THE TOP TEN FILMS OF 2004
01. Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino)
This “kung-fu samurai Spaghetti Western love story” is filled with everything that makes cinema so intoxicating, and I consider Uma Thurman and David Carradine to be one of the all-time great screen couples.
02. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
Would you rather forget it all than remember love but also the pain that comes with it? Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are another great screen couple, and the way their most touching romance goes all sci-fi and surreal is undeniably memorable.
03. House of Flying Daggers (Zhang Yimou)
Zhang Zhiyi and Takeshi Kaneshiro are another screen couple for the ages (whoa, developing a pattern there…), even if their love story is hidden under much eye candy and breathtaking martial arts mayhem.
04. Team America: World Police (Trey Parker)
The best Bruckheimer flick he’s never made, with hilarious songs, hot puppet sex and celebrity cameos thrown into the mix. And then there’s that “South Park” brand of satire, as incisive as it can be juvenile.
05. Les Aimants (Yves Pelletier)
Juggling Vermeer paintings, Theremin music, Harlequin novels and ideas about synchronicity and magnetism, this romantic comedy is the most inspired and inspiring French Canadian film since “Léolo”.
06. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater)
Who knew watching two people talk while walking around could be so fascinating? It is when they have as much chemistry as Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke and when the screenplay subtly but effectively builds up to an amazingly satisfying payoff.
07. Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette)
Not fiction but not quite a documentary, this experimental autobiography overflows with sights and sounds but somehow remains emotionally focused. It’s hard to describe, but it definitely has to be experienced.
08. Mar adentro (Alejandro Amenábar)
Much has been made of how Javier Bardem extraordinarily commands the screen even if his character is paralysed in bed, and with good reason, but the whole ensemble cast is engaging and the film as a whole is thought-provoking and moving.
9. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright)
There were other great romantic comedies this year, but how many had zombies in them? And while gore can be its own reward, it’s much cooler when it’s part of a well written, well directed flick that’s as witty as it is thrilling.
10. Sideways (Alexander Payne)
The little movie that could. Liked it the first time, loved it when I watched it again, then it won just about every critics award, which is a bit much but still, it has stuck with me, like the warmth of a bellyful of wine.
BEST ACTOR – Will Ferrell in Anchorman
BEST ACTRESS – Bryce Dallas Howard in The Village
BEST DOCUMENTARY – Touching the Void
BEST DVD – The Office Special
BEST TV SHOW – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
1. Brian Wilson’s “Smile”
2. Rufus Wainwright’s “Want Two”
3. Jorane’s “Évapore” & “The You and the Now”
4. Les Cowboys Fringants’s “La grand-messe”
5. Rachael Yamagata’s “Happenstance”
Avril Lavigne’s “Under my Skin” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway”
Updated (April ’05)
How the hell did I miss out on The Arcade Fire’s “Funeral” and Green Day’s “American Idiot”? No retrospective of 2004 music is complete without those two brilliant LPs.