January 2, 2002
9:38 PM   Subscribe

So what are your Top Ten movies for 2001? The NYT's Elvis Mitchell cites "In The Mood For Love" as the best and David Kehr chooses "The Royal Tenenbaums." Then there's Roger Ebert who's #1 is "Monster's Ball" and Harry Knowles who picks, surprise surprise, "The Lord of the Rings."
posted by adrober (58 comments total)
Let me tell you why I didn't like "Lord of the Rings."

Boy goes on adventure --> Recruits warriors to accompany him --> Battle: Victory! --> Battle: Victory! (fallen comrade) --> Battle: Victory! --> Battle: Victory! (fallen comrade) --> "Let's split up!" --> Movie ends.

......all in 3 hours......

I never read the books, so there's no way I could ever enjoy the nostalgia experienced by LOTRites (like some of my friends). They tried to convince me that it was much deeper than that, that I needed to appreciate the detail and craft involved (crops planted, real weapons, etc.).

If I wanted to make a movie with my webcam of me sitting in my chair for 3 hours, once getting up to go to the bathroom, it may not seem exciting........until you see the 7000-page storyboard script I developed, or the painstaking arrangement of the pictures on the wall behind me! Hell no, the product stinks either way, as I discovered with LOTR.

The only form of nostalgia I experienced was the feeling that I was playing Final Fantasy all over again for Nintendo. Move, fight, win, move, fight, win, fallen comrade, etc.

Ahhh, that game was fun, but I was in control.
posted by Mach3avelli at 9:50 PM on January 2, 2002

Yet again I've seen perhaps 1 or 2 of the "best films." The rest really don't interest me. Most TV doesn't interest me. Most books don't interest me. I've fallen outside of the marketing demographics. Man that sucks.
posted by fleener at 9:51 PM on January 2, 2002

Vanilla Sky, Momento (was that this year?)
posted by howa2396 at 9:52 PM on January 2, 2002

My two favorites: Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Royal Tenenbaums.
posted by adrober at 9:54 PM on January 2, 2002

Or, be like The Stranger and do a Top 10 Films of 1981, Now.
posted by gluechunk at 10:09 PM on January 2, 2002

argh, I'm still waiting for Royal Tenenbaums to come within 200 miles of here..... and when it gets here it'll be in my top 10 (I hope).

There weren't many films that will make it into my more than 10 top 10, this year. I just saw vanilla sky, its in there.
posted by tomplus2 at 10:25 PM on January 2, 2002

I agree with In the Mood for Love, and Lord of the Rings, though I believe In The Mood was released a couple of years ago abroad.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:45 PM on January 2, 2002

I had very high hopes for The Royal Tenenbaums but, by the end, wanted it to go away, even while I was laughing. I just got tired of Wes Anderson's twittering, his maddening boy-genius wisdom-deficient flourishes. The worst moments for me were the "best" ones, with a "perfect" bit of music and a "perfect" slow-motion tracking shot that left you no alternative but to look in unwarranted awe at the little mix-tape "perfection" Wes Anderson has cultivated in, no doubt, his bedroom. Enough, prodigy!

And, having said all that, it was entertaining, and I don't regret watching it. I do plan on avoiding Wes Anderson's next movie, though -- it should be just terrible.
posted by argybarg at 10:47 PM on January 2, 2002

I only saw 17 new movies last year, of which not even 5 are worth viewing again. I mean Driven would be in my top ten if I had to sit down and make a top ten. :)
posted by riffola at 10:51 PM on January 2, 2002

ah yes In The Mood For Love - 2000. Can't wait for the DVD release! Why must they torment me so?!
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:52 PM on January 2, 2002

My Top Ten of 2001:
1) Waking Life
2) Amelie
3) Muholland Drive
4) With a Friend Like Harry
5) Momento
6) Snatch...(technically 2000, but I saw it in 2001, damnit)
7) Apocalypse Now re-release
8) Sexy Beast
9) The Man Who Wasn't There
posted by tiger yang at 10:54 PM on January 2, 2002

Maybe someone should tell Ebert that everyone else doesn't get an advanced screening and if it hasn't been released yet it can't really be considered the best of 2001.

