Posted: 01/29/2001

 

2000: My 10 Best and Worst, and a Few More…

by Del Harvey




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The Best Film of the Year (And maybe the decade!)

Billy Elliot
Dir: Stephen Daldry
Cast: Jamie Bell, Julie Walters
A classic. Out of near-poverty and unbearable situations comes a young man with a dream. His pursuit lights up the world for eveyone who comes near. A rarity.

The Ten Best (Alpha)

Almost Famous
Dir: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Katie Hudson, Billy Crudup
Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical story of his youth is rich, honest, and rewarding. Frances McDormand as Mom should get the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

The Contender
Dir: Rod Lurie
Cast: Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Sam Elliott, Gary Oldman
Being “PC” isn’t always easy; the story grows limp at times but the intent is clear. Joan Allen deserves Best Actress.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Dir: Ang Lee
Cast: Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh
Undying love, deception, a handful of legends, and a grand fairy tale. Ang Lee’s tribute to Chinese martial arts films is so much more.

Gladiator
Dir: Ridley Scott
Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix
Overlong at times, but grandiloquent and truly epic. Scott redeems himself for past mistakes, Crowe emerges, and justice triumphs, albeit somewhat imperfectly.

Joe Gould’s Secret
Dir: Stanley Tucci
Cast: Stanley Tucci, Ian Holm, Hope Davis
Quality thespian Tucci’s third effort as director is a winner, conjuring up a world most of us will never know. Holm is outstanding as the titular Joe Gould, and Davis (Mumford) turns in another fine performance.

My Dog Skip
Dir: Jay Russell
Cast: Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Kevin Bacon
This one screams “Disney!” Tv’s Muniz (Malcolm In The Middle) is superb, Lane and Bacon wonderful as the parents, and Enzo Moose (that’s the dog’s name—he’s also Frazier’s dad’s mutt) will make you cry.

Return to Me
Dir: Bonnie Hunt
Cast: Minnie Driver, David Duchovny
A truly romantic film recalling classic romantic dramas from Hollywood’s past. Driver glows in this one. And Duchovny turns out to be pretty good, too.

Saving Grace
Dir: Nigel Cole
Cast: Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson
Hilarious bit of nonsense from “across the pond,” written by Drew Carey’s Craig Ferguson and held together by the talented Ms. Blethyn.

Traffic
Dir: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Benecio Del Toro, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones
A strong story with a deep message: the “war” on drugs starts at home. Benicio Del Toro deserves the Oscar for Best Actor, Steven Soderbergh for Best Director.

Wonder Boys
Dir: Curtis Hanson
Cast: Michael Douglas, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey, Jr.
Cruel, cynical, sarcastic, witty, and often harshly funny, Hanson has done it again with a stellar cast and a starkly realistic storyline. Best Supporting Actor should go to Robert Downey, Jr.

Honorable Mention:

42 Up (1998—U.S. release 2000)
Dir: Michael Apted
Sixth installment in a film experiment that is mesmerizing and astounding for its honesty and candor.

High Fidelity
Dir: Stephen Frears
Cast: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black
Great version of the popular novel with an incredible performance from Jack Black (Tenacious D).

Keeping the Faith
Dir: Edward Norton
Cast: Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman, Ed Norton
Norton’s talents are showcased in this sweet little film.

Nurse Betty
Dir: Neil LaBute
Cast: Renee Zellwegger, Morgan Freeman
Incredible performances from every member of the cast in this very dark comedy.

Shanghai Noon
Dir: Tom Dey
Cast: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu
Chan is magical, Wilson is good fun, and Liu is breathtaking. The story’s hokum, but who cares?

The Ten Worst (Alpha)

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Dir: Des McAnuff
Cast: Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, Robert DeNiro
Great cartoon series wed to a good idea that appears to have been rushed to the screen. Why?

Battlefield Earth
Dir: Roger Christian
Cast: John Travolta, Barry Pepper
The Lesson Here: never pimp your personal religious beliefs through your career.

Eye of the Beholder
Dir: Stephan Elliott
Cast: Ashley Judd, Ewan McGregor
Pointless tripe that began with a good concept, but soon wallows in confusion and misdirection.

Hanging Up
Dir: Diane Keaton
Cast: Keaton, Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau
Poor Walter; to go out with this as your swan song.

Little Nicky
Dir: Stephen Brill
Cast: Adam Sandler, Patricia Arquette
Would someone please tell Adam Sandler his career’s headed in the same direction as Chevy Chase’s?

Romeo Must Die
Dir: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Cast: Jet Li, Aaliyah
No, the idiot who dreamed up this concept must die.

Reindeer Games
Dir: John Frankenheimer
Cast: Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron
Frankenheimer’s last (Ronin) was terrific; this one’s a complete dud. Dumb story.

Snow Day
Dir: Chris Koch
Cast: Chevy Chase, Chris Elliot
Someone stop Chase before he signs another contract! Who told him this would be his Groundhog Day?

Space Cowboys
Dir: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Marcia Gay-Harden, Tommy Lee Jones
Proof that Clint is older than he looks. Weak story, big holes, a total waste of a fine cast.

What Lies Beneath
Dir: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer
Perfect box office casting thrown away on bad script.

Dishonorable Mention:

28 Days
Dir: Betty Thomas
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen
Ditto Hollow Man comments. Sandy, you’re making big mistakes.

Dungeons & Dragons
Dir: Courtney Solomon
Cast: Jeremy Irons, Thora Birch
You’d have to owe a lot of money to someone in order to take on a film like this. Let’s see: “We’re making a film based on a board game. Are you in?” Yeah, good idea.

Hollow Man
Dir: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Elizabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon
These people are talented. Why are they making bad films?

Pokemon, The Movie 2
Dir: Michael Haigney
Cast: No One You’ve Ever Heard Of
I can’t wait for this fad to die. Why not “Chia Pet: The Movie” instead?

Thank you for re-releasing:

Blood Simple
The Coen Brothers’ first, and a classic of contemporary noir.

The Exorcist
One of the scariest films of all time.

Ran
Akira Kurosawa’s best from his “golden years.”

Rififi
A film that spawned innumerable imitators and launched a genre.

This Is Spinal Tap
No matter what other piece of film Rob Reiner may be spitting out, he can always redeem himself with this parody-documentary.

Del Harvey is the founder of FM. He is a survivor of Lucasfilm, The Walt Disney Company, and The Directors Guild Of America.



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