The Top 10 Movies of 2004

By: Stylus At The Movies

Posted 12/13/2004 - 07:09:39 AM by jlynch:
 So did any of you who voted for Spider-Man 2 (one exception noted of course) actually see the Incredibles? cuz Spidey's got NOTHING compared to it. nothing. except for Alfred Molina. and Evil Dead references.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 07:23:34 AM by wmurch3:
 Did you guys actually see Ocean's Twelve? It was no where near as good as the first.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 08:43:05 AM by MacGee:
 The review of Alexander retrospectively justifies the movie's existence. Nice.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 09:23:00 AM by Hexagon:
 I can never decide if this site is English or American. If it's English, you've got a lot of explaining to do regarding the absence of Bad Santa.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 09:27:16 AM by Lambert:
 It's true: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the best movie I have seen this year. It's the first time I actually liked a movie starring Jim Carrey... His performance was simply great. Go Jim!
Posted 12/13/2004 - 09:28:09 AM by AUnterberger:
 I write this prior to the announcement of the Golden Globe nominations, so prove me wrong, people!

Guess what--four nominations. Best comedy/musical, actor (Carrey), actress (Winslet) and screenplay. Inexplicably, no director nod for Gondry.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 09:30:28 AM by Lambert:
 But how come you guys didn't put 'Finding Neverland' in your top ten lists? Rumour has it will be nominated for several oscars. I haven't seen it yet, but according to people who have seen the movie, it must be good. (Although Oprah finds it very good too, but this from a woman who thinks John Travolta is God). Did you guys see 'Finding Neverland' and what's your opinion about it?
Posted 12/13/2004 - 09:40:50 AM by MEKsLP:
 I agree with ever choice on the Top 10 list excluding the picks that show an obvious bias toward liberalism and anti-bush. Don't get me wrong, I myself did not support the President, nor did I vote for him, but on one hand you are justifying one filmmaker detailing the president as a liar by stretching and manipulating his own truth to do so, and on the other you critizie another filmmaker for hiding gore behind moral principle. Personally I didn't dig the Passion all that much but I did not think it was one of the worst movies of the year. It pretty much details what is written in most translations of the bible; so if you have a problem with that particular translation/religion than that your own problem to deal with, a "10 Best of" list shouldent be an available medium to detail personal issues with religion or politics especially when, like I said, you justify one form of lying over another.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 10:59:53 AM by IanMathers:
 Oh no. Do not start in with the "It pretty much details what is written in most translations of the bible" crap. I've seen the movie and it is selectively accurate, at best. It goes far _beyond_ what's seen in all conventional translations of the Bible. And _completely separate from that_, it was also one of the worst movies I've ever seen.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 11:01:31 AM by Cletus:
 It's certainly fair to point out that most of the staff has definite political leanings, and that those leanings probably shaped a few Top Ten selections. But I have difficulty equating "The Passion" as a more conservative version of "Fahrenheit 911", mostly because "The Passion", quite apart from its ideological content, was a poorly made film. Many will disagree with me (including, obviously, the swarms of people who returned for repeat viewings), but that, for my part, was a significant factor in why I favored Moore's film over Gibson's. As for THe Incredibles, I saw it and was actually a little let down. It was pretty good, but not quite the masterpiece I had been led to expect.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 11:23:33 AM by jlynch:
 bah. The Incredibles was like Spider-Man 2+The Matrix+Star Wars, except ON SPEED! every scene in that movie defied expectation and became cooler than the previous scene. Also, yall need at least twice as many people to vote. How did Kevin Worrall's top pick not make the list - while Sideways, with one 2nd place vote, hijacked the final spot?
Posted 12/13/2004 - 11:32:42 AM by DomPassantino:
 Man this was a shitty year for movies. Also, this poll is declared invalid due to the lack of "A Cinderella Story" in the "worst films" section. Hilary Duff is nothing without steady-macking Jewfro'd Gordo behind her.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 12:10:25 PM by dmicevic:
 I failed to see that one. didn't want to part with the rental price money. By chance, does she sing a song in that movie too?
