It is that time of year. We have begun 2007, and this question is now being pondered in Hollywood; what were the best and worst films of 2006? Like every year, 2006 was filled with ups and downs. However, this year was filled with mainly downs. It was not until October that we saw what Hollywood was prepared to deliver. “The Departed” was easily the best film of the year. This film got everything right, from the powerful story to the wonderful acting and directing.
Later that month, Hollywood treated audiences to “The Prestige,” another brilliantly acted and well directed film. The fall movie season seemed to redeem the unfulfilling summer. Hollywood later treated us to such gems as “Stranger than Fiction,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Children of Men,” “Rocky Balboa,” and “The Good Shepard.”
Particular attention should be paid to “Rocky Balboa.” Many readers may be wondering why I call this film one of the best of the year. “Rocky Balboa” was a throwback to the 1976 classic. The film attempted to bring us back to a simpler time, where movies relied on the characters and story, as opposed to special effects.
It also continued the underdog story that we all love. This film was easily the best of the “Rocky” sequels. The film becomes overly nostalgic and cheesy at moments, but for the most part, it is a well-told story that brings the series to a close.
To back track, this summer was easily the worst movie summer in recent years. While many big films succeeded at the box office, they failed with critics. However, there were some redeeming ones. “Clerks 2” was the highlight of the summer. It combined Smith’s best writing from “Chasing Amy” with his certain brand of humor, which he established in the first “Clerks” film. Another bright spot in an otherwise dull summer was “Little Miss Sunshine.” This was one of the best written films of the year. It contained great characters and high quality acting from Steve Carell and Greg Kinnear.
Two movies from 2006 show promise for future installments. The first of these is “Superman Returns.” While not on the same level as 2005’s “Batman Begins,” Bryan Singer’s latest film had great special effects and a good story which made up for the sub par acting and lack of action.
Another film was “Casino Royale.” This may be the best James Bond film since “Goldeneye.” However, similar to the previously mentioned film, its lack of action doomed it. It was also compromised by the length, which could have been cut by a half- hour. Daniel Craig, however, shows great promise and it will be interesting to see where he takes Bond in future installments.
There are three films from 2006 that deserve recognition as either the worst or most disappointing films. First is “X-men: The Last Stand.” This conclusion to the X-men series paled in comparison to the first two installments. The story was bland and introduced too many new mutants without any back-story. What was so brilliant about the first two films was their depth, which was seriously lacking in the conclusion.
“The Da Vinci Code” was another film that failed to deliver. The movie made a futile attempt to capture the suspense of the book and instead was a trite, boring film that lulled many audiences to sleep. The acting was horrendous, particularly that of Tom Hanks who was horribly miscast.
Finally, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” was poorly executed and failed to capture the fun and excitement of its predecessor. The film was too long and was missing the adventurous atmosphere that made the first film so enjoyable. Here’s hoping that the second half of this film is better than the previous installment.
Despite the poor quality of these three films, they all scored big at the box office. Hollywood will continue to feed us garbage like this because this summer proved that audiences will buy it.
All in all, 2006 was a mixed bag in the movie department. It did not really get going until October. Looking forward, there are some films in 2007 to look forward to, such as “Zodiac” and “Spiderman 3.” Here’s hoping that 2007 is a little more solid.