Top 10 Movies of 2002 by Chris Morin
Well, 2002 has come and gone and so with it its
movies. I have to be brutally honest. This year's movies were pretty
disappointing. Despite the occasional interesting film like One Hour
Photo or Insomnia this year's films were either boring
or filled to the rafters with computer generated effects that did nothing
but ruin a potentionally decent film.
While some of these effects really moved the
story along like Gollum in The Two Towers or the nuclear blast
in The Sum Of All Fears, others came across rather flat and fake.
Did we really need to see Yoda in Attack of the Clones
fly through the air spinning like a fat, green hummingbird? It reminded
me of a title for a new Wayan's brothers comedy, Crouching Yoda, Flying
Jedi. I found myself laughing at the lightsaber scene at the end
Episode II instead of sitting there in absolute wonder as I did
for The Empire Strikes Back .
But there were some surprises in 2002. Robin
Williams had two great performances for One Hour Photo and
Insomnia. He continues to fine tune his craft by branching
out into more difficult roles. And then there was Miyazaki, by far the
greatest animator to ever live. 2002 was the year of Miyazki and his company,
I had the great pleasure to view many of the
Studio Gibli's films in 2002, most of them on DVD. While films such as
Kiki's Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart and
My Neighbor Totoro were really cute, others like Laputa
, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Winds and Grave Of The Fireflies
were extremly powerful.
I also got to see a Miyazaki film on the big
screen called Spirited Away, the year's best movie. Now many if
not all will disagree with me. But I stand by my statement. Spirited
Away is the year's best movie. Miyazaki uses hand drawn animation
to make a film that not only mesmerizes its audience, but leaves them gasping
with wonder and joy. Like many of his other films, Miyazaki successfully
transports the audience to another world, to a land of imagination and it
is in this place that we are forced to stay until he decides that we have
had enough. He lets us leave his world but only on his terms and only when
he thinks we are ready.
I saw Spirited in a very crowded movie
theater with many parents and children. Most had no idea what they were
getting into when they sat down in their seats. But I bet all of the
adults went to the water cooler the next morning and told their co-workers
about the film.
My only complaint with Spirited Away,
and this is with every Japanese Animated movie that eventually comes to
America, is the dubbed voices. Call me a purest but most dubbed voices
sound terrible and many just do not fit the characters in the film. It's
a minor flaw which doesn't keep you from enjoying the film. I can't wait
to see the DVD release so that I can watch it in its original Japanese audio
track with English subtitles.
Making a "Best Of" movie
list is very difficult. The reason it's difficult is because many studios
release potentially Oscar worthy films very late in the year in hopes
that the Academy and its short attention span might only remember the most
recent releases. I have dealt with this problem the same way as I did last
year. There's my Best Of 2002
list. It is a top ten list of movies that were released in 2002
that I actually got a chance to see in the calendar year. The second
list is called Honorable Mention
. This is a list
of movies that were either not released in 2002, movies that were either
leftovers from the previous year or movies that I got to see for the first
time despite the movie's release year. Then there's the ever popular
Worst Piece Of Junk Award
. I think you can figure out what that's all about.
So have a look at my lists and remember, when
you go to the movies, SHUT THE HELL UP! Others may be trying to enjoy
the film. Thank you.
Best Of 2002:
1. Spirited Away - Although
released in Japan in 2001, Spirited Away made its debut on American
screens in 2002. It is a dazzling story about a young girl named Chihiro
who mistakenly enters another world and stuggles to not only save her parents
but herself and her identity at the same time. This story has everything
you could ever imagine and more. It is truly one of the best films of the
past few years.
2. Signs - M. Night Shyamalan has created a true suspensful
masterpiece. This movie literally kept me on the edge of my seat. It's
a story of a family's ability to struggle with
their innermost demons as well as a few aliens along the way.
3. The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers - Peter Jackson continues
to move this epic story along in such a stunning way. I can't wait for
The Return Of The King. Not as good as Fellowship but equally
4. Minority Report - After last year's dissapointing piece of
crap, I'm not even going to mention it by name, Spielberg has successfully
redeemed himself. This movie was great in every way.
5. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets - Finally, a sequel
that's worthy of being called better than its predecessor. This was far better
than I expected it to be. It's a wonderful fantasy ride.
6. One Hour Photo - What a great performance by Robin Williams.
This movie was creepy!
7. Insomnia - Another great performance by Robin Williams.
A fresh and exciting thriller with a great chase scene across some floating
8. Changing Lanes - A simple movie without all of the special effects.
Good performances by Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck.
9. 8 Mile - Certainly not a terrific movie but a decent movie nonetheless.
Eminem is great in this semi-autobiographical picture.
10. Auto Focus - This is a movie about the life of actor Bob Crane.
I'll never watch Hogan's Heroes the same way again. This movie was disturbing.
1. A Beautiful Mind (2001) - A stylish movie that won last year's
best picture award. Russell Crowe has an amazing performance.
2. The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring (2001) - This film
would have made my top ten last year had it not been release so late in
3. The Majestic (2001) - Jim Carrey shines in quite possibly his
best performance to date. How audiences missed this movie is totally beyond
me. This is a great film.
