The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Sunday, December 20, 2015
THE YEAR I BECAME A DAD: It's December, which means it's time for me to dust off this otherwise neglected blog and begin my annual countdown of the years' best movies. Not this year's best movies—I haven't seen nearly enough of those to be a reliable guide—but the best films of 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, and so on.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked back at 2005, it gave its Best Picture award to Paul Haggis' heavy-handed Crash, the worst film to win the prize in my lifetime. Here are some better movies:

1. Caché
Written and directed by Michael Haneke

I'll warn you upfront: This picture doesn't come out and tell you the solution to the mystery that drives its plot. But sharp-eyed viewers ought to be able to piece it together, and in any event the solution isn't really the point.

2. Live and Become
Directed by Radu Mihăileanu
Written by Mihăileanu and Alain-Michel Blanc

This would make an interesting double feature with Europa Europa.

3. Corpse Bride
Directed by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
Written by John August, Pamela Pettler, and Caroline Thompson

In which a spider sings that life is "just a temporary state/Which is cured very quickly when we meet our fate."

4. The Dying Gaul
Directed by Craig Lucas
Written by Lucas, from his play

"You can do anything you want, as long as you don't call it what it is."

5. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Directed by Nick Park and Steve Box
Written by Park, Box, Bob Baker, and Mark Burton

After this won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, I got into a weird online debate with someone who didn't like the movie because he was convinced it had a hidden anti-gun subtext. To me that's like claiming an Elmer Fudd cartoon has a hidden anti-gun subtext. At any rate, this is as clever and funny as a good Elmer Fudd cartoon, and that's pretty high praise.

6. Deadwood 2
Written by David Milch, Jody Worth, Elizabeth Sarnoff, Ted Mann, Victoria Morrow, Steve Shill, Regina Corrado, Sara Hess, and Bryan McDonald
Directed by Shill, Ed Bianchi, Alan Taylor, Gregg Fienberg, Michael Almereyda, Ted Van Patten, and Dan Minahan

In a year without The Wire, this became the best thing on HBO.

7. Hustle and Flow
Written and directed by Craig Brewer

I'd like the American conservative movement a lot better if it had embraced this as a loving, textured tribute to a regional culture instead of damning it for being a rapping-pimp movie.

8. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Directed by Tommy Lee Jones
Written by Guillermo Arriaga

Faulkner on la frontera.

9. Noroi: The Curse
Directed by Kôji Shiraishi
Written by Shiraishi and Naoyuki Yokota

Proof that a found-footage horror flick doesn't have to be derivative or dumb.

10. Veronica Mars
Written by Rob Thomas, Jed Seidel, Diane Ruggiero, Dayna Lynne North, Phil Klemmer, Aury Wallington, Russell Smith, John Enbom, and Carolyn Murray
Directed by Mark Piznarski, Harry Winer, Michael Fields, Nick Gomez, Sarah Pia Anderson, Nick Marck, Guy Bee, Marcos Siega, John Kretchmer, David Barrett, and Steve Gomer

Forget High School Musical; I'll take high school noir.

Honorable mentions:

11. Paradise Now (Hany Abu-Assad)
12. Sin City (Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller)
13. Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog)
14. The Thick of It (Armando Iannucci)
15. Nine Lives (Rodrigo García)
16. Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan)
17. Forty Shades of Blue (Ira Sachs)
18. Happy Endings (Don Roos)
19. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu)
20. Rize (David LaChapelle)

Of the films of 2005 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Mutual Appreciation and The Constant Gardener.

posted by Jesse 8:49 PM
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