February 23, 2007, - 10:46 am

Best & Worst Movies of 2006

By Debbie Schlussel
Since I was late, this year, in getting together my list of the Best and Worst Movies of 2006, I decided to post them right before the Academy Awards were given out. Better late than never. You’ll note that a number of movies that are up for Oscars, like “Babel,” “Jesus Camp,” and “Letters From Iwo Jima” are on my worst list. (You can’t trust Hollywood and Academy voters to tell you what was best and worst.) FYI, I never saw Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” so I never reviewed it.
Last year, because 2005 had so many bad movies, I could not come up with 10 “best” or top movies from that year. This year’s crop was better AND worse. I have 11 best movies, but more than 31 worst movies–there were so many bad movies on which you never want to waste valuable minutes of your life, and on which I wasted over 60 hours of mine to spare you the inconvenience.
So here’s my list . . .
Best/Worst Movies of 2006

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BEST (rent these on DVD ASAP, except “Invincible” for the Mark Wahlberg reasons noted below):
1) “United 93“–I proclaimed this one as the year’s best back in April when it debuted, well before the New York Film critics and assorted other groups did at the end of the year. And my choice stands. This movie, which truthfully showed the events of 9/11 on United Airlines Flight 93, vividly portrayed the two most important facts that can be shown on contemporary film: that we are fighting for our lives against Islamic terrorists who hate us and want us dead; that we, as brave Americans who love freedom and our great country, must fight them to our death . . . and that we are capable of doing so.
These American heroes foiled the terrorists and simultaneously gave their lives so that the White House or U.S. Capitol and lives of our leaders would be spared. They rose to the occasion of all occasions and went down fighting.
2) “The Departed“–The best mafia movie I have ever seen (except, maybe, “The Godfather”), this one is so great because it doesn’t simply glamorize the mob life. It portrays the anguish and integrity, and the moral dilemma of the decent, honest undercover cop (masterfully played by Leonardio DiCaprio) who has infiltrated the mob. Simply fantastic. Riveting, edge-of-your-seat stuff every step of the way, this is a masterpiece. Bonus for wary Italian-Americans: This one is about the Irish mob of South Boston (though it’s actually a remake of a Hong Kong film about moles in the mob and law enforcement there).
3) “The Pursuit of Happyness“–Will Smith deserves his Oscar nomination for his emotional portrayal of real-life rags-to-riches, bootstrap-self-propelling Chris Gardner. A man’s unwavering pursuit of his dream through hard work and determination, and a father’s love for his son are the great messages that come through in this movie filled with obstacle after obstacle to both.
4) “The Illusionist“–Successful commoner magician Eisenheim uses illusions and tricks to win back his true love, a beautiful countess in Habsburg Empire Austria, from his enemy, her fiancee, the ruthless Crown Prince. Sounds like a chick flick but isn’t–it’s about tricks, illusions, and what’s real and isn’t. Smoke and mirrors have never been more entertaining.
5) “The Prestige“–Dueling/fueding magicians at the turn of the century make for a masterful, entertaining, thrilling film that defies conventions and thrills to the end. Amazing tricks keep you guessing. David Bowie, in a minor role as amazing real-life scientist/inventor Nikolai Tesla, also delights.
6) “Invincible“–A great uplifting movie about real-life underdog, out-of-work teacher/bartender Vince Papale who tries out for and makes the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. I am troubled recommending this because star Mark Wahlberg, an attempted murderer and thug, took out the eye of a Vietnamese immigrant with a meat hook. He is a great actor, especially in this movie and in “The Departed.” But he’s a criminal who deliberately maimed a man and admits he has no remores. Don’t support him by renting this DVD. Wait for it on TV or cable, or check the DVD out of the library, so he won’t get royalties.
7) “Rocky Balboa“–Though Sylvester Stallone likes illegal aliens, I still like his fictional, working-class alter ego, Rocky. A great trip down nostalgia lane and fitting ending to a 30-year-old franchise. Gritty, uplifting, and a classy, updated good-bye. A jog down memory lane and up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
8) “The Lake House“–Most critics thought it was mediocre, but I liked this charming, entertaining, science fiction romance movie about soulmates separated by time. A chick flick worthy of seeing, and a nice imitation of “Somewhere in Time,” with a more satisfying ending.
9) “School for Scoundrels“–Gen-X slacker hero Jon Heder plays a geek in love with his beautiful neighbor. He learns the moves from a scoundrel who then competes with him for her love. Absolutely hilarious–and not for kids–the scene-stealer of this one is co-star Sarah Silverman.
