By Ryan Clark
I'd do a top ten, but I really haven't seen that many new movies this year, and it wouldn't be fair to list ones that I thought were just okay. So I'm doing a top five, and hopefully next year I will have seen enough new movies to form a top ten.
5. SOUND OF MY VOICE
This unnerving mood piece about an enigmatic cult leader who claims to be from the future sounds like it would be riddled with cliches. It's not. It isn't perfect, but it is unique enough to stand out amongst other thrillers and dramas about creepy cults. In the end, I found it to be wholly absorbing, if a bit unsatisfying.
Follows almost too closely the horrifying true story of a fast food worker who was sexually harassed by her boss because of a prank caller who says that he's a cop. Because of its ultra-realism, the movie certainly does drag in places, but the tension never lets up even when you know what's going to happen. Many people were angered by this film and refused to accept that these unbelievable events actually took place, but that doesn't change the fact that it did happen.
Traci Lords is very impressive as the mother of a deranged, socially awkward high school girl with terrible complexion who wants to be a surgeon. This is often labeled as a horror film, but it's really more of a drama despite some freakish elements and gory dream sequences. The film deals with the strained mother-daughter relationship in a surprisingly dimensional way.
2. KILLER JOE
I've never been more uncomfortable at the movies than when I saw Killer Joe – and I mean that in the best possible way. Matthew McConaughey gives a career-best performance as the title character, a suave and mysterious hitman with a taste for young girls. This film is so wildly sleazy that it made me want to go home and take another shower, but I didn't want to take my eyes off the screen. I can't remember the last time I squirmed so much in a theater – The Devil's Rejects, perhaps – but all I know is I want it to happen more often. One thing is for sure: I will never look at KFC the same way again.
1. GOD BLESS AMERICA
I was tempted to make Killer Joe my top pick of the year, but this one is just too damn fun to not be my favorite. I honestly haven't seen a film that aligned more with my politics and what disgusts me in this world. The dialogue gets a bit too preachy at times, but I think the only thing I really disagreed with was the lead character's condemnation of Woody Allen. Still, how can I not love a film that so successfully satirizes everything that is wrong with America and graphically displays my every fantasy as an American Idol and reality show hater?