The Top Ten Films of 2005
At the end of the year, as we do every year, we’ll be counting down the Top Ten Films of 2015 according to Flickchart’s global rankings. In the months leading up to that, we’re going to be taking a look back and seeing what Flickchart users think are the best movies of ten, twenty, thirty years ago and so on. Just think, in ten years, we’ll have taken a good look at almost every year in the history of film!
In 2005, George W. Bush was starting his second term as US president, Pope John Paul II died after 27 years in the office, passing the papacy to Benedict XVI, Watergate informant Deep Throat was identified after 33 years of secrecy, and Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast. The top box office movie was Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, and Crash took home the Best Picture Oscar for the year, edging out favorite Brokeback Mountain. With probably even more impact on film culture than any of these box office and award winners, YouTube launched, setting off a craze for user-generated videos that shows no signs of letting up. And in 2005, we were all ten years younger.
Join us, as we travel back and see what Flickchart users rank as the Best of 2005.
After two juvenile adventure stories, the Harry Potter franchise waded into universe-building with its third outing and came of age with its fourth, The Goblet of Fire. Their characters already established, it’s here that romantic attractions and jealousies emerge, bringing Harry, Hermione, and Ron from childhood into adolescence. It’s also in this film that our characters suffer their first real loss, marking the transition to the much darker and more consequential events of Order of the Phoenix and beyond. The most impressive sequence is the underwater challenge, which is exciting – something that underwater sequences have rarely been (looking at you, Thunderball). – Travis McClain
- Currently ranked #944 of all-time
- Ranked 499,439 times by 67,803 users
- Wins 45% of matchups
#9. Lady Vengeance
There is a Korean tradition to take a bite of white tofu, which symbolizes purity, after being released from prison to show that a convict is choosing a crime-free life from that point on. Geum-ja (Yeong-ae Lee) aka Lady Vengeance does not eat the tofu she’s offered seconds after she’s been released from a thirteen-year prison sentence for the murder of a six-year-old boy. She knocks the plate of tofu to the ground. Could there be a more fitting opening sequence for the South Korean Revenge film and the ninth best film of 2005, Lady Vengeance. The final film in Chan-wook Park’s Revenge trilogy, Lady Vengeance isn’t the most loved (ranked third amongst Park’s films after Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), but it’s possibly the best, certainly the most affecting. Lady Vengeance is concerned with the revenge. It’s a character study about a person who has become so focused on a goal she has compartmentalized to an extreme degree. She’s become two different people.
The standout element is the editing. It jumps back and forth to reveal, more than tell, a story of a woman who’s blackmailed into taking the fall for a child murderer. The editing, along with the contrasting natures of Geum-ja and her persona Lady Vengeance keep you at a distance and unsure of what is actually true. In classic South Korean Revenge fashion, it’s a slow burn, only getting to the “revenge” sequence around the 80 minute mark of an 112 minute film. Then it slows again giving us one more opportunity to question Lady Vengeance’s motives and to examine our own two sides. – Zach Huffaker
- Currently ranked #935 of all-time
- Ranked 19329 times by 1403 users
- Wins 52% of matchups
#8. Walk the Line
It would be so easy for a film about a figure as prominent as John R. Cash to screw up everything, and in truth, almost impossible for any one film to really get it right. Walk the Line was based upon Cash’s own writings, and overseen by his son John Carter Cash. Still, there’s a sense throughout that there’s more to what we’re being shown than what James Mangold‘s film gives us. Some key passages are truncated, even reductive, but the film works anyway. Maybe it’s because Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon give truly terrific performances as The Man in Black and his second wife, June Carter. Maybe it’s because he was already so legitimately legendary that it’s just understood that any one take on his life and legacy can be no more than that. If nothing else, it’s a great starting place for learning about Cash. – Travis
- Currently ranked #921 of all-time
- Ranked 389,095 times by 52,132 users
- Wins 46% of matchups
This is one of three of this year’s Top 10 based on a comic book, but it’s okay if you didn’t realize that because neither did director David Cronenberg when he decided the screenplay suited him. A History of Violence falls tonally somewhere between Road to Perdition and No Country for Old Men. Tension is built and sustained with the simplest of narrative conventions; I felt almost as much anxiety watching the sheriff drive by himself down that dirt road as I felt standing near the Arch in St. Louis. (I’m acrophobic.) If there’s one adjective for this film, it would surely be “visceral”. The cast is spectacular, but in particular Maria Bello may never have been more commanding than she is here. – Travis
