It’s hard to imagine that 2006 happened a decade ago. My relationship was four years old and I was a few pounds lighter. It was a good year. Of course, when I went to look up some of my favorite movies, believe it or not I had a hard time coming up with ten. This wasn’t because there were no good movies, but there were a lot of one-watch wonders in 2006. Things like Babel or Notes from a Scandal were great movies, but I watched them once, and they were never to be seen again (at least not yet).
Eventually I found ten movies I felt offered the most to us in 2006. These are movies worth going back and watching again (and again). Granted, some aren’t the most intellectual films on the market, but if Zach Snyder movies teach us anything it’s that sometimes a pretty picture and some vivid colors should be enough to entertain us.
After you check out the list, make sure to leave a comment letting me know you’re favorite film from 2006!
A mob movie by Martin Scorsese is almost guaranteed to reach cult status. While The Departed made less noise than some of his other films, it is a solid mob/crime drama that is worth watching as much today as it was ten years ago.
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson (and others)
Awards: The Departed won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker)
Synopsis: An undercover cop (DiCaprio) and a mole working in the police department (Damon) cross paths in their love life and at work all while attempting to infiltrate the Irish mafia in South Boston.
It seems like no matter what Pixar puts out, most people are bound to like the result. Cars was a particular favorite that I have no doubt would rank highly if I bothered to rank all of the Pixar films to date. There is something to be said for the charming, small-town lifestyle that the cars on Route 66 enjoy and it’s easy to see why Lightening McQueen ends up enjoying it, as well.
Cast: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, Cheech Marin, George Carlin, Michael Keaton
Awards: Cars won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Picture
Synopsis: A fast-talking race car named Lightening McQueen gets stuck in a nowhere town along Route 66, called Radiator Springs. In between trying to escape his current fate, he learns the true meaning of family, the importance of friends, and that you can find love in the most unexpected of places.
Children of Men
Children of Men is a sci-fi film that felt a little more original than some of the others made at that time. With a talented cast of actors, who have continued to go on and do amazing things, Children of Men not only had the story, it had the performances to back it up.
Cast: Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julianne Moore, Charlie Hunnam
Awards: Children of Men won two BAFTA awards, one for Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) and the other for Best Production Design.
Synopsis: The year is 2027. Women are no longer able to have children for some reason and the world is preparing for the reality of dying off as there are no longer any children left. The world seems as bleak as it sounds, when a former activist is brought on to travel with and protect a pregnant woman who is headed to a seaside sanctuary.
The Last King of Scotland
I’ve been a fan of Forest Whitaker since his days of Platoon (and possibly before that). So, I was thrilled to see him take on this powerful role. Playing the role of a growingly insane King, Whitaker shines. The film, which is quite gripping is filled with events that are based on actual historical moments. Told through the eyes of his physician, The Last King of Scotland is worth seeing for a number of reasons, but none more than the brilliance of Whitaker’s first class performance.
Cast: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, David Oyelowo
Awards: The Last King of Scotland took home numerous awards across the circuit. Forest Whitaker won Best Performance at the Oscars, Golden Globes, and the BAFTAs. The film also won BAFTAs for the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Synopsis: The Last King of Scotland shows the relationship between Nicholas Garrigan (McAvoy), a young Scottish doctor, and Idi Amin (Whitaker), the President of Uganda. Amin makes numerous promises and Garrigan ends up working closely with him as a physician and advisor, but as the years go on Amin becomes increasingly paranoid and Garrigan has to make some tough decisions for the betterment of the people that could mean his death if he is found out.
Crank is not one of those movies you watch because the plot is riveting or because the social message gets you thinking. Instead, it’s one of those high-octane action vehicles where the heavily-accented lead is entertaining, sexy, and provides a nice show. Explosions are fun, too. This particular action film is just a little different than some of the others, which adds to the entertainment value here.
Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam
Awards: Not surprisingly, Crank won no major awards.
Synopsis: Chev Chelios (Statham) is a professional assassin. Unfortunately, when you have a job like that your days are often numbered and it looks like Chev’s day is about to be up. His rival injects him with a poison that is guaranteed to kill him if his heart rate drops. There are a number of ways to increase a person’s adrenaline and if Chev wants to live he just might end up needing them all, and more.
