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TOP 10 FILMS - 2005
In my opinion, 2005 was a schizophrenic year with a ton of really crappy movies being released by the big studios -- which are all run by major corporations now who care more about the bottom line and less risk than creative chances -- and a bunch of really great films being released at the same time. In other words, if you could avoid the crap out there and pick & choose the good stuff, this really was a pretty solid year for those kinds of movies.

Unfortunately for me, this was the first year over the past decade or so during which I was not able to see over 150 movies in theaters, but I was still able to check out about a 100 or so, and so with that in mind, scroll below to see my favorites from the past year, along with a bunch of runner-ups, all of which were also damn good! Scroll down further and check out my LEAST FAVORITE movies of 2005.

Keep in mind that my list might be updated a little since I have yet to see films like GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, MUNICH and a handful of others that might make the list eventually.

The 40-Year Old Virgin - Broken Flowers - Corpse Bride - The Island - Kung-Fu Hustle - Lord of War - Shopgirl - Unleashed - War of the Worlds - The Weather Man

10. Wedding Crashers

"The film itself also managed to outdo most movies coming out these days by impressively managing to meld “dirty comedy” with romance, friendship, drama and a handful of interesting characters – elements that are difficult enough to successfully implement across a number of movies, lest just the one."

Along with THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN, this film brought back the R-rated comedy with mucho might, and I for one, was damn happy to see it back. With Vaughn at the top of his game here, a novel idea, a nice pairing with Wilson and even some romance, this was one of the better surprises of the year.
9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

"...CHARLIE just takes you on a ride, splashing colors, sounds and awesome new worlds all over your eyelids, in the hopes that you will journey along and enjoy everything you see and hear for its duration. I did."

I was a little nervous about this film, since I've always been a huge fan of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, but I needn't have been as it came through on a variety of levels with tons of fun, colors and amazement, surrounding Depp's uber-creepy performance with glee. Can't wait to watch this again with my kid-- whenever I have one, that is.
8. Mr. and Mrs. Smith

"This is it. This is exactly what I look for in my summer popcorn flicks. Fun, fun, fun. Slap a couple of sexy, great-looking leads into a motion picture, add a twinge of romance, a ton of action, a surprising amount of potent comedy, and you can’t really go wrong if you’re looking for an all-around good time..."

This was the ultimate "summer movie" for me. A mindless mesh of entertainment, fun, action and visuals, this film offered a little bit of everything for everybody, including two awesome-looking leads who seemed to be having a blast on-screen (and apparently "off" as well). See it because you're curious about Brangelina, but love it because it rocks!
7. Batman Begins

"A dark, edgy, origin-based BATMAN flick that kicks the asses of the last two Bat-tries, kickstarts the disenfranchised franchise and finally provides us with an actor who is completely believable as both Bruce Wayne and Bathead himself, Christian Bale."

Every year, I re-watch many of the movies that I saw in theaters on DVD and every year, I tend to enjoy some of them much more the second time around-- like this film and THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN this year (and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR last year). I think I was a little too fanboy nitpicky when I first saw this film on the big screen, but watching it again at home, I couldn't help but be swept up in the film's utter darkness and craft, two qualities that the makers of the Bat-flicks had completely forgotten over the last installments. Can't wait to see what's next!
6. Walk the Line

"...if you actually watch the movie, you’ll get a lot more out of it, mainly due to the film’s two lead actors, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, both of whom take over their real-life counterparts’ personas entirely, and deliver two of the most resonant performances of the year."

This was one of those movies that grew on me ever more, a few days after having watched it. I'd wake up in the morning humming Johnny Cash's tunes or remember certain quaint moments that the duo shared on screen. I don't usually go nuts over musical biopics, but Phoenix and Witherspoon also created a wonderful romance here, with dark streaks, fun times and cool tunes all around. Now nominate them for Oscars or go eff yourselves.
5. King Kong

"It’s a friggin’ over-the-top blast of a spectacle movie, after all. This ain’t RAIN MAN, folks…it’s a huge monkey kickin’ ass and if you’re looking for that sort of entertainment value, you really can’t go wrong with this movie."

