This is by no means a definitive list, mostly due to the fact that I find it hard to remember what movies I've seen over the course of the past year, but also partly due to the fact that these are my favorite movies right this second, which could change next second real easy-like, because I'm capricious like that. But who cares? Let's dig in!
The List! The List!
1. Thank You For Smoking - Was this my favorite film of the year? I'm not sure. It was a top 10 movie though, and probably a top 5 flick, too. Aron Eckhart is balls-out in the lead role, and ought to have his pick of just about any part he wants from now on. Sadly, the film loses its way near the end, trying hard to have Eckhart's character learn some bullshit lesson to make the whole exercise a little more palatable. And did anyone else notice that no one actually smoked during the film? Maybe I'm wrong and need to watch it again, but come on. Grow some gonads, you producer types.
2. A Prairie Home Companion - Holy-hellavu good time, folks! Altman might be dead and buried, but he gets to live on and on with this one. A nice note for Garrison Keillor to begin his conquest of the world, too. Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin are fantastically funny, as are John C. Reilly and Woody from Cheers. Additionally, it was nice to see Sue Scott, Tim Russell, Tom Keith and Guy's All-Star Shoe band all on the big-screen. Next, Altman's ghost directs that Moody Radio show Unshackled! I can't wait!
3. The Devil and Daniel Johnston - Saddest. Doc. Ever. Okay, maybe not. But still, major bummer/awesome-town music party all at the same time. Some people might call it a tragic tale. I call it way better than most other things you could ever watch ever....ever.
4. United 93 - It wasn't my favorite film of the year, but it was probably the best. Paul Greengrass' real-time account of the morning of you-know-when is so freaking punch-you-in-the-face amazing I want to put it into a confetti bomb and explode it over the universe. *What the hell am I talking about?* Who knows? But this film is the most powerful 90 minutes of the year, and I don't say that lightly. I say it heavily, and with ass-loads of gusto. Whatever. Just go watch it.
5. Brick - This might have been my favorite film of 2006 now that I think about it. Rian Johnson executes a nearly pitch-perfect noir set in the halls of a tripped-out high school where people talk like the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s never happened. It's weird. It's fun. People get killed. Then there's a reveal at the end. Watch it with subtitles though. Even though it's in English, you'll miss half the fun without them.
6. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Another crime film, this one all "stylish" and stuff, whatever the hell that means. R. Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer aren't my favorite actors, but they do bring the funny in this whodunnit action/thriller/buddy comedy. What the crap is this movie about anyway? I couldn't tell you. Some weird coincidences happen and happen and happen or something. But I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. So it's here on the list. Kilmer is especially hilarious as a deadpan, queer private investigator. I even watched the commentary I liked it so much. And even that was mildly entertaining.
7. Little Miss Sunshine - Okay. Yeah. Everyone and their freaking grandma looooooved this movie. But hey, it was good. And funny. And heart-warming. Except for that second-to-last- scene where they all danced to the stripper song. That was just ridiculous. Like the scene in About a Boy where Hugh Grant played guitar. Just ridiculous. It felt like it had been written by a focus group in Orange County. Other than that, I loved it. Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris and Michael Arndt made this little gem for you and me and everyone we know and we should all just say "thank you" and enjoy it and shut the hell up.
8. Inside Man - Spike Lee lights up another joint and we end up with this bank-heist thriller with grad school smarts and a weird tries-to-be-sexy ending that just ends up creepy. But until the creepiness kicks in, good luck not going crazy trying to figure this one out.
9. Dave Chappelle's Block Party - So many jokes! So many good tunes! Road trips to Ohio! I want a block party of my very own so very badly. Michel Gondry is basically my new hero. (sorry, Hiro)
10. Who Killed the Electric Car? - My favorite documentary of the year, WKTEC flies by night and flies by day and flies just about anywhere it wants. They break it down, see, piece by piece, telling you personal stories and public stories about how these normal people with these e-cars that they absolutely loved had them recalled even though there was nothing wrong with them and even though they loved them bad. Hardcore bad. And now there's one left and it's in a museum with its guts ripped out so that no one gets to drive it ever again. Sure, maybe the cars would only work in cities and for errands like to the grocery store and back, and not for trips across half the county so that I can see my friends and family, but still, let these normal people have their cars, GM. Don't be a dick.
Four that could have been awesome:
The Squid and the Whale - Great cast. Great tone. Flimsy script. Too much existential angst.
Superman Returns - So-so cast. Kevon Smith's script was better. Too many Jesus poses. Not enough Superman punching people through walls.
V for Vendetta - Great performances. So-so visuals. Natalie Portman is hot, bald or not. Too dumbed down from the novel.
Everything Is Illuminated - Real good music. Real good pictures. Everything else just doesn't quite gel. Nice to see the hobbit in something else, though.
And 12 more I want to see bad:
- Jesus Camp
- Children of Men
- Stranger than Fiction
- Little Children
- The Last King of Scotland
- The Fountain
- Inland Empire
- Three Times
- The Science of Sleep
- Pan's Labyrinth
So there you go. It'll change in 10 minutes, anyways, so big whoop if you hate it. But we both know had Superman punched a few people outside of earth's atmosphere and straight into the heart of the sun, this list would be irrelevant, because Superman Returns would have been ranked numbers 1-10 based on that and that alone.
Oh, well. There's always the sequel.