Top 10 Movies of 2000

As a moviegoer, the year 2000 was a very strange year. As I look at the films in my top ten, three of them are comedies. This is very unusual as I am generally not a fan of comedy movies. But this year the comedies I saw were quite fabulous. "Chicken Run", "Meet The Parents" and "Best In Show" really made me laugh and made me appreciate the comedy film a lot more.

The surprise of the year for me was "Almost Famous". I never thought I would have enjoyed this film as much as I did. I guess being a fan of music and traveling around with your favorite artist always seemed like it would be a great thing to do. I never guessed I would be able to do that on a limited basis as an adult and this movie seemed to bring that very fun and exciting time in my life back into my mind.

Another surprise was my number two movie this year. I have been a Jackie Chan fan for a few years now but "The Legend of Drunken Master" turned Jackie Chan into a true martial arts god. This guy can do just about anything. My only hope is that one day he can get a few great scripts and become an American box office superstar.

There were disappointments this year though. The biggest by far was "Unbreakable". After really enjoying "The Sixth Sense", I was expecting a bit more from "Unbreakable". It was a stylish movie with some great scenes and some great ideas but please, halfway through the film I began to laugh out loud in the theater. Mild mannered Security Man by day, Super Hero Security Man by night. I like M. Night Shyamalan's style. He has a way of filming that works. His movies are about dialogue, pace and controlling the audience's imagination. He is going to be one of the great filmmakers but this was a real letdown.

In my top ten of 2000 I have a rock and roll drama, a comedy, a martial arts free-for-all, a Roman epic, a mock documentary, an animated comedy, a Revolutionary War epic, a Political drama, a real-life drama and an action adventure film based on real events. Wow, almost every kind of film. Strange year indeed.

Disclaimer: This top ten list is a list of movies that I actually saw and were released in the year 2000. There may have been better movies in the last year but these were the ones I got to see.

1. "Almost Famous" - What more can you say about this movie? It had just about everything you could ask for - love and hope and sex and dreams and rock and roll. It also had a very cute Kate Hudson. Cameron Crowe wrote and directed this semi autobiographical story of a fourteen year old who goes on tour with a rock and roll band and gets a writing gig with Rolling Stone magazine. I left this movie wanting to see the film again. That does not happen too often when you go to the movies nowadays.

2. "The Legend of Drunken Master" - Awesome! Although this movie was actually released in 1994, it made its American debut this year and boy did it ever! If you ever want to see a Jackie Chan movie - this is the one! Put aside the story. As is the case with most Jackie Chan movies, the story is irrelevant. This is a masterpiece of martial arts and physical stunts. No computers are used in the stunts. Think about that the next time you see "The Matrix". Jackie actually performs these stunts - every time! Like a perfectly choreographed ballet, Drunken Master is a masterpiece.

3. "Gladiator"  - The star of the future is Russell Crowe. I liked him in "The Insider", he was good in "Mystery, Alaska" and he is awesome as Roman General Maximus. A bright future is in store for this actor. "Gladiator" has a great story, tremendous special effects, a great villain, a beautiful damsel and some amazing special effects that make you believe you are actually in the Coliseum. Only one problem with the film that kept it from being higher on the list, a tiger scene looked WAY too fake.

4. "Chicken Run" - Will Rocky Rhodes the Rhode Island Red Rooster become a chicken pie? Not if Mel Gibson has anything to say about it. But this isn't a "Mad Max" Rooster. This is a truly fun film with jokes referencing movies like "The Great Escape". Rocky tries to lead a group of poultry prisoners trying to escape a chicken farm whose owners have converted the farm from an egg farm to a chicken pie factory. See this film and see it with your kids. They will get a kick out of it. One of the truly great movies of the decade.

5. "Best In Show" - One of the funniest movies of the year. Christopher Guest's spoof on a dog show is hilarious. A few couples travel to Philadelphia for a national dog show. Along the way, we get to know the personalities of these very off-the-wall people and their pets. Fred Williard steals the show as a dog show host who hasn't a clue how to call a dog show. But I'll tell you what, if there were more dog show announcers like Fred Williard, I bet the dog show ratings would improve. Williard deserves a Best Supporting Actor statue for this truly amazing performance.

