It's Never Too Late to Recognize the Best (Top 9 Films of 2005)

Apr 5, 2006 (Updated Jan 26, 2007)

The Bottom Line If I get to pick my favorites, they're going to reflect my tastes.

So obviously, I don't see enough movies. I have tried every way I can, and I can only come up with 9 films that I feel truly deserve to be honored.

When I watch a movie, I'm looking to have a good time, so I judge a movie based on how entertained I was. I tend to steer clear of the serious drama type stuff. And I love many kid's movies. As a result, you are going to find some films on this list that are on no one else's list. But I loved them and would watch them again in a heartbeat.

9. Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Yes, you read that right. This is on my best of 2005 list when most people put it on their worst. So why did I include it here? Because the movie got a bum rap based on faulty expectations. It wasn't an action flick. It was a dark comedy. And my friends and I laughed our way through the film. I think if you give it a chance as a comedy, you'll see the wit used in putting the script together and appreciate it on a whole different level. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have fun playing a married couple who don't know each other's secret - they are both top notch assassins. But once the truth comes out and the gloves are off as they both try to kill the other.

8. Lord of the Beans
The VeggieTales direct to video kids' series has been a favorite of mine for years. Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, hasn't. But this spoof of the story for kids is absolutely the best thing these guys have done in years. Even people who didn't know the Tolkien story laugh. Throw in a good moral and a great silly song and these computer animated veggies deserve a place on the list.

7. Herbie: Fully Loaded
This attempt by Disney to reinvent this franchise works. Lindsay Lohan buys Herbie from a junk yard, never imaging that the beat up old clunker of a VW Bug is a racing winner. Against her better judgment, she finds herself being pulled into the racing world and facing a NASCAR showdown. I grew up watching the first four movies and found this latest captures the spirit of the films perfectly with a couple nods to those of us who love the old films.

6. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
This sci-fi comedy starts when Earth ends. Only Arthur Dent makes it out alive and is thrown into a wild adventure racing across the galaxy trying to find the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. With bad puns, dry humor, and absurd situations abounding, this movie isn't for everyone. But those who enjoy that humor and are willing to give it a shot will die laughing.

5. Fun with Dick and Jane
I'm not a Jim Carrey fan. The only reason I wanted to see it was because they filmed a scene near my house. Am I ever glad I did. This movie was funny and unpredictable with great performances by the entire cast. Dick and Jane are living the American dream until Dick's company goes bankrupt. Not able to get another job, they become desperate for a way to pay their bills. Another case of dark humor that works and works well.

4. Sky High
Talk about your teen angst. This movie manages to embrace and mock all the cliches about high school. Set at a high school for super heroes, it is entirely charming. Will Stronghold must deal with his lack of super powers while facing the bullies and an arch nemesis. Predictable, yes, but also thoroughly entertaining.

3. Batman Begins
I've never been much of a Batman fan. This movie changed that for me by giving the character depth and making him someone I could care about and root for. Bruce Wayne is at a cross roads in his life, not sure what do to. Trying to overcome his hurt from a sad childhood, he sets out on a quest to find himself, and finds a desire to right wrong in the world. Which is perfect timing since his home town of Gotham City is facing incredible danger.

2. Chicken Little
Let's face it, the last few Disney animated movies have been lousy. And it has nothing to do with the 2-D animation and everything to do with the story. With this movie they not only made the leap to computer animation like everyone else is doing, they also created a great story again. Poor Chicken Little was sure the sky was falling, but when he couldn't prove it, he becomes a laughing stalk. After working hard and finally putting it behind him, it happens again. Now what does he do? The character's punny names were great and the action in the last third was wonderful. Maybe not a classic on the level of Beauty and the Beast or Snow White, but certainly something to entertain the entire family.

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Based on the classic by C.S. Lewis, this story tells the story of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy who find that a Wardrobe is the entry to a magical world. Once there, they must join the fight against evil to fulfill prophecy. Since I love the book, my expectations were high going into this film. They were met or exceeded on every level. While not a page by page adaptation, they expertly captured the heart of the story and put it on screen with special effects that amaze. The human performances matched the excellent script. This movie had no competition for the top spot on my list.

See, I told you there was some different stuff in here. Even though not the critics picks, I still stand behind these movies as well worth your time.

This review is part of mmcphee's advice write-off

Best of 2006

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