Now, to 2001: year of many a change in my life. New city, new house, new school, "new" family. Hated that year. But it was very good, movie wise.
My favorite movies of 2001:
Moulin Rouge!: directed by Baz Luhrmann, starring my dearest Ewan McGregor and gorgeous Nicole Kidman. This movie brought the musicals back to life - thank God for that! I've always been a little upset that the story has the touch of The Lady of the Camellias. The courtesan that dies from consumption after finding true love... cliché. But the movie is simply amazing! Visually, mind-blowing, and the songs, goose-bumps-giving. And, wow, boy can McGregor sing, are you kidding me? Impressive! One of my favorite movies.
Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring: directed by Peter Jackson, starring Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett and Christopher Lee, among many great others. I'm a fan of the books by Tolkien, and I think the LOR trilogy is the best movie adaptation from a book I've ever seen. This movie, just like the others, is spectacular - and I clearly remember catching my breath when Aragorn/Strider takes off his hood for the first time, revealing his face to Frodo. And then I forgot to breathe for a while - he was just soooo handsome.... Anyway, moving on: the story is carefully adapted, maintaining only the essential to make it flow naturally. And if they change a few elements here and there, in order to have more appeal to the great audience (like the substitution of the elf Glorfindel for Arwen), well, who can blame them? One of my faves from all time as well.
A Beautiful Mind: directed by Ron Howard, starring Russell Corwe, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany and Ed Harris. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I can think of no one better to portray John Nash in such a beautiful way than Crowe. And to play such great roles, like Maximus and Nash, so different from each other, in a row... Hands down to this guy. Also to Connelly, she's great! Paul Bettany, whom I abslutely adore, was flawless here! And Crowe totally deserved the Best Leading Actor Oscar, btw.
A Knight's Tale: directed by Brian Helgeland, starring Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany, Laura Fraser, James Purefoy, Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk. Again, top of my list. I absolutely loooove this movie, to the point of knowing Chaucer's introduction speeches by heart. Bittersweet now, with Heath Ledger and all... but for geeks like me, who actually like reading Chaucer, and love Medieval stuff, this was a banquet! And the idea of a modern soundtrack was great. Just don't like Laura Fraser that much... Love James Purefoy's Edward, the Black Prince! Great historical character, he plays a very charismatic prince. But the best part of the film, for me, is always Bettany's Chaucer. Everything is perfect, the way he moves, looks, speaks... Bettany and Ledger acting alongside each other... hard to get any better.
Spirited Away (in the original: Sen to Chihiro kamikakushi): directed by Hayao Miyazaki. This is a jewel of Japanese animation, a kingdom where Miyazaki is the sovereign. Though often compared to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this is much more delicate, touching and inspiring. Alice must simply find her way home; Chihiro must find herself in order to go back home. She starts the movie as a whiny sullen pessimistic little girl, and ends it as a hard-working strong and generous girl. And how can one not fall in love with Chihiro and Haku, as they fall for each other? A true masterpiece.
Shrek: directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson. One of the funniest animations to come out in years! This was a score alright. The spoofing of traditional fairy-tales is just priceless! And the voices of Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz (whom I truly don't like) are just perfect for the roles. Many other parody animations have followed since then, but none has gotten near Shrek.
Monsters, Inc.: directed by Pete Docter and David Silverman. Disney and Pixar is a perfect combination! The idea that being under the bed or inside the closet is actually the monsters' living is hysterical! And to think that many of them are stooges themselves can make any child stop being afraid of boogey monsters. And the little girl "Boo" makes all of us say "Awwww" whenever she's on screen. Awesome.
Others worthy of notice that year:
From Hell, Sweet November, Serendipity, Legally Blonde, Bridget Jones's Diary, Gosford Park, The Princess Diaries, Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, O Xangô de Baker Street, Ocean's Eleven, The Others, America's Sweethearts, Vanilla Sky.
What I regret having watched in 2001:
Scary Movie 2: the first one was a novelty, and so it managed to be funny. The sequels are not. I did not bother watching any of the others, the second was bad enough. I remember smiling ONCE during the entire movie. Boy, was that a bad date...
Glitter: I did NOT watch it. But the idea of Mariah Carey acting... argh...
Not Another Teen Movie: gross. Simple like that.
Josie and the Pussycats: an inferior Spice World. And Spice World was as bad as it gets...
Pearl Harbor: ... Nobody says it better than one of the songs in Team America: "I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark/ When he made Pearl Harbor/ I miss you more than that movie missed the point/ And that's an awful lot, girl/ (...) Pearl Harbor sucked/ And I miss you/ I need you more than Ben Affleck needs acting school/ He was terrible in that film/ I need you like Cuba Gooding needed a bigger part/ He's way better than Ben Affleck (...)/ Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies? (...)". 'Nuff said.