Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Favorites of the 2000's: 2003

X2: X-Men United: Bryan Singer topped his original X-Men movie with this one, which held the esteemed title of "Best Comic Book Movie Ever" for a short time among those who argued such things, myself included. The opening scene with Nightcrawler was extremely well done, and the Cerebro storyline with William Stryker hell-bent on destroying all mutants made for a fascinating action film that was unafraid to tackle some complex philosophical questions. The ending, hinting at the Phoenix saga, was enough to have even the most passive X-Men fan clamoring for more; unfortunately, Brett Ratner and Bryan Singer switched franchises (Ratner to X-Men, Singer to Superman) after the release of X2 and everything started heading downhill fast.

Mystic River: I've only seen this film once, but it instantly became one of my favorites. Powerhouse performances from Sean Penn (whom I normally dislike) and a supporting cast of Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Laurence Fishburne, and Emmy Rossum make this worth seeing, even if it wasn't directed by Clint Eastwood (which, you know, it is). Check out my review of it for more on this flick, and don't forget to catch up on the comments section of that post where I recant basically everything bad I said about Eastwood's directorial ability.

Big Fish: This is not only my favorite film of 2003, it's in my All Time Top Ten. I love this movie so much, which is surprising considering I'm not the biggest Tim Burton fan in the world. Perhaps it's not that surprising after all; Burton shies away from his typical darkness in this film and presents an emotionally powerful story of a man and his son wrapped in a fanciful tall tale of wonder and romance. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and rectify that situation immediately.

Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of The Black Pearl: Who could have predicted that a movie based on a theme park ride could be so much fun? Launching Johnny Depp into the mainstream star he is today, this movie's rewatchability is incredibly high. The script is fantastic, the story is tight and purposeful, the performances are great all around, and most importantly it's freaking FUN. I have yet to meet someone who dislikes this flick, and I don't foresee it happening any time soon. The sequels were a dreadful mess, each getting worse as they came out, but this one was a blast.

Shattered Glass: I'm not going to pretend like I watch this movie all the time, because it's just not true. I've seen it a couple times, but I don't really plan on watching it again for at least a year. Why? Because there are too many other things to catch up on in the world. That said, Shattered Glass is, for me, one of the absolute best journalism movies ever made. Journalism movies is a genre I have a particular fondness for, and I think this movie deserves more recognition and respect for both Hayden Christensen's performance (he gives a good one - shocking, I know) and the fact that it's based on a true story. This flick also introduced me to Peter Sarsgaard, whose other work almost demands to be seen thanks to his work on display in this movie.

The Italian Job: The ensemble cast and lighthearted pace makes this a perfect companion piece to Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven. Another fun movie that doesn't need a full dissection, this one is equivalent to a comfort food: I know what I'm getting, and I like how it tastes. I'll be surprised if they can ever reconvene this cast again for the long-rumored sequel, The Brazilian Job.


Ashley said...

love what you said about Big Fish- well-written.

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