Part 3 Moriarty's Look at the Year that was 2001!!!
Top Two and The Rest of the Story!!!
dir. Tatsuo Sato
An mysterious artist in Japan kills herself. A cult-like devotion springs up around her work. A film is made from her manga creations to pay tribute to her. And normally, I’d never hear the first thing about a film like this, but I have the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal to thank for the number two spot on my list this year. Where else would I have seen a 33-minute piece of Japanese animation?
Here’s what I wrote after seeing it for the second time in Montreal this summer:
"I went to see it again because it had such a strong impact on me, and because I wanted to see if it was something that would hit me that well again.
It did. Maybe even more so the second time.
The film opens with a title sequence that I found underwhelming both times. It’s obviously shot on video, a camera moving over a static illustration of little cat footprints moving around the credits in a tangled path, like a HELLO KITTY version of one of those Sunday "Family Circus" strips where Billy doesn’t go straight home from school. It doesn’t begin to hint at the power of the film itself, and if anyone ever gets smart enough to release the film on video for Region One (hinthinthinthint), I hope this one part of the picture is rethought.
From the first image, though, the film itself is magic. Nyatta, a tiny kitty, leans into a bathtub to play with a toy boat, accidentally dunking her head underwater as she does so. Her family is spread throughout the house. Mother is in the kitchen washing dishes. Father lies on the floor in the family room, drunk. And Nyako, her brother, is alone in his room facing the God of Death. As Nyako lies on his back staring up at the ceiling, we see through his eyes for a moment. He closes them, then opens them and watches the light and shadows play across the dappled surface above. Nyatta happens to come into the room at just the right moment, her eyes still pure and clear enough to see Nyako leaving, hand in hand with Death, and she follows out of curiosity more than anything.
It is a surreal world Nyatta ventures out into. A group of housewives stands around yattering at one another, and Nyatta pauses to release the air valve on one of them, causing her to deflate like a beach toy. The other women just keep talking, paying no attention. When Nyatta catches up with her brother and Death, she grabs hold of one of his arms and pulls, refusing to let him go. She and Death each end up with half of Nyako’s soul, and she runs home to find that her parents have already called in a doctor, who is pronouncing her brother dead. She puts his half a soul back, and for the rest of the piece, there’s something broken about Nyako. One eye is open a little further than the other. He stares straight ahead, hardly aware of the landscapes around them as his sister takes him from place to place.
They go to a giant tented circus show, where a magician performs incredible feats. His very words take shape, becoming an armchair or a fish or an elephant. When he brings out a giant being made of clouds, the being fills up with a storm that gives way to rain, flooding the tent and the earth itself. Nyatta and Nyako find themselves adrift on a boat, lost in a world that is nothing but water. Somehow, they’ve picked up a pig as a companion, and when he offers them fish to eat, Nyatta slices him open and removes a section of his fat instead. She cooks it, feeds part of it to Nyako, then gives the pig the rest of it to chew on happily. When all the water dries up and they find themselves in a desert without end, they ride the pig as far as they can, bashing him on the head and carving off lumps for food.
He drops dead, and they are forced onto foot, eventually leading them to a house where a strange man waits to feed them dinner. He has a bird tied to a rope that flies in small circles over the table until he sets it on fire. It continues to fly as it cooks, eventually dropping in front of Nyatta, ready to eat. The strange man feeds them desserts until they are full, then leads them to a large pot, where they are placed to boil. He vanishes for a moment, returning in strange fetish gear, ready to chop them up for stew. Nyatta tricks him, though, and cuts his arms and legs off, leaving him in the pot, the lid on, while she and her brother escape. When she cracks his head open and finds clockwork, she doesn’t seem remotely surprised.
In fact, nothing in this world seems to phase Nyatta. She understands that life is brutal, and with every good thing that happens, there is bad as well. They dig for water under a crystal mushroom in the dessert and find a water hole that issues forth a large water elephant. Nyatta and Nyako ride inside of it, swimming in the elephant from water hole to water hole, but eventually the heat is too much, and it evaporates. Time and time again, their joy gives way to further misery, and the siblings are forced to adapt. When the clockwork of the universe gets stuck due to half a cabbage stuck in the gears, God himself reaches in and runs things in reverse, and there is a haunting montage of atrocity and accidents played in reverse, car crashes giving birth to complete drivers, age giving way to youth, evolution moonwalking us all the way back to the oceans.
I love this movie. I must own this movie. You must see this movie. I will be haunted by these images for some time, and if you’re fortunate enough to see the film, you will be, too."
I almost feel bad listing this film, since it’s not readily available here and there are no current plans to make it available here. But in my heart, there’s nothing else that I responded to on quite the same level. Any single frame of this film could be shown on a museum wall and still be a piece of art. Taken as a summary of an artist’s world view, this is a chilling piece, sad and heartbreaking. It’s no wonder she was in a hurry to leave this world behind. It seemed to scare her, a place of infinite possible hurt and suffering.
I was able to finally get my hands on a copy of this film on VHS about three weeks ago, and I’ve played it at least ten times since. There are tracking problems on the tape, there’s a place where it keep threatening to just plain disintegrate, and it’s obviously a dub of a dub of a dub... but I don’t care. When I put it on, I vanish into it. I find it immersive and endlessly fascinating, and I will show it to any visitor here at the Labs at the drop of a hat. It does what any great film does: it moves me. I will overlook the film’s obscurity and list it here, hoping that in some way, I might increase the odds that you will one day have a chance to judge its merits for yourself. Until then, all you have is my word, my passion for it.
Here’s hoping that changes soon.
01. THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
dir. Peter Jackson
Honestly... is anyone surprised?
What can I say that I didn’t the first time around?
I love films because they engage my emotions, my intellect, my imagination, and my empathy, and when a film manages to engage all of those things at once, and in equal measure, it feels like magic to me. No matter how close I get to the process, no matter how many times I go through it myself and watch something take shape and come to life, I will always believe in alchemy, in pure and simple magic, because films like this come along and reinforce it for me.
People seized upon individual words from my review of this film and overanalyzed them, and I was surprised by how vocal both those who love this film and those who don’t have been when writing me, how rabid they both seem. I’ll admit... I was part of that. My review is a love letter, a 14 page blow job for Peter Jackson. But look at what he just released!! If anyone deserved that, it was Peter. Is the film "perfect" or "flawless"? No. It is not. Do any of the flaws in the film or the imperfections bother me or distract from my experience watching it? Not at all.
And that’s love. Plain and simple. I have days when I feel like Charlie Kaufman at the beginning of the ADAPTATION script, where I hate something about my appearance, my hair or my skin or my body, and the thing I can count on from my girlfriend is that she somehow manages to make me feel better about whatever that thing is. She looks past it, or she embraces it. She doesn’t just accept it; she loves me more because of it. That’s love. That’s what I feel for this film, what I feel for any of the films on my list of personal favorites. That’s what makes me go out and buy something on DVD. That’s what gets me to put a film that I’ve seen a dozen times into the player to watch it again... love. I am grateful to any filmmaker who can make me feel this way about a movie, especially one that’s at the center of the massive hypestorm this one is. I mean, normally, that’s all it takes to destroy a film. Just hype the shit out of it, place undue corporate pressure on it, and sit back to watch the thing implode. Time and time again, we see disastrously bad films under these circumstances. But FELLOWSHIP plays like a dream, like that ideal version of a big-budget blockbuster that plays out while you’re asleep on that IMAX screen at the cineplex in your subconscious. It’s too much to absorb in the first viewing, like Peter Jackson’s flurry of imagination is too much to digest, and it’s not until the second time or even the third that you can really get a handle on the whole thing.
And just for the record... I believe in repeat viewings before writing about things, if possible. Obviously, we’re not always in that position of luxury, but sometimes opinions shift. In the case of films where I have an intense reaction, positive or negative, I like to see them again to test. I saw A.I. three times this summer, each time in totally different circumstances, and I can say conclusively that my problems with it are too large to overlook. I gave the film every possible chance to connect with me. With FELLOWSHIP, there was every possiblity that I had just gushed the first time because of the sheer emotional release of finally seeing this thing. I wasn’t manic the way Harry was, but after seeing the Cannes reel earlier in the year, I was definitely pumped up. I wanted this movie to work, and the repeat viewings I’ve had reinforce for me just how well it plays. Each time, it’s been totally different types of audiences, and each time, it’s gotten tremendous audience response, really connecting with them and connecting them as a group.
