Favorite Films of My Lifetime, pt. 4 of 4

My viewing habits definitely changed in the Netflix and streaming era. I began watching a lot more older movies and TV, finally catching many of the films mentioned in the last couple of posts or just revisiting them, that "holding up under questioning" process I mentioned. Not to mention, of course, anything prior to where this series of posts begins, 1974. The various viewing platforms of the 21st century opened up film noir and old westerns to me in a way the prior-to-21st-century-platforms never did. 

So for the last part of this indulgent look back over a lifetime of moviewatching, I skipped the "Can You Believe I Haven't Seen" entries - there's too many of them - and tried to trim my honorable mentions to as few as possible. That seems the breeziest way to get through the last 17 years (16 really, since I'm skipping 2017.) I kept some of the categories and added others. Let's dive in.


Lots of favorites from this year, some with some crossover into critical acclaim (Requiem for a Dream, Memento), others with not so much of that (Bring It On - one of the best sports movies ever made - Psycho Beach Party, U-571 - Das Boot for those who ain't got the time for Das Boot - and Little Nicky.) But my absolute favorite is:

Battle Royale
Directed by Kinji Fukusaku. Written by Kenta Fukasaku.

I've seen opinions of this one revised more than once since it came out - first it was the most shocking thing ever, then it wasn't all that, then it was the hipster's response to The Hunger Games, then the backlash against people saying that, etc. Wherever the conventional wisdom is at, my initial opinion has only deepened: it's a masterpiece, propelled by kinetic, satirical violence though it is more emotional than satirical. There's a lot of human sadness in this film, both macro and micro, but its conceit/ structure keeps you from getting bogged down in it. Amazing stuff.

Dog Star Oscar Party: Gladiator (not bad; the Scipio Africanus sequence is a personal fave), Chocolat (not bad but who's seen it since then? Anyone? There's always one Oscar contender that only exists for the two months around Oscar time. I'm not sure if Choclat is truly such a film, but you know what I mean), Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (around the time all my favorite early 90s Hong Kong films were getting these sorts of lavish makeovers for wider audiences; nothing against this trend or this movie, just I prefer something like Swordsman 2 or the original Once Upon a Time in Chinas), Traffic (excellent flick. Soderbergh is probably underrepresented in these 4 posts; the guy knows how to tell a story with a camera better than just about anyone.)


Some memorable cinema this year: Black Hawk Down, Legally Blonde, Wet Hot American Summer, Waking Life - which wasn't to everyone's taste but I really enjoy it, still. My kind of abstract meditation on mortality. The same could be said for A.I., or Mulholland Drive, or hell, Zoolander, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (pretty much the only Kevin Smith project I still enjoy), and Human Nature. But in the spirit of honesty, my favorite is:

Ghosts of Mars
Directed by John Carpenter. Written by John Carpenter and Larry Skulkis.

Not the classiest choice arguably. (Well, fairly unarguably, I guess.) Why do I always want to watch this film? It has a lunacy to it that is hypnotic. Why this plot twist? Why that performance? Why emphasize these particular dynamics over here? POV changes within POV changes, failure to follow its own dubious but conspicuously stated rules - the list goes on. And yet, here we are. God I love this movie.

90s Indies That Should've Died with Y2K: The Anniversary Party, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. 

Right Around When So Many Horror Films Began To Resemble... Jeepers Creepers

Worth a Mention: Enemy at the Gates. Not because it's a good movie (it isn't - and docking double points since it failed to adequately adapt its source material. I mean, it's non-fiction; why get the rights to something if you're just going to go your own way? Is the name that important?) but because of when I saw it in the theater. Picture it, Warwick RI, March of 2001. There were no couples or groups of friends standing in line for a ticket, only guys by themselves, like myself. Once inside, we spread throughout the fifth through fifteenth rows, mostly, no one taking the seat to the immediate side of any other. Except one guy who went all the way down to the first row, center, where you have to crane your neck up. About halfway through the movie, Bob Hoskins shows up as Khrushchev, but I missed almost every line he delivered, as the guy in the front row stood up and began to berate the screen in Russian for a couple of minutes, then stormed out, the Cyrillic harangue diminishing a la Doppler as he exited the theater.


Never understood what that was all about. I asked a Russian classmate of mine about it at the time, but he had no idea either. 

Dog Star Oscar Party: A Beautiful Mind (not bad - only saw it with Dawn years after), Gosford Park (pretty good but only ever saw it once), In the Bedroom (meh), The Fellowship of the Ring (of the six Lord of the Rings films the only one I enjoy without reservations), Moulin Rouge! (fun stuff.) 