Great list, if you happen to live in Ebert world.
posted by skallas at 11:01 PM on January 2, 2002

Man. My cholesterol went up just by reading the words "Ebert World".
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:06 PM on January 2, 2002

mulholland drive
yi yi
in the mood for love
love's refrain (dorsky)
fat girl
royal tenebaums
little otik
in praise of love (godard)
the man who wasn't there (at times)

(vanilla sky definitely not, mulholland drive approaches a similar subject in a much more interesting and succesful way)
posted by panopticon at 11:06 PM on January 2, 2002

Vanilla Sky, Memento, Amelie and, um...
Moulin Rouge. Please don't hurt me.
posted by mrbula at 11:07 PM on January 2, 2002

Our Song
In the Mood for Love
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Circle
Mulholland Drive
Ghost World
Brother Born Again
Moulin Rouge
Trembling Before G_d
Little Otik
The River
Rock Star
Harry Potter
Planet of the Apes
posted by djacobs at 11:09 PM on January 2, 2002

Ghost World.
The only movie I saw this year.
I don't care that much for movies--or tv--anymore.
And I agree with that list of the best of 1981's top choice:
My Dinner With Andre.
posted by y2karl at 11:22 PM on January 2, 2002

Maybe someone should tell Ebert that everyone else doesn't get an advanced screening and if it hasn't been released yet it can't really be considered the best of 2001.

Monster's Ball was released in NYC and LA on Dec. 26th. Black Hawk Down was also in very limited release in the last week of December (and as such they're eligible for the Oscars). The items on his list were officially released in 2001.
posted by gluechunk at 11:49 PM on January 2, 2002

1. Amelie (especially the first third)
2. Battle Royale
3. The Others
posted by boneybaloney at 11:53 PM on January 2, 2002

1. lord of the ring: boys go to adventure and he got warriors to help him out and they win battles, too. How cool is that!

2.crouching tiger {it's this year right?} boys and girls go adventure and lost virginity and fighting and victorious as well. sorry someone died.

3.memento: boy forgot memory and he goes on adventure and people help him and he won battles {with guns} too!

4.gladiator: boy on adventure and many warriors help. battle, victory, battle, victory, battle, victory {did someone just died here?}, battle, victory, battle, victory, killed the king. woohoo! "let's split up," and "i'll see you again but not yet."
posted by cqny at 11:54 PM on January 2, 2002

Sorry, Crouching Tiger was last year. I saw it during Macworld SF last year and it had already been out for a while.
posted by kindall at 12:23 AM on January 3, 2002

The items on his list were officially released in 2001.

Now we're just playing with the word "official." The official site for Black Hawk Down says in theaters, officially on the 18th.

A lot of these movies seemed to be released in a handful of venues on the 24-26 only to be eligable for the Oscars. Gosford Park is another example.

There's of course the issue of why even choose movies that no one can see except a few advanced screeners and some lucky bastards. The point of the best of list is to look back on the year and see what great movies you might have missed, not to hear how great something on the 18th is going to be.

Ebert's world lives on.
posted by skallas at 12:35 AM on January 3, 2002

gluechunk, thanks for the link to Sean Nelson's '81 Top 10. I happen to agree with him on Time Bandits, Raiders, and Pennies From Heaven, but My Dinner With Andre? Nelson must be smokin' pot. It's two guys sitting at dinner, one of them pretending to like the other one who doesn't know when to shut up. It wasn't good in 1981 and it isn't good now, I don't care how many critics praised it.

I do believe 2001 would be ideal for a list of the ten worst movies of the year. That's much easier to do.

