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Most Enjoyable & Most Disappointing of 2006

by Tony Medley

Here’s my list of the most enjoyable and least enjoyable/most disappointing/most overrated films I saw during 2006. The negative category includes some films that, while not the worst, were disappointing or overrated, or, while enjoyable, had huge flaws.

Most Enjoyable:

  1. Blood Diamond: Leonardo DiCaprio joins the ranks of Bogey and Newman as screen anti-hero icons.
  2. Apocalypto: This tension-filled, gory chase movie recreates what it must have been like in the 15th Century America rainforest as the Mayan Civilization was dying.
  3. Babel: Brilliant, but it takes patience.
  4. Little Children: Even after 2 hours, 17 minutes, I can’t get enough of Kate Winslet.
  5. United 93: Director Paul Greengrass wins the battle with Oliver Stone of 9/11 movies hands down.
  6. Nannie McPhee: The most underrated film of the year.
  7. Thank You For Smoking: This was a good year for films when this isn’t the best.
  8. Notes on a Scandal: When Cate Blanchett drops those horrible accents, she can act up a storm.
  9. Flyboys: Tony Bill makes one of the best war movies ever.
  10. The Devil Wears Prada: Emily Blunt tops a terrific Meryl Streep in a great entertainment.
  11. Invincible: With spectacular performances by Greg Kinnear and Mark Wahlberg, sports movies don’t get much better.
  12. The Nativity Story: A faithful rendition of the story of the birth of Jesus without being too gushingly devout, with the best Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) ever seen on film.
  13. Man of the Year: Robin Williams finally makes a good movie, only to have it ignored because of dismal promotion.
  14. Somersault: Abbie Cornish au naturel, but this film has much more.
  15. Hard Candy: A compelling tale of a sexual predator who gets his comeuppance, you should pardon the expression.
  16. Stranger Than Fiction: Will Ferrell finally drops his buffoonery in this Kafkaesque adventure, highlighted by the performances of Ferrell and Emma Thompson.
  17. Tsotsi: A realistic rendition of life as we don’t know it that held me in its grasp.
  18. Heart of the Game: A documentary about girls’ high school basketball? You gotta see it to appreciate it!
  19. Déjà Vu: Not “The Final Countdown,” but still a terrific time warper.
  20. Basic Instinct 2: So bad it is entertaining; with a performance by Sharon Stone that rivals anything in 1936’s “Reefer Madness.”

Most Disappointing:

  1. Borat: You’ll never go broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
  2. The Da Vinci Code: Director Ron Howard did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of the book by producing a slow, boring, factually absurd movie.
  3. Letters From Iwo Jima: So the brutal soldiers of imperial Japan were just nice young guys like our marines, eh? What is Clint Eastwood’s next excursion into moral equivalence, a film showing Hitler as a normal guy, no different from Churchill and Roosevelt, because he wrote a letter that indicated that he loved his dog?
  4. The Good German: The Bad Movie.
  5. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby: Hard to believe there were four movies worse than this Will Ferrell debacle.
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: Is it over yet?
  7. Glory Road: If you wait long enough, you, too, can create a legend where one didn’t exist.
  8. Bobby: Since this is pure fiction, it might as well have been entitled “Dennis.”
  9. Infamous: Enough, already!
  10. Annapolis: Sitting through this bomb, one realizes why the Naval Academy refused to cooperate.
  11. The Night Listener & RV: Robin Williams strikes out again and again.
  12. Click: Good idea; terrible translation.
  13. The Pink Panther: Like Diogenes’ fruitless search for one honest man, Steve Martin is still searching for one good script.
  14. Marie Antoinette: Sofia Coppola proves she really can make a movie slower and more boring than “Lost in Translation.”
  15. Hollywoodland: Fails in every possible category.
  16. Scoop: How long can Woody Allen get all these A-list people to work for scale with such inferior material?
  17. Sir, No Sir: Most soldiers in every war don't want to fight. Not all of them whine with the success these people had.
  18. All the King’s Men: Any film with Sean (“Look, Ma; I’m acting!”) Penn has an unfair advantage in competing for least enjoyable category.
  19. Shadowboxer & Ask the Dust: Don’t people like Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Colin Ferrell read these scripts before they sign on?
  20. Hoot: Nobody gave one for this inane story.