A Decade's Perspective
My friend Jesse Walker has an annual tradition--top ten lists of movie from previous decades ending with the number of the present year. And at Pajama Guy, we have a tradition of critiquing these lists.
So here's the first, for the year 2006. His top ten:
2. Pan's Labyrinth
3. Children Of Men
4. The Wire 4
5. Everything Will Be OK
6. The Lives Of Others
8. Meditation - Light
9. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Jesse breaks my rules for top ten movie lists by including TV shows for 1 and 4. They may be good (The Wire) but they are not movies, so shouldn't be here. He also includes a short--Everything Will Be OK is pretty special, but it's also 17 minutes, and shouldn't be competing with features.
As for the others, Pan's Labyrinth and The Lives Of Others would make my list. Volver's okay, but not for top ten. Children Of Men didn't impress me like it did others--I had trouble with its tone. Dreamgirls isn't much of a show (or much of a score) to begin with, and I thought the movie lost the one thing it had going for it--its staging.
The other two I haven't seen. Haven't even heard of 8. I'd definitely like to check out 9.
Here are his honorable mentions:
12. Veronica Mars 2
14. Tell No One
15. Stranger Than Fiction
16. Inland Empire
17. The Host
18. The Departed
19. A Scanner Darkly
Haven't seen 11, 13, 17, 19 and 20 (though I've caught bits of 17 and 19). 12 is another damn TV show. Doesn't leave much.
Tell No One, if I recall correctly, is good faux-Hitchcock. Stranger Than Fiction came from a script by a hot writer who wasn't so hot after his films came out--Jesse, being a good auteurist, only mentions the director at his website. The movie (which features a lot of actors I know from Chicago in bit parts) is a good idea that doesn't work, mostly due to the writing. Inland Empire certainly has moments of interest, but at three hours is a compendium of some of the worst habits of David Lynch--he hasn't made a feature since. The Departed, which won the Oscar that year, is not one of Scorsese's best (and I'm not even that much a fan of his work to begin with).
Here are other films that would have made my top ten or twenty list:
The Devil Wears Prada (expert Hollywood entertainment is nothing to sneeze at)
Heart Of The Game
Infamous (the good film about Truman Capote)
Jackass Number Two
Little Miss Sunshine
Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (saw it before I knew there was a TV series)
Other films I liked:
Other films of note: