Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Decade in Review: 2001 Top Ten

What follows is my original top ten list of 2001. We'll discuss each year of the decade over the next month or two (we already did 2000). I do this because I am curious about which films "stick" and which fade and why and maybe you are too? Best year of the decade I think. The top five films would all be valid #1 film choices in some years. New comments are in red.

Note: This list references films released in NYC in 2001, not year of production
or year in which they first the hit festival circuit or whatnot.

Runners Up (in descending order): Sexy Beast, Ali, Series 7: The Contenders, The Others, Last Resort and Waking Life. I don't remember loving Ali that much... and more than The Others? I don't remember that at all. I mean Nicole Kidman was the shit TWICE OVER in 2001.

In my round up of the year I also sang the praises of
Monsters, Inc, Crazy/Beautiful and Wet Hot American Summer. Even though I listed Monsters, Inc as "underrated" I still didn't have it in the top 16. That was weird, me! I never consider documentaries eligible for the year's top ten. That's a quirk of mine that I can't really defend except for to say that I don't see enough of them to fairly evaluate their merits and I find it nearly impossible to compare their merits to those of narrative features. That said, in 2001 I was wild for The Gleaners and I.

10 No Man's Land
This acclaimed Bosnian film from Danis Tanovic is a startling visceral comedy about the lunacy of war. Let's hope it beats the overpraised (if admittedly enjoyable) Amélie to the foreign language Oscar this year.

I was surprisingly prophetic there though I understand a lot of people are still mad about that underdog win.

09 The Royal Tenenbaums
A film that flirts with greatness and becomes all the more touching by missing the mark. There's one great scene after another in Wes Anderson's fairy tale document on a family of failed geniuses. The film is blessed with a beautiful team-spirit bouquet of fine performances from Paltrow, Hackman, Huston, Glover, and the Wilson brothers. They've got character.

er... I get what I was saying but I'm not so sure this film missed the mark. It's a thing of melancholy beauty and curious singular humor. Anderson's best by a significant margin.

08 In the Bedroom
Todd Field's studied and terrific debut may not be the masterwork some have claimed it to be but it's a damn good film nonetheless. Its most remarkable feature is its honest deceptiveness. You think it's a love story. Bang, It's not. You think it's a thriller. Oops, think again. It's not that the film is lying, but that we are so accustomed to certain plot trajectories that its difficult to see the film's harrowing turns coming or to immediately understand how thoroughly it undermines traditional notions of revenge or catharsis. Bonus points to the cast for illuminating the emptying effects of grief, and the rage of the broken.

Todd Field and Wes Anderson's subsequent films have made me question my love for these on occasion. I can't say that I remember In the Bedroom well but I like what I remember still. That The Tenenbaums is all the way down at #9 only goes to show what a great year 2001 was.

07 Tillsammans (Together)
The sweetest film of the year is also one of the smartest. Lukas Moodyson throws a broken family into a 70s commune and the resulting emotional, personal, romantic, and idealistic collisions that ensue expose, illuminate, and energize all involved. "Feel good" is a term often used to describe manipulative, simple-minded, happy endings and Hollywood-style sugarcoating. Thankfully, this Swedish comedy has neither of those attributes and actually feels good. It uplifts while engaging you both emotionally and intellectually.

Nobody talks about this movie (maybe because Lukas Moodyson's subsequent films have been so brutal as to be deemed unwatchable by some fans of his first movies) and in truth I don't remember it well but I do remember how I felt leaving the theater: marvelous.

06 Gosford Park
No movie this year approaches it in terms of its nimbleness and fluidity in mixing character, theme and wit. Robert Altman's return to form is wildly entertaining.

05 Mulholland Dr.
This, the critical darling of 2001 (OK, In the Bedroom came close) was the year's most familiar complete stranger. We've seen all the Lynchian motifs, images, and characters before but this time, the singular auteur fashioned something new and revelatory out of his used parts. This picture, a grand one, had tremendous "give" in it allowing for multiple correct intrepetations, thereby prompting the most fascinating critical discussions of the year. But all that aside, the truly smart way to watch Lynch's mindfuck is to just let go and give in to its undeniable and nonsensical pull. From the frenetic overexposed jitterbug opening sequence to the final silencing moment, it's undeniably gripping. Just dive into the blue box.

Subsequent years have only strengthened its grip on the imagination, haven't they?

04 Hedwig and the Angry Inch
A triple threat triumph from writer/director/star John Cameron Mitchell. That this unforgettable theatrical experience made such a successful transfer to the screen with its punk edge, subversive charm, and visceral rock spirit intact was the year's happiest little miracle.

03 In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar Wai has outdone himself. The year's most glorious foreign film has the year's best cinematography. It paints a masterful and hypnotic meditation on memory, emotional stasis, and romantic yearning. The luminous coupling of Maggie Cheung as Mrs Chan and Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Mr. Chow astonish: They're as erotic as Mulholland Dr's Nancy Drew lovers without a sex scene, as glamorous as Moulin Rouge!'s doomed bohemians without as many costume changes and in the end they're more emotionally affecting than either of those sensational couplings. Unmissable.

