Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Decade in Review: 2002 Top Ten

As with 2000 and 2001, I'm reprinting my original top ten lists and commentary. If I've got something new to say, it'll be in red below.

Please note: This list was based on NYC release dates in the year 2002. Some movies are listed as different years at the IMDb based on when they were produced or released in their home country or in LA or whatnot.

Undervalued: Morvern Callar, Roger Dodger, About a Boy, White Oleander, Panic Room and Kissing Jessica Stein Top 10 Runners Up: Chicago, Monsoon Wedding, Punch Drunk Love and Spirited Away I still am glad I championed most of these movies though I am sad that some of them aren't in the top ten... particularly Morvern, Monsoon and the Miyazaki. The MMMs. Though I'm not sure I'd know what to remove to make room for them.

10. 8 Women (François Ozon)
Ever since I a French teacher took my friends and I to see french movies on a field trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts in high school, I have been in love with French cinema. So, you can imagine I was in heaven watching icons of French cinema sing and dance through this spiked-punch celebration of femme-fatale cinematic archetypes. My only real regret is that this giddy movie wasn't called 11 Women. You see, in my throes of Gallic ecstasy I accidentally shouted out "Binoche" "Adjani" and "Bonnaire" before being bitch-slapped back into submission by the inimitable divas that were on display: Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Beart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Danielle Darrieux, Ludivine Sagnier, Firmine Richard. A terrific, campy, twisty, and finally poignant film. (Full Review)

Maybe overvalued this. I still think it's great fun but...

09 Lovely and Amazing (Nicole Holofcener)
When I first saw this scathing comedy of self-image I admired it a lot but thought it little more than a well written indie. Trouble was, it wouldn't let me be. It kept playing again and again in my head until I returned the following week for another look. At that point I began to notice how marvelously it was put together. Its haphazard lack of plot felt instantly right. This film has bigger fish to fry than to live in subservience to the almighty plot. Upon a recent third viewing it felt churlish to leave something this direct, memorable, and incisive off of the list for something with flash or size. Despite its surface hostility there's something really lovely, humane, and 'just right' about this minor gem.

I rarely think about this movie now but when I do something really vivid usually springs up.

08 The Hours (Stephen Daldry)
In almost any article you'll read about this motion picture, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel upon which it is is based is mentioned as "unfilmable." Never mind all that. Unfilmable novels get made into movies every year. With actresses as talented as Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore onboard... unfilmable was always an inappropriate adjective. Who better than this exceptionally talented A list team to illuminate the interior monologues that this magnificent book is riddled with.

Though the film falls short of the masterfully complex feeling of Michael Cunningham's source material, it's a sophisticated, perceptive and fascinatingly assembled triptych. It casts a rarely seen thematic light on the generational progress of female as well as gay liberation. The carefully rendered and ambitious portraits of sadness illustrate how emotional struggles can be passed down and reverberate through bloodlines, art, and relationships.

07 Spider-Man (Sam Raimi)
Popcorn flicks are famous for their fast fade. But Spider-Man truly comes to life before your eyes while you're watching it. I kept reliving the film's terrific setpieces and thinking about the iconic characters afterwards. Sam Raimi's unashamed affection for his source material and the lead actors' sincere commitment to their characters breathes life into the legendary romantic coupling of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. The film's elated peak comes upside down with a passionate sure-to-be classic kiss in the rain. My passion for it didn't fade at all.

Some months later, I'm convinced that Raimi's Spider-Man has left the 70s Superman in the dust. I'm more and more prone to think that this inventive director has also surpassed even the weird grandeur of Tim Burton's Batman Returns. Spider-Man may well be the cinema's best superhero flick. Ever. (Review & Kirsten Dunst appreciation)

It's funny. I love Spider-Man 2 so much more than this one that I had altogether forgotten how much I loved this. Spider-Man 2 is easily my favorite superhero picture ever made. It gets everything about the fun, color, style, superpowers, and heightened emotions of comic book heroism just right. And it's got a better villain.

06 Late Marriage (Dover Kosashvilli)
My sixth choice is the most obscure selection to make my top ten list. Seek it out on DVD. This searing emotionally truthful drama from Israel was submitted for the foreign language Oscar race last year but it didn't make the shortlist. But never mind about the Academy. The truth is that it's better than any of the films that were nominated in that category last year. Late Marriage achieved a small degree of fame for its relatively explicit sex scene. But the film packs a powerhouse emotional punch that you won't soon forget. If debuting writer/director Dover Kosashvilli's subsequent efforts are this strong, watch out... (Review)

Lior Ashkenazi in the terrific Israeli picture Late Marriage

I wish this had been one of my "best picture" nominees. I think of it often. It has such potency. Sadly, Kosashvilli seemed to vanish afterwards. His follow up feature never made it to the States... never made it much of anywhere, actually. Though I guess there's hope still. He has two features in the works.

