Top 10 Films of 2005

Aside from having two too many good films this year (as if that were possible), I was surprised to find half of the films on my list from Eastern Asia.

Top Ten Films of 2005 | Pete Timmermann

It seems a given at this point, my seventh year of constructing a “Top Ten Films of the Year” list, that any given year will yield either eight or 12 films that warrant being on the list, but not ten. Yes, I know: Ten is such a nice, round number. Still, I would be remiss to forget either Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain or Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City, which are numbers 11 and 12 on my list, respectively.

Aside from having two too many good films this year (as if that were possible), I was surprised to find half of the films on my list from Eastern Asia. Granted, I’ve always been a fan of non-chop-socky (ignore #3), non-anime Asian films, but this is getting pretty crazy.

Anyway, here are the ten films that did make it:

1. Me and You and Everyone We Know
(directed by Miranda July, released by IFC Films)

Back when I reviewed this film, I predicted it would be my favorite of the year. Is it really that good, or did I just decide early and shut myself off to even considering other films? Maybe I’m just a sucker for poop jokes. Who knows? Regardless, I don’t think that any other film this year came even remotely close to matching M&Y&EWK’s insight, entertainment value, and innovativeness, which is why I named it best of the year.

2. 2046 (directed by Wong Kar-wai, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics)
Wong Kar-wai might just be my favorite modern director, so it’s no surprise that I loved his newest film, 2046. Still, the degree to which I like it continues to amaze me. I find Wong’s films comforting in the same way I love Haruki Murakami’s novels; retreating to a familiar, stylized version of Oriental culture is about the highest form of escapism for me. I’ve seen 2046 four times now, and I like it more every time I see it.

3. Kung Fu Hustle
(directed by Stephen Chow, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics)

As I stated in my introduction, I generally do not like the two genres for which Asian cinema is best known, but Kung Fu Hustle is just too much Goddamn fun to dismiss. Film critics often forget the basic joie de vivre of watching films, but anyone who saw Hustle and wasn’t overcome with giddy childishness is immediately untrustworthy and lame. I’m shocked that this film didn’t catch on to the mainstream audience more, especially coming less than a year after Hero’s box office success.

4. Nobody Knows (directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu, distributed by MGM)
Nobody Knows is the type of film mainstream audiences are afraid of—it’s almost two and a half hours long, it’s subtitled, its pacing is incredibly slow—but none of these things stop Nobody from being an extremely rewarding film. It is based on a true story of a single mother in Japan who abandoned her kids in her apartment for months on end, training them beforehand to only let the eldest leave the building. Yagira Yuya, who plays the eldest, won Best Actor at Cannes 2004 for his work here. He deserves more.

5. Broken Flowers (directed by Jim Jarmusch, distributed by Focus Features)
In a year of particularly sublime endings (Me and You and Everyone We Know and 3-Iron are notable standouts), Broken Flowers’ resolution still holds up. In fact, the film’s ending is so essential to the discussion of the film that it is debilitating to not be able to mention it, for fear of ruining it for those who haven’t seen it. If you didn’t catch it in its original run, be sure to pick it up when it is released on DVD this month—then we can talk about it.

6. 3-Iron (directed by Kim Ki-duk, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics)
As opposed to 2046 getting better upon each viewing, the maximum amount of enjoyment from 3-Iron comes the first time one sees it; upon repeat viewings, some glaring flaws start to float to the surface. Even so, that first time is wholly satisfying. Who knew that a nearly silent study of a young, basically good-natured, habitual breaker-and-enterer could culminate in such an ethereal and haunting end?

7. The World (directed by Jia Zhangke, distributed by Zeitgeist Films)
The World was one of the biggest surprises of the year, inasmuch as I didn’t even know it existed until a few days before seeing it. I had previously been exposed to Zhangke’s Unknown Pleasures, which was good, but it did little to prepare me for the larger-budget mastery he displays in The World. This film is worth it if only for the kitschy tourists who pose holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

8. Murderball
(directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro, distributed by ThinkFilm)

It should be a sign of the apocalypse that in this, an age where good documentaries can actually thrive in the box office, March of the Penguins finds a huge audience and Murderball finds none. Penguins is dreck about the title bird that would be sub-par on the Nature Channel, and Murderball is an endlessly entertaining and ultimately life-affirming story about quadriplegic rugby players that ESPN could (and should) have financed. Which one sounds more interesting?

9. Palindromes (directed by Todd Solondz, distributed by Wellspring)
Funny that a Todd Solondz film, he of the confrontational and appalling Happiness, Storytelling, and Welcome to the Dollhouse, could be so quickly forgotten, but that’s what happened to his abortion drama, Palindromes. While it received mostly good reviews and didn’t do too terrible financially (despite a very limited release), I haven’t heard anybody talk about it since its release last April. It’s a shame—and probably has a lot to say about people on both sides of Roe v. Wade, among other things.

10. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (directed by Nick Park, distributed by DreamWorks)
As a huge fan of the three short Wallace and Gromit adventures, I anxiously awaited Chicken Run, the first feature-length film from W&G creator Nick Park, back when it was released in 2000, only to be sorely disappointed. It looks like Park should have stuck with his flagship creations, because Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is just as good as his W&G shorts, and about three times as long, which is all anyone can reasonably expect from him.