Minority Report probably is the best American film made this year, though a chapeau to both Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Swimfan, unfairly remembered as only a tawdry pleasure. It's certainly that, but what an enjoyable evocation of its genre. My favorite, though:

Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

I walked into this at the Avon in Providence with no idea what the film was about and couldn't believe my luck. I'd been a fan of Britpop and Madchester for years but had no real idea of the background of the scene, so this film kicked off a few years of exploring it more in depth. Beyond a great biography of the period, though, it's a remarkably edited and performed film, and an intelligent and emotional paean to youth, music, rebellion, drugs, and sex. One of Steve Coogan's best performances.

Special shout-outs: Russian Ark (film in "one breath," i.e. a single tracking shot sweeping through the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, as well as hundreds of years of Russian history, The Kid Stays in the Picture, and Cinemania, which is equally disturbing and profound. And also - if you've ever wondered if maybe you watch or know too much about movies - somewhat reassuring. 

Dog Star Oscar Party: Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist. (Meh to all of them. Some host, I know!)


My two favorites: Peter Weir's Master and Commander - the Far Side of the World (God, though - that title is as awkward as two of my my-that's-awkward go-tos, Ballistic! Ecks vs. Sever and Space Battleship Yamato: Be Forever Yamato) and Kevin Costner's Open Range.

Just some old-fashioned moviemaking with a little 21st century know-how.

They Also Served: Code 46, The Return, Capturing the Friedmans, House of a 1000 Corpses, Swimming Pool (remember what I said about Les Valseuses being my personal bar to clear for this sort of French sex/economic satire thing? This comes close), and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (I might even like it more than pt. 2.)

Right Around When So Many Horror Films Began To Resemble... Identity (i.e. a thousand plot twists at the end that make no sense at all, a dramatic escalation in the contempt for suspension of disbelief. Is it fair to place this on Identity? Probably not, but it's when I began to notice.)

Another 90s Indie That Didn't Get the Memo: Pieces of April. Oy vey.

Dog Star Oscar Party: Lost in Translation,
Seabiscuit, (still haven't seen either), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Master and Commander, and Mystic River (good stuff, though I only ever saw it years later.) 


Three films (Anchorman, Before Sunset, and Team America) probably vie for second place, but my favorite is: 

The Aviator
Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by John Logan.

One of Scorsese's best. An ambivalent love letter to Hollywood that explores via its subject (Howard Hughes) how obsession with purity, perfection, and contamination can become its own trap, and how power isolates.

They Also Served: Kung Fu Hustle, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Personally for me, I find most post-Rushmore Wes Anderson - and this very much includes The Royal Tenenbaums - to be rather tedious, but this one really holds together well for me), Welcome to Mooseport (I ended up really growing to like this one from seeing it come round on cable so many times), and Some Kind of Monster.

WTF You Assholes: The Stepford Wives, Jersey Girl, Spanglish. These films suck in different but equally exasperating amounts.

Dog Star Oscar Party: The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways. I liked Sideways - never saw the non-Aviator movies, though. 


Honorable Mentions: Batman Begins and two from down under (The Proposition and The World's Fastest Indian) and two ties for the top spot:

Kingdom of Heaven
Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by William Monahan.
The New World
Written and directed by Terrence Malick.

Both are remarkable achievements just from a production standpoint, but they're also just such intense and well-unfolded stories. Kingdom of Heaven does about as good a job as you can do compartmentalizing the events around the fall of Crusader Jerusalem into a cinematic narrative. And those last few minutes of The New World should be uploaded to the Voyager probe as soon as we develop the technology to do so. I also appreciate the instruction at the beginning to crank the volume so the full acoustic blend of running water, birds, trees swaying, and Wagner can overwhelm the viewer with its beauty.

Dog Star Oscar Party: Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, and Munich. Crash is the sort of superficial race narrative narcissism that Hollywood should simply never indulge in, much less reward itself lavishly for, but what can you do. Never saw any of the others. Except Munich, which is unbelievably the last (non-Indy) film directed by Spielberg I've seen. I really need to catch up with that guy. Anyway, Munich is great. 


A Good Year
Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by Marc Klein.

For awhile this was my New Year's Day film, but I've fallen out of the habit the last few years. I used to have a pretty good system: Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore on Easter (long story), The Falcon and the Snowman on July 4th, Groundhog Day on Christmas Day, and A Good Year on New Year's. I can see how this wouldn't be for everyone, but it came along at exactly the right moment in my life and I love it.

Runners-Up: Idiocracy, The Prestige, Cocaine Cowboys, The Lives of Others. 