To be honest, I almost feel like setting FELLOWSHIP aside, keeping it off any list of any kind until I’ve got THE TWO TOWERS and RETURN OF THE KING to judge as well, but this is an individual film. It exists by itself for now. And by itself, even with a story that is completely unresolved, I find this to be so arresting and absorbing an experience that it has to top my list. I love the little things about the movie, the things that give it weight. I love how dirty the world is. Look at Gandalf’s fingernails or his hair. This guy didn’t just step out of a makeup trailer. He’s been on a horse for six weeks. He looks like hell. I love the nail driven sideways through the hooves of the Black Riders. I love the way the bugs and the worms literally scramble to get away at the approach of the Ringwraith by the side of the road. I love the moment when Gandalf suddenly changes at Bag End, scaring Bilbo into realizing how attached he is to the Ring. I love Bilbo when he steps outside and says, "I just thought of an ending for my book..." I love every damn second of Moria. I love the Watcher in the Lake. I love the moment where Legolas is walking on top of the snow. I love Christopher Lee when he’s... well, actually, it doesn’t really matter what he’s doing. I love every second of Christopher Lee. I could go on and on, but the truth is, I’ve already said everything I need to. I am on the record. I am almost worn out from proclaiming my indecent level of affection for this movie.
One film to rule them all, indeed.
READ MY ORIGINAL REVIEW HERE!!
20 HOURS I WANT BACK
I AM SAM
Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick know better than this. As producers of the show ONCE & AGAIN, they were responsible for a particularly affecting run of episodes last year featuring Patrick Dempsey as the emotionally disturbed brother of Sela Ward’s character. That was delicately scripted stuff with a keen eye for the reality of how hard it can be for an individual to survive with such a debilitating handicap.
So why, if they’re so smart, would they get involved with pandering, puerile crap like this? This movie plays every cheap sympathy card it can, and features witless dialogue that is painfully on the nose at every turn.
There were films that were worse than this in 2001, but I’ve reached the point where I can’t stomach another one of these "magic retard who saves our souls" movies, and I reject this one with every bit of my being, and urge you to do the same.
FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN
Poorly designed, visually boring, and utterly without a spark of story invention, this managed to alienate fans of the game series it was (not) based on and fans of the burgeoning field of computer animated feature films. I can’t think of a single reason to recommend this film, but I think of about a dozen reasons to avoid it. This is the precise reason flesh and blood actors need never fear a computer replacing them... all the money in the world can’t create life or inspiration, the two things of which this film is completely bankrupt.
JACK THE DOG
I would skip mentioning this fucking wankfest if it weren’t set to make it’s debut on either IFC or The Sundance Channel in the next few weeks. I forget which one it is, and I don’t feel like looking it up. I saw this the last night I was at Sundance last January, and it’s such a vile little movie about male stereotypes that it has the power to not just make you ashamed to be a movie fan, but ashamed that you’re a man. Writer/director Bobby Roth should seek therapy for his extreme, violent hatred of women, and should also put the movie camera down before someone gets hurt. If you ever want to see an example of why not everyone should make movies, look no further than this stupid, meanspirited, blackhearted little vanity vomit.
READ MY ORIGINAL REVIEW HERE!!
When did Ivan Reitman die? And why are they still putting his name on movies? Surely this is not the work of a living breathing filmmaker, and definitely not the guy who made GHOSTBUSTERS. I won’t believe it. I can’t believe it.
SERIES 7: THE CONTENDERS/15 MINUTES
Stop it. I mean it, everybody. Stop making "satires" of reality television. Stop trying to sum it all up and make the big statement on the unblinking media eye and morality. You’re too late. Paddy Cheyefsky did it in 1976 with NETWORK, and he did it with so much style and class that you have to wonder what the witless weenies behind these two knuckle-headed misfires were thinking.
SERIES 7 manages to make the idea of a TV show in which contestants kill each other actually seem boring. I wouldn’t watch two episodes of this show, but not because of outrage. If I was offended by anything, it was the poor characterization, the miserable performances, the butt-ugly cinematography, or the disinterested direction.
And 15 MINUTES is a film that wants it both ways, that tries desperately to take a position of moral superiority even as it wallows in the exploitative filth it wants to condemn. This, like TRAINING DAY, is a movie that takes a provocative premise and throws it away on conventional crappy Hollywood plotting and stupid, easy wrap-ups.
LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER
I’m still embarrassed to see how much faith I had in this film pre-release. I should have known better. Two simple words should have tipped me off:
The man is without talent. Devoid of talent. Absolutely free of the terrible burden of storytelling skill or narrative coherence. He couldn’t tell a story if it would keep him out of the electric chair. He should donate his eyes to science now, because they’re not doing him any good.
A testament to waste, a milestone in mediocrity, Michael Bay’s will be a PEARL HARBOR that will live forever in deserved obscurity, a quickly-forgotten belch of blockbuster bloat that managed to take one of the key moments in our cultural history and reimagine it as a Universal Studios theme park stunt show. In the hands of a real filmmaker, this would have been a film that we all would have embraced as extra-relevant following the events of September. Instead, it was the stocking stuffer most guaranteed to get a bewildered, "Why did you pick this?" from geeks this past Christmas.
Enjoy the slide into anonymity, Michael. This was just the start.
PLANET OF THE APES
Want to see just how bland a film an iconoclast like Burton can make? Look no further than this limp, pointless remake of the ‘60s trip. Yes, Rick Baker did some nice work on make-up. I can think of nothing else good to say here.
Oh, wait... Lisa Marie’s mating dance was pretty funny. I can say that.
Otherwise, there wasn’t a single good line or image in this film, and there wasn’t a moment while watching it that I wasn’t thinking about the mechanics of the whole thing. It looks like soundstages, except for the locations that are so boring they might as well be soundstages.
This is exactly what I’m talking about when I call these movies "hours I want back." I gained nothing watching this film, except the knowledge that Tim Burton can jerk off idly with the best of them. If you haven’t seen it by now, do yourself the favor and keep it that way. You’re not missing a thing.
That opening monologue by Travolta where he talks about how shitty action films are almost makes this review redundant.
Can we all just agree that this sort of smirky happy terrorist/gunplay/action bullshit is over now and move on to the business of crafting genuinely creative action movies? Please? Pretty please?
Oh, and a quick note to Hugh Jackman: you’re going to be a big star for a long time. When you’re offered this or KATE & LEOPOLD, it’s okay to say "no." Better roles will come along. You will work again. I promise.
Like SIX-STRING SAMURAI, this is one of those "must see" geek films that I found completely without merit, a case of all pose and no purpose. There’s about ten or twelve minutes of fun buried in this one. Somewhere. If you can get through all the cheap Raimi inspired push ins and the endless footage of people standing around like tough guys.
Correction: if you WANT to get through it all. I’m betting you won’t after about ten minutes. Anyone who stays for the end is a glutton for punishment
And on that note, I’ll leave you. I’m off to skim the new ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and the Sunday LA TIMES CALENDAR section from today, both of which feature their 2002 sneaks. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead now that I’ve finished with what’s just past. I’ll be back later this week with my RUMBLINGS. Until then...
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Jan. 21, 2002, 9:26 a.m. CST
Tomb Raider wasn't nearly as bad as most say, it had Jolie's boobies!
Jan. 21, 2002, 9:26 a.m. CST
Six String Samurai Is GENIUS... YOU SUCK!
Jan. 21, 2002, 9:39 a.m. CST
... really nice movies, i haven
Jan. 21, 2002, 9:43 a.m. CST
Yeah but Harry he could've also mentioned Wild Zero in the 20 hours he wants back.... Cheers M, I knew you wouldn't stich me up! (money's in the post)
Jan. 21, 2002, 9:50 a.m. CST
Like I said, "Moriarty Booooo!"
