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"Serenity" Movie in the Top 20 movies of the year list at E! Online

Friday 6 January 2006, by Webmaster

Screen Test: Our Picks of the Year’s Best Flicks
We’re not going to stick you with a list of a bunch of movies you’ve never heard of. No way, we E! Online editors are, like, real people who dig all sorts of stuff like cartoons, action flicks and, okay, the occasional weepy movie involving kissing cowboys. Check out our list, see what we ranked, take a moment to discover a gem you might’ve missed—and then see which one you voted the most top-notch.

20. Serenity
It’s no Star Wars. And that’s a good thing. The moderately budgeted sci-fi adventure (based on the canceled TV show) relies on sharp writing, smart characters and a good story to hook us. Which only made its lackluster box office that much more tragic.

19. The Squid and the Whale
(Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Noah Baumbach’s devastating look at one family’s divorce is both sad and funny. The performances are wonders of self-justification, self-delusion and self-destruction, and Jeff Daniels is at his best. But it’s newcomer Jesse Eisenberg who may be the real catch in this heartbreaking film.

18. Red Eye
With this compact thriller, the adorable Rachel McAdams proves she can kick some booty, too, by sticking it to the scheming Cillian Murphy. Since Jennifer Garner is now on mommy duty, consider McAdams Hollywood’s new Everygirl.

17. Murderball
The best action movie of the year isn’t some fantastical blow-’em-up, it’s a documentary about rival quadriplegic wheelchair rugby teams. It has heart, unforgettable characters and will open your mind. Hollywood couldn’t have done it any better.

16. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Creative, funny and stylish, this sci-fi tale about the end of the world and the goofballs who survive—with their towels—proves you don’t need CGI and Will Smith to save the universe: A sense of humor, snappy dialogue and some really out there ideas will do the trick. It’s the year’s most charming surprise.

15. Wedding Crashers
(New Line)
Finally, R-rated comedy returns to the multiplex, and boy did we miss the nudity, simulated sex acts and hilariously irresponsible behavior. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn bring the perfect blend of horndog humor to this ultimately sweet film about life, love and open bars.

14. Munich
How best to tackle such touchy topics as a democracy blotting out terrorists with eye-for-an-eye tactics or the world’s complex relationship with Israel? Why, with a kickass thriller! When Steven Spielberg sends Jewish hit men after those who slaughtered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, the chase is exciting and thought provoking, a stylish, grainy look at incipient terrorism that doesn’t offer answers but helps frame the questions.

13. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
(Warner Bros.)
Take two crazy actors (Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer), give them a crazy crime drama with plenty of crazy lines to banter about and you know what you’ve got? Genius. Pure, crazy genius. You almost need to see it twice to take in the whole thing—which, we know, is totally crazy.

12. Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
A cheese-loving inventor and his loyal dog not only take on a giant bunny but give CG giant Pixar a little something to worry about. With its Brit wit, lovable characters and quirky charms intact, W.&G.’s transition from short films to legit blockbuster is a success all the way.

11. Millions
(Fox Searchlight)
Holiday classics never seem to do well at the box office—It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story come to mind—and Danny Boyle’s sweet tale about a motherless boy who finds a sack of cash has much in common with those films. Smart, sly and sentimental, this one’s a classic, too.

10. The Matador
(Weinstein Company)
The James Bond hero of yesteryear is dead. Former 007 Pierce Brosnan gives the corpse another kick by starring in this breezy flick that tweaks the whole espionage genre and delivers some of the best (and dirtiest) one-liners of the year. And his ’stache is pretty sweet, too.

9. Batman Begins
(Warner Bros.)
Even before Begins, there had been about a few too many Batman movies for most people. But Christopher Nolan’s dark outlook (and ninja angle!) pumps new life into the Caped Crusader. So much so, we almost overlooked how bad Katie Holmes is in it. Almost.

8. Kung Fu Hustle
(Sony Pictures Classics)
The hustle that’s going on here is that this is anything but a typical kung-fu film. Incorporating elements of American gangster films, westerns and musicals, as well as a bunch of crazy, weird stuff, this import, like a good martial artist, never lets you see when the next punch is coming. But when it does, it totally delivers.

7. Pride & Prejudice
(Focus Features)
Jane Austen’s tale has been told so many times we wondered whether we needed another. But Keira Knightley’s gigantic smile and spirit, Matthew MacFadyen’s charming Mr. Darcy, as well as a top-notch supporting cast, put this one on par with the much loved TV version featuring the sexily brooding Colin Firth.

6. A History of Violence
(New Line)
It’s a gangster movie, a quiet family drama and a small-town horror picture—all in one! Viggo Mortensen, as a diner owner caught in a cycle of evil deeds, is intense just standing still. And David Cronenberg tames and channels his gore-fetish to show us the worst in ourselves and dares us not to look. Thing is, we can’t help it, and that’s exactly the point.

5. Sin City
(Dimension Films)
Inventive, strange and unabashedly R-rated, Robert Rodriguez’s ballsy black-and-white bloodbath channels the creative energy of the graphic novel into the most innovative movie this year—and one of the most fun. And why is nobody talking about Mickey Rourke for an Oscar? That’s a sin.

4. March of the Penguins
(Warner Independent Pictures)
This unlikely hit is only unlikely until you see it. It’s a perfect metaphor for today’s families, where both parents must work and nurture their young. Beyond that, this beautifully sad movie offers a view of an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon that few nonpenguin eyes could ever hope to see or survive.

3. The Constant Gardener
(Focus Features)
Why don’t they make more films like this? A compelling drama about personal tragedy, corporate corruption and global responsibility that hits as hard and as true as a documentary. Part mystery, part actioner, all engrossing, this tale of the tragedy of the African continent is a dose of reality rarely glimpsed in films.

2. King Kong
The action thrills. The landscapes soar and transport. Peter Jackson’s hairy spectacle is a marvel of technology and emotional depth, and his Kong takes his final leap with our hearts in his paw. It’s cinema excess of the highest order that makes lesser digital feasts (are you listening, George Lucas?) feel like empty calories.

1. Brokeback Mountain
(Focus Features)
In a year dominated by manly man movies, the story of two dudes in love rules them all. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal painfully nail the masculine side of love, regret and heartbreak, all set against the cold beauty of Big Sky country. Whichever side of the saddle you ride, to not love this gay cowboy movie would be, well, un-American.