The Nettle Annual 2006 by David Congreave - HTML preview

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The Best Movie Stuff of 2005

Scott Eggleston



Scott Eggleston lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife Marne and their dog, Klinger. He not only likes to watch movies, but also make them, and hopes to someday review his own film in The Nettle Magazine.

Every film critic has a list of their best films from the previous year, and most have a “worst list” as well. That is all well and good when you see every single movie that appears in a theater, but I’m not so lucky (or burdened).

My selection is a bit more sparse, so an all-inclusive list of good and bad would certainly suffer from neglect, so I won’t even try. What I will do is give a list of bests that I did see, and why -hopefully with a different spin than you’re used to.

You may notice that I did not include all the movies that I gave high marks to, but these are the ones that meant something to me, in one way or another. The envelopes please...

Best Romantic Comedy That Can Be Enjoyed by a Guy

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

A blending of several genres (romance, action, comedy, espionage) Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a big, loud, funny studio picture that works very well when it’s not taking itself very seriously.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play incredibly well off of each other, generating a little-seen chemistry that helps gloss over the preposterous story (they are both contract assassins, oblivious to the other’s profession).

The action is first-rate, but the comedy and the one-upping the two leads engage in is very funny, especially if you’re married, and can totally relate to the perverse way these two engage in their own form of domestic dispute. Haven’t we all wanted to take a fully automatic weapon to our spouse at one time or another?

Best Animated Film that Really Made Me Laugh

Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Easily besting all other animated fare of last year, (with maybe the exception of Corpse Bride which I did not see) W&G is Nick Park’s claymation British romp into the world of a goofy inventor and his amazingly level-headed pooch who have their own business ridding their town of a pesky rabbit infestation.

Problems arise when Wallace tries to re-program the bunnies and inadvertently creates a super-rabbit ten times more hungry than the entire bunny population combined.

Inventive, funny and told with pop culture references no kid will ever get, W&G is simply a great time. Also note the fine voice talent, especially Ralph Fiennes as the wonderfully snobby Victor.

Oh, and don’t forget the cheese!

Best Straight-Up Thriller

Red Eye

Wes Craven’s suspenseful plane ride (which was much better than the similar-themed Flightplan) is more evidence that the horrormeister could easily exist in the mainstream.

Star-on-the-rise, Rachel McAdams, plays a workaholic hotel exec who is flying home from her grandmother’s funeral. She has a “meet-cute” with another passenger (Cillian Murphy), but things get sinister when he reveals his true purpose - to coerce her into a murder plot.

McAdams is a great, resourceful heroine against Murphy’s slimy creep. A tight, taut screenplay by Carl Ellsworth keeps things moving and keeps us where we should be - on the edge of our seat. Hitchcock would be proud.

Best Historical Drama that is Also Very Contemporary

Good Night, and Good Luck

A stark look into a dark time in American history, Good Night follows Edward R. Murrow (David Straitharn, in an Oscar-worthy turn) and his news staff as they take on Senator Joseph McCarthy and his communist/witch hunting tactics in the 1950s.

Director, co-writer & co-star, George Clooney crafts an excellent story, complete with a tense atmosphere and actual footage of the McCarthy hearings.

McCarthy himself isn’t played by an actor - we see him as he was, perfectly integrated into the black and white cinematography. It’s a grim reminder that blanket paranoia can ruin lives if we are not careful, and those who stand up for the truth are the real heroes.

Best Reason Not to Go to the Movies

The Island I don’t want to be petty, but this is the only movie that made me mad last year.

It’s one thing to just be a bad film (The Dukes of Hazzard, The Man, Elizabethtown), but it’s a far greater sin to be a good film for the first act, then plummet into a stupid, unbelievable, over-directed abyss that leeches your time and depresses you about becoming a filmmaker.

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johanssen star in this derivative tale about a society raised for nefarious purposes.

Blame director Michael Bay for not only making this mess of a movie, but bankrupting DreamWorks when it flopped. Way to go Mike!

Best Movie I Saw Last Year

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


What? A family film is the best movie of the year - come on!

Yes, this is an unconventional choice which flies in the face of film snobbery everywhere, but I can’t find fault with this very well done fantasy flick.

First time live action director Andrew Adamson (his previous credits are the two Shrek movies!) does a great job of assembling excellent effects, a fine cast, lush settings and well-paced story for a very satisfying experience.

The film revolves around four kids during World War II who are shipped off for safe keeping. When exploring their new large home, they stumble across a wardrobe leading to the magical world of Narnia, filled with mythical characters and epic struggle.

A wonderful tale of unity, courage and redemption, let’s hope the box office will be good enough for another Chronicle to come to the big screen.

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