Posted 12/13/2004 - 01:42:08 PM by DeSandro:
 I'm with jlynch on this one, when I say that I'm appalled only one staff member put The Incredibles on his or her list (thank you, Mr. Reimink). Pixar has consistently put out the best movies in the past couple of years, and this year's showing was no different. Not only was The Incredibles the perfect family movie, but it easily had some of the best action scenes, comedic bits, and dialouge I've seen all year. Should it have been in the Top 10? perhaps not. But I think some of you guys could have fit in into your own lists.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 02:29:31 PM by dmicevic:
 We shouldn't have to fit any film onto our list if we don't think it belongs there. Feel free to disagree with our personal decisions, but don't presume that we all adhere to the same values in movies. And besides, according to its ads, National Treasure happens to hold the spot as best family film of the year.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 02:32:01 PM by jrkish:
 Wow, Undertow at number 4. That movie was absolutely terrible. And Stylus gave it a 2 out of 10. What's the deal?
Posted 12/13/2004 - 02:36:47 PM by sanjaymcd:
 we’ve learned to 1) never become a teacher, 2) never get old and now 3) never drive anywhere in a car. At first, I thought this comment was about Sideways alone. (It still makes sense!)
Posted 12/13/2004 - 03:21:31 PM by fraew001:
 did you guys count 'shaun of the dead' as 2003 or something?
Posted 12/13/2004 - 04:35:36 PM by Cletus:
 Some of you seem to labor under the misapprehension that there exists a "unified Stylus viewpoint" on all films released. We don't, as should be obvious by now. So if one person can't stand a particular movie, and three other people love it, there's a good chance it will end up in the Top Ten. Simple as that.
Posted 12/13/2004 - 05:24:30 PM by Kevin_Worrall:
 Dear jlynch, Thanks for sticking up for me, but the truth is I didn't participate in the listmaking because I haven't seen 10 movies I would classify as worthy of a list like this. I could have cobbled together ten selections but they would have been rounded off by Team America and other things that I found entertaining but just not very good in the long run. That's the biggest difficulty in compiling something like this. . .my number 1 movie played on 10 screens in America or something like that. Chances are, zero or maybe one staffer saw it, whereas I missed a number of other people's selections. As for the other issues, I didn't think Passion of the Christ was poorly executed, but I didn't think the subject matter explored was worth 2 hours either. This site is mixed with US, UK, some Canadians, and a Aussie or two (and I might be leaving out somebody, sorry). Most of us movie writers are Americans as far as I can gather. I, as a fan of British comedy and Zombie movies, didn't like Shaun of the Dead, what can you do?
Posted 12/13/2004 - 05:51:20 PM by MEKsLP:
 To IanMathers: heh Chill out dude. Depending on your religious beliefs the passion may or may not be based on a true story, whatever. My point is that they are attacking it for its moral undertones ( "here are two movies that have the gall to hide their disturbingly bloodthirsty impulses behind a veneer of moral principle") while brushing aside Michael Moore's very slanted inturpratation of events as nothing more than a slight inconvience to anyone who likes his film ("Whether or not Michael Moore skewed reality a bit in this scorching indictment of the Bush administration's actions surrounding the events of September 11th is practically irrelevant"). The obviously point here being that The Passion is a movie, not an advertised documentary. Sure Gibson and various others consider it to be gospel but it still remains a movie. Fahrenheit 9/11 on the other hand is presented as the God's honest truth and is advertised as a documentary. So what it comes down to is that Stylus is not appalled at what is obviously a work of fiction with some truth to it but is instead disgusted with a movie that is overly-preachy. I'm not saying that The Passion is a great film or that 9/11 is a bad one, I just can't stand hypocracy (which IS why I consider 9/11 a bad film).
Posted 12/13/2004 - 06:51:11 PM by grodinsky:
Posted 12/13/2004 - 11:39:55 PM by J.Timmermann:
 I agree that it's a stretch to label Fahrenheit 9/11 a documentary--at least in any traditional sense. It is--as Moore himself conceded while doing press for the film-- more of a cinematic op-ed piece. To be sure, Moore makes no bones about his biases, and, frankly, I'd rather see that sort of bold, ballsy filmmaking than something that pussyfoots around trying not to offend or alienate any potential audience members. Also, for the record, I'm not even a fan of Moore. Fahrenheit 9/11 is the first thing he's produced that I admire without major reservations. And, yes, I'm a liberal, and I'm not going to bother hiding it so as not to piss off people who like to pretend it's possible to neatly separate politics and art.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 12:35:48 AM by IanMathers:
 MEKsLP in missing the point shockah. Whether you're a Christian or not, the Passion throws in a ton of crap that isn't in the Bible. Period. So like I said, do not start in with the "It pretty much details what is written in most translations of the bible" crap. Other issues with the movie (and with Michael Moore) are other issues.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 05:01:06 AM by KyleMcConaghy:
 I do notice the differences between the Passion and the scriptures, but I don't think they affect the overall message. Like any piece of non-fiction put to film, directors will/must add artistic garnishing and scenes and details to aide the plot sequence. I understand the sentiment that Gibson should have focused more on the resurrection than what was in the film, but I do not think he inaccurately portrayed the last 12 hours of Christ. He was not skewing the story to better fit his personal beliefs.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 09:44:51 AM by MEKsLP:
 But your missing the point I am trying to make. I don't care what it does or does not detail depending on which of the 1069 versions of the bible Gibson used as his guide, it is a movie none-the-less where Gibson can do whatever he wants story wise. Its a movie where some (or a lot) of liberties were taken with the story...but thats fine by me because its a movie. 9/11 was portrayed as a documentary, meaning that the way it showed everything is the way it happened. And I do consider leaving out certain facts just as bad as outright lying. Its nothing new for Moore, he has done it for his entire film making career. I don't give a damn about how accurate The Passion is, its a movie!