If I had a gazillion dollars I would have this movie projected on my bedroom wall 24/7. Who needs photos, wallpaper, art or paint? Just these visuals on loop, forever.

02 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Pure magic. Peter Jackson's new film sets the bar high. Released just one month prior to it, Harry Potter looks even more factory-like next to it. The Fellowship of the Ring recalls the grandiose Star Wars magic minus the bad acting and none of the eventual dissappointments of an embarassing Episode One. Fellowship is compared to many films but the one it looks prettiest sitting next to is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. In just two short years, two signature adventure epics for The East and the West have arrived that dwarf everything their genre has offered for years. Both films will likely inspire future filmmakers who are now but starry eyed children discovering the enormous magic of the cinema while watching them for the first time.

01 Moulin Rouge!
It's no secret that I've always adored Bazmark productions. (Strictly Ballroom and Romeo + Juliet were also top ten entries in their years.) But Luhrmann and his troupe topped themselves this time. With the final film in his Red Curtain Trilogy celebrating 'real artificiality,' Baz delivered his masterpiece. A lot of ink has been spilt covering Bazmark's divisive musical fantasia and I could certainly spill a lot more, but I think this revolution of a musical sums itself up quite well and accurately in one of its first numbers.
Spectacular! Spectacular!
no words in the vernacular
can describe this great event
you'll be dumb with wonderment.
More than any film in 2001 this film hit my nerve center of cinephilia: I got completely lost in the daring aesthetics, inspired performances, music, dance, and romance. I was stunned, flabbergasted, thrilled, moved, entertained, and drained all at once. When it was over I could only applaud, buy the soundtrack, and return to the theater repeatedly. To paraphrase another song from the film: come what may... come what may.... I will love this film until my dying day.

I wasn't kidding.

* *
What were your favorite pictures from 2001?
Do they hold up now? Do you agree that 2001 was the best film year of the decade? For the record the films I was not at all crazy about that quite a few other people love include: The Devil's Backbone, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, A Beautiful Mind, Shrek, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone and Ghost World.


Lev Lewis said...

I can't say that I echo your sentiments about "Moulin Rouge". I know it's loved around these parts but I find it to be fairly tedious actually. Luhrmann just does not do it for me in the slightest.

However, I'm totally on board for "Mulholland Dr", "Fellowship", "Tenenbaums" and especially "In the Mood for Love" which would make a play for my greatest film of the decade.

Wondering what your thoughts are on "The Man Who Wasn't There" which you don't mention at all but I think is one of the Coen's most underrated films.

Arkaan said...

What's gone up in my estimation: In the Mood for Love, Intimacy, Ginger Snaps, Under the Sand, No Man's Land (watch it post-Iraq, lament the lost great that was Katrin Cartlidge), Ghost World

What's gone down: Moulin Rouge (sorry), Memento, The Royal Tenenbaums (his later work casts a negative shadow)

What's stayed the same: Fellowship of the Ring. Still amazing.

julianstark said...

MOULIN ROUGE!!!!! MOULIN ROUGE!!!!!! NICOLE KIDMAN!!!!!! (pre-Hours). Totally agree with this Number One choice!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sam Brooks said...

In The Mood For Love. Best. Hands. Down.

Andrew K. said...

Gosford Park only at number six. Harumph [outraged huff].
Still, I can't fault your top 2. I actually watched Moulin Rouge! last Saturday with my nephew [I am destroying his brain] and it still is enjoyable as it was the first time I saw it. So sad that Ewan hasn't made it beg as yet.

Joe K said...

I'm completely behind you on Gosford Park, Fellowship of the Ring, and Moulin Rouge: all masterpieces, and better than most movies that come out any given year. I must confess, however, that as far as 2001 was concerned, I was all about Black Hawk Down.


@ Lev -- i liked The Man Who Wasn't There but consider it minor Coen Bros. I guess it'd be in the top 30 of that year. it might be worth a revisit though.

@ Arkaan -- INTIMACY has gone up in my estimation as well but Under the Sand I basically only remember for the wondrous Charlotte Rampling performance which I nominated and which Oscar should've.

@Andrew -- i know! Gosford Park is probably my favorite #6 of any of my top ten lists ;)

Amir said...

i think my top 5 films from that year in order will be:
1-in the mood for love
2-moulin rouge
3-fellowship of the ring
4-the royal tenenbaums
5-mulholland drive

and all of them made it to your top ten list. so i guess we're on the same board.

ReezfromSingap said...

I loooove Moulin Rogue!!!!But a few months ago, I saw The Others for the very first time and I fell in love with this psycho-thriller. Argh, now I don't know which is my fave Kidman film.....Dogville, MR, The Others or Practical Magic:)

Eric Henderson said...

TIme has definitely softened my initial antipathy toward MOULIN ROUGE as well as muting my enthusiasm for GOSFORD PARK. Even back in 2001, I'm pretty sure those were the only two BP nominees I had any time for. The initial cheerleading behind ROUGE's rabid fan base (*wink*) is now a non-factor, and I can at least see it as one of the year's most insanely committed flicks of the year, in every sense of the word "committed."

