Last year, AFI dove eagerly into a sea of drama and politics. They cuddled with Brokeback Mountain and got whiplash with Crash. With only an old virgin to keep them afloat, it seems that the AFI powers-that-be started to sink into the drama, and were happy to be rescued by the smiling lifesaver of 2006. Unlike the heaviness of the groups previous choices, this year's choices are ... different to say the least.

First comes the familiar -- the films that aren't surprising. There's some overseas drama with Letters from Iwo Jima and Babel. For home flavor, there's the indie teacher drama, Half Nelson, Spike Lee's Inside Man, United 93, and some music with Dreamgirls. So far, so not surprising. It's a decent range of dramatic choices, although by no means complete.

Then comes the smiling life saver. There's a penguin with Happy Feet, for starters. Top that off with two huge indie hits -- Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan and Little Miss Sunshine, and you hit some mainstream, some satire, and one hell of a Miss Sunshine performance. But then -- and this is where I get really confused -- there is The Devil Wears Prada. When I wiped away the eye-rolling feelings of superiority from her friends, the fat comments (which may be accurate, but are still scary), and a few other too-cheery moments, I liked the film. I wasn't sad to have seen it, or to have even spent the extra coin to see it in a cushy theatre with seat service. However, that being said, is AFI so desperate for relief from last year that they went a little too far in the other direction?

categories Movies, Cinematical