The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2003 - 10D
Re CLOUS yeR 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 II -
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
motionally 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 Mamai Tambien - With
a conventional, yet amusing and sexy,
outer coat, Mexican filmmaker Alfon-
so Cuar6n 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 Towere.
The second act of Jackson's "Lord of the Rings"
epic shoved 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 perfeci
script from Jim Taylor and Alexandel
Payne, the result is one of the year's
saddest and best films.
#3. Punch-Drunk Love
Playing outmore like a musical that
movie, P.T. Anderson employs all of
Adam Sandler's annoying nuances
#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
Courtesy of New Line
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
Ryan Lewis ,
#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 anda
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
power 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 Mamia 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
[he Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers
e it is the sequel to the slightly superior
ship of the Ring" should not penalize this
ich was, when all was said and done, the
m of the year. The Academy should not
I . .1 .. LVII I. I
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 Nicolas
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,