05 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson)
Last year's opening chapter in Jackson's astonishing interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth saga left my mouth agape. I have been an ardent fan of Peter Jackson since 1994's Heavenly Creatures and he continues to amaze. Filmmaking, storytelling, and grandeur are in his blood. Even his small guerrilla features have "scale" for lack of a better word. Whether Jackson is filming fornicating puppets or murderous schoolgirls, his commitment to showing you the world within his film is immense.

The only reason that The Two Towers isn't higher on the list is that I had a little trouble jumping in this time. I found the opening off-putting and consequently I had a little trouble with the initial rhythm of the crosscutting triple narratives. But one can't complain too much about a stop-and-go momentum when there is so much to see at every stop and so much momentum in every go. These films are the greatest the fantasy genre has ever offered. And more than that, irrespective of genre, the Lord of the Rings trilogy will eventually be taking its rightful place in history alongside other acknowledged masterworks like Kieslowski's Trois Couleurs and Coppola's Godfather films once the journey is complete. Though I'm anxious for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King I'm also a little sad to see it arrive. The journey is filled with sorrow but I wouldn't trade it for the world and I'll be sad to see it end.

Towers might be my least favorite of the LotR films though I think it's maybe a "better" film than Return of the King and it contains some of the greatest moments in the series. That's a puzzle. Is it because it's all middle -- no thrill of beginning or catharsis of ending? And I've lost a lot of faith in Peter Jackson since.

04 25th Hour (Spike Lee)
A bold, provocative work from one of America's most controversial directors. Spike Lee's latest joint is both a bracing portrait of a city in mourning and an intimate character study of a man approaching unavoidable crossroads. Responsibility is the larger theme and Lee approaches it with dry honest eyes and fearless maturity. This film hit me in the gut. It's a rarity...a 9/11 related piece that doesn't feel like a cheapening of the tragedy, but a tough love gift to a wounded beautiful city.

One of many films each decade to be undervalued primarily because it makes the mistake of opening when 70 other shinier films are opening and when everyone is too busy to think and when the media has too many other things going on to give it any due. Oh, Christmas time at the movies! You give but you take take take.

03 Talk To Her (Pedro Almodóvar)
I have been a devotee of Almodovar since I first saw Law of Desire in the 80s. I was scared, fascinated, and deeply in love with that movie... and I've eagerly awaited each subsequent film. There's been a lot of talk in recent years of Almodovar's "maturation" as a filmmaker but he's always been a great auteur. It's just that his recent films have more of a surface veneer of respectability. Thankfully he's retained his subversive edge. Almodovar's compassion for even the lowliest most morally reprehensible characters give his films an utterly moving humanism. Talk to Her is the perfect embodiment of this trait within his work. Depending on which angle you're seeing it from, this narrative of two comatose women and the men who love them is either a disturbingly pitch-black comedy or a highly effective melodrama (or both). But regardless of what genre from which the film springs, it's a great one. The auteur has again crafted another mysterious jewel. He's the kind of filmmaker who can move people to tears with a single shot; a man swimming underwater or a comatose woman whose sheets are being changed. He's the kind of filmmaker whose films grow richer on repeated viewings. He's the kind of filmmaker who can slyly drive his narrative straight through even the most diversionary moments like dropping a silent film right into the flow of the film. He's that kind of filmmaker. There aren't enough of them.

02 Y Tu Mamá También (Alfonso Cuarón)
By now it's already clear that Y Tu Mamá También has achieved classic foreign film status here in the States. Cuarón's take on the rowdy road movie is one of those rare film experiences where every element adds up to make the whole much greater than any of its individual parts. It moves rapidly on several layers and works on every last one of them: road movie, coming of age drama, teen sex comedy, sociopolitical statement. The recipe itself is deceptively simple: One gifted director + two randy boys ÷ one woman with a secret x a mythical beach = movie paradise. Like "Heaven's Mouth", the beach the boys invent only to discover in reality, this movie is a more magical thing than even Alfonso Cuarón probably imagined while dreaming it up.

I might reverse the order of this and the Pedro film now. They're so different, one is magic the other is a masterwork. But both are treasures.

01 Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes)
We begin and end with Douglas Sirk, you see. If nothing else, this was the year of the great melodrama director. His name popped up all over the place in film conversations, in retrospectives, in essays, and his films on television screens in the background of the most unrelated films (like 8 Mile). Sirkian tropes and homages were in the air. 8 Women was a comic primer for one way of looking at that world but with Far From Heaven, the renewed interest in melodrama and Sirkian emotionality reached its apotheosis.

