High five! After a box-office slump, movies made money again in 2006. Kill-me-now depression sets in only when I list the big winners (Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest; X-Men: The Last Stand; The Da Vinci Code). Luckily, it wasn't just Borat that hit pay dirt without getting slimed by formula pap. Martin Scorsese had his biggest hit with The Departed. And Dreamgirls proved a musical could have grit as well as glitz. And what of terrific movies that barely made a dime? They, too, have pride of place on my list of movies that mattered this year.Here are the top ten -- you'll have to visit RS to see why and view the trailer.
1 The Departed
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Directed by Bill Condon
3 Letters From Iwo Jima/Flags of Our Fathers
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
6 United 93
Directed by Paul Greengrass
7 The Queen
Directed by Stephen Frears
Directed by Larry Charles
9 Little Miss Sunshine
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
10 Prairie Home Companion
Directed by Robert Altman
BEST OF THE REST
10 MORE BESTS David Lynch's Inland Empire twists your mind into scary shapes; Todd Field's Little Children is a model of literary adaptation; Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth is a surreal study of war; Michael Mann's Miami Vice sees the crime genre with laser-eyed freshness; Jason Reitman's Thank You for Smoking blows satiric smoke up Big Tobacco's ass; Christopher Guest's For Your Consideration blows satiric smoke up Oscar's ass; Christopher Nolan's The Prestige makes magic out of magic; Kelly Reichardt's Old Joy digs deep into the nature of friendship; John Hillcoat's The Proposition, an Aussie Western, is criminally underrated; and Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, despite a taste for gore that's near pathological, brings a poet's eye and fierce energy to a Mayan civilization that mirrors our own.
Best Animated film John Lasseter's Cars is a visual miracle, sweet as hell and mischievously funny. Oscar, take note. Runners-up: Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly and George Miller's Happy Feet.
Best Foreign Film Volver. Runners-up: Rachid Bouchareb's Days of Glory, Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, Deepa Mehta's Water and Jean-Pierre Melville's 1969 Army of Shadows in its U.S. debut at last.
Best Documentary Davis Guggenheim's An Inconvenient Truth cuts Al Gore loose on global warming. Runners-up: James Longley's Iraq in Fragments, Deborah Scranton's The War Tapes, Doug Block's 51 Birch Street and Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck's Shut Up and Sing.
THE YEAR'S TEN WORST
Emilio Estevez tacks on RFK's assassination to a series of soapy star cameos and calls it humanism. Wrong, pal, it's risible exploitation.
2 The Da Vinci Code
Blockbuster book becomes a blockheaded movie.
3 Snakes on a Plane
The Internet hyped it, but audiences rightly spit venom.
4 x-Men: The Last Stand
Let's hope so.
5 Basic Instinct 2
So bad, you wanted Sharon Stone's legs to stay crossed.
6 The Nativity Story
The Virgin birth staged like a stuffy Christmas pageant.
7 Lady in the Water
M. Night Shyamalan loses his sixth sense for scary.
Adam Sandler in a sentimental mood; it's like drowning in drool.
9 Death of a President
A fake doc that imagines Bush dead, and it's still boring.
10 All The King's Men
Southern-fried politics, and even with Sean Penn it's duller than dog shit.