Along Came A Spider - was a sequel to Kiss The Girls really necessary? I think not.
Hannibal - was a sequel to Silence of the Lambs really necessary? Jodie didn't think so and I agree with her.
Memento - a tale told by a gimmick, signifying purposeful confusion. Someone tell the moviemakers behind this little memento that the purpose of filmmaking is to tell stories, not turn the audience's brain into mush for a zilcho payoff. Next time someone takes me on a ride like that, I want free drinks. And a hooker!
Joe Dirt - David Spade must die.
Cats & Dogs - A movie that's about as fun as taking my neighbor's cat by the tail and swinging it over my head until someone calls the cops. MerroWorwr-MerroWorwr-MerroWorwr! Jeff Goldblum's never done anything this bad since Tenspeed & Brownshoe - and I'm a dog lover!
America's Sweethearts - A fake and trite Hollywood film about how fake and trite Hollywood is. How novel! And predictably, the best parts of the movie were in the trailer. Although I really liked the chemistry between Billy Crystal and Julia Roberts. Why didn't they end up in bed?
Zoolander - Ben Stiller's just upset that Mike Myers came up with Austin Powers before he did.
Evolution - Almost not memorable at all, and caused any chance for David Duchovny to become a film actor to just deteriorate into the empty dreamy dreams of fuzzy computer generated muppets.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within - It's good to know that even though actors will become completely obsolete in less than three years, there will always be a desperate need in Hollywood for good writers. This movie's still in desperate need for a good writer. Too bad they didn't find one.
Jurassic Park III - I enjoyed this in the same way I enjoy drowning cockroaches in a toilet. The only thing that would have saved this film is if they went more realistic with it and had the dinosaurs eat all the lead characters within the first ten minutes of the film, so we wouldn't have any pesky actors getting in the way of the kickass special effects for two hours. Ooh! Better yet! They should have had the airplane filled with Jar Jar Binks clones! And then show them running around talking in gibberish and then a T-Rex comes along and eats all of 'em! That woulda rocked!
Pearl Harbor - The film Deep Impact had a love child with a war documentary and this dropped out of the baby's diaper.
Jason X - Can you believe they even bothered making this? They shoulda called it Jason taXwriteoff.
Legally Blonde - Bad premise. Bad jokes. Bad writing. Bad directing. Bad acting. Bad everything. I can't believe people got paid to make this crap. Compared to this film, Miss Congeniality was almost good.

Is that ten? I lost count.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:39 AM on January 3, 2002

No-one's mentioned The Dish, which must be best nerd film of the year. Was Happiness this year? That was pretty good too (and also featured a nerd... :-)
posted by andrew cooke at 1:02 AM on January 3, 2002

I nominate planet of the apes as the worst movie of the year, if we're doing that.

hedwig and the angry inch tops my list, but i'm biased.

andrew cooke: happiness was 1998. damn.
posted by palegirl at 1:05 AM on January 3, 2002

(that would be hedwig tops my top ten list.)

oh, and i'd put mullholland drive on the list of worst movies, too, even though I understand it better now than I did at first. I'm surprised by how many of you are including it among the best, and doubly surprised at how often I'm seeing it at number one of such lists.
posted by palegirl at 1:08 AM on January 3, 2002

Best movies I've seen in no particular order:

From Hell: I'm still blown away at how a long and slowly paced detective/noir film can be so engrossing. This is an instant classic in my book. This is a well executed movie in every regard. Consider for a second how the Hughes brothers pitched this, "Okay its an old-time jack-the-ripper story with Johnny Depp vs. the Illuminati." Talk about departures, this aint no American Pimp.

Zoolander You heard me! It had this great Ben Stiller - Wil Ferrell chemistry going. Most of the gags worked well, especially the "Car Wash", "Hand Model", and orgy scense. I'm afraid that for the rest of my days I will never be able to forget the poster of Mogatu wearing a gorilla suit with his characteristic M spray painted on it. Also Milla Jovovich is in it. :)

Memento I liked the gimmick and certainly very few people could have predicted where this was going.

Final Fantasy Wonderful eye-candy which just immerses you into their weird world. Its a shame the villian was so over the top that it was just ridiculous and that most of the primary characters were just the usual gang of movie stereotypes.

