Best of 2005

In 2005, Brokeback Mountain became Ang Lee’s second film in just six years to top the yearly list (the other being Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The Best of 2001 through 2005 pages of this site are taken directly from Engin Palabiyik’s wonderful top 10 compilation ( which, unfortunately, is no longer available. I do not mean to take credit for the uncountable hours that Engin put into this, I’m just including it for completeness. The 2005 compilation includes 640 top 10 lists.

50. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (34 lists, 1 top spot)

The real hero of the fourth Harry Potter film isn’t the teenage wizard but screenwriter Steve Kloves, who has magically transformed J.K. Rowling’s bloated, 734-page novel into a more swiftly paced, entertaining script.” — Connie Ogle, Miami Herald

49. Serenity (35 lists, 1 top spot)

Whedon knows that he’s blazing down a well-worn trail, but he addresses that by deftly adding elements of humor, action, romance and horror and continually confounding audience expectations.” — Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

48. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (35 lists, 3 top spots)

Funny, tough, filled with cut-to-the-bone moments and bleached in the heat of the Texas sun, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is a movie that sears itself into the viewer with uncompromising vision and stark approach.” — Tom Long, Detroit News

47. The Best of Youth (35 lists, 10 top spots)

I dropped outside of time and was carried along by the narrative flow; when the film was over, I had no particular desire to leave the theater, and would happily have stayed another three hours.”  — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

46. Saraband (36 lists, 5 top spots)

Ingmar Bergman has said that Saraband, his bleak made-for- television epilogue to Scenes From a Marriage, will be his final statement on film. For the great Swedish writer and director, final turns out to mean unbendingly severe.” — Stephen Holden, New York Times

45. My Summer of Love (38 lists, 2 top spots)

While the movie’s young lovers happen to be female, this is not a story of forbidden fervor, but one that effectively captures the first flush of teenage infatuation and passion that will resonate with anyone, of any sex.” — Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press

44. The Holy Girl (39 lists)

A subtle artist and a sharp observer, Martel manages a large cast with an ease that matches her skill at storytelling, within which psychological insight and social comment flow easily and implicitly.” — Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

43. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (41 lists, 3 top spots)

All those Star Wars geeks, who’ve been waiting for weeks outside movie theaters with their Yoda sleeping bags and their homemade lightsabers, finally have a film that’s worthy of their perseverance.” — Christy Lemire, Associated Press

42. Paradise Now (42 lists)

Hany Abu-Assad’s stark, minimalist portrait of two young Palestinian men preparing for a suicide-bombing mission in Tel Aviv is the kind of movie that takes away both your breath and your ability to get out of your seat.” — Jack Mathews, New York Daily News

41. The World (44 lists, 7 top spots)

“Tao, who shuttles between multiple ethnic costumes in the course of a typical workday, embodies the film’s thematic core: the loss of identity in a culture that has bulldozed its own historic past to clear the way for Western-style progress.” — Jan Stuart, Newsday

40. Head-On (47 lists, 5 top spots)

“The power of Akin’s film, which is considerably aided by the two lead performances … comes from the spectacle of people developing feelings for each other even through numbing layers of mutual narcissism, self-loathing and raging terror of intimacy.” — Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star

39. War of the Worlds (48 lists, 1 top spot)

“Meticulously detailed and expertly paced and photographed, with sights so spectacular and terrible that viewers will have to consciously remind themselves to close their mouths when their jaws drop open.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

38. Last Days (49 lists, 6 top spots)

“Last Days is a definitive record of death by gradual drug exhaustion. After the chills and thrills of Sid & Nancy and The Doors, here is a movie that sees how addicts usually die, not with a bang but a whimper.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

37. Junebug (50 lists, 1 top spot) 

“…one of many reasons to love Junebug is how often it offers us spaces to fill in ourselves, the faith it shows in handing us small puzzles — Eugene’s hand-carved bird, for instance — to chuckle over or think on afterward.” — Mark Bourne,

36. Tropical Malady (50 lists, 5 top spots)

“A few adventurous souls who have taken their malaria shots will be blown away by writer-director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s brilliant tinkering with narrative and visuals to tell a simple, timeless story in a wholly new and exciting way.” — Jami Bernard, New York Daily News

33. Downfall (51 lists, 3 top spots)

“There are many lessons to be gleaned from Downfall. Perhaps the most important is that absolute faith in one’s own virtue is not a commitment to virtuous behavior but a commitment to one’s own will. It’s a license to commit atrocities.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

33. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (51 lists, 3 top spots)

“Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is the first movie since 1994’s Pulp Fiction not just to understand movie violence as a pop cultural form … but to play it like a virtuoso violinist.” — Desson Thomson, Washington Post

33. Millions (51 lists, 3 top spots) 

“Visually arresting, seriously whimsical, and suffused with a dreamy yet sad awareness of where life falls short and imagination has to pick up the slack.” — Ty Burr, Boston Globe

32. Oldboy (60 lists, 4 top spots)

“Deserves to be seen because of its relentless energy, the acting by Choi Min-sik that strikes a genuinely tragic note amid the mayhem and cartoonish excess, and the director’s clear conviction that this wild story will resonate.” — Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle

31. Nobody Knows (61 lists, 3 top spots)

“I certainly came out of Nobody Knows feeling numb; only later, reflecting on the fact that the movie was inspired by a true story, did it occur to me that the numbness could have been deliberate, and that what suffused this picture was a mist of anger.” — Anthony Lane, New Yorker

30. The New World (64 lists, 13 top spots)

“The New World blows centuries of dust and schoolkid romanticism from the oft-mythologized tale of Pocahontas and the English settlers, relaying old news with an abundantly poetic and visually startling point of view.” — Jan Stuart, Newsday

29. Broken Flowers (65 lists, 3 top spots) 

“With such pointillist precision does Bill Murray create a portrait of the melancholic at midlife in Broken Flowers that he seems perfectly capable of painting The Last Supper with a single eyelash.” — Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

28. Mysterious Skin (68 lists, 7 top spots) 

“As tough as it is to take in, and perhaps even tougher to contemplate, Mysterious Skin demands serious consideration and appreciation for Araki’s evident maturity. He’s a grown-up, finally.” — Peter Howell, Globe and Mail

26. Hustle & Flow (70 lists, 8 top spots) 

“Watching as a pimp, a pothead and a pregnant hooker play and sing in a makeshift bedroom recording studio, and becoming increasingly caught up in their determination and hope, it’s impossible not to think that this is a part of the American Dream, too.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

26. Kings & Queen (70 lists, 8 top spots) 

“While these characters’ lives are melodramatic, individual scenes burst with kinetic energy from fast editing and an script that deftly underscores the destructive nature of male-female relationships.” — Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

25. Murderball (75 lists, 7 top spots)

“The personal and athletic dramas surrounding the team are sufficiently absorbing that you relate to Soares, Zupan and the film’s other characters principally as charismatic, driven and often pigheaded guys locked in ruthless competition.” — Andrew O’Hehir,

24. Me and You and Everyone We Know (77 lists, 3 top spots) 

“Me and You and Everyone We Know brings a fresh perspective to age-old human dilemmas: the longing of children to become adults, the yearning of adults to recapture the innocence of youth, and the difficulty of finding true love at age 7 or 70.” — Scott Foundas, Variety

23. Kung Fu Hustle (78 lists, 3 top spots) 

“If the plot elements seem like a duck soup of every Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan picture ever conceived, they are lifted into a whole other stratosphere of ingenuity by Chow and his design team’s indefatigable visual imagination.” — Jan Stuart, Newsday

22. March of the Penguins (80 lists, 1 top spot) 

“When they fall over, they do it with a remarkable lack of style. And for all the walking they do, they’re ungainly waddlers. Yet they are perfect in their way, with sleek coats, grace in the water and heroic determination.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

21. Cache (83 lists, 7 top spots) 

“Caché is about how the way we look at people — a spouse, a child, a homeless person, a security guard — reflects our own humanity, exactly the sort of thing the best works of cinematic art aspire to reveal.” — Kevin Lee, Chicago Reader

20. Pride & Prejudice (85 lists, 4 top spots) 

“At a time when we seem to be inundated by one gruesome, depressing movie after another, it’s reassuring to see an elegant man’s pride and a stubborn woman’s prejudice reach the lushly realized assertion that love conquers all.” — Rex Reed, New York Observer

19. Walk the Line (87 lists, 7 top spots) 

“Mangold was wisely generous with the amount of musical performance he included in the film, and the later scenes — showing Cash and Carter as partners — are so well shot and edited, they defy you to sit still.” — Jack Matthews, New York Daily News

18: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (88 lists, 1 top spot) 

“The movie is filled with the usual Wallace & Gromit favorites, from meticulously designed miniature sets to chase scenes, double-entendres and sight gags built around tiny props and the clay figures, which seem quite alive at times.” — Bill Muller, Arizona Republic

17. Match Point (88 lists, 5 top spots) 

“Johansson finds her own speech rhythms in Allen’s arch dialogue, and in the process, gives his film a quality that his recent work has often lacked, the recognizable flutter of a heart beat behind the façade of the character.” — Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

