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A 'dozen' movies that could surprise

Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2006 at 5:09 PM Central

by John Couture

Sure, anyone can pick which movies will top the 2006 box office, but it takes much greater skill to pick those breakout hits that no one is talking about right now. By the end of the year, these movies could end up on the fast track to pop culture bliss a la Napoleon Dynamite and The 40-Year-Old Virgin or just be another piece of road kill on the box office highway, think Gigli.

Since ranking these movies wouldn't make much sense, here's our favorite dozen or so films that could sneak their way into cult status in 2006:

  • Sunshine (October 13) - While this one might be the most obscure movie on the list, we just couldn't ignore the latest offering from Danny Boyle. After last year's meandering distraction Millions, Danny returns to his favorite sci-fi genre with this movie about a group of astronauts that go looking for a missing space crew. With hits Trainspotting and 28 Days Later on his resume and an interesting young cast, this movie sounds like fun.
  • Catch & Release (April 28) - In Jennifer Garner's first theatrical film since giving birth and being romantically linked with now husband Ben Affleck, she will look to break Ben's curse (see above, below). While the movie is more independent in nature (a refreshing acting role by indie writer/director Kevin Smith) than big studio, this one might have all the right ingredients for romantic comedy breakout hit.
  • Date Movie (February 17) - If this movie reminds you of Scary Movie, it should since it comes from two of the six writers of Scary Movie or something like that. The bottom line is that Date Movie captures the same vibe as the very successful Scary Movie and it stars that chick from band camp, who, if you haven't noticed, isn't having such a bad year herself with her new TV show.
  • Truth, Justice and the American Way (TBA) - If you're more in the mood for potential sleeper Oscar contender along the lines of Seabiscuit, this might be more your cup of tea. Of course, the fact that it stars Ben Affleck might make it poison altogether. Come on people, get over the past and embrace this movie. With a strong supporting cast of Adrien Brody and Diane Lane, Ben might be making a return trip to Oscar land.
  • Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (TBA) - This movie will rock your socks off, or at least that's what Jack Black keeps telling everyone. New Line is hoping that it will become the next This is Spinal Tap. With Black's high profile role in the hit King Kong and the success of his band Tenacious D, it wouldn't be too surprising to see this movie turn it up all the way to 11.
  • V for Vendetta (March 17) - Usually when a movie recasts its male lead in the middle of filming and pushes its release date back 5 months, there is reason for concern. But V for Vendetta comes from the movie makers behind the Matrix series and features Natalie Portman having her head shaved. If it worked for Demi Moore in G.I. Jane why not here for Portman? The controversial portrayal of "terrorists" might add fuel to the fire or it might induce many young people to see this movie.
  • The Benchwarmers (April 7) - I know most of you might simply chalk this one up as another attempt to retread the Bad News Bears' tire, but this movie promises alot more and a great cast to boot. Jon Heder returns to form playing a very close caricature of his Napoleon Dynamite. Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison company is behind it and buds Rob Schneider and David Spade are at their comic best.
  • The Good Shepherd (December 22) - Matt Damon might rejoin his pal Ben in Oscar ville with this little flick. Directed by (and starring) Robert De Niro, this movie has a cast that pretty much has won December without firing a shot. And as for storyline, what is more intriguing that the "true story" of the start of the CIA?
  • Click (June 23) - Adam Sandler finally returns to the type of comedies that made him a star. Imagine this, a universal remote that controls your universe. Don't want to have that fight with your wife, just fast forward through it. This movie has a lot of potential and should be hitting the theaters at the right time. If those weren't enough reasons to go see this film, here's another: David Hasselhoff.
  • Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks (TBA) - When Kevin Smith wasn't busy acting or peddling his latest View Askew merchandise this past year, he was hard at work making a sequel to his magnum opus Clerks. It's 10 years later and while Dante and Randal may have moved on from the Quik Stop and RST Video respectively, they are still rooted in their main travails. More in the vein of his later work Chasing Amy, The Passion of the Clerks is said to be more dramatic and even in color! It's Kevin Smith, his cult-like fan base alone is good for $30 million, just ask Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
  • Happy Feet (November 17) - Since 2006 will once again be dominated by the animated genre, I could hardly end a list without including at least one animated entry. After the kings of animation Pixar entry Cars, it's really only a race to see who will finish second. And to be honest, I'm not really crazy about any of them, but I chose this one because it's all about animated penguins. And penguins are huge right now. They can March and they've been to Madagascar, but can they challenge Cars? I don't know, but it'll be fun to watch.
  • The Departed (TBA) - If there's a movie that will give Shepherd a run for its money come Oscar time, this one might be it. Everyone is already demanding the directing Oscar for Scorsese and the story revolving around South Boston, organized crime and a corrupt police force is in the same vein as Oscar winner Mystic River. Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson anchor this hotly anticipated movie. Nope, further words could not do it justice.

So, there's our dozen and we were going to leave it at that, but what's better than a dozen? A baker's dozen of course! This movie is just too crazy and weird not to include on this list.

  • Snakes on a Plane (August 18) - I wish I could tell you more than that, but the title pretty much sums it up. An assassin releases a bunch of deadly snakes on a plane in order to kill a witness in protective custody. I guess blowing up the plane never occurred to him or other means of traditional assassinations. Now, on the plus side, it does star Samuel L. Jackson who threatened to leave the project when producers were considering a title change from the hokey Snakes on a Plane. I don't know... "Venom Flight," "Charter Snake" and "Death by Rattlesnake" all have a good ring to them.