At the time, A.I. and MULHOLLAND DRIVE were miles ahead of the pack, with GHOST WORLD, ROYAL TENENBAUMS and KANDAHAR (of the moment, of course) rounding out my top 5. The last title doesn't resonate like it did in November 2001, but the other four are, to varying degrees, still on my personal list of faves.

On a more offbeat tip, I also love WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, PULSE, SHALLOW HAL, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and FREDDY GOT FINGERED. And then there's the eye candy of the year: Seb Janiek's collection of tarted-up dance videos under the "Vanity 9" banner (models + neon + french house = paradise).

Gilidor said...


It's probably gonna top my Best of the Decade list. :)

Seeking Amy said...

Hoo boy!

In order

Moulin Rouge
In the Mood for Love
The Royal Tenenbaums
Mulholland Drive
Ghost World
Gosford Park
The Others
In the Bedroom

I'm not sure if Amores Perros counts as a 2001 release but if it does it would be at #4.

Honorable mention: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Eureka, and Fellowship of the ring.

I must see No Man's Land and The Man Who Wasn't There (I even own this one so I don't know why I haven't)

2001 and 2007 have been the definitive years for me this decade. Although 2002 and 2006 gives them a run for their money if you ask me.

Bing147 said...

I have Together and the Gleaners and I in 2000. Strangely watched both today. Liked both but I'm not as crazy about them as you. Just good movies.

My top 10:

1. Mulholland Drive
2. The Royal Tenenbaums
3. Late Marriage
4. Spirited Away
5. Monsters Inc
6. Moulin Rouge
7. The Son's Room
8. Oceans Eleven
9. Promises
10. Elling

HM: Ghost World, The Man Who Wasn't There, Amelie, The Piano Teacher, No Man's Land, Read My Lips, Y Tu Mama Tambien, LOTR FOTR, Monsoon Wedding, In the Bedroom

adam k. said...

Ahhh, 2001. My freshman year of college, the year I came out, fell hard for cinema, and discovered Nat's site. I remember this list well.

It's hard to choose between all of those top 6 (I own all of them). I've never seen Together or No Man's Land, but I also love Tennenbaums and Bedroom.

My Moulin Rouge! enthusiasm has been tempered since then, but probably because I know so many musicals now, and the novelty of it and MUSICALS! in general has worn off. So I can't say what would top my list now.

I do think Lynch deserves the best director oscar, though. All the best parts of that film are all him.

Anonymous said...

For me In The Bedroom was my number one, with Gosford Park coming in second. And I need someone to explain Mulholland Drive to me, cause I DON'T GET IT! lol

par3182 said...

1. gosford park
2. the royal tenenbaums
3. lantana
4. mulholland dr.
5. amelie
6. monsters inc.

Andrew K. said...

I didn't even realise you asked questions. Favourite year of the decade was 2007 although this year is looking quite good thus far. Was not a big fan of 01. A Beautiful Mind is fair, although Jennifer Connelly does not help the situation any as far as I'm concerned. And I remember seeing HP1 in cinemas when I was ten and yeah I like to. Waay better than the horrible Pt 2.

Dean said...

What about Donnie Darko? It's one of my and many's top films of all time.

Unknown said...

I don't get the untempered enthusiasm for 'Moulin Rouge.' There are very blatant parts, for me, that feel like a ball of twine unraveling.

LOTR is amazing. The entire trilogy is just phenomenal. And it all began here! But I think most sing their praises in 2003: not for the 3rd film per se, but for the conclusion of a 3-part masterwork.

I think 'Gosford Park' and 'In the Bedroom' are about as perfect as cinema gets. 'Gosford Park' is more of a classic filmmaking achievement, I'd say, whereas 'Bedroom' is more a work of art. Both exceptional though.

I found parts of 'Mulholland Dr.' almost unbearable to sit through. When I finished, I was flabbergasted. After a little reading (thank you Salon.com!) and some introspection, however, I realized its unparalleled genius. It feels like more than a film-- it's an undying cerebral entity. Watch it once, and it's forever ingrained in your conscience.

Lev Lewis said...

"The Man Who Wasn't There" often gets that tag (a minor work) but I strongly disagree; it carries just as much emotional heft as their more serious works ("Blood Simple", "Barton Fink", "Fargo", No Country") and is one of their most moving and brilliantly conceived screenplays. Not too mention Deakins' cinematography, Burwell's score and Billy Bob Thornton's performance are among the best the three men have accomplished. Give it a second viewing and you will be rewarded.

Jeff said...

My top 10 would be:

1. Distance (a Kore'eda film that has never been released in the US, but is still the best of 2001)
2. Y Tu Mama Tambien
3. Gosford Park
4. Ghost World
5. Invincible
6. Nowhere in Africa
7. Mulholland Drive
8. In the Bedroom
9. Black Hawk Down
10. Wit

Anonymous said...

I would say that over the years I have appreciated the beauty of In the Mood for Love and the creativity of Moulin Rouge!, two films I did not immediately love. I also think Gosford Park is one of the best of the decade and possibly the best Altman has done (with the exception of Nashville, of course).

Katey said...

