2005 Leaman Awards - The Part-Time Critic

Monday, January 16, 2017

2005 Leaman Awards

*Last Updated 7/30/2022

2005 Films Seen: 97
Number of Films with 'A' or 'A+': 4
Key Films Still to See: n/a

Brief Summary: I can't believe the amount of "good" films this year produced. Sure, there's several very good to great film at the top of my list which is nothing spectacular relative to other years. However, the real value of 2005's slate of films is in how many just plain good films there are. I saw 97 films from the year and 54% of them were rated in the 'B' category - the largest percentage I've ever had. Incredible to think that I could have felt comfortable crafting a top 40-50 for this year and still think the films were recommendable. 

Not a "best of" list or a "favorite" list - but a list of the films and sequences (action, drama, comedy, & musical) that I think represent the best the year had to offer. So think of it as a strange mixture of favorite, best, and defining. Once you get to the top ten films, it definitely becomes more defined as a Top Ten list of the year. The number one film is my favorite of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Broken Flowers, The Great Raid, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Kung Fu Hustle, Unleashed

25. Cinderella Man (B)
24. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (B)
23. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (B)
22. Hitch (B)
21. Batman Begins (B)
20. Walk the Line (B)
19. Wedding Crashers (B)
18. Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (B)
17. A Very Long Engagement (B+)
16. Hustle & Flow (B+)
15. Four Brothers (B+)
14. The Squid and the Whale (B+)
13. King Kong (B+)
12. Corpse Bride (B+)
11. Howl's Moving Castle (B+)

THE TOP TEN
10. Grizzly Man (B+)

9. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (B+)

8. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (B+): An underrated action film directed by Doug Liman and featuring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as a married couple. The key gimmick here is that both Pitt and Jolie's characters are secretly assassins - though neither knows it. One day, they are assigned to assassinate each other and it sends their world into a tailspin. On one hand, this is a gorgeously produced action film with strong set pieces, and incredibly charismatic leads. On the other hand, there's a wonderfully layered subtext here about how marriages cannot survive without transparency and honesty. The two support each other well and combine for an easy to enjoy Hollywood action film.

7. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (B+): A lean two hour film that details the final days of Sophie Scholl, a young woman part of an anti-Nazi resistance (non-violent) within Germany. It's World War II's A Man for All Seasons, but simplified and streamlined. The film nobly captures the courage and conscience behind Sophie's resistance and how when done righteously, those who have compromised look away in shame, but are condemned in soul. It's the perfect counter to the secretary from Downfall who wondered, "that it might have been possible to get to know things." It was and this film is proof of the simple but profound ways ordinary Germans did stand against Hitler. It's a specific story of a real person, but a universal tale all will recognize. If you'd like to read more about the film, check out my review of it along with the other essential World War II movies HERE.

6. Match Point (A-)

5. Downfall (A-): Almost everyone has seen the famous clip from this video of Hitler yelling at his staff set to a variety of funny captioned messages. I hope that the viral clip led more people to give this film a chance because the full 2.5 hours is a wonderful history lesson and insight not just into the fall of Berlin during World War II and downfall of Hitler, but into the power dynamics and fanaticism among his inner circle during those final days. The war is essentially over, Germany has lost, this film is about how Hitler and his inner circle deal with that truth. If you'd like to read more about the film, check out my review of it along with the other essential World War II movies HERE

