2004: The Year in Movies

Happy New Year everybody! Well here are my choices for 2004. I do plan to write more substantial stuff in the next couple of days but it has been a surprisingly hectic start for 2005.

By the way, on a side note, I enjoyed those of you who actually have one-on-one, face-to-face conversations with me about the things I post on Xanga, with the exception of people who can’t, of course. I loved how my Soderbergh post started some great real life conversations in the past couple of days.

Anyway, as promised, here’s my list. These movies are in no particular order.

 

The Incredibles – Just might be my pick for film of the year (Surprised? Thought it was a little heist movie set in Europe, didn’t you?) Oh but this film was flat-out entertaining and wonderfully touching. I’m in love with this family.

The Bourne Supremacy – When I ask for non-stop action I want it served like this! Heart-pounding and intelligent. But those who know me know I’ve been raving about this film since its release not only because it’s pure unadulterated entertainment, it’s also great, crafty filmmaking. See director Paul Greenglass’ Bloody Sunday if you enjoyed this.

Maria Full of Grace – A film that really lives up to the belief that movies can move you in ways you didn’t know it can. Outstanding.

Ocean’s Twelve – The film is like a great cocktail party. Just loads of cheeky fun with all the people you want in a party. Plus, Soderbergh gets his Richard Lester freak on. This movie is more A Hard Day’s Night than Robin and the Seven Hoods.

Collateral – Michael Mann’s neo-Noir set piece. The surprise here is Cruise playing a character that’s not a variation of himself.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – Finally, a stoner movie that doesn’t dull the senses. Hilarious as hell but also very, very refreshing. Sure it’s got toilet humor, but underneath all that is a movie that’s got something to say AND it’s a riot.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Turning fictional, magical characters seem like real, living breathing people is quite the task. Thanks to director Alfonso Cuaron and the superb cast.

Before Sunset – The movie doesn’t really soar, but it’s got a wonderfully infectious glow. Charming is the word for it.

Spider-Man 2 – See? Summer blockbusters can have a heart and a brain, too!

Bad Education – Anything director Pedro Almodovar touches is golden. He’s another director who never fails to inspire me.

Just Missed My List: Friday Night Lights, Mean Girls, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Sideways, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ray, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Creepiest Performances: A tie between the NS5 robots in I, Robot and the blank expressions of everyone in The Polar Express.

Great Ideas with Less than Stellar Results: The Terminal and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy get my vote. These movies were based on great ideas that were a bit stretched out. They’re both enjoyable movies, though.

Movies I Can’t Believe I Still Haven’t Seen: The Dreamers, Dig!, Hotel Rwanda, Badassssss!! and Closer

Overrated/Overhyped: Shrek 2, Manchurian Candidate, Garden State, Million Dollar Baby, 13 Going On 30, Dogville, Meet the Fockers, House of Flying Daggers/Hero, Kinsey, Team America: World Police, Hellboy, Fahrenheit 9/11

Finally, my thoughts on some films that bothered me . . .

Van Helsing  – Terrible accents, crappy lines, lazy directing and unimaginative special effects. I couldn’t stop laughing. This movie literally made me cry of laughter. I couldn’t help it.

The Passion of the Christ – This film in my opinion oddly lacked a sense of spirituality and humanity. It was a very cold film to me. Granted everyone knows the main character. Unfortunately a movie still needs a strong characterization of the protagonist, no matter how familiar we are with the character. This could have been a more poignant film if it were more cinematically balanced. But if you like religious films check out The Gospel of John instead. But trust me, the Book is still better.

Alexander/Troy – Sword and sandal epics aren’t cool anymore. They’ve become so hokey.

The Village – I knew ten minutes into the film what the secret/big pay off was. The fact that I guessed it ten minutes into the film is a little disappointing.

Kill Bill Volume 2 – I liked this movie on the notion that it felt like a good old-fashioned Western. Watching it again recently though, I realized that all the characters just can’t shut up. It’s like speech after speech after speech after speech. It got tiresome. Quentin Tarantino likes the sound of his own voice. Yawn.

Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement – I can’t hate this movie because of Jerica (and I watch this with her from time to time) but I’m really bothered at the fact that the country of Genovia is pretty much the Magic Kingdom with people talking in hoity-toity American accents. Ah but the costumes are exquisite, even the suits Chris Pine wore are quite stylish.  I’m jealous.

Shark Tale – Any movie that has the song Car Wash in it is sure to get on my nerves.

The Aviator – I can’t get past the idea that DiCaprio is Howard Huges and Gwen Stefani is Greta Garbo. Give me a break! But Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn and Jude Law as Errol Flynn save the film. It was like watching a well-mounted production of a high school play.

Do realize that this is a pretty nutty Xanga post. Who am I to say all this about these movies?! Oh well. These are my opinions and I know you’re bound to disagree and agree here and there.

I don’t care.

It was a fun year for movies.

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