The most infrequently understood yet most crucial to understand thing about Far From Heaven is that its replication of a bygone era is only the jumping off point for a film that is resolutely about the here and now. Among the film's many wonders is the extraordinary alchemies that Todd Haynes performs. While fashioning a replica and homage, he creates a thing beautifully his own. While hypnotically immersed in 50s minutiae, Far From Heaven offers a looking glass for the neo-conservative now. It's a film for the eyes, intellect, and heart. Like Moulin Rouge! which topped last year's list, Far From Heaven has gloriously resurrected and elevated a lost and potent genre.

Here's to all artists like Todd Haynes who when looking at the past find in it not rusty templates or stagnant by-the-book filmmaking, but timeless truth and the impetus to experiment artistically. Haynes dives into the past to show us the relevant present. His experiment pays its respect then moves divinely forward, like its heartbroken protagonist, into the uncertain future.

Far From Heaven is so familiar to me now, after multiple viewings, that it strangely feels a bit stiffer. It's like I didn't break it in so much as break it by obsessing on it so shamelessly and for so long. Still love it though. "I just adore it... that feeling it gives."

How was 2002 for you? They weren't mentioned in this article but some of the movies people really cared about that year were Adaptation, Bowling For Columbine, Minority Report, The Pianist, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Signs, About Schmidt, Road to Perdition, The Bourne Identity, 8 Mile and Gangs of New York. Which movies still mean the most to you? Which have you cooled on or forgotten all about?


RJ said...

In America.

adelutza said...

I still think that Adaptation is one of the great movies of the decade. Awesome performances from Nick Cage, Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper as well as a film that with each passing minute makes me be more engrossed in it. Love it still.

Seeking Amy said...

My top ten would have to go like this

Spirited Away
Talk to Her
Far from Heaven
Y Tu Mama Tambien
The Hours
Minority Report
Russian Ark (Did it come out in 2002?)
28 Days Later

Just Miss: About a Boy, Spiderman
2002 was a good year.

Anonymous said...

my top 10:
Punch-Drunk Love
Far From Heaven
About a Boy
The Hours
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Spirited Away
The Pianist
25th Hour
The Piano Teacher

breakthrough directors: paul greengrass, burr steers,roger avary

breakthough performances: rosario dawson, amy adams, alison lohman, ryan gosling, steve coogan and emile hirsch

best performances: isabelle huppert, julianne moore, nicolas cage, edward norton, toni collette, meryl streep, dennis quaid, chris cooper..

the beautiful about a boy and the hours scores...

'burn it blue' in frida

Ludivine Sagnier, Catherine Deneuve & Virginie Ledoyen - ‘Papa T’es Plus Dans Le Coup’

Hugh Grant & Nicholas Hoult - ‘Killing Me Softly’

great action scenes in Lord of the Rings, The Bourne Identity, Spider-Man and Minority Report

best couple: maggie gyllenhaal and james spader


Brook Brooks said...

It's nice to see there's still a lover of The Hours in the house. I saw that film when I was 12, and it still manages to be a completely different creature in each viewing.

However, my favourite film of 2002 isn't anywhere to be found on your list! The Piano Teacher. Isabelle Huppert's performance is a contender for the best of the decade, perhaps only beaten out by Maggie Cheung and Uma Thurman. (You know for what movies.)

James Colon said...

Is City of God considered 2002 or 2003? If it's '02, then that's my vote for best film of that year.

Other favorites:
Punch-Drunk Love
Bowling For Columbine
Far From Heaven
Talk To Her

Also, Chicago, which has been being treated a bit unkindly by the short history since its Best Picture win. I still think its the best American musical since Singin In The Rain.

Amir said...

i really really love The Pianist.

i think my top films of the year would be:
1-talk to her
2-the pianist
3-spirited away
4-far from heaven
5-the lord of the rings: the two towers

man isn't 2002 a GREAT year in the decade?

Arkaan said...

Gone Up: Talk to Her, The Pianist, The 25th Hour (particularly)

Gone Down: Far From Heaven (especially after watching some more Sirk)

Seeking Amy: Yes, Russian Ark is 2002

amir: 2002 is so goddamn good it's unbelievable.


@james colon -- city of god is one of those straddlers. submitted for foreign in 2002 and played many festivals then. opened in the states proper in early 2003

but WHAAAA???? on chicago. Hello, Cabaret? Cabaret is the best

@brookbrooks -- can you believe i didn't like The Piano Teacher when it came out? Other than for the actors. Obviously Huppert was tremendously good. It took me awhile to get used to Haneke's brutality. Now i respect it much more.

