"Shaun of the Dead" made the list but "Ray" didn't. Why? Because when I looked back on this year in film, I was actually surprised there were more than 10 movies that could have made this 'Best of' compilation, and I had to cut out a few movies I believe should be included on Top 10 lists. When it came to narrowing things down, "Ray," "Garden State," and "Spider-Man 2" had to be cut.
Keep in mind when considering this list, these are just my own personal favorites from 2004.
Released back in March, it's easy to forget "Eternal Sunshine" is even in the running for top honors this year. Most studios hold off on releasing their award bait movies until the end of the year. Focus Features chose to release "Eternal Sunshine" early in the year, which might prevent it from receiving the recognition it deserves. I believe it's the most original, entertaining movie of 2004 so it gets the top spot on my list.
The magic of "Peter Pan" comes to life in this stirring look at the life of J. M. Barrie, the man who wrote the play. Johnny Depp gives an understated, sweet performance as Barrie, moving audiences to believe in fairies and the wonder of Neverland.
Call me un-American but I've never been a big Clint Eastwood supporter. It's nothing personal, I've just never been an Eastwood fan. However with the touching drama "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood won me over. Simple, beautiful, and real, "Million Dollar Baby" isn't a boxing movie. It's one of the few films released in the last couple of years that tells a single, solid story, and tells it well.
There are people who will be offended by this movie but I found it to be refreshingly risque. I'm tired of films that tease but don't deliver, and "Closer" just simply put it all out there.
Michael Mann's dark and brooding look at LA's nightlife features Tom Cruise
as the villain and Jamie Foxx as the hard-working taxi driver who's taken on the ride of his life. Naysayers said Cruise couldn't pull it off. They also questioned the casting of Foxx, but Mann obviously knew exactly what he was doing.
One of the three movies I sat through twice this year, "I Heart Huckabees" benefits from an exceptional ensemble cast and a story that's so out there you either love it or hate. There's no middle of the road with "I Heart Huckabees."
A romantic comedy with zombies - or rom zom com for short - "Shaun of the Dead" is simply brilliant. Enough said.
I got lost in this movie and it's the only film in 2004 that sent shivers up my spine. The production is top-notch and Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, and the sexier-than-should-be-legal Gerard Butler
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio
reunited for this interesting look at a select time period in Howard Hughes' life. Though lengthy and at times emotionally detached, "The Aviator" is hard to ignore and does stick with you days after you've left the theater.
Visually stunning and technologically innovative, "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" was writer/director Kerry Conran's first feature film. I'm wondering how he'll top this one...