The Top Ten of 2004

(Photo credit: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight)

1. Sideways: A buddy-pic road movie with heartfelt emotion, great wisecracks, and four great performances.

2. The Incredibles: What it means to be both exceptional and ordinary in the world; the year’s only “family film” that really explored family life.

3. How to Draw a Bunny: A mesmerizing documentary about the late Ray Johnson, the founder of “correspondence art,” and the mystery surrounding his 1995 death.

4. Collateral: Michael Mann pushed Tom Cruise into a new realm of expressiveness in the year’s sleekest thriller.

5. House of Flying Daggers: A Chinese martial-arts film of great visual beauty with a love story to equal its action scenes.

6. End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones: Heartbreaking, exhilarating chronicle of New York’s greatest punk band.

7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: The apotheosis of the clever date movie, with unexpected bursts of sincerity and surprise.

8. Kill Bill: Vol. 2: Quentin Tarantino’s conclusion to his revenge film/homage to Uma Thurman’s feet, containing, impossibly, more story and just as much action.

9. A Very Long Engagement: The extravagantly romantic, comic, tragic saga of one couple separated during World War I.

10. Fahrenheit 9/11: Michael Moore’s agitprop may have been uneven as moviemaking, but it set the tone for an election year.

The Top Ten of 2004