Ok it’s been a while since I did the movie lists so here we go with a new decade. Let’s see what the 00s have in store for us. Lots of dated CGI I presume…..
34. Joe Dirt
…..case in point. Ok so stay with me here, this is often put on those lists of awful comedies and whilst I can’t entirely disagree with them there’s something sweet about it that I found enjoyable in a brain switched off kind of way. I think it’s more about where I was at the time, me and my buddy Chris would rent movies out every weekend and have a blast so I think it just reminds me of good times. David Spade is in that camp with Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider in that their movies are almost uniformly terrible but there’s one shining star. That’s the case for me anyway. For Sandler it was Happy Gilmore, Schneider had Deuce Bigelow and Spade has Joe Dirt……oh put the pitchforks away.
Best Bit-Buffalo Bob
33. Freddy Got Fingered
NO YOU SHUT UP! Look I’m getting these out of the way so we can all move on with our lives ok?. I’m not going to lie, I got a few laughs out of this critically eviscerated comedy and I was a fan of Tom Green’s show in the late 90s when I was a teen. I always give props to things I was a fan of and gave me some enjoyment in my life. I don’t turn my back nd rewrite history because it’s not cool anymore….. so there we go.
Best Bit-Meat string piano
32.Scary Movie 2
Ok ok just a couple more I promise…….2001 was a good year for shitty but enjoyable comedy nonsense. We’ll get these out the way and then we’ll move on to the stuff that doesn’t make me look like an idiot. You know you like this movie, the guy with the gimped hand, the always likeable Ana Farris and horror fans should get a kick out of the parodies. It’s awful but it’s fun if it catches you in the right mood.
Best Bit-Take my hand
31. Not Another Teen Movie
…and there goes the last of the readers. It was the age I was at the time ok? This one parodied, unsurprisingly, teen movies of my era like She’s All That,Never Been Kissed, 10 Things I Hate About You etc and launched the mainstream careers of the likes of Chris Evans nd Chyler Leigh while bringing in more established stars like Jaime Presley and Mia Kirshner. I always liked this one as at the time I would obnoxiously point out to anyone that loved She’s ll That about the absurdity of trying to make us believe Rachael Leigh Cook was anything other than completely gorgeous and this movie parodies that well I bet I was the only person in te world that made that joke at the time eh?…….
Best Bit-Token black guy
30. Jeepers Creepers
This one took a long time to grow on me. Slasher movies were at a low ebb at this point for me with Scream being the only one flying the flag but I think I let my teenage prejudice of “new horror” get in the way of enjoying this dumb fun. It doesn’t help that I find Justin Long little insufferable.A demon scarecrow goes on a radge and kills a bunch of teenagers. Good times.
Best Bit-Stitched up
29. American Pie 2
The American Pie films were my generations version of the John Hughes coming of age comedies and although I was already into Hughes’ work when these came out they were still aimed at me and my age group and they were very enjoyable and fun. They didn’t have the intelligence or heart of the 80s era but the laugh out loud nature of the movies made up for it and although there was a million awful copycat gross out horrors around this time American Pie was always the daddy.
28. Gosford Park
This British murder mystery black comedy stars an ensemble cast and sees a murder take place at a weekend retreat for a bunch of upper class folk and their servants. I’m pretty sure there was a Family Guy episode that parodied this as well as similar movies. Fun performances from the likes of Stephen Fry and Kelly MacDonald.
Best Bit-Dinner scene
27. Southern Comfort
An inanely powerful, harrowing and blood boiling documentary about a trans man named Robert Eads who was refused medical care by every medical practice near him because they feared treating his cancer would hurt their practice. It follows him for the last year of his life as he finally gets accepted but the cancer has spread too far and he’s about to die. We see the relationships he has formed since his transformation and spend time with what he calls his chosen family. The horrific part of it all is how nice he seems and how all this shit is going on in his life and he’s just trying to figure out how other humans can let him die because he was born a woman and now he’s a man. Ugh, it makes you filled with rage. …at least it should if you have an ounce of sympathy, empathy or decency.
