PG Cooper: My Movie Year

Posted: April 15, 2012 by PG Cooper in Commentary, Lists

My Movie Year is a project started by Fandango Groovers Movie Blog where bloggers are to choose their favourite year in film, and five films that exemplify why. I thought it be fine so I’m giving it a shot.

The year I’m picking is 2004. Now I wanna make it clear that I don’t think this is the finest year in cinema history. Heck it might not even be my favourite. But it was a great year, and my five films are all very different from each other, and 2004 seemed a more unconventional pick. With that in mind, here are my five favourite films from 2004, from least favourite to favourite.

5. The Aviator

 Release date: December 25th, 2004

Running time: 2 hours and 49 minutes

Written by: John Logan

Based on: The novel “Howard Hughes: The Secret Life” by Charles Higham

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, and Alan Alda

Biopics became extremely common in the last decade, but Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator is anything but common. The movie focuses on the life of Howard Hughes from 1927 to1947. Extensive focus is given to his success in film, his relationship with actress Katharine Hepburn, and the struggles he and his airline faced. The film is just shy of three hours, and yet never drags for a second. John Logan’s script is always interesting and features great dialogue. Scorsese also brings some great things to the film visually, and I especially love the colour scheme. In many ways, this is Scorsese’s biggest and most epic film. I also love the way Scorsese choose to portray Hughes’ OCD. Speaking of Hughes, I think Leonardo DiCaprio gives the best performance of his career as the brilliant but borderline insane Howard Hughes. I also think Cate Blanchett delivers her best performance as Katharine Hepburn.

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 Release date: June 4th, 2004

Running time: 2 hours and 22 minutes

Written by: Steve Kloves

Based on: The novel of the same name by JK Rowling

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson

The first two Potter films are good movies, but they are a bit kiddish and have a lot of problems. Prisoner of Azkaban
really elevated the series. This is a film that is far darker than the previous installments, and eliminated all the major problems from the first two films. The three leads really step up their game, and Radcliffe especially really shines here. The film also has the added bonus of having Gary Oldman as Sirius Black. Not only was this film the darkest at the time, but it also stands out as being the most fun film of the series. It’s hard to imagine how director Alfonso Cuarón pulled such a feat off, but he did. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a great film and a definite highlight of the series, for my more detailed thoughts, click here.

3. Collateral

Release date: August 5th, 2004

Running time: 120 minutes

Written by: Stuart Beattie, Michael Mann, and Frank Darabont

Directed by: Michael Mann

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, and Mark Ruffalo

Collateral is practically made of awesome. The basic premise is great. A cab driver has to drive an assassin around all night. Tom Cruise gives the coolest performance of his career, and one of his best for that matter, as the calculating and badass assassin Vincent. Jamie Foxx is also great as the cab driver tormented by Vincent. Stuart Beattie’s script is excellent, and Michael Mann gives the film a beautiful look. Collateral is one of those films that stays just as good every time I see it, for my full thoughts, click here.

2. Kill Bill Volume Two

Release date: April 16th, 2004

Running time: 136 minutes

Written by: Quentin Tarantino

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, and Michael Madsen

Quentin Tarantino’s first Kill Bill is an awesome film, but it wasn’t the deepest of stories. Or at least it appeared that way, until Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volume Two came out and proved there was a lot more going on. The film studies revenge, death, and enemies in a fascinating way. Tarantino’s script is also excellent, featuring great dialogue and story structure. Tarantino also shows more style in Kill Bill than he does in any of his other films. The cast is also great. Uma Thurman creates one of the strongest action heroes of all time, and David Carradine and Michael Madsen are also excellent. Kill Bill Volume Two is an epic revenge film, for my full thoughts, click here.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Release date: March 19th, 2004

Running time: 1 hour and 49 minutes

Written by: Charlie Kaufman

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, and Tom Wilkinson

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I love this movie. I think it’s one of the greatest films of all time. Everything from the acting, to the writing, to the directing is done flawlessly. I can’t think of another film so thought provoking while also being so emotionally stirring. It’s a film I think everyone should see. In truth, I don’t want to say too much about the film because it’s one I definitely want to talk about at length in future posts. So I’ll end with this; the first time I saw Eternal Sunshine, I was so blown away that I watched the film three more times that same week. I’ve never done that for any other film, before or since.

Comments
  1. [...] PG Cooper from PG Cooper’s Movie Reviews [...]

  2. Great choices, thanks for taking part.

  3. Henke says:

    Great list PGC. Your no 1 is on my all time greatest. My top 5 of 2004: 5: Kill Bill 2, 4. Azkaban, 3: Eurotrip, 2: Before sunset, 1: Eternal sunshine…

  4. mettemk says:

    Love your choice!
    The Aviator was wonderful, though I wouldn’t re-watch it – and I think Cate’s best performance was Im Not There.
    Harry Potter 3 is my favourite movie and book of the series, and it was the first one I saw in the theater.
    And finally, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my absolute favourites!

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      Cate is excellent in I’m Not There. I still lean toward her work in The Aviator, but she’s brilliant in both. Azkaban was my favourite in the series until The Deathly Hallows Part Two. And yeah, Eternal Sunshine is great.

  5. ianthecool says:

    Nice. 2004 is not a year I usually think about when it comes to movies, but you’ve got some good ones in your list.

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      2004 didn’t strike me as my movie year right away, but when I was looking through my movies by year, I suddenly realized what a great selection 2004 had.

  6. Bondo says:

    2004 was probably the top year that didn’t make the cut, though oddly for none of the films you picked. I’d go with The Woodsman, Innocence, Garden State, Sideways, Vera Drake…man, I could go on forever. I like every film you picked and still only Harry Potter made my top-25 for the year.

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      The only ones of those I’ve seen are Vera Drake and Sideways.

      I have to ask…how did Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind NOT make your top 25?

      • Bondo says:

        It was probably in my top-5 at the end of 2004 but watching a lot more 2004 films (seen 149 of them) combined with a less enthusiastic rewatch two years ago dropped it. I’m not really on board with the whole Kaufman-Gondry-Jonze triumvirate.

  7. Alan says:

    This is the first list so far where I’ve actually seen all the movies. Some great choices here.

  8. twodudereview says:

    I enjoyed The Aviator and Kill Bill Vo. 2 and loved Prisoner of Azkaban. Collateral is a very underrated film, and I’m glad to see it make your top 5. I hate to say it, but I’ve never seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I have extreme difficulties watching Jim Carrey films. I thought The Passion and Million Dollar Baby were also pretty good for the year.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      Haven’t seen The Passion of the Christ, but I’m with you on Million Dollar Baby, great movie. Another film that almost made this list was The Incredibles.

      Even if you’re not a Carrey fan, Eternal Sunshine is phenomenal and well worth your time.

  9. Amazing choices and so diverse!!

  10. Dave says:

    A very, very memorable year, and if I chose this year, our lists would be highly similar. I’d probably find a spot in there for Bad Santa and Before Sunset, but no idea who I would sacrifice! :-)

  11. zombieboy79 says:

    Solid list and definitely a big fan of Kaufman and Eternal Sunshine, but man no love for Ron Burgandy?! Also, I gotta think that Collatoral was one of Tom Cruises finer performances, such a great flick.

  12. alec96 says:

    Can’t disagree, especially when one of my favorite movies of all time is there, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

  13. Eric says:

    Cool choices! This reminded me that I really need to revisit Eternal Sunshine… I wasn’t as impressed when I saw it years ago, but my tastes have changed drastically since then. I get the feeling I would like it a lot more today.

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