Monday, January 19, 2004


I haven't seen all the nominated films yet, most notably Master and Commander , so this list might change. But it feels safe to leave number six open for M&C. Friends keep telling me that I will love it. But in case I don't love it, I will add X2 to the end of the list and move everything else up.

1. Finding Nemo

I should note that I generally loathe animation, so ceding my top spot to Finding Nemo is extra-extraordinary for me. I just think it was the best all around production from script to direction to production design to score to performances.

2. Peter Pan

I think the studio made a mistake releasing this film in the wake of ROTK and during the holidays. It would have made a bigger impression earlier in the Fall when the field for family entertainment was less dense. Can't figure out why it isn't doing better at the b.o. It's truly a great piece of cinema.

3. Big Fish

4. Spellbound

This film is a documentary - but delivered one of the most compelling emotional film journeys of the year. It will always be on my list of best films about "the American thing."

5. In America

6. [holding open for Master and Commander]

7. Lost in Translation

8. Whale Rider

9. Pirates of the Caribbean

This film is 90% Johnny Depp, but the filmmakers deserve credit for letting him run with his instincts. On the other hand, even if you took Depp out, the story here is surprisingly good.

10. Seabiscuit

I liked this film - it was very good -- but something wasn't quite GREAT about it, and I can't say exactly what. It never really got me in the heart, although it had good characters and a good story. It may be those unfortunate b&w history lessons that are interspersed through the whole film. I think they tended to be distancing for the viewer - kept pulling us out of the story and reminding us it was a movie? ...But notwithstanding this, it is a well-executed and worthy film.

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