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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, February 26

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amyc / December 16, 2004 6:15 AM

My top 5 this year:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Garden State
People Say I'm Crazy
Fahrenheit 9/11

Hmmmm...I see a theme, something about weird, alienated males. Did I see any movies about women this year?

Gordon / December 16, 2004 8:58 AM

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Incredibles
Vera Drake
and Wicker Park (just kidding)

Mike / December 16, 2004 9:00 AM

Kill Bill, V1- I'm not even sure why I like this movie; dialogue is bad, plot is bad...but Uma Thurman getting in a 100-gallons of blood swordfight with Yakuza and actually pulling off the color yellow: that is worth it for me.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- Just because.

Fahrenheit 9-11- Although anyone who ever opens a newspaper should've already known everything in this movie long before it came out, I do like the idea of some redneck in Idaho watching this, getting all pissed off and starting a website because it's "All lies and propaganda from those Hollywood elitists."

The Princess Diaries- No, not really.

Maggie / December 16, 2004 9:17 AM

Ok, I don't get to the theater as much as I'd like to - I've yet to see any of the films listed above - but I did see Friday Night Lights and LOVED it.

Ruthie / December 16, 2004 9:20 AM

1.) Sideways
2.) Mean Girls
3.) Saved
4.) Garden State

Kris / December 16, 2004 9:27 AM

In no particular order:

Garden State
Eternal Sunshine
Mean Girls

Worst movie: The Dreamers.

roderick / December 16, 2004 9:31 AM

Garden State
Eternal Sunshine
Shaolin Soccer (I didn't see that many movies this year)
Spider-Man 2, seriously

malfey / December 16, 2004 9:35 AM

off of the top of my head:
the big red one (restored, and by far this year's best release)
los angeles plays itself
end of the century: story of the ramones
manchurian candidate

and there are those films i missed, but wish i had seen:
control room
team america

heather / December 16, 2004 9:43 AM

Garden State
The Incredibles
Napoleon Dynamite

Thurston / December 16, 2004 9:50 AM

1) The Motorcycle Diaries
2) Sideways
3) I Love Huckabees
4) Nicotina

Otherwise, I wasn't particularly impressed with anything else I saw this year (though I don't go to the movie theatre that often). "Ray" was particularly dissapointing.

marbles / December 16, 2004 10:07 AM

oh, anchorman: legend of ron burgundy, how could i ever forget you...?

waleeta / December 16, 2004 10:42 AM

Shrek 2

emily / December 16, 2004 11:21 AM

I didn't see a lot of movies this year, but here are my top four:

#1 - Napoleon Dynomite
#2 - I Huckabees
#3 - The Incredibles
#4 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

e_five / December 16, 2004 11:53 AM

Fahrenheit 9-11 would have been nominated for Best Picture if Kerry had won the election.

Garden State
Mean Girls
Team America

What can I say, I like the comedy.

Mike / December 16, 2004 12:07 PM

Oh, I forgot about Team America. Funniest Marionette action film of the year!

Gordon / December 16, 2004 12:38 PM

I'd like to say now that Napoleon Dynamite and Collateral were very bad movies.

Andrew / December 16, 2004 12:42 PM

Eternal Sunshine
Napolean Dynamite
Sean Of The Dead
The Incredibles
Team America

A lot of movies I haven't seen yet but all these were good. Besides Eternal I see a trend in going to strictly comedies this year.

Steve / December 16, 2004 1:08 PM

I'd like to suggest that since we are no longer allowed to comment on his opinions in a public forum, Gordon shouldn't be allowed to comment in public on ours.

Mikey / December 16, 2004 1:11 PM

1) Eternal Sunshine
2) Sideways
3) I Love Huckabees
4) Garden State
5) Fahrenheit 9/11

I didn't think it was that great of a year for the movies. But that's just me.

Ken / December 16, 2004 1:33 PM

I'd like to suggest that since we are no longer allowed to comment on his opinions in a public forum, Gordon shouldn't be allowed to comment in public on ours.

Perhaps I'll just back him up then, and also add Team America to the list. Cheers.

robin.. / December 16, 2004 1:46 PM

my big thing now, it seems, is telling people their opinions are wrong (see my thoughts previously on the "albums" rundown a few days past...): i was deeply unimpressed with "i *heart* huckabees," especially when i contrasted it with his previous work (can i put "three kings" on this list, despite breaking the rules of time and space by doing so?). "i *h* h" seemed very scattered to me, and most performances were very unfocused, to the point where i felt pulled out of a scene by the acting. very disorienting. i heard this might have been because of the director's style, which was to scream directions at the actors in the middle of filming the scene. of course, then, it would look like an actor stops his current thru line of acting and starts a new one: someone is yelling at him to do so in the middle of an action. weird and, in this case, not effective.

kelly / December 16, 2004 2:26 PM

Saddest Music in the World
The Incredibles
Kill Bill Vol. 2
Eternal Sunshine
Donnie Darko - Director's Cut
Brown Bunny (challenging, yes. at times it made me want to scream. but, overall, exremely effective. trust me, i could go on.)

