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Top Ten Movies We Didn't See This Year

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 22, 2006 3:07PM

2006_12embarrassed.jpgProfessional film critics usually like to pretend that, at the end of the year, they've seen it all. But let's be honest. Even if you watched movies nonstop, you'd miss a few (and probably become a little bug-eyed). And if you're like us, attempting to cover everything from Chicago politics to food to sports to Macy's discontent to the CTA, there'll be a few holes in your cinematic vocabulary. It doesn't help matters that all the really good stuff seems to come out all at once during the short, busy months between Labor Day and Christmas. It's the annual ritual known as SOB (Shameless Oscar-Baiting).

So in the spirit of honesty and openness which we strive to make a part of our stock-taking at year's end, we therefore offer up our list of ten films we should have seen, but didn't. Be prepared to scoff and snicker; we can take it, and we probably deserve it.

1. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Yes, there are probably only a few hundred people left in the entire country that have not seen it yet. And we are among them. Yet it's been so endlessly discussed and quoted by our friends that we almost feel like we've seen it already. To be fair we have a good reason for waiting: we're hoping it'll end up at the Brew & View, surely the optimum viewing environment for this type of movie.

2. The Departed
There's no good reason why we haven't seen this yet. We love Scorsese, and we like Jack Nicholson so much that we'd pay to watch him read the phone book. Luckily the movie seems primed for Oscar, which means it'll have a long healthy life on area screens. Perhaps we'll catch this one New Year's weekend.

3. Idiocracy
This comedy was dumped on the market so briefly that if you blinked you probably missed it. Yet any movie from the writer/director of Office Space has got us curious. Nathan Rabin at The Onion wrote, "There's a good chance that Judge's smartly lowbrow Idiocracy will be mistaken for what it's satirizing, but good satire always runs the risk — of being misunderestimated." It's out on DVD soon and will be at the top of our greencine queue.

4. The Illusionist
Most people we know (including our own mother) decided to go see the other magician movie, The Prestige. Yet Rosenbaum was so enthusiastic about it (calling it "a lush piece of romanticism" and giving it a rare four-star review) that we're anxious to see it now. And we've always like Paul Giamatti.

It's not our fault! David Lynch's latest, a three-hour puzzler shot on digital video over the course of several years, has played on the coasts but not in Chicago yet. You can be sure that we will be among the first to get tickets once it does. Mr. Lynch is dead serious about getting star Laura Dern an Oscar nomination: check out his promotional event, which involves a giant billboard and a live cow.

6. Marie Antoinette
The film that seemed to piss off all of France when it showed at Cannes. It received lukewarm notices here in the States. Still, with its candy-box visuals and ironic use of contemporary pop tunes, it looks like fun. A DVD rental for sure.

7. The Science of Sleep
We kept meaning to see it, really we did ... we heard nothing but great things about it from our friends. Have we mentioned that Gael Garcia Bernal makes us melt? We'll be enjoying this one in the privacy of our home, thank you very much.

8. Shortbus
We're always up for provocative cinema with a sense of humor, and this film by John Cameron Mitchell is exactly that. It's sad, but ... we couldn't find anyone who wanted to go see it with us. No matter. We'll see it alone if we have to.

9. Thank You For Smoking
We're anxious to see this razor-sharp political satire now that it's on DVD. Here's our plan: we're going to have a bunch of smokers over to our non-smoking apartment. Then we'll watch the movie. And torture them.

10. Time to Leave
We have been a huge fan of Francois Ozon ever since Under the Sand, and we were really looking forward to his new film. The fact that it stars Jeanne Moreau was the clencher. But when it finally came to Chicago it only played here for two weeks. Now it's on DVD, and we'll happily catch up with it.

Looking over the titles above, it's become clear to us that more than ever we are relying on DVDs to enable us to see all the stuff we missed at the theater. It's a genuine technological revolution usually taken for granted; thirty years ago, if you didn't see something at the movies you were out of luck.

Be sure to check back next week for our Top Ten Movies We DID See This Year.