Before we get to today’s lists, I want to clarify two things. The first is that the order of each individual list is arbitrary. These are best-of the year lists, but not necessarily ranked. So, for instance, “Lars and the Real Girl” showed up third on my 2007 list, but if pressed, I’d say it was my favorite film of that year. Why not make these lists more meaningful by ranking? Because I’m lazy and that would require additional work I don’t want to do right now.
Also some of these films were seen after their release year. This allowance will become obvious at a certain point, when I get around to listing movies made before I was born. But I figured I’d get it out of the way now.
2004’s Top 5
Hey, this was the year Bee was born!
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Spider-Man 2
3. Kung Fu Hustle
4. Mean Girls
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
What I got wrong: Where is “The Incredibles”? It belongs in the top 5! It also pains me that “Millions” isn’t in there somewhere.
What I hated: “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” – did you notice that Lindsey Lohan has makes both best of/worst of in the same year? Sadly, it’s been all downhill since. Also, “The Village” which is another M Night Shamaylan movie that is so bad it can provide viewing pleasure.
2003’s Top 5
1. Mystic River
2. Whale Ride
3. Freaky Friday
5. Lost in Translation
What I got wrong: You thought I was going to take back “Freaky Friday”, didn’t you? Nope, not sorry about that. It was a quality kids’ film with great performances, as was “Holes”. In fact, “Holes” may have been the apex of Shia LeBeouf’s career. I do wish I’d ranked “School of Rock” a bit higher, as it’s another “family friendly” film in the best sense. Alongside Jack Black’s delightfully manic performance, how can you not love the pairng of Mike White and Sarah Silverman?
What I hated: “Shanghai Knights”, “Out of Time” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”
2002’s Top 5
1. Bloody Sunday
2. In the Bedroom
3. City of God
4. About a Boy
5. The Two Towers
What I got wrong: Those first three make this a uniquely dark and depressing Top 5. Thank goodness for “About a Boy”! If I had it to do over again, I’d remove “The Two Towers” and replace it with either “In America” or “Dirty Pretty Things”. Is it me, or do smaller, more personal films seem better years later than big “event” movies?
What I hated: My lowest rating of the year went to “Equilibrium”. But I don’t hate “Equilibrium”. How could I hate the movie that gave us the deadly art of Gun Kata? I once thought I was bonding with a young employee at the movie theater by poking fun at this movie – until I discovered that he thought it was genuinely awesome, and I’d hurt his feelings. I’m sorry, buddy. This is for you.