In the Mood for Love and Moulin Rouge in one year is almost unfair... anyone with a weakness for both doomed love stories AND lush cinematography probably had so much fun in 2001 they never recovered again. Glad I only caught the Wong Kar-Wait film later-- I couldn't have handled both!

Ryan Ray said...

I guess I prefer The Others as my Kidman movie of 2001; just not a huge fan of Moulin Rouge!, so I'll stay away from that so I don't face the wrath of Nathaniel + others.

I like the love for Mulholland Dr, Fellowship, In the Mood for Love, and Gosford Park. I have a special liking for Wet Hot American Summer and Ghost World.

I saw Spirited Away up there somehwere, and that wasn't released until 2002 in the US, otherwise that would be close to or at the top for me. My introduction to Miyazaki couldn't have been better.

Harry Potter and Shrek? Er...no. I agree with not being crazy about those, Nathaniel. Shrek is probably already showing its age.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

I'm going by year of original release here.

1. Amelie
Much as I was happy about a Balkan film winning an Oscar, the sublime Amelie losing to that likable, efficient and simplistic Bosnian movie was one of the Moments when I started giving up on Ampass.
I know this film is often dismissed as cutesy or fluffy, but how do so many people miss the layers of longing, half-stifled pain, romance and glorious MOVIEness. Any time I catch 5 minutes of it on TV, I can't help but sit dowen and watch the rest and get teary all over again.

2. Mulholland Drive
Back in 2001, this was my 10th favourite. Heh. I don't think I got it at the time. It's a masterwork, a deeply and intimately moving love story and a gloriously sustained, galvanising, eye-opening ode to the power (and elegance and mystery) of dream logic. Much as I adore Amelie, this could easily overtake it upon a repeat viewing.

3. The Man Who Wasn't There
Merely enjoyed it initially before a second viewing blew my mind. Sharp satire of 40s small town values mixed with that haunting existential streak that underscores all of the Coens' finest work. In fact, this is very close to being tehir finest worok (I might prefer No Country by a smidge, and I like Fargo about as much).

4. Ghost World
In a great year for teen films, this was the strongest (and, depending on how you'd classify The Oposite of Sex, this would be my all time favourite). An acute, brilliantly acted adaptation of a characteristically acute, brilliantly written comic by one of my favourite writers.

5. Kandahar
A weirdly neglected film. My response to it was so overwhelmingly personal and emotional that I might be overestimating it. But not by much. Makhmalbaf is a master.

6. The Royal Tennenbaums
If not Anderson's finest (I go back and forth between this and Life Aquatic), probably his most fully realised. It's much lower on this list than it would be in any other year. I guess 2001 really was a strong one. A fifth of the five-star ratings I've given out this decade are 2001 films (that's the Top 4, in case you're curious).

7. L.I.E.
Like Kandahar, my response was so gut-level that I may have overestimated the film, but from memory, it captured adolescence and budding [gay male] sexuality with more insight and sensitivity than pretty much any other film I can think of.

8. Donnie Darko
I have nothing to add to everything other people have said about this one. (I do wish it wasn't so routinely overrated by lonely twentysomething virgins though. The greatest film of all time this is not.)

9. A.I. Artificial Intelligence
See, I found that third act very touching and perfectly in keeping with the fairy tale structure.

10. Series 7: The Contenders
Outrageous, perfectly pitched, ridiculously clever. All of the actors are excellent, but Brooke Smith and Marylouise Burke are downright hypnotic.

Honourable mentions go to the warm, literate Last Orders (which missed out on no. 10 very narrowly), Spirited Away (still my favourite Miyazaki by far), Moulin Rouge (which would have been higher if Nicole Kidman could act or sing or have hips and breasts - aha I said it), The Others (the first Kidman performance that not only didn't irritate me, but even impressed me), In the Bedroom (note-perfect performances), Ocean's Eleven (lots of fun), Shrek (which I love more and more with each viewing, even though I despise its soujndtrack and legacy) and Y tu mama tambien (which I think I need to see again to fully appreciate).

So yeah, strong year.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

I should add I count In the Mood for Love as a 2000 release (and certainly a Top 10er); Gosford Park directly follows Y tu mama tambien on my list; and Fellowship of the Ring just never resonated for me (unlike much of the Two Towers and the first 3 hours of Return of the King).

Glenn said...

2001 is, for me, the most top-heavy year of the decade. The highs are so gloriously high (my two favourite films of the decade are right here) but not really much in the middle area before all the bad stuff.

1. Mulholland Drive
2. Moulin Rouge!
3. Lantana
4. Amelie
6. Donnie Darko
7. Ghost World
8. The Others
9. Hedwig
10. The Deep End

I'd take out "Donnie Darko" for sure, but other than that. There's still In the Mood for Love, Royal Tenenbaums, Bridget Jones, Lost & Delirious, Black Hawk Down and Monsters Inc that I think all DESERVE a place in the top ten, but miss out because there's just too many A-grade films.

Glenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cal roth said...

No f*cking way The Man Who Wasn't There is a minor Coen. It's a masterful exercise on chance and irony, the same way In The Mood For Love is about passion and broken hearts.

