It wasn't until I started retracing all the movies I had seen this year that I realized how many good films there actually were. I had a difficult time trying to file this list down to ten. There were some that came close to making the list but got edged out for one reason or another. Here are the honorable mentions for 2006 in no particular order. As with my previous year-end entry, you can click on the title to see my full comments and review on each respective flick:
Now to the top 1o. Keep in mind that these are the top movie that I actually saw for the first time (and in some cases, many times more) in 2006. They may have been originally released the previous year, but for one reason or another, I didn't get around to them until this year. Lucky for them...
Robert Downey, Jr. continues to prove that no matter how much rehab he gets, it doesn't seem to cause his work to suffer much. In fact, it almost seems that the more rehab he gets, the better his products are.
How is it possible that some filmmakers find a way to improve on the original? This one was a huge rebound for Johnny Depp. Regardless of what some folks may think, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" just was not a good film. Not that he really needed it with his track record, but this second installment proves he still has it. Let's just hope he kept some of it in the tank for the third one.
You could probably call this the sleeper hit of the year. It didn't get near the pub of your typical Hollywood mega-budget blockbuster. For that reason, it's a stark reminder that throwing money at a project doesn't always guarantee a formula for success. Sometimes it is the little things that mean a lot.
It's already funny enough that NASCAR is considered a sport so of course a comedy about it was bound to be hilarious. Add that to the fact that it features reliable Will Ferrell and it's gold. At one point, I thought this would have been the funniest movie to come out all year until...
6. Nacho Libre
There are some movies that you have to see a couple of times to fully appreciate. This is not one of them. It just so happens that seeing it more than a couple of times makes it funnier and funnier each time. Not only was this the top comedy of the year, it's slowly creeping its way onto my list of favorite comedies of all-time.
There is no bias here just because BJ Routh is from Norwalk. This was just an overall spectacularly made movie. If you never got a chance to see it in an IMAX theater complete with the 3D effects then you were truly missing a treat.
I don't know what I was thinking the first time I saw this and was so hard on it. That's not true, I know exactly what it was that was clouding my vision. It didn't take long for me to become enamored with it. So much so that I'm still upset with myself for not finding the time to check out the Broadway version when it came to Ames a couple of months ago.
3. The Gospel
I never would have thought a film with Boris Kodjoe in the lead would be as good as this one and now I'm glad I was wrong. Not everyone will get the same out of this movie that I did so it made it this high chiefly for sentimental reasons. It also doesn't hurt that the soundtrack to the film is amazing.
Will Smith proves that he's star power enough to carry an entire film by himself. Okay, he's no Tom Hanks on a desert island for an hour, but I'm pretty confident he could even pull that off. Until now, Will's talent alone is such that he doesn't need other superstars around him to make a movie better. A couple more like these and we may be able to slowly forget that "Wild Wild West" ever happened.
Regardless of how it may seem, this really isn't a case of being so fresh in the memory since it was most recently seen that it gets the top spot. "Dreamgirls" really was that good and then some. It had the complete package of stellar acting from stars and supporting roles, good writing, stunning visuals and an outstanding soundtrack. Maybe it was best that it was released so late in the year so they could save the best for last.