November 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Posted in Decade One | Leave a comment

My Top 10 Films of 2005

1-       Mysterious Skin– Gregg Araki’s best film.  A disturbing film about the effects of child sexual abuse that builds to a final scene that was absolutely perfect.

2-       Nobody Knows– A Japanese movie based on a group of kids left by their mother to be raised by their 12 year old brother.  He does his best to hold them together while the whole thing slowly, horribly unravels.  Stunning acting from the kids.

3-       Palindromes– from the mind of Todd Solodz (“Welcome to the Dollhouse,” “Happiness”).  The young girl who is the central character is played by a half dozen different actors (including girls of various ages, a young boy, Bridgett Fonda, and an obese African American in her forties) sometimes changing back and forth within the same scene.  It is a fascinating effect that drives home the irony of the story (which, at its heart, is about how alike and different we all are).

4-       Sin City- I’m sure most of you know this one.  Horrifically violent, gruesome, disturbing and hypnotic.  I was mesmerized in every scene.  This is the first time in years a film has truly done something visually innovative.   If only all the other comic book movies looked like this.

5-       The Aristocrats– I have not laughed in years like I did in this film.  Profane and obscene beyond belief.  Even I was shocked and embarrassed by how far it went.  But, that was the point.  And, my god, whoever thought I could laugh at a mime…

6-       Munich– Spielberg’s reaches his potential as a serious filmmaker here.  The intensity of this film blew me away.  It never let up and I could scarcely breathe for most of it.   More importantly, he sheds the preaching, tawdry sentimentality and cheap tricks that bogged down “Shindler’s List” and leaves the audience in a moral quagmire that has real implications for the world today.

7-       The Squid and The Whale– I loved this film just for its honesty about people and families coming apart.  I just found so much truth in the writing and each actor was not afraid to let his/her character be so painfully human.

8-       Junebug– Added after the fact because I just saw it.  It is every bit as insightful as The Squid and The Whale.  A great film about relationships and the way depression expresses itself in different ways in different people.  The characters were all so real and well developed.

9-       Nine Lives

10-   The Mind of a Killer

11-   Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit– I loved all the “Wallace & Gromit” short films but this was the best yet.  Fantastically animated and so clever.  It is worth watching twice because so much is happening on the screen that you know some of the humor is rushing right past you.

12-   Syriana– When I first saw this film, I called it a noble mess.  But the more I sat with it, the more it grew on me.  It is convoluted and incredibly hard to follow (we had to talk through the movie for a half hour afterwards just to get clear on what we had seen) but everyone I have talked to has had animated, opinionated discussions afterwards.  That’s an accomplishment.

13-   Me and You and Everyone We Know– The movie that almost didn’t make my top ten (you can see the other choices below).  In the end, I included it because I loved it, though I cannot really say why.  It is such a quirky, endearing movie and I found the characters all loveably odd (though some people just found them odd).  I have a special place in my heart for films about the frailty of humanity and the ways we try to connect.


The Movies that almost made my list:

Broken Flowers– Jim Jarmusch’s latest film.  I loved the strong performances of all the actresses, the way each of their characters were unique and all related to Bill Murray in a different way.  In the end, I just felt like it was more of Bill being the new, laconic Bill.  I would have loved it if this had been the first one in the laconic Bill genre.  But, alas…

Capote– What can I say.  Fine.  It was an interesting movie but not all THAT interesting.  Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance was stellar, but then he always is and I cannot put this movie on my Top 10 list based on just that performance (even though I did that last year with “Ray”).

Transamerica- Sigh.  The year of the gay film.  I’m glad, really.  And again, Felicity Huffman deserves a standing ovation.  And the boy is cute.  And the movie is funny.  And touching.  And has a great message.  And, and, and… it was a close call.

Downfall– I don’t know how many people saw this film about Hitler’s last days.  It was fascinating and was beautifully put together.  The guy who played Hitler really threw himself into the role.

