Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Top 25 Movies of 2006 (Part 1)

For my own records and amusement I have been doing annual "favorites" lists for about 6 years now. Most of these lists can be found at my account (username: pastordice), but I figured I'd do some expanding here on my "blog" and get some feedback from you, my loyal friend on what I consider my favorite films I saw this past year.

Couple things:

This is not a recommendation list. To recommend a movie is a very personal thing. There are certainly movies on this list that I would recommend to anyone, anytime, but there are also movies on here that I would need to know your personal tastes and standards before I could recommend (The most caution should be given to the movies marked with an *). It's also important to note that these are commentaries directed at adults not teens or kids. I would offer even more caution to younger viewers for many of these films.

I judge films on not only how well done they are technically but also what they say (the message). A movie that has something amazing to say, but doesn't say it very well, might get a similar grade to a movie that doesn't have much to say, but says it very well.

In that way this is a personal resonance list. These are the films that resonated with me the most this year.

Also, these movies were not necessarily released in 2006, only that I saw them for the first time this past calendar year.

We will start with 25 and work back to number 1, how about 5 at a time.

25. Hoodwinked

Biggest surprise of the year. Just something we took the kids to because we heard good things. The art of this is well behind the craft of Pixar or even Dreamworks. You can tell these are first timers trying their hand at the whole computer animation thing. Yet, somehow, the characters and simple story of Little Red told in a new way was genuinely effective. I laughed a lot, and it also made me think about how different people can tell the same story in very different ways. The truth is outside of us and only discovered in the combination of perspective to get to it.

24. End of the Spear

The only "Christian" movie of the year that I actually thought was well done enough to mention. A very powerful movie about self-sacrifice and forgiveness. Based on the true story of some very courageous and dedicated missionaries, I was captivated by the depth and emotion of the loss and redemption that this movie ultimately celebrates. Very well done, and some powerful performances.

23. Flightplan

Seems like your basic cheese ball action film, but Jodie Foster plays her role so well that you can't help but be in that plane with her searching for her child. This is a tight, well paced film, that never feels like it stretches reality or insults our intelligence. The best thing I can say is that this is exactly the kind of movie Hitchcock would make if he were alive today.

22. Inside Man *

Spike Lee's latest is quite a ride. Denzel and Clive Owen anchor this movie about a bank heist that has more than just money on it's mind, and a hostage negotiator looking for a second chance. Jodie Foster adds yet another amazing performance in here as well. A lot of parallels could be drawn here to Ocean's 11, including the fun of discovering exactly how they could "pull it off". Lots of foul language to wade through unfortunately, but still an amazing movie in the end.

21. Akeelah and the Bee

This movie would have been much higher if parts of it didn't seem so forced. It's a genuinely moving look at community and pursuing excellence in a world of contented mediocrity. It's unfortunate, but anymore, a movie like this almost loses points because it's completely made up, not even based on any true story. It just feels like it should be a true story, but maybe that's the point. Maybe it's meant to inspire this story to happen in the future. Whatever the case, the final outcome feels touching and genuine whether it's ever happened in real life or not.

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