Long time no blog, eh? Well, I’m going on vacation for a week-and-a-half in a couple of days, so get used to it, Buster Brown.
To make it up to you, I’ll be pretending my opinion matters by giving you a glimpse of my year-end best-of lists before they’re available on the AMG website. Merry Christmas.
Today, I bring you my top-ten favorite films of 2003. This list will appear on All Movie Guide in a lengthier form and without commentary in a few weeks or so. So, if you really want to know where Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle ranks in my book, fret not.
1. American Splendor: The masterful first feature from directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman is everything that was great about Crumb and Ghost World with perfect performances by Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis and Judah Friedlander added in. Somehow Terry Zwigoff’s best movie doesn’t have anything to do with Terry Zwigoff. Weird.
2. Lost in Translation: Every single scene of this movie appears to have had more care and thought put into it than most entire movies get. I can die happy if Bill Murray never tops Bob Harris, but I would really love it if he did. After all, wouldn’t you like to see what it’d look like if all of my organs simultaneously exploded?
3. All The Real Girls: David Gordon Green’s strikingly beautiful sophomore effort took me completely by surprise. Never before have I seen so many amazing performances by actors I’d never heard of. On top of that, it only made me love Zooey Deschanel and Patricia Clarkson more. It’s so real and perfect, it could only have been improvised, but it never feels made up.
4. The Matrix Reloaded: I never expected much from the sequel to The Matrix, yet this flick tops its predecessor. I left the third film dissatisfied only because it paled in comparison to the fun and thought-provoking experience The Matrix Reloaded was.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp single-handedly turned what should’ve been a ho-hum adventure movie into one of the most memorable and utterly enjoyable movies of the year and the best pirate movie in decades.
6. Kill Bill, Vol. 1: If this hadn’t been split in two, it might’ve made my top three. It doesn’t feel like a whole movie, merely the first half of a movie. Still, the movie that it’s the first half of is ass-shattering.
7. A Mighty Wind: If not the funniest, A Mighty Wind is surely the most engaging of the three Christopher Guest movies. I knew I’d love the music and I knew I’d laugh a lot, but I didn’t expect to get into the characters and actually be a little touched by the story. Plus Fred Willard deserves a Goddamned Nobel Prize. “Wha’ Happened?” will never ever stop being funny.
8. Elf: Another surprise. Not only is Will Ferrell really as pants-peeingly hilarious as I think he is, but Jon Favreau legitimately knows how to direct a solid movie. Zooey Deschanel can sing too.
9. Identity: The mixed reviews aren’t a bit surprising. You’re either going to love this one or hate it. I thought it was incredibly fun and really clever. I wrote a lengthier review here.
10. Capturing the Friedmans: Unsettling to no end, Capturing the Friedmans does nothing to sway the viewer and may even add to one’s indecisiveness. Andrew Jarecki does what Errol Morris does every bit as well as Morris. And while we’re on the subject, am I the only one who thinks Arnold Friedman looks a lot like Fred A. Leuchter Jr?
#11: Matchstick Men
Best 2002 Movie That, Until Recently, I Thought Was A 2003 Movie: Intacto
Based Purely On My Own Assumptions, The Best 2003 Movie Yet To Be Released In My Area: Big Fish
Best Sandwich That I Often Pretend Is A 2003 Movie Starring Steve Zahn and Some Thousand Island Dressing: Hot Pastrami Club