10) “Thank You for Smoking“–Hilarious parody of smoking lobby, based on the Christopher Buckley comedy/parody novel. Aaron Eckhart is spot-on as the engaging, droll smoking lobbyist.
11) “Tristan & Isolde“–Panned by some critics, I loved this Medieval period adventure about dueling knights and kings of British nation-states fighting Irish knights and fighting for the love of a beautiful Irish princess. Romance and action adventure rolled into one. Stunning cinematography. Stars the very hot Jewish actor, James Franco.
WORST (skip most of these at all cost–they’re that bad):
1) “Kurtlar Vadisi-Irak (Valley of the Wolves-Iraq)“–Everything is the Jews’ fault . . . and the Americans soldiers’, too. The government of Turkey funded this exercise in anti-Semitism and hatred of America, which portrays American soldiers as heartless, bloodthirsty murderers at weddings of innocents and Jewish army doctors as harvester of Muslims organs for Jews worldwide. Shame forever on Billy Zane and Gary Busey for starring in this horrible silver screen screed.
2) “Shadow Boxer“–Absolutely sickening, violent movie about a mother and her baby and their new kinship with the hitmen hired to kill her by her mob boss thug husband. Did not need to see limbs cut off up close, violent necrophilia scenes, and a frontal shot of actor Stephen Dorff’s penis in the middle of sex. Disgusting. Hard to believe Helen Mirren was nominated for the Oscars (for a different film) after her sickening presence in this even more sickening “film”. Well, that probably actually enhanced her position with “the Academy.” Shows just anyone can earn the title of “Dame.”
3) “Babel“–Americans are evil, self-absorbed people who use and then deport sweet, loving, hard-working illegal aliens. Muslims are sweet, loving, poor people who love unappreciative American tourists, and take care of them. Muslims are also unfairly portrayed as terrorists, when actually they’d sell their souls to help Americans. Japanese deaf girls are sex-obsessed bizarros who constantly flash their crotches and assault any male within striking distance. Yup, this is what the Academy Awards has nominated for several categories. Figures Brad Pitt would jump at the chance to star in this hate-America, love-Islamists-and-illegal-aliens flick.
4) “Fast Food Nation“–Absolutely disgusting portrayal of accidents in meat plants and other alleged maladies suffered by illegal aliens who sneak into the country to steal our jobs. Horrible, sickening defamation of fast food purveyors and meat plants. Many people walked out on this movie, and I wish I would have joined them. Pure propaganda.
5) “Phat Girlz“–Disgusting, racist Monique movie about how morbidly obese Black women are sex-obsessed and how racist White peole are. Sad.
6) “Death of a President“–Of course, a Syrian Muslim would never actually be the one who assassinated President Bush. Why that would be the Black Vietnam Vet who lost his soldier son fighting in Iraq. Boring. Even billionaire producer Mark Cuban admitted to me that it “wasn’t a good movie.”
7) “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada“–Border Patrol agents are violent idiots who masturbate to Hustler at the border. Illegal aliens are hard-working, loving people who are far better than Americans. Police are idiots. Thanks, Tommy Lee Jones.
8) “World Trade Center“–Sappy, saccharine Oliver Stone portrayal 9/11 attacks whitewashes any mention of Muslims, Islam, Bin Laden, or the 19 hijackers. The only Muslims we see or hear about are the non-existent ones–Stone’s portrayal of Muslims worldwide upset about the attacks, when in reality, they were jubilant and ecstatic. The presence of America-deserved-9/11 actress Maggie Gyllenhaal in this BS is sickening. Reduces 9/11 tragedy to “Poseidon Adventure” minus Shelley Winters but with cement instead of water.
9) “Flags of Our Fathers“–Dirty Harry Goes Left-wing and manages to reduce one of the greatest, most heroic battles and victories in U.S. history to a disgrace. Extremely false portrayal exaggerates minor bad parts of novel with the same name and reduces the vast positive heroism of vets to embarrassment and political misuse. An abomination to the memory of those who gave their lives at Iwo Jima to beat the Japanese.
10) “Letters From Iwo Jima“–Boring, three hour ordeal, mostly in Japanese with subtitles. Do we really need to see the Japanese side of Iwo Jima–showing Americans as brutal thugs who murder those who’ve surrendered; and Japanese as honorable, decent soldiers who did no wrong? What’s next–”Letters from United 11″ in Arabic showing Mohammed Atta’s point of view?
11) “V for Vendetta“–Terrorists are national heroes. Police and other law enforcement are Nazis and the real terrorists. Islam is beautiful and under attack by the law enforcement oppressors (if only). Pure propaganda with no basis in reality.
12) “Clerks II“–Disgusting, boring, and pointless, this sequel to its vastly overrated original has scenes complete with bestiality, or as they sanitize it, “interspecies erotica.” An obnoxious waste of time about loser slackers who continue to be so, despite their claims otherwise. Who cares?
13) “Basic Instinct 2“–Aging star Sharon Stone, famous only for baring her crotch in the first installment of this movie, makes another movie in her desperationg to stay relevant. Seems like the only recent she made this was to show us her new implants and nipples. Yawn. Pretentiously dumb.
