Top 10: Overlooked Movies Of 2005

By Craig Mazin of Askmen.com - Entertainment Correspondent

Here’s a list of the top 10 overlooked movies in 2005 – come on look for a copy of the following movies at the video center near you.

# 10
The Weather Man
North American box office: $12.5 million

Cage plays a depressed television weather man lacking fulfillment and respect from his job and family. Perhaps expecting a more typically mainstream "hero," critics complained about the unlikability of the character, proving that the film was poorly marketed as a straight comedy. At its core, The Weather Man is a tough indie, black comedy about dealing with failure and disillusionment, without offering the mawkish life lessons that are so common in Hollywood.

# 9
Me and You and Everyone We Know
North American box office: $3.9 million

At the center of this intimate and well-shot movie are two scarred (not just metaphorically -- one character is burned with lighter fluid when he fails his attempt to impress his kids) adults engaging in a wary courtship. The most engaging insights are delivered through the coming-of-age scenes; teenagers partake in awkward exploratory sexual activity. Rather than being cheap and shocking, the sequences serve the powerful and subtly delivered message that these children are, like their parents, inevitably in the midst of being scarred themselves.

# 8
The Upside of Anger
North American box office: $18.8 million

Well it had been a while since Costner gave a decent performance -- until his understated role as a perpetually mildly drunk ex-baseball player in the booze-soaked suburban fable The Upside of Anger. In an equally impressive turn, Joan Allen plays an acerbic, recently jilted mother of four (also fond of a cocktail or two) who finds buzzed solace in the company of Costner’s ex-jock.

# 7
C.R.A.Z.Y.
North American box office: $6.2 million (CAD)

One of the most successful Canadian films in years, C.R.A.Z.Y. won 10 Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars), but still failed to capture a wide audience beyond Quebec (where it was made). C.R.A.Z.Y. is a heartfelt, multi-decade exploration of a young boy's (and eventually, young man's) struggle to come to terms with his sexual identity.

# 6
Millions
North American box office: $6.6 million

In Millions, two young British children are faced with a moral dilemma or two after a bag filled with millions of dollars falls miraculously from the sky, into their possession.

What could be a saccharine pile of fluff is handled with suitable absurdity and humor, with magnetic performances all around, especially from the kiddies. Oh, and one more selling point for those who are intrigued by slightly troubling incongruity: Millions is a children's movie made by the director of Trainspotting.

# 5
Grizzly Man
North American box office: $3.2 million

Grizzly man, Timothy Treadwell -- a failed actor, a washout and an alcoholic -- moves to Alaska and becomes infatuated with the enormous grizzlies living in the surrounding mountains. He decides to get as close as possible, moving into Katmai National Park every summer to live directly in their midst.

Predictably, Treadwell was eventually mauled to death by a pack of grumpy grizzlies. An amateur documentarian, he left hours of prime footage of his exploits behind. German filmmaker, Werner Herzog, took this videotape and intertwined it with interviews with friends, wildlife officials and naturalists who compellingly debate the wisdom of Treadwell's courage/madness.

# 4
Broken Flowers
North American box office: $13.7 million

Perhaps filmgoers felt burned by 2004's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, a disappointing Bill Murray vehicle that had been highly touted, but the buzz behind Murray’s performance in Broken Flowers didn’t translate into large audiences. It’s a shame, because Murray’s restrained turn as bewildered Don Johnston, a lifelong bachelor and sloth on a mission to find a son he might have fathered 20 years ago, is one the best of his great career.

Jim Jarmusch, always an abstract, idiosyncratic director, lets the reins go a bit and allows us to see some of the emotion gurgling below Don’s stoicism. These brief glimpses beneath the surface, combined with Jarmusch’s usual visual and sonic lyricism, create an elegant and understated story about loneliness and regret.

#3
The Squid and the Whale
North American box office: $7.4 million

The movie’s premise is hardly unique; an unflinching look at a family battling through a divorce, but the execution and feel is pitch perfect. In fact, it’s probably too perfect for squirming audiences uncomfortable with seeing a bit of themselves in the feuding Berkman family.

The focal point is the separation between the parents, played by Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney, who are vain and highly imperfect caregivers indiscriminately lashing out at each other through verbal darts and infidelity. But what makes the story especially poignant is its rare, penetrating and honest look at how kids (played by Owen Kline and Jesse Eisenberg) can so easily, and willingly, get caught up in the fight.

# 2
Murderball
North American box office: $1.5 million

With critical raves and a strong promotional campaign, Murderball seemed like a good bet to be a surprise, breakout hit. But audiences stayed away in droves from this doc about quadriplegics competing in the brutal sport of quadriplegic rugby, and shamefully bypassed one of the best movies of the year.

# 1
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
North American box office: $4.2 million

This terrific thriller/black comedy inexplicably fell out of sight upon its release, despite offering a little bit of everything -- plot twists, fine acting, outstanding dialogue, and lots of action. The storyline follows an inconsequential thief (Robert Downey Jr.) who is mistakenly cast for a detective movie. Downey’s character proceeds to research his accidental role by following a gay detective (Val Kilmer) around Los Angeles.

This is a great showcase for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's oft-maligned lead actors. For those mystified by Downey’s perpetual anointment as an actor on par with true greats like Depp and Penn, here, at long last is some actual proof. Kilmer, known mostly for being a bit of an asshole, is even better as the gay gumshoe. But the dialogue, spit out rapid-fire by a caffeinated narrator, is what really drives this movie; offering enough clever lines to make Tarantino (a big influence here) envious.

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