Alex said...

2002 seemed like such a great year for big budget Hollywood studio movies AND small indie films; rare for those two to coincide.

My Best Picture line-up would've been:

1. Chicago
2. Far From Heaven
3. The Hours
4. Adaptation
5. The Pianist

I'm constantly switching up the order of those top 4. What a great year.

Daniel Armour said...

The Two Towers
Minority Report
Catch Me If You Can
Far From Heaven
The Count Of Monte Cristo
8 Mile

I fear to mention a certain maligned Space Opera but it would be in my top ten as well. It's heavily flawed but well... I liked it.

Robert said...

2002 was one of the best years of the decade. My top 10 (diff release dates than Nathaniel) goes:

1. Lilya 4-Ever
2. Russian Ark
3. Bloody Sunday
4. The Pianist
5. Gerry
6. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
7. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
8. Friday Night
9. Road to Perdition
10. Morvern Callar

Caden said...

I'd forgotten what a good year this was -- Y Tu Mama Tambien, 25th Hour and Talk to Her, f*@#! I still think about these three movies, as well as Adaptation and Piano Teacher. You gotta have Adaptation in this list!

julianstark said...

I have yet to see Far from Heaven, but I must say that my absolute favorite film of 2002 was Chicago.

It's also one of my all-time favorites... amazing.

Catherine Zeta-Jones: What a laugh!


Fernando Moss said...


Here in Mexico Y Tu Mamá También openened in 2001...

And I've never really like Far From Heaven, I don't know why... Not even Julianne's marvelous performance (that still wouldn't be my choice for Best Actress) makes me feel for that movie, altough I've only seen it once... Dou you think I should revisit FFH?

Amir said...

Fernando you should definitely revisit Far From Heaven!
you will not regret it.

Mike said...

I loooooved Chicago and About Schmidt. I didn't really what all of the fuss for The Piano was about. Brody was good though. I should probably see Far From Heaven...

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Talk to Her tops my list both for the year and for the decade. Adaptation comes a safe second (didn't think Kaufman could outdo BJM, but then he did - then I didn't think he could outdo Adaptation - and then he did). That said, both were relegated to the three-and-a-half star category upon first viewing. They each only blew my mind upon the second and third and fourth viewings (more and more each time, I love movies that do that). Talk to Her now ranks comfortably among my all-time favorites (the only other Aughts releases that do are Volver, Kings and Queen, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, Brokeback Mountain and Christmas Tale).

Following Talk to Her and Adaptation, I probably have
3. Far from Heaven
4. Russian Ark (may very well move up after a second viewing, Sokurov's films tend to)
5. Minority Report
(even with the soggy ending - tight, tense, brilliant)
6. Divine Intervention
(it does peter out towards the end, but so much of it is so beguiling)
7. Lilja 4-Ever
(Moodysson could explore Miserable with just as much insight and panache as he could Caustic-but-cuddly. This film is so alive in terms of both form and content that you have to wonder what could conceivable turn Moodysson into what he's become. Also, how did Akshinina miss out on a career?)
8. Punch Drunk Love
(I do need to see it again.)
9. Daughter from Danang
(What a goldmine of a subject.)
10. Demonlover

Also, I need to see The Hours again - it used to be Top 10 before Demonlover demoted it. And Panic Room is indeed absolutely underrated.

Flosh said...

Gangs of New York is my favorite 2002 film. Flawed as all get out, but the parts it gets right (which, I'd argue, vastly outnumber the parts it doesn't) are thrilling.

Miguel said...


thank you so much for placing Spike Lee's 25th hour in the top 10. It's his most underappreciated, underrated film of his career. I thought this was the best movie of 2002, back then, n still do.

I recently saw an article on Movie City News citing 25th Hour as the best film of the decade. Funny how a film that went almost unnoticed back when it came out, if finally getting some recognition when people are assembling their best of the decade lists.

thank you once again.


well Miguel... i noticed it when it came out (this was a reprint of my original top ten).

i'd love to rewatch all these movies before i make 'best of decade' list but sadly my life is too busy for that much pleasure-only watching.

ykant i should probably post about ADAPTATION again as i have the weirdest reactions to that movie.

Lev Lewis said...

I think "Punch-Drunk Love" is the crowning achievement of a very good year. Such an under-valued PT film that one.

"Talk to Her" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien" are both incredible and of course it would be wise to include "Morvern Callar" in your top ten. I adore "Adaptation" but I know you don't have the same feelings as I. I'd love to hear more about that.


oh and has no one hear seen LATE MARRIAGE. It's so amazing. Please someone watch it so i can feel like i've done something good for the world in getting the word out there.

