Favorite Films of 2006

Hello everybody who still cares about anything on my website unrelated to my kids.  Dr. Chuck Wood has requested that I start my Favorite Movies of 2006 List, so here it is.  I can say, as I looked back over the movies I saw at the theater this year, that it was a kind of weak year for movies.  Since I no longer seem to have time to write full reviews I will add a paragraph or two of reasoning and explanation behind my scores and choices below.  Also, this is no longer a top 10 list.  I usually like more than 10 movies every year and I found myself having to take good movies off the list just to make it a list of 10.  I'll try to rank them but even that will be difficult since it's hard to compare cross-genre.  Anyway,  enjoy the list Chuck, you can go ahead and paste it into your NetFlix queue now.

Disclaimer:  I say this all the time but I just want to make sure everybody understands, this is my list of FAVORITE movies for the year.  It in no way represents what I believe were the best films released in 2006.  I do not have any expectation that X Men 3 will win the Oscar for Best Picture.  That would be crazy (cool, but crazy.)  I'm not an insane person.  At this point, probably the only film on my Favorites list that has any chance of winning anything is The Departed.  


  1. Children of Men
    Well I finally saw it, and this is far and away my favorite movie of the year.  It's so good I wish I could go see it again right now.  If you were only able to watch one more movie for the rest of your life, then I would say get to the theater right now and see Children of Men.  I had insanely high expectations for this movie and I was still completely blown away by it.  It's that good.  No kidding.  I LOVED IT!

  2. Pan's Labyrinth
    Guillermo del Toro deserves an Oscar win here.  Best Foreign film would be nice, or perhaps Original Screen Play.  This is by far the most imaginative film of 2006.  I loved this movie.  This mix of scary fantasy and horrifically realistic ultraviolence makes for a unique viewing experience .  Don't miss this one in the theater.  It is a cinematic event movie and will be diminished on DVD no matter how big or HD your TV is.

  3. X-Men: Last Stand
    Another of my favorite movies of the year.  It is also my favorite of the three X-Men movies.  The action was awesome and I loved the fact that so many major characters had their lives dramatically altered.  I'm trying not to give to much away in case you haven't seen the movie yet.  Probably the biggest controversy of the movie was that it was directed by Brett Ratner instead of Bryan Singer.  Man, people really seem to hate Brett Ratner.  I totally don't understand why though.  In my opinion, his only crime was making the third installment of the series the best of them all,  and if that's a crime I hope they punish him by making him direct then next movie as well.

  4. Superman Returns
    In case you were wondering what Bryan Singer was doing last year when X3 was being made, your answer came a few weeks later when Superman Returns was released.  Now my first thought, as a Marvel Comics fan was that this jump from the Merry Marvel Marching Society to the dumbed down DC Universe was a evolutionary step backward for the director.  Now I admit, as a comic movie fan I pretty much get excited about any comic book movie, so I was giddy with anticipation about seeing Supe come back.  And I was not at all disappointed.  Plus I saw the film in IMAX 3-D and I just gotta say, the scene when Superman saves the plane with Lois on it in IMAX 3-D was by far the coolest action scene of the year.

  5. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
    My high expectations and excitement for this film might have ruined it for me but I was more than pleased with Borat.  It was hilarious.  This is the only movie this year that I have seen at the theater 3 times already.  The scene where Borat & Azamat wrestle naked through the hotel is the funniest thing I've seen in years.  
    The Descent
    This movie was technically released in the U.K. in 2005 but it didn't make it's way to the States (with a tamed down ending) until 2006.  Even with the Americanized cop-out at the end, this was still a super exciting horror movie.  I don't know what kind of crazy people would be interested in spelunking anyway, and when you throw some creepy monsters into the mix, that pretty much makes it the least appealing sport on Earth.  I just saw this again on DVD and it was just as scary!  I think I even liked it better.

  7. Inside Man
    This movie, a thriller by Spike Lee, kind of came and went back in March but it left an impression on me.  First of all the song that plays during the opening credits totally gets your attention.  (Sapna Awasthi & Sukwinder Singh - Chaiyya Chaiyya Bollywood Joint)  Then it stars Clive Owen, who I've kinda been in love with ever since Sin City (Last Years Best Movie of the Year).  And as if Clive and Spike wasn't enough, it also stars Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster.  It also has a super-cool story about a bank heist which reminds me of other cool bank robbery movies like Dog Day Afternoon and Killing Zoe.  You must rent this movie!  It's super-cool!

  8. Mission: Impossible III
    Unlike most people in America, Tom Cruise's antics off screen in 2006 did nothing to make me like him any less.  I love Tom Cruise movies.  Especially his action and adventure films.  MI3 was probably the best one in the series.  And that, I believe, was in no small part because the director this time was J.J. Abrams (The creator of Alias and Lost).  Not that DePalma and John Woo (Directors of 1 & 2) are slackers, but Abrams gave the series a nice new direction.  The action sequences were awesome and Philip Seymour Hoffman was the best Mission Impossible villain ever.

  9. Casino Royale 
    Daniel Craig?  Daniel Craig!  Who the hell is Daniel Craig and what has he done with Pierce Brosnan?!  I waited over 1/2 my life for Pierce Brosnan to be James Bond (as was his destiny.)  And now they've gone and replaced him.  I'm a Bond fan.  I like all 20 of the previous films and I've seen them all many times.  Especially around Thanksgiving when TBS runs marathon showings.  So I was excited and sad at the same time when I went to see this new one.  The verdict:  Craig is a great Bond.  The film was as awesome as all the Bond films that have came before it.  My only complaint, which many have described as a virtue, is that the action was too realistic.  I've come to expect an over the top cartoonishness to the action sequences in Bond films and I was a little disappointed that this film has decided to dial that down.