Jan. 21, 2002, 9:54 a.m. CST
I love the way you shitted on "A Beautiful Mind" as pablum, because thats exactly what it is...Fucking Golden Globes Assholes...
Jan. 21, 2002, 9:54 a.m. CST
Highlander rules !!!
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:03 a.m. CST
...the time I spent watching MOULIN ROUGE before I walked out. My favorites: MEMENTO, A.I., FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, TAPE, AMELEIE, THE SCORE, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, BLACK HAWK DOWN, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE, THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, MONSTERS INC., ENDURANCE, TRAINING DAY, STARTUP.COM.
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:08 a.m. CST
I hate to do it, because I'm being as eveil as the talkbackers that I rail against, but it has to be said. I hate when 'critics' who are also working screenwriters try to tell others that certain individuals are "hacks" and that they are incapable of getting good work done. Now I must shift my sights to a Mr. Drew McWeeney aka Moriarty. I'm sure some of you talkbackers are aware of this, but most of you may not be since this is a piece of "Cool News" that never quite made it on to the pages of AICN. I wonder why... The point? Moriarty had been commissioned to write a draft of Mortal Kombat 3. Exactly. Seriously. Who wants to see a MK3? Who? Now as some of you say, the concept has "Jumped the shark". Yes, jumped right off the fucking building. If that isn't a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is. Hey, I understand when a guy needs to make some cash, but it's funny when some of you talk about selling-out and the like and one of the voices of this venerated site, who can talk and pontificate about what's good and what's bad, but at the same time can write a script to a movie that no one, but no one will ever want to see. In the vernacular of MY people, "It be like that sometimes..." So, I'm curious as to when this piece of news would ever come out.. As a reader, and a refined one at that, I guess all I would ask for is candor as well as objectivity from my critics. Is that possible, Moriarty? If it is, then I'll be your biggest fan.
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:14 a.m. CST
by Aronld Scazziger
"Versus" in your Twenty hours full of shit? WTF? I HATE YOU! DORK! And Memento just #17? WHERE THE FUCK AM I? This twat still lives and Stanley Kubrick had to die. Unfair man, sooooo unfair.
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:16 a.m. CST
hehe! Anyway, that's a pretty long list, and to be honest, I didn't read all of it.
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:23 a.m. CST
But pretty much everyone did. It's not just about media; the reality TV show is the tool he uses to satirize us. The point isn't that we'd watch a TV show about this kind of hunt. The point is that we'd allow the hunt in the first place.
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:29 a.m. CST
The first act of the Lord of the Rings is pure cinema magic, and I honestly belive I will be able to watch this movie 10 000 times without the magic fading. Star Wars, ESB or STRUL doesn't even manage 20 viewing
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:34 a.m. CST
The most overrated, meritless "geek" film of the year. A total waste of time, nothing but borrowed attitude and hollow posing. It's sad that so many were sucked in by this one.
Jan. 21, 2002, 11:07 a.m. CST
Decaf...try it, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results. ;) Oh, and wasn't PotA supposed to be a comedy?? It would explain a lot.____Laura Croft
Jan. 21, 2002, 11:17 a.m. CST
LOTR wins as the most overrated movie of the year. It looks like a great fantasy film only when it's in a lineup with the likes of Willow and Harry Potter. Let's face it, the Dark Crystal was a more compelling storytelling experience, with effects that were more impressive and characters that had more human depth -- despite not being human! -- than any marched in front of Jackson's camera -- with the possible exception of Gandalf. The Two Towers will undoubtedly be a better experience -- it will be less rushed, and there will be more action to cut away to, making it an easier story to tell on screen -- and I'm sure that the Director's cut of FOTR will be longer, and have a more natural pace. But the bottom line is that FOTR was a fine movie, a thumbs up -- that only looks great compared to the rest of 2001's feeble offerings. Just my 2cents... firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan. 21, 2002, 11:29 a.m. CST
It's like a soccer match! And I loved "I Am Sam". The end, where Sam finally convinces the guy to just TRY green eggs and ham? Brilliant! sk
Jan. 21, 2002, 11:45 a.m. CST
Jesus fuck that movie was awful. All concept and NO execution. Harry, seriously, watch the movie again and see if you don't see a pattern emerge: Buddy comes upon a new scene (the director thinking "wouldn't it be cool if Buddy came upon an XXXX"), inane dialogue happens (the director not coming up with anything), then Buddy getting up inexplicably and running out to the next scene (the director thinking "ok, fuck it we couldn't come up with anything for that one, but what if Buddy now went to... XXXX" where inevitable nothing again happens). All pose indeed! You can't just have a clever concept- you need to go that extra mile and be creative enough to know what to do after you set up the scene, otherwise the film falls flat.
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:20 p.m. CST
Good choices for the most part, and the writing on each was superb. I was a little disappointed to not find BLACK HAWK DOWN (my #2 film of the year, after TENENBAUMS) on the list, but no two people's tastes run totally the same. Again, good writing on the lot of them!
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:32 p.m. CST
To be honest this list wasn't that great (predictable choices) but since it's hardly been a great much less good, very good year I'll let it slide and you voiced your opinions well enough to convince me why you liked what you liked and for me to see and not see the movies listed on your list. Hey, I'm nobody special, I'm just a 21 year old working at Hollywood Video going back to community college on Wednesday. As for my best of the year, I would first have to put in a special category the re-releases of 2001: A Space Odyssey (which used to be my favorite film but is now just a great film), Raiders Of The Lost Ark (gets better with each viewing), and nope didn't get to see Funny Girl but loved seeing 2001 andb ROTLA on the big screen where they were meant to be shown at my beloved Uptown movie theater. In another case, my favorite piece of writing about film this year belongs to Andrew Sarris at The New York Observer regarding his farewell to his longtime rival and fellow movie lover Pauline Kael = they loved movies a lot and fought each other for their belief in how great movies are and no other movie argument will match their arguments in ferocity and passion. Now my favorite film and the only great film I saw this year was LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS which proved to me with the right material to match his sensibilites, Peter Jackson has made his masterpiece (the scenes of Gandalf, Frodo and Bilbo are forever inshrined in my mind's eye and that is the work of a great director) with help of a certain J.R.R. Tolkein and Ralph Bakashi...honestly next time LOTR: FOTR wins any sort of award somebody thank them! After all without Tolkein, Jackson would not have his good fortune and looking back at Bakashi's LOTR, I can see Jackson certainly studied well from it. Now some very good if not great films that I saw this year were AMELIE, MONSTERS INC, SHREK, APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX, MEMENTO, POKEMON: MEWTWO RETURNS and HARRY POTTER & THE SORCERER'S STONE. I can't say Potter is anywhere near a great movie and I would like to add that even without HIM, Columbus's film feels like a Spielberg production and you can't help but think there are secnes and moments Spielberg could have done better. But the film's characters got to me and I like that so it made me a Potter fan and I appreciate the film for doing that. As for Pokemon, I have a bias torwards it, yes I'm not afraid to say I'm a fan of it since it's a good cartoon that's not groundbreaking or hip but has become a classic in my mind along with Transformers and Scooby Doo, just a fun cartoon is all. Now I have not yet seen MULHOLLAND DRIVE, GHOST WORLD, or THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE because of lack of funds and transportation to see them but will give my opinion on them once they hit VHS/DVD. As for A.I. well I still haven't made up my mind whether or not that I like it or not, honestly, that film may just be the most cynical movie ever made. I'm going to be checking out A.I. when it comes to DVD and is it just me or was the DVD release delayed in hopes they would have some awards to go with the movie promoting it ? Anyway, two great films I saw this year on VHS but not released this year are ERASERHEAD (1977) and CRUMB (1994). That's about it and yes feel free to complain and mock me for my choices but I never said anything about myself being a great critic or a purveyor of fine art. I just like what I like when it comes to movies/TV. I don't diss your tastes if I don't like what you like, so how about doing the same for me and we'll get along just fine ;) Also kudos AICN gang for putting up the link to get SONG OF THE SOUTH released on VHS/DVD. I remember watching this film in it's re-release in 1986, I think and even have a poster of the film up in my room near my bed along with a Brer Rabbit doll. It may not be a great work but the animated sequences are pure magic, not gold but real joy which made me smile and deserve to be seen by one and all for their beauty. I used to watch the film everytime it was shown at the Fort Wilderness campfire ground theater under the stars until they stopped showing it. So, please Disney all I want for Christmas is a special edition DVD release of SONG OF THE SOUTH. Make it happen and you'll be one very rich company and I know how you like money.
