The 10 Best Films I Didn’t Actually See in 2005
by Greg Rawlings
1. Brokeback Mountain. A manly tale of wilderness adventure in one of those depopulated states north of Colorado. Especially zingy soundtrack by the Village People.
2. Munich. Another dark tale of vengeance by Steven Spielberg, deft master of political intrigue and cute aliens. This time the Arabs aren’t killed in witty public shows of daredevilry by a handsome whip-toter in a cool hat but by homesick trained assassins — oh maturity!
3. March of the Penguins. Sequel to the dazzling Busby Berkeley-esque Tango of the Penguins. How the director turned a decrepit soundstage in Burbank into a dead ringer for Antarctica is beyond my meager powers of imagination.
4. A History of Violence. Generic title aside, Strider returns from an epic horse race across the desert to freak out Middle America — a tougher crowd than Middle Earth any day of the week. Easily David Cronenberg’s peppiest film since Naked Lunch.
5. Capote. America’s finest character actor, P.S. Hoffman, makes us all wish that the title troll had died far earlier than he did. Preferably about a week after the publication of In Cold Blood.
6. Hustle & Flow. Hip-hop Horatio Alger tale of a pimp who dreams of real glory, of life beyond the gutter, of perhaps even a date with Carmen Electra.
7. Walk the Line. The bio-pic that makes me wish Johnny Cash had lived long enough to whup up on Joaquin Phoenix’s pathetic backside. How dare anyone make this film when the Man in Black is still warm in his grave?
8. Syriana. The otherwise icy-cool George Clooney in a movie with a title that isn’t an actual word, is it? It sounds like the name of a belly dancer at Mataam Fez. Maybe
9. Grizzly Man. The warped tale of my grade school football coach finally makes it to the silver screen. Original title of Forty Year Old Virgin with a History of Violence was deemed too long for theater marquees. I have a bit part as a bruised, cringing 11-year-old ordered to run another 100 laps around the muddy field.
10. Match Point. Woody Allen’s long-rumored take on Malle’s My Dinner with Andre, but set on John McEnroe’s private rooftop tennis court in Manhattan. While McEnroe waxes eloquent on the theory and practice of modern cinema, the Woodman grunts and chases down line-crunching backhands.