14) “Freedomland“–Julianne Moore plays a crazy mother whose son is found dead. And guess what? She did it. Simply awful from beginning to end.
15) “Harsh Times“–Drug-addicted, violent, stealing loser is a veteran soldier from the Gulf War and a Homeland Security agent recruit. Bloody, violent, and pointless. Disturbing for no purpose.
16) “Bubble“–Dumb, boring, amateurish movie shot in Appalachia using non-professional actors in producer billionaire Mark Cuban’s first attempt and “simultaneous” DVD and screen release. Basically, no plot. Depressing. Did I just waste almost two hours of my life for this?
17) “Bobby“–No, Bobby Kennedy was not G-d. This awful, boring version of “The Love Boat” at a hotel where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan is no different than watching your average TV soap opera. And a whole lot less interesting–if that is possible. Glorifies draft-dodging and marrying to avoid combat during the Vietnam War. Thanks, Lindsay Lohan. Emilio Estevez wrote and directed this insipid junk. HOprah loved it–need I say more?
18) “Miami Vice“–Never thought I’d wish for Don Johnson’s and Philip Michael Thomas’ return. This waste of time remake of the 1980′s TV series lost all of its glamor and kitsch and replaced it with a violent, non-sensical plot and a stupid lust story with a woman whose accent makes it impossible to understand what she’s saying. Not that we care to. Apparently the purpose of this movie was Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx butt and shower shots. Again, not that we cared. Gratuitous use of an Israeli Army t-shirt on a drug dealer. Thanks for the brief anti-Israel propaganda. Then-Miami ICE Special Agent in Charge Jesus Torres gave away the store on undercover secrets, jeopardizing real-life agents for this crappy movie.
19) “Black Dahlia“–Dumb, bizarre, non-sensical movie ostensibly about the mysterious “black Dahlia” murderer in mid-20th centure Hollywood, is instead a weird mishmash about nothing.
20) “Jesus Camp“–”Documentary” succeeds in defaming evangelical Christians who love America and have faith as complete freaks. Thanks, Mark Cuban. Where’s the movie about Muslims? Don’t hold your breath.
21) “Employee of the Month“–Dumb Jessica Simpson vehicle couldn’t be more dumb or boring.
22) “Trust the Man“–Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, and Maggie Gyllenhaal waste valuable hours of our time in boring, pointless film about cheating, sexual dysfunction, and sap in a New York family. So what?
23) “Failure to Launch“–Dumb movie about single man who lives at home and the parents who want to get him married and out of the house. Not funny.
24) “John Tucker Must Die“–Possibly the worst teen flick of the decade. Teen girls get together to get back at the popular jock who cheats on all of them. Silly in the extreme.
25) “Confederate States of America“–Spike Lee helped produce this anti-American mockumentary portraying America and Ronald Reagan as racists–if the Confederates had won. Yeah, like we’d still have slavery in 2006. Where’s the movie about real slavery–in Muslim countries–in 2006? Abraham Lincoln in blackface? Shut up and move on.
26) “All the King’s Men“–Sean Penn manages to absolutely ruin and pervert the original movie about a fictional version of Huey Long. No, he wasn’t a decent liberal who cared about “the people.” He was a demogogue user.
27) “The Fountain“–New age moview with three bizarre nonsensical plots/stories. Even one of them would have been bad enough. Next time a director writes and makes a movie for his pregnant fiancee, he should think again. We don’t care about them.
28) “The Last Kiss“–Loser slackers don’t want to settle down and be faithful to the mothers of their kids. Gee, how exciting to go to the movies for that.
29) “Gridiron Gang“–Violent felon teen murderers and other criminals in prison are people, too. And they deserve our sympathy and the chance to play football.
30) “Hollywoodland“–George Reeves is turning over in his grave. Dumb movie about TV’s Superman actor and his self-absorbed, loser life and a self-absorbed, loser detective looking into it. Who cares?
31) “Infamous“–Yet another movie about Truman Capote. One wasn’t enough? Sorry, the Saddam hanging video was enough. Didn’t need to see this pathetic author make out with another guy and then watch him hang. Yuck. Atrocious.
32) “The Good Shepherd“–Managed to make the founding of the OSS and CIA boring as all get out. And to turn it into a melodramatic Lifetime Movie of the Week about an angry, crying, slutty wife and a cold marriage. Ho hum. And what the heck was Joe Pesci doing in the movie? 3 long, boring hours of wasted life you’ll never get back.
33) “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan“–Pretentious, snooty English comedian makes fun of Red State America and portrays them as racists and fools. Anoterh message: Americans are idiots for being good-hearted and nice. Would rather see him make fun of his own countrymen who openly hate America and don’t need the ruse of a fake reporter for Kazakhstan to elicit their spewing and spouting off.

