January 10, 2005

EW's 25 To Watch

With the bright yellow box exclaiming "25 Movies To See Before Oscar Night" on the cover of Entertainment Weekly this week, Cinecultist anxiously flipped through the magazine in search of this list. Not that we really expected to be surprised by anything they could've come up with but maybe there was a glaring omission in our screening schedule? No, no we've been good. Deep breaths, CC. We've read the reviews, looked at the glossy spreads in magazines, scanned the critic circle's awards lists and we feel confident we will see the award winners before March.

Our two major misses: #8 Ray and #9 Vera Drake. We don't know what happened there. Cinecultist usually will sit through the bio-pic without too much fuss and we lurve Mike Leigh after studying his films, particularly Naked, while abroad in England during college. With this kind of buzz for Jamie Foxx and Imelda Staunton's performances, respectively, we really got to get on ball with those two. But do we really have to watch #17 The Door In The Floor? We appreciated LA Confidential and you have to love The Dude, but there's something creepy about Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges with their yuppie marriage dissolving out at the Hamptons that we didn't think we'd want to see. Same goes for The Woodsman. Love Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon but we wary about a pedophilia movie. That's not totally weird, is it? Can we get some kind of waver for the excessive creep factor when it over takes award-buzzed movies?

After the jump is the full list, re-typed by your Cinecultist because not everyone has access to EW's subscription only website. Then, please let us know in the comments if you think we have to see any of the pictures in Bold. Are there also flicks being lauded by critics that you know you should see, but can't bring yourself to attend?

1 Sideways
2 The Aviator
3 Finding Neverland
4 Million Dollar Baby
5 Closer
6 Kinsey
7 Eternal Sunshine
8 Ray
9 Vera Drake
10 Hotel Rwanda
11 Maria Full of Grace
12 Before Sunset
13 Being Julia
14 Collateral
15 The Incredibles
16 The Motorcycle Diaries
17 The Door in the Floor
18 Kill Bill Vol. 2
19 Imaginary Heroes
20 House of Flying Daggers
21 Bad Education
22 A Very Long Engagement
23 The Sea Inside
24 The Woodsman
25 Phantom of the Opera

Posted by karen at January 10, 2005 8:32 AM

I'm so glad you opened this one for comments! I think you should see the following:

Ray-Jamie steals the show and the music will have you dancing and crying in your seat

Maria Full of Grace-disturbing, eye opening, fantastic!

Collateral-great performances in an otherwise blah film (a Mann fan speaking)

Being Julia-Bening is superb in it and those costumes are like butter!

The Sea Inside-Bardem shines and a poignant true story

Vera Drake-the story and because Imelda Staunton will be nominated for Best Actress (and hopefully Mike Leigh too)

Btw, thanks for a fabulous site! :-)

Posted by: Seattle Bon Vivant at January 10, 2005 1:20 PM

I would have to disagree with at least a couple of the above commenters points. While Bening is great in "Being Julia," the movie itself is relatively awful and an utter bore until the penultimate scene.

And even though Jamie Foxx did give two of the best performances of the year, they were in two of the most overrated movies. If you don't have a burning desire to see either "Ray" or "Collateral," you're fine skipping them. The same would be true for "The Woodsman." Bacon is great, Sedgwick is OK, Mos Def is underused, and the movie is just sort of meh.

"The Door on the Floor" however you should see. Bridges is amazing in it (his normal creepy factor and excessive chewing works really well in this role), although I thought Basinger was awful. But the movie stayed with me much longer than expected, and it's going to get at least an honorable mention on my best-of-year list.

I didn't love "The Sea Inside," but Bardem is fantastic, in a subtle rather than Daniel Day-Lewis "My Left Foot" kind of way," and the audience around me was bawling by the end. It's fine, but I didn't think extraordinary.

Finally, "Maria Full of Grace" is worth seeing too, although it may make you decide you never want to receive or buy roses again!

Posted by: Aaron at January 10, 2005 1:55 PM

You should see Collateral because it's Michael Mann! -- and has Tom Cruise as a Bad Guy. Also to see another side of Jamie Foxx.

A Very Long Engagement because it WILL be a memorable experience.

and reading others' raves has finally convinced me to see Door in the Floor.

I have no desire to see Vera Drake, or Monster from last year for that matter, but I do think i could sit through The Woodsman.

Maybe you should also see I Heart Hucakabee's and We Don't Live Here Anymore (the latter is on DVD)

Posted by: Dano at January 10, 2005 4:30 PM

I would definitely watch Collateral just to see how great LA can look at night shot with HD cameras.

Posted by: Ed at January 10, 2005 6:44 PM

So basically, everyone (except Aaron - thanks, dude!) thinks I need to see all the things I haven't seen yet. Drat!

Via e-mail, our friend Stephanie requested that we see the Woodsman:

"Erik and I saw it on Friday and thought it was quite good. When I walked out of the theater I wanted to see if you took requests for your blog because I'd love to hear your viewpoints on it. The M references alone are a nice spin on seeing it from the perspective of the molester. Interesting cast, and Kevin Bacon really does well with the psycho characters, making them so human it really makes you think twice about your knee-jerk reactions."

And by the way, Dano CC did watch I Heart Huckabees, our brief comments can be found in this posting:

Posted by: karen at January 10, 2005 7:13 PM