Henry said...

I think Spider-Man shouldn't have gotten into the Top Ten. I think both Road to Perdition and Gangs of New York should get higher standings. I can't remember the last time I watched Chicago through.

Pete said...

I loved 2002!

1. Far From Heaven
2. Talk to Her
3. Adaptation
4. Spirited Away
5. Bowling For Columbine
6. The Hours
7. Heaven
8. Y Tu Mama Tambien
9. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
10. Russian Ark

Honorable mentions: Storytelling, 24 Hour Party People, Bloody Sunday, Personal Velocity and White Oleander

chimeguy1 said...

There quite a few good films 2002. I have seen almost all every talked about. I ordered the Todd Haynes film from netflix just now. I guess my favorite was Adaptation. Wow what a fascinating movie. I agree with another guy the more I watched that more the more engrossed I became. I saw it again recently and that film still blows me away with its originality and freshness.

chimeguy1 said...

One other note I forgot Talk To Her. Wow what a movie. I think its almovodar's best.

Juno101 said...

I honestly can't take this list seriously with Spirited Away not making the list yet Spiderman is at #7.

Bing147 said...

Nathaniel, never fear, you convinced me to watch Late Marriage awhile ago. I often look through your old awards out of curiosity. I don't always agree with you but I usually enjoy your opinions. I did agree with you on this one. Late Marriage is brilliant. I have it in 01 where its my #3 of a brilliant year. Ashkenazi is my runner up in lead actor and Elkabetz is my win in supporting actress. Someone get the woman more roles, she NAILED both this and The Band's Visit.

I can't imagine putting the Two Towers ahead of it 0_0 though to be fair I'm not a huge LOTR fan. (I give all 3 8/10... none of them make my top 10 of their year).

I also have Spirited Away in 01 where its my #4. Brilliant movie.

Still haven't seen that you reccomend: Morvern Callar, Rodger Dodger, White Oleander, 8 Women, Lovely and Amazing.

Still haven't seen that I just plain need to see: Spellbound, The Man Without a Past, 24 Hour Party People, Demonlover, All or Nothing, Spider, Ten, Unknown Pleasures, Spellbound, To Be and to Have, Bus 174, The Magdalene Sisters, Springtime in a Small Town and probably more than a few others.

Anyway, what I HAVE seen and loved, my top 10:

1. Twilight Samurai
2. The Son
3. Punch Drunk Love
4. Bowling For Columbine
5. Russian Ark
6. Talk to Her
7. Adaptation
8. Dirty Pretty Things
9. Gangs of New York
10. 25th Hour

Honorable mentions must go to: City of God, Catch Me If You Can, Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary, Lilja 4 Ever, Minority Report, Far From Heaven, Irreversible, 28 Days Later, Lilo and Stitch, The Bourne Identity

adam k. said...

I've seen Late Marriage, Nat! Though it was a long time ago and I don't remember much at all, and honestly, I didn't pay as much attention to the film as a whole as I did to its famous sex scene (which I remember you trumpeting at the time). I do remember that scene being very good, though.

I should really watch it again. Ditto Adaptation, to which I've had similarly schizo reactions.

adam k. said...

I also remember that when I finally saw Spirited Away, I don't think I really "got" it. I just remember watching it with my family and being like, "huh?"

I also remember not really liking the first Spider-Man... a lot of it was that I was, again, watching it with my family, and my sister was very young at the time, and I remember thinking the Green Goblin was too scary for her and not appropriate.

But also, the Green Goblin was just kind of... tacky? I dunno. The second film is infinitely better.

Love FFH, Y Tu Mama, and Talk to Her, though. Mixed feelings toward The Hours (source material was SO much better), Chicago, and of course Adaptation. Do not have vivid memories of The Pianist at all. Have not seen 25th Hour.

RobUK said...

My 10:

1 Talk To Her
2 Road To Perdition
3 The Pianist
4 Chicago
5 Y Tu Mamá También
6 Far From Heaven
7 The Hours
8 Kissing Jessica Stein
9 Morvern Callar
10 Spirited Away

Devin D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Devin D said...

10. Spider (David Cronenberg)
9. Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuaron)
8. Bloody Sunday (Paul Greengrass)
7. Road to Perdition (Sam Mendes)
6. Adaptation. (Spike Jonze)
5. Minority Report (Steven Spielberg)
4. Dirty Pretty Things (Stephen Frears)
3. City of God (Fernando Meirelles)
2. Catch Me If You Can (Steven Spielberg)
1. 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle)

I feel weird placing 28 Days Later in the number one slot... but I'm pretty sure that's actually how highly I value the film.