Posted 12/14/2004 - 11:22:53 AM by dmicevic:
 I think we've gone astray on this topic. The intitial concern seemed to be why one film was honored and the other panned. For me the answer is quite simple: one film was entertaining, the other was not. That may not be a satisfying reason, but that's what happens when Gibson loads his film with about 40 minutes of slow-motion shots. However, we can also discern between what we can gather are their over all intentions: One film wanted to reaffirm people's faith in christ by inspiring guilt through the use graphic torture, the other wanted to reawaken the vigilant eye of the American public by using selective journalism, so to speak. Looking at them in this light, which one had better intentions?
Posted 12/14/2004 - 02:12:00 PM by Sotoalf:
 Well, "The Passion" and "Fahrenheit" are reprehensible for different reasons. I accept Gibson's liberty to shape source material to his whims, and I understand "Fahrenheit" was an op-ed piece, not a Marcel Ophuls or Frederick Wiseman-style documentary. However, I can't accept "Fahrenheit" as an attempt to "reawaken the vigilant eye of the American public by using selective journalism"; on those grounds, Nazi propaganda fulfills the same functions. "Selective journalism" is NOT JOURNALISM, it's op-ed! It behooves a voter to educate herself, not blindly accept Moore's hysterical version of reality. Any person who believes Iraq was as tranquil as Oz before the big bad imperialists Americans "invaded' needs to get his or head out of their ass.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 02:25:24 PM by MartinLB:
 Can't believe no one has mentioned what is IMO by far the best movie of the year, MYSTERIOUS SKIN by Gregg Akari. I saw it at a film festival recently so it may not have gotten a wider distribution yet. Anyway, this is the only really great movie i've seen this year, highly reccomended, go see it!
Posted 12/14/2004 - 03:12:42 PM by dmicevic:
 ok Sotoalf, maybe selective journalism wasn't the best way to describe it, but even then, comparing it to Nazi propoganda is a bit far-fetched. The Nazis obscured to truth to get away with truly deplorable things. Moore's purpose was to simply criticize an administration that he disagreed with. It's not a matter "blindly accepting" what Moore says (and no, I don't believe Iraq was some sort of paradise before America stormed in) but simply to understand that its every American's duty to be critical of the government. Of course, the film isn't flawless (part of the reason I didn't vote for it personally) but it deserves a hell of a lot more praise than the Passion, which is really all I'm arguing here.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 04:04:05 PM by J.Timmermann:
 I think the strongest thing Fahrenheit 9/11 has going for is its pure footage: an Iraq war we aren't likely to see on CNN or Fox; a disgraceful President and administration; the families of 9/11 victims and soldiers killed in Iraq; the recruiters choosing the poorest parts of Flint do their bidding. This stuff speaks for itself, period. Moore's final bit of voice-over (the Orwell quote) is a stroke of genius, as well. It gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 04:09:19 PM by J.Timmermann:
 Also, going after Moore for what may admittedly be some dubious journalism seems totally wrongheaded to me in a time when the President of the United States (a position that inherently requires more ethical responsibility than filmmaker/journalist) quite obviously, and unashamedly, used hate and prejudism to his advantage to win reelection.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 04:31:11 PM by Sotoalf:
 But, Josh, denouncing the Bush administration for its distortions, lies, and understatements doesn't validate Moore's own lies, distortions, and understatements. I do agree with you, though: the best part of the film is the raw unedited footage you cited.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 05:44:03 PM by Sotoalf:
 I would like to add taht I'm a reporter myself, and an advisor to a college newspaper and radio station. A reporter has a bigger obligation to tell the truth than a president, who must distort, exaggerate, or downplay at many points during his presidency. This is not to excuse the Bush administration's malfeasance; however, no president tells the truth and he'd be a pretty ineffective chief executive if he didn't understand this basic political paradigm.
