Thursday, September 3, 2009

What is the defining movie of the 2000s? PART 6: 2005

Let's do this!

Quick summary so I can renew the laserbeam of hatred toward me - I'm trying to define what the defining movie of the 2000s is, and going year by year to find the perfect candidates.

If you haven't been following, but would like to catch up now, here are the earlier parts...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

It's the year 2005. We're past the halfway point. We've uncovered a lot of potential movies. We've also covered some ground on some truly abysmal cinema. And we're not stopping here.

First - the Academy Award winners...

Seems to be one of those love it/hate it films. Also a bit Altmanesque, without the Altman wit. Though not including wit in a film about race might have been a director's decision, so we can let that one slide. The movie goes a long way to try and show the viewer that regardless of race, we're all racist. We're also all human. We're also all hypocrites. It's life man, up there on the big screen.

As I said, this film seems to be polarizing, and while I'd argue Haggis set out trying to make the defining movie of the 2000s, I have to give him credit for possibly succeeding. So it has to be a candidate.

Brokeback Mountain
I guess 2005 was the year of the critically acclaimed minority movie. Are gays considered a minortiy? Let's scratch that and go with hot button groups. I feel this conversation quickly spiraling down the drain, so let's move on.

This movie is a powerful story about love. That the love happenes to be between two cowboys should be beside the point. Of course it isn't, which undermines the message a little, but we have to crawl before we can walk in this hypocritical society, so...

For this movie to simply have been made is an accomplishment. Because of that alone I'm going to have to put it on the short list of defining movies. While it probably won't win, it should be noted that it's a benchmark movie for bringing homosexuality to the mainsrteam without the main characters having to talk with a lisp or wear bright colors. Bravo.

Sorry, doesn't make the list. I mean, it was so good they went and made another Capote movie later on.

Good Night and Good Luck
It was in black and white! It's 2005. You'd think black and white would have been outlawed by now. Hopefully Turner can get his hands on it and bring some much needed color to it so I'll watch it.

I love Munich. Slightly long, it still tells a gripping story with no real heroes. The end shot might be a little heavy handed, but no one has accused Spielberg of being subtle. Still, while I think it's one of the top 10 or so films of the decade, for whatever reason it gets overlooked. And overlooked is bad for a film that wants to be considered the defining movie of the decade. Sorry. It gets left off.

Time to take a look at the rest of the movied from 2005...

40 Year Old Virgin
Long, meandering and yet still funny in a lot of places, 40 Year Old has to be considered for no other fact that it brought back the raunchy comedy. Not necessarily an "adult" comedy, it still dealt with issues in more realistic settings that the average moviegoer is accusstomed to.

That Judd Apatow paved the way for many imitators (including himself, really) is both a positive and a negative depending on how you feel about the imitations. And it's also very easy to hate on this film 4 years later, but I think it still has to be considered a contender.

Batman Begins
I'll be honest. I didn't like Batman Begins. I felt it telegraphed the main villain. Any movie where the protagonist, early on, simply assumes his mentor-turned-evil-guy died because there was an explosion, really should be taken to task.

That said, I understand why people enjoyed it. After the last movie in the Schumacher Batman series (Batman & Robin), we all assumed Batman was gay and enjoyed cosplay. So, going back to the beginning and creating an origin story about how Batman became Batman and grounding it in reality was a stroke of genius. It immediately gave everyone involved a new universe to play in, and let everyone know this wasn't your dad's Batman. Because think about it, even though Superman is the one with all the powers, everyone knows Batman is cooler. Why? Because he's gritty, unpolished and not necessarily always good. These themes are things directors kill to explore in their movies.

So, while personally, I don't think it was great, it needs to be considered a candidate.

Sin City

Cool to look at, started the Mickey Rourke comeback in earnest, but at the end of the day, not all that interesting. The stories, after the shock of the violence, were nothing to write home about. Visually, incredible, but one cannot hang a hat on visuals alone. Unless you're watching porn.

Not a defining movie of the decade. Though I nominate it as the "defining movie with a bunch of Hollywood stars that you have to watch 75 times to understand 10% of what is going on" of the decade. I assume this is what politics is really like in Washington D.C. So it was sort of like watching C-Span. Only with an explosion mixed in. And George Clooney after he visited Old Country Buffet one too many times. And forgot his razor. He's still dreamy to me though, dammit!

I'd be remiss if I didn't look at some of the other, "interesting" choices of the year. Remember, none of these titles are be considered for defining movie of the decade. I just figured they should be noted for their awfulness.

Is this where Will Ferrell's career took the nose dive? Seriously. He plays such a tremendous dick in this, I wonder if people, even subconsciously, started to hate him after this movie. I'm not sure if anyone really watched this, but the whole meta movie-within-the-movie is tough to pull off if you're not Charlie Kaufman. And whoever wrote Bewitched, is not Kaufman. I'm a Kidman fan, so sure I'll linger on this if I stumble upon it on tv longer than the average person, but still. It's just not good. And since I mentioned Kidman, that gives me an opportunity to give you a picture of the lovely Aussie.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
In 10 years, will we remember this movie for being a crappy sequel or an accurate portrayal of Michael Jackson?

