The Junk Food of Writing

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm never punctual.

If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting me in the flesh, and have designated a rendezvous point and time, you probably had to wait a minute or two. To avoid being uncharacteristic, I decided not to reveal my Top something (I think it's 18) of the films released in the United States in 2005 until...nearly five months into the following year (I made it in just under five, actually -- it seems I am improving a bit). I have no comments to make on the cinematic year of 2005 because, well, that was soooo long ago.

Top 10 (in alphabetical, or -- err-- numerical, order):

2046 (Wong Kar-Wai)
3-Iron (Kim Ki-Duk)
Caché (Michael Hanake)
Funny Ha Ha (Andrew Bujalski)
Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog)
Keane (Lodge Kerrigan)
Kings and Queen (Andre Desplechin)
Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July)
Murderball (Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro)
The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach)

Then there's always a second tier which includes the other notable films of the year:

The Best of Youth (Marco Tullio Giordana)
(Ang Lee)
Last Days (Gus van Sant)
Look at Me (Agnès Jaoui)
The New World (Terrence Malick)
Nobody Knows (Hirokazo Kore-eda)
Pride and Prejudice (Joe Wright)
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Nick Park)

And, of course, the worst (also in alphabetical order):

Cinderella Man (Ron Howard)
Crash (Paul Haggis)
Derailed (Mikael Hafstrom)
Elizabethtown (Cameron Crowe)
Green Street Hooligans (Lexi Alexander)
Gunner Palace (Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker)
Land of Plenty (Wim Wenders)
Memoirs of a Geisha (Rob Marshall)
Mrs. Henderson Presents (Stephen Frears)
North Country
(Niki Caro)

These films were either woefully miscalculated, or insulted the medium and its audience by offering absolutely no insight or truth.

My annual count? 105.

The breakdown:

Very, very good (A-): 2
Very good (B+): 15
Good (B): 12
Mixed (B-): 28
Negative (C+ and down): 48


  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous just missed the boat, I take?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:11 AM  

  • I am in shock that we have five films in common on our top tens (that's more than 2004, I believe). Also taken aback to seeing Murderball in the top tier; I didn't know you liked it that much (and preferred it to Pride and Prejudice or Wallace and Gromit).

    I still don't get the 2046 and Kings and Queen love, but it could be worse.

    I guess I should seek out Keane and Funny Ha Ha.

    By Blogger Ali, at 6:01 PM  

  • I also thought Transamerica would be on your "Worst" list.

    /adds fuel to fire.

    By Blogger Ali, at 7:59 PM  

  • I was compelled by Murderball when I saw it at the Philadelphia Film Festival over a year ago, and although it has suffered a bit of backlash (when I saw it last March, I instantly declared it the sleeper hit of the summer -- which we now know it wasn't), I still believe it has more redeeming qualities (and less flaws) than the polished Austen update and the delightful giggle-fest Wallace and Gromit.

    Keep in mind, though, Murderball would probadly be #10 if I were to actually number this list.

    Oh, and I recently rewatched The Squid and the Whale and do not believe that it deserve the top spot of 2005 (but I think it's fine within the Top 10 somewhere). Therefore, I am very glad I did not assign an arbitrary number to each.

    Maybe -- just maybe -- one day I will have enough time (and patience) to rewatch the top 18 and formulate an order.

    As for Transamerica -- it just missed the Bottom 10 (believe me, it was tempting to give it that 'dis'honor!). I probabaly should have chosen it over an obvious choice like Derailed -- but, well, Transamerica is probably a slightly less inept film. What bothers me most about Transamerica is when someone calls it 'original.'

    What bullshit.

    By Blogger Nick M., at 12:25 AM  

  • Re: Murderball; I was aware that you were a fan, just not to this degree. But I'm not arguing its place on your list - it ended up somewhere in my top fifteen as well. In fact, I picked it up used at a rental store, and am trying to make everyone I know watch it when they come over.

    I'm quite shocked that you no longer see The Squid and the Whale as your #1. What made you reconsider your position? I loved it just as much the second time around. Does this mean 3-Iron reigns for now?

    By Blogger Ali, at 12:59 PM  

  • I initially gave Murderball a B+, and although it was not the best film I saw at the festival (Miranda July's refreshing debut won me over the most), it helds its own amid the big, prestige pictures of the winter season. To tell you the truth, I'm not even a big fan of the film -- but, as I've said, this was a weak year for me.

    As for whoring it out to others, I can completely understand. It's a very recommendable film. Ultimately, it's a very inspiring and truthful film about toleration and self- acceptance with an edgy, but charming attitude. Perhaps that's why I admire it so much -- I think it has the potential reach a very, very broad audience (MTV, one of the film's distributors, was even pushing it hard). Unfortunately, it hardly even caught a cult audience.

    Squid was still a fine film. Its bittersweet humor stayed intact -- and although I overlooked the few trivial implausibilities to focus on its meticulous (and copious amount of) character and scene detail once again, everything felt a bit transparent. I wouldn't call it slight, and I love how much characterization it crams into its short running time, but this time it felt short (unlike my first viewing), as if it was just jumping from one vital scene to another. Oddly, it was too fast-paced for me.

    Wow, I'm just realizing how much the Dardennes have really affected my way of viewing cinema!

    By Blogger Nick M., at 6:40 PM  

  • Here are some links that I believe will be interested

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:46 PM  

  • Keep up the good work. thnx!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:45 PM  

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