Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Film For Every Year (Part 2)

Part 1.

Better late than never! Here's Part 2.

Favorite: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Runners-up: Beetlejuice, Bull Durham, Dangerous Liaisons, Dead Ringers, A Fish Called Wanda, The Last Temptation of Christ, Midnight Run, The Naked Gun, Scrooged, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Great films I have yet to see: The Accidental Tourist, Gorillas in the Mist, Hairspray
Worst film I have seen: Caddyshack II

The later we get in this list, the higher the percentage of really awful movies there is for each year. Partly this has to do with production increasing throughout the years; Wikipedia lists 67 releases for 1970, and 157 for 1988. More movies means less quality control: more opportunities for schlock to make it to the screen than in times when studios perhaps were more discriminating about their output. 1988 had a ton of great movies, but it had even more incredibly awful ones. Rather than Caddyshack II as worst film, I could very easily have gone with Action Jackson, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, Big Business, Buster, Cocktail, Cocoon: The Return, The Couch Trip, Crocodile Dundee II, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Ernest Saves Christmas, Halloween 4, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, License To Drive, My Stepmother Is an Alien, Punchline, Rambo III, Red Heat, or Vibes. That's sad.

Favorite: Crimes and Misdemeanors
Runners-up: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Do the Right Thing, Field of Dreams, Heathers, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Little Mermaid, Mystery Train, Say Anything...,
Great films I have yet to see: Cinema Paradiso, Henry V
Worst film I have seen: The Abyss (the first movie I ever booed in the theater)

More than any of the films mentioned above, this was the year of Batman. I loved it at the time, but... eh. I don't think it's aged well at all.

Favorite: Goodfellas
Runners-up: Dances With Wolves, The Freshman, The Grifters, Miami Blues, Miller's Crossing, The Rescuers Down Under, Reversal of Fortune, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
Greats films I have yet to see: Alice, Avalon
Worst film I have seen: RoboCop 2 (it may not actually be worse than, say, Men at Work or Look Who's Talking Too, but it's the film that hurt me the most)

Lot of great films in there, many of small scale which aren't much remembered these few years later. Has anyone else seen Miami Blues? You really should. Or Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, which is, amazingly, still the only film in which Tim Roth and Gary Oldman have appeared together? (If only Roth hadn't turned down the Harry Potter franchise for Planet of the Apes....) But then, this is also the year Whoopi Goldberg won a fucking Oscar, so let's move on.

Favorite: Beauty and the Beast
Runners-up: Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, L.A. Story, The Silence of the Lambs, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Great films I have yet to see: Delicatessen... and that's about it
Worst film I have seen: Point Break (I can enjoy the camp value, but come on, it's quite awful)

Not a lot of films really jumped out at me this year as being truly great, though I enjoyed a lot of them. Beauty and the Beast takes the favorite spot almost by default (it is truly great, but for some reason I'm finding it hard to build up much enthusiasm for it right now). Missing from my list of runners-up are films from three of my favorite directors, David Cronenberg (Naked Lunch), Terry Gilliam (The Fisher King), and the Coen brothers (Barton Fink). I haven't rewatched any of those films since I saw them in the theater. They just don't register as the highlights of any of those filmmakers. Which possibly is because I've never rewatched them. I'm more than willing to believe the fault here is mine, not theirs. I've got a copy of Barton Fink, which I plan on watching in the coming week; maybe I'll get back to the other two someday soon as well.

Favorite: Unforgiven
Runners-up: The Crying Game, El Mariachi, Glengarry Glen Ross, One False Move, The Player, Reservoir Dogs, Wayne's World
Great films I have yet to see: Chaplin, A Few Good Men, Howards End, Husbands and Wives, Malcolm X
Worst film I have seen: Encino Man (but only because I never watched Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot)

This year, on the other hand, my pick was a no-brainer. My favorite film of the decade, and one of my favorite films ever. But look at all that up-and-coming talent (Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Neil Jordan, Billy Bob Thornton pre-Sling Blade) peppered among new high points from veterans (Eastwood, Altman, Reiner). Pretty damn good year.

Favorite: Groundhog Day
Runners-up: Army of Darkness, Carlito's Way, Dead Alive, Hard Boiled, Hard Target, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Remains of the Day, Short Cuts
Great films I have yet to see: Farewell My Concubine, Philadelphia, The Piano, Rudy, The Sandlot, Schindler's List
Worst film I have seen: The Dark Half (only because I never allowed myself to watch RoboCop 3)

Dead Alive and Hard Boiled were actually made in 1992, but didn't come to America until 1993, which is why I have them here. I include Rudy and The Sandlot among "greats" I haven't seen only because my friends are always appalled when I tell them I haven't seen them, not because I expect any greatness from them once I eventually, inevitably am forced to see them. And I was a little surprised by my pick for favorite, though I guess I shouldn't be. As I recently noted: "The more this movie ages, the clearer it becomes what an absolute classic it is." True!