- Currently ranked #887 of all-time
- Ranked 314,202 times by 33,907 users
- Wins 48% of matchups
More and more of today’s comedy leans toward a sort of meta, self-aware, self-deprecating style, and that is abundantly clear in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. This hilarious crime comedy is narrated by the oblivious-but-well-intentioned Harry Lockchart, played perfectly by Robert Downey, Jr. His voiceover constantly argues with himself about how to tell the story, apologizes for being such a haphazard narrator, and acknowledges when new revelations seem cliched. This allows the audience a fresh new look at the hardboiled mystery format, but the movie doesn’t rest entirely on the back of a gimmick. When Lockchart finds himself working to solve a mystery with private investigator “Gay Perry” (Val Kilmer), their interactions are the stuff of great buddy cop movies as the two constantly clash, mostly due to Lockhart’s ineptness. He cheerfully but awkwardly stumbles through the investigation thrust upon him, irritating his partner, fouling up evidence, and commenting on it the entire time both as the narrator and as his loquacious self, much to Perry’s annoyance. It’s a wildly funny movie, and does indeed stand out as one of the best of the year. – Hannah Keefer
- Currently ranked #578 of all-time
- Ranked 160,537 times by 14,734 users
- Wins 55% of matchups
Judd Apatow‘s feature film directorial debut could have been an exercise in punching down meanness aimed at nerds, but for the most part works instead as a takedown of alpha male bros. The transphobic sequence in which we’re supposed to laugh at the prostitute hired for Andy being a transvestite is the meanest part of the film, but at least that ends with Andy and the unnamed prostitute developing a healthier connection than we saw him form with any of his coworkers. Overall, the film is a terrific showcase of Steve Carell‘s ability to shift from painstaking awkwardness into touching vulnerability at the drop of a hat. Carell’s chemistry with Catherine Keener is the stuff that romcoms are made of, and it’s easy to root for him to mature enough that the two of them to get together. – Travis
- Currently ranked #558 of all-time
- Ranked 506,119 times by 63,734 users
- Wins 51% of matchups
Rian Johnson will soon be a household name as the up-and-coming director tapped to helm Star Wars Episode VIII (he’s already gained many fans for Looper and his Breaking Bad episodes), but in 2005 he was a complete unknown, with only a few shorts to his name when this high school crime film came out. Brick tells a pretty simple story of a nerdy guy, a missing girl and a drug deal gone wrong, but heightens it with a noirish feel, complete with blonde damsel in distress and brunette femme fatale, and extremely stylized dialogue that tends to polarize viewers. I personally love it, and it makes what might otherwise be a standard thriller into a very unique and special experience. – Jandy Hardesty
- Currently ranked #480 of all-time
- Ranked 94,558 times by 7585 users
- Wins 55% of matchups
For fans of the aborted science fiction series, Firefly, the very existence of Serenity is a gorram miracle. Not just an expansion of the ‘Verse, Serenity is a stark reminder of where the series could have gone, had it not been cut off at the knees by its mishandling at the hands of a network that just didn’t know what it had. The movie may not quite reach the heights of the series at its greatest, but director Joss Whedon knew he had one last kick at the can with Captain Mal Reynolds and his ragtag crew aimin’ to misbehave. And so he fashioned a darker, action-packed coda designed to tie off the loose story threads that had been left hanging, and send his characters out in style. It was a love letter to fans that would prove Whedon to be the right man to helm the Avengers films that would come later. Shiny, indeed. – Nigel Druitt
- Currently ranked #422 of all-time
- Ranked 348,862 times by 34,314 users
- Wins 58% of matchups
#2. Sin City
Sin City was a game-changer in the realm of adaptations. For the first time, someone didn’t just take characters and situations from source material and create a film using them; everything possible was ported over directly from Frank Miller’s original comics; everything from dialog to comic panels being recreated as film frames. It’s because of Sin City that audiences of the last ten years have come to expect much greater fealty to source materials. Whether that’s inherently good for creativity is a separate matter, but for those who have long lamented the ways in which Hollywood has failed to understand and do right by the properties it has licensed, Sin City was the unexpected savior they’d wanted all along.
