Films that mattered

Dec 27, 2000 at 12:00 am

MT’s movie mavens pick their film faves and pet peeves of the year 2000. Not exactly a Top-10 list, each selection is based, of course, on personal viewing habits, passions and irritations accumulated over the past year of releases in the Detroit area (not NYC or LA). And once or twice, a list runs over a bit … but in the name of a brave new cinema and a healthy discussion thereof, we present …

Serena Donadoni

A lesson in polarization: Bamboozled (dir. Spike Lee)
Facing the invisible underclass: La Ciudad (The City) (dir. David Riker)
Coolest gamble to pay off: Croupier (dir. Mike Hodges)
Epic maximus: Gladiator (dir. Ridley Scott)
Innocence reclaimed, grace rewarded: The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (dir. Aviva Kempner)
The poetry of chance: Magnolia (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
The personal as political: Miss Julie (dir. Mike Figgis)
Filial grief writ large: Orphans (dir. Peter Mullan)
Visualizing the unspeakable: Requiem for a Dream (dir. Darren Aronofsky)
Stumbling toward insight: Wonder Boys (dir. Curtis Hanson)

Timothy Dugdale

Exhibit “A” for a moratorium on films about junkies and pill-poppers: Requiem for a Dream (dir. Darren Aronofsky)
Squandering talent to pull a fast one on insecure, bandwagon-jumping critics: Dancer in the Dark (dir. Lars von Trier)
So crazy it just might work (Raise the Red Matrix): Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (dir. Ang Lee)
Rusty nail in the coffin award: John Travolta in Battlefield Earth (dir. Roger Christian)
Why America’s youth could use a nice, long stay in a monastery: Scary Movie (dir. Keenen Ivory Wayans)
If only Mel Gibson had been available for Tootsie: What Women Want (dir. Nancy Meyers)
Best film about broken-down writer with heart of gold: Wonder Boys (dir. Curtis Hanson)
Worst film about broken-down writer with libido of steel: Quills (dir. Philip Kaufman)
Why Marilyn Manson and nine inch nails never need make another video: The Cell (dir. Tarsem Singh)
Familiarity breeds contempt award: Tom Hanks in Cast Away (dir. Robert Zemeckis)
Exhibit “A” of why the shelf-life of Quentin Tarantino was infinitesimally short: The Way of the Gun (dir. Christopher McQuarrie)

Deborah Hochberg

Best simultaneous four-part ensemble piece: Time Code (dir. Mike Figgis)
Best horror paean to ’80s yuppieism: American Psycho (dir. Mary Harron)
Best mythical depiction of male bonding and violence: Beau Travail (dir. Claire Denis)
Best exploration of childhood bonding gone awry: Chuck & Buck (dir. Miguel Arteta)
Most rousing paean to ’30s radicalism: Cradle Will Rock (dir. Tim Robbins)
Best poetic illumination of the intellectual development of one of the 20th century’s most influential thinkers: Young Dr. Freud (dir. Axel Corti)
Best celebration of the subversive glory of the Beat Generation: The Source (dir. Chuck Workman)
Best film on an obsessive maverick filmmaker since Ed Wood: American Movie (dir. Chris Smith)
Most sublime evocation of the subtlety of the human soul: Time Regained (dir. Raul Ruiz)
Most relentless downer: Requiem for a Dream (dir. Darren Aronofsky)

James Keith La Croix

What if John Woo did North by Northwest?: Mission Impossible 2 (dir. John Woo)
Best Joan of Arc film without Joan of Arc: Dancer in the Dark (dir. Lars von Trier)
No, thanks. I saw the real 2001: A Space Odyssey in ’68: Mission to Mars (dir. Brian DePalma)
Best gratuitous visuals: Pitch Black (dir. David N. Twohy)
Best robot and worst waste of humans: Red Planet (dir. Antony Hoffman)
Worst appropriation of Zen: The Legend of Bagger Vance (dir. Robert Redford)
Worst Hitchcock wannabe: Urban Legends: Final Cut (dir. John Ottman)
Best mockumentary: Best in Show (dir. Christopher Guest)
Best documentary: The Sorrow and the Pity (1971) (dir. Marcel Ophuls)
Best rerelease: The Exorcist (dir. William Friedkin)

Anita Schmaltz

Best crescent moon entrance: Sweet and Lowdown (dir. Woody Allen)
Best “road trip to the middle of nowhere” movie: Genghis Blues (dir. Roko and Adrian Belic)
Best attempt to understand somebody you don’t understand in film form: My American Grandmother (dir. Aysha Ghazoul)
Best “guys getting their asses kicked by a girl” film: Girlfight (dir. Karyn Kusama)
Best audio, visual, historical choreography: The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (dir. Aviva Kempner)
Best use of naked bodies and the split screen: Requiem for a Dream (dir. Darren Aronofsky)
Best film that laughed at itself: Charlie’s Angels (dir. McG)
Best Top 10 movie with Top 10 lists: High Fidelity (dir. Stephen Frears)
Best intensely beautiful battle scenes: Gladiator (dir. Ridley Scott)
Best illustration of a murderer’s imagination: The Cell (dir. Tarsem Singh)
Best freaky, abstract and nonsensical creatures with Peter Max colorings: a tie between Pokémon: The Movie — 2000 (dir. Michael Haigney and Kunohiko Yuyama) and Cirque du Soleil — Journey of Man (dir. Keith Melton)
Best bootleg video, with Tyrone Power as a carny gone wrong: Nightmare Alley (1947) (dir. Edmund Goulding)

George Tysh

How to shake an audience to its primal foundations: Magnolia (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
Almodóvar’s bitter-sweetest melodrama of all: All About My Mother (dir. Pedro Almodóvar)
Nailing the academic-publishing world with heartfelt humor: Wonder Boys (dir. Curtis Hanson)
Occult film of genius for those who hate the occult: The Ninth Gate (dir. Roman Polanski)
Most poetic combination of Buddhism and hip hop in American noir: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
Fondest memoir of a Motor City mensch: The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (dir. Aviva Kempner)
Most excellent tale of casino madness and writing as redemption: Croupier (dir. Mike Hodges)
Most harrowing vision of the year: Humanité (dir. Bruno Dumont)
Stunning eye candy with a freaky aftertaste: The Cell (dir. Tarsem Singh)
Morgan Freeman loves Renée Zellweger and you will too: Nurse Betty (dir. Neil LaBute)
How to make a neorealist revelation with Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg: The Yards (dir. James Gray)
Most captivating film to make you forget you’re reading subtitles: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (dir. Ang Lee)

Richard C. Walls

Best casual-mythic comedy: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
Best still-bleeding slice of life: Rosetta (dir. Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne)
Best film I saw on video last year (for the first time): Sansho the Bailiff (1954) (dir. Kenji Mizoguchi)
Best entirely original vision, for better or worse: Humanité (dir. Bruno Dumont)
Best horror film: Requiem for a Dream (dir. Darren Aronofsky)
Best film Sam Peckinpah might have made if he could have stayed sober long enough to finesse the meditative angle: The Way of the Gun (dir. Christopher McQuarrie)
Best examples (a tie) of misanthropic directors successfully tossing a little humanism into the mix: 8 1/2 Women (dir. Peter Greenaway) and Kikujiro (dir. Takeshi Kitano)
Best reissue (and rediscovery): Les Bonnes Femmes (1960) (dir. Claude Chabrol)
Best literary adaptation: Time Regained (dir. Raul Ruiz)
Best movie: Dancer in the Dark (dir. Lars von Trier)

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