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:36 p.m. CST
by Smilin'Jack Ruby
Okay, so I'm an easy lay, Mori, but I thought "Versus" would be a pile of crap and instead, I get a non-stop $5 budget action film with fun editing and more posturing than an early '80s Bowie video. The music, the insane action, the plot that made ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE and the non-stop, neverending gore really just did it for me. That said, I agree with almost every single other bit you said in your list, except for bits on "The Majestic" and the like. Great list!
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:36 p.m. CST
You are absolutely right, it is incredibly tacky for Moriarty, a preposed scriptwriter in Hollywood, to sit around and complain about his fellow writers. I have yet to see proof that Mr. McWeeney has any talent himself in the area in which he is criticizing. He is an excellent film critic, but so is Roger Ebert and we all know how well his screenwriting career turned out.
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:36 p.m. CST
If anybody wants to e-mail me regarding what I just said please e-mail me at RJ.Whalen@home.net cause I'm afraid my old e-mail address doesn't work anymore. That's all I got to say.
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:44 p.m. CST
by Darth Pixel
Reminds me of a Marlboro, for some odd reason. Maybe, because of its honestly. Or, the elegance in your words, perhaps. Or, it could be that I am in the middle of trying to quit smoking and it SUCKS FUCKING ASS! Ciao.
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:55 p.m. CST
Not mentioned by Moriarty but other talkbackers have mentioned that it's up there in their 'Best ofs'. Black Halk Down is right up there with the worst films that I have ever had the displeasure of paying to see. It was boringly repetetive, you could in no way connect with the characters and by the end I just thought that it was highly offensive. Awful, Awful stuff.
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:55 p.m. CST
Ebert sucks now and forever. He used to be good, but anyone who's been reading his reviews for a decade, every Friday, without failure knows that he's been slipping into insanity for the past three years or so. I loved Gene Siskel and the way the two played off each other was awesome, but Gene had that conviction and thoughtfulness that, even if you didn't agree with him, you could tell he had some place he was coming from. Ebert, on the other hand, no longer has that, if he ever did. When he likes something you don't like or vice versa, his reviews are just never convincing. Moriarty is an excellent writer of film comment, and when he hates something and I love it or the other way around, I can always see where he's coming from. Anyone else experience this with Ebert's reviews over the last few years? Also, his reviews have increasingly given way to a LOT of plot summary and less actual reviewing. It's up to about 60/40 right now. I'm only saying this because while I used to think Ebert was a God of film criticism, he's now a complete nutter.
Jan. 21, 2002, 12:59 p.m. CST
You forgot to put The Mummy Returns, Jurassic Park III, and A Knight's Tale on your worst of list. I mean I hated Pearl Harbor too, but those three films are at least as bad if not worse. Those three films put together make going for a swim in a lake full of rancid pig vomit seem appealing. Also...I keep noticing that no one has mentioned Snatch at all as one of their most or least favorites. I really loved that film. Maybe I just have a special place for it in my heart since I took my girlfriend to see it on our first date. Am I the only one who would put this film in the years top 10? No one has mentioned Shadow of the Vampire either, but I think maybe it was released in 2000 but didnt make it to all the theaters till 2001.
Jan. 21, 2002, 1:06 p.m. CST
I do agree with the current state of Roger Ebert but at one time he was one of the greats. Even now his "Great Film" reviews are thought prevoking but his current reviews are a little shabby. He has gone down the road of former greats like Pauline Kael and Peter Travers, from critic to bitter shells of their former selves who seem like they hate the world, not just modern movies. I like Moriarty as a reviewer but if he is to be respected as a film critic then he must put aside comments like "hack" and "talentless" and review the movies and not the people who made them. And, again, I say, he has yet to prove himself better then those he calls hack, so to do so is ignorant and cheap. He can criticize aspects but to use such harsh words is elitist and he has no proof of his ascension to the list of greats.
Jan. 21, 2002, 1:16 p.m. CST
I mis-spelled scenes as sences in my back in the saddle... post. But more importantly, I remember Pauline Kael once saying to her audiences that if they felt it was so easy to be a critic why not they try to be a painter and a poet and a critic and then they'd find out how hard it is. But at the time Kael wasn't involved in trying to make it in Hollywood and when she did (spurned on by Warren Beatty who threw her own words back at her. He suggested f she felt movies were so easy to make, why not make them herself) she didn't get any movies made but she did promote and help Paramount which she worked at get THE ELEPHANT MAN made which turned out to be a very good film and one of my favorite Lynch films. Plus Ebert did once write a film BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and it become a cult classic but while he did an article on it, he has not reviewed it because of his involvement in the film. Moriarty's got excellent taste in films and backs up his opinions even when I disagree with him and let's just see how the film he's working on turns out okay ? We may yet like it as much as I enjoy his writings on AICN.
Jan. 21, 2002, 1:25 p.m. CST
i'm with you. Pootie Tang (especially the first twenty minutes) made me laugh harder than anything else this year besides the Royal Tenenbaums, and there really is something to be said for that. of course, i saw Pootie right after that fucking dreck Kiss Of The Dragon, so maybe my cinematic standards had been temporarily lowered....
Jan. 21, 2002, 1:38 p.m. CST
by Boris Grushenko
I missed the documentaries on your list, and a couple of the films that played at Sundance, but I saw the rest of them, and agreed with almost all of your comments... That is what makes your love of LOTR so mystifying?!?!? I just don't see it. I have no bias, either. I wanted to like the movie too, but it did the worst thing a movie can do to me, it bored me. In fact, your comments about Pearl Harbor pretty much sum up my feelings for LOTR. Ho hum. I read your comments and it sounds like an intelligent, thoughtful 30-something year old reviewed the other 20+ movies on you list, but an 11 year old, impressed by the depth of Saturday morning cartoons, reviewed LOTR. The more love and adulation is poured on this film, the more alienated I feel. LOTR was 3 hours I'd like back.
Jan. 21, 2002, 1:38 p.m. CST
i don't think that most people "missed the point" of Series 7...its just that the alleged "point" is so terribly passe and obvious that audiences were astounded when the film failed to competently satirize something that seems like an easy (too easy, if you ask me) target. and there really is nothing worse than bad satire. speaking of horrifyingly stupid television, did anyone see that abomination "THE CHAMBER" on Fox last night? i'm not the hate mail writing type, but that got my gears turning a bit...
