(Photo: Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson in “Black Snake Moan”)
1) Black Snake Moan — Forget church or therapy — one way to cure someone of their demons is to chain them to your radiator and play ’em the blues. Sam Jackson and Christina Ricci rise to the top in this raw, gritty, sweaty film.
2) Lars & the Real Girl — A moving but very weird story of human compassion at its finest. So what if our adorable Ryan Gosling totes around a blow-up doll and calls it his girlfriend? Are you going to ridicule or play along? The small town in this story chooses to play along … and they were better people for it.
3) Knocked Up — Izzy gots some comedy chops, who knew? Judd Apatow, apparently. Sex with strangers, accidental pregnancies, loser friends … we’ve all been there, right? Apatow took the most stressful situations in “Knocked Up” and magic-wanded them into complete comic genius. I wonder what would happen if he ever hooked up with Sarah Silverman. It’d be some crazy shit.
4) Year of the Dog — Molly Shannon puts aside her Catholic school girl antics and does a real fine job at bringing the lonesome, apethetic Peggy to life. You can’t help but feel sorry for her after she loses her dog Pencil, the only friend she had in her sorry life. This film proves that Molly is Rhoda no more. She’s got the Mary chops, indeed.
5) Waitress — The quirky characters and delightful, effortless storytelling by Adrienne Shelly made script-writing seem easy as pie. If only it was.