20. Finding Nemo
– The little handicapped Clown fish that could. I put this ahead of Cars not because of visual excellence, but because they took an archetypical story, and they did it perfectly. You can’t help but hate barracudas and you can’t help but see clownfish and say, oh look there’s a nemo. That and being able to call friends Dory or squawk like a sea gull saying mine make Nemo the victor in this little animated scuffle.
19. Mystic River
– Rarely do you see films that genuinely leave an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach. Mystic River is one of those movies and from all sides, this movie is just a pure ace. With one of the more disconcerting endings I’ve ever seen, it may or may not prompt repeated viewings, but all you need is once.
18. Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
– Not since A New Hope has the first installment of a trilogy been as meaningful as the Fellowship of the Ring. True, the source material is some of the best in existence, but if anything is clear after watching any LOTR film, it’s that they were made with passion, zeal, dedication, and love.
17. Monster’s, Inc.
– Definitely one of the most creative and inventive premises in the Disney canon and a treat from start to finish. Every animated film should look to Monster’s Inc. for inspiration regarding taking risks, solid writing and not being afraid to go out there. The end result is one of my favorite Disney films this side of Alice in Wonderland, The Sword and the Stone and Robin Hood.
– This ain’t no dirty rat. Remy is the most charming rat you’ve ever seen and the entire movie was a delight to watch. Hell convincing people to get behind another rat is tough enough, having them even WANT to taste the food from the hands of one is a testament to a masterfully well made animated feature.
15. Big Fish
– Fun, quirky, beautiful, sad, interesting, weird, stylish, cool, trippy, odd, unique. These and many more words can describe Big Fish and I really think Tim Burton should be supremely proud of this great flick. I saw this at a time when I was still mending wounds about my deceased father and the ending tore me apart, but in the end, this movie and the song Man of the Hour by Pearl Jam helped suture me up.
– I’m extremely sure this entry will piss off at least 65% of the people who read it. When I mention this movie, a second doesn’t pass and people mention The Nightmare Before Christmas. Look, I have nothing against Jack Skellington and I honestly do love Nightmare, but for me, Coraline blows the beloved Disney flick out of the water. I think the premise for either movie is solid and actually Nightmare’s is possibly better, but Coraline develops it a hell of a lot better and I don’t end up feeling as if I was shortchanged with the character development. Visually, Coraline trumps nightmare quite a few times in terms of effects achievement. The amalgam of techniques employed to produce this film just boggle the mind and nothing feels rushed. To boot, the soundtrack and score are magnificent, the story is an even better take on the original and the Other Mother is probably one of the creepiest villains I’ve seen in a long time.
13. Thank you For Smoking
– Quite simply some of the best dialogue I’ve ever seen in a film. Thank You for Smoking is the type of movie that gets you thinking and I love that. Smart, superbly acted, well scripted, well shot, great pace. A messed up movie to enjoy over and over again. Hence why I own it.
– Pretty much the best animated film Pixar has done thus far. Interesting premise, great message, and the cutest mini Johnny-5 you could ever think of. Wall-E gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling that I almost felt paternal watching the damn thing. Add to this a great score, incredible visuals and a song by Peter Gabriel, and well, you have something so organic, you can’t help but be amazed that it’s all based on robots.
11. Pan’s Labyrinth
– I normally say that expectations in the right place can make any movie better than what it is. You just have to know what to expect. Pan’s Labyrinth is the exception of all exceptions. I thought this flick was something different from what I received and I was treated to one of the most wonderfully dark tales I’ve yet to see on the screen. Guillermo del Toro deserves a lot of praise but Sergi López is by far one of the most wicked villains I’ve ever seen in a movie. My hats off to them both for doing something totally magical.