Well of course I can’t let Sean’s best/worst list of the year stand as EM’s official best of list, so I had to put one together myself. Overall I would say this has been one of the – best years for films in several years. Sure there really weren’t any genre busting films, but it wasn’t a year that was filled with complete garbage either (like last year.) Hollywood played it safe and put out more bland, mediocre, formulaic product than ever before. But they scored more often than missed, and when they missed, it wasn’t a “”major”” miss.
This year I could only find two films that I just truly despised with every ounce of my being and that’s “”Rules of Attraction,”” and “”Full Frontal,”” other films on my worst list, I didn’t like them for various reasons, but they weren’t things that I HATED. Now granted, if a film looks like garbage, I’m not going to waste my time seeing it, hey, just like regular movie goers, I have to pay a fortune to attend a screening (parking ain’t cheap!) and will pick and choose the things that I want to review, therefore, I haven’t seen crap like “”The Sweetest Thing,”” “”Serving Sara,”” “”A Walk To Remember,”” “”Jackass,”” anything with Tom Green in it, etc… This also marks the first time in several years where I’ve actually tried to see almost everything. There were 355 films released this year, and I’ve seen about 150 – 200 of them. The interesting thing is, this year I couldn’t think of any independent or “”small”” film that stood out in my mind as being worthy of being on my best of list. While I liked “”Adaptation,”” I had several issues with that film and I didn’t get a chance to catch “”Frida,”” “”The Pianist,”” (I hope to catch this in a few weeks) “”Yu Tama Mumba,”” “”About Schmidt”” (which looks like a bore) or “”The Hours.”” And I never slept better than I did during “”The Quiet American.””I didn’t have to struggle to come up with a best of list this year. The common theme with all the films on my year’s best list is that these are all movies that, if left up to my own devices I probably would never have bothered to watch if I didn’t have to review them. As I have said on numerous occasions we all have our biases when we go see a movie, and great films will grab us by the shoulders and make you like them. And almost every film on this list I had reservations about or knew nothing about before I saw them. So without further adieu here are my favorite films of the year. 1) About A BoyI’m coming out of the closet and going on record as saying I LOVE Hugh Grant movies. His last 3 films were fantastic, and I must say “”About A Boy”” came out of nowhere and just wowed me. When I saw this film, it was on a night where I was just having a really crap day and this film just made everything seem somehow better. Sure it’s like all of his other films, but it never seemed to fall into the Romantic Comedy trap where you know how it’s going to end, it actually keeps you guessing through most of the film. I loved the performance by that goofy looking kid, and everyone else was uniformly excellent. I recently saw this again on the plane and it actually holds up. It was also kind of cool that the Weitz Brothers were at our screening.2) Standing in The Shadows of MotownPaul Justman’s rousing and crowd pleasing documentary about Motown’s Legendary House Band, “”The Funk Brothers,”” is not only one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a long time, but it’s also one of the best FILMS of the year. It’s one of those rare documentaries that is uplifting, inspiring, and not preachy. I never knew that these guys were the driving force behind the Motown sound, and I bet 99 percent of the music going public doesn’t know either. Not only was this one of the best films of the year, but it was also one of the best times I’ve had at a screening all year. The audience was really into this film and you couldn’t help but get swept up in the moment. If there is ANY justice in this world, this film SHOULD not only get nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary but it should definitely WIN it as well. But we all know that neither will happen because the folks who vote for best Documentaries all have sticks up their asses and are bitter old codgers.3) Four FeathersThe story, set in 1898, follows a British officer (Ledger) who resigns his post when he learns of his regiment’s plans to ship out to the Sudan for the conflict with the Mahdi. His friends and fianc