And we thought Daredevil was bad. Well most of us did. I'm assuming the people that greenlit this atrocity saw Daredevil, thought the plot was too simplistic and linear, and chose to turn one of the characters into a super ninja wearing pirate stuff. Sexy pirate stuff. Oh and she has boobs.

Hey, I love Jennifer Garner, and I love her in weird, tight fitting costumes. But that's why I sit through the nonsense of Alias.

So that pretty much wraps up 2005. Here is the short list:

Brokeback Mountain
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Batman Begins

Agree? Disagree? Feel I should go to film school? Want to accuse me of not seeing Lost Highway? Tell me about it in the comments!


Jetspete said...

I think you left off a plethora of great choices for defining movie of the decade from this year. I went back to your initial article, and you are looking for a movie that breaks out of it's niche and leaves a mark on the movie going public as a whole. However does the movie need to be great? Or does it simply need to be representative of this decade? In not just movies, but the world as a whole this decade will be remembered for tragedy, war, and the general disappointment of a stagnant economy.

2005 saw maybe the most disappointing movie of all time - Revenge of the Sith. Even as someone who loved Phantom Menace and liked Attack of the Clones, this abomination left me shaking my head. This is a truly defining movie, for all the wrong reasons.

Number 2 is Wedding Crashers. As with Old School, this is one of the funniest movies of the decade and should be included.

Third, one movie from 2005 brought together two celebrities and helped make them the world's most famous couple. If anything pop culture in this decade is defined by untalented people who are famous simply for being famous. While Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are talented, their fame far exceeds their on-screen abilities. For that reason, I'll nominate Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

and as an addendum, while i cant in good conscience nominate it, 2005's Lord of War is one of my five favorite movies of the decade. I wish Cage stuck to these movies instead of abortions like Next.

Jason H. said...

I really like you're choices for this year, especially the Crash/Brokeback Mountain ones. To me, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is still Apatow's funniest, and best, movie. However, instead of Batman Begins, what about March of the Penguins? I wasn't particularly fond of the movie; it felt like a Animal Planet special screened in theatres. But it did start the bizarre penguin obsession, and made theatrical nature docs popular again.

As for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I thought it was a quirky, darkly original take on the story. Better than the original, I'd say.

Goose said...

Jetspete - to your points...

I felt Revenge of the Sith was the worst of the 3 prequels. But by the time it came out, I felt the entire series had lost its luster. Yes, it's a punchline to jokes, but not for the whole decade.

Wedding Crashers I felt had a decent beginning but got weird after the "rape" scene. I also feel 40 Year Old Virgin has more "status" with the general public than wedding crashers. That's not to say the movie wasn't funny.

As for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I definitely thought about what both Pitt and Jolie brought to the table during the filming and what it created. However, that had little to do with the subject matter of the movie; it could have happened on anything.

Mel said...

I felt the exact same way about Batman Begins.

I would offer up for consideration A History of Violence. It's such a thoughtful film.

Anonymous said...

this is an interesting selection

my comments :

- Crash. really overrated. It is a good movie but not great

- Brokeback mountain. Great choice. I totally agree with your comment.

- Capote. Come on ! this is good movie (better than Crash). I believe you haven't even seen it

- Good night and good luck. I have not seen it but please, what a stupid comment.... you mean that all the new movies in black and white are worthless to you ?!?!? you are going to miss a lots of good stuff with this narrow minded attitude....

- Munich. a very good movie and I totally agree with your comment

- Sin city. I don't agree with your comment. it is one of the best movie of 2005 and should be on the list

- the 40 year old movie. it is a nice movie but the most defining of the decade ? it is not on my list, that's for sure

- Batman begins. very good movie and deserves definitely to on the list

- Syriana. What a stupid comment, again... if it is complicated, you cannot follow it ? a good movie but wouldn't be on my list either.

- Bewitched. indeed a very bad movie but I don't think it destroyed Will Ferrel's carreer...

- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I'm a big Johnny Depp and Tim Burton fan and I believe it is a good movie.

Someelse also said that Mr and Mrs Smith should be on the list because of the Brangelina phenomene. What a stupid comment... It means that gossip should dictate what is the most defining movie of the decade ?!? give me a break.

And about Revenge of the Sith, I don't think it was a bad movie, it is actually quite good and the best of the prequel trilogy. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Eventually what a depressing idea to choose this movie as the most defining movie of the decade when you actually hate it ?!? get a life...

Joel said...

Crash shouldn't be included as a defining movie. Everyone knows that Brokeback mountain was THE movie of 2005. But it;s your list.

PS: Are you including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind since everyone voted for it last time?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your choices for this year but I have two comments.

1) Sin City is film noir, not too many movies in that genre have overflowing substance, just style.

2) You do know Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is not a sequel, right? It's a new adaptation/re-imagining (read: remake). That is the title of the book, the original Gene Wilder film was titled Willy Wonka simply for marketing tie-in purposes.