My Top Movies of 2006
I’m by no means an obsessive moviegoer – and I would go even less if it weren’t for automated ticket machines that allow me to buy half-priced child tickets – but I feel like I saw most of the big movies last year, and my opinion rocks. Although, I do wish I had seen The Prestige and I hear Blood Diamond isn’t half-bad. I just wish Children of Men had gotten a wide release earlier (I’ll probably try to see it tonight). But without further ado, the movies of 2006 you need to see…
Little Miss Sunshine
I don’t like to use those trite words that movie reviews always have…but this movie was heartwarming. Yea, I said it. It’s a funny and ludicrous movie that leaves you with a feeling that one doesn’t feel much anymore after walking out of a movie. (Maybe because I usually stray away from those types of movies) I did not think the movie was at all indicative of its title when I first started watching, but by the end of the movie it just makes sense – and not just for the obvious reason (that the daughter of the family wants to compete in the “Little Miss Sunshine” contest). Steve Carell might be the big star in this movie, but every member of this dysfunctional family unit gives wonderfully neurotic and hilarious performances. I would put this insane family up against any other in film or television history. Little Miss Sunshine is just filled with very funny, quotable moments and also serious, thoughtful ones. Together they make one of the best and most original movies of 2006.
I’m not quite as high on this movie as most people seem to be. Perhaps it’s due to my love of the recent Bourne movies, or perhaps it’s because I’m not a big Bond fan. Nevertheless, it’s still one of the best movies I saw last year. The movie just starts off so damn well only to screech to a halt near its conclusion. I can’t help but feel that the movie was all downhill after the long, blood-pumping chase scene near the beginning – even if it is a pretty impossible scene to top. The poker scenes were pretty pathetic, the plot got a bit convoluted for a bit, and they gave away one of the few legitimate shocks in the movie in the trailer and commercials. The ending also just makes you yearn for more, and I hope that the next Bond film keeps the quality up. Goldeneye was a good movie too, and we all witnessed what soon happened there. I do have to tip my hat to Daniel Craig for making me forget that Clive Owen was the first choice of almost every person in the world. And I also must credit Eva Green for being absolutely gorgeous. So even with its faults, this Bond movie brought the franchise back in a big way.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
The funniest movie I have seen in a long while, and the only reason Sasha Baron Cohen got away with it is because he’s a practicing Jew. Anyone else would’ve been crucified. I never seen so many stereotypical jokes jammed into a movie before. I really don’t know what to say without giving stuff away. There’s slapstick humor, there’s hilarious one-liners, and there’s some of the most – how can I say it – daring physical comedy ever caught on film. Just buy this movie when it hits DVD, or at the very least rent it. The only thing that sobered the experience for me was hearing how little compensation he gave the residents of the Hungarian town he filmed for the movie. After all, he is Jewish.
Hands down the best movie of 2006. Martin Scorsese is back to his old form. I was laughing while sitting on the edge of my seat until I walked out of the theater with my jaw dropped to the floor. I can’t really give Scorsese all the credit, as the script, with its razor-sharp and at times hilarious dialogue was penned by William Monahan (only his second screenplay) and The Departed is actually a remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. But Scorsese says he never even saw that movie, and I haven’t either. I can’t imagine it being better than this masterpiece. Jack Nicholson turns in an exceptional performance as a Boston crime lord, Matt Damon acts great in a role that is possibly close to his real-life persona growing up, and Leonardo DiCaprio pulls off the best performance of his career. Not only does this trio of leading actors work flawlessly together, but the rest of the cast is filled with wonderful performances. Mark Wahlberg plays his passionate asshole role perfectly, Alec Baldwin rolls off a few unforgettable lines, and Martin Sheen does a brillant job in his old mentor role. The sole woman that plays any sort of role in the film, played by Vega Farmiga, manages to bring some civility to vulgar and violent subject matter that The Departed, and Scorsese, revels in. The sole complaint I have with the movie is the godawful Comfortably Numb cover. I might just skip that scene altogether when I watch the film on DVD. But when the biggest complaint I can come up with is a song that some people might not even really care about (these people are heathens) one must make the conclusion that the movie is awesome. Watch this movie as soon as humanly possible.
Crank – A throwback to the ridiculousness of 80s action movies, mixed with the flash of today. Jason Statham is pretty much the man and he continues to show it in this movie, even if it is basically a B-action movie. You can tell by the spotty CGI. But the non-stop action mixed with some priceless moments make this a movie that any warm-blooded male between the ages of 14-35 will love.
Apocalypto – Mel Gibson knows how to make a feast for the eyes. He also knows how to upset the stomach. This sometimes brutally violent and graphic film truly puts the viewer into an ancient time and place. The first half paints a somewhat short-sighted picture of the fall of the Mayan civilization while the last half of the film is pure adrenaline – much like all of Crank, but better.