Posted: 01/10/2002

 

My Picks for Best and Worst Films of the Year

by Del Harvey




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The Best Films of 2001

1. Bread and Tulips
This Italian comedy takes a twisted look at the importance of following your instincts, and achieves an uncommon dignity and civility.

2. Crimson Rivers
Jean Reno stars as a legendary criminologist on the trail of an unusual serial killer in a small mountain village. Full of suspense and surprise.

3. With A Friend Like Harry
Hitchcock by way of Truffaut with a little black comedy thrown in for good measure equals the right combination of perversity and thrills.

4. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
Woody Allen’ s finest and most original film in years redeems him as our best mainstream auteur comedy filmmaker.

5. The Million Dollar Hotel
Wim Wenders’ star-studded indie flick that’s arthouse beautiful, oddball strange, and film noir altruistic.

6. Spy Game
Robert Redford’s best performance in years in a film that dares bespeak that archaic American tenet: it’s people that matter.

7. Training Day
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke are realistic cops in a stark, contemporary landscape in a grueling but engaging drama.

8. The Shipping News
Director Lasse Hallstrom crafts another quirky but real story of dysfunctional family, real and nuclear, thanks to Spacey, Moore, and fantastic cast.

9. The Royal Tenenbaums
Far-fetched to many, this story struck a chord with me, as my stepfather was Royal only darker. Good story of human redemption, told with pathetically funny perspective. Dysfunction rules the day in this tangled tale of family ties that’s about as far removed from the Keaton family adventures as one can imagine. I enjoyed this one immensely. Hackman deserves an award.

10. Monsters, Inc.
Finest animation, terrific and heart-warming story, make MI the best animated flick of 2001.


Honorable Mention:
· Snatch
Even though this film actually came out in 2000, I have a feeling it’s going to leave an impression on young filmmakers for many years to come. I loved it! If I’d caught it the first time around, it would have been my pick for Best Film of 2000. And am I the only one who gets it? You’re not supposed to understand Brad Pitt!

· The Man Who Wasn’t There
Dark, funny, weird Coen Brothers’ homage to Hitchcock and film noir. Excellent cast, even though I cannot stand Billy Bob.

· Vanilla Sky
Cruise turns in good performance in Cameron Crowe scene-for-scene version of Spanish psychological thriller.

· Planet Of The Apes
Better than the original and its sequels, exciting and captivating, and makes the best use of its actor’s talents of any action film this year. Yay, Tim Burton!

· A.I.
Interesting interpretation of Kubrick via Spielberg almost works, but what we’re shown looks like three separate films.

· Pearl Harbor
Old fashioned storyline meets dazzling special effects in a non-sci-fi film. Why isn’t Alec Baldwin in more films?


Worst Films of 2001

1. The Musketeer
Bring me the head of whatever producer okayed this demon’s seed! The absolute worst rendition of one of the finest novels of all time.

2. Freddy Got Fingered
Tom Green’s 5 minutes are up. In 2001 he released this piece of dreck and was ultimately divorced by Drew. Thank you, Ms. Barrymore.

3. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
She may have some acting genes from her daddy, but they don’t show up in this lame excuse for a film. Video games are not scripts.

4. A Knight’s Tale
Rock and Roll knights of the round table? Why not Rapper knights of the round table? Oh, Black Night. Nevermind.

5. Swordfish
What a letdown. John overacts times ten and Jackman’s an unconvincing geek. At least Ms. Berry’s nice to look at.

6. Along Came A Spider
Screenwriter’s Rulebook: NEVER spring a villain on your audience without warning. You can never win, as evidenced by this film.

7. 3000 Miles To Graceland
My annual thumbs down for a Costner flick. Thumbs up for Russell, Slater, Woodbine, & Arquette. Costner’s character dies (like his career) in a Peckinpah-like bloodbath.

8. Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within
Beautiful animation keeps your attention for about…oh, 18 minutes. The script takes unbelievable turns and loses audience completely.

9. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Characters were enjoyable years ago—time to lay them to rest. What a waste of celluloid and good supporting cast.

10. Valentine
It is unclear as to whether or not they were serious about this film. It almost seems like another in the current spoofs of horror films.


Dishonorable Mention:
· Rush Hour 2
Jackie Chan, you should be ashamed. You’re the only good thing in this marketing opp that masquerades as a film.

· The Forsaken
This is a mock-up of the real film. The much better film will be the sequel, if it makes it that far. Whomever wrote the story should have realized they wrote the backstory, and the real story is yet to be written.

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



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