Best of the Cineplex, 2006

And I think I can say ‘cineplex’ there — none of these are really indie, or at least didn’t end up that way. And, before I even list them, the caveats: I’ve yet to catch BORAT or PAN’S LABYRINTH or APOCALYPTO or INLAND EMPIRE or CHILDREN OF MEN or THE FOUNTAIN or the BLACK CHRISTMAS remake, all of which’d be likely contenders, I suspect (and I generally duck all the snoozers, like PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, etc (‘etc’ here meaning I don’t even know how many of these there were — I mean, I’m sure they’re good, but I’m more of the summer-movie type)). And, when I thumbnailed this list, going just on memory instead of digging around for what actually came out in 2006, man, it was a good list: BRICK, HARD CANDY, KONTROLL, KISS KISS BANG BANG. Which is to say, thankfully, happily, no CAPOTE stuff, no BROKEBACK stuff. Too, V IS FOR VENDETTA was (and is) on there, even though, like THE DESCENT and HOSTEL, IMDb has it as 2005. But it’s the USA wide-release dates that matter out here in west Texas. Too, I know, where’s THE DEPARTED, where’s BABEL, where’s THE PRESTIGE? On everybody’s else’s lists, I suppose . . .

No real order here either, except to say that the winner, head and shoulders (tooth and claw) above everything else:


And, the rest, which I’m trying to limit to nine, but there’s about as much chance of that as me not ending this clause with a colon:

THE DESCENT (American cut, yhep1)
BLOOD DIAMOND (in spite of the title)

And, yeah, what, three animation-movies up there, right? Not at all unproud of that, but I do have some suspicions as to why: I’d guess that the huge budgets animation requires means there’s a lot less room to gamble with the script, with the writing. Which is to say it’s combed and combed and combed, until the story’s just moving along so efficiently it kind of highlights how so many of the ‘un-animated’ movies tend to be just star-vehicles. Not counting, as I guess my list suggests, anything Denzel Washington’s in. Didn’t realize I was such a fan until now, really.

And, as to what I liked which most everybody else didn’t: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING and PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST. Which, I know, no credibility now. But I like what I like (example: I thought the Paris Hilton HOUSE OF WAX pretty much rocked, and thought THE ILLUSIONIST blew the magic-cabinet doors off of THE PRESTIGE, and, talking just general taste, I can’t get by without weekly doses of AFV, and heard myself just today trying to sell somebody on the merits of SON OF THE BEACH).

Another movie I haven’t caught yet but am very excited about is ROCKY BALBOA (really, I’ve just hardly been to town all month). As for upcoming stuff I’m excited about (300? 300?), that’d be LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, even though it does look suspiciously like a glammed-up episode of 24. Either that or 24 kind of subducted DIE HARD down to the small screen.

Too, I could do a Worst of 2006 list, I suppose, but man, those just come off so mean, I think. And I have to suspect that for a lot of people, a solid 70% of my list is a ‘worst of’ list. But I’ll stand by it, especially FEAST2. It was as near-perfect as about any movie I’ve seen, I think.

©Stephen Graham Jones, 2006

1 this is the breathy way the cowboy-folk tend to say ‘yep’ in AGAINST THE DAY. and it seems to have stuck, much as Pynchon’s “sez” also stuck for a month or two about twelve years ago. but I got better. not sure if I’ll be getting over “yehp” or not, though. I just like the way that “h” makes you kind of gulp the word down at the same time you’re saying it.

2 as for the Greenlight-stuff, I only heard about that on the special features of the FEAST DVD. as it’s a branch off the ‘reality’ tree, though, there’s no fear of me every catching it. gotta have standards, all that.