I wanted to see Maria Full of Grace, but missed it. I think it just came out to video, though...

Andrew / December 16, 2004 2:36 PM

I didn't see as many as I would have liked, but those I did, I generally enjoyed. The best of what I saw, roughly in order:

- The Motorcycle Diaries
- Collateral (sorry, Gordon, have to disagree)
- Garden State
- If giving one nightmares for several days is a good measure for a horror flick, Dawn of the Dead was excellent.

Naz / December 16, 2004 3:00 PM

The 5 I really liked:

1) Garden State
2) The Motorcycle Diaries (no movie gave me wanderlust like this movie did)
3) Collateral (nay to the haters!)
4) The Incredibles
5) Saved!

The 7 that were entertaining/mindless:

1) Spider-Man 2
2) Ocean's Twelve
3) Dawn of the Dead
4) Shaun of the Dead
5) Hellboy
6) The Day After Tomorrow (silly plot but damn those special effects were nice)
7) The Chronicles of Riddick (that's right, I said it)

The that were "eh":
1) Eternal Sunshine - clever, neat, whatever. The idea was nice (the actual love story), the execution was novel. It's to be expected from Kaufman.
2) Napoleon Dynamite - lots of take away lines, no more, no less.
3) I *heart* Huckabess - WTF? Pointless. Tiresome. Too absorbed in it's own melodramatic existentialism brou-ha-ha.
4) Super Size Me - so so. Preaching to the choir on this end.

Movies I still need to see that could be contenders:
1) Fahrenheit 9/11
2) Sideways
3) The Life Aquatic

Anne / December 16, 2004 3:20 PM

I loved Saved!, the Motorcycle Diaries, and Garden State.

Worst movie, hands down, was Fahrenheit 9/11. I'm just as liberal as the next guy, and I hate Bush as much as anyone, but that movie lost all credibility for me in the first two minutes when it depicted how happy life in Iraq was under Saddam. As much as I disagree with the war, life under a genocidal maniac would never have been as rosy as Moore depicted it.

Mike / December 16, 2004 4:07 PM


I agree, Michael Moore has some huge holes in F911. But I could never figure out why people (both liberals and right-wingers) throw critical bombs on his movies while giving something like say...the nightly news, a free pass.
Life under Saddam may not have been happy, but by now we've killed (by conservative estimates) over 15,000 civilians there, god knows how many we've wounded, more than Saddam ever dreamed of.
Not to start a big thing, but when is the last time you've even seen an Iraqi on the news?
But essentially, I totally agree, Moore made some suggestions that weren't true. But I don't think he was trying to say life was "rosy" there, he was trying to say that real people live there and it's not just the dehumanized, sterile picture of "terrorists" that we recieve every time we turn on the television set. Innocents are being bombed to bits too.

Kristin / December 16, 2004 9:28 PM

my favorites of 2004

Before Sunset
The Passion of the Christ
Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry
Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
Napoleon Dynamite

jonk / December 16, 2004 9:44 PM

I liked Robin's critical start, so - Garden State? I realize it was an audience darling, and i'll admit it had its moments, but it was morally reprehensible (I, too, could go on).

1-Anatomie de l'enfer
4-Before Sunset
5-Coffee & Cigarettes

John / December 16, 2004 10:13 PM

The restored version of La Dolce Vita at the Music Box.

Lisa / December 17, 2004 6:30 AM

Nothing new here...

I'm not a person who spends a lot of time at the movies, but I liked "Eternal Sunshine..." enough to buy it from a bootlegger in Thailand, and I started watching "Scrubs" after seeing "Garden State".

I can't wait for "The Life Aquatic"...

robin.. / December 17, 2004 9:02 AM

i wait on the edge of my chair for "the life aquatic." it's about time bill murray stared getting his propers. however, ebert and roper gave it two thmbs down? anyone know why they did that? how they possibly could have said that? i mean, i haven't seen the movie, yet, but given anderson's past outings (!!!!) i cannot believe anything he could do would be thumbs-down material. are ebert and roper really, as i've believed off and on, out of their freaking minds?

Nuxrs / December 17, 2004 9:06 AM

Napoleon Dynamite-Incredibles-Eternal Sunshine. Garden State caught me up with the soundtrack and the just-so-ness of it's direction, but some of the dialogue was just fucking nauseating. Jonk, I'm curious as to why you think it was morally reprehensible.....

Emmer / December 17, 2004 9:19 AM

Gozu and Anatomy of Hell? Damn, Jonk. You like it freaky.

I didn't find Garden State morally reprehensible, just mostly insipid. There were moments of promise, yes...but not many. Check out the Ruthless Review of it.

Thurston / December 17, 2004 9:23 AM

I have not seen the Life Acquatic but I kknow one big cticisim of it is the use of animation for the fish, the criticisim being that the actors and writing team are so good why resort to using animation to get things done? I don't know how valid this is but that's what they say.

