Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top 10 Films: 2004

2004 is a year that marked some flawless characters and wonderful portrayals. Most of which came from comedies. Something I can't say for the rest of the decade. Anyways checkout what I gave top honors to in 2004 after the jump...

10. Napoleon Dynamite
Everyone's favorite nerd had to be on the list! Napoleon Dynamite is one of those films that gained a ton of hype and had the pay off to boot. It is one of those rare comedies that comes along and is a surprise hit. No matter how many times I have watched the mundane comedy, I laugh my ass off every time. One of the best aspects to the film is its innocence. The film has barely any adult situations and it is a film that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Like most of the other films on this list Napoleon Dynamite has an staggering host of characters that are all magnetic to our charms.

9. Sideways
Definitely an adult comedy, but one of the better this last decade. Both Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church are flawless in the film and provide painstakingly funny situations and dialogue. Directed by Alexander Payne who also directed Election (a true favorite of mine), Sideways is bitter sweet comedy that I still enjoy on a routine basis. Comedies I have always enjoyed the most get their laughs from the dialogue and situations created instead of through gags or shock value and Sideways is a perfect example of a well written and performed 30 something comedy.

8. Garden State
Very often does a romance/comedy/drama come along as good as Garden State. The dry romance provides a charming love story between Zach Braff and Natalie Portman. Braff who directed, wrote and stars in Garden State does a phenomenal job as the troubled young man return home for his mother's funeral. Peter Sarsgaard also provides a outstanding performance as Braff's old friend. It should be noted that on this list, Garden State is probably the least revisited film. Also worth mentioning is the nicely matched soundtrack.

7. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Easily the most watched comedy from the past decade is Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. 'Anchorman' is one of those comedies that you can watch anytime, from any point and still get a kick out of it. While the film is heavily chauvinistic, it remains delightfully hilarious. I remember my first viewing of the film in theaters was interesting. I saw it with a very heavy female audience who did not laugh at all. My appreciation however grew after repeated viewings. 'Anchorman' also has a soundtrack that I still listen to frequently! It would be shame to not mention the incredible characters that are created in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Every single member of Ron Burgundy's news team is side-splitting. Ron Burgundy himself, is my favorite character Will Ferrell has played outside of SNL. His dialogue throughout is the stuff legends are made from.

6. The Incredibles
The Incredibles is my favorite Pixar movie. Being a huge comic fan, The Incredibles plays right into everything I hold dear to my heart. The movie is absolutely captivating in a few ways. One, the animation is breathtaking throughout. Two, the best voice cast of any Pixar film. Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter are miraculous as Bob and Helen Parr. Three, the family dynamic. The Incredibles is Pixar's best attempt at the family dynamic. Director and writer Brad Bird nails every angle of the inter-family dynamics while also keeping the film harrowing and entertaining to watch. Four, Syndrome. Jason Lee and the Pixar animators combined to make a truly ingenious super villain. My last point on The Incredibles is the film's ability to capture the golden and silver ages of comics. The opening to the film is a wonderful throwback to the old school days of comics.

5. The Machinist
The Machinist is one of the strangest films I saw in 2004. First and foremost seeing Christian Bale as skinny as he is within the film as Trevor Reznik is mind blowing. Secondly the story is incredibly intriguing. Much like Bale's character who questions his own sanity throughout the film, so does the viewer. If there is one word to peg on The Machinist it is Bizarre. I always love a film that keeps you guessing and here, The Machinist is a perfect example of a well put together suspense mystery.

4. Spider-Man 2
Another sequel to add to the list that I favor more than the original. Spider-Man 2 is a near flawless film. I will say Sam Raimi dug his own graving by killing off Dr. Oct, something that should've never been done. One of the main reasons I love Spider-Man 2 so much is it is a copy of Superman II. Take a minute and think about it, you'll see all the correlations plain as day. Often when a film tries to use the same story line or plot devices they fail miserably, but Spider-Man 2 is a rare instance, where the film matches the source in quality.

3. Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind offers us Jim Carrey's best performance by a mile and one of the most intriguing love stories in the past decade. I love the fact the Michel Gondry's film can hardly be comprehended on just one viewing. There is so much to the film that it must be seen multiple times to really appreciate how brilliant it is. I have always loved Kate Winslet, but her performance here, is adorable. I fall in love with her every time I watch the film along with Carrey. Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind also has an wonderful supporting cast including Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson, David Cross and Mark Ruffalo. Lastly, I doubt I will ever tire of watching the intriguing mind of Michel Gondry explore what it would be like to have memories wiped from our head.

2. Shaun of the Dead
The best Horror Comedy made to date. Shaun of the Dead is a cult classic because it is just so damn good! Edgar Wright's breakout film is still his best effort and also being one of the better zombie films on top of it. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost create the best comedic duo since Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in The Blues Brothers. Like every other comedy on this list, Shaun of the Dead is a film I've watched too many times to count and see no reason why I wouldn't continue watching it any chance I get.

1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Yup, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is my hands down my favorite film from 2004. It is also my favorite film to date directed by Wes Anderson. Steve Zissou is my favorite character Bill Murray has ever played. His timing and delivery throughout the film are astonishing. The film has a perfect array of other characters that each are played by outstanding actors like Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Owen Wilson. All the characters throughout 'Life Aquatic' are profoundly intricate and endlessly hilarious. Like a fine wine, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou gets better with age. I have watched this movie more times than any other film since 2004 and enough times to almost equal my total viewings on a few all time favorites.