Sunday, January 04, 2004

Frizzle & Ebert

I'll join the masses of movie-review-bloggers with my favorites. I used this list to help remember which movies I saw this year, in an attempt to keep the list from being hopelessly skewed in favor of the fall. I make it a point to see very view movies that I won't like, so I'm not going to bother with a worst list, but I am including a few additional categories.

Favorites of 2003:

1. Spellbound - A documentary about some of the finalists in the National Spelling Bee. I like this movie for several reasons - first, this movie is about so much more than a spelling bee, it is really much more about America. Each family portrayed in the movie captures one side of what we mean by "the American dream" - the hopes, the successes, the successes that are, in their own way, heartbreaking. In the midst of all the false patriotism bandied about this year, I think this movie captured something about America that nothing else did. Second, it's funny as hell. And last (and least important), I've been to the National Spelling Bee, and I was very skeptical that a movie could do a good job with the topic, but this was beyond my wildest dreams. I see very few movies twice. I see even fewer movies twice in the theaters. But I went back a second time to show Spellbound to my boyfriend.

2. Mystic River - Sean Penn's sexy & disturbing, all the acting's top-notch, it's gritty and complex and beautiful. Need I say more?

3. Winged Migration - Something completely different. Make every effort to see it on the big screen - I have the feeling museums and such will be showing it from time to time for years. Even if you aren't a science teacher, you will be blown away by the toughness, intelligence, and beauty of the birds (and the movie). Worth it just for the avalanche scene.

4. City of God - You could feel, when watching this movie, the passion of every person involved in it for their subject matter. I can't think of anything else to say about it, except that it was an incredible movie.

5. Master & Commander - I did NOT expect to like this movie, but I ended up liking it more than the people who dragged me to see it! I loved the plot about the Galapagos Islands, with it's suggestion that Maturin might have figured out evolution before Darwin, but for bad luck and Her Majesty's priorities. Actually, I thank this movie for giving me insight into what it must have been like for the scientists who got jobs aboard ships hoping to do some exploration of their own.

6. Bend It Like Beckham - Funny, hopeful, amateur in a sweet kind of way. I'll definitely rent this one whenever I want a good giggle. Better than My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This year's Italian for Beginners (gotta sneak that in there 'cause it's one of my favorite movies ever, but no one's heard of it).

7. Cold Mountain - The book was better, but the book was one of the best books I've read in years, so that leaves a lot of room for a pretty good film. This one is beautiful. I love Nicole Kidman - I think she's at the top of her craft right now and I hope she keeps picking good scripts. I love Jude Law (he's on my list of guys I get to go out with if they ever ask, even though I already have a boyfriend). At times the movie felt slightly detached, but its best scenes were intense and brought home to me how truly horrific the Civil War was - and all war.

Runners Up:

Seabiscuit - I confess, I only rented this one, so maybe I'd have been more blown away if I'd seen it on the big screen. Very enjoyable, you walk away happy and hopeful about the world.

Lost In Translation - Quite good. But not as good as the hype.

American Splendor - I wish more movies would experiment like this one does, by mixing animation, documentary, acting.

21 Grams - Another great Sean Penn film. But not quite as good as Mystic River, and even more grim.

Best Movie Experience: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. None of the movies were my favorite for any of the last three years, but not because they were lacking in any way. I was most blown away by the first in the trilogy, despite seeing it with over 300 students! I just think they deserve a category of their own. The trilogy has made the last three years a little bit different for moviegoers. Next fall will seem a little emptier for lack of a Lord of the Rings movie....

Movies I wanted to see but missed in the theaters:
Laurel Canyon
Raising Victor Vargas
Triplets of Belleville (still in the theaters, actually)

Worth Seeing Even If You Have To Take The Whole School:
Pirates of the Caribbean

Way To Ruin A Good Thing (granted, I'm saying that based on reviews, not on personally having seen the movies):
Cat in the Hat
Freaky Friday
Cheaper By the Dozen


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home