In 2005 I moved to the city in Taiwan where I still reside. I began working at a Junior High School, and also teaching some university classes. The younger of my two daughters was born the same year.
In 2007 I attempted to move back to the United States, only to have that attempt end in failure. After living and working in Taiwan for so long, I found life in America confining... and difficult... and depressing. We moved back to Taiwan in 2008, and after that I began work in the elementary school where I am still a teacher.
It's difficult to pinpoint a defining moment in this era. Perhaps not enough time has passed between those years and 2014. America's economy continued to struggle, the US grew steadily more embroiled in both its War on Terror and its dependence on Chinese manufacturing, and Barack Obama was elected president.
Biggest Movies of 2005: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, War of the Worlds, King Kong, Madagascar, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman Begins, Hitch
War of the Worlds, King Kong, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Batman Begins were good blockbusters from that year. King Kong was a bit too long, but I liked it much better than Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies.
I really don't understand how people can sit through the Star Wars prequels. They are all so terrible. Ditto for Harry Potter.
Honorable Mentions: Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line, Crash, Capote, Transamerica, Cinderella Man, Syriana, Unleashed, Constantine, The Jacket, Sin City, Fantastic Four, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Good Night, and Good Luck, Lord of War, A History of Violence, North Country, Jarhead, The Ice Harvest, Munich
Crash is a film by David Cronenberg. It is about people who get turned on by automobile accidents. Definitely worth seeing.
Transamerica is about a man in the process of becoming a woman. This film was overlooked at the time, perhaps because of the somewhat formulaic road trip plot structure.
I think Unleashed is Jet Li's best movie. That fight at the end is great.
Sin City was (and is) freaking AWESOME. I've seen that movie so many times.
I believe that The 40 Year-Old Virgin was the most talked-about move from that year. Everyone I knew loved it.
Biggest Movies of 2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Casino Royale, Night at the Museum, Cars, X-men: The Last Stand, Mission Impossible III, Superman Returns, Happy Feet
Casino Royale was a fantastic movie. This was 007 as I always wanted to see him. Superman Returns wasn't bad.
X-men: The Last Stand has to be one of the worst superhero movies ever made. A truly abysmal effort.
Honorable Mentions: Babel, The Departed, United 93, Borat, The Last King of Scotland, The Devil Wears Prada, Hostel, Glory Road, The Hills Have Eyes, V for Vendetta, Inside Man, The Descent, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Idiocracy, The Black Dahlia, All the King's Men, The Prestige, Stranger Than Fiction, Let's Go to Prison, The Fountain, Apocalypto, Blood Diamond, The Pursuit of Happyness, Rocky Balboa, Children of Men
I have seen The Departed so many fucking times. I just can't get tired of that movie.
The Last King of Scotland was an excellent movie. Forrest Whitaker deserved the Oscar he won for it.
The remake of The Hills Have Eyes restored my faith in horror movies. The director, Alexandre Aja, is one of the directors often grouped within "The New French Extremity."
Talladega Nights marks the point where Will Ferrell became a household name. This movie and the few that followed were all hilarious, culminating in Step Brothers, which came out two years later.
Idiocracy is another of those movies that I can watch over and over again. Modern life often descends to the level of that movie.
Let's Go to Prison is an overlooked comedy. I didn't think it was that funny the first time I saw it, but it really grew on me.
Rocky Balboa is a tremendous guy film. I have that speech he delivers to his son nearly memorized.
Biggest Movies of 2007: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Transformers, Ratatouille, I Am Legend, The Simpsons Movie, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, 300
The only good movie listed above is The Simpsons Movie. All the rest are crap. 300 might be a stylistic victory, but it throws historical accuracy into the trashcan.
Honorable Mentions: No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Gone Baby Gone, American Gangster, Smokin' Aces, Black Snake Moan, Zodiac, Reign Over Me, Blades of Glory, Sicko, Rescue Dawn, Sunshine, The Bourne Ultimatum, Hot Rod, Superbad, 3:10 to Yuma, Eastern Promises, In the Valley of Elah, We Own the Night, 30 Days of Night, Charlie Wilson's War, The Bucket List
There Will Be Blood is one of my favorite movies. Daniel Day-Lewis is terrific in it. I like Javier Bardem's performance in No Country for Old Men almost as much.
Gone Baby Gone is the first film directed by Ben Affleck, who went on to win the Oscar for Argo. Affleck is also present in Smokin' Aces, which is a very good movie.
Sicko is a documentary about the American health care system by Michael Moore. One of his less preachy movies. Quite good, too.
Rescue Dawn pairs the legendary Werner Herzog with Christian Bale. Sadly overlooked at the time.
Sunshine is an great science fiction movie, somewhat reminiscent of the earlier Event Horizon.
Superbad is hilarious.
Eastern Promises is another Cronenberg film. This one follows the doings of the Russian Mafia in England. Viggo Mortenson is riveting as one of the Russian gangsters.
Biggest Movies of 2008: The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Kung Fu Panda, Hancock, Mamma Mia!, Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa, Quantum of Solace, Iron Man, WALL-E, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Hell yes the Dark Knight. Quite possibly the best comic book movie ever.
Iron Man was another great comic book movie, though in my opinion not as good as The Dark Knight.
Of the above-listed movies, I'd rank WALL-E third. It's a cute film, and it also has a lot to say.
Honorable Mentions: Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Wrestler, Cloverfield, Rambo, The Other Boleyn Girl, Stop-Loss, Street Kings, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Speed Racer, The Incredible Hulk, Boy A, Step Brothers, Mirrors, Bangkok Dangerous, Burn After Reading, Lakeview Terrace, Changeling, Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Wrestler is another all-time favorite. Between Sin City and this movie, Mickey Rourke was experiencing a career revival.
A lot of people are down on Speed Racer, but I liked it. Yes, it's hyperactive. Yes, the colors can give you a headache. But that was the point, wasn't it?
The Incredible Hulk might be my favorite of the Marvel Studios films. It's a little bit dark, but I think that works. Edward Norton is still my favorite Bruce Banner.
Andrew Garfield, who would go on to fame and fortune as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, is excellent in Boy A.
I have the dialogue from Step Brothers nearly memorized. Possibly Will Ferrell's best movie.
Biggest Movies of 2009: Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2012, Up, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Sherlock Holmes, Angels and Demons, The Hangover
Avatar was a good movie, even if much of the plot was borrowed from Frank Herbert's "The Jesus Incident" and the short story "They Call Me Joe."
The appeal of the Transformers movies is lost on me.
Sherlock Holmes is good. I also liked the sequel. Perhaps not in keeping with the original stories, but a good update nevertheless.
I liked The Hangover (it was the best of the three by far), but I don't think it deserved to make that much money.
Honorable Mentions: The Hurt Locker, Precious, Up in the Air, Taken, The International, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Watchmen, Observe and Report, Star Trek, Bruno, Ong Bak 2: The Beginning, The Box, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Precious is a movie everyone should see. The book is also great.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a documentary about an aging Canadian metal band. If you liked Spinal Tap, you really should see this one.
Watchmen remains the peak of Zack Snyder's career. I didn't care that much for Man of Steel, not to mention Sucker Punch.
Bruno is hilarious.
The Box is a horror movie. Very atmospheric and worth seeing.
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans features Nicholas Cage. It was also directed by the eminent Werner Herzog. This is actually another version of Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, a movie featuring Harvey Keitel. Ferrara was reportedly furious that Herzog had dared to "remake" his movie, but I think both films are good.