Monday, December 04, 2006

best of 2006: movies

It's time for my highly opinionated list of 2006's best movies. True, the year isn't over yet, but if I see something between now and December 31st that begs for inclusion, I'll update accordingly. But first, a few notes:

  • Not all of these were first released in 2006, but that’s when I first saw them.
  • Your mileage may vary.
  • These aren’t in preferential order, and I had no definite favorite. It's sort of a three-way tie between numbers 1, 2, and 5.
  • G, I know how spoilerphobic you are, so you might want to skip the descriptions for 1, 5, and 6. Everything else I saw with you!

1. Borat: Oh my holy Christ. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard at a movie...a sentiment apparently shared by everyone else in the theater, since at times the laughter was so loud and hysterical that I couldn't hear the dialogue. Okay, so the character is a misogynistic, anti-Semitic, bad suit wearing jerk...but come on, how could you not love someone who refers to masturbation as a hand party and brings a black hooker to a snooty Southern dinner party?

2. Running Scared: A gritty, superviolent movie about a guy who disposes of guns for the mob. His neighbor's kid gets hold of one of the guns, which was used in a cop killing, and all hell breaks loose. It's got amazing style, an almost unbearably tense and creepy scene that ends in the most justifiable vigilante act in cinematic history, weird Tim Burtonesque ending credits, and a scorchingly hot (though far too brief) sex scene. If you can handle the violence and the stream of swear words (according to IMDB, the f-word and its variants are used over 300 times), you'll enjoy the hell out of it. Lost fans: watch for Elizabeth Mitchell (aka Juliette) in a very unsettling role!

3. Oldboy: A twisty Korean thriller about a guy who's been imprisoned for 15 years and has no idea why. When he's finally released, he sets out to find the truth, and much shit hits the fan. There are some really cool moments in here, including a hallway melee that's done with no edits, and the story constantly kept me guessing (and guessing wrong, I might add). Warning: there is a scene where the main character eats a live octopus, for real, and it's utterly disgusting.

4. Thank You for Smoking: A brilliantly barbed satire of the tobacco lobby. I was disappointed that my absolute favorite scene from the book was shortened, but it's still a great movie.

5. Hard Candy: A nailbiter of a film about a 14-year-old girl (Ellen Page, who's phenomenal) who hooks up with an older man online. His intentions are bad; hers just may be worse. Highly recommended, although men may have a very rough time watching it.

6. The Descent: A tense thriller about a group of women who go spelunking and run into some serious trouble. Between this and The Ruins, I don't think I'll be visiting any caves for a while.

7. Transamerica: Felicity Huffman is absolutely brilliant as Bree Osborne, a transgendered individual who's one operation away from being a complete woman. She discovers the teenage son she never knew she had, and together they embark on a road trip. Parts of it are a bit too soap operaish, but overall it's a fun, poignant movie.

8. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: A twisty film noir with snappy and smart dialogue. Be sure to watch the gag reel; you will be both horrified and aroused by Val Kilmer and his hummingbird tongue.

9. Clerks 2: Unbelievably, unabashedly raunchy, and really damn funny. It’s worth watching for Jay’s Silence of the Lambs imitation alone, but if you can keep a straight face through the donkey scene, the ass-to-mouth debate, the Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars conversation, and the pussy trolls, then you’re either a better person than I, or you’re Joel Siegel.

10. Slither: A gleefully disgusting movie about alien parasites that invade a small town at the height of deer season. Be warned, it's unbelievably gross, but it's also very funny, and if you can stomach the gore and goo, you’ll have a blast.