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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

AFI Top Ten Films of the Year

 2000 - 2003

About a Boy (2002): A cute and funny but fairly forgettable film.

About Schmidt (2002):  The pacing was a little slow for me, but I still liked this.

Almost Famous (2000): I'm not terribly interested in the 1970s or rock music and this film is entirely too long.  I still didn't find this too terrible, mainly because of the terrific cast.  Frances McDormand is always great.

American Splendor (2003):  I didn't care for any part of this movie from the weird format to the actual content.  More than anything, I found it painful to listen to Pekar's voice.

Antwone Fisher (2002): A really good movie that has some really disturbing and sad parts.

Before Night Falls (2000):  In certain respects, this is almost like a gay version of Antwone Fisher.  Very good, but also very sad.

Best In Show (2000): A terrifically funny movie.

Black Hawk Down (2001):  Fine for what it is.

Frida (2002): Pretty good.  She had a crazy life.

High Fidelity (2000): Bloated, cliched, and pointless.  While the performances were good, I didn't care for anything else.  I think watching this soon after About a Boy made it suffer by comparison.  Ultimately both of the movies are about guys who are jerks, but About a Boy does it so much better.  John Cusack is mildly charming (in his own way), which is too charming to play what seemed to be the 90s version of an incel.

The Human Stain (2003):  This is not good.  The cast does as well as can be expected, but they're miscast and the story is boring.  I suspect the book was better and didn't translate well to film.  If the other movies in 2003 were worse then this they should have considered having only nine films on the list rather than including this.

In America (2003): Everything about this movie should make me hate it: it has a really sad premise, it's a slice of life film with no real plot, and two of the five leads are children.  Any one of those is usually enough to make me hate a movie, but I really enjoyed this.  It's sweet without being saccharine and actually funny in a really genuine way.  Recommended.

The Last Samurai (2003): Boring, overly long, white savior trash.

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001): So boring.

Monster (2003): I can't say I enjoyed watching this because the subject matter is so disturbing, but I still thought it was really good.  Charlize Theron gives an amazing performance as the most sympathetic serial killer I've ever seen.  It's also a scathing indictment of our failed social safety nets and the police.

Monster's Ball (2001): Another movie that's good in a disturbing way.  The good and bad thing about it is that the performances really make you feel what they're going through, and that's uncomfortable.

Mulholland Drive (2001): Bizarre and convoluted, just like everything else David Lynch has done.  That's not to say I minded watching it, there's always a sense of fascination about how these situations can become even weirder.

The Quiet American (2002): This was fine.  Michael Caine was great, but the story never really drew me in.

Requiem For a Dream (2000): I'm conflicted on this one.  On one hand, I can't help but feel that this is an adventurous method of telling a story that holds strong messages about...something.  Maybe drug abuse.  I don't know.  But on the other hand it feels a lot like those movies that are weird for the sake of being weird, and I hate those.

Wonder Boys (2000): To me, the only thing this film has going for it is an excellent cast, and even that doesn't help much because they seem ill-suited to their roles.  I love Frances McDormand, but I was bored with her character.  Tobey Maguire as a psychopath just seemed silly.  More generally, the attempts at humor were halfhearted and there isn't really a plot to speak of.  I've heard you should write what you know, but it always seems self indulgent to me when a script is entirely about how hard it is to be a writer.

You Can Count On Me (2000): Sort of like a depressing, not funny take on Office Space.  I was mainly bored.


Last Updated July 19, 2021

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