As for Ebert, I saw him in the men's room at O'Hare once. I was next to him at the urinals, we zipped up simultaneously, and Mr. Ebert proceeded to leave the rest room without washing his hands. A dirty, dirty man, that Ebert. I feel like part of the bargain one makes with fame is washing your hands when in public bathrooms. It makes you wonder who the unwashed masses really

Thurston / December 17, 2004 9:23 AM

... are.

JT / December 17, 2004 10:29 AM

Re. Ebert. Ewwwwww. Bad enough to do that at home, but at least washing your [expletive deleted] hands in a skanky airport where multinational germs collide! I knew I didn't like that guy...

robin.. / December 17, 2004 10:41 AM

well, now i know that the famous thumbs i've repeatedly called "dirty" really are, literally, dirty. dirtydirty, and not in a "valley of the dolls" kind of way...

RUthie / December 17, 2004 10:50 AM

I saw a sneak preview of The Life Aquatic last week, and I was a little disappointed. It's hard not to be disappointed, when one's hopes are that absurdly high. I still enjoyed the movie and it got quite a few laughs in the theater I was in, but it just didn't suck me in the same way Anderson's other movies have. I did get the sense that there were about 50 references I was missing for every one I got, so maybe this is just more of a film for other filmmakers and cinema studies students and less for the masses, I don't know.

eep / December 17, 2004 11:02 AM

I rarely see movies in the theater, just because it's such a pain in the ass. But of the movies I saw this year, I really, really enjoyed:

Kill Bill Vol 2 If Uma Thurman doesn't get an Oscar nod for this, I'm going to be pissed. This movie completely blew me away, even on repeated viewings. Brilliant.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle I didn't expect this movie to be even a tenth as funny as it turned out to be. Comedy at its most base form, but absolutely the funniest film I've seen in years. I gotta give it credit for making me laugh almost non-stop.

dan / December 17, 2004 11:12 AM

I agree with Ruthie... Life Aquatic was certainly not one of the best of the year.

What a disappointment. Such a great cast, great sets, Wes Anderson at the helm... what happened?

It was way too heavy on the Wes Anderson ironic jokes, with barely any Wes Anderson heart (which kept those jokes funny and afloat in every other movie he's done).

Not a terrible movie, more like a missed opportunity. I liked Napoleon Dynamite more, and that's kinda sad.

carly / December 17, 2004 11:44 AM

Nothing you haven't seen above...I don't think:

Garden State
Harold and Kumar...
I [heart] Huckabees
Farenheit 9/11
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'd you see 2046? Chinese import?
I'm dying to catch a glimpse...

jonk / December 17, 2004 1:40 PM

Emmer, I didn't know about Ruthless Reviews - the Garden State one was pretty good, and I totally agree with the patchwork-quirk critique made there. My take is long-winded, I'll try to make it brief here.

Garden State is about reclaiming white patriarchy. The pre-"birth" of Largeman (Braff) is defined by a father who allowed the family to disolve in an era of multi-culturalism. The film opens with Largeman's imminent death in a plane crash, with the telling "crazy" Indian music of the soundtrack. Fortunately, Large is saved by awakening from the nightmare by a phonecall from his estranged father announcing the death of his mother, which signals Largeman's "birth" where he quits his dependency on pharmaceuticals.

Did I mention his mother was disabled? Yeah, turns out the main women in the film are, and their disabilities drive the plot. Sam (Portman) is not only epileptic, but a compulsive liar - Large (yeah, he is also just called "Large" throughout the film) will save her. That Large caused his mother's accident, thus paralyzing her, is seemingly unimportant to Large, he never assumes any responsibility for it, nor registers any notable remorse. In fact, we are informed the accident was caused by a cheap piece of plastic that didn't work, not his shoving her. Even if we didn't believe Large's character stating that it wasn't his fault for the shove, his mom "deserved it" because she was - surprise - chronically depressed. So even before she was disabled, she was disabled, and once she was really disabled - paralyzed - then it was probably better she was dead, says Large, twice, she probably would have preferred death to her state in the wheelchair.

Large's dad (played by Ian Holm) represents the white male that allowed multiculturalism to happen, his maleness is impotent, not really male. Thankfully, Large steps in at film's end and lets his dad know that they will be okay - Large and in charge, the new (old) white male.

The other male characters in the film are mostly portrayed as morally suspect - Sarsgaard's grave-robber/"under-achiever", the idle rich "silent velcro" guy, Method Man's illicit peep-show, etc. Large sits back and affirms these lifestyle choices because he values the male (comraderie). Large actually drags his new girl throughout the film from guy to guy, nobody seems terribly bonded to another aside from some duty of maleness. Even though they could be easily tagged as morally suspect, they are likable and comfortable characters for the audience, the re-ascension to privilege should apparently seem unproblematic.

I could go on, but will end with the exclamation that our protagonist is "Largeman", and not only that, but Andrew - menaing "manly" - Manly Largeman. Ugh!

This year, I also liked The Man Without a Past:)

Joe / December 20, 2004 5:42 PM

Wow, no one mentioned The Corporation? I thought it was better than Fahrenheit 9/11. Made my list this year.

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