Top Tens of the Decade: 2003
2003 was a very interesting year for me. I returned back to my mom’s place after my first year of college, which was, of course, hard. I was 18 and wanted to go out to eat at four in the morning with like-minded 18 year olds. Towards the end of 2003, I decided to move to Russia and lead a monastic life for two years (seriously). So for part of 2003, all of 2004, and all of 2005, I didn’t watch any movies. This will make this, and the next two installments of these lists a little difficult. Clearly, I will have missed a ton so this won’t really be representative of the whole year, but what I’ve managed to catch up on since then. To this day, I still will hear about a film that sounds like it’s totally my type and fantastic, and I won’t have heard of it because I was out of the country, ignoring all media (case in point: Saraband). So if this list seems a little weak or strained, forgive me. But I’ll manage. Check out the lists from 2000, 2001 and 2002.
– I didn’t so much like this film. It managed to make incest in the future as fun as it sounds. In fact, I was really annoyed at this movie and it remains one of my least favorite. But I will never forget it for lots of reasons. One: incest in the future. Two: the fact there was no single language. Some people found this endearing, but switching between Japanese, French, Spanish, and English in a single sentence was neither intriguing, nor entertaining. I’m utterly shocked that the director, Michael Winterbottom, went on to direct something as fantastic as A Mighty Heart.
– Confidence is a con movie. But a freaking awesome one at that. Ed Burns was my idol back then because he was so freaking cool in this movie. And he got Rachel Weisz at the end. That’s pretty rad. I’m usually not too interested in con movies, I don’t like guessing all the way up until the end how they’re going to make everything okay (you know it’s not going to go as badly as they make it seem), but this kept my interest until the very end, and I still enjoy watching it.
– O.M.F.G. This is one crazy ass movie. It was my first Bertolucci, and truth be told, I understood absolutely none of the references in it. Now that I’ve seen a lot of Godard and Truffaut, I appreciate it even more. But what got me about this film was Eva Green. Eva Green and her creepy brothers, and the overtly sexual games they played. I really had never seen something this provocative before, and it’s burned in my memory forever. I wish I had stopped there and never went on to Last Tango in Paris.
– I don’t think that Elephant was my first Gus van Sant film, I’m pretty sure I saw Finding Forrestor with my mom when I was in high school, but it was the first time I really sat up and took notice of him. There were lots of school shootings happening around the country at the time, and this honest, and frightening look at what could happened chilled me to my core. It’s so well done, it feels like it could be homemade videos from the actual event. I’d highly recommend this.
– This movie didn’t work for me for the most part. But I will never, ever forget Nicole Kidman’s performance. I’ve never been a good judge of acting. So, I’m not actually able to say that this was a fantastic performance, but I do know that the things Kidman was willing to do for the role was, in one word… couragous? I’ll certainly never be able to forget The Human Stain, and I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
– I’m not sure why I’m a little embarassed to say that Kill Bill vol. 1 is my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie. I know I’m expected to say Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, but none of his films are as fun as this. Tarantino and Uma Thurman working together is the best example of synergy I can think of. Thurman has never been more of a leading lady. And the film is just outrageously good. I’m always up to watch this flick. Any time. Any place.
– I don’t think I’m alone in the opinion that Peter Jackson should not have won the Oscar for best director for LOTR – Return of the King. He deserved one of the little statues, just not for that installment. Who did deserve it in 2004? Sophia Coppola. Lost in Translation is a remarkable. The very definition of a classic. Bill Murphy has a career high here. It’s just hauntingly beautiful with a mood that no one can beat.
– Yeah, I put Love, Actually on this list. So what? It’s packed too full of cute story lines, it’s lopsided. Uneven at best. And cheesy. But I like it so much. I can’t defend this choice, so I won’t try to. But Love, Actually is bitchin’.
– This movie is forever burned in to my brain. I hadn’t seen anything like this (or really since then), and was quite jarred by the whole thing. But, this film alerted me to Daniel Craig as a decent actor before he whored himself to the Bond franchise (I wouldn’t refer to it as whoring except that Quantum of Solace was so ass-y). I bought this DVD years later and tried watching it again. While it’s still poignant, it’s definitely not in my TBV list for the near or distant future.
– Torture porn is not my thing. I think the Saw movies are repulsive, my legs literally shook as I walked out of a showing of Hostel, and Antichrist made me shaky and and sick to my stomach. Oldboy is no exception. The first time I viewed this, I fell asleep watching it and woke up during a scene when teeth were being pulled out using the end of a hammer. Asia freaks the shit out of me. The reason this film remains so memorable is how freaking effective it was. I’m pretty sure I felt exactly what the director wanted me to. Despite the fact that those feelings were freakishly unpleasant.