Chick's top ten movies of 2005

“It’s hard to beat your father.”

  1. The Squid and the Whale: A painfully dark and insightful story about unintentional brutality to children, and how they can grow up and turn into the assholes who are their parents. Jeff Daniels as an imperious pathetic broken man deserves not only the Oscar nomination, but probably the win. Unfortunately, the movie’s probably too small for that.

“Your folks stop at Ennis?”
2. Brokeback Mountain: It’s not a gay movie, but a breathtakingly lovely and sad love story that happens to be about two men. Ang Lee has restored himself in my estimation from the goofball who did the Hulk to the Ang Lee I know and love from Ice Storm. Heath Ledger will probably steal the best actor Oscar from Jeff Daniels and, well, I guess I’m okay with that.

“Since when are you allergic to peanut butter?” “Birth.”
3. War of the Worlds: A big budget, a mainstream director, and an established writer can actually have a fresh new approach. And they can do it with an actor who’s name is more of a punchline than a headline.

“Ever since I was a child, folks have thought they had me pegged.”
4. Capote: Not a biopic. Phew. It’s another Phillip Seymour Hoffman tour de force in which he demonstrates why he’s one of the greatest actors of his generation, creating the character of Truman Capote with the utmost conviction. And he does it to tell the story of a man dealing with his own pettiness in the face of enormity.

“He know he’s white?”
5. Hustle & Flow: An unforced slice of life-on-the-streets, shrewdly written and directed by Craig Brewer, but most importantly electrified by Terence Howard and a thoroughly convincing supporting cast. And just as Brokeback Mountain isn’t a “gay” movie, neither is this a “rap” movie.

“I will die for these animals.”
6. Grizzly Man: A fascinating portrait of someone who doesn’t understand the force and nature of the forces of nature known as grizzly bears, and manages to – uhh, spoiler!, I guess – get himself eaten in the process. I consider it a companion piece to last year’s equally bleak Open Water.

“Do you want revenge?”
7. Constantine: Apparently, this is supposed to come from a comic book. Fortunately, the movie is largely character-driven and the special effects sequences sit in the back seat where they belong. And its riveting finale consists almost entirely of two people talking. This is, at the basic level, just a story about a guy dealing with cancer, but God and the Devil get involved, so it’s more exciting than, say, Dying Young. Great performances all around – yes, even from Keanu – but particularly from Tilda Swinton.

“I should have killed you in Philly.”
8. A History of Violence: Perhaps my favorite three seconds of film this year was William Hurt slapping his pocket to check for his keys. But I also really enjoyed the way this mystery unfolded and became about something that it wasn’t originally about. David Cronenberg is simultaneously mellowing, maturing, and getting braver with age, from Spider to A History of Violence.

“Good night. And good luck.”
9. Good Night and Good Luck: A movie about the media and this Administration without being about the media and this Administration. Or, to put it another way, “Hey, New York Times, remember when the media actually had a fucking sense of integrity!” I’m elated to see George Clooney doing such risky and, dare I say, socially conscientious things with his money instead of just being famous and getting laid.

10. King Kong: The Eighth Wonder of the World is not a giant ape, but the CG used to put the light into his eyes that brings alive the quiet moments (helped greatly by Naomi Watts). Throw into the mix the over-the-top adventure and you’ve got an 800 pound gorilla of a popcorn movie, but with a substantial emotional core.


I’ve only seen three movies on your list. War of the Worlds, Constantine, and Good Night and Good Luck. Constantine, and Good Night and Good Luck I can totally understand. War of the Worlds is a terrible movie on just about every level. Not only was War of the Worlds the worst movie I saw this year but the worst movie I’ve seen over the the past couple of years.

What, no love for Revenge of the Sith? Surely even our foremost Star Wars hater could appreciate the splendid performance of Ian McDiarmid, despite the ridiculous rubber mask that Lucas forced on him in the second half of the movie?

Worst Movie of the Year: Land of the Dead

The “moral equivalence” people are complaining a lot about Munich, but Land of the Dead is the most degenerate message movie of all time of the year. Seriously, though, who are we to question their zombie lifestyle?


Best Movie That’s Not On Tom’s List That’s Better Than Every Movie on Tom’s List Except for The Squid and the Whale:

The 40 Year Old Virgin

“I’m ripping your head off right now. It’s off. And now I’m throwing it at your body. Fuck you!”

Sorry, couldn’t remember enough quotes to maintain the formatting.

  1. Thank You for Smoking - Probably not the best film of the year, but just my personal favorite. Christopher’s Buckley’s sneering satire of the lobbying industry is played to smarmy perfection by Aaron Eckhart. A huge hit at Toronto.

