Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Top 25 Movies of 2006 (Part 2)

Moving on to #20 - #16, these are my favorite movies of 2006. Remember, not recommendations, not for all ages, asterisk means content issues, blah, blah, blah... Let's hit it.

20. Zathura

You will certainly notice some "kids" movies in my list. There is a really good reason for this, I have kids. Four of them to be exact, all located squarely in that 2-7 age range that these movies nail. Of course, the other reasons they make my list are that A) they are actually really well done movies, and B) they often have very positive messages and little objectionable content. Zathura is all of the above. It's been described as "Jumanji" in space, but I think that does it a disservice. This is a well thought out and extremely well acted film. Worth a rental whether you have mini-mes or not..

19. Good Night, and Good Luck

This movie gets a lot of flack in conservative circles for attempting to tie Bush to McCarthyism. OK, I get it, that may have been a calculated move on Clooney's part, but the movie itself is pretty straight forward historical drama, really engaging drama at that. David Stathairn (one of the most under appreciated actors of the last few decades, come on, you know, the blind guy in "Sneakers".) is the perfect Murrow and I was never bored in what could easily been a very boring movie.

18. A History of Violence *

My most hesitant placement on this list, if only for the content. Generally this amount of language or violence has a difficult time rising up my list unless it is extremely moving and has a redeeming message. "Violence", in my opinion, has both. A powerful message on family, commitment, and the consequences of actions (particularly the consequences of violence) is backed up by one of the most astounding character studies I've ever seen. Viggo Mortenson is amazing in this movie and he drew me into his character more than any other movie last year. Once again though, this is not a "clean" movie, enough so that I would likely not buy it or even watch it again, but it really is an amazing film. Which brings up a question for you. How much inappropriate content is too much for you to enjoy a movie, buy it, or recommend it to others? Do you find it changing? Am I the only one that deals with these things?

17. World Trade Center

When I heard Oliver Stone was doing a 9/11 movie, I cringed. He has a track record as a conspiracy theorist and someone who is not above shaping history to fit his ideology. So you can imagine my surprise when WTC turned out to be a well-made, engaging, non-political look at the true stories of a couple of the heroes of that day. Don't get me wrong this was still "Hollywoodized" (unlike United 93, which we will get to later) with big actors and big action, but I think it did a great job of honoring those men. And I must say, for the first time ever I felt like Nicolas Cage was actually acting, and acting very well at that. His understated character was the heart of the movie and kudos to him for pulling it off.

16. The Greatest Game Ever Played

I think I'm realizing I have a soft spot for movies "based on a true story". I like knowing that the events I see on the screen relate directly to a real event that happened in the real world. 11 of my top 25 last year fall into that "true story" category and this is one of them. It's based on the true story of the 1913 US Open (that would be golf by the way) where an unknown 20 year old locked himself in a duel with the early 20th century version of Jack Nicolas or Tiger Woods. More than just a great story this is a great film, and Shia Lebouf is great as the young golfer who tries to do the impossible. Very engaging stuff, and I also should mention, very funny as well. This one I can recommend to anyone :)

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