RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
Walk down memory lane… And let the movie nerd debate begin.
TOP 10 Lists are always tons of fun. You can debate my choices, while getting a better idea of how I review newer movies. With looking back on years past, you can also stroll down memory lane. You never know, you may uncover a hidden gem or two.
Let’s REWIND to the year 2001.
These are personal TOP 10s that combine Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn munching blockbusters, indie films, and cult classics.
2001 had some really intriguing indie films, spread across a variety of genres. The #1 movie at the box office was HARRY POTTER & THE PHILOSPHER’S STONE with $974 million worldwide. Aside from the highlighted noteworthy must-watch movies, there were some horrible duds like PEARL HARBOR, the PLANET OF THE APES remake, and the lackluster sequel JURASSIC PARK 3.
My TOP 10 is followed by HONORABLE MENTIONS and the best of ART vs POPCORN.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
10. ATANARJUAT: THE FAST RUNNER
Movies offer a glimpse inside other worlds, from the fantastic of science fiction, to the disturbingly real of horror. This drama shows what life is like for Inuits in the Canadian Arctic. Slowly, the somber visuals and brooding atmosphere envelops you. This is a character study on culture, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. There are some intense sequences invested in heavy emotion and exploring the theme of justice.
9. THE FAST & THE FURIOUS
The first in the popcorn-munching mega-franchise. The original focused its action on street racing. This was a b-movie done right. Filled with cliches, but executed with incredible energy and stylish visuals. Turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.
8. IN THE BEDROOM
This small, focused character study is filled with drama. Stellar performances all around with stunning, yet careful, emotion. The less you know the better about this mysterious story. The tale absorbs you inviting participation with the internal world.
7. Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN
Alfonso Cuaron burst onto the scene with this erotic coming-of-age drama. Best friends experimenting with their raging hormones go on a road trip with an older woman. Both Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna delivered acclaimed performances and built long-lasting careers around their roles here. Another fantastic character piece. Its edge avoids any melodrama.
6. BLACK HAWK DOWN
Ridley Scott directs this true war story about a downed American helicopter in the middle of battle-torn Somolia. The fight for survival won’t be easy. Scott conducts the brutal truth with energetic action sequences. A large ensemble cast of rising Hollywood talent helps breathe life into their roles with limited screentime.
5. MOULIN ROUGE!
A totally visual trip. This musical mashes up well-known pop songs to tell a story of love. Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman star in this over-the-top extravaganza. While not a fan of many musicals, the contemporary music and mind-blowing visuals kept this one exciting while embracing the cheesy melodrama for laughs.
4. THE BELIEVER
An incredible performance from early on in Ryan Golsing’s arc towards stardom. Here, he plays a Jewish skinhead, battling his own faith against his boiling hatred. The complex hypocrisy unravels in this compelling character study. Unsettling and provocative, this controversial indie won’t be for everyone. It’s hard hitting enough to spark conversation.
3. THE OTHERS
Nicole Kidman stars in this atmospheric ghost story. Astounding cinematography soaks this creepy period piece with dread. The tension slowly brews, deliberately ratcheting up towards an unforgettable climax. One of the best horror movies of the decade. This cult classic spread by well-deserved word of mouth over the years, but was a real surprise at the time.
2. TRAINING DAY
Denzel Washington chews up the scenery playing against type as a dirty cop training a noble and honorable Ethan Hawke. The performances elevate the familiar genre tropes. The direction and writing are also well above the standard crime flick. This is a cop movie done right with a focus on character work and themes of morality.
1. DONNIE DARKO
This TWILIGHT ZONE vibing head-scratcher is worth multiple viewings. Twisting into quantum physics and time travel territory, this is a sci-fi nerd’s wet dream come true. Thus, it’s pedestal placement atop this list. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a sleepwalker who receives a vision. The world will end soon. Focused on family, instead of saving the planet, this ORIGINAL story haunts the audience, working its way under our skin. Stylishly filmed with an amazing 80s soundtrack, this cult classic is sure to please people who love a steady dose of WTF in their movies. The less you know the better. Strong themes are embellished by the end, framing the story in a different light. DONNIE DARKO is a real surprise hidden gem!
AI / ALI / AMELIE / A BEAUTIFUL MIND / THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE / MONSTER’S BALL / MONSTERS INC / O / SPY KIDS / WAKING LIFE
THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN
AMERICAN PIE 2 / BLOW / BUBBLE BOY / BULLY / ENEMY AT THE GATES / EVOLUTION / DAS EXPERIMENT / FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN / FREDDY GOT FINGERED / FROM HELL / GHOST WORLD / GHOSTS OF MARS / HOW HIGH / ICHI THE KILLER / JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK / JEEPERS CREEPERS / A KNIGHT’S TALE / THE LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING / MULHOLLAND DRIVE / THE MUMMY RETURNS / THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS / RUSH HOUR 2 / SCARY MOVIE 2 / SESSION 9 / SHAOLIN SOCCER / SHREK / SWORDFISH / SUGAR & SPICE / SWEET NOVEMBER / TOMB RAIDER / VANILLA SKY / ZOOLANDER
What do you think?
Stay tuned for REWIND & RANK: 1991.