All remarkable, but The Prestige especially so.

Honorable Mentions: The 300, Beerfest, Casino Royale, Children of Men, Inland Empire, A Scanner Darkly, Slither, A Prairie Home Companion, The Wicker Man (sure it's a crazy remake of a classic, but it has its singular charms), Let's Go to Prison, Rocky Balboa (surprising), and Pan's Labyrinth

Dog Star Oscar Party: The Departed, Babel, The Queen, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine. I only saw The Departed, which I liked well enough. One of these days I really need to rank all the Scorsese movies. I don't think this one would be in my Top 5 but maybe my Top 10. 


Directed by Danny Boyle. Written by Alex Garland.

Hands down favorite. Probably my vote for film of the century thus far. Such a remarkable and beautiful movie. Runners-up: Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World ("I don't believe a penguin might believe he or she is Napoleon Bonaparte, but could they just go crazy?") and Chasing Ghosts Beyond the Arcade.

They Also Served: Another good year for films - Enchanted, Grindhouse (at least the Planet Terror part of it, which I loved), Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie For Films, 28 Weeks Later, Eastern Promises, Los Cronocrimines, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Simpsons Movie, Gone Baby Gone, American Gangster, and The Mist.

Someone Stop These Maniacs: Bug (I guess in retrospect, Michael Shannon's and Ashley Judd's respective 2016 meltdowns were well forecast), Things We Lost in the Fire (needs Herzog's character from Julien Donkey Boy to be dousing it with a hose saying "Enough of your moody brooding..." If this came with that option, I'd be all about it), Joshua, and Inside, a French film that squanders a potentially interesting premise (a home invasion movie with the symbolic weight of the French Riots and all their underlying issues of French society they spoke to) with an Ally McBeal baby effect.

Right Around When So Many Horror Films Began To Resemble... P2 (Not sure if 2007 is when this began in earnest or not but this whole trend of the villain having a Bond lair/ improbable amounts of prep and surveillance as he pursues his stubbornly unmotivated path of tortureporn.) 

Dog Star Oscar Party: No Country for Old Men, Juno, Atonement, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood. That last one is a classic for sure. Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men were pretty good. Didn't see Atonement or Juno.


I was still seeing a good amount of new movies in 2008 (Role Models, Iron Man, Rambo, Tropic Thunder, The House Bunny) but more and more were slipping by, unseen. These last few years should go by fairly quickly. Favorites of '08:

Stepbrothers (d: Adam McKay, w: Adam McKay, Will Ferrell) and Let the Right One In (d: Tomas Alfredson, w: John Ajvide Lindqvist.)

Two pretty different films, for sure, but the same level of awesome and the same level of awesome-endings, specifically.

Dog Star Oscar Party: Didn't see any of 'em - Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, The Reader


The Bad Lieutenant - Port of Call New Orleans
Directed by Werner Herzog. Written by William M. Finkelstein.

Werner Herzog was the sort of director who releases arthouse films and documentaries, but luckily for all of us he began flirting with more mainstream material - albeit in his singularly unconventional fashion - over the past 10 or 15 years. Then this came along. Man, this movie. Awkward title for sure but don't let that stop you. Not at all what I expected.

Runners-Up: Moon and Observe and Report. Again, two quite different films but equally surprising and well done. If I was including direct-to-DVD releases, I'd mention the animated Wonder Woman that came out this year. Great cast, very well done. 

They Also Served: The Hangover, Drag Me to Hell, Star Trek, Good Hair.

Sleeper: Deep in the Valley. On paper this romantic comedy about two guys going nowhere who step into a porn viewer machine and are whisked away to a magical dimension lorded over by legend of the biz Diamond Jim (i.e. Shooter McGavin) where everyone acts like they're in a porn film 24-7 shouldn't work at all. Not only that premise, but it also comes with Denise Richards and Kim Kardashian (only a cameo). It shouldn't add up to much, and yet, it's a hell of a lot of fun. 

Chalk it up to the considerable affability of the leads (Chris Pratt and Rachel Specter), a clever script, and spirited performances all around particularly from Scott Caan and Kate Albrecht.

New Achievements in Tedium and Depravity: My Sister's Keeper, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

Dog Star Oscar Party: The Hurt Locker (pretty good), Avatar and District 9 (ditto), The Inglourious Basterds,
Blind Side, Up, An Education, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire (didn't see any of these), A Serious Man, (very good), Up in the Air (meh). 


The Other Guys
Directed by Adam McKay. Written by Adam McKay and Chris Henchy.