Sexy Beast. Aging gangsters and a crazed Ben Kingsley, that pretty such says it all.

LOTR Its really just an action movie, but it excels in so many ways. You would think consistant hobbit height and an ending are prerequisites for this kind of movie.

Horoable mentions:

A.I. It could really have used some editing, but the movie seemed so believable that I will probably forever see Haley-Joel as an andriod.

Waking Life Just too chaotic in the begining. Its like Philosophy 101 jam packed into 45 minutes. Once the lucid dreaming plot emerged I was completely enthralled. I'd like to see it again on DVD and skip the less interesting and amusing maniacs in the first half.

The worst movies I saw were Shrek, Planet of the Apes, and the Mummy Returns. No need to reflect on those.

I haven't seen Mulholland drive or Ghost World yet. Not to mention all the advanced stuff that's playing at the 50 screen theater in Ebert's World.
posted by skallas at 1:25 AM on January 3, 2002

My top ten (limited, of couse, to only those movies I've seen)

1. Amelie
2. Memento
3. Moulin Rouge
4. A Beautiful Mind
5. Monsters, Inc.
6. A Beautiful Mind
7. Lord of the Rings
8. Bridget Jones's Diary
9. Shrek
10. The Others
posted by obfusciatrist at 1:35 AM on January 3, 2002

sorry, i meant crouching tiger is from 2001, last year {which is the year we are talking about regarding the movies}.

my mind is still in the 2001 mode.
posted by cqny at 2:02 AM on January 3, 2002

palegirl 1998? oops. i guess i saw a re-release...

in the same vein: imdb says memento was 2000 (and fwiw i thought it was silly anyway - how could that suit look so good on hime when the other guy had a different build?)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:53 AM on January 3, 2002

Donnie Darko
Ocean's 11
Royal Tenenbaums
Spy Game

Those are the 2001 movies I enjoyed the most. And even though Memento was released in 2000, I saw this today:
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - "Memento" and "Mulholland Dr." may have tied as the Online Film Critics Society's top pick for best film of 2001, but "Mulholland" was the big winner of the group's kudos, grabbing nods in six of 17 categories.
posted by uftheory at 5:45 AM on January 3, 2002

okay. here's mine.

1. memento
2. moulin rouge
3. amelie
4. lord of the rings: fellowship of the ring
5. ghost world
6. hedwig and the angry inch
7. the royal tenenbaums
8. mulholland drive
9. ocean's 11
10. monsters, inc.

donnie darko never came within 100 miles of here, though i think i would've dug it. also, waking life must've slipped into town on a thursday and left the next monday. and i flat out missed sexy beast.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:01 AM on January 3, 2002

No-one's mentioned The Dish, which must be best nerd film of the year

That's because it's from 2000. At least, in Australia. Was it released in 2001 elsewhere?
posted by eoz at 6:05 AM on January 3, 2002

I saw a pretty sizable pile of movies last year, but there were quite a few that I missed, like Amelie and Ghost World. Here's my top five:

Moulin Rouge
Fellowship of the Ring
Royal Tenenbaums
The Others

Honorable mention: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (yes, really. Zoinks, yo)

It was a good year for bad movies too, which I adore for the whole snarkability factor. I've pretty much acted out all of "Vanilla Sky" for my friends and loved ones. Which may be why they haven't been returning my calls lately. The worst of the bunch:

Vanilla Sky (I’ll tell you why I hated this so much in our next life. When we are both cats.)
Planet of the Apes (for the ending, and for Estella Warren)
Pearl Harbor (Don’t get me started)
A.I. (for the blubbering non-Kubricky “happy” ending)
America’s Sweethearts (et tu, John Cusack?)
posted by kittyb at 6:16 AM on January 3, 2002

I believe the British flick "Snatch", with Brad Pitt, is a 2001 movie. I know I saw it in the theaters early last year. It was by far my favorite movie of 2001 and one of my all-time favorites. I rarely watch TV, so if I'm in front of the tube, I pop in a movie. My favorites, of course, are the ones I don't mind watching over and over and that would be Snatch for 2001. You have to watch it a few times in order to understand what they are saying.
posted by munger at 6:52 AM on January 3, 2002

That Mulholland and Memento made so many lists serves more to illustrate how tired everyone is with the standard fare spewing out of Playdough Fun Factory that is Hollywood...

