[First appeared in Ghost in the Machine, 12/30/00.]

Top 15 Films of the Year: (NOTE: This list includes only films I saw, not ones in limited release (Traffic, Shadow of the Vampire), films I wanted to see but somehow missed (Chicken Run), or movies I just haven't seen yet (Croupier, Dancer in the Dark.)

1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Amazing film. Nothing bad to say about it. Go now.
2. Requiem for a Dream: Powerful, dazzling, and a technical masterpiece, despite the flawed ending. Gets stuck in your head like bits of food get stuck in your teeth.
3. Boiler Room: Big drop-off here between this one and the first two. Nevertheless, surprisingly good, not the least because of the charismatic Vin Diesel, Glengarry Glen Affleck, and the great Wall Street scene.
4. Wonder Boys: Perfectly captured the rhythms of campus life. The Dylan song didn't hurt either.
5. High Fidelity: An excellent adaptation of a great book, even if I preferred the Elvis Costello britrock emphasis of Hornby's tome to the indie Subpop scene of the movie.
6. O Brother, Where Art Thou?: To be honest, I wanted to like it more. Nevertheless, this amusing Coen paean to American folk and Faulknerian absurdity holds its own this year.
7. Unbreakable: A little slower than I would have liked, and it had no second act, but this languid, contemplative film spoke to the comic fan in me.
8. Meet the Parents: Again, surprisingly good. I expected schlock, and got a genuinely funny fall film.
9. Gladiator, X-Men, The Perfect Storm: The three best films in a lousy summer crop. I suppose I enjoyed all of them, but they each were missing that certain something (what the French call "I do not know what") that would make them really fun or memorable. Ho-hum.
10. Almost Famous: Perhaps it was a victim of high expectations. Nevertheless, this Cameron Crowe movie, while admirably executed, was just a little too pat for my taste.
11. The Virgin Suicides: Very well-done adaptation of the Jeffrey Eugenides book. Unfortunately, the book doesn't translate very well.
12. Cast Away: If it had just been Tom Hanks on the island, it would have been much higher on the list. But the denouement is way too long and overdone and it basically cripples the film.
13. Nurse Betty: Well-acted, well-directed, well-executed, and I love the cast. But, for some reason, it left me cold. I'm not normally the squeamish sort, but I think the bloody scalping of Aaron Eckhart jarred too much from the comedic tone of the rest of the movie.
14. Center Stage: Hey, my sister was in it.
15. Pitch Black: A sci-fi B-movie, to be sure. But in the year of Mission to Mars and Red Planet, this riff on Aliens seemed a welcome respite.

AND THE WINNER IS... (of the movies I've seen)

Best Actor: Michael Douglas, Wonder Boys
Best Actress: Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream
Best Supporting Actor: Wilson the Volleyball, Cast Away
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Yeoh, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Back to the GitM Review Archives.

Back to the GitM Reviews Main Page.

Main Page/Family/Links/Gallery/Biography/Soapbox/Writings/Weblog