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16 Responses

Illusionist rah rah. Loved it.
What pisses me off most about the “Letters from Iwo” movie is that the sadistic beasts that these “brave” Japanese guys really were is ignored. I have posted two or three times about The Rape of Nanking and other atrocities committed by these pricks, but Iwo???? The Japanese atually ate captured Marines alive and their screams were supposed to lure the living out of their fox holes to be shot; the poor bastards took two or more days to die. The Japanese raped and pillaged most of Asia before they were stopped and an awful lot of Asians still hate the Japanese. BTW I’m going to hurl slings and arrows at Letters from Iwo, headed by a picture of a small baby with an arrow in her vagina, a picture that the soldier sent home from Nanking and was published in the Japanese popular press.
A truly disgusting revisionist movie.
BTW, I hated the “Departed;” haven’t seen any of your “worst.” However the TV show of Huey Long starring John Goodman was dam good, for TV.

Duke on February 23, 2007 at 12:42 pm

One note on Jesus Camp. The makers of the film didn’t narrate or say a single thing about what they were filming. If you watch the film, the only things that are said, save for some tangents made by some left wing radio host, are said by the religious fanatics themselves. Why are you standing up for someone that said they would like to see American Christians fighting with grenades and bombings like Palestinian Muslims do?
IT’S ALL IN THE EDITING. AND THAT’S NOT EXACTLY WHAT SHE SAID.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

ConservativesLovePuns(descent) on February 23, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Further more(should have put this in my first post), this movie does more than just prey on Christians, it prays on religious fanaticism period. In my mind, while watching it, I was thinking “Geez, if that’s how bad AMERICAN fanatics are, I can only imagine how bat shit insane the Muslim fanatics are.”

ConservativesLovePuns(descent) on February 23, 2007 at 12:49 pm

Debbie-
Maybe your best “worst” was Last Kiss. Very few critics saw this for the piece of dreck that it really was.
Ironically, the only sympathetic character was the little college girl, who had no idea that the protag’s girl friend was pregnant!
The pic had awful perfs from nearly everyone, as well.

Red Ryder on February 23, 2007 at 2:07 pm

Debbie, this is a direct quote from Becky Fischer, who I was referring to in my previous post:
“It’s no wonder, with that kind of intense training and discipling, that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam. I wanna see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I wanna see them as radically laying down their lives for the Gospel as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and all those different places, you know, because we have… excuse me, but we have the truth! ”
…how do you interpret that?