Favorite: Pulp Fiction
Runners-up: Barcelona, Dumb and Dumber, Ed Wood, Heavenly Creatures, The Hudsucker Proxy (You know -- for kids!), The Last Seduction, The Lion King, Nobody's Fool, The Ref
Great films I have yet to see: Immortal Beloved, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
Worst film I have seen: It's Pat

Julia Sweeney appears in both my favorite and least favorite film of the year. And Quentin Tarantino is rumored to have done uncredited rewrites on the It's Pat script. Funny how best and worst can occur nearly simultaneously.

Favorite: Toy Story
Runners-up: Before Sunrise, Braveheart, Clueless, Dead Man, Dead Man Walking, Desperado, Devil in a Blue Dress, GoldenEye, A Goofy Movie, Leaving Las Vegas, Pocahontas, Se7en, Toy Story, 12 Monkeys, The Usual Suspects
Great films I have yet to see: The City of Lost Children, Clockers, Rob Roy, Sense and Sensibility, Welcome to the Dollhouse
Worst film I have seen: Fair Game

While, clearly, there are many films I like a great deal from this year, I had trouble picking a favorite, one that really stood head and shoulders above the others (in my mind, anyway). I think I finally went with Toy Story on the basis of quantity -- watched it the most times -- more than anything else. I could've picked nearly any other film I listed and been okay with it.

Favorite: Fargo
Runners-up: Bound, Hard Eight, Jerry Maguire, Kingpin, Mission: Impossible, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Scream, Star Trek: First Contact, That Thing You Do!, Tin Cup
Great films I have yet to see: Breaking the Waves, Michael Collins, Secrets & Lies, Shine
Worst film I have seen: Jack

I think Jack is when I really began to hate Robin Williams.

Favorite: Donnie Brasco
Runners-up: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Boogie Nights, Clockwatchers, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential, Private Parts, Starship Troopers
Great films I have yet to see: Cop Land, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Mrs. Brown, Ulee's Gold
Worst film I have seen: As much as I hate Titanic, in all fairness Batman & Robin was far, far worse... which would essentially make the actual worst film of this year, Fathers' Day, a crime against humanity

Donnie Brasco was when I switched from thinking, "Johnny Depp is usually pretty entertaining" to, "Johnny Depp should have a shelf full of Oscars." How he was not nominated for this film is a mystery to me -- hell, by this film, he should already have had three nominations, and probably won at least once. It only took the Academy six more years (and a gigantic theme park ride-based blockbuster) to recognize Depp at all, even though he is so clearly, in my eyes, the best actor of his generation (and "his generation" can basically be defined as "from the date of his birth to now").

Favorite: The Big Lebowski
Runners-up: Babe: Pig in the City, A Bug's Life, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Happiness, Mulan, Out of Sight, Pi, Pleasantville, Rushmore, Saving Private Ryan, There's Something About Mary, The Truman Show, Zero Effect
Great films I have yet to see: Affliction, American History X, Beloved, Buffalo '66, Croupier, Elizabeth, Gods and Monsters
Worst film I have seen: You've Got Mail

Man, this was a really good year for movies. I had Saving Private Ryan in the favorite spot for a while, but then I had to admit that I have finally been wholly absorbed into the Lebowski cult. Damn, it's fun! So much fun, every single time. I mean, sure, the harrowing half hour-long orgy of violence on the beaches of Normandy that opens Ryan -- that's fun, too, don't get me wrong. But... the Dude abides. 'Nuff said.

Favorite: South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Runners-up: American Beauty, American Pie, Being John Malkovich, Boys Don't Cry, Election, eXistenZ, Galaxy Quest, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, The Iron Giant, Magnolia, Office Space, The Sixth Sense, The Straight Story, Three Kings, Toy Story 2,
Great films I have yet to see: All About My Mother, The End of the Affair, Girl, Interrupted, The Hurricane
Worst film I have seen: Three To Tango

Tons of great cult-level films released this year, including what may be my favorite films from David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch. But I have to go for the ultra-crass (but incredibly funny and smartly satirical) South Park instead. I could watch it every single day. That movie has warped my fragile little mind!

Favorite: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Runners-up: Almost Famous, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, High Fidelity, Memento, The Perfect Storm, Pitch Black, Pollock, Requiem for a Dream, The Tao of Steve, Traffic, Unbreakable, X-Men, You Can Count On Me
Great films I have yet to see: Billy Elliot, Dancer in the Dark, Yi Yi
Worst film I have seen: What Planet Are You From?

I would say, without hesitation, Requiem for a Dream was the best film released in 2000. But favorite? I don't know that I can call it my favorite when I literally can not bear to watch it again. One of the most brutal films I've ever seen. No, my favorite film, one I love and enjoy every time I see it, has to be O Brother. Is that copping out, or does that make sense to you?