(I saw both films, BTW, and they are both good films, but IMO, are far too inaccessable to the masses to deserve best of year status)
posted by BentPenguin at 7:10 AM on January 3, 2002

This was year of extremes for moviemaking. The bad films were really bad: I walked out of Pearl Harbor even though I really wanted to see the Doolittle raid; the ending to Planet of the Apes was pointless and insulting, as was the rest of movie for that matter; nobody has owned up to liking Vanilla Sky in any way, shape, or form; Jay and Silent Bob was a big disappointment, as was AI.
But the good films were really good, too: Memento was tight and kept your mind engaged through the whole thing and thereafter trying to figure it out; Waking Life was bold, immersive, and playful (and had a fantastic score); Ghost World nailed the theme of alienation (how did such a transgressive movie manage to get made?); I'll even go out on a limb and call a bit of fluff like Ocean's 11 a great movie because it was a perfectly executed and highly entertaining bit of fluff.
All that having been said, every other movie of 2001 was a mere sideshow compared to Lord of the Rings, IMHO. LotR redefined epic filmmaking and (hopefully) raised the bar for all subsequent "big" movies. From the casting to the effects to the quality and fidelity of the adaptation, this film surpassed all of my expectations.
posted by whuppy at 7:19 AM on January 3, 2002

How about top 10 soundtracks of 2001?

While not as good as the Rushmore soundtrack in my opinion (The Rushmore ST got me through the 16 hour drive from san francisco to santa fe this winter), the Royal Tanenbaums soundtrack is another good addition to any collection. It is always nice to see Nico on a soundtrack (the world needs more Chelsea Girls).

Also, the soundtrack for In the Mood For Love soundtrack is really good (if you are one of those that loved listening to 'Yumeji's theme' the dozen or so times it was played in the movie :-)) though I agree that this movie is not technically a 2001 release.

The Ghost World soundtrack was also good, though not something I would usually pick up. Based on whuppy's advice, I think that I may check out the score for Waking Life. Thanks for the suggestion.
posted by songoku1 at 7:24 AM on January 3, 2002

Also, the soundtrack for In the Mood For Love soundtrack is really good

Sorry meant the soundtrack to the movie not the soundtrack for the soundtrack :P
posted by songoku1 at 7:31 AM on January 3, 2002

I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned "Together" yet. This film about a Swedish commune was the best thing I'd seen all year -- until my 14-year-old self took over and made me see LOTR over and over again.

2. Together
3. Y Tu Mama Tambien
4. The Princess and the Warrior
5. With a Friend Like Harry
6. Mulholland Drive
7. Before the Storm
8. Ghost World
9. Kandahar
10. Memento

I also enjoyed Last Resort, Monsters Inc, Hedwig, In the Bedroom, Moulin Rouge, L.I.E., Everybody's Famous, Waydowntown, and When Brandon Met Trudy. Disappointments of the year: Planet of the Apes, The Royal Tenenbaums, Amelie, and The Man Who Wasn't There.

shameless self-link to my top ten article
posted by muckster at 8:02 AM on January 3, 2002

ghost world
oceans 11
royal tenenbaums
the man who wasn't there
posted by m2bcubed at 8:19 AM on January 3, 2002

Darn, Muckster. Having not seen LOTR, I can safely say "Together" = 1
posted by G_Ask at 8:29 AM on January 3, 2002

Together truly was outstanding. A foreign language-film with lots of characters and yet, months later, I remember all the characters vividly. Great work.
posted by argybarg at 9:34 AM on January 3, 2002

Moulin Rouge!
Mulholland Drive
The Fellowship of the Ring
Ghost World
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Amores Perros
Monsters, Inc.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
posted by brittney at 9:47 AM on January 3, 2002

I can't BELIEVE ZachsMind dissed Legally Blonde. That fine film will always stand as Greasy Reesey Witherspoon's contribution to society. I stood up at the end and shouted, "I'm coming to law school, sister!"

