Before 2007 runs away with all our lives, Film Threat takes one last look back at the best and worst films of 2006. First up, the Best Films of 2006:
1. Pan’s Labyrinth
Guillermo del Toro serves up a fairy tale worthy of the most cynical adults and simultaneously the most optimistic children. Even when you’ve got fascists murdering in the name of Spain and eye-less, children-eating monsters, the film is brilliant in its whimsy and execution.
2. United 93
Not an easy sit, this fly-on-wall account of doomed United Flight 93 did the unthinkable: made a respectful, resonant film about the tragedies of September 11th, 2001.
3. The Host
This Korean import may very well be the beginning of a monster film revival. “The Host” mixes social and political commentary, humor and straight-up monster movie madness, but in the end could very well be one of the best family dramas made in recent years. Huh? Exactly, it’s that good.
4. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Naked men wrestling throughout a hotel, a bear as a pet, Pamela Anderson… “Borat” has it all. Of course, since its release, the film has been the target of lawsuits and brought up countless debates about certain ethics of filmmaking, but isn’t that what it’s all about: movies that make you think, while making you laugh your a*s off?
5. This Film is Not Yet Rated
Kirby Dick set out to expose the hidden practices of the MPAA, including the secret identities of those who view and rate the films, and he succeeded across the board. And he got an NC-17 for his trouble.
6. Clerks II
One of the highlights of the summer, Kevin Smith’s return to the “Clerks” well paid off huge with a film that balances the heart and humor Smith has been mixing together since the beginning of his filmmaking career. And, hello, unless you’re Joel Siegel, how can you not like a guy f*****g a donkey?
7. Iraq in Fragments
While the daily news spits its filtered perspective of the war in Iraq, “Iraq in Fragments” brings the story direct from the warzone. Not an exposé on the American troops, this is the tale of those who live in Iraq, and will continue to live there when the war ends.
8. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Spike Lee stepped up big-time to deliver this documentary about the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. The film manages to explore all angles of the natural disaster and its aftermath, raising more than enough questions about how a country that seems so capable of taking care of the rest of the world can let its own people down so severely.
9. Jackass: Number Two
It’s hard to say whether this film says more about its performers, who torture themselves for the sake of comedy (and money), or the audience, who enjoy said torture so much this film became a box office blockbuster.
10. The Queen
Stephen Frears’ powerful drama examines the Royal Family’s reaction to the death of Princess Diana. Helen Mirren shines as Queen Elizabeth, though her performance is just one of many great acting turns present in the film (as James Cromwell and Michael Sheer more than pull their weight as Prince Philip and Tony Blair, respectively).
You’ve seen the Best, now see the Worst of 2006>>>