Best Bit- Nope, not for this one.
26. The Grey Zone
Well it may be hard to believe but David Arquette can actually act and do more than be an obnoxious twat. The former WCW heavyweight champion (ugh) puts in a cracking performance as do Mira Sorvino, Steve Buscemi, Natasha Lyonne and more in this bleak holocaust drama. It tells the tale of prisoners of war who were forced to guide other prisoners into the gas chambers and dispose of the bodies. They plan a rebellion and much more bleakness ensues.
Best Bit-The ending
I was a uge supporter and fan of what was known as the J-Horror phenomenon (really it was the far eastern phenomenon as the likes of South Korea’s Whispering Corridors and Hong Kong’s The Eye were lumped in) and if you look into the genre you will be told you have to check out Kairo (Pulse) as it’s an all time classic u p there with Ringu etc……meh. It’s a pretty good horror movie but I personally find it massively overrated. It’s here though so I obviously like it. It’s about vengeful spirits making their way to the human world through the internet.
Best Bit-Behind the sofa
2001’s Sleepless saw legendary giallo mastermind Dario Argento go back to the genre he popularised. A series of grizzly murders echoing a spree from years early brings a detective out of retirement to solve the case he thought had bee closed. Turns out the killer is using a kids song as the inspiration for his murders. Not up there with Argento’s best but still a damn good time.
Best Bit- Opening
A drama that takes a look institutionalised racism in Japan, particularly against Koreans. A young Japanese born Korean falls for a prejudiced girl played by Ko Shibasaki who I’m only slightly obsessed with I promise. As a lover of Japanese culture it’s always a spot that obviously sits in a bad way with me that their governments have ingrained jingoistic sensibilities in many of the residents. The younger generation seems to fighting that more and more these days which is great.
Best Bit-The final walk
22. Rush Hour 2
ore buddy cop action and somehow funny racism from Chan and Tucker who have fantastic chemistry. The action is fun and Chan always bring s the excellent athleticism and comedy violence. Just switch your brain off and you’ll have a good time.
Best Bit-Spa fight
21. A Beautiful Mind
Awards were thrown at this movie and it’s one of those movies that are essentially set up to win them. You know the types, biopics about mentally different people in which the actor gets to go all method and get lauded for it. Anyway the character in this case is John Nash who was a Nobel laureate in economics and mathematical genius who had an incredibly unique brain and could do amazing things with numbers. This quality was so refined that things like social skills were never fully developed and the movie goes into his paranoid delusions and the effect his psychotic episodes had on his wife. Russell Crowe puts in a good but overrated performance and Jennifer Connolly is great as always.
Best Bit- John’s breakdown, baby in the bath.
20. Ghosts Of Mars
John Carpenter is off his nut. He’s such a diverse director and comes up with such unique visions and recognisable soundtracks. He goes from terrifying and trend setting serious horror movies like Halloween to comedy sci fi brilliance like Big Trouble In Little China and here we see him go for a balls out sci fi horror that has found it’s audience in the years since it’s release like a lot of his work. Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Pam Grier and more take on ghosts….so It’s absolute nonsense but hey, it’s fun.
Best Bit-The battle
19.The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings
I really like Peter Jackson, his splatter movies are tremendous, I like fantasy fiction so why don’t I love LOTR more? I mean I enjoy it and all obviously as proven by it being here but something just doesn’t click all the way. Nonetheless it’s a massively popular series that’s still going now with the Hobbit movies. Beautifully shot and with interesting characters from the J.R.R Tolkien world.
Best Bit- The balrog
18. Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back
If like me you were into Kevin Smith’s movies at the time this one was like the culmination of the universe he ha built with all his previous characters appearing and loads of in jokes keeping fans in on the joke. Smith has become a bit of a tool over the years and I’m up and down on him. Sometimes I think he’s a good guy and quite funny other times I find him an arrogant bore with one joke he’s nailed into the ground over and over again. This was a time where I was all in though and it was a fun movie.
