Oh, you. You've been so patient. Here's your reward: our Top Three Stories of the Year. On behalf of the entire Cinematical team, I want to thank y'all for supporting us through the past nine wild and wonderful months. We work our asses off every day to bring the content to the table, but it's our readers (and, especially, our commenters) who really bring the monster to life. And with that, I'm off to open up a bottle of prosecco and wait for the Honeymooners marathon to start. Have a great holiday and (sorry Erik - I have to be that guy) we'll see you next year!

3. Hello Sex Farce, Goodbye Action Craptacular - or, Rethinking the Broad-demoed Blockbuster

We leave 2005 with a long list of "surprise" flops falling behind us in a black-charred trail. From Kingdom of Heaven to Cinderella Man; from Aeon Flux all the way back to Bewitched, prestige projects with name, often even Oscar-winning talent failed to connect with audiences. At the same time, a pile of low-brow (or, at the very least, lower-brow) comedy hybrids smashed expectations. The year's first big hit came in the form of Hitch, which, with its multi-culti cast, bankable lead (Will Smith, bouncing back from a dry spell) and sex-centric yet generally inoffensive plot, was easily marketed to a broad demographic. And each of the year's non-fantasy franchise box office winners followed suit, with The Wedding Crashers and The 40-Year Virgin, most notably, standing as shining proof that the R-rated comedy is back in a big way. Significantly, neither film was merely a balls-out crassathon - both incorporated an ultimate respect for women and for the institution of monogamy, just enough to (almost) quell the anarchic misogyny on display in the first act. Like almost every film that hit it big this year (even those of dubious quality like The Dukes of Hazzard) Wedding and Virgin gave women a reason to follow the boys in their lives to the cineplex. As studio execs scratch heads over why they couldn't get young male geeks to line up for Stealth, or anybody to line up for The Perfect Man, they'll start to look at the freak accident ways in which they hit the four quadrants in 2005.  My guess is, the R market will start to look at lot more appealing.

2.   Bond, Bond, Bond


I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that there's a huge, rabid base of James Bond fans out there – after all, it's the largest, longest-running franchise in film history – but still, the reaction that came pouring in everytime we did even the smallest update on the casting of and pre-production on Casino Royale was phenomenal. From our photoshop contest back in May to the final crowning of Daniel Craig as the first blonde Bond in October, we coveredeverylittletinylittledevelopmentthroughoutthecourseoftheyear. Probably most fun for us were the tiny littlefeuds and snarky comments ex-007 Pierce Brosnan kept dabbling in all over the place; we were pretty sure the guy was just looking for attention, but as one reader commented just the other day, apparently we just "have NO clue whatsoever as to what having talent really means." You be the judge.

And for number one...