Movies They Loved And Hated

Another record-breaking year in Hollywood has just flown by, and entertainment contributors Laurie Hibberd and Jess Cagle dropped by The Early Show Monday to look back at the best and worst of 2004. (Cagle also is a senior editor at People magazine.)

The Early Show's Tracy Smith, who moderated the discussion, pointed out that 2004 has been an interesting year for potential best picture Oscar nominations. "It's a wide field," she explains, "and there's no sure thing like 'Lord of the Rings.'"

If Cagle and Hibberd each had their own Oscar ballot, she wondered, which five movies would they pick as nominees?

For best picture of 2004, Cagle's choices are:

  • "Aviator": "Big shiny movie, a movie lover's movie, fascinating subject, beautifully shot, bold performances by Cate Blanchett and Leonardo DiCaprio."
  • "Kinsey": "Surprisingly moving, interesting take on tricky subject matter."
  • "Closer": "So raw and honest, it was uncomfortable to watch. Amazing performances from the whole cast."
  • "Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera": "Overblown, over-the-top, lavish spectacle. The kind of movie that just isn't made these days. Livened up the material with a young beautiful cast. Disclaimer: Friend of mine directed it."
  • "Collateral": "The summer's best thriller. One of Tom Cruise's best performances, a breakthrough performance from Jamie Foxx. Expert direction from Michael Mann."
As for Laurie Hibberd, her top five picks for 2004 are:
  • "Fahrenheit 9/11": Says Hibberd, "I think you have to talk about the movies that people were talking about, and 'Fahrenheit 9/11' was one of them and got people talking about politics and the election and stirred up a lot of stuff."
  • "Finding Neverland": "It really surprised me and enchanted me. It was an unlikely topic, and they did it very well."
  • "Hotel Rwanda": "Rips your guts out. It's a fantastic movie about a horrible time in our recent history."
  • "Million Dollar Baby": Says Hibberd, "If you think you know what this movie is about, you don't. This really took me by surprise." Chimes in Cagle, "Halfway through, it just throws you for a loop."
  • "Ray"
  • For best actor, Cagle and Hibberd agree there is no competition for Jamie Foxx's performance as Ray Charles in the movie "Ray." Says Hibberd, "No other performance like it. He was such a surprise. He stepped out of himself and stepped into this persona. He played a blind man, he played a drug addict, he played a musician, and he played them all convincingly."

    Not only that but, as Cagle points out, "And he was in 'Collateral,' the best movie of the summer."

  • For best actress, Cagle names Julia Roberts in "Closer," another "real surprise," he says. "I think 30 minutes into the movie, I forgot I was watching Julia Roberts the movie star and I thought, 'This is one really terrific actress.' I was surprised."

    Hibberd's choice for best actress is Imelda Staunton in "Vera Drake."

  • There are movies that are "guilty pleasures" or, as Tracy Smith calls them, the "chocolate chip cookie dough of the movies." For Hibberd, it was "The Notebook." She explains, "I thought it was such a sobby, 10-hankie movie and it got me. I think James Garner deserves a supporting actor Academy Award nomination."

    Cagle's "guilty pleasure" was "National Treasure." He explains, "I say 'guilty' because it was so utterly implausible. I sort of love that about it. It was really fun." Critics hated it but, Cagle points out, "Audiences loved it."

  • There are movies we have high expectations for. We see the trailers and think they're going to be great and they don't live up to the expectations. For Hibberd, that movie was "Catwoman" ("a stupid movie") and for Cagle, it was "The Stepford Wives." He adds, "An amazing cast and just, you know, not funny."
  • And, finally, Hibberd and Cagle agree on their choice for worst movie of the year: "Alexander."