2005 didn't really kick into gear until March 11, the day that Jason Calacanis chained me to a workstation and Cinematical was born. I chewed through the handcuffs in good time, but for some reason kept coming back to blog – by that point, I had enslaved a good portion of the 13 or so lunatics that you've come to know and love, and they needed somebody to pace around headquarters worrying about the moral implications of paying the rent by making fun of Sharon Waxman and exploiting celebrity divorce. So here I sit, nine months later, typing away from my AOL-financed glass house, and it seems like as good a time as any to reflect on the year that was. And by "reflect", I basically mean "splooge all over our blogfolio othe way only a loving mother could." And with that image fresh in your minds, I bring you, in two parts, the Top Seven Cinematical Stories of the Year. Put on your protective gear ...

7.  90s pretty boys in mid-life crisis - 2005 started off with the Celebrity Divorce Heard 'Round the World: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, the breathless headlines announced, had decided to become "Just Friends". Aniston immediately started playing the victim card, all but confirming that she had been abandoned for Angelina Jolie, Pitt's costar in Fox's summer tentpole (heh ...pole.) Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Not to be outdone by his Interview with a Vampire costar, Tom Cruise immediately held a casting call for a young brunette, and by early summer, we had ourselves a TomKat. Emboldened, apparently, by the powers of made-up publicity love (c'mon - even Oprah's not convinced), Cruise began shooting Mission: Impossible: 3 (the unnecessary action sequel being the Hollywood version of the Ferrari, as far as salves for middle-age go), and evangelizing Scientology on any talk show that would have him. This probably wasn't smart. By mid-December, Cruise had wisely dropped his sister in favor of a real publicist, and had moved on to rubbing cooking oil on 9/11 firefighters in the name of Scientology. Meanwhile, Pitt was making the only slightly less crazy move of adopting Angelina Jolie's kids. Pitt and Jolie have, to this day, not confirmed their relationship, but we're pretty sure that's only because of the voodoo curse.

6.  Star Wars finally dies
- To quote Anthony Lane, "Break me a fucking give." Sorry, boys, but I can't even bear to relive it. Our full directory of Star Wars stories is here.  


5.  Studios self-destruct
- Studio politics have never been pretty, and it's rare nowadays that we'll make it through an entire year without one company eating another alive. But 2005 could very well go down as the year the contemporary studio system really started to fall apart. It's hard to say who's had the roughest year. On one hand, you've got Paramount. As parent company Viacom works on a split, the motion picture division has seen shake-up after bloody shake-up, starting with the naming of Brad Grey (Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston's former production partner) as new studio chief, and Gail Berman' sudden, subsequent defection from Fox to serve as his second-in-command. One by one, Grey has pink-slipped the Paramount old guard in favor of his hand picked replacements. Now, with the announcement earlier this month that Viacom plans to buy Steven Spielberg's embattled Dreamworks, heads are rolling down the Paramount halls faster than you can say, "Brad Grey is a bastard!". Only slightly less convoluted was the saga of Disney. Their bitter divorce with Bob and Harvey Weinstein (who themselves started a new studio and immediately proceded to sell out) revealed that Miramax had been bleeding money for quite some time. Rid of the burden of that hemhorrage, the Mouse House gave up a stagnant Michael Eisner, but replaced him with Bob Iger, who seemingly kept the Wall Street Journal on speed dial to disseminate his crackpot ideas about...

4.  Smashing the window - Sure, Bob Iger tried to bully theater owners into selling Chicken Little DVDs at the concession stand, but the real vandal of 2005 is Mark Cuban. Who does this guy think he is (aside from an investor in and blogger for the Weblogs, Inc network, to which the words you're currently reading belong)? Together with 2929 Entertainment partner Todd Wagner, Cuban signed a deal with A-lister Steven Soderbergh to make six films, to be shot on HD and distributed simultanously in theaters, on cable, and on DVD. The first product of the venture is Bubble, a strange little rural noir set for release at the end of January. Soderbergh seems nothing but confident ("Name any big-title movie that's come out in the last four years. It has been available in all formats on the day of release. It's called piracy") – and, really, with Dan Glickman and the MPAA continually bungling the War on Piracy, who can blame him? Wagner recently admitted that 2929 could very well be out of their minds, but they're certainly not the only ones with window smashing on the brain – even George Lucas, who has made a ridiculous amount of money off of anticipation, says the window must be smashed. Still, a good number of Hollywood types are vehemently against breaking the glass.

Share your thoughts on the above, and come back tomorrow to see what made the top three...