  2. Hustle and Flow - I enjoy hip-hop about as much as I enjoy metal, which is to say not at all. But Terrance Howard’s performance is fantastic, and the story wonderfully achieves pathos without slipping into the bathos of overheated plot development and grand statements. A great film.

  3. C.R.A.Z.Y. - Ok, it’s not fair picking a Quebecois film from the Toronto festival about a young man’s coming-of-age story. Wait! It gets better, he discovers he’s gay and grows estranged from his father and orthodox Catholic family!! Sounds like the runt of the litter on a Lifetime weekend marathon of painful movies, but it’s simply fantastic. The director knows he’s on treading on treacle ground, but the film is subtle, hilarious, and heartfelt. My #2 pick from the Toronto fest.

  4. Capote - I was relieved it wasn’t hagiography, as I’m not a huge Capote fan. The film certainly wasn’t either, portraying him as a craven careerist whose sensitivity could be turned on and off like a light switch. Agreed on P.S. Hoffman being just terrific.

  5. Good Night, and Good Luck - It starts with a speech and ends with a speech and there are a lot of speeches in between. But there’s plenty of humor, warmth and relevance underneath the grave, smoky black and white. A great effort by both Clooney and Strathairn.

  6. The Matador - Not exactly an important movie, just Pierce Brosnan taking a torch to his image as a suave, international man of mystery by playing a drunken, socially awkward only moderately successful international assassin. Great fun.

  7. American Gun - It’s somewhat amateurish (first-time writer/director), it tries too hard to be profound in places (Donald Sutherland now taking roles originally written for Yoda), and it’s “topical.” But Forest Whitaker is great and the film is intellectually honest, which is often rare in indie films that try to hard to “make a statement.”

  8. Batman Begins - If we want to put a popcorn movie on here, I put this one. I used to think there were really only two ways to do something as ludicrous as a man dressed as a bat: go Gothic (Burton) or homosexual camp (Schumacher). But Nolan goes for realism and almost achieves it. And at two hours, it doesn’t waste our time with an extra hour of pointless CG or ludicrous “relationships.”

  9. Walk the Line - Sure, it’s a by-the-numbers biopic of Johnny Cash. What can I say? I like numbers, J. Pheonix and Johnny Cash.

  10. Everything is Illuminated - There are now a lot of cliches to avoid when making a holocaust movie, and Liev Schriber manages to avoid most of them. Surpisingly funny throughout until the last, superb third of the film.

“Erp erp erp erp”
10. March of the Penguins
I’m a sucker for these in-depth documentaries into the lives of animals. And these penguins will surprise you with their ability of empathy, sacrifice, humour, heartache, etc. You’ll laugh, and you’ll definitely cry.

“…America has interest overseas”
9. Syriana
An important film if there ever was one this year. Aided by a bug budget no less. Gaughan manages to tackle contemporary issues on a global scale without being overly preachy. Fine performances by Damon, Clooney and Amr Waked

“Why do we fall, to pick ourselves back up”
8. Batman Begins
Indeed it did. It is the return to form for the batman mythos after schumacher routinely shot it with cheese cannons. Though very different from the stylisitic excesses of Burton’s original, Batman Begins manages to juggle its mainstream appeal and dark psychology of a man who dresses as a bat into an effective comic book film.

“Twas Beauty that killed the beast”
7. King Kong
Silliness of the last line aside, Jackson manages to prove that his LOTR trilogy was not a fluke of a marriage between an Indie Horror director, a big budget and all that CGI. A popcorn movie through and through, but what a ride, what a ride.

“It is Grandpa’s seeing eye bitch”
6. Everything is Illuminated
Based on a book that is equally as touching, poignant and funny. A rarity of a story that uses the Holocaust and Jewish Diaspora as themes but doesn’t beat you in the head with its melodrama.

“People all hide behind glass”
5. Crash
Technically not 2005, but I saw it only in April. The subject material may be overused but its one where it doesn’t hurt to be reminded off every so often. Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard also give wonderful performances. (I should go catch Hustle and Flow)

“I love this job, Hoo rah”
4. Jarhead
Perhaps a little alienating for those who’ve never served time in an army, much less the pressure cooker that was the 1991 Gulf war. But Jarhead goes a long way in capturing that spirit of unease, boredom and disillusion that being a soldier in a war few understand entails.

“You gotta loosen up mah brother.”
3. The Squid and the Whale
Noah Bambach has learnt much from his time with Wes Anderson. More so that he can write and direct a movie with more emotional punch than most Anderson movies while retaining that trademark wit.

