Ray’s 2005 Movie Awards

The Year’s 10 Best Movies. 1.      Pride and PrejudiceOkay, so it’s not edgy or groundbreaking.  Who cares?  This remake took me completely by surprise by simply getting everything right.  Directed and acted with razor-sharp precision, this movie reaffirms the enduring power of Jane Austen’s storytelling.

2.      Crash

Every so often a movie comes out that has the nerve to have its characters talk the way people really talk.  This movie provides an unblinking look into everyday American racism.

3.      Brokeback Mountain

I thought the short story was boring, but Ang Lee and Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana’s expansion of this heartbreaking story of doomed love is magnificent.

4.      Munich

Tough-minded, gritty, realistic and upsetting.  Once again, Spielberg shows he is no longer afflicted with the obsessive desire to please.

5.      Syriana

Like his TRAFFIC, Gaghan’s movie is breathtakingly smart, fast, and compelling, with wall-to-wall great acting, especially from Alexander Siddig.

6.      The Squid and the Whale

An excruciatingly perceptive X-ray into the collapse of a Brooklyn family, with Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels shining as the worst kind of narcissistic parents around.

7.      Walk the Line

Exceptionally heartfelt performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon elevate this movie.

8.      A History of Violence

David Cronenberg shows he hasn’t lost it with his most accessible film to date. 

9.      Nine Lives

Ingenious omnibus film with killer performances from Elpidia Carrillo, Kathy Baker, Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, Dakota Fanning, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Isaacs, Amy Brenneman, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Joe Montegna, and many others.

10. The Best Of Youth

(See below)

Honorable Mention:  Junebug, The Constant Gardner, Millions, King Kong, Walk on Water, Paradise Now, You and Me and Everyone We Know, Kingdom of Heaven, Palindromes, The Forty-Year Old Virgin, Capote, Bride and Prejudice, Layer Cake, Mysterious Skin, Heights, Howl’s Moving Castle, Happy Endings, Broken Flowers, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Good Night, and Good Luck, Prime, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Maybe Not Great, but lots of fun and highly recommended

Serenity, Beauty Shop, Hitch, Sin City, The Interpreter, Madagascar, Deep Blue, War of the Worlds, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Skeleton Key, Red Eye, Four Brothers, Lord of War.

Every year I have to say this, and every year it irritates me that I have to say this:  Asterisk indicates the winner.  Thank you for playing.

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

David Strathairn, Goodnight and Good Luck

*Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

Lior Ashkenazi, Walk on Water

Honorable Mention: Luigi Lo Cascio in The Best of Youth, Bill Murray in Broken Flowers, John Hawkes in You and Me and Everyone We Know, Robert Redford in An Unfinished Life, Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence, Eric Bana in Munich, Steve Carell in The Forty Year Old Virgin, Daniel Craig in Layer Cake, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Mysterious Skin, Ralph Fiennes in The Constant Gardner

Best Actress

*Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Laura Linney, The Squid and the Whale

Felicity Huffman, TransAmerica

Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger

Keira Knightly, Pride and Prejudice

Honorable Mention:  Lisa Kudrow in Happy Endings

Best Supporting Actor

Deep Roy, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Owen Kline, The Squid and the Whale

Jason Isaacs, Nine Lives\

Marton Csokas, Kingdom of Heaven

*Robert Patrick, Walk the Line

Honorable Mention:  Donald Sutherland in Pride and Prejudice, William Hurt in A History of Violence, Sacha Baron Cohen in Madagascar, Danny Huston in The Constant Gardner, Kevin Costner in The Upside of Anger, Mickey Rourke in Sin City

Best Supporting Actress

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Happy Endings

Sharon Stone, Broken Flowers

*Amy Adams, Junebug

Robin Wright Penn, Nine Lives

Sonia Bergamasco, The Best of Youth

Honorable Mention: Brenda Blethyn in Pride and Prejudice, Jayma Mays in Red Eye

Best Director

Steven Spielberg, Munich

Joe Wright, Pride and Prejudice

Paul Haggis, Crash

*Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Stephen Gaghan, Syriana

Art Direction

Good Night and Good Luck

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

*Kingdom of Heaven

Pride and Prejudice

Walk the Line


Kingdom of Heaven



Brokeback Mountain



The Squid and the Whale


You and Me and Everyone We Know

*Brokeback Mountain

Pride and Prejudice

Broken Flowers


The Best of Youth


Kingdom of Heaven

Incredible Year for Documentaries

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill


*March of the Penguins

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Grizzly Man

Up For Grabs

The Last Mogul

Mad Hot Ballroom

The Aristocrats

Ballet Russes

Foreign Language

Paradise Now (Palestine)

The Best of Youth (Italy)

Walk on Water (Israel)

Sorry, it has to be a three-way tie.  Deal.

Greatest Opening Credits Sequence

Lord of War, which shows the life journey of a bullet

Best Moments

Moments of quiet, dignified discomfort at the Bingley country house in Pride and Prejudice.