  10. Apocalypto
    Much like Tom Cruise, the media attention on Mel Gibson for the last few years has been very unfavorable.  Of course his racist tirades don't help any but none of the bad PR seems to have affected his film making.  Apocalypto is awesome!  I had no real expectations going into this movie.  The previews looked OK but it was not the movie I went to the theater to see that day.  By the end of the day, it was the movie I most enjoyed.  The action is terrific and the violence is horrific.  An excellent combo.  And since I watch every movie at home with the subtitles turned on anyway, the fact that the entire film is spoken in a Mayan dialect was no big deal.

  11. Snakes on a Plane
    Jeff Till pointed out that I left this one off my original Top 10 List, even though I had given it the 5+1 Star Rating.  That was the reason that I decided to just make a favorites list instead of a Top 10.  How could I leave the most hyped movie off the year off my list?  I was really excited to see this movie.  If you like goofy action movies like Anaconda and Arachnophobia you'll like this one.  

  12. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
    This was a great sequel that was totally better than the first movie, which I also liked, but it's really just the first half of a single movie.  It can't stand on it's own at all so if you haven't seen it, feel free to wait until just before the 3rd movie comes out in the theatres or on DVD and rent it then.  Johnny Depp is great and the action sequences are way over the top!

  13. Cars
    Pixar can do no wrong in my book.  They even got me to like a movie with country music that's kind of about NASCAR.  The movie is VERY family oriented and very mushy, so don't expect the super fast paced action awesomeness of The Incredibles (My favorite Pixar movie ever.)  Owen Wilson and Paul Newman do great voice work in this one.

  14. Hostel

    People probably don't remember that this movie came out at the beginning of 2006.  This was, for me, one of the best suspense/thriller/horror movies of the last decade.  It's kinda gory and not really scary while you're watching, but after you see the movie , it will haunt you for days.  For me the scary part of this movie is the probability of it.  I am 100% certain that even while I'm writing this sentence, that horrors like those depicted are taking place in some former Eastern Bloc country.  Also the fact that Tarantino helped out a bit and Takashi Miike has a cameo, upped the coolness factor.

  15. The Departed

    I suppose this might be the film that finally wins Scorsese his much overdue Oscar for Best Director.  It will be a shame because this is in no way the best Scorsese film, but it was a really great re-make of a so-so Hong Kong actioner called Infernal Affairs.  Jack, Matt and Leo are top notch.  Especially Jack who makes a great big villain out of what was only a small role in the original film.  

  16. United 93

    This was one of the most intense movies I have ever seen.  I'm kind of a 9/11 fanatic.  I collect all the movies and documentaries I can about the day.  The movie succeeds marvelously in that you know exactly what's gonna happen in the end but you're still stressed out and sweating right up to the moment of impact.  

  17. Letters from Iwo Jima

    Great movie.  I liked the battle scenes in the counterpart film Flags of Our Fathers better, but the overall story was less interesting.  This is cool because we never get to see WWII from the Japanese perspective and Clint Eastwood is a great director.

  18. Tenacious D: 
    In the Pick of Destiny

    Here's a movie I was excited about but had low expectations for and then was pleased when I saw it, because it was way better than I expected.  I loved the HBO show of The D even though I never saw them all until the DVD came out a few years ago.  My brother introduced me to them.  He even saw them a couple times live in concert before they became really popular.  (I'm super jealous of that!)  Anyway, if you like cool rock parodies and like to smoke weed then I can't think of a better movie for you to see from 2006.

  19. The Good Shepherd

    This was a very dense movie.  It'll probably be better the second time because it covers a lot of territory.  They call it The Godfather of spy movies and that seemed fitting.  It definitely has that vibe.  I even seem to like Matt Damon this year, fancy that!

  20. Click

    This movie made me cry.  Yes, I cried at an Adam Sandler movie.  Shut Up!  Don't try to recreate it.  And don't make fun of me.  I've thought about it and seen it twice now and my only guess if that if you have kids you'll cry, if you don't, then you wont.  Also Sandler doesn't use his "stupid voice" (see Billy Madison, The Waterboy, Mr. Deeds, etc.) and that's a good thing.

  21. Over the Hedge

    This was my favorite kid's movie of the year.  In fact the first time I saw it I was by myself!  I ended up taking Sasha later in the year and she liked it too!  It's funny and clever and has the voice of Bruce Willis, so that's cool!

  22. Flushed Away

    I like the Wallace & Grommit movies, and this is basically a computer generated Wallace & Grommit movie without W&G.  The comedy is top notch and the animation was really good too.  There were many times during this movie that I laughed out loud.  I think the title may have scared some people off and that's too bad.  It's a good one.

  23. The Fountain

    This was a great film to watch but the story was somewhat convoluted.  It was a beautiful movie, both visually and spiritually, but it's very "artsy" and will likely be misunderstood and disliked by the masses.

  24. V For Vendetta

    I recently re-watched this movie on DVD and I liked it even better the second time.  It's a good story.  It doesn't even try to hide the fact that it's a scathing social criticism of the Bush Administration.  And it's made by the guys who did The Matrix!

  25. The DaVinci Code

    I read the book (who hasn't?) before I saw this film.  I don't usually do that but people were so in love with the book and many encouraged me to read it.  I liked the book.  It was fun, but it left some questions unanswered.  I hoped the movie, having to trim down the text, would resolve some of those questions but it didn't.  It is a fun, fast paced adventure with Tom Hanks so I really enjoyed watching it.  When am I gonna learn to stop reading books and just trust the movies!