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Yearly Roundup – 2003

Posted by martinteller on September 21, 2012

The Cream of the Crop

I have a couple of things I want to say about 2003 before I get into this.  This was the year I started recorded my thoughts on movies.  Most of the reviews I’ve linked here are very, very short and a lot of them are pretty stupid.   I’m sorry I don’t have more eloquent writeups of these movies.  This is also a year when my girlfriend (now wife) and I were going to the theater a lot.  Like pretty much every weekend, and usually a double feature.  I wanted to keep this post somewhat manageable, so there are a number of 2003 films I’ve seen but didn’t bother to list here.  I tried to include the most popular/important ones.

Having said that, my two favorites are one I didn’t see in the theater.  And they’re both documentaries.  My favorite in the “Actuality Dramas of Allan King” box set is Dying at Grace, a look at terminal patients in their last moments of life.  Incredibly powerful and moving without being the slightest bit manipulative.  And then there’s the shocking and thought-provoking Capturing the Friedmans, a film that’s loaded with surprises and has a lot to say about justice, memory, family and truth.


Slightly Less Creamy, But Still Tasty

Right on the verge of being “the cream” is the final film by my favorite director, Ingmar Bergman’s Saraband.  The movie that finally convinced me to quit being so hard on Tarantino, Kill Bill: Volume 1 is a ton of fun and one of his best.  A pair of very rewarding but depressing films from foreign lands: the black comedy/police procedural Memories of Murder and the visceral street gang epic City of God are both movies I need to revisit.  Less of a punch is the moody and mysterious Last Life in the Universe.  Finally, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King wraps up one of the best mega-budget franchises in style, multiple endings notwithstanding.

Update 3/19/2014: The epic documentary West of the Tracks belongs here as well.


Varying Degrees of Like

21 Grams
All the Real Girls
American Splendor
The Big Durian
Bright Future
Café Lumière
Code 46
The Cooler
Cowards Bend the Knee
Crimson Gold
Down With Love
The Five Obstructions
Goodbye Dragon Inn
The Inheritance
Kitchen Stories
Los Angeles Plays Itself
Lost in Translation
One Missed Call
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
The Return
The Room*
Save the Green Planet!
Shattered Glass
The Station Agent
Time of the Wolf
Touching the Void
The Triplets of Belleville
X2: X-Men United


Varying Degrees of Hate

2 Fast 2 Furious
Bruce Almighty
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
The Core
Freddy vs. Jason
A Guy Thing
Hollywood Homicide
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
The Hunted
The Life of David Gale
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
The Recruit
The Room*
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Wrong Turn


Some Notable Films In The Middle

The Adventures of Iron Pussy
Anything Else
Bad Santa
Big Fish
Finding Nemo
The Fog of War
Intolerable Cruelty
The Italian Job
Japanese Story
Ju-On: The Grudge
The Last Samurai
Love Actually
Master and Commander
Matchstick Men
A Mighty Wind
Mystic River
Old School
Out of Time
Owning Mahowny
Pieces of April
Une place parmi les vivants
PTU: Police Tactical Unit
Runaway Jury
The Saddest Music in the World
School of Rock
The Shape of Things
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring
Swimming Pool
A Tale of Two Sisters


Uncharted Territory

Anger Management, Bad Boys II, The Barbarian Invasions, The Best of Youth, Bright Young Things, The Brown Bunny, Bu jian, Coffee and Cigarettes, The Dreamers, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Goodbye Lenin!, High Tension, House of 1000 Corpses, In the Cut, Infernal Affairs II, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Open Range, Phone Booth, Saw, Scary Movie 3, State of Play, The Story of the Weeping Camel, Thirteen, Tokyo Godfathers, Tomorrow’s Weather, Underworld


5 Responses to “Yearly Roundup – 2003”

  1. JamDenTel said

    American Splendor is excellent. One I would highly recommend, with a metanarrative nature I think you’ll like.

    • Yeah I keep hearing good things. I guess I’ve felt a need to read his comics first, but since that’s probably never going to happen I might as well just go ahead and check out the movie.

  2. As a self-admitted horror nut, and nutjob, the only “ranking” I’d disagree with is for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s an easy film to hate, mainly because of the films Platinum Dunes as a studio and Marcus Nispel as a director trotted out following this one. I, however, really like Nispel’s take on the Leatherface universe for how dirty it is, for the way that he works so much of the movie around atmosphere and score, and for how much better it is than the original.

    • I think it far, far pales in comparison to the original, and I’m not even a big fan. It seems to miss every single thing that made the original interesting and memorable just to wallow in awfulness.

      • For me the grime, dirt, ad awfulness is the point of the remake. It’s why I like it so much, and why I ultimately prefer it so much to the original. Although in full disclosure, I didn’t think very highly of the original to begin with.

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