In honor of Entertainment Weekly's recent "25 Movies You Should See Before Oscar Night" list, I wanted to highlight (and add) few not found on that list. Not necessarily because they will be showcased or nominated on Oscar night but because before making any top ten list, you probably should check them out. First though, let's look at the list EW gave us:
1. No Country For Old Men
4. Michael Clayton
5. There Will Be Blood
6. Into The Wild
7. American Gangster
8. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
9. Sweeney Todd
10. Charlie Wilson's War
11. The Kite Runner
12. Away From Her
13. Eastern Promises
14. La Vie En Rose
15. I'm Not There
16. A Mighty Heart
17. Gone Baby Gone
18. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
19. Lars and the Real Girl
21. 3:10 To Yuma
22. The Savages
24. Before the Devil Knows Your Dead
Ones on the list you really need to see (I've seen them all so that's why I feel like I can tell you this):
1. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford---You probably missed it but don't overlook this beautiful Western that was just as good as 3:10 to Yuma, even if only 1/100th of the number of people saw it.
2. Lars and the Real Girl---It's beautiful, transcendent, and one of the best scripts of the year (and one of the best films of the year in my opinion) and Ryan Gosling will likely get a Best Actor nod so see it if you can.
3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly---Haunting, visually arresting portrait of one man who blinks his way into eternity.
4. Ratatouille---In case you (or Oscar voters) forgot last summer...let me remind you of one of the highlights: Pixar's exhilerating and funny and perceptive Ratatouille. I really would love to see this one get a Best Picture nod. It would be oh-so-perfect.
5. There Will Be Blood---This movie will mess you up. Pay attention to the beginning and ending. Pay attention to the way Daniel Day-Lewis' soulless oil tycoon character is driven. Pay attention to the creepy and devastating score by Johnny Greenwood. Pay attention to everything. It's one of the most visually stunning landscape motion pictures since, well, the early days of cinema.
Other films to see before making your own list for the year!!!
1. Eternal Summer---Taiwanese tragedy photographed to perfection about two guys and one girl, and one very long summer. Aside from one plot jump this movie is powerful--even if it's all about the culture and the mood and the music--the director has done his homework. It gets inside of a mind and of a world that many of us have never dared to ever enter.
2. The Host---South Korean cinema is quickly giving Hollywod and Bollywood a run for their money. Watch Oldboy and this film and you'll see why. It's like Jaws and King Kong and Jurassic Park as if they were all crammed into one political satire with the family like spirit of Little Miss Sunshine. Wonderful!
3. The Namesake---Mira Nair's best film since Monsoon Wedding is this stunning journey of one family's move to America. I loved it...my only complaint was that the ending felt rushed. I could've lived inside of this world for at least another hour.
4. Waitress---Keri Russell will likely get overlooked in the Best Actress category (it's been a solid year for leading ladies) but still, you owe it to yourself to see this sweetheart of a romantic comedy that's more about finding yourself than it is about finding your man.
5. The King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters---Still, from what I've seen, there hasn't been a more enjoyable, surprisingly delightful (and slightly sinister) film than this superb documentary all year long. It's coming out on DVD Jan. 29. See it with a group of friends if you can. It will be much funnier I assure you.