ConservativesLovePuns(descent) on February 23, 2007 at 2:11 pm

what about artie lange Beer League this is the best comedy of 2006

PNAMARBLE on February 23, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Just as a small correction, the name of the movie is “Thank you for Smoking,” not “Thank you for not Smoking.” Fine movie either way, though.

Dan on February 23, 2007 at 6:42 pm

ConservativesLovePuns(descent),
I’ve just seen Jesus Camp, and as far as anything by AE goes, it’s pretty good. I don’t think it deserved to be on Debbie’s worst list.

Norman Blitzer on February 23, 2007 at 8:09 pm

2) “The Departed……It portrays the anguish and integrity, and the moral dilemma of the decent, honest undercover cop (masterfully played by Leonardio DiCaprio)”
Debbie, I thought it was DiCrapio…are you feeling OK today?

BB on February 23, 2007 at 10:49 pm

Debbie,
Just so you know there are Englishmen who love America, and particularly American women like you.
You are gorgeous.
One movie I loved was Black Book directed by Verhoeven.
Also I thought Borat was really funny but I fully understand the reasons you have for not liking it. However filming undercover does show some people up, like the young men in the RV who were totally disrespectful of women. It works both ways as I am sure you are aware of the undercover filming in British Mosques which identified moslem terrorist conspirators.

Redrex on February 24, 2007 at 11:10 am

Freedmland was not a very good movie, agreed, but to be truly honest you should agree that Julianne Moore’s performance as an insane mother was one of the finest of the year

amazing Alex on February 24, 2007 at 11:58 am

Julianne Moore’s performance in Freedomland was great although the movie was stupid

amazing Alex on February 24, 2007 at 12:18 pm

I just saw Jesus Camp tonight. Manipulative? Yep. Unrepresentative of average Christians? Sure. But I don’t think you can dismiss what was presented in the movie as the result of crafty editing. No doubt the filmmakers removed everything that might make you want to sympathize with the Christians in the movie, but that doesn’t change the fact that they did say and do all those things at some point. Even if it was only .01% of the entire footage taken, blessing a cardboard cutout of George Bush is pretty crazy.
Also, I’ve never been to a church service of any denomination, so I have to claim ignorance here, but what’s up with “speaking in tongues?” That babbling stuff freaks me out.

Dan on February 25, 2007 at 12:09 am

@conservativeslovepuns(descent)
coming from a christian background, my feeling is that fischer made a switch from literal to metaphorical language and forgot to flag it. meaning: “laying down their lives for the gospel” is to be interpreted as sacrificing their human nature and being born again with christ’s nature. as scary as religous extremism is (of any stripe), i sincerely believe that fischer was not literally hoping to convert christian youth into suicide bombers.
thoughts:
- just as theologically liberal christians use violent language in a metaphorical way, so do theologically liberal muslims. thus, it is a mistake to always employ a natural/literal reading of violent language by muslims.
- islam has currently undergoing a spasm of extremism… but so too is american christianity. yes, i’d say your average muslim extremist is far more immoral than your average christian extremist, but the thought mechanics behind both are the same. note further that american christian extremists are showing a renewed effort to be so political as to threaten the very nature of our democracy.

demagogueshatelogic on February 26, 2007 at 11:25 am

One of the best movies I saw last year “Keeping Mum” a funny British comedy.
By the way does Algore look like an aging Queen or what?

Ripper on February 28, 2007 at 4:35 pm

This list is terrible. Letters from Iwo Jima was beautiful and one of the best of the year. Same goes for Babel, Borat, Jesus Camp, and V for Vendetta. Your reasons for these movies being among the worst of the year make you come across as an ignorant bigot. You say very little when it comes to these films actual composition (it’s acting, direction, script-plot/dialogue), and simply adress themes that bruised your easily insultable- single minded perspective. Borat’s a satire about American ignorance and your putting it in your ‘worst of’ list for the year and noting you’d rather he make fun of his countrymen who openly hate America (really? The British?) truly shows yours. Sure I’m five or six years late but better late then never right? Especially seeing how dumbfoundingly this is the first comment addressing your stupidity. But then again that’s who reads your stuff.

Sukadikk Fuccos on February 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

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