Favorite Movies of 2005

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang—The story of a hapless thug-turned-actor-turned-gumshoe. Sort of a Raymond Chandler meets Elmore Leonard story. It's fast paced, smart, and funny. It's also self-indulgent and self-referential, which I normally hate, but done here in such a good hearted, unpretentious fashion that it worked for me. Don't make the mistake I did: since this was done by the Lethal Weapons guy, I went into this thinking it would be a big, dumb, loud, stupid movie. It was none of those.

Good Night, And Good Luck—I loved this movie for all the reasons I hated Inherit the Wind. The characters were nuanced, and thus so too were the dilemmas they faced. I loved the way Edward R. Murrow was able to walk a thin line, doing what he needed to do to stay in the business, such as insipid celebrity interviews, while picking the good fights where he could make a difference. This movie was just so inspiring to me. Screw the Oscars, George Clooney deserves a Nobel for this one.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room—I came away from this documentary convinced that Enron became an evil cult. The corporate leaders were worshiped, and the believers were emboldened to commit contemptible acts. It's a tale of remarkable greed and hubris. If the facts portrayed here are accurate and can be translated into courtroom testimony, I feel confident that Kenny Boy will be getting all the time he deserves in a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. (I'm less optimistic that the lapdog board of directors ever will be held accountable for their role in the swindle.)

Kung Fu Hustle—The story of a small-time hood, a vicious martial arts gang, and the mysterious residents of a slum under attack. I've never seen a movie like this. I remember being bewildered in the first fifteen minutes, trying to sort who were the good guys and what was going on. That wasn't the fault of the movie, I just needed a cultural recalibration. Once I was on even keel, the movie became a delight. It is, at times, silly and fantastical. I think that may be off-putting to some people, but it worked for me.

Hustle and Flow—This must have been one of the most poorly marketed movies of the year. I thought, particularly with the hyped John Singleton connection, this was going to be a thug culture, urban drama. Not at all. It's the story of a small time pimp who longs to be a rap performer, his struggle to create, and the forces that pull him down. It's a great story and an inspiring movie.

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re: Favorite Movies of 2005

I saw 36 of the movies on the list. At some point I ought to make a Best Of list, but I'd want to include at least one movie that won't be widely released until 2006, "The Devil and Daniel Johnston." Also ... no Wallace and Gromit on your list?