Miranda Would Have Pursed Her Lips: 2006 Cinema In Review

From what I remember and based on the record that I keep of the movies that I saw a particular year, 2006 wasn’t a particularly strong year. I mean, it wasn’t bad, and there were a few great movies, but I just didn’t feel the year as a whole. I mean, even the Oscar for best picture went to a genre movie and that almost never happens.

At this point I’d talk about he highlights of the trends of the movies of the year, but there weren’t any, really. I guess I could only say that it is impressive how The Devil Wears Prada managed to be more successful than Superman Returns (it helped that it was a great movie while Superman was crap). And that’s it I guess.

Here is 2006 in Review:

Also-Rans

Happy Feet by George Miller The last act of the movie nearly destroyed it, but it kept hanging on. By the end I just thought it was cute and very entertaining,

Last Holiday by Wayne Wang Yes, it is another silly comedy, but the honesty that Queen Latifah brings to her role, and the chemistery between her, Gerard Depardieux and LL Cool J elevates it above other comedies of its type.

Mission: Impossible III by J.J. Abrams The best entry in the franchise and one of the best action movies of the past decade

Monster House by Gil Kenan Fun, imaginative, and actually scary.

Nacho Libre by Jared Hess Critics hated it, I thought it was hilarious and every so much better than Napolen Dynamite

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny by Liam Lynch Like Nacho Libre, I thought it was hilarious and irreverent, plus the music is good.

V for Vendetta by James McTeigue Great action, great plot, great performance from Hugo Weaving

Honorable Mentions

John Lasseter’s Cars Pixar’s worst movie yet, but it is still a ton of fun, has fantastic animation and voice performances.

Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale My favorite Bond movie ever and Daniel Craig is indeed the best bond.

Martin Scorsese’s The Departed While not his best, I still appreciate it for its energy and performances. And the ending is great.

Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers Not as good as its companion Letters from Iwo Jima, and it can get a bit over the top, but the story and its message are powerful and the movies is perfectly crafted

Nicole Holofcener’s Friends With Money I can see why people would hate this, but I was hooked due to the amount of talent on screen. Jennifer Aniston’s best performance to date.

Ryan Fleck’s Half Nelson Great debut for Ryan Fleck, and it has Ryan Gosling’s best performance.

Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette I don’t know why this was so hated by the critics. It is a fresh take on history, Kristen Dust shows she can act, and the costumes are gorgeous. Why do people hate it?!

James Gunn’s Slither One of the best horror movies of the decade and endlessly enjoyable

Paul Greengrass’ United 93 A haunting and respectful look into what is presumed went on inside the airplane that was headed towards the White House on 9/11.

Pedro Almodovar’s Volver A treat for the eyes and overall very fun

Top 10

10. Little Children

Directed by Todd Field

Tom Perrota’s novel is one of my favorites of all time. The movie, while different (especially the ending), keeps the same atmosphere that made the movie so great. We are taken to a world we are all too familiar with and pretty much turns it upside down by showing us what goes on behind closed doors. Like the book, the movie is darkly funny and clever, but it adds the great work from Kate Winslet and Jackie Earl Haley. Fanstastic movie.

9. The Devil Wears Prada

Directed by David Frankle

This movie took me completely by surprise. I was expecting a chick flick about fashion, but what I got instead was one of the best movies ever about work. And in the end, I was blown away by it. Sure, it does have your typical romance that goes on in every chick flick, but it had to be there to show the consequences of the job. But I must say that it would not have been good without the performances from the entire cast. And the costumes are great.

8. Letters from Iwo Jima

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Released for awards consideration after Flags of Our Fathers bombed with critics and audiences, it turns out that this was the best of both. It offers a look into WWII unlike any we have see on celluloid, and it features one of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen. Bravo Clint Eastwood for making such a unique war movie and hopefully you will make more of these and less “Invictus”-like ones.

7. Children of Men

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron

When I heard about this, I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to see it, because from what I had seen it was going to be your run-of-the mill post-apocalyptic action/adventure. But by the end of the movie, by nerves were fried. It was bleak, thrilling, entertaining, and overall a fantastic movie. The is the movie that made me a fan of Alfonso Cuaron as I didn’t care for his previous movies, except Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And the tracking shot…wow.

6. Shut Up & Sing

Directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck

Even if you don’t like country music, this is a very good documentary on whether or not we are as free to say as we think we are. This movie looks at that from the eyes of a popular music groups whose career nearly crumbled as they critiqued George W. Bush and his politics. It is maddening, and sometimes funny just for the ignorance of the people that protested. My favorite documentary of the decade.

5. Little Miss Sunshine

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris

One of the movies that started the whole indie craze, and it is still the best of the bunch. The reason for this is that it is quirky, but it’s not really trying to be. The quirk comes naturally and it fits within a real-world setting. The writing, the performances, the direction, it all feels authentic, even at its most ridiculous.

4. Dreamgirls

Directed by Bill Condon

My love for this died down a bit upon repeat viewings, but I still love it due to the awesome theatrical experience that it was. I saw the first show on Christmas morning (which was when the movie opened in my town) and the theater was packed. And from the moment the Paramount logo showed up with the music building up you could feel the energy that was filling  the room. And that energy continued to be there until the last moment. I’m glad I got to have that experience.