Eh, Amelie could kick her ass. Ooo! The awesome woman from Amelie plus Greasy Reese should do a remake of Mulholland Drive... THAT would make every straight man's top 10 list. Throw in the rabid dog pack from that piece of trash Amores Perros and retarded little Haley Joe Robot Boy and you've got a hit! Kind of a Ready To Rumble/Clueless teen movie with High Art indie cred! Burn Hollywood, burn.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:46 PM on January 3, 2002

Movies I most enjoyed in 2001:

Lord of the Rings
Mulholland Drive
Ghost World
The Others
Zoolander (althouygh I don't begrduge anyone for not liking it)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Oceans 11

I didn't much enjoy "Waking Life", although I felt like I should have.

The last five minutes made Planet of the Apes the worst movie I saw all year.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 3:00 PM on January 3, 2002

well, it's official, then. I'm the only human on the planet who thought Memento was a sack of shit.
posted by bradth27 at 3:36 PM on January 3, 2002

No bradth27, there are a few more of us. Take heart.

And I heard a line of vacuum cleaners will be released as a tie-in to Vanilla Sky, given how much it...well, you know.
posted by bingo at 4:32 PM on January 3, 2002

i really want to say the harry potter movie because i really did enjoy the movie... it just could not match up, or avoid being compared to lord of the rings.. faves of this year was lord of the rings, shrek, monsters inc., and ocean 11.. as you can probably tell from that selection, i don't really expect too much from movies and am entertained easily. i'd watch more artsy films but i hate the only theatre nearby that plays them...
posted by lotsofno at 5:26 PM on January 3, 2002

"LOTR," and after that in no particular order: "Shrek," "Spy Game," "Moulin Rouge" (why do so many people feel they have to apologize for liking this excellent movie?), "The Others," "Harry Potter," "Ocean's 11."

That's only seven, but I'll stop there because I could more easily come up with a list of movies I haven't seen yet but that would probably make my top-10 list.

And speaking of 1981, did anybody else notice that the idol from the beginning of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (or an exact replica of it) reappeared in "Sand Pirates of the Sahara," the movie written by Jim Carrey's character in "The Majestic"?
posted by diddlegnome at 5:57 PM on January 3, 2002

bradth27: I'm the only human on the planet who thought Memento was a sack of shit.

Uh. No. I thought it sucked too. I appreciated where the writer and the director were coming from, but I don't appreciate a movie that doesn't let the audience in on what's going on. It's insulting to my intelligence and a waste of my time. Memento was like being the monkey in the middle between two bullies.

Much better structured films like Go and Pulp Fiction played with time, but didn't purposefully try to lose the audience. Movies like Run Lola Run and Sliding Doors play with time too, but they let the audience in on the prank. So you're there with the storytellers and its the characters that are the brunt of the reaction. A movie like Memento leaves the audience out in the cold the entire movie because it's really got only one major shocker at the end, and has to try to stretch the audience's attention through ninety minutes with tricks and gimmicks. A movie like Memento is like a roller coaster where the designers purposefully didn't include seat belts but did include ejector seats.

I also just didn't buy that this memory loss guy could function in society alone like that without someone carting him off to a hospital, or calling the police. I'm sure there are people with this condition, but they're usually assisted and probably don't leave home often. Too much of the film was a lost suspension of disbelief.

I agree with a slight paraphrase of what someone said earlier. Lord of the Rings was the reason for the movie industry in 2001. Everything else was just trying to avoid coming out the same year.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:24 PM on January 3, 2002

Billy Bob Thornton was in a couple of good ones. "Bandits" and that Coen bros. one "the man who wasn't there" or something like that.
posted by poodlemouthe at 12:30 AM on January 4, 2002

Zach, the condition was completely invented for the story, fyi. And I disagree with everything you wrote about Momento. It's a film that makes you "work," as they say, and I don't have a problem with that at all.
posted by palegirl at 1:05 AM on January 4, 2002

1000 apologies for the huge length of my post.