Jan. 21, 2002, 1:50 p.m. CST
I think a lot of it's me. I don't get to see an awful lot of those "little films" every critic has of their list, and that the general public has never heard of...but i want to. Even if it takes me a couple of years, I get around to them...did i tell anybody here that I didn't get to see Run Lola Run until LAST YEAR? That should tell you soemthing right there. So, i'm probably about 2, 3 years behind in the "little movie" dept....let me give you a little bit of insight here. I collect movie stubs. Since about January '98, i have kept the stubs to every movie i've seen in a theater. And as I flip through this years batch, the only "little movie" I have a stub for is Memento. Actually, I'm not sure, does the Akira re-release count?? If it does, then I've seen two. So, anyways, getting to the gist of this here....i havent seen about 40 percent of the movies on Moriarty's list. All the movies i've seen(theres about 20-30 of them) have been of a more "commercial" bent. Sorry if that destroys my credibility any. This having been said, I'll get down to some issues with Mr Rumbling from the Lab's list. So, the kudos first, i gotta tip my hat to the guy for including Metropolis. That does count as one of the little films I saw, and yes, if not for the cutesy bent of the animation, this is a sad dramatic adult anime. And so far, Moriarty's the only one to mention it. Brownie points to you. Second, Im also not going to jump on Moriarty for Memento being lower on his list than some people say it should be. Concept films, great as they are, have a limited shelf life, and though i have the dvd, and watch it every now and again for the hell of it, the power is lessened. It's not a "Use Once And Destroy" case(read: The Blair Witch Project), but its just doesnt stand up as well after the initial viewing. Though playing the movie end to beginning(or is it beginning to end?? you know what i mean...) is fun, it just doesnt. So, maybe if he'd seen it just once, the movie would've been 6 or 7...but its 17...i got no beef there....where i DO have beef is with his "want my 20 hours back" list. Now, I agree with most of those. Planet of the Apes, i liked the first time, but the day i saw it, i had imbibed a few drinks beforehand. I saw it on Pay Per View when i was sober. I must've really been wasted that day. And even the first time, the drinks couldnt outweigh the fact that the ending is the most poorly executed tripe ever committed to celluloid. Swordfish has a kick ass introductory 5-10 minutes, and it all goes straight to shit from there. But no, my issues are with two different things. Those two things being Final Fantasy and Evolution. Yeah, I'm gonna be the one weirdo creep asshole to DEFEND Final Fantasy to the grave. Now, I've had the dvd for a couple months now, and I've watched it about, ohh, 12 times in that period? And every time i've seen it, some new part of the story clicks. The first time i saw it in theaters, yes it does seem....empty...wanna know why? Because EVERYONE who walked in that first time paid about 60 percent of that time on the visuals. Yes you did. Dont even deny it. See, the problem is, the CGI is a double edged sword with that movie. It's like an insanely hot supermodel with a 220 IQ who just found New Age religion. Theres more deep and enigmatic shit coming out of her mouth than most can comprehend, but that doesn't matter to you much, cause your eyes were glued to her tits the second she walked in the room. But, surprisingly enough, you tear your eyes away from the visuals, listen up to the little details, recognize where things are coming from, and pay attention, there's actually a pretty decent anime in there. Thats the tall and short of it...getting back to the visuals, though, Moriarty, are you bleedin' cracked?! Even the people who HATED the movie recognize that its the best CGI work to date. This isnt just some special effect, this is a full-blown attempt to forge an entire universe, cities, ships and sets of walking talking human beings from scratch, no models, no motion capture bullshit, from scratch. Not just a bunch of crudely moving faceless toys, but humans. Yeah, real actors have nothing to worry about, but the fact that they got THAT close is something to be marvelled, even if you DIDN'T like the movie. And lastly, above all, to those gamers out there, know from minute one the movie has NOTHING to do with the games. Get over it. It's a pain in the ass to realize, but it doesnt. And if nothing else, give the film a second chance. It's a CGI anime. No more, no less. it's on Pay Per View, go give it a try. And issue two...Evolution. You know, its pretty ironic Moriarty's statements about Shaolin Soccer...the concept for that movie seems cool, and i'll definitely put it on my little list of stuff to see....but what made me smirk is Moriarty's need to sneak in some little comment to say "See everybody?? I like fun stuff too! I'm cool! I'm credible!" then i read the rest of his comments for every other movie, even Fellowship of the Ring....the man hasnt REALLY had fun at a movie in no less than two decades, and it shows. I call it Ebert Syndrome. You get it when you spend years absorbing all the crap floating around in the stream of cinema, and having to analyze it, pick it apart, impossible to truly sit down and watch a movie for the hell of it without doing a mental autopsy on every facet, you do this for a long enough time, you get numb. And numb to the point where nothing short of the hand of God can impress. of course, in the original subject's case, dementia can result. (Yeah, pan Fight Club, but give The Cell 4 stars, eh? dick...), but apparently, Moriarty's just got stage one...numbness. So, in comes Evolution. And Moriarty prays to the gods Ivan Reitman didnt make it. Nothing but a Ghostbusters rip-off....now, I grew up on Ghostbusters, i've been a fanatic for that movie for all but 3 years of my conscious life. And I'm not so sure elements of Ghostbusters being recycled in the form of that movie was a bad thing. Maybe its just a cling-to-childhood thing....i enjoyed Evolution a lot....one, because it was plain out fun, and in the wake of a mindbuster like A.I. and the piece of utter shite that was Planet of the Apes, i needed that. I had a ball. Second of all, the GB throwbacks made me smile more than they irritated me. I havent seen any really successful "team of scum busters" movies since Men in Black, and that had more in common with Lethal Weapon than Ghosterbusters. It felt good to watch Duchovny and Co. gel together, get that team going, go out, and kick some ass. And the jokes didnt make me cringe. Thats always a plus. And dammit, im of the mind if somebodys gonna reach back and butcher your work, it might as well be you. But, Moriarty's still numb. It'll take more than that to pierce the heart of the jaded. so, really, i shouldnt be surprised by any of this, should I? The jaded will have their taste, and so will I, and so will Harry, and so will everyone else in TBs who isnt a self-made LOTR troll. And with that taste, i will have the right to bitch at the jaded one's choices until the end of time. This is the human right i have exercised. Flame away, space monkeys. I stand by my choices. Revolution is my name...P.S.--.....thats a lot of writing, isnt it?
Jan. 21, 2002, 2 p.m. CST
by Lou C.
i thought moriarty was dead-on for the worst movies of the year, except for Series 7. i thought it was a great satire with a wickedly fun premise, and it had my attention throughout. I thought Brooke Smith did a great job in the lead role as well. as for the other worst flicks, right on, man. Tomb Raider was an awful piece of garbage, and Evolution was flatlined by horrible, unoriginal dialogue. i was hoping for ghostbusters 2002, and i was sorely disappointed. ... however, as a Tom Green fan, it pains me to say this, but: Freddy Got Fingered is not only the worst movie of the year, it's one of the worst ever made. i still believe he purposely made it so awful as a joke on everyone. if so, he greatly succeeded
Jan. 21, 2002, 2:06 p.m. CST
But I have seen "Six String Samurai" and I'm a bit disappointed in you, Moriarty. I would have thought that if anyone would have gotten that it simply a fun, reference-packed movie, it'd be you. And what the hell do you mean by "merit", anyway? Since when does "merit" factor in to seeing a goofy movie, I'd like to know?
Jan. 21, 2002, 2:12 p.m. CST
Rather than go on about other peoples lists, here is my "Best Movies 2001": 1) Moulin Rouge - Brilliant on every level. The images and emotions that leaped from the screen in a cosmic whirlwind of music and life... it floored me. Baz Lurman piss's me off, because he made the movie I wanted to make. 2) Amelie - A film that magically and whimsically tells the story of this woman and the way she affects those around her, only to discover the magic that is with-in her... and so much more. This film draws me in and never lets me go. Innovative, smart, funny and absolutely beautiful. 3) LOTR: FOTR - On this site, need I say anything? It was grand storytelling and it never disappointed. 4) Memento - This movie was amazing. We've never seen anything like it and I certainly hope we'll see more in the future. I love movies that take you on a journey of discovery along with the characters, and this did just that in a most imaginative and brilliant fashion. 5) In the Bedroom - Tom Wilkenson -is- this movie. He commands this film in a way few can. The acting is what makes this film hold #5 in my book. Everyone in it gives a spot on performance in a great story. It is raw, visceral, hands on and absolutely real. This is what acting is all about. 6) Gosford Park - I applaud this movie for it's advertisements. It is exactly what you think it is, but so much more. It is a great comedic murder mystery that it's very center focuses on 20 odd leads and you can follow all of them! This is just a great movie, nothing else to say on it. 7) Life As A House - An overlooked movie. It doesn't try to be more than it is. This film brings some of Kevin Kline's best work and introduces a fine Anakin Skywalker to us all. I really feel as if it doesn't fall into some very conventional moments that it could have, very easily. Just a great movie. (I saw it with my dad, so maybe that has something to do with it) 8) Shrek - What can I say? I am a sucker fo comedies and animation. This was just so funny and so well done in again, so many aspects. This must make the grade. 9) The Royal Tenenbaums - Nowhere near what 'Rushmore' was, but still a great movie that was just weird and quirky enough that it's dark tones can be looked at in a very human light... and funny! 10) TIE! or honorable mention catagory: Training Day - great movie with some great acting. Ocean's Eleven - just all around a great escape movie. i had not one complaint about it. a perfect 'blockbuster'. Honorable Mention: Man Who Wasn't There Waking Life Ghost World - I didn't see these 3 yet, but judging from the reviews and what I have seen of them, they very well could've made my list! The Justification: Movies have been taking an interesting journey as of late. I think it started in 1999 in with an amazing pallette of edgy new films and new styles (FIGHT CLUB, BEING JOHN MALKCOVICH, MATRIX, DOGMA, 3 KINGS, etc). This year had it's share too. Maybe this is a personal need or maybe I blew a transitor in my brain, but I feel that a movie needs to inspire you and make you feel something when you have left it. Every movie should aspire to be something new, different and unexpected. My list is full of a lot of those films that tried (and succeeded) to do just that. I am a filmmaker and an actor myself, and if I do not get moved by a film then I say, whats the point? An entertainment film (eg Shrek, Ocean's Eleven) is something else entirely. But unless you are going for that, please don't satuarate the film world with the same old stale crap we've seen for years that just tries to be Oscar fodder(eg A Beautiful Mind). My plea to fellow filmmakers out there is: Aspire to be something more than yourself. Break that mold, or at least try too. I personally appreciate the effort.