Favorite: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Runners-up: Donnie Darko, Frailty, Ghost World, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, In the Bedroom, The Royal Tenenbaums, Wet Hot American Summer
Great films I have yet to see: Ali, Amelie, Monster's Ball, Winged Migration
Worst film I have seen: Joe Dirt (though there are many other films that look much worse, but I've never actually seen -- such as Freddy Got Fingered)

Nothing really jumped out at me as being an overwhelming favorite for this year, even though my pick seems like a fairly obvious choice in retrospect. I kept expecting some other title would take its place.

Favorite: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Runners-up: Adaptation, Bubba Ho-Tep, City of God, In America, Spider-Man
Great films I have yet to see: The Hours, The Pianist, Spider, Talk To Her
Worst film I have seen: My Big Fat Stupid Unfunny Vastly Overrated Greek Wedding

Exact same thing as 2001. I almost picked Spider-Man instead. I loved the Ring trilogy, don't get me wrong. I just wouldn't have expected it to fill my favorite film spot for two years running.

Favorite: Kill Bil Vol. 1
Runners-up: American Splendor, Bad Santa, The Cooler, Finding Nemo, Hulk, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Mystic River, Old School, School of Rock, The Station Agent, Whale Rider, X2: X-Men United
Great films I have yet to see: Coffee and Cigarettes, Monster, The Triplets of Belleville
Worst film I have seen: The Cat in the Hat

This was a very tough choice. I could've gone with half a dozen different films as my favorite. I actually had Finding Nemo up there first, then replaced it with American Splendor. But the first half of Tarantino's beautifully violent epic won out for me.

Favorite: Shaun of the Dead
Runners-up: Anchorman, Before Sunset, Dawn of the Dead, The Dreamers, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Incredibles, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Shrek 2, Spider-Man 2, Team America: World Police
Great films I have yet to see: Finding Neverland, Hotel Rwanda
Worst film I have seen: The Butterfly Effect, The Grudge (tie)

2004 was the year this blog debuted, and it was the first year I crafted a year-end top ten film list. Check it out if you want to see what I thought about 2004's films back then. As time has gone on, the list has changed a bit. Hero, which I then called my second favorite film of the year, doesn't even register anymore. Fahrenheit 9/11, which I had at #1, would probably be around #5 or #6 now. Shaun of the Dead has become one of my favorite films to rewatch of all time, and has accordingly been bumped up. The Butterfly Effect and The Grudge are still equally worthless pieces of garbage, though.

Favorite: The Devil's Rejects
Runners-up: The Aristocrats, Broken Flowers, Capote, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Munich, Oldboy, Serenity, Sin City, The Squid and the Whale, The Upside of Anger
Great films I have yet to see: Brokeback Mountain, The Constant Gardener, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, March of the Penguins, The New World, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Transamerica, Tsotsi
Worst film I have seen: Waiting...

Yes, still. I still say The Devil's Rejects is my favorite movie of 2005. What can I say, I'm a sucker for family entertainment.

Favorite: Casino Royale
Runners-up: Blood Diamond, Cars, Children of Men, The Departed, The Descent, Hostel, Pan's Labyrinth, A Prairie Home Companion, Stranger Than Fiction, Thank You For Smoking
Great films I have yet to see: Akeelah and the Bee, Dreamgirls, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, United 93
Worst film I have seen: Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj

When I wrote up my round-up of the movies of 2006, I had Stranger Than Fiction and The Departed tied as my favorites. But with recent, frequent rewatchings on Showtime, Casino Royale has surpassed them both in my mind as the superlative entertainment. Can't wait for The Quantum of Solace (even though I hate that title).

Favorite: No Country For Old Men
Runners-up: Breach, Grindhouse, Hot Fuzz, Juno, Knocked Up, Ratatouille, The Simpsons Movie, Superbad, There Will Be Blood, Walk Hard
Great films I have yet to see: American Gangster, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Atonement, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Darjeeling Limited, Eastern Promises, Gone Baby Gone, I'm Not There, Lars and the Real Girl, Michael Clayton, Sicko, Sweeney Todd, La Vie en Rose, Waitress
Worst film I have seen: Epic Movie

As you can see, I'm still trying to catch up on all the films I missed out on last year. Though No Country was still an easy choice. Come on, it's awesome.

Favorite: Iron Man
Runners-up: The Dark Knight, Hancock, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Step Brothers
Great films I have yet to see: Be Kind Rewind, In Bruges, WALL-E
Worst film I have seen: Strange Wilderness

It's still way too early to be calling this one -- I can guarantee you, my favorite will have changed by December. But for now, Iron Man remains the most enjoyable film released this year that I've seen. And the runners-up are basically every other movie I've seen.

Wow, what a long-winded response to a fairly simple meme. But then, this kind of overboard list-making is why you love me. (Please love me.) Coming soon: An Album For Every Year. Maybe. I promise if I do it, I'll make that one much shorter.

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