Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Best Movies Watched in 2002

In 2002, I watched 33 movies, down from 51 the year before. However, like 2001, I watched only one movie in the theater all year, and that was 8 Mile. This movie caused me to go on a journey of hip-hop music that had me listening to Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, and Puff Daddy. And I'm still not done. I have Missy Elliott and Notorious B.I.G. on the list. 8 Mile was the most influential movie I saw in all of 2002.

But "the best movie" that I watched in 2002 was Sexy Beast. This taut tale of a "retired" criminal being pulled back into the dark life was fueled by Ben Kingsley's electric performance as Don Logan. I was blown away by his ferocity. Even in his quiet scenes, he's an incredible force. Ray Winstone is the other star. He is a big man who played himself "small", expressing his character's fear and inner turmoil perfectly.

In second place, I really really really liked Vanilla Sky. Tom Cruise and director Cameron Crowe team up again to bring to the screen a vivid, cautionary tale about living your dreams. It's scary. It's surprising. It's also beautiful. To characterize this movie as a science fiction jaunt doesn't do it justice.

Some other areas:
  • Best DVD Commentaries: Before Night Falls and Bamboozled.
    Before Night Falls had a super commentary. I could tell that the commentators (the director, the writer, and the lead actor) were "being interviewed", but it was so skillfully done that I wish every commentary was like this. Unlike the usual commentaries in which technical details are bandied about, the track spent time on the themes of the movie, which added the experience of watching the film.

    Bamboozled had a really informative and educational commentary from Spike Lee.

  • Favorite Male Acting: Robert Duvall, The Apostle.

  • Favorite Female Acting: Stacy Edwards, In the Compay of Men and Tilda Swinton, The Deep End

  • Favorite Soundtrack: Bamboozled. Somber. Melancholy.

  • Memorable Quote: Chad, In the Company of Men: "C'mon! Forget her! Let's get a sandwich!"

  • Not So Hot: Casino. Black and White. The Way of the Gun. Mulholland Drive.

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