Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Movie Listing (2000)

With the end of the decade approaching us, everyone's making lists of "best..." and "worst..." of the 00's. And I thought "why the heck not?".
The first list I thought of making was, of course, a list of the best books. But then it hit me that I'm surprinsingly unaware of contemporary literary works, my wheelhouse being 19th century and before. It's much more advisable my making a list of movies. Therefore, this starts with a trip back to my 15 years of age. Oh, those days... (it was a particularly good year). Bear in mind that this list is exclusively my opinion, regardless of the critics and whatnots, and that I also haven't seen a number of much praised films.

My favorite movies of 2000:
Gladiator: directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe and Joaquim Phoenix. The movie that finally threw Crowe in the long-deserved arms of success and world-wide acknowledgement, not to mention the Oscar nod AND the Oscar itself. Great, great movie, from beginning to end. Nothing is overdone - and  this can happen in the blink of an eye when it comes to epics. Most importantly: it doesn't suffer from the presence of overrated leading actors in its midst, like Alexander would, a few years later...

Almost Famous: directed by Cameron Crowe, it revealed my dear, dear Kate Hudson. She managed to gave unexpected life to a role that could've been easily shallow. All the actors shine there and the movie, though with a simple plot, makes you feel like you actually got something from just watching it. If you're a rock fan, this is mandatory, for sure.

Chocolat: directed by Lasse Hallström, starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina and Carrie-Anne Moss. Great cast. Some have complained about the predictability of the plot. Well, it's not about whether you can guess what's gonna come next - but how it makes you feel. Yes, you know Roux is gonna come back, that the Comte de Reynaud and Caroline Clairmont are eventually gonna cave in, and that something's gonna happen to the ashes of Vianne's mom. That's not the point at all. The point is learning more about standing up for what we believe in, about tolerance and love. We need more stories like that nowadays.

Chicken Run: directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park. Brilliant! Specially at a time when the great audience was up to here with Japanese animations. Well, you take that, Jap studios! The British can still kick your butt! (still? when could they ever?... anyway...). The voice cast is rightly chosen, and the lines are something of a genius, like the old rooster Fowler's "Pushy Americans, always showing up late for every war." Ha! And Mrs. Tweedy is simply frightening as the villainess... Had I been younger, I think I would've had a couple of nightmares with her! This is a movie to be seen over and over again. One that makes you believe that hens can actually fly (long distances, I mean). And if they can fly that far, what can't you yourself do, if you set your mind to it?

The Emperor's New Groove: directed by Mark Dindal, it's a much, much underrated Disney movie, and my personal favorite of that year. The last of a long lineage of brilliant animated movies (until this year with the, for me triumphal, return with The Princess and the Frog), this one passed pretty much under the radar. There are no princes in white horses, damsels in distress, fairy-tale castles, singing animals, romance, nor people bursting into song, except for the initial "Emperor's Theme Song", and Sting singing something over the credits - which we can forgive. What it has is a simple plot in a fast pace, with quick-witted jokes and laugh-out-loud satires. It's probably the funniest Disney animation movie since Aladdin. And David Spade's voice for Kuzco is right on the money! And it does have some of the traditional Disney moves: the necessity of the protagonist's internal growth in order to overcome his difficulties, the over-the-top villain, with a stupid but funny sidekick who's usually not really evil, the kind light-hearted peasant who helps the protagonist (usually someone from royalty). Definitely, a Disney classic, not to be missed!

Others worthy of notice that year:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Bedazzled; O Auto da Compadecida; Memento.

What I regret having watched in 2000:
Unbreakable: ok, I gotta be completely honest here. I have no friggin' idea why I didn't like it. The whole thing just seemed so eeeeeendless, and the plot stupid... it did nothing for me. Yes, random and vague, but there's nothing I can, or rather, nothing I wanna do about it.

Cast away: maybe it was the fact that I went to watch it cus it was mandatory for English classes at school, I don't know... point is, I hated it. And good Lord, how I hated the damn volleyball!

The sixth day: an utter waste of time.

Dracula 2000: I bet Anne Rice was tossing and turning in her tomb. Oh wait, she's not dead... I meant Bram Stoker. They're all the same, all those people writing about vampires, what's up with that... But I gotta admit something: the idea of Dracula being actually Judas was really interesting, I'll give it that.

Cruel Intentions 2: how dare they make a sequel without Ryan Phillipe???? That was outrageous, really. Besides, the movie sucked. I choose to forget Amy Adams was Kathryn, cus I absolutely adore Amy Adams.

Blair Witch 2: The Book of Shadows: I haven't seen it. Nor do I intend to, ever. But to think that someone actually deemed it a good idea to create a sequel to the 99 movie (which I did see) is simply ludicruous. And what's UP with this title anyway? Did they copy it from Charmed or something?

2001, here I come!