The Year In Film: 2006

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-When we look at years in film, there are some years that tend to be gems that go slept on. We've covered a few of those years, and it seems 2006 might be one of those as well. While the year didn't provide a large amount of classics, it gave us a number of solid and enjoyable movies that ranged from hilarious and raunchy to funny and adorable for children to dramas and action films with enough storytelling to make it compelling. Overall, 2006 was a pretty good year for films, and today that's what we are here to discuss. From the highest grossing to the lesser appreciated films, let's get into talking the year 2006 in film.

It’s always interesting to look back on years in film, and I especially like reflecting on the 2000’s because I’m always tough to please when it comes to releases (whether if that’s music or film). When I took a look back at 2006, I realized once again there was a handful of fantastic movies that carried the year and one that I thought was incredibly fun. Here are my top picks from ’06.

First off, Apocalypto. I’ve always enjoyed Mel Gibson as a director (and writer) because he spares no details to make his visions come to life. Apocalypto was my first introduction to his work (I never saw Passion of the Christ) and I LOVED it. Everything about it. It’s about the demise of the Mayan Civilization. While this seems like it’s true to historic events, it may not be all that accurate however it is entertaining nevertheless and the fact it’s believable enough to make us wonder speaks volumes. Much like any Mel Gibson film, it is very violent and very graphic but with that there is also a ton of emotion and excitement in every scene. I also love the overall creativity as Gibson uses a whole other language (Yucatec) that barely exists anymore if at all, and the cast is filled with “unknown” actors that bring a wealth of talent. This movie (to me) is fantastic in bringing what we’ve read in history books to life. 

Then we have The Devil Wears Prada. This was probably my second favorite movie of the year. Although I feel very superficial saying it, I do love everything about it. Meryl Streep is absolutely brilliant as she can play any character and any personality so perfectly. Anne Hathaway is also a fantastic supporting actress and complements Streep so well. This is a movie completely centered around fashion and “Runway Magazine” (probably based on Vanity Fair) and the prestige that comes with working for such a company. I like that it shows (albeit exaggerated I’m sure) how cut throat, judgemental and stressful it is behind the scenes of such an influential magazine and also how fun it is and how great the perks are. All of the high fashion designers are mentioned, some make cameo appearances but the whole story is largely based around Fashion Week in Paris. Two of Miranda’s (Meryl Streep) assistants are working to prove that they deserve to be at Runway. One loves fashion and the other is the opposite, doesn’t care and only wants to use the experience to pursue journalism rather than fashion. Obviously as events come up, deadlines approach and expectations become higher so does the drama. We see Andy’s (Hathaway) personal life crumble while she climbs the ranks at her job. I like the way this movie was done and the story is dope for anyone who loves the fashion industry. I also like the way they showed and developed the aspect of how this career choice influences and changes Andy from who she was initially. This is another movie I can watch over and over and over again.

Of course, I have to mention Inside Man. This is my favorite movie of the entire year and the best heist movie ever made. It’s narrated and told from a person who masterminded the entire operation and we’re about to find out just how elaborate and well put together it was. Why this is so great is because it’s the “jack of all trades” movie. Not only is it a heist, it’s a hostage situation, it’s action packed and it’s a suspense thriller. The cast is perfect (usually movies with Denzel are) and the dialogue is flawless. Since the robbery happens in broad daylight, it wastes no time getting into it and within 10 minutes we (the audience) are hooked. The robbers are dressed in painter’s clothing and they force everyone else to dress the same way. We don’t understand it at first, but it doesn’t take long before we learn that this is what ultimately throws the police for a loop and makes it impossible for them to differentiate civilian from criminal. The target is documents proving that the bank was founded on the money Nazi’s took from the Jews. As the film goes back and forth from the robbery to the police questioning of each person we realize how well put together this operation is. This is a film that is just as good no matter how many times you watch it. 

A surprise film that I enjoyed on the year is She’s the Man. I really only watched this movie because my sister was watching it and I had nothing better to do but I found myself laughing at a few of the scenes. Channing Tatum, Amanda Bynes and Laura Ramsey along with a dozen others make this an enjoyable film. It centers around soccer and Viola (Bynes) who loves playing the sport and was looking forward to playing on the team, but then they cancelled the girls team. What she does is pretend to be her twin brother Sebastian (who is abroad pursuing music) at the college and tries out and makes the men’s team. She convinces everyone she’s a boy, except her group of friends who help her and she manages to play. Of course, she ends up falling for one of the guys who she rooms with and is on the team but he thinks she’s a man. There are some very funny scenes but of course this isn’t a “good movie” by any means. Just entertaining and fun to watch. It’s mindless humor and since it incorporates soccer, it’s one that could appeal to the fellas also. I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch this, but if it happens to be on, I’ll definitely watch it.