My Top Ten, in no particular order:

10) The Royal Tenenbaums
A cohesive comedy that accomplishes genuine laughs — something most other comedies failingly attempt to achieve.

9) Vanilla Sky
Another great movie from Cameron Crowe.

8) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Finally, a Hollywood flick that actually lived up to the hype. I was so ready to hate it, and ended up loving it.

7) Shrek
Pacific Data Images finally gives Pixar a run for their money in a great performance in a relatively new genre: CGI film. Which leads me to…

6) Monsters, Inc.
Delightfully charming, but without as much pop-culture pandering as Shrek. I’ve yet to be disappointed by Pixar.

5) Memento
.nicely out played suspense The .storyline linear-non good a love I

4) Amélie
Quirky, cute and with lots of shared laughter in the audience — the most fun that I’ve had at the movies in a while.

3) Mullholland Drive
David Lynch is a tad overrated, but I’ll take experimentation over formula any day.

2) Ghost World
A sheer brilliant translation of the excellent graphic novel. The subversive undercurrent to a riotous comedy is unparalleled.

1) Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
A modern masterpiece. The film to define the fantasy genre.

Some other special categories of mine:

Biggest Letdown: A.I.
Letting Steven Spielberg, the directorial polar opposite of Stanley Kubrick, helm this film was only one of many mistakes that turned what could have been a masterpiece of cinema into a broken toy.
Letdown runner-up: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Spare me the new-age philosophy of a flimsy script and your cardboard acting.

Biggest Surprise: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
It was actually good.

Guilty Pleasure of the Year: Josie and the Pussycats
A brilliant satire of commercial excess in the disguise of actual commercial excess.

And of course…
The Bottom Ten Worst of 2001:
The most irritating, most hyped and just-plain-BAD movies of the year (note the high number of “gross-out” comedies, and how none of them were released after 9/11):
The Animal (Wasn’t Rob Schieder funny at some point?)
Bubble Boy (Sensitivity? What’s that?)
Driven (Actually worse than The Fast and the Furious? Incredible!)
Evolution (What WERE they smoking when they decided to film a man getting caught in the anus of a giant, festering alien tumor?)
Freddy Got Fingered (Tom Green, please go away.)
Glitter (Mariah, please go away as well.)
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider (Name ONE good video game-based movie. Name ONE.)
Monkeybone (Sadly, this film was taken out of the hands of the director, and was subsequently shat upon.)
On The Line (You know, the N*Sync movie… Need I say more?)
Pearl Harbor (Tragic, isn’t it?)
See Spot Run (Warning: Viewing may cause brain cell destruction)

Hopefully, 2002 will be a better year for comedies, and maybe LOTR and Harry Potter will spur the studios on what makes a GOOD blockbuster flick.
posted by Down10 at 1:57 AM on January 4, 2002

This was beautiful. I now have a long list of movies to go see.
posted by Jonasio at 9:32 AM on January 4, 2002

Ah, the Ghost World soundtrack--right at your fingertips if you click on the boombox. What with the sublime Skip James's Devil Got My Woman or Mohammed Rafi’s Bollywood rocker Jaan Pehechaan Ho, well I’m prejudiced…

And the website is certainly the best, thanks to John Kuramoto, who also worked on the fabulous Doug Allen site.
posted by y2karl at 6:07 PM on January 4, 2002

palegirl re Memento: ...the condition was completely invented for the story, fyi..

Not true. I've seen a whole documentary on it (many years before Memento came out).
posted by bingo at 3:02 AM on January 5, 2002

Another completely overlooked movie I'd recommend is "The Anniversary Party."
posted by muckster at 10:40 PM on January 5, 2002

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