The Michigan Daily - Friday; January 24, 2003 - 10
)C1OUS yeAR IN
#1. The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers
Peter Jackson and company may not have topped
"The Fellowship of the Ring," but they come
awfully close. I'm already working on this year's
top 10 list; "Return of the King" will be the best
movie of 2003.'
#2. Punch-Drunk Love
Paul Thomas Anderson's breathtaking
direction, Jon Brion's avant garde score
and Adam Sandler's virtuoso performance
result in the best romantic comedy ever to
grace the silver screen.
#3. About Schmidt
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor manage
to somehow top their brilliant script "Elec-
tion" with "Schmidt," a film that delicately
balances comedy and tragedy.
#4. Star Wars: Episode B - Attack
of the Clones - Whether or not you
thought George Lucas' latest prequel
was worthy of the holy trilogy, "Clones"
is a landmark film for pushing digital
video to the forefront.
#5. Far From Heaven - Todd
Haynes' meticulous recreation and
reimagination of Douglas Sirk's "All
That Heaven Allows" is a visual master-
stroke. Julianne Moore proves once
again why she's one of the best actresses
#6. Spider-Man - Who said sum-
mer blockbusters had to be mindless
entertainment? Director Sam Raimi
faithfully brings one of comic's most
beloved characters to cinematic life
with his unique style and hyper-ener-
getic camera work.
#7. Catch Me If You Can -
Steven Spielberg's first good movie
since "Schindler's List" and his best
since "Indiana Jones and the Last Cru-
sade." DiCaprio is delightful as the
young con man, but Christopher
Walken steals every scene he's in.
#8. Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost
Dreams - Shot entirely on digital
video and made on a relatively low
budget, you can thank guerilla film-
maker Robert Rodriguez for the best
family movie of the year.
#9. The Kid Stays in the Picture
- The best documentary of the year
follows the career of infamous film
producer Robert Evans through his
#10. Full Frontal - Hitler, a
movie within a movie and a cameo
from Brad Pitt. Yep, Soderbergh's a
#1. Punch-Drunk Love
If raining frogs and a 13-inch prosthetic were not
enough, P.T. Anderson drops an even bigger bomb on
his audience - the brilliant, slight performance of
Adam Sandler the dramatic actor. P.T. crafts the most
emotionally realistic "romantic-comedy" ever filmed -
giving this critic a lust for life equaled only post-
"Singing in the Rain."
#2. The Two Towers
Another technical masterpiece from Peter
Jackson, but, aside from the schizophrenic
Gollum, missing too much of the heart
and character of the already classic first
#3. The Pianist
Roman Polanski finally tells a story similar
to his own Holocaust memories, matter-of-
factly presenting Wladyslaw Szpilman's
unbelievable journey of survival with the
gentle, understated touch of the master
director he still is.
#4. Adaptation - Yes, Charlie
Kaufman again shows signs of his
idiosyncratic genius, but don't think
director Spike Jonze isn't equally
responsible for the anxiety-laced
action and the best ensemble perform-
ance of the year.
#5. Chicago - What at first
seemed to unite a cast of song-and-
dance amateurs turns into a dizzyingly
entertaining display of unknown tal-
ents, much to the thanks of Rob Mar-
shall's colorful direction/choreography.
#6. Y Tu Mama Tambien - With
a conventional, yet amusing and sexy,
outer coat, Mexican filmmaker Alfon-
so Cuaron keeps your attention just
enough for the all the wonderfully
human insights lying underneath.
#7. About Schmidt - Dear
Ndugu, your foster father Jack beauti-
fully balances humor with sadness and
Payne supplies the emotional payoff.
#8. The Kid Stays in the Picture
- The nostalgic narration from this
documentary's topic, legendary pro-
ducer Robert Evans, tells a one-sided
story of Hollywood fame. And it's fan-
#9. Gangs of New York - While
Scorsese intended to teach a lesson on
America's past, he more importantly
lured Daniel Day-Lewis out of retire-
ment for Bill the Butcher's apron, a
remarkable role of foreboding beauty.
#10. Sunshine State - Indepen-
dent wizard John Sayles intelligently
brings the viewer into another small,
intricate world of regular people, fortu-
nately including two of the best
actresses working today - Edie Falco
and Angela Bassett.