Honorable Mentions:
The Bourne Identity
Far From Heaven
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Pianist
Talk to Her

And actually a few others.

The 25th Hour
Bowling For Columbine
Punch-Drunk Love

My, oh my. I never really saw 2002 for what it was until now. A great year in film.

ThaDropDownBear said...

well i was only 9 in 2002, not many movies have I seen from that year, although if I had to give you a rough top 10 itd look something like... Spider-Man, Spirited Away, Adaptation, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The 25th Hour, Frida, Chicago, and Hero. Not in that order btw, I'd have to rewatch them all. Although I've probably only seen maybe 30-40 films from that year.

ThaDropDownBear said...

ARG! And I forgot Catch Me if You Can!! Squeeze that in there somewhere rofl.

amir_uk said...

The Hours. The Hours. The Hours. Film of the decade.

2002 was one of the decade's banner years, for sure. Along with 2001 and 2007. 2004 and 2005 were very good. 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2008 were all a bit below-par. I feel 2009 may fall into that "very good" category...

My top 10 of 2002:

10. Far From Heaven
9. Adaptation
8. Punch-Drunk Love
7. The Piano Teacher
6. Read My Lips
5. Y tu mamá también
4. Spirited Away
3. Talk To Her
2. Chicago
1. The Hours

The Miyazaki and the Almodóvar will switch places depending on what mood I'm in.

Lorenzo said...

1 Far from heaven
2 The 25th hour
3 Hable con ella
4 Chicago
5 The pianist
6 The hours
7 The rules of attraction
8 Dolls (Takeshi Kitano)
9 L’imbalsamatore (from Gomorra’s director Matteo Garrone)
10 Kissing Jessica Stein, Bend it like Beckham or About a boy (I gave them the same rating back then and haven’t re-watched any in a long time)

But I’ve never watched Adaptation (!) and should re-watch Gangs of New York and Catch me if you can. Oh, and Y tu mamà tambien would easily be n. 8 but I consider it a 2001 release.

Glenn said...

My top ten for the year went like this:

1. Chicago
2. Bowling for Columbine
3. Far from Heaven
4. Spirited Away
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (my favourite of the trilogy!)
6. Rabbit-Proof Fence
7. Talk to Her
8. Panic Room
9. Femme Fatale
10. Thirteen Conversations About One Thing.

I'd still rank them like that, probabaly. Although I'd maybe throw in Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary, Signs or 25th Hour at the tail end of the list.

Notorious C.H.O. is also probably my true favourite from the year, but feels like a cheat on a top ten list tbh.

Knox said...

Dear Nathan,
Knox from Taiwan again.

Just want to say what you wrote about Talk To Her is so beautiful. I can't agree with you more. Talk To Her is my favorite Almodovar movie. Women on the Verge really opened up his amazing world to me, and I had all those feelings you had about Laws of Desire. But when Talk To Her came out, everything about it just felt so right. It was like some kind of a circle was complete, and I never got tired of watching it.

julianstark said...

Will watch Late Marriage. You put Moulin Rouge! (OMG NICOLE KIDMAN!!!!!) at your number one 0f 2001, so I can't not at least have some agreement with your other film judgments.

I'll check it out sometime and get back on what I think of it...


@DEVIN D -- we have very different tastes i think. But a lot of your list are 2003 release in NYC so I couldn't even consider them at the time.

don't get me started on the poor distribution handling of Cronenberg's SPIDER. 28 Days Later and City of God also had to wait until 2003 to see release in NYC. My favorite of those three is 28 Days Later but I think Miranda Richardson's Spider performance is one of the best of the entire decade.

Christine said...

For what it's worth, my husband was THRILLED that you put Late Marriage on this list. He actually said "Yes!" and made a little pointing gesture at the screen when he read the post this morning.

He gets pretty invested in top ten lists.

trent said...

1. About Schmidt
2. Lovely and Amazing
3. Y Tu Mama Tambien
4. Morvern Callar
5. Minority Report
6. Far From Heaven
7. The Good Girl
8. Punch Drunk Love
9. The Hours
10. Chicago

Honorable Mentions: Catch Me if You Can, Talk to Her, The Pianist
Road to Perdition, Bowling for Columbine

Faux said...

My Top Ten from 2002:

1. Talk to Her (Dark Masterwork!!!!)
2. The Pianist (sometimes -I don't know why- I forgot that I knew Roman Polanski in person when the film was released in Havana International Film Festival... this movie is really underrated)
3. City of God (years later I was in Brazil, close to the same 'favela', and was impressive)
4. The Hours (that movie was an orgasm with Meryl & Nicole & Julie Ann... and Toni & Miranda... and that sequence in which Julianne is devoured by water in the hotel)
5. Adaptation (a real gem)
6. Russian Ark (love Sokurov!)
7. Y tu mamá también (my first reaction to this movie was "bleeeehhh!" but later the film has grown with its subtle details)
8. The Piano Teacher (my first approach to Haneke)
9. The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers (visually stunning)
10. Chicago (love Zeta Jones and Latifah... "When you're good to Mama, Mama's good to you" haha)

Faux said...

My Top Ten from 2002:

1. Talk to Her (Dark Masterwork!!!!)
2. The Pianist (sometimes -I don't know why- I forget that I met Roman Polanski in person when the film was released in Havana International Film Festival... this movie is really underrated)
3. City of God (years later I was in Brazil, close to the same 'favela', and was impressive)
4. The Hours (that movie was an orgasm with Meryl & Nicole & Julie Ann... and Toni & Miranda... and that sequence in which Julianne is devoured by water in the hotel)
5. Adaptation (a real gem)
6. Russian Ark (love Sokurov!)
7. Y tu mamá también (my first reaction to this movie was "bleeeehhh!" but later the film has grown with its subtle details)
8. The Piano Teacher (my first approach to Haneke)
9. The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers (visually stunning)
10. Chicago (love Zeta Jones and Latifah... "When you're good to Mama, Mama's good to you" haha)

kent said...

nathaniel, do you think CHICAGO is better than NINE?

CHICAGO is not as great as it was to me in 2002 anymore.

David Coley said...

Nice to see a mention for Rodger Dodger. Saw it a few months ago for the first time. A rough but poignant film.

Steolicious said...

01. The Hours
02. City Of God
03. Spirited Away
04. Adaptation
05. About Schmidt
06. Chicago
07. Far from Heaven
08. Plots with a View
09. White Oleander
10. Frida

Stephen said...

My own list from 2002:

1. Far from Heaven
2. Y tu mama tambien
3. 25th Hour
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
5. Spirited Away
6. Morvern Callar
7. Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner)
8. Talk to Her
9. Bowling for Columbine
10. Punch-Drunk Love

Branden said...

1. Far From Heaven
2. Chicago
3. Adaptation
4. Bowling for Columbine
5. Road to Perdition
6. The Pianist
7. About a Boy
8. Spider Man
9. The Good Girl
10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

magicub said...

Whatever happen to moulin R>ouge!, the Spectacular, Spectacular! 2001

BrianZ said...

Really a stellar you for movies. So happy to see at the end of this decade, oodles of people heaping praise on 25th Hour, since it came out received nothing.

Klemen said...

i would say:

1.The Hours-still the most shattering movie I've ever seen, and my favorite movie ever, but I also truly think it's fantastic.Plus the actresses!
2.8 Women-the movie I most often rewatch.Astonishingly succesful at mixing all those genres.
3.Chicago-Entertaining as hell and Zeta-Jones's finest hour.
4.Two Towers-as magnificent to me as the other two.
5.Spirited Away-very creative and memorable.
6.25th Hour-teriffic, and with a teriffic cast.
7.Yossi and Jagger-very atypical, heartbreking without being sentimental.
8.Piedras-a flawed and overlong spanish movie, but I can't get it out of my head for some reason.
9.Hero-hypnotic.If I don't count it as 2002, then
9.Talk to her-I feel it should be higher, must rewatch.
10.Gerry-probably not quite deserving of this spot, but I've never seen anything like it.
Also must obviously rewatch Far from heaven.I'm sure it should be here.

Devin D said...

I think our taste differs greatly. I remember first seeing how split we were when you released your 2006 Film Bitch Awards.

Children of Men, Inside Man, The Departed, A Prairie Home Companion and The Devil Wears Prada were on each of our top 10 lists, but my other five were almost no where to be found.

Looking back at it now, I remember never seeing Shortbus. I should check that one out...

Marcin said...

One and only. "The hours"

Tony Love said...

I am so glad to see that you '8 Women' on your list (even though i think it should be higher) but as long as it made the list i am happy! :) I absolutely love that movie. I constantly listen to the soundtrack to this day! I wish it was a play so we could perform it at my community theatre.

My favorite movie from 2002 was The Hours, which also happens to be my favorite movie of all time as well!

Ben said...

Love this series, and love this list! I think 2002 was an excellent year for movies. I especially love my top 5. I've seen them all at least 3 times, I think.