Jan. 21, 2002, 2:14 p.m. CST
what to say else..... it sucked
Jan. 21, 2002, 2:14 p.m. CST
what to say else..... it sucked
Jan. 21, 2002, 2:34 p.m. CST
Gandalf has some pipeweed and cheets on Frodo.
Jan. 21, 2002, 2:41 p.m. CST
didnt BHD debut this weekend? and doesnt that place it towards the 2002 best of list? Just a thought :)
Jan. 21, 2002, 2:42 p.m. CST
by Sukebe Panda
No surprise.. not a single mention of Moriarty's #2 pick on here, you ignorant cows. I'm damn shocked Moriarty even managed to see something this obscure. YOU ROCK! Just one thing, though.. her comics were popular for years before she killed herself. If anyone wants to see some of them translated, check out the ones I put on my site: http://www.sukebepanda.com/niptopia/niptopia.htm Also, a few others have been printed in English (including one that anime anime is based on) in the books "Comics Underground Japan" published by Blast Books, and "Secret Comics Japan" from Viz.
Jan. 21, 2002, 3 p.m. CST
and the contender was an excellant movie.
Jan. 21, 2002, 3:10 p.m. CST
by a goonie
well it is.
Jan. 21, 2002, 3:25 p.m. CST
Oh well, it's your list after all. Would have been nice to see them up there though :)
Jan. 21, 2002, 3:48 p.m. CST
i am a bad bad man. although i've seen a CRAPLOAD of movies this year. i missed a lot too. unfortunately i have not seen Black Hawk Down or Battle Royale yet, or several other movies i've heard were very good. But i saw a ton of them and tried to see all the ones that have made peoples top lists. but i still have work to do.
Jan. 21, 2002, 3:58 p.m. CST
by Basic Alias
I've said it before and I'll say it again: DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE! Not even to see if I'm telling the truth about how bad it is! It keeps shifting relentlessly between mind-numbingly boring and put-your-fist-through-your-TV-screen annoying. There's no plot or character development, a bunch of "fight" scenes that would put a crystal meth addict to sleep, and the single most hellishly annoying character ever created, a miserable fucking whiny little shit fucking brat kid that fucking whines whines whines and fucking cries through the fucking whole God-damn fucking shit fuck fucker God-damn motherfucking movie! Sigh... God, I feel so drained right now. Just... just don't watch the movie. Seriously. Go rent Bottle Rocket instead. Yeah. Wes Anderson. Good, brilliant Wes Anderson. Ahhhh. I feel better now. Oh, and nice list, Moriarty.
Jan. 21, 2002, 4:12 p.m. CST
by Lenny Nero
We clear now?
Jan. 21, 2002, 4:33 p.m. CST
Saw someone mention it up there, and I wanted to back them. Pootie Tang may not have been the most fearless or inventive comedy of the year, but damn if it wasn't funny. Way underrated. And anyone who thinks GOSFORD PARK is witty clever British fun, well, needs to see some more British films. That movie even makes Stephen Fry a pathetic stereotype. For shame. Glad to see Harry's of the same, or a similar, opinion (I think this movie's good hype is an internet/newspaper/award show hoax - no one in their right mind could see this as a multi dimesional film).
Jan. 21, 2002, 4:36 p.m. CST
by Cash Bailey
I won it on DVD and still couldn't get through it. Not one line worked, nor one performance. This movie disgusted me to the depths of my soul.
Jan. 21, 2002, 4:41 p.m. CST
by Sith Warrior
Why is Final Fantasy getting such a bad reaction? I've only seen it once, but I thought it was a pretty good film. At least it's different, and it has a plot, and some decent ideas, which is more than can be said for some films. Planet of the Apes was an OK action film, but not a patch on the original.
Jan. 21, 2002, 5:03 p.m. CST
is a very, very funny movie that was sadly overlooked by nearly 300 million people.
Jan. 21, 2002, 5:47 p.m. CST
First off, where was Muholland Drive, second off, where was freddy got fingered in the terrible films category. Lastly, I liked lord fo the rings but didn't find it astounding. I'm told that I have to read the books, but I thought I we were supposed to be judging the film, and not how well it transfered from the book. Don't you think you're being a little unfair to other powerful films when you make your nostalgic enjoyment of a book series a main factor in enjoying its adaptation?
Jan. 21, 2002, 6:10 p.m. CST
filled with good sense and good observations. As what could be expected from Moriarty.
Jan. 21, 2002, 6:24 p.m. CST
by Charles Grady
Go back and read Mori's original review of BLOW, and tell me how a film he loved that much at the time could fail to make it on this highly extended Best-of list. Jesus, Moriarty stopped just shy of giving honorable mention to SUMMER CATCH, but a movie he, like Harry, hailed as in a league with GOODFELLAS can't rate a mention here? Just like somehow it ended up as Harry's No. 22??? I'm not bashing the movie, I liked it, but it's curious how Harry and Drew's original love for it has subsided so greatly in one year.
Jan. 21, 2002, 9:48 p.m. CST
In fact, that's the only reason I talk back anymore. To bitch about Six String Samuri. God that sucked.
Jan. 21, 2002, 9:55 p.m. CST
by Hoke Mosley
No need to say Moriarty got the list all wrong. C
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:43 p.m. CST
by Ralph Cifaretto
I always thought Tolkien's choice to cut the books in half was awesome. I do hope they keep that structure, at least for the most part. (ie. brief intro with Frodo & Sam, then we don't see them again until the last 50 min. or so.). Or maybe they'll do it exactly as Tolkien did it. Or maybe they'll be shlumps and cut back and forth (ie. Empire Strikes Back). That would be wrong.
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:54 p.m. CST
by heywood jablomie
I saw it last night. It was okay. Peter Jackson does an admirable job of juggling geek needs and AOL/Time/Warner needs and joe-shmoe needs. The movie is well directed and moves along. But my God, how emotionally immature do you have to be to go into a drooling, rocking autistic trance over this slightly-better-than-average movie? Aren't there any film lovers at this site who thrill to ADULT works, that are aimed at ADULT sensibilities, and not at the thumb-sucking, hurt-feelinged 12-year-old Weiner Dog within us all? I guess, sadly, that film-geekdom is more or less synonymous with...geekdom. In any event...hell, people should at least make the effort to grow up. And grow their tastes.
Jan. 21, 2002, 10:59 p.m. CST
i think on your list you rated both moulin rouge and lord of the rings over mulholland drive. im not checking for human heads in your freezer you eye-candy freak.
Jan. 21, 2002, 11:19 p.m. CST
If there has been a more overhyped, underwhelming piece of cheese released in the past few years, I don't know what it is.
Jan. 21, 2002, 11:25 p.m. CST
Jan. 22, 2002, 12:28 a.m. CST
I knew that overated deal would take the number one spot in Mori's list. Hell, Citizen Kane could have been released this year and Mori would still stay Rings was better. GIVE ME A BREAK! I can name at least 5 movies from last year that were better than Rings. Rings was one of the best movies of last year no doubt (although thats not saying much), but THE BEST?? NO! IMO Memento still holds that honor.