Best Bit-Finding out about the movie
Bill Paxton’s directorial debut is a surprisingly taught one in this tense thriller two wee boys and their father who is convinced god has commanded him to kill demons disguised as humans. It’s disturbing and thought provoking with great performances from Paxton himself, Matthew McConaughy and a favourite character actor of mine, the also sadly departed Powers Boothe.
Best Bit-Fenton’s first kill
16. Ghost World
This was on my list of top comic book movies so head over there for a little more depth. This adaptation of Daniel Clowes coming of age graphic novel sees Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch as two outcast teens trying to find their way in the world. The film follows the breakdown of their relationship and will no doubt hit home for anyone who was an outcast /8s a young un.
Best Bit-Graduation ball
15.Kiss Of The Dragon
It’s the team up you’ve been begging for all these years. That’s right we finally got them together…..it’s Jet Li and Bridget Fonda!. I remember around this time being quite disillusioned with Hollywood’s treatment of Hong Kong action stars and the dumbing down of fight scenes and shoehorning in crap fans didn’t want to see. Such was the case with things like Jackie Chan’s Rumble In The Bronx and Li’s The One which were ok but paled in comparison to their Hong Kong counterparts. So it was a surprise to see how good this movie turned out to be. It was written and produced by Luc Besson which goes some way to explaining why and the direction from Chris Nahon. Very little CGI and wire work here, just classic Jet Li close quarters combat and it kicks arse.
Best Bit-Dojo fight
Michael Mann’s biopic on the most charismatic, most important and most impressive sportsman of the 20th century caused a lot of buzz when it was announced that Will Smith was going to be playing him. I remember being thoroughly unhappy with that choice as Smith was still seen as something of a goof even with his roles in action films. He pulled it off brilliantly though. The movie goes through en years of Muhammad Ali’s life from beating Sonny Liston to win his first heavyweight title through his conversion to Islam, being banned from boxing for his refusal to kill the Vietnamese and onto his comeback and epic fight against George Foreman in The Rumble In The Jungle.
Best Bit-Sonny Liston 1
13. Session 9
A very underrated little psychological horror directed by Brad Anderson. Some are probably put off by the goofy David Caruso but he doesn’t ham it up like he usually does and all the performances are really solid, especially that of Peterhead’s own Peter Mullan. A cleanup crew are sent into an abandoned psychiatric hospital to rid it of asbestos. A former patient’s recorded audio tapes are discovered and throughout the movie odd things start happening an tension builds between the crew. It’s intense and so so underrated. If you like your horror psychological you need to watch it.
Best Bit- The revelation
12. Ichi The Killer
Eeesh to say this Takashi Miike movie isn’t for everyone is one of the biggest understatement I can think of. A hyperviolent splatter movie about sadomasochist yakuza murderers and shy voyeurs who get off on watching rapes. It’s heavy stuff and nasty nasty business that Miike is famous for. He has a knack for disturbing the undisturbable and that’s on display here. It’s so over the top and crazy that I just find it entertaining and funny though.
11. Super Troopers
Back to goofy comedy time only this time it holds up (to me anyway). This one holds a special place for me because me and my best friend bonded over it when we were at college together. We went to see it at the cinema and quoted it for years afterwards. Such a funny movie if it’s up your street. I’m a little concerned about the sequel coming up because all of their other movies have been pretty poor.
10. Monsters, Inc
Pixar at it again with making me cry and laugh. It sees a couple of monsters in a world they power by scaring children. Things get confusing when a child stumbles into their factory and they must get her back before she messes things up for all the monsters. They end up forming a friendship and I didn’t cry you cried!. Billy Crystal and John Goodman voice the monsters.