"Cops still argue to this day why Danson and Highsmith jumped. Maybe it was just pride, having survived so many brushes with death. Maybe their egos pushed them off. I don't know. But that shit was crazy. Either way, there was a hole in New York City, and it needed to be filled."

Runners-Up: Youth in Revolt, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Machete. Each great, but YIR in particular is very underrated - great flick.

I Will Never Understand Why Affleck Can't Do a Boston Accent: The Town.

Special Review by Butthead from Beavis and Butthead: Red White and Blue. "So like this girl has, like AIDS, and she like hates everyone, and herself, and was like abused and stuff. So she bangs a bunch of dudes every night so she can, like, give everybody AIDS. Until some of the guys she gives AIDS to, like, kill her, and then like, her boyfriend, who's a CIA killer in Iraq and stuff, hunts them down and like tortures them to death, then he goes back in the army. It's, like, about America and stuff." Only one other film on this countdown gets more disdain from me. (Still to come!)

Dog Star Oscar Party: All great - Inception, Black Swan, The Social Network. Not bad- 127 Hours, The Fighter. Didn't see - The King's Speech, The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3. I Fell Asleep and My Wife Still Refuses To Tell Me What Happened - True Grit, Winter's Bone.


Tie: Midnight in Paris (Written and Directed by Woody Allen) and The Artist (written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius.)

A late-innings home run from Woody (here's hoping he's got another one of these left in him) and a charming silent film from the crew who produced the OSS 17 movies.

They Also Served: Margin Call, Captain America: The First Avenger, Tree of Life, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Melancholia, Drive (a little baffling but awesome soundtrack and visuals), Bill McGowan: Long Distance Warrior.

I Fell Asleep and My Wife Still Refuses To Tell Me What Happened: Silent House.

Dog Star Oscar Party: Already mentioned - Midnight in Paris, The Artist, The Tree of Life. Didn't see - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Hugo, War Horse. Not bad -
The Help, Moneyball, The Descendants.


Cabin in the Woods
Directed by Drew Goddard. Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard.

What an awesome flick. I give a lot of crap to horror films of the 21st century, but stuff like this makes up for a lot of Rogue Rivers. (Incidentally, 2012's Right Around When So Many Horror Films Began To Resemble... entry).

Runner-Up: Spring Breakers. Harmony Korine took a break from his usual fare to deliver this caustic exploration of that perennial South Florida rumspringen. People seemed divided whether or not it was exploitation masquerading as social commentary or what; I'm on the "this is all brilliant if very unsettling satire" side of that one.

They Also Served: The Master, Argo.

WTF You Assholes: The Paperboy. Oh my God, this movie. I know he didn't write it, but I basically swore never to see anything by Lee Daniels ever again because of this. Words fail me - just a whole stew of baffling decisions bubbling over and making a huge mess.

Dog Star Oscar Party: Last one of these I'll throw, I guess, since of the next few years, the only Academy Award Nominee for Best Films are Argo, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Mad Max Fury Road. I didn't care for Wolf of Wall Street too much, but the other two were fine. 


My elder daughter was born in 2013, and boy you can tell from the very few films that were released this year that I've seen (Before Midnight, Frozen, The Canyons.) I see Frozen just about every day these days, but my pick for best of these is:

Before Midnight
Directed by Richard Linklater. Written by Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy.

Such a lovely trilogy of films (and that one little cameo in Waking Life.) I hope the pattern holds and we see the next installment of Jesse and Celine's saga in 2022.


Of the handful of new films I saw (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gone Girl, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) the best was probably what, Gone Girl? Guardians and Winter Soldier were both perfectly enjoyable.  


I saw five films that came out in 2015 and liked all of them, except The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which really blew. The Force Awakens was a perfectly acceptable retread of A New Hope, with all of Abrams usual corner-cuttings that drive me nuts, but it was fine. The Witch was okay but kind of pointless to me - horror films aren't just supposed to create a mood of despair and then sit in it. Then again, maybe they are, or maybe that's fine. Either way I was in the mood for a different ending than the one we got - didn't wrap it up properly for me personally. Fury Road I already mentioned. The best of the ones I saw:

Ex Machina
Written and Directed by Alex Garland.

Brilliant flick. Alex Garland is really on a tear. Looking forward to Annihilation. And finally:


Of the four I saw one was a little disappointing (Star Trek Beyond, though it was an improvement over Into Darkness), two I watch with the kids (Finding Dory and Trolls, with the former being more to my liking than the latter, though both are perfectly fine), and this one which Dawn and I caught over the weekend:

Everybody Wants Some
Written and directed by Richard Linklater

Linklater has got such a knack for this stuff. The spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused (and to Boyhood somewhat, according to its director - I haven't seen it yet) and hits all the same heights as that one. Great performances, great period piece, great soundtrack, script, characters, realism, all of it.

