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5. Lift, Missing Jane and Grim. It was great to see these locally made short movies premiere at the Oaks, the Rex and Loews to the large and supportive audiences they deserved. [Ed. note: Nickel wrote and directed "Grim."]

 

4. Spider-Man 2. Enuff said.

 

3. Expiration and American Alien. Independent filmmaking at its finest, these are two gems worth tracking down from April's Bare Bones Film Festival, in Oklahoma. Google. This. Fest! The entire event was an amazing experience and the type of film festival that our city desperately needs.

 

2. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. I'm at an Australian film festival for the international premiere of my movie and how do I kill time? I see an American movie ... a heartbreaking, American movie for anyone who's ever fallen out of love.

 

1. Angel ("Not Fade Away").­ The best-written show on TV in 2004 (if not the past few years) is gone. Engaging and unique, January through May's episodes of Angel went from hysterical ("Smile Time") to heartbreaking ("A Hole In the World"). The series finale ("Not Fade Away") rendered me speechless, ending with the surviving members of the Fang Gang trapped in an alley staring down a supernatural army (complete with a giant and a dragon). The metaphor may have been obvious, but I think anyone fighting, and not giving up on, the impossible battles in their life (like, maybe, breaking into the film industry) could identify with the series' final line: "Personally, I'd like to slay the dragon. Let's get to work."

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