My Top 10 Would Be:

1. Far From Heaven
2. Talk To Her (Has gradually moved up my list the more I've seen it and thought about it)
3. Y tu Mama
4. Monsoon Wedding
5. About Schmidt
6. About a Boy
7. The Pianist
8. The Two Towers
9. 25th Hour (might be higher if I watched it again)
10. Lovely and Amazing (or maybe Adaptation, even though it's flawed)

Most Overrated: The Hours!! That score! Ed Harris! So portentous. It's like there was no room to breathe.

eduardo said...

one of my favorite years of the decade =D

The Hours
The pianist
Far from heaven
The two towers
About Schmidt
Hable con ella
Punch-drunk love
Road to perdition
Kissing Jessica Stein

JP said...

Most of my 2002 favorites have already been mentioned (Adaptation, 25th Hour, Gangs of New York, Road to Perdition), but I thought I'd bring up a couple of completely different, but immensely entertaining movies - Super Troopers and Standing in the Shadows of Motown.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Nathaniel - re: Late Marriage - Lior Ashkenazi? In a 20+ minute sex scene? Why would you need to do any convincing?

Alas, I have scoured all across Melbourne universities and video stores for this movie - it was never released here even on DVD. I was already dying to watch it based on the reviews it received in the States as well as the issues it seems to tackle. But when I caught Eytan Fox's Walk on Water some years later, and found out what the lead actor looks like, my hunger to see this damn movie quadrupled..

Also, I should mention Spirited Away is a 2001 release for me, otherwise it would be no. 10 on the list. And I despised every minute and false note of dialogue in the 25th Hour - to this day I don't understand the love - I think it's in my bottom 10 of the year. But since I seem to be alone in this, I might have to give it anoither shot (but then I think of that closing decades-into-the-future-with-embarrassing-makeup-and-stolid-voiceover, and my skin crawls).

Alex said...

@Faux: I'd venture to say that Allison (who you didn't mention) was even better than Toni or Miranda.

adri said...

1. About A Boy
2. LOTR: The Two Towers
3. The Transporter (!!)
4. The Quiet American
5. Hero
6. White Oleander
7. Solaris
8. L'homme du train
9. 25th Hour
10. 8 Women

And thanks, JP, for reminding me about Standing in the Shadows of Motown. I loved that one (I gave it as gifts).

richard said...

that was the last year the Oscars were actually exciting. all the Pianist upsets, the Eminem win, the Michael Moore controversy. and what a great year of nominees. i miss those old days when upsets still actually happened.

Devin D said...

I'd like to think Penn upset last year... But that wasn't really the case. It was a neck and neck (and neck?) race to the end.

Maybe, if the precursors start to pick up their current slack, Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson will be dark horses who come around to upset (or at least make it interesting).

Deborah said...

I am still going by IMDb dates, because that’s where I keep my movie notes. It’s impossible to re-sort by other dates. So, Kissing Jessica Stein, Spirited Away, and Monsoon Wedding are my favorites from 2001. I adore these movies unconditionally! Sorry to taint the water.

Top ten from 2002 (based on IMDb years)
1. Adaptation
2. Gangs of New York
3. The Hours
4. Spider-Man
5. Devil's Playground
6. Secretary
7. The Quiet American
8. The Secret Lives of Dentists
9. One Hour Photo
10. The Quiet American

Movies I loved at first and still love:
Gangs of New York
The Hours
Auto Focus
Devil's Playground
The Quiet American
About a Boy
Minority Report
Spellbound (2002/I)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Secret Lives of Dentists
One Hour Photo
Die Another Day
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Lost in La Mancha

Movies I loved at first and have sort of faded for me:
Lilo & Stitch
Hable con ella
Road to Perdition
Changing Lanes
The Good Thief
Bend It Like Beckham
Sunshine State
Rabbit-Proof Fence
White Oleander
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Movies I didn't love so much but stick with me in retrospect:
Catch Me If You Can
About Schmidt

vg21 said...

2002 was an excellent year indeed! My favourites are The Hours, Adaptation, Chicago, Spirited Away and 8 Women. I still have to see a lot of those you mentioned, though.

BUT...The Hours is not overrated. It may not be everybody's favourite, but I like it because, in spite of it's topic, it still manages to be the most life-affirming movie I've ever seen and it's score the most beautiful and refreshing one I've ever heard.

Wayne said...

My choices would be:

(underrated: Brown Sugar, Insomnia, Panic Room, Pumpkin, Spider)

#10-6: 8 femmes, Dirty Pretty Things, Minority Report, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Spirited Away.

#5-1: 25th Hour, Adaptation, Far From Heaven, LOTR: The Two Towers, Y Tu Mama Tambien(#1)