The Top Ten Movies of 2005
According to Dave Flapan


10)  Revenge of the Sith

The third out of six episodes is the final one to be released.  So while it is supposed to present several cliffhangers (which it does), it is also supposed to wrap up some loose ends (which it also successfully accomplishes). Hayden Christiansen is the picture of evil as he develops into Darth Vader.  Looking forward to talking with young people who are able to watch all six films in order for the first time.

9)    King Kong

Here is a surprise!  I did not expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did.  It is a true period adventure movie.  Having not seen the original at the time (I did later) may have helped, as it was fresh.  The special effects were magnificent, creating all sorts of creatures, fights, NYC skylines (from the 1930s!), and heights.  Naomi Watts is able to project and display much more emotion and than Fay Wray was in 1933's original.  Jack Black is hilarious, as usual, as the ambitious producer.

8)    Munich

Having just missed living through the events of the 1972 Olympic games, I'd always been curious to find out what really happened.  One Day In September provided details on the actual event (terrorists kidnapping Israeli athletes at the Olympics).  This film provides details on the aftermath.  The response by Israel has been called controversial, as has this movie.  But I don't think so.  When 11 of your own citizens are killed, especially in such horrific circumstances, why wouldn't you seek revenge, especially when justice is impossible?  Who can blame Israel?  However, naturally, it is not that easy.  Steven Spielberg, the director, makes us all think by examining these events in original ways, with methods in which he tries not to take sides.  Bias is inevitable, since he is certainly on a certain side, and we know it.  Although he attempts to give the Palestinians their say, they still come off as wacko.  But maybe that is just my bias.

7)    Good Night and Good Luck

The recreaction of the period of the 1950s here is most impressive.  Bland sets, wood paneling, and of course the ever-present smoking all contribute to the feeling that could have even been shot 50 years ago, not just taken place then.  Having not lived through this time, of course, I may be easily impressed.  This deficit also does not allow me to know the actual stories and background of the events, and I was watching with disbelief.  Who cares what someone's political beliefs are?  Can't they be whatever?  Aren't we free to believe whatever we want, even Communism?  How is that Un-American?  Apparently it was.  Unfortunately, these themes still resonate today.

6)    Capote

In yet another period piece that takes place in the 1950s, Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar-winning performance steals the show.  While I was also relatively unfamiliar with the story here, it was slightly easier to follow, and actually even more palatable.  The title character hangs with a murderer so he can turn his story into a successful novel.  Brilliant!  Now I want to see In Cold Blood!

5)    Wedding Crashers

I can't believe I didn't think of this.  Going to a wedding of strangers for the purposes of free food, free dancing, and meeting women.  I had often thought that it would be fun to do, if I could do it right, which I never got around to doing (probably because I did not get to that point where I needed to).  But apparently there are plenty of others who also thought of this!  The second half has too much of a love story.  While this coupling is slightly entertaining, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson elicit non-stop laughter, not to mention some jealousy and, if I was younger, even some light-bulb moments, during their wedding-crashing scenes.

4)    The 40-year-old Virgin

Steve Carell is a delight and portrays the necessary innocence to make this movie work and be credible. There are also refreshingly few stereotypes. Even funnier and less predictable than one would have assumed, this was a great time.  

3)    Jesus is Magic

Ever since her Seinfeld appearance, I have been a fan of Sarah Silverman.  Not just because she is cute and Jewish, although I concede that helps.  Her comedy is biting, daring, self-deprecating, and, to bottom line it, is funny.  This is her first concert film.  Some material is straight stand-up, some are told in vignettes.  Much could be considered offensive.  Does she go too far?  Probably, at least for the mainstream.  For me?  I wouldn't put it that way, but it is among the furthest I have seen comedians take their material. 

2)    Batman Begins

Although this was billed as a prequel to the four-part series that was released from 1989-97, this film felt different all over.  It was less cheesy, less comical, and it took itself and its subject matter seriously and respectfully.  Christian Bale plays Bruce Wayne, and we see his evolution into Batman.  This is the authorative and comprehensive version of the events.

1)    Crash

Even though Matt Dillon's performance was singled out for an Oscar-nom, this is a true ensemble piece, which is one of the reasons that he did not win.  While his performance was excellent, most of the performances here were way above average, and they all depend on each other, as a true ensemble does.  Presenting several scenes of (mostly racial) tension, this film makes us think.  One can't help think that the unfortunate part is that the people who need to see this probably won't.

Honorable Mentions (no order):

Chronicles of Narnia - I hope my kids enjoy that as much as i did.

Hustle and Flow - Terrance Howard created a dynamic character, could have won the Oscar sans Capote.

Aristocrats - The one joke worked well, and many performers shined, especially Miss Silverman!

Rent - Hearkens back to a different time, while I cannot relate directly, I do to the spirit.

Brokeback Mountain - A fairer way to describe it in minimal words- A classic story of forbidden love


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