16. The 40-Year Old Virgin (95 lists, 1 top spot) 

“The 40 Year-Old Virgin is buoyantly clever and amusing, a comedy of horny embarrassment that has the inspiration to present a middle-aged virgin’s dilemma as a projection of all our romantic anxieties.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

15. Cinderella Man (97 lists, 11 top spots) 

“Ron Howard’s Depression-era ode to second chances and noble contests, filmed here last summer, is not just another boxing movie or just another picture. It’s a completely absorbing and artfully made fairy tale that just so happens to be true.” — Peter Howell, Toronto Star

14. 2046 (97 lists, 18 top spots) 

“Quite simply an incomparably sublime work of art, a triumph of lyricism over narrative in the cinema, and the most exquisite homage to the beauty of women it has ever been my privilege to witness on the screen.” — Andrew Sarris, New York Observer

13. Batman Begins (104 lists, 6 top spots) 

“An undeniable return to good form for the enduring comic book hero, an industrial-strength summer-action flick fantasia that manages to capture the excitement of the early Batman films while working in a decidedly darker tone.” — Tom Long, Detroit News

12. Syriana (107 lists, 7 top spots) 

“As he did in Traffic, Gaghan intertwines his disparate subplots with impeccable pacing — his screenplay is a model of how to arrange scenes so that each one ends leaving you wanting to know more.” — Ken Tucker, New York Magazine

11. Sin City (109 lists, 8 top spots) 

“Except for the striking images, it starts to fade even as you’re watching it. It is such a bold and striking movie, however, that for the first time we can appreciate the full potential of what Rodriguez has wrought.” — Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle

10. The Constant Gardener (149 lists, 8 top spots) 

“This is not a movie that will shock you or thrill you or rock your world. Instead, it will move you, it will stick with you, it will give you pause and effect you in ways not easily described — which is something the best films always do.” — Tom Long, Detroit News

9. Munich (163 lists, 23 top spots) 

“In this age of feckless and unapologetic zealotry, with leaders whose passion for extremism has led to the lamentable results we see all around us, Munich’s even-handed cry for peace is not an act of equivocation but one of bravery.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

8. Grizzly Man (164 lists, 10 top spots) 

“Grizzly Man is a haunting and fascinating portrait of so much that is worth exploring: the implacability of nature, the hubris of human endeavor and the line between supreme dedication and madness.” — Claudia Puig, USA Today

7. The Squid and the Whale (193 lists, 19 top spots) 

“As one who survived the epic clash of estranged parents, Baumbach has not only lived to tell the tale but has grown up with sufficient empathy to retell it with great flourish, and from the perspectives of the warriors and their collateral damage.” — Carrey Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

6. Crash (197 lists, 32 top spots) 

“Haggis’s drama is about much more than interlocking front-end collisions. It’s about the way we learn, often badly, about one another and how it may take a bad confrontation to peel away the misperceptions.” — Desson Thomas, Washington Post

5. King Kong (215 lists, 28 top spots) 

One hundred eighty-seven minutes of mesmerization, astonishment, thrills, chills, spills, kills and ills, Peter Jackson’s big monkey picture show is certainly the best popular entertainment of the year.” — Stephen Hunter, Washington Post

4. Capote (262 lists, 41 top spots) 

“I came in expecting Hoffman’s tour de force and left with a fuller appreciation of the quiet yet lethal film around him. Lethal, because what it says about the writer’s craft, about what often gets destroyed in the name of creation.” — Rick Groen, Globe and Mail

3. Good Night, and Good Luck (265 lists, 22 top spots) 

“Do you respect the corporate line or do you cross it? Clooney, who in his life wears the hats both of the entertainer and the ‘actorvist,’ gives us an intelligent, electric film that knows this question is as timely now as it was for Murrow.” — Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

2. A History of Violence (287 lists, 41 top spots) 

“It’s rare to find a filmmaker who can deliver such a message and keep us riveted every minute of screen time. But Cronenberg manages it, making A History of Violence one of his best, and most realistic, films ever.” — Bill Muller, Arizona Republic

1. Brokeback Mountain (314 lists, 67 top spots) 

“It has become shorthand to call Brokeback Mountain the ‘gay cowboy movie,’ but it is much more than that glib description implies. This is a human story, a haunting film in the tradition of the great Hollywood romantic melodramas.” Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

2 thoughts on “Best of 2005

  1. The top of this page suggests that there are lists for 2001 through 2004, but I can’t find them. Does anyone have these lists? I’d love to have them. Please email to Thanks!

  2. Which critics included Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith in their top 10?

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