On this final day of 2006, I was looking over our Netflix rental history, trying to decide what was the best thing I saw this year. Ultimately, I decided it was The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. I put it in the queue based solely on the presence of Julieanne Moore, whom I adore. Happily, it was an excellent movie regardless of her fine work.
A close second was The Notorious Bettie Page. Admittedly, I was drawn to the subject matter: a famous stripper/ fetish model. But it, too, was a fine film. I loved the look of it. It was partially B&W, and part rich, saturated color. The story glossed over some of the darker bits of its title character's past and, considering her profession, seemed somewhat sanitized. But it was directed and written by women, and I wonder if that's why. Not a complaint-- merely an observation. Gretchen Mol was very good-- sexy yet innocent.
Interestingly, both of the films were period pieces set in post WWII America, and both were made by women. Both had an excellent feel for their time and place-- something I feel is very important in movie. I enthusiastically recommend them both.
Probably the biggest disappointment was Little Miss Sunshine, which we just watched last night. Aside from Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin (both wonderful), and a funny ending, it did little to hold my interest. Otherwise, it was full of unlikeable characters and contrived situations. I found it tedious and overrated.
On to 2007...