The Top Whatever

9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The manic, moody script from Charlie Kaufman was uneven and inconsistent, but still more interesting than most of the films out there.
8. Spider-Man 2
What can I say? Better than the first, the more so because it was planned out so well. The villains in this world don't do a lot for me, but Sam Raimi brings in enough character touches and simple, pure moments that number 3 could be against Urkel for all I care.
7. Ray
A more beautiful and haunting biopic I could not imagine, unless of course, it were one not bound by the traditional difficulties of biopics. I truly can't say if he outclassed everyone else this year, but Jamie Foxx absolutely turned in an Oscar-calibre performance.
6. Hero (Ying Xiong)
Though not technically a 2004 film, its USA release came this year. While a lot of people are probably praising its structure, what I liked was that it actually had some interesting questions to pose.
5. Team America
The best thing Parker and Stone have done since Cannibal! The Musical. I find their formula a little hit-and-miss, but these puppet commandos hit on all cylinders.
4. Sex Is Comedy
Another not-really 2004 film. Catherine Breillat doesn't qualify as a cannot-do-wrong director for me, but she's close. Among the driest of comedies, it's really the characters and insight that make the fiom.
3. Before Sunset
Linklater and friends know that it's not sex that's sexy, but rather the not-having-sex (stay with me here). They've created for the audience the most voyeuristic talking ever on the screen.
2. The Notebook
Does this belong at number two? I'm not inclined to order this much differently, so we'll say there's something I haven't seen yet that belongs here. Though Nick Cassavetes has adapted of work of almost entire sappiness, he embraces it into the most delicious sappy perfection I've seen.
1. Eulogy
A little flawed for number one, for a few moments of predictability, I still laughed more at this dark comedy than anything else this year, and that includes Team America.

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