I always enjoy taking some time to look back on the year as it is wrapping up and pick what I feel to be some of the best movies of the year.
Last year, I did a top five movies. I was considering expanding that list to a top 10 for this year.
It was about this time that I realized I don't even think there are ten movies that I have seen this year that could qualify for a top movie list. So I checked out IMDb to see what movies have been released in 2006.
Sho' 'nuff. I couldn't find ten movies to populate the list.
And now for the top movies of 2006 that I've actually seen...
1. Casino Royale
I said I was going to like this movie and I did. As far as I'm concerned, this is the first good Bond film since 1989. And Daniel Craig was fantastic. I'm not going to rehash everything about this film since I already reviewed it here.
2. Stranger Than Fiction
This movie stands out not only as one of the best films of the year, but also as one of the best Will Ferrell films ever. Thank God he came out with this and Talladega Nights this year to make up for the crapfest selection of films he put out last year. Here's the review.
3. Over the Hedge
For an animation crew other than Pixar to have a movie listed here is a pretty big deal. Pixar typically represents the best of the best for me. However, this year was different. No, Cars was not bad. Just not as good as Hedge. Check the review.
4. Superman Returns
How often has this ever happened to me in the past? Two movies I have spent far too long idealizing in my head. Thinking to myself, "Wow! I really can't wait for it to come out in theaters!" And neither of them let me down. The first was Casino Royale, the second was Superman Returns. People worried about the fact that Bryan Singer was coming over from The X-Men series to take the helm of another superhero franchise that, like Batman, had seemingly overstayed its welcome. But it rocked. Simply put, it was a great time at the theater. What more could you ask for? Read about it here.
5. Thank You for Smoking
Ever have one of those movies that you see a single preview for and know, based solely on those 30 seconds, that you're gonna love it? Well, Thank You for Smoking was that movie for me. I'd never heard of it during the development process at all. I'd never heard word one about it until it was a mere month from release. And it looked spectacularly hilarious. Let me tell you something, it is. Aaron Eckard is a PR guy for a major smoking corporation. His job is to make smoking look good in a world that perceives tobacco as nothing more than "cancer sticks." And spin is something he excels at. You know the story of the guy who can sell an freezer to an eskimo? That's him. Eskimos would likely be his number one buyer by the time he's done. But the best parts of this movie are not just him putting a spin on his profession. The movie truly shines when Eckerd shares scenes either with his son or having meals with the MOD Squad (the Merchants Of Death). If you want to laugh, see this film.
I also have to give an honorable mention to V For Vendetta, which was far more fantastic than I ever could have imagined. Thank You For Smoking only narrowly edged it out on the list.
Of course, there are many movies I have yet to see that could make this list. So, before I get into my top movies, I'm going to list several "could have beens" as in "could have been on this list if I'd managed to get out to the theater to see them." In no particular order... Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, Blood Diamond, The Pursuit of Happyness, Rocky Balboa, and The Queen. All of these movies were rated highly either by critics, my family, or by all of you out in the blogosphere and I've got a pretty good idea I'd enjoy them based just on what I've heard. Thankfully, four or five of them are still in theaters and I can see them. Let's just hope I get off my butt and do so.