2003 Top 10

The Year's Best Films

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
3. The Magdalene Sisters
4. Hulk
5. Cidade de Deus (City of God)
6. Mystic River
7. American Splendor
8. Lost in Translation
9. The Station Agent
10. The Fog of War

Runners-up: House of Sand and Fog, Thirteen, Raising Victor Vargas, Dirty Pretty Things, The Human Stain, 21 Grams, 28 Days Later, A Mighty Wind, Vendredi Soir (Friday Night), Finding Nemo.

The Year's Worst Films (There But For the Grace of God Go You), in chronological order: National Security, A Guy Thing, Biker Boyz, Boat Trip, Chasing Papi, From Justin to Kelly, Masked and Anonymous, Grind, Northfork, Gothika.

Overrated: Northfork, Pieces Of April, The Last Samurai.

Underrated/Overlooked: Hulk, The Human Stain, The Singing Detective, People I Know.

My "That's-a Some Spicy Meatball!" Award goes to In My Skin, which is probably--in its content and visuals--the most personally disturbing film I've ever seen, and with no exploitative intent.

Demented Double Features:

  • Love Actually/The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) (which, God help me, I actually watched back-to-back: talk about cleansing the palate)
  • Capturing the Friedmans/Stevie (care to ruin your life? sign here)
  • Kangaroo Jack/Seabiscuit (animal adventure!)
  • Masked and Anonymous/From Justin to Kelly (when music stars attack!)

    Tragedy Tuesday Marathons: (in honor of the Lord of the Rings "Trilogy Tuesday")

  • Mystic River/21 Grams/House of Sand and Fog (the original Tragedy Tuesday)
  • Japón/Gerry/Elephant (where am I?)
  • Daredevil/Gigli/Paycheck (Affleck, go home)
  • Cabin Fever/In My Skin/The Singing Detective/My Flesh and Blood (I've got you under my skin...)
  • The Lizzie McGuire Movie/What a Girl Wants/Chasing Liberty* (*2004, by a week) (Three remakes of Roman Holiday, and not a cent to Dalton Trumbo's estate)

    I must admit, it was a notable year for docs and, seemingly, a weak year for imports (with exceptions). As usual, a dumpy year for comedies, with only a precious few worth mentioning (sigh).