Top Ten Movies of 2005

1. Rent (directed by Chris Columbus, distributed by Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures)

2. Cinderella Man (directed by Ron Howard, distributed by Universal Pictures/Miramax Pictures)

3. Happy Endings (directed by Don Roos, distributed by Lion’s Gate)

4. Capote (directed by Bennett Miller, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics)

5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (directed by Garth Jennings, distributed by Buena Vista Pictures)

6. Millions (directed by Danny Boyle, distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures)

7. Crash (directed by Paul Haggis, distributed by Lion’s Gate)

8. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (directed by Judd Apatow, distributed by Universal Pictures)

9. Saw 2 (directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, distributed by Lion’s Gate)

10. Howl’s Moving Castle (directed by Hayao Miyazaki, distributed by Buena Vista Pictures)

| Jim Campbell

 

 

1. Last Days (directed by Gus van Sant, distributed by HBO Films)

2. Brokeback Mountain (directed by Ang Lee, distributed by Focus Features)

3. The Constant Gardener (directed by Fernando Meirelles, distributed by Focus Features)

4. A History of Violence (directed by David Cronenberg, distributed by New Line)

5. Grizzly Man (directed by Werner Herzog, distributed by Lion’s Gate)

6. Stay (directed by Marc Forster, distributed by 20th Century Fox)

7. 2046 (directed by Wong Kar-wai, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics)

8. Walk on Water (directed by Eytan Fox, distributed by IFC)

9. I Am a Sex Addict (directed by Caveh Zahedi, self-distributed)

10. Yes (directed by Sally Potter, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics)

| Rob Edgecomb

 

 

1. Serenity (directed by Joss Whedon, distributed by Universal)

2. Good Night, and Good Luck. (directed by George Clooney, distributed by Warner Bros.)

3. Syriana (directed by Stephen Gaghan, distributed by Warner Bros.)

4. Batman Begins (directed by Christopher Nolan, distributed by Warner Bros.)

5. The Constant Gardener (directed by Fernando Meirelles, distributed by Focus Features)

6. Cinderella Man (directed by Ron Howard, distributed by Universal)

7. Capote (directed by Bennett Miller, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics)

8. Shopgirl (directed by Anand Tucker, distributed by Touchstone)

9. Walk the Line (directed by James Mangold, distributed by 20th Century Fox)

10. Crash (directed by Paul Haggis, distributed by Lion’s Gate)

| Dan Heaton


1. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (directed by Shane Black, distributed by Warner Bros.)

2. Assault on Precinct 13 (directed by Jean-Francois Richet, distributed by Universal Studios)

3. Syriana (directed by Stephen Gaghan, distributed by Warner Bros.)

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (directed by Tim Burton, distributed by Warner Bros.)

5. Batman Begins (directed by Christopher Nolan, distributed by Warner Bros.)

6. The Ice Harvest (directed by Harold Ramis, distributed by Focus Features)

7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (directed by Garth Jennings, distributed by Buena Vista Pictures)

8. Hitch (directed by Andy Tennant, distributed by Columbia Pictures)

9. Red Eye (directed Wes Craven, distributed by DreamWorks SKG)

10. Wedding Crashers (directed by David Dobkin, distributed by New Line Cinema)

| Tom Lange


10 Movies I Either Saw and Liked In 2005, or Just Listed Randomly When I Ran Out of Movies I Saw and Liked in 2005

Brokeback Mountain

Batman Begins

Shopgirl

Capote

Wedding Crashers

Broken Flowers

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

Deuce Bigalo: European Gigolo

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

| Sarah Lenzini


1. Fever Pitch (directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, distributed by 20th Century Fox)

2. Walk the Line (directed by James Mangold, distributed by 20th Century Fox)

3. Crash (directed by Paul Haggis, distributed by Lion’s Gate)

4. Batman Begins (directed by Christopher Nolan, distributed by Warner Bros.)

5. Dear Frankie (directed by Shona Auerbach, distributed by Miramax)

6. Sin City (directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, distributed by Dimension)

7. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (directed by Nick Park, distributed by DreamWorks SKG)

8. War of the Worlds (directed by Steven Spielberg, distributed by Dreamworks SKG)

9. Rory O’Shea Was Here (directed by Damien O’Donnell, distributed by Focus Features)

10. Kicking and Screaming (directed by Jesse Dylan, distributed by Universal)

| Emily Spreng Lowery

 

1. Hustle and Flow (directed by Craig Brewer, distributed by Paramount Classics/MTV Films)

2. The World’s Fastest Indian (directed by Roger Donaldson, distributed by Magnolia Pictures)

3. Sin City (directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, distributed by Dimension Films)

4. Dust to Glory (directed by Dana Brown, distributed by IFC Films)

5. The Great Raid (directed by John Dahl, distributed by Miramax)

6. March of the Penguins (directed by Luc Jacquet, distributed by Warner Independent Pictures)

7. King Kong (directed by Peter Jackson, distributed by Universal)

8. The Constant Gardener (directed by Fernando Meirelles, distributed by Focus Features)

9. Good Night, and Good Luck. (directed by George Clooney, distributed by Warner Independent Pictures)

10. Crash (directed by Paul Haggis, distributed by Lions Gate)

| Dave McCahan


1. Walk the Line (directed by James Mangold, distributed by Fox Pictures)

2. The Constant Gardener (directed by Fernando Meirelles, distributed by Focus Features)

3. King Kong (directed by Peter Jackson, distributed by Universal)

4. A History of Violence (directed by David Cronenberg, distributed by New Line Cinema)

5. March of the Penguins (directed by Luc Jacquet, distributed by Warner Independent Pictures)

6. Grizzly Man (directed by Werner Herzog, distributed by Lion’s Gate)

7. Crash (directed by Paul Haggis, distributed by Lion’s Gate)

8. The Producers (directed by Susan Stroman, distributed by Universal)

9. War of the Worlds (directed by Steven Spielberg, distributed by DreamWorks SKG)

10. Broken Flowers (directed by Jim Jarmusch, distributed by Focus Features)

| Kevin Renick

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