Of course, I have to mention Blood Diamond. I heard about the issue with conflict diamonds well before this movie was released. I always wished that it was highlighted more in media so people would know how serious of an issue it was and still is in certain parts of the world, so when Blood Diamond came out I was THRILLED that finally this matter was being talked about, even if Leonardo Dicaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hansou had to be the ones to spearhead it. This isn’t based on a true story directly, but it was inspired by true events and depicted quite well. I love the camera “tricks” at some parts to make it look and feel like a documentary but more so than anything I like that this shows how devastating this issue is. A fisherman, a smuggler, a businessman and a journalist are all intertwined in this story and while everyone is just trying to do what they can to survive, we see exactly how greed and consumerism impact the less fortunate. I think each one of the actors in this film did an exceptional job of portraying their character and everything it entailed and I also like that characters and storylines were well developed. Blood Diamond is an emotional rollercoaster of sorts but overall, it is a fantastic film with a ton of importance. 

2006 was also the year that gave us “The Departed”, “V For Vendetta”, “The Pursuit Of Happyness” and “Step Up”, which I really liked and appreciated. Of the hundreds of releases this year, these were the ones that stuck out the most and made 2006 a great year of films to revisit.

2006 was a solid year in film. Starting with Clerks 2, and this had to be my favorite comedy of the year. I could watch it over and over. Unlike the first Clerks film, this one was in color, the focus wasn't on Jay and Silent Bob, plus it had more interesting and odd funny characters, the interactions with each other and the banter made this hilarious. The Da Vinci Code was another good Tom Hanks film, this one being about a man finding clues all around him trying to uncover a secret that could change the history of Christianity. It was based on the best selling book of course. Apocalypto was all about the demise of the Mayan Kingdom. This movie was really good, very graphic, full of action and drama mixed in. In The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith does it again by playing a character who is determined to create a better life for him and his son while not letting their hardships deter him.

Silent Hill was another film adaptation of a popular video game. A woman and her daughter drive through an eerie town cloaked by darkness where her daughter gets lost and she tries to find her while having to survive the sinister things within it. This movie was dark and disturbing so it does its job without an issue. Talladega Nights was pretty good, and while I'm not the biggest Will Ferrell fan, I have to say this movie was hilarious with the assistance of John C. Reilly. Blood Diamond showcases another great performance by Leonardo DiCaprio where he searches for a rare diamond in a war ridden Sierra Leone. I loved this movie and that there was music to go along with this movie. What these artists had to say to shed light on the genocide over these diamonds was important and songs from Lupe Fiasco, Nas, and Kanye fit perfectly for this theme.

Step Up was an interesting film. Being a fan of the dance aspect of hip-hop, I always give props to the dance oriented films. The storyline is a little cliche but all in all, it was a good film to me and enjoyable to watch. The Fast and The Furious continued their series with the third and least popular movie of the franchise in Tokyo Drift. With Miami Vice,  Jamie Foxx And Colin Farrell go undercover in Miami to take on drug lords. This film was better than I expected. It was actually very intense with a lot of action and conflict between the partners as well.

Some other films I enjoyed:
Alpha Dog
Deja Vu
Black Snake Moan
Underworld: Evolution
Final Destination 3
When A Stranger Calls
School For Scoundrels
Trailer Park Boys: The Movie

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-2006 featured blockbusters like X-Men: The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code, Superman Returns, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Casino Royale, Mission Impossible 3, and one of my personal favorites, Happy Feet. It also gave us some good comedies like Talladega Nights and Dave Chappelle's Block Party, and solid black films like ATL. There were a number of movies that I watched on the year, and a few of my favorites include my favorite actors. Akeelah and The Bee featured Keke Palmer and Laurence Fishburne, and as a long time fan of Laurence, I enjoyed this movie. Will Smith delivered his best performance in The Pursuit of Happyness, while Denzel dropped two hit movies in the same year with the classic Inside Man and the slept on Deja Vu. Samuel L. Jackson was in Black Snake Moan in 2006 and he was also a big part of the most hilarious movie for no reason, Snakes On A Plane. It was a mindless film that didn't bring any horror or suspense, it was just ridiculous and over the top while being funny as hell. My favorite rap duo ever debuted their personal film project, Idlewild and I think this movie is slept on personally. The Rock had his best role to date (Hobbs aside) in Gridiron Gang, a very good movie with a lot of interesting performances and a solid story. Leonardo DiCaprio took part in two huge movies this year as well, with both Blood Diamond and The Departed being successful and enjoyable movies. Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx are two of my favorite comedians and actors, and they were both magnificent in Dreamgirls alongside good performances from Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce.

However, this year did bring us some bad movies. In the bad black films department, we got the Sanaa Lathan led interracial dating comedy Something New, alongside the horrible Monique starring vehicle in Phat Girlz, a new Tyler Perry movie in Madea's Family Reunion, the Wayans travesty Little Man, the illustrious author (ha!) Tyrese and a hilarious villain turn by The Game in Waist Deep, and of course, Big Momma's House 2. Even outside of black films, there were horrible movies on the year like Date Movie, Scary Movie 4, Nacho Libre (I walked out of this boring piece of shit in the theaters), John Tucker Must Die, but nothing compares to the worst love story movie of all time, The Lake House. The Lake House. Sandra Bullock. Keanu Reeves. Along with the most nonsensical love story I've ever been forced to watch. Aside from these horrible films, I can't say too much about 2006 in a negative way. It wasn't a perfect year, but there were more ups than downs on the big screen this year, and that is the mark of a good year in film.



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