They are very similar movies: both of them put together a breathtaking mood only by being spectacular visually elaborated, and, same time, written with a brilliant sense of economy. They're all about you don't see, and, the irony, there are a lot of things to see onscreen.

What about the perfomances? Would you keep the medals?

Anonymous said...

My top ten

since IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE opened in Italy in 2000 I put it on my top 10 of that particular year, for what concernes 2001:

7) YI YI (which I know it was in Cannes 2000, but I watched in 2001...)


Rebecka said...

Amazing site, great list! It was a good year. Off the top of my head I would say

Spirited Away
The Others
Gosford Park
The Royal Tenenbaums
Fellowship of the Ring
No Man's Land

Together and In the Mood for Love are 2000 releases for me, otherwise they would top that list. In the Mood is my top film of the decade hands down - It's still the best, best cinematography, best acting, best costume design, best music, best acceptance speech at Hong Kong film awards... Just the best :)

Thank you for a lovely blog!

Steolicious said...

My Top ten list 2001:

01.) Gosford Park
02.) The Others
03.) Ghost World
04.) Iris
05.) In the Bedroom
06.) A Beautiful Mind
07.) Mulholland Drive
08.) The Deep End
09.) Moulin Rouge!
10.) Shrek

Spirited Away would be on the second place but I think it counts for 2002 or 2003...

Lorenzo said...

Ok, I tried to mix my preferences from 8 years ago (and I was only 15!) with my current tastes... That's the resulting top 10:

1 Mulholland Drive
2 Donnie Darko
3 The Royal Tenenbaums
4 The fellowship of the ring
5 Moulin Rouge
6 A beautiful mind
7 Presque rien (french gay-themed extraordinary movie)
8 The man who wasn't there (I love Noir!)
9 La stanza del figlio (italian movie about a family's grief over the death of their teenage son)
10 No man's land

Runners-up: Memento,Le fableux destin d'Amelie Poulain, Y tu mamà tambien, Le fate ignoranti, Shrek.

I also rememeber hating Vanilla Sky very passionately! And, shame on me, I've never watched In the mood for love...

Juno101 said...

It's a shame "Ghost World" isn't mentioned at all, I really love that film.

honduran said...

10. Training day
9. Ali
8. Amelie
6.In The Bedroom
5.The Others
4.The Fellowship of the Ring
3.Moulin Rouge
2.Y tu Mama Tambien ( opened in 2001 here in honduras)
1. Gosford Park

and yes, nicole kidman was the shit that year....hehe


@Lorenzo -- i hated vanilla sky passionatedly too. and unfortunately it was one of a couple of films that convinced me that Penelope Cruz was useless. Oh how wrong I would turn out to be

@Everyone -- Y Tu Mama Tambien & Spirited Away are 2002 releases for Americans. Or I'd probably have mentioned.

@Cal -- strong feelings there on The Man Who... are you one of the
'A Serious Man' is their best people I keep hearing from (my memory these days). If so, what would you consider minor Coens? I have a friend who loves them so much i don't think he can see "minor" at all with them. But I think most great filmmakers have some minor stuff. I should probably see that one again.

@Glenn -- you're probably right about the top-heavy. That #10-#20 are good movies but I don't actually think they're all taht top ten worthy. But the top 9 are so strong I shudder to think which movies i would have to dump if it was combined with any other year.

@Y Kant -- wow, very different lists. and I so rarely hear passionate Amelie responses that aren't just "it's awesome!" I liked L.I.E. and Donnie Darko but they didn't achieve greatness for me.

With Darko I should probably ignore the overpraise and just enjoy the movie because I do love reading about it (usually a sign that I've 'misunderestimated' it if it's one i love reading about that i didn't love)

cal roth said...

Haven't seen A Single Man!

The Coens have their minors, like The Ladykillers and O Brother, but they're still very very good movies.

I think No Country For Old Men and Barton Fink are their masterpieces, with The Man Who Wasn't There, Fargo, Raising Arizona, and Miller's Crossing as 2nd tiers, in that order.

cal roth said...

A Serious Man, sorry.

cal roth said...

Ok, I have free time now

1) No Country For Old Men A
2) Barton Fink A
3) The Man Who Wasn't There A-
4) Fargo A-
5) Raising Arizona A-
6) Miller's Crossing A-
7) The Hudsucker Proxy B+
8) Blood Simple B+
9) Burn After Reading B+
10) The Big Lebowski B
11) Intolerable Cruelty B (so underrated!)
12) O Brother Where Art Thou B
13) The LadyKillers B-

adelutza said...

In The Mood For Love
Moulin Rouge!
Mulholland Drive

4.Gosford park
5.The Pledge
6.In the Bedroom
7.The Shipping News
8.The Widow of Saint Pierre
9.One Night at McCool's

Deborah said...

I have to go by IMDb years because that's where I keep my favorites lists. I have Memento as 2000 and Y tu Mama and Spirited Away as 2001.