Posted 12/14/2004 - 05:47:14 PM by DomPassantino:
Posted 12/14/2004 - 09:15:28 PM by dtruesde:
 First, for Fahrenheit critics wishing to draw comparisons to Nazi propaganda - a note from the Moral Clarity Dept: "Triumph of the Will" and "Olympia" - Films orchestrated by the Third Reich to reflect the physical perfection of the Aryan race and its need for "lebensraum". Your fifth-grade history class fills in the rest. "Fahrenheit 911" - In what he views as a diversion from the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Michael Moore confronts the evidence behind the Iraq War, its execution, and the lives (not just American) affected by it. His conclusion: a post-911 world presented our president with a fearful public willing to support almost any policy or action shown as vital to Homeland Security. President Bush violated that trust with the war in Iraq. Fast-forward to 2004: Contrary to the opinion of most Americans, the bipartisan 9-11 committee found no link between 9-11 planners and the Iraq Regime - a point asserted frequently by the administration. After 19 months, no WMDs have been recovered in Iraq. Well over $100 billion has been spent on the war - no small change considering a half-trillion dollar federal deficit (Oh, and Dad's retiring soon). Over a thousand GIs have died with the injured nearing 10,000. Looting, car-bombing, Sunni-triangle, Abu Graib, Falluja, Vehicle armor, Election-legitimacy, etc, etc. Society works best with a healthy dose of dissent. This was the message of Moolaade, your number eight film that I admired. In lieu of current events and the reality that is beginning to sober a nation drummed up to war on pretense, Fahrenheit 911 proves itself to be a powerful and important film. Whether or not that beats watching Jesus get tortured in slow-motion for eons: You be the judge. Good decision.
Posted 12/15/2004 - 09:26:12 AM by Sotoalf:
 Good intentions do not a great movie make. In fact, I'd question even Moore's intentions. No cliché is too musty for Moore to polish. This is a guy who on on one hand satirizes the rubes and dolts who would dare vote for Bush – and will diss Polynesia or whatever for sending troups by playing hula-hula music on the soundtrack – and then has the audacity to speak for the "real Americans" he's just insulted. How is he different from Bill O'Reilly asking "the folks" for sympathy? Do Moore's "good" intentions purify his sanctimony? Gross. We're letting our politics judge a meretricious film.
Posted 12/15/2004 - 03:32:46 PM by dtruesde:
 I don’t think it was French Polynesia Moore was ripping on, (after all, they speak the language of cheese-eating surrender monkeys) but rather the ridiculous notion of the “coalition of the willing”. Pacific nations like Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands voiced support for the war, but alas, provided no troops because they have no armies! The coalition sounded impressive before people noticed that most of the countries simply pledged support but no combat troops. So if Moore’s mocking Island-music offended anyone- I think it was to mock the ridiculous nature of “coalition” rhetoric; not the fine people of Palau. Second, to FINALLY turn past politics, I liked the film in part because of the raw footage; the angles of war that network and cable news wouldn’t touch. Besides, who knew US tanks had awesome sound-systems? Xzibit to Rumsfeld: “I pimped your ride, son!".
Posted 12/15/2004 - 07:43:48 PM by Mugsy2099:
 I cant believe weve all found an excuse to drudge up the Passion and Ferenheit again...but here I go anyways... The Passion is a harsh thing to watch but it has it's merits as a film (not just because its a religious belief). While this isn't the best film this year, its certainly not one of the worst. While I personally dont need to see it firsthand to know that it sucks to be crucified, I can always see a use in good symbolism and metaphores among other good storytelling techniques. Ferenheit is not the documentary its supposed to be, it's simply a mans opinion through film. Everything in it, given the right introduction and follow up speech can seem like bulletproof evidence that Bush is looney, even if as a stand alone it may not hold up as well. Anything can be proven given the right backdrop, as is the motto of showbusiness. My personal opinion is that I would rather deal with politics in the real world and leave the movie theatre as an escape, not something that digs me firther into the pit. But at least the guy didn't try and cover its biases through plot changes (I'm looking at you Runaway Jury). Thats its only merit for me. And with my peace said, for me, these issues are being put to rest once and for all. It's all been said and it's all been argued to the point of no return and its become savegely dull. I'm done. PS, Man on Fire was still a fun movie to watch with the guys. And thats needed every now and again to relieve you from all the damn thinking flicks out there...