Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Year in Paul: 2004

What I’ve Seen

50 First Dates
Anchroman:The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Fahrenheit 9/11
Friday Night Lights
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Home on the Range
Howl’d Moving Castle
I, Robot
King Arthur
Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events
Mean Girls
Napoleon Dyamite
Ocean’s Twelve
Shark Tale
Shaun of the Dead
Shrek 2
Spider-Man 2
Super Size Me
Team America: World Police
The Aviator
The Bourne Supremacy
The Chronicles of Riddick
The Day After Tomorrow
The Forgotten
The Girl Next Door
The Incredibles
The Ladykillers
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
The Machinist
The Phantom of the Opera
The Polar Express
The Stepford Wives
The Terminal
Van Helsing
47 Total

The Best of What I’ve Seen

5. Wimbledon—I’m as surprised as you are that this is making my top 5. Must not be a strong year for me. On the other hand, this is probably my single favorite “chick-flicl” I’ve ever seen. The tennis angle hooked me (and was probably why I watched it in the first place), but the romance between Paul Bettany’s over-the-hill pro Peter and Kirsten Dunst’s up-and-comer Lizzy is genuinely charming and involving. Bettany and Dunst, both actors I like a lot individually, have great chemistry and work great together.  For an inconsequential but fun 100 minutes, you can’t do much better.

4. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy—But you can do a little better. It’s a tight contest between this and Talladega Nights for my favorite Will Ferrell movie, and Anchorman is a delight. One of the most rewatchable movies in cinema history, its so chock full of great one liners that Sportsguy Bill Simmons managed to write a whole column based on quotes from the move. “What’s that, Baxter? You ate a whole wheel of cheese and pooped in the refrigerator? I’m not even mad—I’m impressed.”

3. The Incredibles—While it falls a bit short of Pixar’s masterpieces (Wall-E, Finding Nemo, the Toy Story trilogy, and Cars 2 [just kidding]), The Incredibles still does an awful lot well. Why is it that one of the most genuinely realistic families ever portrayed on screen are superpowered cartoons? And why is it that the Pixar movie most obviously calling for a sequel remains happily single while Monster’s Inc, Cars, and now apparently even Finding Nemo are getting second installments (what, is he going to get lost again?)? What gives, Pixar? Why am I asking so many questions?

2. The Aviator—As fully realized a biopic as they come, The Aviator is a tremendously compelling story anchored by a number of incredible performances—notably Leo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes and Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn. Maybe Scorcese’s most underrated movie, I’m not sure there’s been a better biopic since Patton.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—Carrying the title for “Best Movie I’ve Watched for the First Time on an Airplane”  (the coveted BMIWFTA) in a route, Charlie Kaufmann and Michel Gondry’s sci-fi anti-romance-but-also-totally-a-romance is an incredible piece of filmmaking. Tackling the juicy potential of memory erasure in an incredibly nuanced and sophisticated way, Eternal Sunshine has dozens of opportunities to take the easy, simple route and each and every time goes for the more difficult, challenging choice. Eternal Sunshine’s packs more interesting material into each scene than the vast majority of films contain in their entirety. I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan.

What I Haven’t Seen

Hotel Rwanda
I Heart Huckabees
Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Million Dollar Baby
The Passion of the Christ

Wow, not many. Either this was a rull weak year or the good stuff isn't well known. By me. Probably the latter.

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