Jan. 22, 2002, 12:52 a.m. CST
McWenny can come of as alternating between being a thoughtful and introspective writter on one hand, and being a complete jerk on the other (sometimes in the same paragraph) but he's always and interesting person to read. Though the only REAL objection I had to that list was Final Fantasy...dangit, I got that DVD for Christmas and I get a kick out of it every time I watch it. great looking stuff.
Jan. 22, 2002, 1:04 a.m. CST
I pretty much agree that it was a bad film. I thought the plot was basically average, though not without flaws, with the "hunt for the spirits"(read:"hunt for the crystals") element. I've read opinons that there simply wasn't enough movie-time to tell the story properly, which may be the case. The basic elements for a good story are there, but it never really comes together. But, the part that I thought really sucked was the characters. A boring and clinched group if there ever was one. And in the end, I can't really care about the story much if I don't care about the characters going thourgh it. I think most of the games had better storylines and characters. Probably because the games usually are 20-30 hours long minium, and with the movies hour and a half in comparsion... Anyway, my personal opinon remains that orginal movies are almost always better, and that video game makers should stick to making video games. Planet of the apes did suck pretty bad, though I don't quite see how final fantasy being better than that dreck is a achievement. If there was ever a movie that truly had no reason to be made, it would the POA remake.
Jan. 22, 2002, 3:13 a.m. CST
by Major Reisman
There's usually no real reason to respond to any particular critics "lists" - everyone is entitled to their opinions, HOWEVER... The section on Tomb Raider (which I agree is a piece of drivel/shit not worthy to even live on the same plane of existance as the rest of us) Moriarty rails against Simon West. Two points here. POINT THE FIRST: Simon ain't the only problem with Tomb Raider - it's an "adaptation" of a VIDEO GAME about a chick with big hooters. What were you expecting? And that's not a hypothetical question, as you stated that your hopes for the movie were high pre-release. Seriously, man, what the hell were you expecting? I like big hooters and Angelina Jolie and action as much as the next guy, but dear lord in heaven was there really ANY WAY that movie was gonna turn out well? As for Simon West, I thought Con Air was good dumb fun and The General's Daughter pretty underrated - good script, GREAT performance by James Woods, un-annoying Travolta (which is a rarity) and the balls to show a gang rape in the middle of a military exercise that was a very powerful scene. But to call for Simon West's death because he, in your opinion, fucked up a great movie like Tomb Raider? That's like criticizing the director of Super Mario Broithers because HIS movie didn't work out. And POINT THE SECOND: I'm not gonna jump all over you because you're a struggling screenwriter who took the MK3 gig - you gotta start somewhere and I respect that. But you can't tell me, in your heart of hearts, that if Simon West suddenly wanted to direct your next script, you wouldn't flip out with glee. You would. And THAT to me is hypocritical.
Jan. 22, 2002, 4:12 a.m. CST
OK you LOTR haters settle down take a valium and look at results, the film looks set to make over 300mil US comfortably which is a staggering figure in anyones reckoning (it would be in the top 10 alltime) obviously that means that a significant number of people like it not just some random geeks. I understand if you dont like the genre, length etc but at least admit its a success and let it go. As for the Best films of the year my top 10 would be LOTR, BlackHawk Down, Moulin Rouge, Beautiful Mind, The Others, The Dish, Chopper, Monsters Inc, Shrek and Kiss of the Dragon (heh I love mindlessly violent Martial Arts films). As for the biggest wastes of time AI (so much talent so much tedium), POTA (awful on so many levels including some very ordinary make-up as well as some great work), Vanilla Sky (if I see Cruise play a self centred pretty boy getting a lesson in life one more time I'm going to be violently ill), Gosford Park (zzzzzzzzzzz .... this brought dull to a new level of tediousness, at least AI was pretty occasionally), In the Bedroom (look at me act ... look ... look ... um yes guys it would help if it was a story worthy of a Hallmark channel teledrama), Jurassic Park 3 (boys and girls remember if you ever get given 100 million to make a film 2 important rules 1) spend money on a script it really does help to have one 2) never cast Tea Leoni or David Duchovny) Evolution (rule 3: dont use the script from one of your old films and replace Harold Ramis with Julianne Moore people WILL notice), Hannibal (never replace Jodie Foster with ... well anyone really ... it just doesn't work), The Man who bored me silly (the Coen brothers just keep getting given money to make these things ... someone stop doing that ... PLEASE) and lastly Duets which was so bad it will remains on my worst films of the year for many years to come.
Jan. 22, 2002, 4:21 a.m. CST
So Burton made a film that was just a regular blockbuster. Does he really deserve to be crucified for that? It may have been his least personal work, but it still managed to be a visually stunning ride. And Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter both gave terrific performances. Plus the ending, which everyone seems to miss the point of, was a hillarious and bizarre twist that no one but Burton could dream up. I can't believe someone who defended Batman Returns could have so few positive things to say about POTA. I guess you were right - Fellowship of the Rings did spoil you on other movies. All I can suggest is that you watch POTA again on DVD. It'll never be a great film, but if you accept it as what it as - both a homage to, and semi-spoof of, the original (much like Mars Attacks was for 50s sci-fi) - you might enjoy it a little more. The studio may not have let Burton do a true "re-imaginiing", but he did the best with what he was given. Peace.
Jan. 22, 2002, 5:03 a.m. CST
by Mad Dog
All you 'Fellowship of the Ring' hating, dead to the art of cinema, no soul mother fuckers can chew my arse! Anyone who see's that film and compares it to the other shite that swished through the year 2001 and can not see the huge undertaking, of expertly crafted concept, design, and realisation plus the ensemble acting which contributed to the epic film introduction and the quite astonishing scenery plus the wonderfully crafted musical score and the magical realisation of special effects and not realise the contribution to cinema that Peter Jackson gave us after years of hard work where other less commited and artisticly underachieving directors may have skimped and given us the usual crap is astonishing. Lucky for those sane amongst us that love what Mr Jackson has achieved, the film has done extremely well financially in the states and internationally and therefore the following parts will not be hindered on their arrival soon so you cheesemakers can moan about the next films when they splash all over your nice little tuto wearing pansy ass in the near future. cocksmokers. Anyway, Moriarty, very nice list of course I can't agree with everything, and why should I but you're comments have made me want to search out the two documentaries you mentioned plus that messed up manga short you (tried) to explain, sounds interesting. Also for anyone hitting on Moriarty, give the guy a break, didn't that Cameron bloke start out on some piece of shit to do with Piranhas? Not that I really am a big Cameron fan, for all I care he can take that huge piece of shit Titanic and stick it up his huge ass! Although Abyss and Aliens of course were fine and dandy. Yeah, so LOTR's number 1 and honorable mention to Amelie, Moulin rouge, shaolin soccer, monsters Inc and Memento.
Jan. 22, 2002, 8:03 a.m. CST
It seems to be a recurring theme that anyone who enjoyed the FOtR is some how juvenile, and lacking in adult tastes. This is (of course) an unfair generalization. The books are actually so multi-leveled that they can be truly engaging at any age, and the film has captured that to a smaller degree. Of course no film would ever be able to interweave the multitude of themes that the books do, but PJ did a good job. When it comes to who enjoyed it and who didn't however, it is impossible to pigeon-hole the fans, or the non fans for that matter. It is all down to a matter of opinion, and no one opinion is right. If you are going for a consensus opinion, then obviously the box office shows that an overwhelming majority enjoyed the film. Calling it over-rated, or saying that it just isn't a good film in such declarative ways doesn't prove your case; we are talking about matters of opinion. For YOU it was over-rated, and for YOU it may not have been a good film, but to lump all the people who did enjoy it into group you view as immature juvenile fan-boys is unfair. Just for the record, outside of Tolkien my favorite authors are W.S. Burroughs, Burgess, Buckowski, Vonnegut, Robbins etc. Those aren't exactly teeny bopper fare, so please get off the high horse and just agree to disagree.
