2006 was the first really good year of my life, professionally. I spent three months of 2004 in school, two months on vacation, and seven months at work. I spent nine months of 2005 at work and three months on what we’ll charitably call a “hiatus.” So I only saw around 22 movies throught 2006. It took a last-minute surge of rentals during my Christmas vacation to tie my 2004 roster of 33 movies.
Matthew Yglesias has his take on 2006 movies here, and experiences some trouble with ordinal ranking. Well, ordinal ranking is my thing. Here are all the movies I saw, from the worst to the best. And here are the movies I didn’t catch but will eventually try to, especially if they become Oscar nominees. Italicized movies are ones I really want to see; non-italicized are ones I feel obligated to.
Children of Men (went to see it last night and the damn thing was sold out)
The Devil Wears Prada
Flags of Our Fathers
The Good Shepherd
Lady in the Water
Letters from Iwo Jima
Pirates of the Carribean 2
The Pursuit of Happyness
A Scanner Darkly
Stranger Than Fiction
World Trade Center
Also: I am experiencing problems with my comment feature. I’d been getting slammed with comment spam and tried to tweak WordPress to request more information from commenters. Now I’m told no actual humans can register, but spammers keep finding a way in. I tried to upload some more protections, but I think readers are still having problems with commenting. If you are, email me at daveweigel at gmail.
33. Date Movie
A misfire in every way but the casting – Alyson Hannigan is just right as the naive lovestruck twentysomething, Fred Willard is (obviously) great as the father with half his brain under construction. But Jesus, what a terrible script (by two of the writers of the first, second-worst Scary Movie) that doesn’t understand 1) romantic comedies and 2) things which are funny. What’s that, you ask? “Will there be a sequel that takes on blockbusters”? Yes, and it will feature Mary Castro as “Breast Bite Women.” I’ll need a cyanide pill if I’m in the theater when that trailer rolls in.
32. All the King’s Men
If Steven Zaillian tries to make another movie, shoot him.
31. Nacho Libre
Gosh, I hope Jared Hess didn’t show all his cards with Napoleon Dynamite. This is a beautifully designed farce that looks funny but doesn’t let funny things occur.
30. Friends With Money
She’s better than Zaillian, but Nicole Holofcener has yet to make a good movie; one that’s more than interesting characters stumbling through their uninteresting lives.
29. Clerks II
Looking back, Kevin Smith had said everything he had to say artistically with Chasing Amy, and everything he wanted to say comedically with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I’m probably the only person who thought that movie was better this one, but I’m right. Between the neutered role for those characters, the 2-D performance by Smith’s wife and the completely predictable 80s sex comedy climax, there’s very little to recommend this apart from a Jersey Girl-level number of good jokes.
28. Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
Completely overshadowed and forgotten by the Mohammed cartoons, but really not so bad. Sure to be one of the top rentals in 2015, when Mark Steyn’s predictions come true and the Muslims take over everything.
27. The Notorious Bettie Page
Ed Wood without the wit.
Looking for Crash in the Muslim World. (And Tokyo.)
25. A Prairie Home Companion
Worse than most Altman movies and worse than an average episode of Keillor’s show, but generally sweet and enjoyable.
24. Snakes on a Plane
A good b-movie that, if every DVD came with a recording of the opening night crowd shouting and riffing, would be the best b-movie.
23. Art School Confidential
A misfire, but Terry Zwigoff’s psyche is snuggled too closely to mine for me to hate it.
22. Mission: Impossible III
Probably my favorite in the trilogy, but I’m just not much of a spy movie person.
21. Inside Man
And I liked this far, far less than everyone else. I agree with whoever (Steve Sailer) said it was Crash with a plot, but I found myself really not caring about that plot.
20. For Your Consideration
Probably the year’s biggest disappointment in that it made you wonder if Christopher Guest was out of ideas.
19. Little Miss Sunshine
Great cast, some good jokes, predictable plot and resolution.
18. Jackass Number Two
Only a little worse than the first one, and the movie on this list I expect to re-watch (at least certain scenes) the most.
17. Rocky Balboa
My favorite aspect was probably how it felt like a 1970s movie – the slow pacing, the lingering on the characters.
16. An Inconvenient Truth
Global warming is one of the areas where I break with most libertarians, so of course I liked this.
15. Thank You for Smoking
Okay in 2006; would have been incredible in 1997.
Wonderfully sulry and lazy tribute to Charles Bukowski. Matt Dillon deserves to be one of the four Oscar nominees who’ll lose to Forrest Whitaker.
13. Superman Returns
Remember how the other Superman movies had wonderful acting and action but lame plots? This one corrects the last problem while falling a little short on the acting.
I’m surely not the only person who wants Mel Gibson to make 100 more movies. He’s really good at it, crazy bastard.
11. V for Vendetta
Flawed adaptation of a great story, and very padded in the last hour.
Best movie about crossword puzzles ever.
9. X-Men: The Last Stand
As with Superman Returns, the best plot of any movie in its series. And the rare blockbuster that runs a little short (you kill or de-power half of the characters and it’s under two hours?).
8. The Last King of Scotland
I won’t know how much I really liked this one until I rewatch it in a year or so. But in the theater I was enraptured by the inversion of the “white saint in Africa” cliche and Forrest Whitaker’s perfomance as Amin.
7. Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
5. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
4. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
3. The Queen
2. The Proposition
1. The Departed