the damn thing. but i loved it. loved every single flaw and triumph and will defend it with a flaming sword against anyone who wants a spirited discussion of why its so great. pared down to an essential hour and half this film struck some very key chords inside me. hell, it might have even manufactured, sounded, and broke the damn things. i'm not one for grand summations but in the end its all about fighting off everything and everyone (including ourselves) for those we love. and if you are saying to yourself right now 'that old theme? i'm so tired of that' you are not only dead inside but probably (slowly or otherwise) killing off everyone else around you.