The Constant Gardener–  Well, now that I think about it, this movie really wasn’t that close to making my list.  It really is a good film but, with so many good films out there, it just didn’t make my list.  Though, really, everyone should see it.  If not for the great acting, suspense and beautiful scenery, then at least for a wake up call about what corporations are willing to do.  Don’t fool yourself that this is a fantasy story.

Crash– I agree that this is an interesting look at race relations in this country.  I also don’t buy the criticism that the film is unrealistic because these lives would not all keep intersecting—that really is just a plot device to explore the larger issues.  Well worth seeing.  Raw, painful, and thought provoking.  So, why wasn’t it in my final 10?  I don’t really have a good reason.  The next time I look at this list, I may change my mind.  Perhaps, instead of Syriana.

Hustle and Flow


The movies that made many people’s lists but weren’t even close to mine:

Oldboy- South Korean revenge flick.  I will give it credit for totally rejecting the U.S. revenge formula.  Still a little too much violence for it’s own sake (look, don’t bring up “SinCity” to me—it’s my damn list).

A History of Violence– Critics just seem to love this film.  Look, I’m just as shocked as everyone else that Vito can act but the movie as such a goddamned sell-out ending.  It could have been an insightful film about the way horrible secrets completely recast a family.  Instead, it decides to go the revenge movie route (see above).

2046– This was a haunting and beautiful film.  In terms of its production values, it is unforgettable.  The sets, clothing and style of the film were so unique and interesting.  However, the plot was a muddled mess and, in the end, that really was the more important thing for me.  It might not be in every movie but, in this case, it was.

Brokeback Mountain– Sigh.  The year of the gay film.  What do you want me to say?  Yes, beautiful.  Yes, bully for Heath (apparently, he can also act).  But, cliché.  Can’t we admit that?  I mean I have seen some version of this film (straight or gay) many times.  I realize that this movie pushes the boundaries of Middle America much more than any other film on my list (if for no other reason just because it will be seen).  But Middle America sucks.  So, there.

Match Point– I would agree that this is probably Woody’s best film in years.  Beautiful acting, beautiful scenery, and (oh my god) beautiful people.  But, while it seems very un-Woody, it is very Woody in one critical way—ultimately, it is entirely misogynistic.  I knew exactly who it would end half way through the film because it was the only way his film could end.  It is the ultimate boy’s fantasy—have his cake and eat it too.

King Kong– Well, please.  Why was this on anyone’s list?  It was definitely fun.  But a great film?  Hardly.

Good Night, & Good Luck– This could have made my list.  Perhaps it, Crash and Constant Gardner belong in their own special category.    Also, a very timely film.  Now if only these films (along with Munich and Syriana) could make people think…

Chronicles of Narnia– ah…. Well, I don’t really vote for movies with talking beaver.  Even ones with pretty boys.

March of the Penguins– Come on!  Have you seen this movie?  BOR-fuckin-ING!  And I like animal documentaries.  Where were the right wing nuts when “Winged Migration” was in the theatres?


Documentaries that I saw and would recommend (but did not put in my top 10):

Definitely see: GunnerPalace, Mad Hot Ballroom, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Grizzly Man

These were also good: Murderball, The Making of Deep Throat, RockSchool, RIZE, Following Sean


Movies I intended to see but didn’t and so cannot say anything about:

Keane, Everything Is Illuminated, Proof, Shop Girl, Ring of Fire


The Worst Movies of 2005:

1- Fear and Trembling- Racist whining from a Dutch woman bitter that she could not get ahead at a Japanese company.

2- Los Muertos- This movie achieves something I have never seen in a film before: unbelievably creepy and mind-numbingly boring at the same time.


Complete list, roughly in order from better to worse:

Batman Begins

Layer Cake

Lords of Dogtown

The Matador


Inside Deep Throat


Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Corpse Bride




The Upside of Anger


Legend of Zorro

Aeon Flux

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Flight Plan

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

War of the Worlds


Total Seen =65


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