2004 List: Five Films

I’ve been meaning to do year-end lists ever since I started this blog way back in 2000, but never get round to it before because I was busy having, like, fun, at the end of the year. This year, however, I have a job.

First up, my top 5 films, because the music lists are just killing me.

  1. Before Sunset:
    It would have been terrifyingly easy to fall short of what a worthy sequel demanded, but nothing in this movie squandered the promise of the first film, or sidestepped any of the questions that they knew people would want answered. In just 80 masterfully-directed minutes of great scripting, acting, editing and direction, they (Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) made good film-making look effortless. On a personal level, it amazed me to realize that in the most romantic movie I’ve ever seen, there was nothing in its romance that I envied or did not already have.
    [My review] [Metacritic]
  2. The Return:
    Although one of my pet peeves in a film is sloppy editing, this doesn’t mean I have ADD. I’m perfectly happy to sit through a slow-moving film as long as it makes good use of every moment, and this one really did. Every scene was there for a reason, whether it was starkly beautiful cinematography, or the play of muscles on the face of one of the amazing child actors. I still can’t believe this was Andrei Zvyagintsev’s first film, because it exudes the assurance and maturity of a grizzled veteran at the peak of his powers.
    [My review] [Metacritic]
  3. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind:
    I’m not the biggest Charlie Kaufman fan around but the premise of this film struck a huge chord with me, and Michel Gondry, Ellen Kuras (his cinematographer) and Jon Brion (who always makes lovely music) executed it with some of the most stunningly original film sequences I’ve ever seen. I can’t actually write much more about this film. It’s too indescribable.
  4. Shaun Of The Dead:
    Not a film for people who don’t get British comedy, but it’s side-splittingly funny if you do. After the first ten minutes I gave up keeping track of all the great lines, all the little digs at London life and English society, and all the hilarious subversions of the usual zombie movie scenes. Also, best use of “Whassup niggaz?”, a repeated fart joke (and bear in mind that I normally hate fart jokes), and a Queen song (all used separately) in a film ever. Why oh why did I not watch more of Spaced when I was still in England?
  5. Big Fish:
    I never thought Tim Burton would have made my happy feelgood heartwarming tearjerker of the year, but there you go. Of course, being a Tim Burton film it still had evil trees and grotesquely deformed people in it, and was all the better for that. Wonderful acting from Albert Finney and Jessica Lange (loved the bathtub scene), and an ending so perfect it nearly made me cry, which doesn’t usually happen to me in movies unless they remind me of London.


  1. Hey, it’s been dead in work for past 5 hours.

    1. Touching the Void

    Scariest thing I’ve ever seen. I read the book and found it facinating but the documentary visualised the horror far better than anything I could have imagined.

    2. The Incredibles

    The best Pixar film in a while. Not a patch on Toy Story 2 but then what is?

    3. American Splendor

    I need to watch this again as my memory is hazy and I get it confused with the actual comic book. Having Harvey Pekar himself answer questions after the screening was very cool indeed.

    4. Collateral

    You can’t go wrong with Michael Mann. Everything looks cool and slick as usual. Jamie Foxx is the best new face I’ve seen in ages. And best of all Tom Cruse manages to make me forget he’s Tom Cruse.

    I also liked Man on Fire, Lost in Translation, Anchorman, Dodgeball, Big Fish, Finding Neverland.

    Haven’t seen Before Sunset or The Return. They never came to my cinema. Must have a look out for them on video.

    There was another movie I really liked.. was in my head 5 minutes ago. Can’t bloody remeber.

  2. Hmm lets see:

    1)Before Sunset

    2)The Motorcycle Diaries

    3)Touching the Void

    4)Big Fish

    5)The Incredible

    I’m waiting for the definitive list from Brian.

  3. I never got around to seeing Shaun of the Dead. My flatmate’s friend has both seasons of Spaced on DVD. I got up to the middle of Season 2.

    My list?:

    1. Before Sunset

    2. Bad Education

    3. My Summer of Love

    4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    5. Dogville

    I’m sure I’ve missed some excellent films.

  4. Hi Michelle,

    its so hard to choose, (i can never remember the really good ones) but you and Russ, James and Alec have all chosen great movies so i’ll just mention a few i saw that were decent (‘scuse me if i choose some irish Odities but some of the best things r Irish and when you get a chance these r worth seeing):

    1. “Super size me” (2004; year of the Documentary, and McDonalds had it coming)

    2. “Lemony Snicket a series of unfortunate events” – clearly the brainchild of Roald Dahl and Tim Burton and much better ’cause neither had anything to do with it. (oh and it has Jude Law’s Dulcid tones)

    3. Intermission —This Irish Movie might eventually get out of the country, cos Colin Farrell’s in it and shows a bit of Acting range (who’d have thought it) catch it if you can, it’ll change your tea drinking habits for ever.

    4. Inside I’m Dancing — this bitter sweet irish comedy is a rehash of the classic Hollywood scenario- two disabled lads meet each other and hilarity ensues, (no really its good)

    5. Capturing the Friedmans – did they? did he? should they? lots of questions very few answers and none of them happy.

    6. The Fog of War, the secretary of Defence during Vietnam speaks up for himself, very good even if its just a talking head for the duration.

    7. the motorcycle diaries, some blokes on a bike, easy rider in south america?

  5. Um:

    1. Bad Education

    2. LOTR Pt3

    3. Shaun of the Dead

    4. Shrek 2

    5. Touching the Void (which I only saw on TV anyway)

    Purely because those are the only 5 films I saw this year that were released this year too. Perhaps I should get out more. Or just get out.

  6. Bah, knew I’d forgotten an obvious one. Bad Santa is the best comedy I’ve seen in years.

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