Best Films of 2005

Well, I didn’t get out that much this year and I didn’t see a whole lot of anything but pretty mainstream stuff, both in the theater and at home on DVD. It’s kind of embarrassing, really. I actually did see a few good films before I started keeping this diary.

Actually, the best one that I saw was Jessica Yu’s documentary about Henry Darger, In the Realms of the Unreal, which was outside of my timeline here. It was pretty fascinating stuff and interestingly made. It’s been the film that I have seen this year that has made the most impression on me. Maybe a lot of that is Darger’s images themselves, but also the narrative of his life and the narrative of his epic novel as well echoes of some deep and empty void. His art is a mixture of Surrealism and Pop-Art, totally naivist, but beautifully designed, with repeated images of little girls, though often rendered in psychotic, bizarre ways.

All in all, it wasn’t an amazing year for films. The highlights from the cinema were all enjoyable, pretty well-crafted films. I really enjoyed most of Spielberg’s summer thriller, though not whole-heartedly. Tim Burton’s revamp of Roald Dahl’s story was high design but high camp and again, I thought it to be pretty fun. Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film was pretty brilliant and wonderful, though he may have achieved his high water mark with Spirited Away (2001). Still, it was pretty amazing.

On the home front, it was mostly classics that really hit home. Impressive, engrossing stuff. There is a reason that they have the reputation that they have.

I was looking through the San Francisco Bay Guardian, at the “best of” columns that they ran for film. Of course, most people are berating all but a few mainstream films and citing as brilliant many films that I hadn’t heard of (and I do keep up pretty well with releases — though I don’t attend festivals). So, anyways, I am sure that this list lacks the hipness of an outsider who derides the mainstream. Though, I would say, I don’t fit ideally in there either. Whatever.

I’ll make it my vow to watch more interesting stuff in the future. Or at least, I will try.

Favorite Films that I Saw Theatrically in 2005
In the Realms of the Unreal (2004) dir. Jessica Yu
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) dir. Tim Burton
War of the Worlds (2005) dir. Steven Spielberg
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) dir. Hayao Miyazaki

Favorite Films that I Watched on DVD in 2005
King Kong (1933) dir. Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
The Driver (1978) dir. Walter Hill
The Shooting (1967) dir. Monte Hellman
The Wild Bunch (1969) dir. Sam Peckinpah

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