All time favorites of any year
Kissing Jessica Stein
Monsoon Wedding
Monsters, Inc.
Trembling Before G-d
Spirited Away
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Other favorites of 2001
The Royal Tenenbaums
Series 7: The Contenders
The Others
Mulholland Dr.
The Pledge
The Anniversary Party
Bridget Jones's Diary
America's Sweethearts

Y tu mamá también
My First Mister
Vanilla Sky
Gosford Park
Hedwig & the Angry Inch
Moulin Rouge
A Beautiful Mind
Ghost World

Bob said...

Favorite film: Solondz's Storytelling.

Favorite musical scene: Cate Blanchett singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in Bandits.

Agent69 said...

Amelie rules 2001 with ease, for me.

Patrick said...

I am going to have to throw my vote in for Monsters Inc. movie by Disney/Pixar.


@Cal... ok i'll play along.

01 Fargo
02 Raising Arizona
03 No Country For Old Men
04 Burn After Reading
05 The Hudsucker Proxy (their most undervalued I think... but maybe I'm wrong. It's been a looonnnnng time since i've seen it)
06 The Big Lebowski
07 Barton Fink
08 The Man Who Wasn't There
09 Blood Simple
10 O Brother Where Art Thou
11 Intolerable Cruelty (which I like more than most... so overall i like their movies quite a lot)

I haven't seen: The Ladykillers, A Serious Man or Miller's Crossing (and i'm embarrassed about the last one. oops)

Trent said...

1. In the Bedroom
2. Under the Sand
3. With a Friend Like Harry
4. Gosford Park
5. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
6. Sexy Beast
7. The Deep End
8. L.I.E.
9. The Business of Strangers
10. Ocean's Eleven

Honorable Mentions:

The Others, The Man Who Wasn't There, Ghost World, Mulholland Drive, In the Mood for Love, The Taste of Others

Anonymous said...

Favorite Coen Bros:
5) THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (I agree it was too much undervalued...I'm afraid it was because Joel Silver produced it, anyway I think it was really better than how it was said...art direction was amazing!!!)


ps: I've never seen BLOOD SIMPLE...shame on me!!!

Robert said...

I'm pretty sure my 2001 favorite was Hedwig and the Angry Inch, with Gosford Park in a close second. Amelie, Ginger Snaps, and The Others were up there as well. I would feel bad to not mention Shrek and Memento, too.

It's hard for me to remember. I had my cinematic awakening in 2002 and gobbled up as many Oscar/Globes pictures as I could in short order.

Deborah said...

Coen Bros
Beloved, in order
1) Miller's Crossing
2) Barton Fink
3) The Big Lebowski
4) No Country For Old Men
5) O Brother Where Are Thou?
6) Fargo
7) Intolerable Cruelty
8) Blood Simple

Not Fond of
Raising Arizona
The Hudsucker Proxy
The Man Who Wasn't There

haven't seen
Burn After Reading
The Ladykillers
A Serious Man

cinema adventures said...

If it were 2001 and I was still a Junior in high school, The Fast and the Furious would probably appear in my top 10 that year. Thankfully, I've seen quite a few more, far better, films!

In retrospect, I think that it was probably Mulholland Drive that finally opened my eyes to what the cinema could be. Moulin Rouge and Memento also supplied me with a sudden jolt of clarity. These are the three movies that I forced my friends to watch just so I could see them again and again. It was great to get other, often similar points of view.

I also remember feeling like the only one in the world who enjoyed A.I. My family disliked it, but I felt it had merit.

Some titles that haven't been mentioned are two of my favorite comedies from the decade - Zoolander and Legally Blonde. Both are still enjoyable and quotable today. And, of course, I still love The Lord of the Rings and Shrek. Such a fascinating year!

Flosh said...

The "dawn of the hula hoop" sequence in HUDSUCKER PROXY is maybe my favorite sequence in any Coen Brothers film.

From 2001, ALI is a pretty flawed film in a lot of ways, but every so often I'll throw on the opening sequence or just watch a random half hour or so and soak up the gorgeous cinematography. Lubezki should have at least three or four Oscars by now.

Greg Boyd said...

You've got to be kidding me. "Moulin Rouge" at #1? That film was boring and contrived. And I don't much care for "Fellowship", either (I liked the other two films much better).

Jeff GP said...

Y'all are lunatics and should be ashamed for clearly loving the Coens not seeing A SERIOUS MAN yet. Comfortably the best movie of this year thus far and truly a casualty of the publicity-obsessed, star-obsessed Oscar hunt. The movie has no stars and no dynamic publicity angle so it's getting buried under its own quality. Even the critics that loved it barely seem to talk about it, because the only thing to talk about is the movie itself and its nightmarishly stark themes.

adelutza said...

@Jeff GP

No disrespect but imho A Serious Man is not one of the best Coens at all, let alone the best film of the year. Maybe that's why people didn't talk that much about it.
I didn't mind the lack of movie stars at all, au contraire, the best part of the film was the acting. I have to say, it has its moments, but all in all I was very dissapointed, in a way that "the brothers" never did before.

Derreck said...

Moulin Rouge will always be on top for me. It's a love that will live forever.


Kurtis O said...

LOTR:TFOTR, Mulholland Dr. and Moulin Rouge! easily fall into my Best of the Decade pile.

