>In light of the Oscar Nominations being released today, I’ve decided to compile my list of my favorite 10 movies from 2006. I have to say, however, that I’m pleasently suprised at some of the Oscar Nominations, including the choice of Little Miss Sunshine for Best Picture and Abigal, the precociously uncute 8 year old of the film, as Best Supporting Actress, not that either choice is undeserved, it’s just unlike the “Academy.” I am sad to see that Dave Chappell’s Block Party was forgotten in the documentary category – I thought it was wildly entertaining, extremely well done, and showed a lot of heart. It will be no surprise, however, when An Inconvenient Truth wins the Oscar as it deserves it completely. I am also shocked that both A Scanner Darkly and Over the Hedge failed to get an Oscar Nomination for Best Animated Film (although, I’m not sure if A Scanner Darkly is actually eligable). Although I haven’t seen Happy Feet, I think Over the Hedge was far more entertaining and fun than Cars, which was mediocre at best. Other noteworthy Academy shuns: X-Men III for Best Visual Effects, and Idlewild for Costumes, Art Direction, and Best Original Song. Did Dreamgirls really need THREE Best Song Nominations? Come on now.
My Top 10 Movies of 2006
10. Snakes on a Plane – In a newsbreaking turn of events, Samuel L. Jackson, the King of Cool, agrees to star in a movie so ridiculous it’s called Snakes on a Plane. I loved Snakes on a Plane for one, because owning the t-shirt was hip, and two, because it never pretended to be something it wasn’t. It was literally about snakes on a plane and it was the funniest movie I’ve seen in years.
9. Thank you for Smoking – The second funniest movie of 2006 was also an indie gem. Aaron Eckhart stars as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. So funny, so unassuming, so queitly it came and went – it was one of those films that seemed to gather steam on DVD release and it definately deserved it.
8. A Prairie Home Companion – Robert Altman’s swan song about one of America’s most celebrated radio shows features an amazing ensemble cast including Woody Harrelson, John C Reilly, Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan (in the kind of role she needs to accept with greater frequency), Tommy Lee Jones, Virginia Madsen and Lily Tomlin. It was a priveledge to watch from start to finish.
7. A Scanner Darkly – Long awaited and subject to many delays, A Scanner Darkly is the Richard Linklaiter’s telling of the Phillip K. Dick story. With the help of Dick’s daughters, Rick, whose films I have worked on before, created a world that oozed the drugs that the story was about. Using the same style of live-action-animation as in Waking Life, the movie features animation over live-action film in a way that makes the entire film breathe as if you yourself were on the same hallucinogins as the cast of characters whose lives are being controlled by the highly addictive and debilitating drug “Substance D.” Although it stars Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr are who steal the show and make the film what it really is.
6. Children of Men – Alfonso Cuaron, one of my most favorite directors, adapts a novel into a beautifully striking and sorrowful look at the future. In the year 2027, the women of the world are no longer fertile and no one has been able to give birth in 15 years. Cuaron, whose previous films include Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azcaban, Great Expectations and the Little Princess, gives a harrowing look at human nature when faced with despair. Recalling Nazi war camps, the images, accompanied by a sinking music score, never allow you to become imune to the world of the film. Gripping, riveting, and on the edge of your seat involvement with one of the best films to get a wide release this year.
5. An Inconveneint Truth – Al Gore’s frightening presentation on global warming. Even if you aren’t a tree-hugging environmentalist, the science and statistics behind his speech are scary. A must see for all.
4. The Devil Wears Prada – Oh Meryl Streep, how much do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Hilarious, fun, entertaing, and damn are they dressed well. Love it!
3. Little Miss Sunshine – Overhyped? No way. The little indie film that could who everyone “swears” is hilarious really is – but not until the big payoff in the final scene and it makes everything worth it. At times akward and uncomfortable, you can’t help but want to love the odd weird family that drives across a few states for a pageant they are horribly unsuited for.
2. Babel – Similar in construction to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2000 film Amores Perros, Babel weaves and loosely ties into each other the stories of five different groups of people spread across the globe. What is really amazing about this film is not those vinegettes featuring the most famous of actors, which include Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt, but those of a few unknowns who are extremely BEYOND deserving of their Best Supporting Actress nominations: Adrianna Barraza as the illegal immigrant housekeeper living in San Diego and Rinko Kikuchi as the deaf motherless and lost teenager in Japan.
1. The Queen – Starring an amazing Hellen Mirren, the Queen is a look at the Royal Monarchy of Britian during the weeks leading up to and surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Featuring bits of actual news footage, the film seamlessly melds the worlds of the poeple of Britain, the monarchy itself and the family of the newly elected Tony Blair. I hope that Hellen Mirren recieves the Oscar for her amazing portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II.
Movies I haven’t seen yet but need to because they could possibly alter the list above:
-Sherry Baby – I know I haven’t seen it yet, but how did Maggie Gyllenhall get snubbed for Best Actress contention? She was all the rage when this movie came out and everyone *swore* she would get nominated.
-The Science of Sleep – Because I love love love his previous film, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
-This Film is Not yet rated – Much like the publishing of Fast Food Nation rocked our Nation’s fast food industry, this film is already creating changes in the MPAA ratings system and they have promised to come up with a new way to rate and appeal future films.
-Death of a President
-Notes on a Scandel
-The Last King of Scotland – Because Forrest Whitaker probably deserves the attention he is recieving
-The Departed (*sigh* I am so over this and I haven’t even seen it yet)
-For Your Consideration (because I love Christopher Guest and always have to give him a chance)
-Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima
-Man of the Year …. psyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyych. I wouldn’t watch Robin Wiliams if you paid me to.
-Borat – I know, I know, how did I miss it?
-A Good Year
-Volver – Pedro Almodovar – always tackling those stories that are extremely uncomfortable yet somehow makes them beautiful
-The Pursuit of Happyness – I think I will go see this today.
And finally, the movie of this list that I want to see most of all: Pan’s Labyrinth – which is being hailed as a work of art – I am extremely intrigued by the idea of a half-animated – half – live-action, science fiction/horror story that stems from the mind of a child growing up in the postwar depression of Spain. This movie is not for children.
Other Movies I enjoyed this year
The Last Kiss
Stranger than Fiction
And the 2 Worst Movies of 2006:
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby