Sunday, December 20, 2009

Top 10 Films: 2001

Continuing in my breakdown of the Top 10 Films from the Past Decade comes the year 2001. 2001 was the year I got married and a very memorable one both in and out of film. This list is of course only focusing on Films in the year 2001. So without further delay, here's my Top 10 Films for 2001...

10. Zoolander
This is by far the zaniest performance from Ben Stiller and still one of my favorites. Zoolander is endlessly hilarious. The characters, the clothing, the performances, the cameos, yeah everything about it is perfect. There are not a lot of slapstick comedies that I watch routinely outside of Mel Brooks, but Zoolander is definitely one of them.

9. Vanilla Sky
I haven't revisited Vanilla Sky in quite a few years however, this is one of the best performances by Tom Cruise, not mention one heck of intriguing tale. Directed by the talented Cameron Crowe and adpated from Alejandro Amenábar's 1997 film Abre los ojos, Vanilla Sky is one that left a lasting impact after viewing. I loved the muddled story and questions that arose the first viewing. It also marks one of the only stomachable performances by Cameron Diaz.

8. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is not for everyone. It is definitely an acquired taste, but I dig the hell out of it. John Cameron Mitchell wrote and directed the tale of a transexual punk rock girl from Eastern Berlin who tours the US with her rock band of misfits. Her songs tell her tale of becoming Hedwig. Not only is Hedwig and the Angry Inch a moving story, it has some kick ass music. That said, the music is also a required taste. Needless to say Hedwig and the Angry Inch has been a commonly revisited film in my household since its release.

7. Blow
Outside of Captain Jack Sparrow, Blow represents my favorite character Depp has played in the last decade. Blow is a fantastic film with stunning performances by Penelope Cruz, Jordi Molla and Johnny Depp. Director Ted Demme, who also did another favorite of mine Beautiful Girls, has since vanished from directing. The film is based on a true story of George Jung and how he established the American cocaine market in the 1970s. Filled with sex, drugs, women and action how could this not be in the Top 10?

6. Snatch
The last Guy Ritchie movie I loved! Snatch did release in the UK in 2000 however did not receive a US release 2001 so I counted it here. Snatch represents Ritchie's best ensemble cast to date and some of the best characters the director has penned. Snatch is a film that up until about 2007 I watched on a very routine basis. Its just one of the films that has numerous layers which makes for a enjoyable viewing every time.

5. Amelie
Audrey Tautou electrified the screen in Amelie. Just an absolutely enchanting film and character. A magical story that is told perfectly. Amelie is a true gem and a must own for any movie collector. Jean-Pierre Jeunet who also directed Alien 4 and The City of Lost Children has delivered in a big way in most of his films but Amelie is my personal favorite without a doubt.

4. The Royal Tenenbaums

There isn't a Wes Anderson film I do not love. The Royal Tenenbaums is a hysterical and touching look into a divorced family. There is no hiding that Anderson likes to focus on a father figure in most of his films, but here he hits a home run. Gene Hackman is flawless as Royal. Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow are all letter perfect in their portrayals as well. Like any of Anderson's films The Royal Tenenbaums is a film that I have watched numerous times each year since its release and would watch practically anytime.

3. Memento
Memento is the first time I watched a Christopher Nolan film and was the beginning of a very good relationship. Nolan is an amazing director and Memento is a perfect representation of his creative mind. Memento like Snatch was released in the UK in 2000, but did not receive a US release till 2001. I initially was attracted to the film because of Guy Pearce, who become an actor to watch after seeing him in L.A. Confidential and Ravenous. Memento itself is a masterpiece. It is complicated and evasive and is a true even for a first time viewing. Luckily the movie holds up very well after repeated viewings as well.

2. Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko is a classic. It is one the most impressive films of the decade by far. Richard J. Kelly created a Sci Fi film that had viewers enamored with his elusive and supernatural story. And then there's Frank. The bunny which is one of the most powerful visuals of the decade bar none. Jake Gyllenhaal delivered a iconic performance as Donnie, one that has had him on my watch list ever since. Sadly, Donnie Darko might have been the pinnacle of Kelly's inspiration. Because nothing the director has created since 'Darko' has come anywhere close to the status of his magnum opus.

1. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite of the 3 films and my favorite film Jackson has directed. I have been a huge fan of Tolkien's books since I was a kid and Jackson's first attempt at the books is absolute. It is very rare that I enjoy a movie and book almost equally, but this is true in Fellowship of the Ring. I should note that while Fellowship of the Ring released in 2001, the only version of any of the Jackson adaptations I watch is the Extended cuts. Fellowship of the Ring was the pinnacle for me in 2001 in movie watching. I saw this film 4 times in theaters and loved it more and more every time I watched. Peter Jackson not only delivered the best film of 2001, but he also locked my attention on the forthcoming sequels to the J.R.R. Tolkien novels.


10) Made
09) Wet Hot American Summer
08) Zoolander
07) Fat Girl
06) Riding in Cars with Boys
05) The Sidewalks of New York
04) Vanilla Sky
03) Royal Tenenbaums
02) Donnie Darko
01) Amelie

You know that my stance on Momento is that it is a 2000 release which we already discussed...