“Let’s be Bad guys”
2. Serenity
The tale of the TV show that couldn’t. It’s everything funny, adventurous and epic that Hans Solo brought to the original Star Wars franchise without the overwrought Jedi stuff. Joss Whedon’s baby was created for a purpose, and that’s to make those science fiction epics shine again with wonderful characters, brilliant dialogue and an imaginative future playground.

“It’s game time”

  1. Doom
    The Rock’s masterful performance in this faithful adaptation gives us hope that not all video game translation need be Boll-like disasters. Taut, tense, scary and … ah who am I kidding. This was crap, crap, crap and that radioactive piece shat out by donkeys who’ve wandered too far into a fallout zone.

I haven’t seen Good night and Good luck as well as Capote though I mean to remedy the former. You guys have also convinced me of Hustle and Flow.
Honourable 2005 mentions are “Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the wererabbit” and “The 40 year old virgin.” Both movies being simple celluloid fun.

It’s funny, War of the Worlds is definately on my worst of 2005 list. The more I think about it the worse it gets.

Well, it may not be from 205 but Crash is most certainly a 2005 film. And you saw it pretty early too- it didn’t go wide until late April or early May.

  1. Batman Begins
  2. Syriana
  3. Thank you for Smoking
  4. A History of Violence
  5. Crash
  6. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  7. Munich
  8. Capote
  9. Layer Cake
  10. The Squid and the Whale

I had a whole explanation worked out for all of these, but something happened with the forum when I went to preview the post and I lost it all (damn you chet!). So just assume that what I said was really profound and meaningful.

Also, honourable mention to Good Night and Good Luck, Grizzly Man (I love me some Herzog), Thumbsucker, Sin City, and what the hell Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior because it was the only movie where the star dropkicks a guy while his legs are ON FIRE!

My bad.
I could have sworn it was a 2004 december film. (IMDB listed it that way)
That and people i knew were talking about it way before i saw it in April.

Or was it May.
It’s been a long year.

I got to #3, laughed then stopped.

I didn’t work in a movie-rental store this year, so I didn’t see as many movies as I would liked to have seen. Also, most of the movies I saw this year were action and comedy films.

I’m not very good at describing what I liked about a certain film, so I’m just going to list them. Sorry for breaking protocol!

  1. Old Boy
  2. Infernal Affairs
  3. Sin City
  4. March of the Penguins
  5. Constantine
  6. Batman Begins
  7. Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  8. 40 Year Old Virgin
  9. Serenity
  10. War of the Worlds (except the entire scene with Tim Robbins)

As for worst movie, the easy choices are Stealth, Alone in the Dark, Aeon Flux and House of D. But I gotta go with Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The movie I’ve been waiting for for over ten years. If you haven’t read of the book or listened to the radio series, the movie may appeal to you, but as a fan, it’s hard to watch. What’s the point of mentioning the planning papers if you’re not going to mention the leopard!? Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy were fantastic, however.

Dude, not even close. Old Boy came out in 2003, which as of today is 3 years ago. I think Tom docks you 10 Qt3 points for this sort of egregious faux pas.

I’m pretty sure Infernal Affairs came out in 2003 as well (or possibly even earlier). They’ve actually completely a whole trilogy of Infernal Affairs movies in Asia.

Great movie, by the way.

I saw Old Boy right before the NA release, which was early this year. I can’t watch ever movie ever made as soon as they are released, sorry.

Same with Infernal Affairs, the HK version didn’t even go on sale in the Asian malls here until earlier this year. It’s definatley not a 2003 movie though. Mid to late 2004 I think.

I saw the entire Infernal Affairs trilogy, but enjoyed the first film the most.

Edit. Nevermind, Infernal Affairs was 2002 (!). Can I change my title to best movies I saw in 2005?

That was my favorite movie moment of 2005.

“You know how I know you’re gay?”

“How? 'Cause you’re gay? And you can tell when other people are gay?”

Wow, these thread’s are a lot more useful if you have a netflix queue! I hadn’t seen Old Boy, so I don’t mind if it came out in 2003.

I can’t seem to find Jim Preston’s #2 pick. Any chance there is another title for this movie? What does the acronym C.R.A.Z.Y. stand for? Maybe it never made it to DVD?

40 Year Old Virgin has some of the most enjoyable comic lines I have heard in a movie for a long time. My favourite was this one:

“Sarcasm is like a second language to me, so I’m right there with you.”

War of the Worlds had me until the end, when the kid (through some incredible miracle, no doubt) shows up. That was right up there with the ending of A.I.