I think I've watched Mulholland Dr. more than any other DVD in my collection. You should see the wear and tear the disc and packaging have endured.

...and Boo to A Serious Man. Like any film buff, I greatly respect the Coen Bros., and I appreciate that they were able to make such a personal movie, but good God, was this one a chore to sit through. Perfect in retrospect, yes, but often borderline unbearable in the moment. It's one of those films that's impeccably crafted but utterly tedious. I called it, "a well-tuned orchestra of sheer frustration."

BrianZ said...

I love your list Nathaniel, very similar to mine. I had forgotten how many of my absolute favorites were in 2001. Moulin and LOTR are still my faves, even if they seem to have gone out of favor with many.

Catherine said...

What a plum year! I can't rank my favourites, but I know that Monsters, Inc would definitely be in my top ten and the list would probably be headed by Tillsammans which is one of my favourite films of all time. It's being left off a lot of lists here I see, whether that's because people haven't seen it or they don't think it merits top-ten inclusion, I don't know. If you haven't seen it, rent it! Such a warm film.

Branden said...

Top Ten Favorite Films of 2001

1. In the Bedroom
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
3. The Bourne Identity
4. Moulin Rouge!
5. Gosford Park
6. Shrek
7. The Man Who Wasn’t There
8. Memento
9. Ghost World
10. Donnie Darko

Amir said...

i'll play along with cal's game :)

1- fargo
2- a serious man
3- no country for old men
4- barton fink
5- o brother where art thou?

i'll be honest though, i haven't seen miller's crossing yet.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Nathaniel: Ali was high on your runners-up list because it had just come out, and because it doesn't start with a scene of Muhammad Ali about to receive an award, or about to die, or thumbing a table saw in a prison, or about to vote in the South African elections of 1994, and going, "I remember when I was played by a child actor...." It stole your heart at that moment, even if you felt good-not-great about the rest of the movie.

Happy to help, &c.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I'm kind of stunned at the muted presence of Ocean's Eleven on these lists, which to me is up there with the Gosfords, LOTRs, and Moulin Rouge!s of unambiguous 2001 releases.

I also want to stump bigtime for Lucrecia Martel's La Ciénaga, Kate Davis's trans documentary Southern Comfort, and Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl, which premiered globally and in the U.S. in 2001.

Also for The Circle and Werckmeister Harmonies, two films from 2000 that got their delayed U.S. releases in '01, but no mentions around here so far. The latter will certainly end up among my top ten of the decade, and it's not nearly as impenetrable as I had imagined from so many years of reading about it. The first scene alone is a total dazzler.


@Nick -- is the Werckmeister the movie wherein someone tortures a cat? Because if it is i shan't ever watch it. I don't care how great it is.

I have not seen LA CINEAGA but always meant to.

and re: ALI. lol. that's exactly why! Well, that plus the cinematography and Will Smith's performance (i don't get why people don't love that performance as biopic performances go)

Ivan said...

The Princess and the Warrior
Sex and Lucia
Moulin Rouge
Late Marriage
Mulholland Drive
The Royal Tenenbaums
Bridget Jones´ Diary

Y Tu Mama Tambien
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
No Man´s Land
The Son´s Room
Monster´s Ball
The Lord of the Rings: TFOTR
Gosford Park
The Piano Teacher

Jeff said...


I put Werckmeister Harmonies on my 2000 list (wherever that is on the blog at the moment)


Satantango is the film with the cat-torture scene (which Tarr still insists did not involve any actual torture--make of that what you will).

NicksFlickPicks said...

Also, if we're talking global premiere, Late Marriage and Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) are phenomenal.


I have LATE MARRIAGE as 2002... i remember it came out the same weekend as The Phantom Menace hahaha. and it's roughly 4,000,000 times better.


I have LATE MARRIAGE as 2002... i remember it came out the same weekend as The Phantom Menace hahaha. and it's roughly 4,000,000 times better.

Deborah said...

I really hated Ali.

cinemaadventurer, I forgot Legally Blonde! I agree, it's excellent and totally holds up. 2001 was a superb year for comedies and "light" movies.

Lev Lewis said...

Nick: I'm totally with you on "La Cienaga", such an impressive first film. However, i'm confused about your thoughts on "Fat Girl". I remember reading your review a few months back and you not liking it all. Have your thoughts changed? I'd be happy if they have. I like it quite a bit and was disappointed to see your distaste.


Legally Blonde is super fun yes. I probably underestimated it that year on account of the fluffier than a bunny's tale tone.

Anonymous said...

Moulin Rouge!! Of course it's number 1, it's a masterpiece; Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor had electric chemistry, and it managed to be entertaining and heart-breaking. Love Nicole Kidman and that movie to death!

Ben said...

My Top 10:

Mulholland Drive
Gosford Park
Ghost World
In the Bedroom
The Royal Tenenbaums
Waking Life
No Man's Land
Moulin Rogue
The Lord of the Rings

I think 2001 was a terrific year for movies. We overlap 7, so I appreciate your list. Also, I really need to revisit In the Mood for Love. And AI. Thinking back I have really fond feelings and wonder why it's not on my list...

