These lists are never easy to compile. In fact, they’re largely a pain in the ass. In the end you consider that you will ultimately be leaving some films that deserved attention off. These movies are not included for various reasons, sometimes they were simply bumped off in favor of another film, or you just didn’t see it and can’t effectively include it in the list. As a result, these kinds of lists are flawed to some degree.
In putting this Top Ten of 2005 together, I tried to take into consideration many factors. First and foremost is whether or not the film is any good. So one thing I did was look at which films reviewed on this site received the highest praise, and used that as a starting point. Every film listed below received Four Popcorns, our highest rating. Then I got feedback from every contributor to Tail Slate and asked them what they considered their Top Ten of the year.
Next, it was a question of impact. How did those films play across the country? Did they raise issues or create buzz? Were they technically or visually unique? How did they set themselves apart from the rest of the hundreds of other films released in 2005? It is my hope that I avoided the standard fair, although I’m not sure that’s true in some cases, and put together a neatly trimmed Top Ten list that properly reflects the films that truly stood out this year. So, without further jibber-jabber, I present Tail Slate’s Top Ten Films of 2005:
1. Crash — I’m sure this one will have some people wondering, but not only did this film receive a lot of praise, it was included on more lists than any other film in our contributor poll. As such, it has received top honors for 2005.
2. Munich — The Spielberg film has raised a lot of fluff in both entertainment and political circles. That amount of chatter means it automatically earned a place on this list, but the placing was due to the praise to the performances and direction, as well as the dialogue it has created.
3. Four Brothers — I wrestled with this film for a while before ultimately including it on this list. In the end, I just couldn’t leave it out, a film I recently saw on DVD and just loved. It was without a doubt one of the best films of the year, a finely crafted action film with intelligently drawn characters.
4. Brokeback Mountain — Considered by most as the top film of the year, this movie was praised by our critic as well as others, and was noted by many contributors here. However, it was never noted as the number one film of the year, which earned it a place in the top five but just wasn’t enough to get it higher than number 3 in our list.
5. Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith — The last of the Star Wars films, Sith was one of the most emotional of the six and the most successful film of the year. From its outstanding action to beautiful special effects, it was a given that this film would be included on this list. It was also the most reviewed film on this site, with nearly all marking it with three or four popcorns (four being the highest we offer).
6. King Kong — The last of the great event pictures of 2005, regardless of what people may think of its less than expected performance in the Box Office, it’s a fun and exciting motion picture. It will also be one of the most remembered films of the year, easily garnering it a place in the top ten of the 2005.
7. Kung Fu Hustle — An excellent comedy that effectively spoofs the martial arts genre that had become widely popular both here and abroad in recent years. Inventive and clever, it deserves praise above the other comedies that were released this year.
8. Batman Begins — The Dark Knight returned in a film that was highly praised not just by critics, but comic book fans who appreciated this new vision of Batman that differed greatly from the previous four films. It was also noted by several contributors here as one of their favorites for 2005, so it earned a place on our official Top Ten.
9. Land of the Dead — Of all the horror films released this year, Dead deserved special note not only for being an excellent, unflinching horror flick, but for it marking the return of George Romero to the silver screen with his first zombie flick in nearly two decades. It also deserved recognition as being a sequel to a franchise that seemed dead—excuse the pun—twenty years ago.
10. Sin City — Was this one of the best movies of the year? Not necessarily. What it was though is highly inventive in the technology it utilized, and stunning in its visuals. Because of that it deserves mention and a place here.
Walk the Line — Outstanding performances by both Jouquim Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon highlight this terrific biopic on the late Johnny Cash. It was a wonderfully done film, but was edged out of our Top Ten. Still, it deserves note as one of the best films of the year and thus gets top notice on our Honorable Mentions list.
The Squid and the Whale — This film was included in a few lists by our contributors, and was noted as a great film by our critic. It gained a position here because it signals the arrival of a promise writer/director in Noah Baumbach.
Syriana — I wanted to make not of this film largely because of the performance by George Clooney. He managed to effectively shed his movie star image, as well as embody a character that was not simply a variation on the Clooney persona.
Me and You and Everyone We Know — This film described to me as an “acquired taste”, yet it was included by several of our contributors, thus earning a place in our Top Ten.
This last bit was mostly just for fun, but when I asked contributors if they had thoughts on the worse films of the year, they were more than happy to reply. So, the following is the Top Five Worst Films of 2005:
2. The Wedding Date
3. Aeon Flux
5. Last Days