6. "The Patriot" - It's a cross between "Braveheart" and the Minutemen. Mel Gibson shines as the hero Benjamin Martin who is dragged into the war with England. Some of this story is a little predictable but it is shot very well. A scene with a cannon ball had me diving out of the way. Heath Ledger plays one of Gibson's sons and is a bright young star who has that movie star look. He was good in "10 Things I Hate About You" but he is far better in this film. Keep your eyes on this kid, he could be the next big thing. There are many emotional roller coasters in this movie. Sit back and enjoy the revolution.

7. "The Contender" - This makes the list on performances alone although it has a strong script and excellent screenplay. Jeff Bridges is the Democratic President of the United States whose Vice President has just passed away. Joan Allen plays Laine Hanson whose been nominated by the President for the vacated position. But there is a problem. Gary Oldman whose in charge of confirming the appointment of the first female Vice President hires a Congressman played by Christian Slater to dig up dirt on Allen's past. This causes emotional hardship not only on her and her family but on the President and his primary aide played wonderfully by Sam Elliott. This is not only a great political film but a great film in and of itself. Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges and Gary Oldman who is barely recognizable in this film deserve Best Actor statues for their truly great performances.

8. "Erin Brokovich" - Without a doubt the best wardrobe movie of the year. Can you ever get tired of seeing Julia Roberts? Nope. Can you ever get tired of seeing Julia Roberts wearing short skirts, high heels and falling out of her blouse nearly every second on the screen? Are you crazy? Aside from the boobage, this is a well written film. Roberts is amazing as a single mother trying to survive in a cock roach infested house. She finally gets some luck working in a small law firm and then the heat truly gets turned up. Based on the true story of "Erin Brokovich", this film is warm hearted and reminds me a lot of another great film which was overlooked by many called "A Civil Action" starring John Travolta.

9. "Meet The Parents" - This makes the list on laughs alone. Ben Stiller is being brought to his girlfriend's house to meet her  parents and to attend his girlfriend's sister's wedding. Robert De Niro is hilarious as the ex-CIA father who has no use for Stiller whose last name in the movie is Focker. Think of how many jokes you could have with that name. Yep, they are all in this movie. One of the funniest moments in movie history occurs during dinner and involves an urn. My oh my. Another great moment is when De Niro is in bed and for no reason at all says something to the effect of, "My God, our daughter's name is going to be Pamela Martha Focker!".

10. "The Perfect Storm" - Sebastian Junger's book comes to life in this movie based on the 1991 storm of the century. George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg are starring together again this time taking on the ocean in the doomed Andrea Gail. Having lived in Massachusetts all of my life and having been to Gloucester recently, this movie hit home. The special effects were totally awesome in this film. They made you fear the ocean similar to the way James Cameron did in "Titanic". It is a sad movie but it is a film that makes you respect fishermen, the ocean and mother nature a lot more.

Here is my full list of movies for the year 2000 followed by a rating system. Five being the highest.

Aimee &  Jaguar - 4
Almost Famous - 5
American Psycho - 3
Best in Show - 5
Beyond The Mat - 4
Chicken Run - 5
The Contender - 4
Dinosaur - 3
Dracula 2000 - 3
Drunken Master - 5
Erin Brokovich - 4
Eye Of The Beholder - 2
Fantasia 2000 - 4
Final Destination - 2
Frequency - 3
Gladiator - 5
Godzilla 2000 - 3
Gone in 60 Seconds - 2
High Fidelity - 3
Highlander Endgame - 3
Meet The Parents - 4
Mission To Mars - 3
The Patriot - 4
The Perfect Storm - 4
Return To Me - 3
Romeo Must Die - 2
Scary Movie - 3
Shanghai Noon - 4
U-571 - 2
Unbreakable - 2
Vertical Limit - 3
What Lies Beneath - 3
The Whole Nine Yards - 3
X-Men - 3

Chris' Corner