My favorite eleven films of 2006, in descending order: 1. Children of Men (Universal); 2. The Lives of Others (Sony Pictures Classics); 3. The Departed (Warner Bros.); 4. United 93 (Universal); 5. Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight); 6. Volver (Sony Pictures Classics); 7. Babel (Paramount Vantage); 8. Pan’s Labyrinth (Picturehouse); 9. Letters From Iwo Jima (Warner Bros.); 10. The Queen (Miramax); (11) Notes on a Scandal (Fox Searchlight).
Rotely & Unexceptionally Worthy…Almost Boringly So: The Pursuit of Happyness.
Most Agreeable Stylistic Exercise (if it weren’t for that slight sense of stagnation): The Good German.
Most Agreeably Diverting “Entertainment” In Spurts (despite an almost profound lack of substance and connective-tissue movie-osity): Dreamgirls
Most Unpleasantly, Obsessively Violent Film of the Year: Apocalypto.
Most Defiantly Unlikeable “Quality” Movie of the Year: The Good Shepherd
Most Engagingly Modest and Respectable Character Study/Metaphor Movie of the Year, Even If It Isn’t a Home Run: Venus.
Best David Mamet Movie Since Things Change: Edmond.
Efficiently Entertaining But Overshadowed by Star’s (Ongoing) Public Implosion, and Didn’t Take Enough Advantage of Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Mission Impossible 3.
Best Sex Scene: Jude Law going down on Juliette Binoche and sending her over the falls in Breaking and Entering,
Not Necessarily The Year’s Funniest Comedy (For Me), but Definitely The Most Astonishing: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Lightly Enjoyable Mood Piece That Had a Predictable Plot, Yes, But Excessively Bad-Rapped All The Same: A Good Year.
Non-Profound, Studio-Stamped Comedy Drama That Gets Better With Each Successive Viewing: The Break-up.
Best Romantic LSD/Mescaline/Peyote Button Movie in Years: The Fountain.
Well-Made, Affecting, Under-Appreciated: Harsh Times.
Best 007 Film in 43 Years: Casino Royale.
Movies That Delivered, Meant, Epitomized and/or Amounted to Either Very Little or Nothing: For Your Consideration, Bobby, Jonestown: The Life and Death of the People’s Temple, Marie Antoinette, The Prestige, Infamous, Hollywoodland, The Black Dahlia, All the King’s Men, Art School Conifdential, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Snakes on a Plane, Shadowboxer, Lady in the Water, Scoop, The Oh in Ohio, You, Me and Dupree, Wassup Rockers, The Proposition, The DaVinci Code, Poseidon….I could go on and on.
Hard-Luck Good Movies of the Year: Sketches of Frank Gehry (not enough love), Miami Vice, Catch a Fire, Superman Returns (which could have been so much better with a little editing-room discipline) .
Note: This is just a first stab. There are tons more movies that fit the various categories above, or warrant their own categories. Part 2 will follow tomorrow. This is Christmas Eve day and I’m going to hang back a bit, but I know there’s a good number out there who are just as movie-obsessive as myself so….