4. Laputa: Castle In the Sky (1986) - In my opinion Miyazaki's greatest
movie. Quite possibly the greatest animated movie ever made.
5. Amelie (2001) - Audrey Tautou is amazing in this very funny
6. Grave Of The Fireflies (1988) - Another Studio Gibli masterpiece.
Director Isao Takahata's story of a Japanese brother and sister trying to
survive the destruction of World War 2.
7. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) - Miyazaki's the master! My only issue
with this film is that it is too short. I would have loved to have seen
more of Totoro.
8. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds (1984) - A princess struggles
to save her people and her planet from destruction.
9. Session 9 (2001) - This is a hauntingly scary film that was shot
in the closed Danvers State Mental Hospital.
10. Black Hawk Down (2001) - True story of a group of soldiers trying
to survive in Somalia. Quite graphic and very violent.
1. Robin Williams - His two great performances in Insomnia
and One Hour Photo easily won him the top spot on this list.
2. Greg Kinnear - Kinnear in masterful in Auto Focus as the
very odd Bob Crane. Watch as this family man slowly decends into a world of
sex and dispair.
3. Hayao Miyazaki - The greatest animator to ever live brought us
Spirited Away, the best film of the year.
4. Mel Gibson - Just when I thought Mel's career was over, he gave
us two wonderful performances for We Were Soldiers and Signs
5. Eminem - 8 Mile will be remembered as Eminem's first major
motion picture. Let's hope it is not his last.
6. Tom Cruise - Tom was excellent in Vanilla Sky but is even
better in Minority Report.
7. Audrey Tautou - The star of Amelie and Happenstance
, this actress is just plain cute.
8. Diane Lane - Quite possibly the best female performance this year
9. Jodi Foster - Another strong outing for jodi in Panic
10. Edward Norton - Quite possibly the best actor in Hollywood. His
performance in Red Dragon was superb. Note to Hollywood: put Ed Norton
and Kevin Spacey in a movie together. I bet it'll be a winner.
Worst Piece Of Junk Award:
Mullholland Drive - What was this movie about?
Anyone? Bueller? Nothing annoys me more than a movie lacking for logic
and not having an ending. I can handle a film not having an ending but
the rest of it has to make some sense. It was as if David Lynch had five
different scripts each with no page numbers or bound in any way. He then
took the scripts, threw them all up in the air and then picked up twenty-five
pages from the floor and then made a movie.
Hey, now that makes more sense than this movie did.
The Movies I Saw In 2002:
5 - Excellent
4 - Good
3 - Fair
1 - Terrible
0 - What In God's Name Were They Thinking? - (No longer used. Created
and used in 2001 only for A.I.)
8 Mile - 4
A Beautiful Mind (2001) - 5
Accidental Spy (2001) - 3
Amelie - Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) - 5
Auto Focus - 4
Bad Company - 3
Behind Enemy Lines (2001) - 3
Black Hawk Down (2001) - 4
Blade 2 - 3
Blood Work - 3
The Bourne Identity - 4
Changing Lanes - 4
City By The Sea - 4
Collateral Damage - 3
Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course - 3
Dog Soldiers - 4
Eight Legged Freaks - 4
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas (1998) - 1
Female Trouble (1975) - 1
Final Encounter - 2
Ghosts Of Mars (2001) - 2
Grave of the Fireflies (1988) - 5
Happenstance (Le Battement d'Ailes du Papillon) (2000) - 4
Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets - 5
Hart's War - 3
I Can Hear the Sea (Ocean Waves) (1993) - 3
Ice Age - 3
Insomnia - 4
Jack Frost 2: Revenge Of The Mutant Killer Snowman (2000) - 2
Jason X (2001) - 2
Journeys with George - 3
Joy Ride (2001) - 3
Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds) (1984) - 4
K19 The Widowmaker - 4
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) - 4
Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) - 3
Laputa (1986) - 5
The Last Castle (2001) - 4
Live From Baghdad - 4
Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001) - 5
Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers - 5
The Majestic (2001) - 4
Manhunter (1986) - 3
Men In Black 2 - 2
Minority Report - 5
Mulholland Drive (2001) - 1
My Big Fat Greek Wedding - 4
My Neighbor Totoro (1988) - 5
One Hour Photo - 4
Only Yesterday (1991) - 4
Panic Room - 4
Pom Poko (1994) - 3
Red Dragon - 4
Reign Of Fire - 3
Resident Evil - 3
The Ring - 3
Road To Perdition - 4
Saint Sinner - 2
Session 9 (2001) - 4
Shackleton - 3
Shallow Hal (2001) - 3
Signs - 5
Skinwalkers - 2
Spider Man - 3
Spirited Away (2001) - 5
Spy Game (2001) - 3
Star Trek Nemesis - 3
Star Wars Episode 2 - 4
The Sum Of All Fears - 3
Swordfish (2001) - 2 - 2
The Time Machine - 2
Thirteen Ghosts (2001) - 3
Unfaithful - 4
Vanilla Sky - 4
We Were Soldiers - 4
Whisper of the Heart (1995) - 4
Windtalkers - 3
Wishmaster 4 The Prophecy Fulfilled - 2
XXX - 3
Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) - 2