With 2015 upon us, we figured it was a good time to look back on the movies the millennium has brought us. And so we’ve dug into the archives and are re-running our Best of the 2000s pieces, from way back in 2009 when the Playlist was a little Blogspot site held together with tape and string. Each list runs down the top 10 films of each year (it’s possible that, half-a-decade on, we’d put them in a different order and even change some of the movies, but we wanted to preserve the original pieces untouched as far as possible). Check out 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 if you missed them, and today we continue with 2005. The original piece follows below, and thanks to staffers past and present who contributed.
In creating and arguing over all our lists, 2005 was easily the most difficult year (we’d probably say that about every year), and it’s perhaps fitting that the mid-way point of the decade yielded the best crop of pictures. We could have easily listed 20 films here, but once again, stuck to 10. Uh… sort of…
Yeah, we did more than 10 for this particular year. Sue us, or get your own site. Globally, the Dardenne Brothers would win their second Palme d’Or of the decade at the Cannes Film Festival (“L’Enfant,” which wouldn’t be released in the U.S. until the following year), Michael Haneke would win Best Director (for “Cache“) and Jim Jarmusch‘s “Broken Flowers” would win the runner-up Grand Prix. And the American cinematic world would be forever embarrassed that Paul Haggis‘ “Crash” would win the Oscar for Best Picture, beating out frontrunner “Brokeback Mountain,” but Ang Lee would at least win Best Director for the film.
At the box-office, it was the same ol’, same ol’, and the top three grossing-films were big adventure/ fantasy films, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Onwards…
11. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”
Presently, Robert Downey Jr. is one of the two or three biggest movie stars in the world. In 2005, he was a punchline, that guy that got fired from “Ally McBeal.” But everything changed when he paired with fellow comeback kid Shane Black (the writer of the “Lethal Weapon” series), with his first script in nearly ten years on “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” A buddy comedy, a Hollywood detective satire and an honest-to-god noir movie all rolled into one, it’s outrageously, consistently funny, full of the kind of post-modern moments and smart-ass dialogue that filmmakers have been chasing without success since Tarantino broke through. The central mystery is a real head-scratcher, and the chemistry between Downey Jr. (at the peak of his abilities), Val Kilmer as PI Gay Perry, and Michelle Monaghan as love-interest Harmony, is tremendous. It was woefully underseen, theatrically at least, but is now enshrined as one of the decade’s great cult movies.
10. “The Beat That My Heart Skipped”
Jacques Audiard‘s most satisfying synthesis of humanism and criminality is this character study, faithful to the spirit of James Toback‘s original (“Fingers“). At its center, twenty-something street thug Tom (Romain Duris) toils away his good soul by partaking in shady real estate deals. He’s devoted to his criminal father, and only the influence of his deceased mother, a concert pianist, can shake that devotion. When Tom learns he has a talent for music, his connection to his mother becomes stronger and he considers leaving his criminal life behind. This internal conflict of masculine/feminine parental devotion is far more passionately evoked than the sexual seduction in Audiard’s “Read My Lips.” Duris gives a virtuoso performance, Audiard’s direction has never been more sharply in tune, and the two create soulful, haunting music together.
9. “Head On”
A sprawling and affecting musing on love, loss, hedonism and deliverance, Fatih Akin’s absorbing chronicle of self-destructive star-crossed lovers finally put him on the international map after three feature-length films. Oppressed by her strict, old-order family, a suicidal, 20-something Turkish girl (Sibel Kekilli) convinces a nihilistic alcoholic German-Turk (Akin regular Birol Ünel) —who’s given up on life after his wife’s death— to marry her as a means of escape. They share a marriage of convenience —that the brutish inebriated waste case takes for granted— but eventually her dynamism wins him over. Yet as their love is on the crest of coalescing, Ünel’s character accidentally kills a man in a fit of rage for admonishing their fraudulent scam and her previous promiscuity. Incarcerated for his actions, Sibel moves back to Istanbul to start a new life, leaving the caged Unel, who has found a purpose in life thanks to her letters, to pursue her years later when he is free. Raw and uncompromising and set to an ‘80s alt-rock soundtrack (Talk Talk, The Sisters Of Mercy, and more), the film flickers with sexual and romantic ardor.