Jan. 22, 2002, 8:30 a.m. CST
Here's something I DO NOT understand. People that post bitching about the fact that other people liked FOTR so much that it makes them hate it. Why don't you just wear a big sign round your neck that says, "I have no formed opinions and a WEAK MIND"? I don't get bent out of shape when a movie that everyone else loves (like "The Man Who Wasn't There" or "Blue Velvet") doesn't blow all my whistles and bells. That's not how it works. I'm sorry, but if you are mad that people who run this site and a lot of people that post on these fora liked a movie better than you did, and furthermore, this is a cause for you saying "Whoa, actually I liked the movie but didn't think it was *that* good, but now everybody says it was fantastic so now I hate it," then I dub you a trifling bitch with an unformed intellect. If you hated the fucking movie, say so. If you liked it but thought it wasn't all that, say so. But don't give me that "Everyone likes it so much that they are MAKING ME HATE IT!" shit. And people say that Harry and Moriarty sound about twelve years old. Jesus. Oh, and stick this in your fucking pipes - Evolution sucked! It was a laugh free zone unless you find colons hilarious! And Hannibal rocked! I don't care if the world and his wife hated it. I loved it! It had atmosphere coming out of its ass, and I'm a sucker for that whole lovelorn monster thing. So, bring on the love! I know it's out there!
Jan. 22, 2002, 12:27 p.m. CST
by Hoke Mosley
The brazilian movie, based on Raduan Nassar
Jan. 22, 2002, 7:22 p.m. CST
I don't agree with everything on here, and I haven't seen all of them, but overall I was nodding more than anything else. Although I would have put A.I. as my number one film of the year until FotR came and blew me away. But I freely admit that that puts me in a tiny minority, probably a minority of one. Good work, thanks for the overview.
Jan. 22, 2002, 8:21 p.m. CST
They suck beyond belief. Tomb raider, MY GOD!!, the worst movie ihave ever seen, and don't think jolies jubblies can save this one. FF the best scene was when the one dimensional marines died. 1. it has nothing to do with the games. 2.The reason people should make a fully computer generated film is because the characters and scenes are so outrageous that there is no way in hell that it can be filmed with live people, FF:TSW could have. Moriarty your list blows, granted it's your opinion so this is my opinion and whoever says i'm wrong can shove it where the sun don't shine. Good Films- JP3, Planet of the apes, Swordfish(Hugh Jackman is God), Pearl Harbor (individual scenes are better than the whole, but you have to watch the entire thing to get the most out of those scenes, and you can't say the bombing isn't awesome). Best film I HAVE SEEN last year LOTR without a doubt, BUT it is a little slow, yet rushed somehow, and could you please stop blowing smoke rings up it's arse, it isn't the second coming, PJ isn't GOD, it is the best film in many critics eyes in a bad year of film.
Jan. 22, 2002, 8:37 p.m. CST
Step 1. Take all the "It cant be that good" attitude and shove it up your ass. Step 2. Watch the movie once Step 3. Once you realize the movie dosen't have all the shit you've come to classify as Great in your mind (such as a trick ending)or shitty overdrawn fake ass thin drama (A Beautiful Mind, In the Bedroom), realize it's deeper than you can ever notice by watching it once with the head full of shit you've got, grow some balls and watch it again. Step 4. Enjoy the best and deepest movie in years to all its potential. Step 5. Take a deep breath, you've finally got your head out of your ass.
Jan. 22, 2002, 9:10 p.m. CST
1) Think that anything involving elves, hobbits, and other fairy crap is "deep". 2) Have no life. 3) See the movie repeatedly because you have no life. 4) Return to your parents basement and whack off to thoughts of elves, hobbits, and other fairy crap. 5) Repeat. You know, I would be content to let people enjoy Lord of the Rings for what it is - a mid-level fantasy film that is better than, say, Legend. But because LOTR fans are so thin skinned and so lacking in any perspective and so dumbed-down in their apprecitation of movies that I just have to say what an overhyped, overrated movie it is. Yeah, it's made some money but so did The Mummy Returns.
Jan. 22, 2002, 9:21 p.m. CST
Seriously. And original, too. So people who like fantasy are all losers living in their parents' basements masturbating... Did you come up with that yourself? Really, really good stuff.
Jan. 22, 2002, 9:40 p.m. CST
Sorry, Guru, but I've seen the movie twice now, and I can honestly say I didn't like it. And yes, I think "A Beautiful Mind" is a much better movie than FOTR. I'm not going to go into the reasons why I didn't like FOTR, because I've posted them on other LOTR TB's. But, despite what you may think, just because someone didn't enjoy FOTR, doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them. I know a lot of people who didn't like the movie. The difference is, they aren't people who visit sites like this, or post their opinions on IMDB. Sure, the consensus on sites like AICN and IMDB is that FOTR is the Second Coming. But a lot of "mainstream" viewers who aren't hardcore geeks were severely disappointed in FOTR. Face the fact that not everyone has a massive hard-on for FOTR.
Jan. 22, 2002, 10:35 p.m. CST
And some sterotypes exist for a reason. A friend told me about a kid at an opening night showing of LOTR that was making nametags for audience members in "elfish". I'd say that's the LOTR crowd in a nutshell.
Jan. 23, 2002, 3:47 a.m. CST
One of the best comedies of the year 2001. Although I'm surprised people didn't mention Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, which also made me laugh my ass off. I'd rather see that again than Moulin Rouge or Memento (although that's unfair, Memento automatically loses a bit of edge after you've seen it once.)
Jan. 23, 2002, 8:36 a.m. CST
I'd say that you and others on this talk-back are over zealous in your need to attack this particular film. The exit polls are in direct opposition to the claims buth you and Mike have made. You didn't like it, fine. However, you hardly add weight to your argument by generalizing the entire fan base in such an erroneous way. I hate to break it to you, but LOtR spawned the fantasy genre, and is not really part of it. What that means is that its fanbase is spread out over a much wider demographic. I for one detest Fantasy in almost all its forms; Tolkien was first and foremost a forger of a new mythology, and the book is a scholarly one. Many colleges have Tolkien only lit classes available, so once again your marginalising of the fans is, to say the least, unfair. I can understand to a degree the backlash against this movie, but making false claims about what type of person could enjoy this film is ludicrous. There is no way it would be nominated for the awards it has been if it had no artistic merit. As far as ABM goes: A sanitized biography with a standard warm fuzzy ending is hardly good cinema. Ron Howard loses his vision 2/3rds of the way through the film, and for that the film deserves very little of its current accolades. Only giving half the story in a supposedly "true account" in order to elicit a response is cinematic manipulation of the lowest form. And by the way, I for one think Altman deserved his GG, and that from a FOtR fan.
Jan. 23, 2002, 8:06 p.m. CST
by Skyway Moaters
... Six String Samurai is pretty cool Mor'ty old pal, and the guy is actually getting someone to finance his films or is being offered directing jobs by SOMEONE, unlike the frustrated tortured rest of us; he must have SOMETHING going for him...
Jan. 23, 2002, 8:11 p.m. CST
by Skyway Moaters
... they've got enough film in the can, not couting the re-shoots we are bound to see over the next couple of years, for a 14 16 18 or even 20+ hour version if they put their minds to it and there's a market
Jan. 23, 2002, 9:35 p.m. CST
And I thought I was OVER my illness, but apparently... Even with the pathetically paltry number of these movies that I've actually SEEN, I can't help but agree with Moriarty. It dawned on me just how much when I read the part about "Planet of the Apes." I'll admit, I enjoyed it the first time at the theater, but ONLY because it was Tim Burton's movie. I wonder why I wasn't as critical as I was the first time I saw "Sleepy Hollow," but on repeat viewing... Yeah, Moriarty's pretty much hit the nail on the ape's head. I've been very disappointed in Burton the last few years. He has so much potential that he's not living up to. "Edward Scissorhands" was... well, it was the "magic" Moriarty talked about - for me, at least, and that's the only thing that matters. "Ed Wood" was one of the best damned biopics I've seen, even if the subject DIDN'T deserve it and it WASN'T 100% accurate. I got a better and possibly more realistic sense of who the main character was in "Ed Wood" from the exaggeration in that film than I got from the bitterly understated "Ali." Not that the subjects are remotely similar, but I speak in the rhealm of biopics here in general. Anyway...
June 3, 2008, 10:14 p.m. CST
Moriarty, your wrong Series 7: The Contenders was amazing. And 15 Minutes was not half bad. But Series 7 rules.
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