Monday, January 03, 2005

We just went and saw Sideways, and it lived up to all the hype lavished on it by Entertainment Weekly. If you don't agree with me, check out Rotten Tomatoes, and if you haven't seen this or American Splendor, you really should, because Paul Giamatti makes loathesome, depressing characters intriguing leads in what could be very bad movies in other cases.

I wanted to review the movies of 2004, but that's going to be incredibly difficult, because there were so many good ones. Despite my best efforts, I still need to see Napoleon Dynamite, The Aviator, Ray, Neverland, The Incredibles and the third Harry Potter.

It seems like I missed a lot, but I find that hard to believe when I saw so many good movies. When you start the year with something like Big Fish, it's really hard for the rest of the calendar to throw out anything to impress you. Amazingly, Hollywood, and I'm not sure how it went numbers-wise, at least had a very good year quality-wise.

Look at the genres they managed to produce movies that were on the level of Good all of the way up onto the level of Amazing.

Blockbusters, and not just blockbusters, but SEQUELS to blockbusters: Shrek 2 and Spiderman 2 were both as good, if not better, than the originals. Oceans Twelve was not better than the first, and despite one major flaw, was still a really entertaining movie.

Comedies: Although not the deepest, most engrossing things you're ever going to watch, Dodgeball and Anchorman contain enough one-liners and bust-up moments to remain comic favorites for mind candy over the years.

Sports Movies: Miracle was pretty good, but Friday Night Lights was down right amazing.

Indie-type Films: Even if they weren't actually independent films, they all had an original, Indie feel to them: Garden State, Collateral, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Saved and Sideways.

Romantic Comedies: Any time you can boast two movies as smart, funny and well-made as Eternal Sunshine and Love Actually within the span of twelve months, you're doing well.

Documentaries: When was the last time one, let alone two quasi-educational films got the amount of hype and attention (and made the money) that Super Size Me and Fahrenheit 9/11 did?

Pantheon Teen/Breakthrough Movie: Mean Girls, which accurately portrays how high school-girls scheme and gravitate to those they hate most better than any movie I've seen. And oh yeah, it motivated Lindsay Lohan to turn from the new "It" girl to everyone's favorite gossip target. I think we're all winners for that.

So Bad It's Good Movie: Van Helsing, which Barcus now accurately describes as "your Waterloo, C-Dubs", and he wasn't even around for the months I was saying "This can't be bad!".

Horror Movies: The new Dawn of the Dead got no complaints about soiling the reputation of the original, and most everyone I've talked to said The Grudge was scary, even if slightly silly at times. (Saw? Not so much.)

That's a hefty list full of variety right there, and that's without the half-dozen films I mentioned I still needed to see to complete my cinematic year. (I have no interest in seeing The Notebook, but my sister and everyone else tells me it's just amazing and you'll cry your eyes out. Sorry, but I'm sure if I made a movie where the beloved James Garner dies, I could make you cry, too. I'm tearing up just thinking about no James Garner.)

Oh, and you didn't think I could talk about the best movies of the year without mentioning the film, even after seeing all of the others, that I believe is the best:

Big Fish.

Maybe I'm biased because there's a eighty-square foot billboard in the top of my garage, but that movie, on the cold, snowy, Darkness-aided Tuesday night that Livey and I went to see it on was absolutely amazing. If you haven't seen it yet, you missed the joy of seeing Tim Burton's majesty up on the big screen, but I suppose it's still very, very good on the small.

Here's hoping 2005 is half as good as 2004.

(Did I miss any? I know I'm going to go to bed, wake up, and kick myself for forgetting some key movie I saw and thought was awesome at the time and then forgot about or thought was in '03 or something. Please remind me if I had a mental block.)

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