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2004 Movie Wrap-up

Every year, along about this time, I try to note down all the previous year’s movies I’ve managed to see. Your Humble Blogger doesn’t get out very much, so it’s a small list. Some years it gets up to twelve or so, and I think before my Perfect Non-Reader was born I may have had a year where I saw twenty. This year, it’s six.

It’s hardly worth making a top five list, is it? My favorite, I think, was Finding Neverland, a three-hanky movie about an extremely good-looking man in Edwardian formal dress, and some other people. Next would be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I not only saw in the theaters, but have seen on the small screen as well. It held up very well on the second showing; count me among those who thought this was the best movie so far (although not among those who think it’s the best book). Third is The Incredibles, which I already discussed. I really liked it, so a year where this is third is a pretty good year. This is also the line above which the movies may well move around; in two years, I may well decide that I like The Incredibles more than Neverland, or some such.

Another way to look at it is that the top three are all good movies that I enjoyed watching. The next two are bad movies that I enjoyed watching. I enjoyed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow a trifle more than I enjoyed ¡Ay, Robot!, although two years from now I may have difficulty remembering which one had Angelina Jolie saying “Alert the submersible units!” Dazzling visuals, both of them, and lousy stories told badly, both of them. And I enjoyed them both.

Then there’s the sixth movie, Sideways. If the top three are all good movies that I enjoyed, and the next two are bad movies that I enjoyed, this one is a good movie that I didn’t enjoy at all. I dimly understand why some people liked it (if a person thought it was funny, then it was funny for them, and that would be something) but all of the things I look for in a movie were, it seems, deliberately left out. If you want to make a movie that Your Humble Blogger will truly loathe, pay careful attention to Sideways, and you’ll learn a lot. See if you can identify the moment when my reaction tipped over from boredom to repulsion. I think this may be my least favorite movie since Wings of the Dove, and I think I may have disliked Dove somewhat less.

Well, and out of six movies, I enjoyed five, and three of those were really good. I don’t suppose I should complain. Oh, I suppose I should add to my six the honorable mentions: Calendar Girls, an enjoyable movie that got Oscar release in 2003, so it doesn’t count as a 2004 movie; Wimbledon, which was playing on an airplane I was on, and which looked pretty good, actually; and Hellboy, which I actually own on DVD, only I haven’t seen it yet.

Thank you,


I was disappointed in "Finding Neverland". I enjoyed it, but not as much as I thought I should have. Johnny Depp, of course, was excellent, and the story was good, but I kept finding Kate Winslet extremely inept at making us like her character, and I think that detracted from the experience for me.

I liked Ms. Winslet's prickliness and unattractiveness, but that's just me. I was expected to be annoyed by the liberties with the facts, but as it turned out, that didn't bother me at all.
Of course, I saw the thing about a week and a half after seeing Sideways, which I loathed, so there was the rebound business as well; I might enjoy it less if I saw the two in reverse order.
Oddly enough (as an update), out of six movies I saw, four were specfic visual extravaganzas of one kind or another, and two were Best Picture Oscar Nominees. That strikes me as odd, somehow. Of course, last year, the specfic visual extravaganza I didn't see on the big screen was the Oscar winner. Um, and Neverland was about a specfic visual extravaganza, although it wasn't one itself. Next year, Narnia!

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