#1. The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers
The second act of Jackson's "Lord of the Rings"
epic showed a fractured Fellowship struggling to
save Middle Earth. Masterful direction, excellent
acting and a classic storyline vault "The Two Tow-
ers" over this year's competition.
#2. About Schmidt
Jack Nicholson takes an about perfec
script from Jim Taylor and Alexande
Payne, the result is one of the years
saddest and best films.
#3. Punch-Drunk Love
Playing out more like a musical thar
movie, P.T. Anderson employs all of
Adam Sandler's annoying nuances
Courtesy of New Line
#4. Adaptation - Charlie Kauf-
man's meta-script manages to beat
every critic to the punch. It's solip-
sistic, narcissistic and above all, a
work of genius.
#5. Star Wars: Episode II-
Attack of the Clones - An improve-
ment on the earlier prequel, Lucas'
epic "Clones" (like his original films,
largely panned by critics) will find
recognition in posterity.
#6. Catch Me If You Can - The
account of Frank Abagnale told
through director Steven Spielberg's
camera is one of the year's surprise
treats. Christopher Walken, Tom
Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio all
turn in fine performances.
#7. Spider-Man - Sam Raimi's
"Spider-Man" is simply the best super-
hero movie this side of "Unbreakable."
Tobey Maguire's surprisingly good
performance as Peter Parker is the glue
holding this film - and accompany-
ing franchise - together.
#8. Far From Heaven - Todd
Haynes' movie is held together largely
by his incredible direction, with a little
help from Julianne Moore and a cou-
ple of guys named Dennis.
#9. Full Frontal - The first of
two Steven Soderbergh films this
year, a wonderful cast, highlighted by
Catherine Keener, Brad Pitt and Nicky
Katt is shown through a faux-docu-
mentary lens. Soderbergh proves his
quality without a big budget.
#10. Signs - M. Night Shya-
malan's film offers an intimate
account of a family under alien
attack. Little was funnier this year
than Jaoquin Phoenix's "Vamonos
#1. The Pianist
Filled with undaunted realism, filmed in poetic
style, directed with elegant precision, Polanski's
extraordinary vision and Adrien Brody's emo-
tional portrayal of Szpilman maintain an
unmatched precedent as the year's best film.
#2. The Two Towers
Possibly better than the first installment,
"Towers" is unquestionably a visual mas-
terpiece that leaves you salivating in
anticipation for the final chapter.
#3. Gangs of New York
Scorsese's dedication to the.project
explodes through fantastic sets, terrific act-
ing and a fascinating story.
#4. Road to Perdition - Extraor-
dinary cinematography from Conrad
Hall alone makes "Perdition" breath-
taking; poignant characters and a
deeply touching story make it one of
the most memorable.
#5. Chicago - The glitz, glam-
our and great choreography of Rob
Marshall's film debut will hopefully
influence the reinvigoration and
'wer that once was the Hollywood
#6. Punch-Drunk Love - P.T.
Anderson, with the help of Adam
Sandler, created one of the most orig-
inal, tightly crafted and simply engag-
ing films since his last picture,
#7. Y Tu Mama Tambien -
Everyone can relate to this coming of
age story. In the context of a culturally
rich Mexican road-trip to a mysterious
beach, it takes on a more personal,
#8. Bowling for Columbine -
The documentary that challenged the
way we see ourselves. Michigan native
Michael Moore took his slightly
biased idea and turned it into a shock-
ing, life-evaluating, must-see picture.
#9. Frida - A work of art in its
own right, Salma Hayek combines
beauty and power in Julie Taymor's
moving biopic that flourishes with life
and expresses internal triumph.
#10. Catch Me If You Can -
From start to finish, this is the most
fun and entertaining film of the
year combining the powerhouse
efforts of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom
Hanks, Steven Spielberg and
The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers
fuse it is the sequel to the slightly superior
wship of the Ring" should not penalize this
which was, when all was said and done, the
film of the year. The Academy should not
the same mistake it did with "Fellowship."
From the mind of Charlie Kaufman
comes a film that cannot be classified as
either a pure comedy or pure drama. Just
call it a classic satire and watch Nicholas
Cage carry the movie.
If the only song you know from the musi-
cal is "All That Jazz," check out the
steamy Catherine Zeta-Jones version,
then stay for Queen Latifah's scene steal-
Courtesy of Miramax
#4. About Schmidt - Jack
tive "chasing himself." Well directed
Moore gives one of the two best per-