Best Bit- Goodbye
9. Shaolin Soccer
Stephen Chow is off his nut. His goofy brand of martial arts slapstick shouldn’t be funny but like Vic and Bob’s humour it just clicks with me and makes me laugh uproariously. It helps that he builds his movies up with likeable characters who have a sweet bond and they always have a heart. It’s absurdly funny.
Best Bit-The first round
Very loosely based on the brilliant and innovative 1929 German movie of the same name, this anime movie was written by the legendary Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame and the enigmatic director Rintaro. Evolved robots and humans trying to live alongside each other? sign me up. It’s a stunningly beautiful film with a great soundtrack and a cyberpunk aesthetic. Any fans of anime or animation in general need this movie.
Best Bit-Tima’s revelation
7. The Devil’s Backbone
Guillermo Del Toro is probably my favourite director working today. This intelligent and heartfelt supernatural horror is emotional, scary and thought provoking with a great setting in an orphanage during the Spanish civil war. Yes it’s a ghost story but it’s also a humanist look at children in time of war and it’s twisting plot keeps you glued to the screen the entire time….that’s not just because of the subtitles.
Best Bit- Meeting Santi
6. Millennium Actress
Satoshi Kon was one of the world’s great animators and directors and any chance I get to throw his name out there I grab with both arms. This movie is loosely based on a true story and sees a documentary team interviewing a retired actress who was hugely popular in her day. The line between reality and fiction in her recollections of her life becomes twisted. It’s beautiful, unique and establishes Kon as a complete legend sadly gone too soon. It’s for all ages too unlike most of his other stuff.
5. Mulholland Drive
David Lynch delivers another movie in which nobody knows what the hell is going on but still somehow they come out of it satisfied as seen by it being so high on the list. I really like Naomi Watts, not just because she’s stunning….there are plenty of beautiful actors that I can’t be doing with but she’s also incredibly talented. So what is it about?….well….see……the thing is……oh just watch it anything I do say will probably ruin it anyway. It’s a fever dream of a movie.
Best Bit-The audition
4. The Others
Alejandro Amenabar’s excellent supernatural period horror is a tense, well acted haunted house nerve shredder. Nicole Kidman is excellent as the mother of children with an extreme case of photo sensitivity who must be shielded from light. They move into a new house in the aftermath of world war two and strange things begin to happen as the kids are visited by what seem to be ghosts.
Best Bit-The twist
3. Training Day
A violent and brilliantly acted neo noir thriller starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. It shows a day in the life of a narcotics cop and his new partner he is showing the ropes to in South Central L.A where gang activity is throw the roof. Washington won an oscar for his performance and Hawke was nominated for his. It’s shocking, it’s brutal and it’s utterly arresting.
Best Bit-“King Kong ain’t got shit on me”
Jeezo remember the hype and buzz around this movie when it came out?. It was everywhere and with good reason as it’s a brilliant modern take on the fairy tale genre. With characters you’ll recognise from classic tales and new characters that will go down in history as all time greats. Mike Myers plays the grumpy ogre from the swamp that gets caught up in an adventure with princesses, donkeys and all sorts of whimsical characters to go against the evil Lord Farquaad. It’s sweet and funny in equal measure and filled with endlessly quotable lines.
Best Bit-Overhearing Fiona
1 Spirited Away
Well this was an easy one. Ghibli movies always do well on my lists and it’s no different here with one of their most widely known and popular ones. An unlimited amount of whimsy, charm and heart sees this movie almost impossible to dislike (my pal Lesley is the exception). Each to their own and all that but the child like wonder, beautifully animate, gorgeously realised world and characters just make this an all time classic for me. Beautiful beyond belief Hayao Miyazaki and his team were bang on their game.
Best Bit-First time in the other world
Ok we’re off into another decade now. Let’s see how the rest of it pans out. Not a badd we year this one, top heavy on the list but plenty good stuff there. Hope you enjoyed it.