Most Enjoyable & Most Disappointing of 2005
by Tony Medley
Here’s my list of the most
enjoyable and least enjoyable/most disappointing/most overrated films I
saw during 2005. The negative category includes some films that, while not
the worst, were disappointing or, while enjoyable, had huge flaws. There
were more most enjoyables than most disappointings, and that’s a good sign
that if you pick carefully, you can still see a good movie.
- (tie) Match Point: Woody Allen’s best movie,
even if it is two hours long.
Proof: A sensitive, intuitive film about caretakers with a metaphorical
plot and a scintillating performance by Gwenyth Paltrow.
- March of the Penguins: The best love story of
the year has to be seen to be believed.
- The Great Raid: Has there ever been a better
war movie or a better story? Has a good movie ever been more poorly
- Heights: A brilliant script expertly acted by
an ensemble cast.
- Crash: Venturing into new territory, the most
ground-breaking film of the year.
- The Matador: If the purpose of moviemaking is
entertainment, this is a high achiever.
- Downfall: The real Hitler bunker couldn’t have
been much more realistic.
- Dreamer: The best wholesome family film of the
year with wonderful performances by Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell.
- Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: Julianne Moore
portrays a loyal wife of a flawed man, as strong a woman as you’ll ever
see in cinema. This one caused the feminist critic in the LA Times to
become almost apoplectic in her rage at a Hollywood film that glorifies
a loyal, stay-at-home mom, so it must be exceptionally good.
- In Good Company: Dennis Quaid finally finds
himself in a good film. Somebody pick Dennis up off the floor.
- Ballets Russes: Fascinating story of the two
ballet companies, circa 1932-62, told by the people who made and danced
- Cinderella Man: A terrific biopic of a good man
- Goodnight and Good Luck: Despite its political
bias, an entertaining recreation of a bygone era with a magnificent
performance by David Strathairm.
- Saint Ralph: A touching, funny look at Catholic
- In Her Shoes: This is not, I repeat NOT, a
- La Petite Lily: Ludivine Sagnier; gasp, pant;
need I say more?
- Grizzly Man: The most disgraceful, dishonest
film of this or any year. Director Werner Herzog sacrificed his
integrity to get the cooperation needed to make the film, but he did
suck in all the other critics who accepted his manipulation without a
- The New World. A doctor told a patient he had
only 2 ½ hours to live. The man said, “What can I do?” The doctor told
him to go see director Terrence Malick’s The New World. “How will that
help me?” the man asked. The doctor responded, “They’ll be the longest 2
½ hours of your life.”
- Susan Silverman: Ms. Silverman is wildly
successful in proving that she has poor taste and is not funny.
- 9 Songs: The hard core porn is so tedious one
longs for the horrible music.
- Yours, Mine, and Ours: Dennis Quaid finds
himself back in more familiar territory.
- Broken Flowers: Still somnolent Bill Murray
undoubtedly realizes that if he ever emerges from his Lost in
Translation-inspired trance he won’t get any more Oscar nominations from
his Hollywood peers.
- The Ice Harvest: Billy Bob Thornton won’t give
up thumbing his nose at Christmas.
- Prime: Meryl Streep gives a performance that
should live in infamy along with December 7.
- Elizabethtown: This original film makes one
think that maybe Paramount knows what it’s doing when it makes so many
inferior remakes of mediocre films in lieu of originals.
- The Honeymooners: On second thought, maybe
Paramount ought to investigate another line of work. How about Paramount
- North Country: For 2004 Charlize Thereon made a
movie about Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer and became an advocate for
her defense (that the first murder was self defense), which Wuornos
later admitted was hogwash. This admission was before Ms. Thereon’s
movie, but she still didn’t change it so that it didn’t make the baldly
false case that this monster was a sympathetic victim. Now, for 2005,
she makes a “Hollywood” movie that makes a simplistic mockery of a real
case. But, hey, it sounds good and it’s easy to understand and it’s
inflammatory, so who cares about facts, even if it is enormously silly?
- Mr. & Mrs. Smith: That this piffle could be
ninth for the year in grosses at $186,000,000 conclusively proves that,
for a movie to make money, notoriety and banality are more important
than an intelligent script, and that beautiful movie stars need not be
- Walk the Line: Joaquin Phoenix sings Johnny
Cash. Yeah, there’s a CD that should sell like cauliflower hot cakes.