Well, then! Thanks for reading and playing along, friends and neighbors. Now back to regularly scheduled programming...


  1. 2000:

    (1) To my discredit, I have never seen "Battle Royale."

    (2) I don't think you're wrong about "Chocolat." I liked it when it came out, but there has been no reason for it to stick in my brain, or for me to see it a second time. I think that the Oscars are too of-the-moment in some ways. Granted, it's impossible to predict what movies will survive the test of time and which will blow away like farts in a high wind, but I think they get it wrong way more often than they get it right. But I can't fault them for trying; they do their best, bless their little gold hearts.

    (3) I never warmed to "Gladiator," which seemed like a lot of sound and fury in search of a story. (And certainly in search of a decent third act.) I didn't dislike it, though; I was just indifferent to it.

    1. (2) Right, there's always one. Or two. It's like a special category of films that exist only for 2 weeks during Oscar season.

      (3) I am in complete agreement. I love a couple of set pieces and the general look of it (it was the first film to exploit CGI for this sort of Roman recreation spectacle and I think had a "Jurassic Park" like effect on my imagination as a result) but the first time I saw it, too, I was like "what's the big deal? This is kind of a hack script." Then still later I got around to seeing "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964) which covers the same period of history and provides more than a few of the same dramatic and visual beats - and even-more-Meh. Still - I love the "Scipio Africanus" scene a whole lot.

  2. 2001:

    (1) "Ghosts of Mars"! I wonder what John Carpenter would think to see this top somebody list for the year. I'm overdue for a rewatch, personally.

    (2) I never did see "Black Hawk Down," or "Wet Hot American Summer," or "Mulholland Drive." I'm really not sure how I missed out on the former. I wasn't working at a theatre at the time, maybe...? Seems likely.

    (3) That's a great story about "Enemy at the Gates" (which is indeed a lousy movie). Never trust a guy who willingly sits on the front row in a movie theatre, though.

    (4) Words cannot express how much I hated "Moulin Rouge!" the one time I saw it. I'd have to rewatch it to even make a stab at it, and that's a thing that will never, ever happen unless money is at stake. I might be irrational on the subject, and if so, I'm proud to cop to it.

    1. (4) It is an irrational and highly irritating film! I saw it with someone who was a real drip / homophobe, etc. and I think I kind of enjoyed enjoying it to needle him. John Leguizamo was especially bad in that if memory serves. Just a crazy mess. There's an "Evil Dead 2"-ness to it, perhaps. I don't know, just riffing.

  3. 2002:

    (1) I've never seen "24 Hour Party People," although I remember it being a big deal for the people who did see it.

    (2) I never saw "The Pianist," but I'm thoroughly positive on all the rest of the Oscar-party movies.

    (3) I really need to see "The Kid Stays in the Picture" at some point. I'd like to see "Russian Ark" if only to maintain some semblence of arthouse cred, of which I have very, very little.

    1. (3) I walk around talking like Robert Evans for days after seeing it. ("A true friend, a true sweetheart. Thanks, pal." etc.) He does this one interview entirely from a half-turn in a director's chair, too, in one of the special features. Beyond all that, it's an interesting story, but more for how he spins it. Ditto for "Cocaine Cowboys" and "Cinemania," while we're on that sort of topic. (Or "American Movie.")

  4. 2003:

    (1) "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" is indeed a terrible title. I bet that's part of the reason for its mediocre box-office performance. Great movie, although I recall little in the way of specifics.

    (2) Ditto for "Open Range," which has a great Robert Duvall performance and might be one of the cornerstones of some hypothetical Kevin Costner reappraisal one of these days. Not sure such a thing will ever happen, but if it does, this movie will almost certainly be a big part of it.

    (3) I love, love, love "Lost In Translation." Named a cat Scarlett (after Johansson, obviously) on account of taking her in as a stray I found outside my apartment after getting back from seeing the movie.

    (4) If you want to get technical, I'm one of the people who thinks "The Return of the King" is the worst of the trilogy. But I love it, and if it was as perfect as everyone wanted it to be, how could anyone have stood it?

    1. (4) I get bored with long stretches in "Two Towers" and "Return of the King." I'm not complaining, though - I'm glad they exist. The "Hobbit" movies less so, but I wish I could cobble together one 3 hour movie out of all of them. I do want to sit down one weekend with the full-on 11.4 hr Lord of the Rings one day.