4. Wallace & Gromit: In the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (A)

3. Pride & Prejudice (A)

2. Crash (A): It's ironic that this controversial film about racism and hatred has engendered quite a bit of hatred. The negativity and vitriol of Crash’s critics has led me to review the film several times and those re-watches re-confirmed my initial reaction: Crash is an intense ensemble drama about race relations that sets out its characters in a heavy-handed plot that crashes them together to gain an understanding of racism and ultimately our own humanity. What Crash does best over its runtime is to turn upside down many of the viewer’s expectations and presuppositions. By doing so, we are able to empathize and understand the underlying subtext for every character. Several characters that we initially identify as racists or just jerks are later given sequences of humanity and redemption. On the flip side, characters that we initially identify as nice and even-tempered are later given sequences that lead us to question our initial impressions. This technique produces some great insights: racial problems don’t stem from the “race” of the person, but most often come from misunderstandings (language barriers, pride, quick tempers, bureaucratic roundabouts, legitimate fears for personal safety, and desires to please our loved ones) that lead us to frustration and anger. In other words, the roots of racism are the roots of every problem that plagues mankind: our selfishness, prideful, impatience, fear, and anger. These aren’t subtle messages and the film definitely deserves its share of criticism for being a little heavy-handed. However, I think that the human drama and underlying messages more than make up for any of its faults.

1. Munich (A):  If Crash is a fine sirloin steak then Munich is a steak buffet. It’s a movie that raises lots of issues and questions, making the viewer see things from several viewpoints (and taking none of them as the “right” one). Munich is able to juggle several themes, sometimes all of them in one scene, with such impact and insight that its really hard to top it. I love the conversation Spielberg is having in these three films:
- Schindler's List: What's the value of life? The movie begins with names on lists being primarily those who are being rounded up and encamped and ends with Schindler's List, those who were rescued and saved.
- Saving Private Ryan: What's the value of one life? In this case, the tables are turned and a group of people is asked to sacrifice all their lives for a list of just one man - Ryan. Is it worth it?
- Munich: What's the value of avenging life? In this case, the list of names of the Israeli athletes killed is read off and met with an equal list of names, a kill list of those though responsible.


