BY KEVIN CARR
1. The Passion of the Christ
Here is a film that no studio would touch, but suddenly became one of the biggest hits of the year. Unjustly criticized as being anti-Semitic, “The Passion of the Christ” was able to cross language, cultural and religious barriers to touch the heart of humanity.
2. Team America: World Police
Although considered a disappointment by the studio, the “South Park” guys turned out one of the funniest and gutsiest films of the year. Amid all the profanity and Hollywood-bashing, it skewered any sacred cow it could get its hands on and managed to trip up the MPAA with a simple puppet sex scene.
3. The Incredibles
Pixar did it again with a great film that went beyond the call of duty for an animation flick. It’s not just a great kids movie. It’s a great movie.
4. Shrek 2
Every now and then, a sequel comes out that’s better than the original, and “Shrek 2” was one of those films. It kept the level of humor up and told a creative story while introducing some brilliantly funny new characters to the series.
5. Open Water
You either loved “Open Water” or you hated it. There is no middle ground. “Open Water” was such a great film more for how creative the filmmakers were than anything else. Oh, and it scared the pants off of me, too.
6. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
It’s rare for a movie to be funny from beginning to end, and Dodgeball did this. There is no redeeming value to this film, but so what? I thought it was a riot.
In a year with political unrest and protests all across the nation, “Miracle” managed to make us feel good about America again. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The third installment of the “Harry Potter” franchise was handed off to a new director, and he did a fabulous job showing how twisted and deep the story could be. Darker than the first two movies, this new “Harry Potter” film showed us the Hogwarts kids as they are reaching the rocky time of adolescence.
9. The Ladykillers
The Coen Brothers’ latest film seemed to slip through the cracks of the release schedules, and that’s a real shame. Tom Hanks leads a tremendous supporting cast to make a dark comedy that actually has a decent message without being sappy.
10. The Final Cut
This overlooked thriller took on some deeply philosophical questions about privacy and the public’s right to know. Overall, a piece of art, from production design to acting, “The Final Cut” definitely makes you think.