Kevin Smith is one of those iconic directors that will speak to people of his generation, but for everyone else he’s hit or miss. I remember the first time I saw Clerks. I was flipping channels when I found this cheap looking black-and-white film. I stopped for a minute, around the time that Dante and Veronica discuss how many dicks she has sucked. That’s all it took to want to see it from the beginning. I don’t usually say this, but Clerks II is better than the original. Much of this has to do with having worked in the fast food industry, so I so get this movie, and because of Elias. God, I cannot express how much I love Elias.
Cast: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Trevor Fehrman, Rosario Dawson
Awards: While Clerks II did not take home any major awards, Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) did take home an MTV Award for “Dirtiest Mouth Moment.”
Synopsis: Now that the Quick Stop has burned down, Dante (O’Halloran) and Randall (Anderson) have moved on to greener pastures. They work at the fast food restaurant, Mooby’s! It’s Dante’s last day because he’s packing up and moving to Florida. The problem is he’s in love with his boss and his best friend can’t function without him. Randall and Elias work together to plan Dante a going away party that he is sure to never, ever forget, whether he actually leaves or not.
I don’t know when I came across the film, Candy, but I can tell you that I’ve seen the film probably at least 30 times since that first viewing. If you had any question about Heath Ledger’s talent that The Dark Knight didn’t clear up for you, Candy should put those questions to rest. This beautiful film intimately captures the desperation and urgency that should be present in any decent drug drama. It’s a lovely film and one of the few that I still own on DVD, because they haven’t released it on streaming, yet.
Cast: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush
Awards: Candy was not nominated for any awards, which isn’t a shock considering its foreign status and independent style.
Synopsis: Candy (Cornish) is an art student that falls head-over-heels for Dan (Ledger), a poet. He’s addicted to heroine and she tries it, believing it will bring them closer together. The result is a couple that is as hooked on each other as they are their drug of choice. Willing to do anything to stay together and to stay high, their relationship travels between varying states of despair, destruction, and euphoric oblivion.
Miss Potter is the charming tale of Beatrix Potter. This is a story of a woman that defied many odds. Embedded in the life story of this passionate children’s author is a tale of romance and loss that is both hopeful and heartbreaking in all of the best of ways. This isn’t normally the type of film I would go for, but I am certainly glad I watched it anyway.
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson
Awards: Miss Potter did not win any major awards, though Renee Zellweger was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy or Musical
Synopsis: Miss Potter is the story of Beatrix Potter. Known for her lovely, best-selling children’s book, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” Miss Potter offers a glimpse into the life of a woman that struggles to find success while also battling love, and chasing happiness.
Romantic comedies usually aren’t my cuppa tea, but Queen Latifah is, so I watched this anyway. Turns out, Last Holiday is all of the things that modern romantic comedies should be, but aren’t. It’s also got a pretty diverse cast, which is pretty awesome.
Cast: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito, Alicia Witt, Jane Adams, Gerard Depardieu
Awards: Last Holiday did not win any major awards.
Synopsis: Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) is a shy woman that does all she can to play by the rules. She saves her money and she’s nice to everyone she meets. She dreams of becoming a chef, but continues working and saving for that one day. When she gets a diagnosis of a terminal illness from a doctor, she decides to chuck it all, cash in her savings, and go out in style, at the most expensive European hotel she can find.
Zach Snyder makes visually stunning films. 300 is gorgeous. The performances are certainly entertaining, but the cinematography and the scenes of war are just breathtaking. One should never be as excited about the idea of splashing blood as when it’s in a Snyder film. The nice thing about 300 though, is that while not completely historically accurate, it offers substance as well as style.
Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, Michael Fassbender
Awards: 300 did not win any major awards, though the stunt team was nominated for a SAG award.
Synopsis: King Leonidas (Butler) take 300 of his best men to fight the Persians at Thermopylea in the tragic and well-known war.
Now it’s your turn. What was your favorite film of 2006?