Despite my quote above, and despite sorta feeling like this film would end up in my top 10 from the days that I originally heard about it, I was as surprised as anyone to admit that it wasn't necessarily the film's all-out action and special effects extravaganza that blew my nuts clean off, but the friggin' love story between the blonde and the monkey. That's right, you heard me...monkey love, folks...that did me in! Recommended on a variety of levels, KING KONG was definitely one of the more successful blockbusters of the years and major kudos to Peter Jackson, and everyone else associated with the movie, for that.
4. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

"My favorite of the three most recent STAR WARS movies, REVENGE OF THE SITH mixes all of the best elements from its predecessors, including impeccably integrated special effects, an astounding sci-fi vision and scope, awesome light-saber battles, a handful of fantastic action sequences – set both in space and on the ground – an epic storyline and fun characters, with a much darker umbrella of thoughts and images, as well as..."

I've been a pretty big STAR WARS fan since I was a kid and saw the original in theaters a few times. I've been an unapologetic fan of the most recent prequels and haven't completely 180'd by opinion on them, when I watched them again on DVD. Many others have seen these movies, including this one, praised them galore, then switched gears months later and bashed them unabashadly. Well, I ain't one of them people.

I'm not a fan of George Lucas' antics as the man who runs Lucasfilm (un-tighten your asshole, dude), but at the end of the day, I believe the STAR WARS series is the best space adventure ever created for the big screen, and REVENGE OF THE SITH, despite some bittie faults, was a fun, dark and invigorating go-between between the two trilogies. I'm standing behind this one: in a galaxy just like ours, I watched this movie and loved the shit out of it!
3. Hustle & Flow

"I don’t know, maybe I’m just a sucka for films that exemplify this one’s tagline of “Everybody gotta have a dream”, but at the end of the day…really, what else you got, right? Considering the number of sequels and crap that we’ve been forced to watch coming out of Hollywood over the past few years, I’m more than happy to recommend a wholly original take on the old tale of the underdog..."

I went into this film with as few expectations as any other movie this year. I'd heard some decent buzz about it, but to be honest, the whole "pimp/rapper" thing wasn't doing it for me, and neither was its no-name writer/director and mostly no-name cast. Boy, am I glad that I was totally wrong about this movie, as it surprised me with a tremendous tale of your "everyman" with a dream, backed up against the shitstain that life presents to us from time to time, but not willing to give up just yet.

The closest sensation to ROCKY that I've felt in years, this movie came through on a variety of levels, and major kudos also have to be extended to its lead, Terrence Howard, for mastering all of his character's traits, no matter how good or bad. An inspirational movie that touched me.
2. Crash

"...when a superlative motion picture like CRASH hits the screen, it’s also easy to remember how powerful and entertaining a film can be, and how important it is for people to acknowledge such films, seeing as we need so many more of them these days."

I'm not going to pretend that this movie is for everyone because I know very well that about 50% of the people who I've spoken to about it, didn't really care much for it, while another 50% of people absolutely adored it, but I count myself in the latter group with bells on, as this film did things to me that few others did over the past 12 months, and that is to make me feel, reflect, envision and discuss.

This is the type of movie that if you "get into it", you will thoroughly appreciate on a number of emotional, social and intellectual levels, and look forward to discussing it with others. It's also an important film, especially in this day and age, and provides a great microscope over the preconceptions, miscommunications and racist attitudes that many of us, of all creed and color, may have running through our veins. I still think about this film today and believe that it's the kind of movie that can actually make a difference in the world.
1. Sin City

"Ever since 1994’s PULP FICTION bitchslapped the movie industry with its own rules of cinematic cool, fanboys like myself have been salivating at the thought of another mega-slick motion picture slipping us its slobbery wet tongue, and much like the aforementioned classic, SIN CITY does so with..."

Being as I'm a pretty decent comic book fan, a man who enjoys his film noirs, a lover of all things sexy and cool, SIN CITY was likely designed for people like myself who simply love watching hard-edged characters spouting slick dialogue over cool circumstances and wrapping it all up in visuals that were second-to-none and then some! Not to mention the film's amazing cast, especially the great Mickey Rourke and his character of Marv, the violent storylines and the juxtaposition of the black-and-white look of the movie, versus its smaller, more colorful, elements.

But for anyone who has read my reviews for a while will note, it's originality that I love best and this film had that and a whole bunch more for the hundreds of other generic movies that were xerox'd out of Hollywood this year. You gotta love a movie that doesn't listen to any of that shit, does its own thing, creates something entirely unique and in doing so, comes out with one of the most entertaining motion pictures of the year. Thumbs up to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller for accomplishing that and looking forward to a lot more coolness to come.

“There’s wrong and there’s wrong and then there’s this!”
10. Fever Pitch

9. Dirty Love

8. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

7. Elektra

6. Cursed

5. The Ring Two

4. Miss Congeniality 2

3. Prime

2. Carlito's Way: Rise to Power

1. Last Days