FAVORITE ACTION SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "Finale: Batman Arrives at the Narrows and Stops Rhas & the Train" -Batman Begins (Commentary)
  • "Bobby Chases Shooters Through the Ice and Snow Laden Detroit Streets" -The Four Brothers
  • "Shootout at Grandma's House Ends with a Car Crash" -The Four Brothers
  • "Donnie Yen vs. Sammo Hung" -Kill Zone (Commentary)
  • "Kong Rampages Through New York" -King Kong
  • "Kong vs. Planes" -King Kong
  • "Finale: Siege of Jerusalem" -Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut
  • "Driscoll Rescues Anne and Kong Attempts to Recapture Her" -King Kong
  • "Finale: Home Store Shootout" -Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • "Mr. and Mrs. Destroy the Home in a Shootout and Fistfight" -Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • "Mini-Van Chase on the Highway with Three BMW's" -Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • "Mossad Raid in Beruit for Three Names" -Munich
  • "Rat Glue Factory Chase" -The Myth (Commentary)
  • "Jaa Takes on a Series of Fighters in an Undergound Fight Club" -Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Commentary)
  • "Cleaning Out the Villain's Compound: Hoses, Axes, Poles, and Swords" -Transporter 2
  • "Tri-Pods Arrive & Attack: From Storms to Escape in a Van" -War of the Worlds
The Great:
  • "Battle of Beruna: Narnian Army vs. the White Witch" -The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • "Donnie Yen vs. Wu Jing: Baton and Knife Fight" -Kill Zone (Commentary)
  • "Finale Fight: True Kung Fu Master Prevails with the Buddha's Palm" -Kung Fu Hustle
  • "Foot Chase: Bouncing through the Bangkok Market" -Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Commentary)
  • "Finale Fight: Taking on Goons & the Steroid Man in the Caves" -Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Commentary)
  • "Opening Battle of Coruscant: Rescuing the Chancellor" -Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Commentary)
  • "Finale: Re-capturing Danny - Li vs. Lambert" -Unleashed (Commentary)
The Best: "King of the Jungle: King Kong vs. T-Rex Trio" -King Kong
Commentary: This just might be the best fantasy showdown between giant creatures ever put to film. There’s a cinematic grandiosity, intelligence, and emotion here that nearly every other CGI or miniature spectacle just can’t match. We are on the fantastical and dangerous Skull Island and Kong has taken Ann into the jungle. The two had a fallout when Ann tells Kong “no” and he pouts like a teenage boy whose toy isn’t doing what he wants. Ann goes on the run to get away and comes across a giant lizard like creature eating the carcass of another animal. Ann slowly walks away but snaps a twig and the chase is on. Ann runs away but gets caught inside a log, but the giant lizard is picked up and eaten by another bigger animal. It’s revealed that the bigger animal is a T-Rex. Thus begins a classic “out of the pan and into the fire” escalation sequence. Ann runs from the T-Rex only to encounter another T-Rex. She let’s out a scream and Kong comes to the rescue. The resultant fight ends up being Kong taking on three T-Rexes while trying to keep Ann safe the entire time. This is the first phase of their fight and it’s a great smackdown between four giant creatures. I love how the group wrestles all over the ground and the chomping T-Rex’s cause Kong to maneuver Ann to safety by switching hands and even feet at times. Kong takes out one T-Rex in this phase, but then the spill over into a canyon that is crisscrossed with jungle vines and they all get caught up into it. There is some really neat choreography here as Kong and a Rex battle it out as Ann tries to swing away from a Rex get ever closer. They move around, break through vines, tumble, and Kong takes out another Rex. Eventually they land on the ground and we get a final showdown between Kong and a Rex. It’s essentially a show-off beatdown as Kong bites out the Rex’s tongue and breaks his jaw then pounds his chest like an alpha. It’s an incredible sequence and its easy to tell that Peter Jackson put a ton of time and effort into this. The special effects, though not perfect, are adequate and integrated well enough that they continue to be impressive and just might stand the test of time (unlike the embarrassing brontosaurus stampede scene). The jungle, whether CGI or miniature or partial sets, looks both real and fantastical and the fight remains intense while still giving a clear view of the spatial geography. The little details abound here as well, like small insects fluttering out of the mouths of the T-Rex or the lighting getting subtle changes depending on the mood of the moment. My favorite detail is the time taken to give Kong’s expressions in the fight. It’s clear that Kong is willing to risk his life for Ann, but the sequence makes him earn it, giving us multiple shots where Kong reels in pain from a bite. The animation here shines as Kong’s eyes and the physical scars say so much. Even Naomi Watt’s gets to shine in this sequence. Yes, she’s technically a damsel in distress and mostly dependent on Kong, but she’s allowed to show an intelligence and make decisions that is vital to her survival. Additionally, the role asks her to be so physical with the running, swinging, and being tossed around that she comes out looking like a champ as well. This sequence is basically the best King Kong film of all time – just as a short story. Seriously, you get a tour of Skull Island’s jungles and canyons, insects, lizards, and Rex’s and you get the essential relationship between Kong and Ann. You get it all in just around ten minutes. I’m not sure there is a way to ever top this one. This is the best Kong sequence of all-time, my favorite “big fantasy creatures fight” sequence, and one of the better action sequences of all-time.


FAVORITE DRAMATIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "Aslan is Slain on the Stone Table" -The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • "James J. Braddock Fights Two fights and Sees What he is Fighting for in Flashback" –Cinderella Man
  • "All is Lost: Hitler Berates the Generals & Loses Control" -Downfall
  • "A Mother Kills her Children" -Downfall
  • "Realizing that the Fall has Killed his Family" –Kill Zone
  • "Bug Nightmare: Denham's Crew is Swarmed by Giant Insects" –King Kong
  • "Kong and Anne Watch the Sunset from the Empire State Building and Kong Falls" –King Kong
  • "A Little Girl Answers the Phone and an Explosion is Aborted" –Munich
  • "Another Bomb malfunctions and Hans goes in on his Own Leading to a Shootout" –Munich
  • "Bed bomb in Cyprus is larger than Expected" –Munich
  • "Closing Conversation between Avner and Ephraim framed by the Twin Towers" –Munich
  • "Distributing Leaflets in the School" –Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
  • "Order 66 Killing All of the Jedi's is Carried Out" -Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • "Danny hears Mozart and remembers his mother’s death” –Unleashed
  • "Johnny is Challenged to Play Something Real During his Audition” –Walk the Line
The Great:

  • "Don’t Forget Your Papa” -Munich 
  • "Execution of the Three Munich Students" –Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
The Best: "Matt Dillon Pulls Thandie Newton Out of a Burning Car” –Crash
Commentary: The one sequence that best embodies the dramatic punch Crash is aiming for is a moment where Matt Dillon’s police officer comes upon a crash scene (no pun intended). Without thought toward the race of the victims he naturally attempts to rescue the injured. Of course, the injured woman inside is a black woman, played by Thandie Newton, whom he took advantage of and molested in an earlier scene of the film. Newton's response is an understandable rage and outright refusal to be touched by the officer. It’s a scene of pure emotion, painful irony, and ultimately humanity. The scene shows how our actions have ripples and implications, but that in the end, not only is it possible that we can move beyond our self-issues, but that it’s imperative, for our own sake that we do. 


FAVORITE COMEDIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
*Was not catalogued well, but will be updated in the future
The Very Good:
  • "Knives & Snakes Backfire" -Kung Fu Hustle
  • "Meeting with Chazz & Learning About Funeral Crashing" -Wedding Crashers 
The Great:
  • "Finale Fight: True Kung Fu Master Prevails with the Buddha's Palm" -Kung Fu Hustle
  • "Rat Glue Factory Chase" -The Myth
  • "Foot Chase: Bouncing through the Bangkok Market" -Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
  • "Breakfast Betrayal" -Wedding Crashers
The Best:


FAVORITE MUSICAL SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
*Very little to pick from this year
The Very Good:
  • "Haben Sie gehört das Deutsche band?" -The Producers
The Great:
  • n/a
The Best: 
"Singing 'Softly and Tenderly' at the Church Social" -Junebug
 Commentary: n/a

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees:
  • Steve Box & Nick Park Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • Paul Haggis Crash
  • Oliver Hirschbiegel Downfall
  • Steven Spielberg Munich
  • Joe Wright Pride & Prejudice
Commentary: A film so complex, so long, do detailed, and so layered shows the craftsmanship of a true professional. It’s incredible that Munich works on so many levels and I think it’s a testament to its helmer Steven Spielberg.


FAVORITE FILM ENSEMBLES
Nominees:
  • Crash
  • Downfall
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Match Point
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • Munich
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • The Squid and the Whale
  • Walk the Line
  • Wedding Crashers
Commentary: A ensemble cast without a bad performance in the crew. It was important to get engaging performances because this film lives and dies by walking the line with its heavy-handed plotting and often morally grey characters: the audience has to empathize with the characters for this to work. The cast ably and carefully breathes believability to this script that could easily have wandered off into fairy tale land.


FAVORITE MALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees:
  • Eric Bana Munich
  • George Clooney Syriana
  • Russell Crowe Cinderella Man
  • Jeff Daniels The Squid and the Whale
  • Matt Dillon Crash
  • Robert Downey Jr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Bruno Ganz Downfall
  • Paul Giamatti Cinderella Man
  • Terrance Howard Crash
  • Val Kilmer Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman Capote
  • Joaquin Phoenix Walk the Line
  • Vince Vaughn Wedding Crashers
Commentary: In 2004, I was so impressed by Bana's performance in the sub-par film Troy that I created a new award category named after him (for best performance in a bad film). The very next year Eric Bana would produce my favorite performance in any 2005 film. His Avner's is a stellar "everyman" turn that goes on an entire emotional journey from loyal and dedicated son to confused, conflicted, and paranoid father.


FAVORITE FEMALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees:
  • Amy Adams Junebug
  • Joan Allen The Upside of Anger
  • Brenda Blethyn Pride & Prejudice
  • Julia Jentsch Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
  • Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice
  • Gong Li Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Laura Linney The Squid and the Whale
  • Thandie Newton Crash
  • Tilda Swinton The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Naomi Watts King Kong
  • Reese Witherspoon Walk the Line
Commentary: Keira Knightley is able to balance the intelligence, wit, ands insecurity that are so fundamental to Elizabeth Bennet.