3. The Prestige

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Now, unlike Dreamgirls, this is a movie that I enjoy more and more every time I watch it because I continue to notice new stuff. This is thanks to an incredibly layered script from Christopher and Jonathan Nolan and the direction of the former that works incredibly well with the script. Also, it helps that it is perfectly crafted, from the art direction and the costumes, to Wally Pfister’s glorious cinematography. Still Nolan’s best.

2. The Fountain

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

“What the hell was that about? I just wasted 7 bucks,” said one of the 10 people that saw this movie at the same time as me on opening weekend. I had the same thought, but I did not mean it in a bad way. I had no immediate reaction to it, but it did not leave my mind for weeks after watching it. That for me, is the sign of a great movie. Another movie I’m glad I saw in theaters, so that when it becomes a classic thanks to it being part of Aronofsky’s ouvre, I can say I was one of the lucky few who got to experience it as it was mean to be seen.

1. Pan’s Labyrinth

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Del Toro describes it as a fairy tale for adults. And that is why it is my number one of 2006. It made me feel like I was a kid again, because the gruesome things that I was seeing on screen were just as gruesome as when I would hear that a witch wanted to poison a beautiful girl out of spite. On top of that, it is a visual masterpiece, with great sets and cinematography, and one of the most inventive scores of the last decade.

The Superlatives

Best Director

1. Paul Greengrass, United 93

2. Guillermo Del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth

3. Bill Condon, Dreamgirls

4. Darren Aronofsky, The Fountain

5. Christopher Nolan, The Prestige

Best Actor

1. Sergi Lopez, Pan’s Labyrinth

2. Hugh Jackman, The Fountain

3. Christian Bale, The Prestige

4. Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson

5. Daniel Craig, Casino Royale

Best Actress

1. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada

2. Kate Winslet, Little Children

3. Kristen Dunst, Marie Antoinette

4. Penelope Cruz, Volver

5. Queen Latifah, Last Holiday

Best Supporting Actor

1. Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

2. Michael Cain, The Prestige

3. Jackie Earl Haley, Little Children

4. Steve Carell, Little Miss Sunshine

5. Steve Buschemi, Monster House

Best Supporting Actress

1. Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada

2. Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

3. Catherine Keener, Friends With Money

4. Shareeka Eps, Half Nelson

5. Eva Green, Casino Royale

Best Original Screenplay

1. Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt

2. Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo Del Toro

3. Half Nelson, Ryan Fleck & Ana Boden

4. Stranger Than Fiction, Zach Helm

5. Letters from Iwo Jima, Iris Yamashita & Paul Haggis

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. The Prestige, Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan

2. The Devil Wears Prada, Aline Brosh McKenna

3. Little Children, Todd Field & Tom Perrota

4. The Departed, William Monaghan

5. Notes on a Scandal, Patrick Marber

Best Cinematography

1. The Prestige, Wally Pfister

2. Children of Men, Emmanuel Lubezki

3. Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo Navarro

4. The Fountain, Matthew Libatique

5. Marie Antoinette, Lance Acord

Best Art Direction

1. Marie Antoinette

2. Dreamgirls

3. Pan’s Labyrinth

4. A Prairie Home Companion

5. The Prestige

Best Costume Design

1. Marie Antoinette

2. Dreamgirls

3. The Devil Wears Prada

4. The Prestige

5. Casino Royale

Best Visual Effects

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

2. The Fountain

3. The Prestige

4. Casino Royale

5. Poseidon

Best Makeup

1. Pan’s Labyrinth

2. Slither

3. The Fountain

4. The Prestige

5. Marie Antoinette

Best Sound

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

2. United 93

3. Superman Returns

4. Dreamgirls

5. Cars

Best Editing

1. Dreamgirls

2. The Departed

3. Casino Royale

4. Children of Men

5. United 93

Best Original Score

1. The Fountain, Clint Mansell

2. Pan’s Labyrinth, Javie Navarrete

3. The DaVinci Code, Hans Zimmer

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Hans Zimmer

5. Notes on a Scandal, Philip Glass

Best Original Song

1. “Listen” from Dreamgirls

2. “Song of the Heart” from Happy Feet

3. “Our Town” from Cars

Best Animated Feature

1. Cars

2.Monster House

3. Happy Feet

4. Over the Hedge

5. Ice Age: The Meltdown

Best Foreign/Dead Language Feature

1. Letters from Iwo Jima

2. Volver

3. Apocalypto

Other Categories

Most Original

The Fountain

Biggest Surprise

The Devil Wears Prada

Biggest Disappointment

Curse of the Golden Flower

Most Ovcrrated

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Most Underrated

Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny

Most Wasted Potential

Miami Vice

Worst Movies of the Year

1. We Are Marshall– Goes for tearjerking, but it is rather hilarious and cringe-worthy

2. Big Momma’s House 2 At least the first one had Paul Giamatti.

3. Tristan + Isolde– Horribly made with horrible performances

4. Failure to Launch– Matthew McCounaghey shirtless does not make a good movie.

5. The Holiday It hurt me to see such capable actors reciting those shit lines

6. Babel– Hated everything about it.

7. Flushed Away Crap (see what I did there?)

8. Miami Vice– Come on Mann, you can do better!

9. Snakes on a Plane Never listening to hype again unless I was part of it.

10. Man of the Year– Comedy or political thriller? I don’t care. I do feel sorry for Laura Linney. She was so great.

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2 thoughts on “Miranda Would Have Pursed Her Lips: 2006 Cinema In Review

    • There’s a lot to like about Returns, but ultimately, the whole “making land” plot, Kate Bosworth, and the fact that Superman isn’t given much to do, made it go down from an A- movie to a D movie.

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