Monday, January 02, 2006

Worst Year Ever! Part II

Here are another couple of world-weary critics throwing out the idea that 2005 was a bad year for movies. Both in Eye Weekly.

Starting off his end-of-year list, Paul Isaacs writes: "Was there a movie comedy this year as funny as Extras or Curb Your Enthusiasm? A thriller as exciting and idiosyncratic as The Wire or Deadwood? HBO may make the best movies these days (while the BBC offers the best documentaries), but the following films offered plenty of respite during an otherwise subpar year."

In his list, Adam Nayman writes: "What does it say about the past year in film that my top 10 list is rounded out by a legally unreleasable documentary from 2003 and several 2004 festival-circuit standouts? Besides the obvious answer -- that I'm a Snobby McSnobberson -- it suggests the creative atrophy that's paralyzed North American commercial cinema." (I appreciate that Nayman at least realises he's a Snobby McSnobberson.)

Compare and contrast the opening paragraph of Roger Ebert's end-of-the-year list:
How in the world can anyone think it was a bad year for the movies when so many were wonderful, a few were great, a handful were inspiring, and there were scenes so risky you feared the tightrope might break? If none of the year's 10 best had been made, I could name another 10 and no one would wonder at the choices. There were a lot of movies to admire in 2005.
Ebert can be a bit of booster, but I think it's worth noting that a guy who has been reviewing movies since 1967 thinks it was a good year for movies.

As A.J. Liebling famously put it, "Cynicism is often the shamefaced product of inexperience."

To my list of great films of 2005, I must now add Munich and Brokeback Mountain, having been awed by the first and cried my way through the last 20 minutes of the second. Someone also reminded me the other night of It's All Gone Pete Tong, which deserves a mention.

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