Owen Kline’s no-nonsense conversations with his mother and father in The Squid and the Whale.

Johnny Cash’s heartfelt onstage proposal to June Carter in Walk the Line.  Also, the electrifying prison concert sequence!

Werner Herzog listens with headphones to the audiotape of Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend being eaten by a bear in Grizzly Man.

“You’re the Canadian!”  A final moment of misrecognition before oblivion in Syriana.

Sandra Bullock’s incendiary racist monologue in Crash.

Collecting saints like baseball cards in Millions.

Jake and Heath getting busy on Brokeback Mountain.

Eric Bana listens to an impassioned Palestenian zealot (Omare Metwally) in Munich.  Also, the execution on the houseboat in Amsterdam.

The chilling final moment of Paradise Now.

David Mamet Award for Most Interestingly Idiosyncratic Dialog

Josh Whedon’s wonderful space patois in Serenity.

Coolest Gimmick

Todd Solondz used eight different actors (including a boy and Jennifer Jason Leigh) to play the hapless 13-year-old heroine of his deliciously subversive film.

Best British Crime Movie in Years

Layer Cake

Wow!  Gregg Araki Finally Makes a Grown-Up Movie!

The superb The Mysterious Skin

Funniest Moments

The “Farm Supplies” sign changes to “Angry Crowd Supplies” near the frenetic conclusion of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

“Well, this sucks.”  The penguins make a terrible error of judgment in Madagascar.

Meryl Streep having to listen to Uma Thurman describe in lascivious detail more than she ever would want to know about her own son.

Please Let  Us See More Of . . .

Bryan Greenberg (from Prime), Alexander Siddig (from Syriana and Kingdom of Heaven), Eric Gores (The Kid and I), the slightly older and therefore more interesting Claire Danes (who lit up Shopgirl and The Family Stone), Jayma Mays (from Red Eye), Elpidia Carrillo (from Nine Lives)

I’m Still Waiting . . .

For another great part for the phenomenal actress Franka Potente.  Don’t make me come over there!!

Woefully Overlooked

The Best of Youth was a spectacular, six hour epic that followed the lives of two brothers through the tumultuous years of recent Italian history 1966-2000.  Spectacular acting, writing and directing throughout made this an unforgettable movie experience.

Shamefully Underrated

So where were all the fans of Gladiator when Kingdom of Heaven was released?  Ridley Scott’s brilliant epic of the Second Crusade was a much better movie than his Gladiator, yet the public stayed away in droves.  I think it’s because people today don’t even know what the heck The Crusades WERE.  This is a pity, because the movie, with Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, Marton Csokas and Alexander Siddig, is truly good.

Strange, but We Liked it Anyway


Best Movie About a Gay Porno Star’s Deluded Attempts to Become a Successful Pop Singer

Naked Fame

Thought I Would HATE It

But Sahara is surprisingly fun, despite the presence of not one but TWO irritants: Matthew McConaughey AND Penelope Cruz.  Who knew?

Best Juggling Act

Walk on Water balanced way too many themes than any movie should rightfully be able to get away with – and somehow managed to get away with it!  This is a remarkable, daring, unconventional, unexpected movie.

We Just Love . . .

 . . . Queen Latifah.  Just stay on those producers, Girlfriend, and make sure they get you decent scripts!!

The Year’s Worst Movies

Kontroll – Proof that Hungary can make awful movies, too!

Head On – ditto Turkey!

Ring Two – boy did lightning not strike twice with this franchise.

*Melinda and Melinda – The worst Woody Allen movie in a long time.  And that’s SAYING something!

The Amityville Horror – irresponsible, trashy remake that even Ryan Reynolds magnificent torso could not redeem

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – the first Star Wars movie to actually put me to sleep.  Congratulations, George.

Mirrormask.  Well-intentioned art piece.  Impossible to watch.

Rumor Has It.  Rumor has it that Rob Reiner is a huge has-been.

I Just Don’t Get It

Scarlett Johansson

Not Exactly Bad, but a Huge Disappointment

Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist.  You’d think the great director would have more feel for this material.  Instead he served up a warmed over, uninspired bowl of gruel.  Please, sir, we want some more!

North Country.  It takes more to make a relevant social drama than putting dirt on Charlize Theron’s face.

Jarhead.  Even a clothless Jake couldn’t redeem this flat, uninspired movie about the first Gulf War.  Three Kings, anyone?

Special Auto-Cannibalism Award to Woody Allen

For remaking Crimes and Misdemeanors, but this time calling it Match Point.  How many times is Woody going to tell us that it’s okay to murder a meddlesome mistress?  Ew.

Movie I Most Enjoyed Seeing Bomb

Cinderella Man

Memo to Ryan Reynolds

We love your buffed new bod, stud, and we think you really have some talent, but after 2005’s Waiting, Just Friends and The Amityville Horror, we think you might need to spend less time at the gym and more time beating up your agent.


Please send any comments to rayivey@ca.rr.com.  Now get out there and go to the movies!!!


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