On a personal note, I prefer the extended cut, which allows you to watch each story segment on its own, rather than intercut as in the theatrical version. You also need to scope out the bonus content just to have Robert Rodriguez show you how to make breakfast tacos, including making your own flour tortillas. Like I said: GAME CHANGER. – Travis
- Currently ranked #418 of all-time
- Ranked 559,708 times by 64,077 users
- Wins 55% of matchups
#1. Batman Begins
For better or worse, the first film in Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy really started something. With Batman presented as a plausible – if not realistic – figure, suddenly every superhero movie urgently needed to be dark, brooding, and steeped in “realism”. Yet Batman is the only comic book figure who can genuinely sustain such nonsense, and Nolan used him to fashion a sprawling tale that spans the globe while it zeroes in on one man’s psyche. What drives a man to dress like a bat and beat up criminals every night? Christian Bale doesn’t even don the cowl until the one hour mark, allowing the character behind the mask to become real and relevant, even to audiences who haven’t been reading his books for the past seventy years. – Nigel
- Currently ranked #111 of all-time
- Ranked 818,432 times by 79,053 users
- Wins 67% of matchups
The above list is Flickchart’s Global Top 10 for 2005, calculated based on the rankings of all users. We wanted to showcase some of our own personal favorites, so each of us picked a favorite film of 2005 NOT included in the Global Top 10.
Travis – The Matador
As soon as I saw the trailer featuring Pierce Brosnan strolling through a hotel lobby in boots and short swim trunks, drinking a beer and dropping feet first into a tank with a shark, I knew I had to see this movie. Brosnan’s Julian is coarse, vulgar, and should be entirely unlikable, except that Brosnan’s performance is captivating from start to finish. Greg Kinnear‘s Danny is our point of view character, repulsed by Julian and yet drawn to him all the same. Where I fell in love with The Matador is the Christmas Eve sequence at the end of Act II, in which Julian surprises Danny and Bean (Hope Davis) in the middle of the night. The vulnerability and camaraderie of that sequence is genuinely warm and inviting, and it’s one of those special moments in a movie that I wish I could live in somehow.
- Currently ranked #2534 of all-time
- Ranked 24,273 times by 3109 users
- Wins 35% of matchups
Zach – Kingdom of Heaven
When I heard Ridley Scott was going to make an adaptation of the biblical story of Exodus I was very excited. Not because Prometheus or The Counselor were so great, but because at the center of a grand story with a river of blood and a sea parting, Exodus has very interesting characters. That’s what Kingdom of Heaven is. A gigantic story that has spectacle all while focusing in on the intricacies of the characters. Orlando Bloom does a good job of leading this film, but it’s the side characters I remember most. Liam Neeson‘s brief scene as the pragmatic crusader. Edward Norton, whose face we never see, as a soft spoken King who would love peace, but knows it’s impossible. Eva Green is more than just a love interest. She’s a smart and powerful politician in a time that was very unkind to women. Scott’s attention to those side characters and their details help build a spectacular yet nuanced world that puts the flashy and little substance of Gladiator to shame.
- Currently ranked #2905 of all-time
- Ranked 186,193 times by 23,879 users
- Wins 67% of matchups
Hannah – Rent
The movie adaptation of this acclaimed Broadway musical reunites most of the original cast, and the gang sings their heart out. The 1996 show seemed dated even in 2005 and more so now, but the songs are fantastic and the performances are beautiful, especially the heartbreaking rendition of “I’ll Cover You (Reprise).”
- Currently ranked #3302 of all-time
- Ranked 27,090 times by 3268 users
- Wins 32% of matchups
Jandy – The New World
This was the first Terrence Malick film I saw, and I had no idea what I was getting into. I’ve not been a big fan of most renditions of the Pocahontas story, so I wasn’t really expecting to like it – but I was hooked as soon as I realized that the Native Americans were almost dancing, simply as a pure expression of their being, as they watched the English land. Their movement, so natural and so in tune with the world around them, was the first indication that what I was watching was poetry on film. The rest of the film followed through, and I sat in awe through all of it, instantly on board with anything Malick wanted to do.
- Currently ranked #2447 of all-time
- Ranked 39,393 times by 3718 users
- Wins 34% of matchups
Nigel – The Descent
Horror has never been my genre, but when a movie grips me so completely and implacably with terror as The Descent, it’s impossible not to sit up and pay attention. Director Neil Marshall tapped right into my claustrophobia and invented a veritable swarm of the most terrifying creatures this side of Alien. Oh yeah, and the movie stars six remarkable, strong women who buck the “damsel in distress” stereotype in ways that many movies don’t even dare to attempt. The Descent is remarkable in its execution, in every way.
- Currently ranked #1793 of all-time
- Ranked 83,184 times by 8797 users
- Wins 45% of matchups