RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
Walk down memory lane… And let the movie nerd debate begin.
Let’s REWIND to the year 2002.
These are personal TOP 10s ranking Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn-munching blockbusters, indie films, b-movies, and cult classics. You never know, you might even uncover a hidden gem or two.
2002 was the year of the foreign film. This year, I loved so many movies that didn’t come out of Hollywood. Each one was stellar for different reasons. However, for most movie fans this was the year of ATTACK OF THE CLONES and THE TWO TOWERS. The second in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster LORD OF THE RINGS movies was the #1 movie at the box office with $926 million worldwide.
My TOP 10 is followed by HONORABLE MENTIONS and the Best of ART VS POPCORN.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
10. THE BOURNE IDENTITY
The familiar cliche of the hero having no memory is executed rather well with this action-packed political thriller. Matt Damon became a movie hero with his performance here, using his environment to kick some ass, and showing us that the pen can be mightier than the (proverbial) sword. Stylishly filmed and crackling with energy, this conspiracy never gets boring.
9. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
Steven Spielberg once again turns to history. This real-life con man was chased across the world by a determined opponent. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks portray memorable characters in this exciting true life thriller. It’s not all one tone either, there is a surprising amount of humour and charm to enjoy.
M. Night Shyamalan (SIXTH SENSE) helms another exciting thriller. This time he switches it up, going from ghosts to aliens. His restrained approach to visuals and deliberately paced thrills fuel an incredibly exciting story. Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix create relatable characters with this small-scale, yet intimate small-stakes, alien invasion flick.
7. 8 MILE
Eminem proved he could act with his impressive performance in this semi-biographical story. Too bad he hasn’t returned to a starring role since. This underdog tale almost feels like a sports movie as a small-time rapper tries to take his talent and make it in the music industry. The focus on rap battles kept the drama exciting. A surprise hit.
6. BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE
Michael Moore’s controversial documentary is rather illuminating. A lot of important social issues are explored, including the Columbine massacre, gun control, and America’s obsession with violence. Marilyn Manson delivers the most intriguing interview. Despite being a bunch of talking heads, the movie is never once boring. A lot of cynical humour balances out the edgier political views. Worth watching. One of the best documentaries of the decade.
5. SPIRITED AWAY
Hiyao Miyazaki (PRINCESS MONONOKE, NAUSSICA) directs another visually mind-blowing animated feature. Rich themes compliment the rich story. Imagination runs wild as a little girl is whisked away to a world full of spirits. Jaw-dropping and beautiful. The animation is glorious. The best part is how much substance compliments the imagery.
Sam Raimi, legendary cult classic horror director of the EVIL DEAD movies, exploded into the mainstream with his comic book adaption of everyone’s favourite web-slinger. Tobey Maguire introduced the world to the cinematic Peter Parker. With a focus on character and story, the over-the-top visuals never overwhelm the heart.
3. INFERNAL AFFAIRS
Later remade into the Oscar winning THE DEPARTED by Martin Scorsese, the Korean original is even better. There are a few different twists and turns, but the concept is just as engaging for those familiar with the story. Undercover cops, undercover gangsters, all get tangled up in this violent crime thriller.
2. WHALE RIDER
This was the little movie that could. A passionate indie about a young girl coming of age, the story is also steeped in Maori culture. While girls aren’t respected or allowed to be ‘warriors’, our hero chases her dreams anyways. One of the best performances by a child actor ever. This was such a special movie filled with breath-taking emotion. WHALE RIDER is a true hidden gem.
1. CITY OF GOD
Another foreign film. That makes 4 of my TOP 5 picks coming from international cinema. Hot out of Brazil, this crime-based thriller follows young boys as they become young men in a city soaked with violence. Told through the decades, this sprawling tale has Scorsese vibes all over it. The cinematography is astounding, as are the performances by these unknown young actors. Brutal realism. Shocking. Illuminating. Phenomenal. One of the best films of the decade!
ADAPTATION / ANTWONE FISHER / CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND / DOG SOLDIERS / GANGS OF NEW YORK / HERO / LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS / MINORITY REPORT / THE RING / VAN WILDER
THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN
25TH HOUR / AUSTIN POWERS: GOLDMEMBER / BLADE 2 / BUBBA HO-TEP / BUS 174 / CITY BY THE SEA / DIRTY PRETTY THINGS / EQUILIBRIUM / FEMME FATALE / FRAILTY / FRIDA / FUBAR / INSOMNIA / JACKASS / MEN IN BLACK 2 / NARC / ONE HOUR PHOTO / PANIC ROOM / PHONE BOOTH / PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE / QUEEN OF THE DAMNED / RESIDENT EVIL / ROAD TO PERDITION / THE SCORPION KING / SECRETARY / SOLARIS / STAR WARS: EPISODE 2 / SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE / TALK TO HER / THE TRANSPORTER / A WALK TO REMEMBER / XXX
MY MUST-WATCH LIST
notable films i haven’t seen
ABOUT SCHMIDT / BLOODY SUNDAY / CHICAGO / THE HOURS / JOHN Q. / THE MAGDALENE SISTERS / MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING / THE PIANIST
What do you think?
Stay Tuned for REWIND & RANK: 1992.