FAVORITE SCREENPLAYS
(original or adapted)
Nominees:
  • Crash
  • Downfall
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Match Point
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • Munich
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
  • The Squid and the Whale
  • Wallace and Gromit: In the Curse of he Were-Rabbit
Commentary:


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nominees:
  • Enron: The Smartest Men in the Room
  • Grizzly Man
  • Mad Hot Ballroom
Commentary:


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Nominees:
  • Corpse Bride
  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Wallace and Gromit: In the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Commentary: The year was loaded with animated film, but the cream of the crop were not usual big studio big budget fare, the quirkier and more niche claymation and Japanese animation entries. The big surprise for me was the the feature length extension of the Wallace and Gromit series into a wonderful and captivating comedy that builds out a quirky world of characters and teaches a simple but important lesson. I wish more animated films had the sensibilities of this one.
BEST FILM EDITING
Nominees:
  • Crash
  • Downfall
  • Match Point
  • Munich
  • Pride & Prejudice
Commentary: Munich is a two hour and forty-five minute affair that never felt tedious or frustrating to me. The screenplay is plot heavy and laden with numerous characters and themes - a recipe for disaster in lesser hands. On the smaller level, the film succeeds in providing many great scenes of tension and suspense as well as some excellent crosscutting. Crash also gets mention here for its great work weaving between its various storyline in ways that feel natural and organic. 


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nominees:
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Cinderella Man
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Munich
  • Pride & Prejudice
Commentary: Exemplary camera and lighting work evoking the style of the common spy style of the 1970's. From well-composed shots that say more and suggest more than the dialogue of the scene to the sophisticated and thematic camera moves, this is first-rate work that I have nothing to criticize about. One of the only movies that made me want to look around and say, “Did you just see what they did there!”



BEST ART DIRECTION
Nominees:
  • Downfall
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Pride & Prejudice


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Nominees:
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • King Kong
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • War of the Worlds
Commentary: Two of the greatest visual effect boundary pushing films of all-time were released in 2005 and made this a tough decision. Revenge of the Sith features smooth, convincing, detailed and gorgeous work. The opening extended battle sequence ranks as one of the great effects efforts for its time. King Kong stands just as tall but I think it's better integrated into its storytelling. The work done on bringing Skull Island and 1930's New York to life is stunning, but it's the integration of those things with Kong himself that sets it apart. In particular, the bravura "Kong vs. Three T-Rex" sequence is a masterpiece within itself. I wish every moment in this sprawling (and bloated) epic reached the detail and quality there, but they get close.


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees:
  • Batman Begins
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Cinderella Man
  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Munich
Commentary: 


BEST SOUND DESIGN
Nominees:
  • Batman Begins
  • Cinderella Man
  • King Kong
  • Munich
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Commentary: Batman Begins kicked my butt in the theatre and that's largely due to the sound editing. I can't imagine that "subtlety" was a word that Christopher Nolan gave to his sound editor when he provided guidance; sharp, loud, and sudden noises are the call of the day here. The sound design is able to be in your face without becoming over the top or just showy and I think it greatly benefits the tone and mood the whole movie was attempting.


BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Nominees:
  • Capote
  • Downfall
  • King Kong
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • Munich
  • Pride & Prejudice
Commentary: 


BEST MAKE-UP & HAIR DESIGN
Nominees:
  • Capote
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Cinderella Man
  • King Kong
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Pride & Prejudice
Commentary: Could have won it simply by the make-up job done on those really creepy Skull Island natives, but the work done for all the actors to place them in 1930's New York rounds out a well-deserved award.

BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE
Nominees:
  • Kicking and Screaming
  • The Pacifier
  • Saw II
  • Wedding Crashers
Commentary: 


MOST SURPRISING FILM
Nominees:
  • The Great Raid
  • Match Point
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Commentary: My first introduction to Wallace and Gromit was through the trailer to this movie, which was one of the worst trailers I had ever seen. To my surprise, I was completely taken in by the animated film. I said of 2004's winner Shrek 2 that it was the funniest film that year, and this is no different. A fun plot, an incredibly rich and funny cast of characters, and a great sense of humor make this the most fun I’ve had watching a movie all year. Honorable mention goes to the first Jane Austen film I really enjoyed, a much improved Star Wars prequel, and my favorite Woody Allen film.


