My Picks for Best of 2002
10: Die Another Day
Ever since Pierce Brosnan ressurected James Bond almost 10 years ago, I've been watching. The first three movies were okay but this one is a step above them. It's the best action movie of the year.
9: 8 Mile
The best musical of the year. It also features the most rewarding final act of the year. During the final battles, you just have to root for the underdog. Here's hoping Eminem wins Best Song at the Oscars.
8: Nine Queens
Fabien Bielinksky, the writer/director, somehow channelled David Mamet while penning the screenplay to this film. A nicely written and well-crafted story with a twist and turn at every corner. I absolutely loved this movie. It's now out on DVD, Sony Classics released it in theatres in the spring but nobody seemed to notice. I loved Letecia Bredice, who plays the lead female role. She's lovely and talented. I'm not surprised Sodebergh and Clooney are trying to remake this picture.
7: The Pianist
Roman Polanski completed one of Hollywood's most surprising comebacks with this picture. The movie deserved the Palme D'Or it won at Cannes. It's hard to swallow at times but it does tell a wonderful story of survival. I remember Adrian Brody from The Thin Red Line. He finally delivered on his promised talent. He could be the next Daniel Day-Lewis.
It's one of the greatest cop movies of the past 20 years. This is head spinning action and drama from start to finish. It has some spectacular acting from Ray Liotta and Jason Patri and a great screenplay and direction from Joe Carnahan. I'm looking forward to his Mission: Impossible 3.
5: About A Boy
I saw it opening day with a friend. It's one of the most refreshing dramatic comedies in awhile. The Weitz brothers deliver a great script and direction. Who knew the American Pie-guys had this type of film in them??? It also features one of Hugh Grant's finest performance of the past few years. It's a jewel of a movie.
4: The Quiet American
Wow! What an intriguing picture. This is a haunting drama about the struggle of two men over a beautiful woman. An extremely well directed film by Phillip Noyce that features a particularly enjoyable duel between Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser, two great actors at the top of their game. It's worth the price of admission alone.
3: Catch Me If You Can
This is a fun movie. Spielberg ends a spectacular year with one of his most entertaining films in years. His Minority Report was great but Catch Me was better. The screenplay was brilliant and was given life by a splendid cast. The highlight is Christopher Walken, with his most riveting dramatic role to date. For this alone, he should win the best supporting Oscar.
2: Bowling for Columbine
I've never been a big fan of documentaries. It's just one of those things that have always bored me. I have been a fan of Michael Moore for awhile though. His TV Nation show was great. With this film, he somehow manages to both entertain, educate and scare the living crap out of me. He even managed to make me enjoy a documentary. For that alone, he deserves #2 on this list.
1: Road to Perdition
I still remember seeing Sam Mendes' debut picture, American Beauty, for the first time. That movie hit me like a ton of bricks. It went on to win 5 Academy Awards. I had been waiting anxiously for Mendes' sophomore effort. He couldn't pick any better then this film. He's the best British director working today. (Take That Guy Ritchie!) Kudos to the late legendary cinematographer Conrad L. Hall for a spectacular job. This is probably Paul Newman's best work in many years. He commands the screen every time he appears. One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when he asks his son to apologize for killing one of his associates. His last words are haunting. It was riveting to watch the legend at work. Jude Law is amazing. He's always entertaining. There's never a boring second on screen when he's there. You cannot miss this movie. It is a gangster film masterpiece for the 21st Century.
Best Actor: Campbell Scott, Rodger Dodger
I've rarely seen a performance like this one... EVER! This film made no money and wasn't widely seen. But Scott's performance is spectacular. He controls ever scene. He's electrifying. He gives an unbelievable turn. He truly shows why he's the son of George C. Scott. He deserved an Oscar Nomination, and then should have won it. He will probably get the Spirit Award and he definitely deserves it. RENT THIS FILM WHEN IT COMES OUT!!!!
Best Actress: Renee Zellweger, Chicago
Kudos to Renee. I've loved her since 1996's Jerry Maguire. She was great in Bridget Jones Diary. Chicago is the pinnacle of her career.
Best Director: Phillip Noyce, Rabbit Proof Frence/The Quiet American
I was about to give this award to Steven Spielberg, but then I saw The Quiet American. I had the chance of meeting Mr. Noyce once and he's really nice. Both of his films this year were really wonderful. You already know my thoughts on The Quiet American. As for Rabbit-Proof Fence, it's a quieter film driven by love. It's one of this year's more heartfelt pictures. It's a job well done Mr. Noyce. Now if only Harvey would have pushed him harder...