    2. I don't dislike the second trilogy, but they are frustrating movies. What works works very well; what doesn't work is kind of awful. The behind-the-scenes documentaries on the Blu-rays are so good, though, that I kind of view the movies as supplemental features to them, rather than the other way around.

  5. 2004:

    (1) "The Aviator" is a very fine pick for favorite of the year. DiCaprio and Blanchett are gold in that film, as is everything else about it, really.

    (2) I was thoroughly relieved that "Before Sunset" managed not to be a disappointment. I don't think it's necessarily AS good as the first film, but they're close enough that they feel like chapters in a book (as does the third one, which I assume will be covered further into this post).

    (3) There is stuff in "The Life Aquatic" that makes me laugh every time I think about it. I'm more or less on the same page with you regarding Anderson, although not so much regarding "The Royal Tenenbaums," which I love. I think I prefer "Steve Zissou," though. At DragonCon one year, there was a whole group who'd dressed as Team Zissou. I believe I may literally have shouted "Huzzah!" at them. I believe it to be the same group who was Cobrai Kai a different year, and they got a "Huzzah!" from me then, too.

    (4) I really dug "Some Kind of Monster." I'm not a huge Metallica fan -- I'm definitely a fan, just not a major one -- but I thought that was a good movie just on a making-art-is-hard-sometimes level.

    1. (3) I'm glad to hear that on "Life Aquatic." Too many people dismiss that one unfairly, but it's really a remarkable little film. That group at DragonCon seems to know how to do it and worthy of "Huzzah"s for sure.

      "Royal Tenenbaums" has some great moments, but it just doesn't hold together for me. I'm the only person in the world, I think.

  6. 2005:

    (1) I really do need to see "Kingdom of Heaven" again at some point. Ever seen the director's cut? If not, me neither. I thought the theatrical cut was great, though.

    (2) Man, I haven't seen it in a long while, but I was knocked right the fuck out by "The New World." I've sort of lost touch with Malick these days, but I bet that changes eventually. I wonder what happened to the girl who played Pocahontas? I thought she was great, and figured there might be big things in store for her.

    (3) "Crash" -- didn't hate it, but didn't like it much, either. It winning the Oscar is laughable.

    (4) "Brokeback Mountain" is pretty damn great. I was pleased for it to win Larry McMurtry an Oscar. It probably should have won Best Picture, too.

    (5) I think you would like "Good Night, and Good Luck." Feels like this is about the right time for that movie to be rediscovered.

    1. (1) Oh sure - you can get by on the theatrical cut in a pinch, but I recommend the director's.

      (2) I wonder too - I looked her up and then forgot.

  7. 2006:

    (1) Ridley Scott is doing rather well on these lists! I never saw "A Good Year." I'm nowhere close to being a completist with Ridley. I'm not avoiding it, I just haven't made time, and he's very prolific. Good for him! And probably good for me, eventually.

    (2) Much to my chagrin, I still haven't seen "Idiocracy." Ow, my balls!

    (3) "The Prestige" is definitely a heck of a movie. Nolan is a heck of a filmmaker, for that matter. This reminds me that I need to see "Insomnia" and re-see "Memento," which kind of underwhelmed me the first time. And also re-see "The Prestige," which overwhelmed me.

    (4) I liked "Babel" a lot when I saw it, but I wonder if that enthusiasm would persist through a rewatch.

    (5) It's kind of fashionable to diss "The Departed" now, but fack that, that's a great movie.

    1. (1) I was surprised by how many times he, Linklater, Adam Sandler, and Will Ferrell kept showing up. And yet, when I think of their filmographies, I have huge gaps for all of them. Linklater less so, but even him there are 5 or 6 I haven't seen, and Ridley even more than that.

  8. 2007:

    (1) It's unforgivable for a guy who loves sci-fi to have never seen "Sunshine," and therefore I expect no forgiveness. I accept any and all scorn that I am owed.

    (2) "Planet Terror" is as good a Carpenter movie karaoke as any I can imagine. Just a blast, top to bottom. I personally also love "Death Proof," which has a super-badass Australian stunt woman in a prominent role. Good enough for me.

    (3) "Mr. and Mrs. Cox, your son is suffering from a particularly bad case of having been cut in half."

    (4) I will never forget having a triple-feature at the theatre late one night that consisted of "No Country For Old Men" followed by "The Mist" and concluded with "Enchanted." That's a hell of a triple-feature, right there.

    (5) "There Will Be Blood" is a masterpiece. Not for everyone, but definitely for the people whom it is for.

