The MediaCircus Top 10 Films of 2000

Article by Anthony Leong © Copyright 2001


What a difference a year makes! Last year, at this time, I was agonizing over choosing the top ten films of 1999, probably one of the best years for high caliber productions. In contrast, 2000 was marked by a profound lack of quality films, particularly during the first half of the year. Fortunately, this situation improved in the latter-half of the year, providing a somewhat decent selection from which to choose the best and the brightest.

Though there were a number of close contenders, there was one film that was clearly in the forefront, and so the best film of the year is:

Finding Forrester

 

Backed by an absorbing script and potent performances (Sean Connery and newcomer Rob Brown), director Gus Van Sant has crafted a film about two individuals and their shared passion for the written word, a story that nourishes the head as well as the heart.

 

The remaining nine runners-up, listed in alphabetical order:

Almost Famous

 

The genius behind "Singles" and "Jerry Maguire" scores another coup with this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale of a teenage rock critic who goes on the road with fictitious rock band Stillwater. Humorous, touching, and inspirational, "Almost Famous" is almost perfect in its conception, intention, and execution-- probably director Cameron Crowe's best film yet.

Boiler Room

 

In this thrilling and insightful morality tale, first-time writer/director Ben Younger likens the trading of equity stocks to the selling of crack cocaine.

Cast Away

 

Tom Hanks delivers yet another Oscar-worthy performance as a time-starved FedEx employee who finds himself the sole survivor of a deserted isle. Despite a weak ending, "Cast Away" is a compelling and thought-provoking film that finds drama in the most mundane of tasks: gathering food, building a fire, and coping with spirit-breaking isolation.

The Contender

 

Filled with high-stakes drama and suspense, "The Contender" is a compelling journey into the ugly underside of American politics that should appeal to fans of "The West Wing". Joan Allen and Gary Oldman deliver engaging performances as two opponents with rival ideologies who slug it out with almost limitless resolve.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

 

Who would have thought that a Chinese martial arts film with dialogue completely in Mandarin would be one of the most eagerly anticipated box office releases of the 2000 holiday season? The good news is that this is a film that earns the praise and hype that has been bestowed upon it, with its fascinating combination of Jane Austen and the traditional wu shu epic.

Erin Brockovich

 

Julia Roberts has her best role and director Steven Soderbergh finds mainstream success in this uplifting drama based on a true story. With snappy dialogue, outstanding performances (including a memorable turn by Albert Finney), lively direction, and a riveting story, "Erin Brockovich" is a film that should be on every one's must-see list.

Gladiator

 

This is the kind of film that defines the term 'blockbuster'-- filled with spectacle and action, and telling a story of epic scope and humanity, "Gladiator" is an enthralling and totally immersing production that will probably be viewed as a classic in years to come. Are you not entertained?! Is this not why you are here?!

Nurse Betty

 

Renee Zellweger gives one of her best performances in years in "Nurse Betty", a fantastic, whimsical, absurd, funny, and truly heartwarming film about two hopeless romantics in pursuit of their dreams. A refreshing change of pace for director Neil LaBute ("In the Company of Men"), this film is infused with just the right amount of cynicism, such that the humor is black and the 'happy ending' is not only surprising, but also well earned.

Requiem for a Dream

 

Last, but not least, as the complete antithesis of the 'feel good movie', "Requiem for a Dream" is a bleak, uncompromising, yet thought-provoking exploration of the tragic toll of drug addiction, told in the distinctive visual style of sophomore director Darren Aronofsky. Substitute the words 'heroin', 'food', or 'diet pills' with 'career', 'beauty', 'wealth', or even 'love', and the universality of this cautionary tale is devastatingly clear.

The Rest of the Best

In addition to the top ten films listed above, these cinematic offerings are deserving of honorable mention:

The Cell, Charlie's Angels, Chicken Run, Girlfight, Keeping the Faith, The Patriot, Quills, Space Cowboys, Thirteen Days, and What Women Want.


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