December always brings dozens of the “Best of the Year” lists, and I’ve decided I would be no exception to the trend. Given the number of movies I’ve seen for the first time I thought I could put together my “Top 10 Movies Seen in 2003”. There were many contenders, including an additional 10 that just didn’t make the cut, and one or two whose names I couldn’t remember and thus didn’t include. Even though most of these were released in years prior, here goes with the list.
10. Talk to Her – A fascinating movie about two men watching over the women they love in a coma, with an ending that actually surprised me.
9. The Royal Tenenbaums – This quirky family, plus an offbeat cinematopgraphic style, made this a memorable picture.
8. Bowling for Columbine – Bowling for Columbine confirmed the central idea that there is something different about Americans, that the society as a whole suffers from some sort of anxiety issue.
7. Far From Heaven – A touching movie about a homemaker in a New England town during the civil rights era.
6. Cube – A low budget masterpiece, with a simple premise and yet loaded with suspense. I was sitting on the edge of my seat through the whole movie. This is what the Blair Witch Project should have been.
5. Bloody Sunday – On January 30, 1972, a civil rights march in Northern Ireland turned bloody, helping spark the conflict that lasted for the next several decades. The movie Bloody Sunday was a dramatic reenactment that stays true to form, providing a sense of watching the real thing unfold.
4. A Walk to Remember – This touching, sentimental teenage movie left a deep impression. I’ll be honest, I cried during this movie.
3. Kill Bill Volume 1 – The hyperviolence of this movie, paired with Quentin Tarantino’s offbeat style and oddly mismatched soundtrack, made this a memorable movie. This movie took me from being mildly sensitive to violence through being desensitized back to being extremely sensitive.
2. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Ok, I haven’t really seen this movie yet. But unlike the Matrix sequels, I expect this to be a phenomenal movie. Even if they did cut the ending in the Shire from the movie.
1. The Dancer Upstairs – Despite some strong competition, this was my favorite movie of the year. The movie maintains a strong narrative pace with a budding tension that builds as the movie continues. The gritty texture of the movie heightened the senses while the acting was superb.
Southern Comfort and Bettter Than Chocolate, although they didn’t make this list, also deserve honorable mentions. Both were memorable movies and endearing but in different ways.