    1. (3) "Dumb it down, Doc, we ain't scientists!"

      (4) That's a hell of a triple feature!

  9. 2008-2016:

    (1) Well, since the years are getting briefer, so will my comments. I was also beginning to see far fewer movies, which is less understandable for a guy who works at a movie theatre.

    (2) "Step Brothers" is a riot. I can see how anyone who dislikes Ferrell or Reilly would arrive at that stance, but they both crack me up.

    (3) "Slumdog Millionaire" is yet another of those Oscar-winning movies that just got a shrug from me. Sure, good movie. Will anyone think of it ten years from then? That's next year, and I'm thinking, no, they sure won't.

    (4) I have heard that "Port of Call New Orleans" is as batshit as it gets. And in the good way.

    (5) If I even think of that moment in "The Other Guys" when the cops jump off the building, I start laughing. I'm laughing right now.

    (6) God almighty, there should be a Beavis and Butt-head movie-review podcast!

    (7) Glad to see you are a fan of "The Artist." I loved that one, but nobody ever mentions it these days.

    (8) "Cabin in the Woods" is a GREAT movie, for sure.

    (9) You and I are on the same page with "The Wolf of Wall Street." It was just a bit much.

    (10) "Before Midnight" is, if anything, better than the first sequel. What a great (so far) trilogy!

    (11) I really want to see "Everybody Wants Some," but have yet to make time for it.

    (12) Movies I cannot recommend to you highly enough: "Up," "Hugo," and "War Horse" (very underrated).

    1. (2) and (5) I felt a little nervous listing so many comedies, but these particular two and some of the others listed seem to go to so many extra lengths that they demanded it.

      (12) I'll get to those for sure. I keep meaning to! Another lesson learned from doing these: I REALLY need to catch up with Spielberg.+

    2. That last point is debatable in some corners. I think he's still made worthy stuff, but some disagree (although they would include "Munich" in the fallow period, and it is clearly exempt as far as I'm concerned). But I myself am not entirely onboard with either "Tintin" or "Lincoln." Maybe second viewings would help.

    3. (6) Another delayed reaction - this very much needs to happen. If I ever meet Mike Judge, I'll try and convince him of this. (Or Joe Bob Briggs. Why not.)

  10. My picks:

    2000: "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is a movie I quote fairly regularly, even if -- maybe especially if -- nobody I'm around knows what I'm doing. Runners-up would probably be "Unbreakable" and "Almost Famous" (or, even better, "Untitled," the director's cut).

    2001: Brutal decision, but I'll go with "The Fellowship of the Ring," which might get my vote as the best fantasy-adventure film ever made. Close behind it for the glory of my love, "A.I." and "Donnie Darko" and at least two or three others I could name. Good year for movies.

    2002: I'd have to say "The Two Towers" is probably it; I have never really understood why so many people have turned on it. For silver, "Catch Me If You Can," and for bronze, "Minority Report." With "A.I." having come out the previous year, that was a hell of a two-year stretch for the 'berg.

    2003: A touch choice, but I think I've got to say "Kill Bill, Vol. 1," followed by "Finding Nemo" and "Lost In Translation." I love the excess of "Kill Bill," but I also REALLY love the soundtrack.

    2004: My favorite from this year is easy: "The Village," which I think remains one of the most misunderstood movies released in my adult life. If nothing else, it's got a GREAT performance by Bryce Dallas Howard and a GREAT score by James Newton Howard. But I love everything about it, really. Following up behind it, I'll go with "The Incredibles" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

    2005: "Munich" by a mile for me. I don't know that Spielberg's command of the medium has ever been stronger than it is in that movie. He ought to have won another Oscar for it, in my opinion. I'll name "War of the Worlds" as my runner-up, because apart from a somewhat shaky climax, it's every bit as good. Taking the bronze, I'll say "Revenge of the Sith" for the sake of being controversial.

    2006: We're kind of getting into territory where I'm not entirely sure I have what can truly be called favorites. But I guess "Casino Royale" can make for a solid pick, and for runners-up, I do thoroughly love both "Cars" and "The Fountain." Can't be many people with those are their top three for the year.

    2007: Jesus, was that really ten years ago? Fuck. I think my favorite is "Grindhouse" with "Ratatouille" and "No Country For Old Men" on its heels.

    2008: I think "WALL*E" has to be the top dog for me from this year, with "The Dark Knight" and "Iron Man" coming next. God damn, think of how many billions of dollars have resulted from the post-credits sting on "Iron Man"! I do think it -- like most of the Marvel movies -- is a genuinely great piece of entertainment.