Nat, how did you feel about Memento?

Robert said...

Not sure what we consider official release dates but for my money the best film of the decade was made in 2001, and it's Werckmeister Harmonies.

Criticlasm said...

"Together" is so brilliant. I'm glad you mentioned it. "Show me Love" was a great start, and then this one, which I loved. I really felt it had an ending that felt earned in a way that I don't see in film often. Also, just the POV from those kids was so great and true.

Lilya 4ever was so bleak it made me run from the theater, and I didn't see the exercise in misanthropy that I read was his subsequent.

Together so stands up for me.

Robert said...

I feel like I'm so late to this conversation. Lilya 4-Ever just ruined me and was powerful enough that it'll be my best of 2002 (but I'm a week ahead).

Late though I am I feel the need to share my top 10 of 2001

1. Werckmeister Harmonies
2. Mulholland Dr.
3. Fat Girl
4. Amelie
5. What Time is it There?
6. The Man Who Wasn't There
7. Kandahar
8. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
9. Spirited Away
10. Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition

Bing147 said...

For the record, I have Werckmeister Harmonies in 2000. Not sure it'd make my list regardless... my #11 of 2000. But it'd be in competition certainly and its a powerful film.

As for the Coens, seen everything but a Serious Man which still hasn't come near here...


1. Barton Fink
2. No Country For Old Men
3. The Big Lebowski


4. Raising Arizona
5. Miller's Crossing
6. Blood Simple


7. The Man Who Wasn't There
8. O Brother Where Art Thou
9. Fargo


10. Burn After Reading
11. The Hudsucker Proxy


12. Intolerable Cruelty


13. The Ladykillers


@ Robert... you're not that late. the post isn't even 24 hours old yet. Oh, internet speed! Soon nobody will care about anything that happened earlier than their most recent meal.

also: am ashamed that i have not seen half your list. And i've seen 100 movies from that year.

@Criticlasm -- so glad to hear from other TOGETHER fans. I really love Lukas Moodyson or at least his first three films. I haven't seen the porn one. Yet.

onelisa said...

1. Memento - hands down - but maybe i have the wrong year!

2. Mullholland Drive

3. Amelie

4. LOTR - Fellowship of the Ring

5. Lantana

6. Moulin Rouge

7. Gosford Park

8. Donnie Darko

9. Training Day

10. Shrek --- i think the really lame sequels have tarnished the first films legacy

Now i have been meaning to watch In the Mood For Love and Blackhawk Down, so I best get to that.

In the Bedroom was pretty good too as was Monsters Inc, it really was a good year for film

eduardo said...

This has to be one of my favorite years as in, ever =D

1. Moulin Rouge!
2. Mulholland drive
3. Amélie
4. Y tu mamá tambien (yeah, i have this in 01. If i had it in 02 it'd be my BP win easily)
5. The fellowship of the ring
6. Monsters Inc. (one of the most underrated movies of the decade, actually)
7. The others
8. Iris
9. Memento
10. Bridget Jones' diary

adri said...

1) Wasabi
- a comedy with Jean Reno as Hubert, a French cop who is overly violent with criminals. When Hubert's long-estranged and one and only love dies, he learns he has a teenage daughter in Japan and he is her new guardian. In French, Japanese, and English. I adore it. Funny, touching, beautiful clothes, satisfying shoot-outs.

2) Amelie
3) The Royal Tenenbaums
4) The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings
5) Va Savoir - dir. Jacques Rivette, one of my favorites
6) The Tailor of Panama - Geoffrey Rush, Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Lee Curtis in an adaptation of a Graham Greene novel. Unjustly overlooked.
7). The Others
8) Monsoon Wedding
9) One Night at McCool's - my favorite Altman movie, with Liv Tyler and Julianne Moore.
10) Enemy at the Gates/The Majestic

adri said...

Sorry, I confused "One Night At McCool's" with "Cookie's Fortune". I thought "Memento" was a 2000 release. I'd also choose "Le Gout des Autres" (dir. Agnes Jaoui) like Anonymous, but I think that is also a 2000 release. Loved that one.

adri said...

2001 is also the year we first saw Hugh Jackman in the movies, in "Someone Like You" with Ashley Judd, "Kate And Leopold" with Meg Ryan, and "Swordfish" with Halle Berry. I remember after "Someone Like You" ended, you could hear women all over the audience saying, "Who was THAT!?"

Teague said...


My edit would be:

Move Royal Tenenbaums to #1.
Remove Mulholland Dr. and Moulin Rouge, two of the most overrated films of all time.
Throw in Amelie and Spirited Away, and then you've got a list.

Carol Acre said...

1. In the Bedroom
2. Werkmeister Harmonies
3. The Piano Teacher
4. In the Mood for Love
5. Gosford Park
6. Mulholland Drive
7. Lantana
8. The Man Who Wasn’t There
9. Memento
10. Y Tu Mama Tambien

Unknown said...

My own list:

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2. Moulin Rouge!
3. Mulholland Drive
4. Gosford Park
5. In the Mood for Love
6. The Royal Tenenbaums
7. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
8. Memento
9. In the Bedroom
10. Ghost World