Fearless Manhattan journo Lewis Beale has passed along his ’06 superlatives — here are a few: (a) The Best: Inside Man, United 93, Little Miss Sunshine, Half Nelson, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Proposition, Babel, The Departed, Casino Royale, Children of Men; (b) The Worst: The Notorious Betty Page, London, Freedomland, Talladega Nights, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Fast Food Nation; (c) Underrated: Brick, Find Me Guilty, Hollywoodland, Clerks II, Miami Vice, The Fountain, Apocalypto, Come Early Morning; (d) Overrated: Volver, Borat, Dreamgirls; (e) Full Disclosure: Beale has not seen Letters From Iwo Jima; (f) Guilty Pleasures: Glory Road, Slither, Invincible, Something New.
On top of (g) Best Doper Movie: The Fountain; (h) Best Pre-Columbian Chase Film: Apocalypto; (i) Best Film I Saw In 2006 Which Won’t Be Released Until Later This Year: The Lives of Others, a brilliant German movie about East Germany’s Stasi security system, in which a rigid spy becomes humanized after he is assigned to get information on a noted playwright and his actress lover; (j) Patti Labelle “I Can Sing Really Loud and Shatter Glass” Award: Jennifer Holiday; (k) Great-Looking Grunge: The Proposition.
Beale’s Favorite Scenes: (1) The highway chase in Children of Men; (2) The construction site chase in Casino Royale; (3) The awesomely trippy final 15 minutes of The Fountain; (4) Martin Sheen thrown off the roof in The Departed; (5) Abigail Breslin dancing to “Super Freak” in Little Miss Sunshine; (6) The Motown dance number in Clerks II; (7) A female cop telling a white supremacist what a bullet from a high-powered rifle will do to his head in Miami Vice; (8) Any time Meryl Streep gets bitchy in The Devil Wears Prada; (9) Newark air traffic controllers watching as one of the lethal planes passes [a mile or so] in front of them, heading for the Twin Towers, in United 93; and (10) Ashley Judd not knowing how to deal with a lover who just wants to caress her in Come Early Morning.