Monday, January 20, 2014
The Favorite Films Of My Lifetime: 2001
Well, I supposed you could say this is the "golden post" of this series. Today's my birthday, and...this was an interesting year. While there are some big big notables in 2001, there was also a lot of really shitty movies that were released. I'd mark the year as overall weak, but when you pick out your favorites and "Best" films of this year it looks much stronger. And how about that Best Picture winner? I almost forgot that movie existed. Is anybody still big on A Beautiful Mind anymore? Does anybody even remember Gosford Park or In The Bedroom? Yet, Fellowship and Moulin Rouge! still get plenty of discussion today. That's why time is far more key than whatever the Oscars does "in the now". And I hope this little lookback is kinda sorta proving that.
Here's that Oscar race
WINNER - A Beautiful Mind
In The Bedroom
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
And here's my race
The Devil's Backbone
After having a poor experience with his first film in the US, Guillermo returned to Mexico to make a dynamite little ghost story. We covered it this year HERE, as well as the Blu-ray made my Top 10 Of 2013 list.
I wrote a little bit about this one over at Why So Blu? for a wishlist piece. Here's what I had to say. "You can trace my Scarlett Johannson fandom back to this movie (though, even she pushed me away for a few years until Avengers brought me back). I was quite delighted with this little indie back in 2001. While a uniquely humorous film, it also is a coming of age film that actually follows GIRLS! There are goofy characters and a colorful atmosphere. For some reason I saw Scarlett as someone who was going to hit it big here when I saw this. The film also boasts the last notable role of the late Brad Renfro. It’s a comic book adaptation, but it never once feels like it. With Winter Soldier coming out, and Black Widow as a player in it, the time is right to go back and see where Scarlett came from."
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
It's a rare feat when something extremely hyped lives up to the hype and then some. 2001 began the start of amazing cinematic trilogy that was even better than advertised (and it was advertised pretty highly). I had never read the books before, just heard about them. This film turned out to be the fantasy film that I had always knew and hoped that cinema could deliver. I may err on the side of this first one being my favorite after the fact as I got a big jolly of watching the whole group come together and the adventure set foot. I loved the sequence late night in the tavern with Aragorn sitting and smoking at a table in the corner. There was also a lot of mystery to the whole thing as well. Plus this one has Sean Bean! But with the original Lord Of The Rings trilogy I really have a hard time truly picking a favorite. Its almost just best to accept it as one big thing, right? No, this is film geekness, we can't allow that! LOL
Once again...came out overseas in 2000, BUT in the US in 2001. This neo-noir tale might remain my favorite Christopher Nolan film as I was purely blown away the first time I saw it. I'd never heard of the film and one of my film studies professors recommended it to me, so I went out and rented it that night. Mind just..psohshshshshsshhh (that was an explosion). I loved how it was working backwards and forwards and this way and that. Guy Pearce gave a fantastic performance and became one of my favorite actors after this and LA Confidential (he was who I was hoping for to play Batman in Batman Begins back in 2004). And Christopher Nolan, I'll be hipster and say I was with him in the early runnings. I went and rented his first film Following the next week. I went and saw Insomnia in the theater just because it was directed by Nolan and have gone and seen every film of his since. I know I now share the guy with everyone, but that shouldn't detract one from loving a director. He's making great stuff and its reaching a massive audience. That's the goal. But, it didn't take The Dark Knight to blow me away and get on board with him, it started right here. I would become obsessed with this one in and out. I got that incredibly confusing Special Edition DVD back in the day and worked my way all around it, even watching the film forwards. I also wrote a big paper on the film as well. Its definitely one of my all time favorite and important film in my life.
A perfect example of why I never judge a film by its rating. This sucker is PG. How often do you see that for a non-family type comedy. People, most of the time a film is rated what its rated, because well, it just is that. See the movie for what it is...don't make presumptions because of what a group of folks at the MPAA thought it was rated. Plus, most of you are 18 or over...who care what a rating is, you can see what you want. You have no restrictions. Anyway...why do i say that? Because this movie is pretty damn funny. Its got a great collective of comedic actors and this kind of Cannonball Run-esque film really brings in some good whacky humor. Its also kind of refreshing when something has to challenge itself to come up with good fun laughs instead of crutching itself on gential jokes and dropping "F" bombs. This movie was a real surprise to me as I totally wrote it off theatrically. When it came out on DVD, I probably watched my copy almost once a day the week of release. It also has a sort of Ten Little Indians feel to it as well which makes for some fun.
The Royal Tenenbaums
Wes Anderson even more fully realizes his stylings as he crafts his own little universe in this movie. Its full of quirky characters, costuming and sets. Everything you really will love if you're a fan of his. This one is also really uniquely funny. This was one of the last films of Gene Hackman before his retired, and in my opinion the last great film he was a part of. Everybody in this film is bringing their A-game and its really fun to watch them all come together and work as a unit instead of individual performers. Kudos to any group who tries to go as this cast for Halloween any given year.