Top 10 Movies of 2006 — and the Also-Rans Who says they don't make 'em like they used to? If you walked past theaters featuring special-effects-driven epics, chances are you could find something special in 2006. Critic Bob Mondello offers a breakdown of his Top 10 — and the 10 that nearly made it.
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Top 10 Movies of 2006 — and the Also-Rans

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Top 10 Movies of 2006 — and the Also-Rans

Top 10 Movies of 2006 — and the Also-Rans

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

And our film critic says if you look at quality rather than numbers, the picture's not bad either. Here's Bob Mondello with his annual 10 best list.

BOB MONDELLO: At the Multiplex in 2006, if you walk past all the auditoriums featuring special effects epics, you'd often find something that was actually special in the other theaters, like Helen Mirren's regal performance in "The Queen" as a British monarch resisting her prime minister's call to react more publicly to the death of Lady Di.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE QUEEN")

HELEN MIRREN: (As Queen Elizabeth II) I doubt there is anyone who knew the British people more than I knew, Mr. Blair, nor who has a greater faith in their wisdom and judgment. And it is my belief that they will any moment reject this - this mood which is being stirred up by the press in favor of a period of restrained grief and sober, private morning.

MONDELLO: While in another of my favorite films, "The Departed," Jack Nicholson's fictional gangster is deliciously outsized, sneaking an informant onto the police force while the cops sneak one into his gang.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE DEPARTED")

JACK NICHOLSON: (As Frank Costello) When I was your age, they would say we could become cops or criminals. Today, what I'm saying is this, when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?

MONDELLO: Unidentified Man #2: (Speaking foreign language).

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA")

(SOUNDBITE OF BOMB EXPLODING)

(SOUNDBITE OF BOMB EXPLODING)

MONDELLO: And the other is a road comedy called "Little Miss Sunshine" about a family nearly as dysfunctional as the van it's traveling in.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE")

ALAN ARKIN: (As Grandpa) Wait. Wait.

STEVE CARELL: (As Frank) Okay. I just want everyone here to know that I am the preeminent Proust scholar in the United States.

ARKIN: Here we go.

(SOUNDBITE OF VEHICLE ENGINE)

TONI COLLETTE: (As Sheryl) (Unintelligible)

MONDELLO: That's five. For the next three on my list, let's look overseas. First to Europe, where Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's bright, bouncy "Volver" put the melody back in melodrama, quite literally in a scene where Penelope Cruz sings her heart out.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "VOLVER")

PENELOPE CRUZ: (As Raimunda) (Singing) Volver.

MONDELLO: Unidentified Man #4: (Speaking foreign language).

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "L'ENFANT")

MONDELLO: Unidentified Woman: (Speaking foreign language).

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "L'ENFANT")

MONDELLO: Unidentified Woman #2: (Unintelligible) the youngest person on the planet with 18 years, four months, 20 days, 16 hours and eight minutes old.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "CHILDREN OF MEN")

MONDELLO: And speaking of singing, there is that number in "Dreamgirls" that audiences won't shut up for. They're cheering it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOMB EXPLODING)

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DREAMGIRLS")

JENNIFER HUDSON: (As Effie Melody White) (Singing) And I am telling you I'm not going.

MONDELLO: "Dreamgirls" is mainstream Hollywood reinventing the movie musical. And the high-school detective flick "Brick" is indie Hollywood reinventing film noir. "Brick" had such complicated team dialogue that even its leading man needed a glossary.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "BRICK")

BLOCK: Unidentified Man #6: Poor fresco?

BLOCK: Unidentified Man #5: Pin's kind of a local spook story. You know, the king pin.

MONDELLO: High school noir in "Brick."

A C: I'm Bob Mondello.

BLOCK: And if you couldn't scribble fast enough to keep up with Bob, you'll find his complete 19 film 10 best list at npr.org.

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