Friday, January 24, 2014
The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 2005
2005 contains one of the most depreciated films to win Best Picture that I can recall. Before it won the honors it was a well respected and genuinely liked film. Once they were handed the trophy its been hated so much that its even been called one of the worst movies ever. I'm talking, of course, of Paul Haggis' Crash. I think the film is kind of safe, but I still enjoy it. Its got some good performances and while the issues are a bit on the nose, they're still goo ones to see play out. The storytelling pattern of Crash would be something that would be utilized in many films for the next few years as well. 2005 also marks the year I moved to Los Angeles and Crash had a lot of locations I was becoming familiar with, so I kind of easily warmed to it. Its also notable that this is the year I joined forces with the infamous Scott Mendelson.
WINNER - Crash
Good Night, And Good Luck
People seemed to have their doubts about this movie. I know Batman & Robin was bad, but it had been many years since then and this was going under completely new hands. And just like I thought, yeah it was frickin' awesome. The thing that sucked most about it is, while Burton's may be my favorite, this one was really a better film. Unsung in the whole thing when this came out was how good Gary Oldman was as Jim Gordon. Nolan struck the perfect tone for the film and took an origin story we knew and made it feel fresh and new. Its hard to believe it now, but a sequel to this movie was a surefire offering when it came out. It did pretty well, but didn't set the box office on fire. This is a seminal film in our culture, even moreso in ways than its successor, as from here on out almost every franchise would clear the table, reset the clock to zero, etc and start from scratch.
I hadn't seen Dog Soldiers prior, so this is the film in which Neil Marshall got my full attention. This is one of the best horror movies of the decade and likely of all time. Its oozes with character and suspense. And like Marshall does best, he makes the violence hurt. Nobody does violence and gore like Neil Marshall, its his forte. This is an exciting film and one that restores your faith in the horror genre as a whole. That it can be more than just fads going on at the time.
The Devil's Rejects
This is Rob Zombie's masterpiece of all his works. Zombie made a complete and fully Grindhouse film before making Grindhouse films was "cool" again. And he did so straight through. He didn't make it ironically or to be outrageous or for laughs. This is thing is the real damn deal. The follow up to House Of 1000 Corpses is a completely different type of film and Zombie shows a massive improvement as a director. I think many of House's detractors were taken by pleasant surprise when this film came out. Its an uncomfortable film that has you forced to follow some of the most wretched assholes known to man. And the thing is, Zombie tricks you into laughing with them and somewhat getting behind them. Its a nice dirty little trick he plays on your emotions. Yeah, this movie is raw and vicious, but its no different than the 70s horror cinema its trying to pay tribute to.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Shane Black's grand return planted the seed that would later become Iron Man 3. This was the "little awesome movie" of 2005. Robert Downey Jr kills as always and Val Kilmer puts out his best effort in years. If you're into the workings of the movie business and LA culture, this is probably one of the funniest movies about the subject ever. It also was one of the first big roles that was supposed to launch Michelle Monaghan...and how she still hasn't taken off is beyond me. Anywho, this film is a fun little caper movie and continues to surprise me every time I revisit it.
This one still isn't on Blu-ray. On that topic, back in November, I wrote "It’s pretty baffling this one isn’t on Blu-ray yet. It’s a Spielberg film and it was coming to home video right in the advent of Blu-ray taking off for the public market. It was also nominated for plenty of Academy Awards that year, including best picture. I don’t know how this film eluded high definition. Universal at the time was backing HD-DVD, but STILL didn’t release Munich. I find it to be one of Spielberg’s very best and a terrific movie. It’s rather long, but completely engaging and entertaining. Plus you get pre-Bond Daniel Craig in a scenery chewing role. Let’s go Universal, pop this baby out!"
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
Nope, I'm not a prequel hater. As a matter of fact, Attack Of The Clones was close to making my 2002 list. One day I'll do my best to defend these films (I do feel they are inferior to the original trilogy, but not a lost cause). The final film is the one that grabbed the closest to the greatness of the original 3. There's some issues, yes ("No he is the traitor"/dying of a broken heart), but otherwise this film ended the prequel trilogy on a massive high note. It wasn't afraid to go to darker unfriendly territory. Its lightsaber duel we'd waited decades to see absolutely lived up to the hype. The space battle at the beginning is also quite a great spectacle. I'm not afraid to admit I really enjoy it all.