Scott's Top 10 Films of 2005
Sin City poster
By Scott Sycamore     Published January 7, 2006
What I really love about {Sin City} is that it pushes the boundaries of cinema; love it or hate it, you have to admit that you?ve never seen anything like it.
I?ve been writing here at LMI for a year now. I saw more movies at the theater in ?05 than in any year previously; and while I didn?t like all (or even most) of them, I?m still glad that I can express my views of each movie. My goal was to write a review of every movie I saw, but unfortunately a handful fell by the wayside (due to a lack of journalistic motivation on my part). Doing an end-of-year piece like this is exciting because I get to look back and try to put the films in a greater context. You should be able to find my review of each of these movies in the LMI archives (except one or two from the Worst list, and a few Special Mentions). Thanks to everybody who has read my stuff, and all those who are reading this right now. Here?s my best o? the year list:

1) Sin City ? Quite simply the most exciting and electrifying time I had at the movies this year. What I really love about this flick is that it pushes the boundaries of cinema; love it or hate it, you have to admit that you?ve never seen anything like it. This ? along with the upcoming parts 2 and 3 ? will be very influential in the years to come.

2) Crash ? A powerful drama that features razor-sharp writing, assured direction, and a fine collection of performances. I?m not usually a fan of these Altmanesque ensemble pieces, but the story construction here is just brilliant. Everyone should watch this film; it has perspectives on characters from many different ethnicities.

3) 40-Year-Old Virgin ? Probably the most flat-out likeable movie to come down the pipeline in ?05. Even though Wedding Crashers did a lot more business, Virgin was still a huge hit despite its total lack of star power and tacky at-first-glance premise. It?s tough to imagine somebody who wouldn?t get a kick out of this one.

4) War of the Worlds ? Spielberg?s epic-yet-intimate alien invasion saga ranks up there with any of his other great works. The look and design of this film is something to see; there is so much talent behind the camera ? and not just in the director?s chair ? that it spills onto the screen in a glorious waterfall of creativity. This movie is a paradox: a fun nightmare.

5) Lord of War ? In a year when we saw a lot of these geopolitical relevant-issue pieces, this one reigns atop all the others in my book. What The Constant Gardener and Syriana forgot to do was entertain the audience and take us along for a ride with the characters. This movie is in the grand tradition of Scarface and Goodfellas, but with a less macho edge and bigger global implications. Also, it?s probably the most underrated film of the year in terms of box-office.

6) Flightplan ? Jodie Foster proves why she?s a major star in this excellently crafted suspense thriller. She really holds our attention and makes us empathize with her. Stuff like this shows that there can be quality lead roles for women, and they don?t have to be in syrupy chick-flicks either. This is muscular entertainment with fantastic direction, camerawork, and set design.

7) Munich ? Yet another Spielberg opus in what has gotta be one of the longest streaks of quality films by any director ever (going back to?Minority Report? Private Ryan? Jurassic Park?). This one is no slouch by a long shot. It has flaws, to be sure: there are pacing issues, and I couldn?t hear many of the lines of dialogue properly (although that could be considered a staple of these types of movies). All I know is that by the end, I really did have an emotional reaction to the material. There is definitely a message here, but it comes through with or without the controversy.

8) Revenge of the Sith ? The ?final chapter? goes out with more bang than whimper. Yes, it has glaring faults, but compare these to the technical artistry and otherwordly feel of this massive juggernaut. It has the best acting, story, and special FX of the entire prequel trilogy. It has a ton of replay value, as do all the movies in the series. And it manages to kick ass (in parts) in ways that few flicks ever can.

9) Saving Face ? A completely and utterly overlooked indie gem. And it?s about?two hot Asian-American lesbians! Yes?you heard me correctly. And get this: that?s not even the only reason I like it. It?s actually a very sweet and straightforward romantic comedy with a Chinese twist. There?s some clever writing, and it?s just very watchable once you get past the cultural haze in the beginning. This one deserves to be watched by all you so-called movie lovers.

10) Deuce Bigelow ? I?ll spare you a 50-page defense of my reasons for liking this movie, because I shouldn?t have to justify myself when it comes to the funniest flick of the year. Yes, I placed 40-Year-Old Virgin higher on the list for its production values and whatnot; but when it came to fall-on-the-floor belly laughs in ?05, European Gigolo takes the cake. This flick is a breath of fresh air compared to what passes for comedy nowadays (see my Worst list for examples). The fact that critics loathed this one should tell you something: it?s probably decent.

* Brokeback Mountain deserves mention: I saw it after not sleeping the night before. I passed out about halfway through, but not because I disliked it at all. It would probably be on the list if I had seen the whole thing and could give it a fair review.

I also missed out on such critical darlings as Capote and Good Night & Good Luck. It?s not that I didn?t want to see them; I just never got around to it. Sorry.

Another movie that deserves a shout-out and just barely missed the list is The Upside of Anger. It was the first review I wrote and I actually liked the damn thing (a phenomenon, which I learned would be exceedingly rare as the months wore on). You owe it to yourself to check this one out if the idea of a middle-aged romantic-comedy indie sounds appealing at all.

* With the worst to come...
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'Sin City' Articles
  • Scott's Sin City review A
    April 12, 2005    This movie is a big neon middle finger to all those who think they know what movies should be like. -- Scott Sycamore
  • Craig's Sin City review D+
    April 2, 2005    It has no story to speak of other than to show how decent its heroes are and how deranged its villains are, while keeping us from caring about them. -- Craig Younkin
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (4/1)
    April 2, 2005    Its durability will be very questionable, and considering it?s even more of a cult film than Kill Bill, it stands a chance of dropping like a rock. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Weekend Outlook Chat (April 1 - 3)
    March 31, 2005    I have a feeling this is going to be similar {to Team America}: the film could play really well in specific cities, or college towns, but not so great elsewhere. -- Staff of LMI
  • Craig's Spring Movie Preview
    February 27, 2005    Filled with danger and mystery at every turn, this is one of the greatest looking trailers I've ever seen. -- Craig Younkin