MOST DISAPPOINTING FILM
Nominees:
  • Elizabethtown
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Dangerous
  • The New World
  • Syriana
Commentary: I had been following the internet chat about Ridley Scott’s great follow-up epic to his Oscar winning Gladiator, so when I saw the first trailer for  Kingdom of Heaven popped up (still one of my favorite trailers of all-time), I was pumped and primed for its debut. I watched the movie with a friend at a midnight screening at the AMC in Times Square on 42nd Street. I have never been this deflated by a trip to the cinema. Kingdom of Heaven was a disappointment on many levels; acting, plot, characters, and action. However, it’s the message that is the biggest failure. An epic movie about the religious crusades and our main character is an agnostic humanist that scolds everyone about religion? Just an incredibly snobbish and arrogant view to take for a contemporary historical film. Don't let the supporters fool you - the director's cut might be a bit better, but it does little to alleviate the major problems of this film.


MOST UNDERRATED FILM
Nominees:
  • Four Brothers
  • The Great Raid
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Commentary: An underrated action film directed by Doug Liman and featuring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as a married couple. Filled with strong direction, charismatic performances, and a subtext that makes the entire thing more substantive than you'd initially think. This kind of action film is rarely made.


MOST OVERRATED FILM
Nominees:
  • The 40 Year Old Virgin
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Diary of a Mad Black Woman
  • Good Night and Good Luck
  • The New World
Commentary: Giving this film “Most Overrated” is not to mistake it for not being good. In fact, that’s probably my biggest problem with how the movie was received. We have a good and simple movie that is awarded and trumpeted as an Oscar-worthy political masterpiece...which it just simply is not. The movie focuses mostly on the historical standoff between newsman Edward Morrow and Sen. McCarthy. Although the standoff and battle of words is engaging, the complete miscalculation here is the assumption that McCarthy represents a threat to the audience. He doesn’t, he’s a straw man in the film, and never once does anyone buy what he says. Do we really need a movie telling us that McCarthyism was bad? Is it a great political stance in the 21st century to sing a tune we’ve all heard and liked before? Sure its well sung, but I still want to change the dial.


WORST FILM
Nominees:
  • The Family Stone
  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Mindhunters
  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Dangerous
Commentary: I don't remember much of this film, not because I wasn't paying attention, but because within the first 30 or so minutes, I was already so turned off that I can hardly recall the experience. What I remember most is just how hard the film tries to make a Meet the Parents type of comedy situation work here. Unfortunately, the plotting and characters just don't work and actually produce a film that I found morally reprehensible in its treatment of the main character.


BEST COMPILATION OF WORK
Nominees:
  • Liam Neeson: Batman Begins, Kingdom of Heaven, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Vince Vaughn: Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wedding Crashers
Commentary: What a year for Liam Neeson playing a wise and crafty character! First, he gets to be the father and old mentor that kicks off Balian's quest in Kingdom of Heaven. Second, he gets the chance to play ninja mentor to Christian Bale's Batman only to be able to turn around and play the villain as well. Finally, Neeson was able to play Aslan, an allegorical figure for Christ himself. It would be easy for the audience to grow tired of this character, but Neeson is so good at it, that he would go on to do many more.


ERIC BANA AWARD
*Given for the best performance in a bad film (See 2004's Troy)
Nominees:
  • Vince Vaughn Wedding Crashers
Commentary: One of the greatest comedic performances of all-time


THE END!

"I'm gonna choose not to eat with you. I like to recharge my batteries, shut down the engines, and get myself back to neutral. When the meal's over with, I will talk to you. I don't want to get into what happened last night, 'cause it's only gonna make me mad." -Wedding Crashers

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