    2009: Pixar is doing quite well for themselves, because "Up" is my pick, with "Inglourious Basterds" and "The Princess and the Frog" coming next. The Tarantino movie is one that I had to see twice before I was onboard with it, but once I fell for it, I fell HARD. It won't change the mind of anyone anti-QT. Probably.

    1. 2010: I'm finding it easier than I expected to come up with three movie from these years that I do genuinely love. We'll see if that maintains. This year, it's "Inception," "Toy Story 3," and "Shutter Island." All three of them were robbed by Oscar, who by rights ought to be serving about 99 consecutive life sentences for his various crimes.

      2011: I was most impressed this year by "Drive," and when I saw it a second time, I remained impressed; so I'll choose that. I also would hold up both "Hugo" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" as being prime examples of The Reasons I Love Movies.

      2012: Man, I've got to say "Skyall," which is, in my opinion, one of the handful of best Bond movies ever. But I'm VERY tempted to go instead with "John Carter," which is abysmally underappreciated. Third? There are several strong contenders, but I've got to say "The Avengers," which truly did pull off something akin to a miracle.

      2013: Strangely, I think I have to say "Iron Man 3," which is hip to shit upon these days. I thought it was a blast. Also great, in a different way: "Her," which is unsettling and wonderful. So is "Prisoners," which has a bunch of great performances.

      2014: I had a bit of trouble naming my 2013 picks, but won't with 2014. Tops of the heap by far is "Interstellar," which wrecked me. So did "Boyhood," which is my second-place pick. Third? I honestly can't choose between the two Marvel movies from the year, "Captain America: The Winter Solider" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." So you pick for me and pretend I didn't mention 'em both.

      2015: Well, it ain't goddamn "Spectre," I'll tell you that much. It's in fact another Pixar, "Inside Out," which is just wonderful. Following that, the much-maligned "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (which I do genuinely love) and "The Force Awakens." Better movies were made than both of them, but they both scratch itches for me that better movies can't.

      2016: I don't know that I saw enough movies to make my participation in this fair. My favorite of the ones I did see was "La La Land," which I genuinely loved once the opening scene was over. Runner up was "Captain America: Civil War," which I also genuinely loved. I'm think maybe "Finding Dory" for third...?

      2017: I can imagine "Logan" earning a place on a hypothetical list for this year; it's good enough to deserve it. But we'll see what the year brings, obviously!

      All in all, I'm struck by the fact that I just don't see as many movies as I used to. Not even close to being close. But I do still find myself enjoying a lot of them at a high level, so it's not like I'm losing my love for them.

      I doubt that day will ever come. I certainly hope not!

      Thanks for taking the time to put these posts together! I apologize for how self-indulgent the comments have been.

    2. Not at all! Thank YOU for so generously indulging my own outrageous self-indulgence.

      You mentioned many I've still to say so just some quick responses...

      2011: Can't wait to see "Hugo." (and 2017: "Logan." All of these, pretty much.)

      2012: I had a running category of "Films That Were Unfairly Ganged Up On" in an earlier draft of this, pretty much just so I could list "John Carter." I haven't seen it since the theater but I do want to see it again, as I remember being puzzled by the over the top negative reaction. It had its problems but sheesh, people - it was still pretty cool. I felt the same way about the latest Conan the Barbarian with Jason Momoa.

      2015: I'm surprised to hear that about Age of Ultron. Have we talked about this? I'll have to search the emails. I thought the first half hour or so was pretty good.

    3. 2003: Kill Bill v1 is the one Taratino I thought might turn me around on the guy. Then v2 came out and I my hatred deepened to the Sith levels that sustain me now. But I do like parts of v1, still.
      2004-5: Need to see Village, Eternal Sunshine, and War of the Worlds again. I soured on the latter a little on subsequent rewatches.
      2006: I still don't know what the hell to make of The Fountain. Another for the rewatch pile.

    4. I like "Kill Bill Vol. 2" but would say it is a step down from the first.

      I don't really know what to make of "The Fountain," either, but I was thrilled to be befuddled by it.

  11. This post made me realize I need to watch WAY more dramas.

    1. Let me pick a year - let's say 2009: what's your fave?

  12. Dawn and I watched "Manchester by the Sea" tonight. Powerful stuff - I like the only other Lonergan I've seen ("You Can Count on Me") although I only ever saw it once. I should've mentioned it, though, for 2000, as it was a standout.

    1. I would like to see that. One of co-workers -- who has good taste in film -- said it was a terrific movie. So now y'all have upped the recommendation tally!