Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Top 10: 2001

Ibetolis of the brilliant Film for the Soul has added another fun feature to his massive "Counting Down the Zeroes" project. It's simple: just click the links above or go here to "My Top 10" on the man's blog and submit your top 10 list. It should be another fun thing to look back at in the archives. I'll post my list on here every time he wraps up another year on his site and remind you guys to head on over there and submit your lists. Since I didn't do this for 2000, I'll post that list at the bottom. Here's what I submitted as my list for 2001:

I'm still trying to catch A.I. as I know my fellow blogging friends like Sam Juliano hold it in high regard, so as it is with any list, it has the possibilities to change at any time.

2001 was a funny year for me. If I were to construct this list during that time (fresh out of one semester of college and thinking "what the hell am I to do with my life?") this list would look awfully different. You would probably see Vanilla Sky atop the list because at the time I was younger, dumber, and a Crowe apologist.

I pretty much copped out with this list from the onset by placing a released film Apocalypse Now Redux, at the top of the list, even though it does have a lot of new footage. But still, it's one of the greatest achievements in the history of cinema, and it was released in 2001 (albeit a different version that is debatable if it was necessary at all) so it goes at the top as a reminder of its influence on all the films below it.

Everything else on the list is just kind of "meh" as 2001 wasn't a particularly strong year in film, but as I always say on this blog, any year that produces reasons for me to talk about film is a good year -- there is no such thing as a bad movie year as long as intelligent and provocative movies are being produced.

David Lynch produced one of his masterpieces with Mulholland Dr. and Wes Anderson topped his previous masterpiece Bottle Rocket (yeah that's right, not Rushmore) with the amazing The Royal Tenenbaums, a film he has yet to top. The Claim was Michael Winterbottom's (who seems to release a good to great film every year) criminally underrated western starring Wes Bentley and Sarah Polley and Milla Jovovich and containing some of the most beautiful cinematography in a western since Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

No Man's Land was the only real Foreign film that got my attention. The Tailor of Panama was a lot smoother and cooler than Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven (which was also a great, fun movie). The Pledge was the last great performance we've gotten from Jack (yes that includes The Departed). And Ghost World was the perfect film for nerds like I'll always remember the soul patch line, ha.

The Majestic was another patience required drama from the king of lingering Frank Darabont. The only difference between this film and the way too long The Green Mile was that The Majestic was a sweet call back to the old style of dramas released in the 30's and 40's. Like his masterpiece The Shawshank Redemption, you don't mind the length of the film because you like the characters and like hanging out with them.

Finally Wet Hot American Summer: I always try to place one comedy on my year end lists, and even though Ghost World could qualify for that title, it's a tad too dark, and I really just wanted to give some love to the people who made The State and are starting to become a popular now with films like Role Models and I Love You Man (too many to name, but the most famous to come out of that group are Michael Ian Black and of course Paul Rudd).

So with that, here's my list for the best films of 2001:

1. Apocalypse Now Redux
2. The Royal Tenenbaums
3. Mulholland Dr.
4. The Claim
5. No Man's Land
6. The Tailor of Panama
7. The Pledge
8. Ghost World
9. The Majestic
10. Wet Hot American Summer

Runner ups: Ali, Amores Perros, Black Hawk Down, Devil's Backbone, Heart's in Atlantis, Heist, Memento, Monster's INC., Ocean's Eleven, Sexy Beast, Vanilla Sky.

Here's 2000 (in no particular order):

Wonder Boys
The Virgin Suicides
You Can Count on Me
George Washington
Almost Famous
High Fidelity
The Contender
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Other good movies from 2000:

Dancer in the Dark, All the Pretty Horses, The Way of the Gun, O Brother Where Art Thou, Requiem for a Dream, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Thirteen Days, and Yi Yi.


  1. Great list there Kevin!

    My own is different, but that's the beauty of putting together lists. And what you feel today you may not agree with tomorrow, as you've indicated yourself on another thread. I certainly feel that way myself. In any case, the Redux is a most excellent selection, while your #3 is a screen masterpiece, methinks. Likewise, you have compiled a most worthy 2000 list as well.

  2. Thanks Sam. I look forward to reading your list. And yes, Mulholland Dr. is a masterpiece, I just caught some of it again the other day on TV and couldn't turn away.

  3. Granted, I haven't seen, what, 6 of your top 10 for 2001, but yeah, I looked at it and thought "Wow, could that be any more different from my list?"

    Apparently, I didn't watch that many films in 2001. I just sent Ric my list and my list was very, very commercial. We share but one film (Royal Tenenbaums).

    Still, it's fun to see everyone's list.

  4. Fletch:

    Yeah, that's why I'm glad Ric has been doing this's fun to see what everyone else thought were the best films of certain years. I like it when lists are different, because it allows me to jot down some titles that I may not have seen.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

  5. A fine list, Kevin. The only film I have not seen is The Claim, which I must soon correct.

    My jaw dropped when I read that you have not seen A.I., which is my #1 of 2001 and one of my favorite films.

    I can't sign on to The Majestic--it hits that nail awfully hard, awfully frequently (and I have trouble recommending a film I doubt I could ever sit down and watch a second time) but to each his own.

  6. Oh, and I just meant to write that I wanted to comment on your beautiful "Cinephile" posting but for some reason it's not allowing me to post a comment there at the moment. I have no idea why. I wasn't sure this last comment would work. Needless to say, your "Cinephile" piece was extraordinary, Kevin.

    I'm still interested in fulfilling your meme of 10 Favorite Film Characters from a few months back. Keep a look out at Coleman's Corner in the near future.

  7. Alexander:

    Thanks so much for the kind words. I appreciate your too-kind praise on the Cinephile piece. I look forward to your response to the meme from a while back.

    As for this list: Yes I know...I've never seen A.I.. Sam's brilliant thoughts on the film for Counting Down the Zeroes made me want to immediately movie it up to the top spot of the Netflix queue. I'm even doubly intrigued now that you also claim it to be the best film of 2001. Wow. I can't wait to see this now. I will get to it soon, but I have some other things I have to get to first. I'll put up a DVD review of it as soon as possible.

    As for The Claim: I really hope you catch this film soon. Winterbottom is one of those filmmakers who puts out an astonishing amount of work (almost a film a year) and his films are always good to great...and sadly they're almost forgotten weeks after their release.

    I know The Majestic is a somewhat unorthodox choice, but it has a sweetness that charmed me.

    Thanks again for your kind words and for stopping by and commenting.