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The Year in Film – 2002

More than anything, I’ll remember 2002 as a year of very diverse cinema. Looking over the site’s 294 theatrical releases we reviewed, we had far more memorable foreign films than in recent years, and even a documentary (Bowling for Columbine) is being talked about as a Best Picture candidate. From big-budget movies like Minority Report, Spider-Man, and Signs to arthouse oddities like The Hours and The Good Girl, there was a lot to like. Unfortunately, very little of it came out during the summer, a three-month stretch with next to nothing worth seeing. Instead, moviegoers had only to wait for the holiday season, when some of the film’s best movies all came out… on the same day. Alas, there were only so many of them we could see in the last week, and each of us has noted where we missed out.

So without further ado, here they are, filmcritic.com’s collected Top Ten lists (slightly abridged to save space) along with various other observations about the best year for movies since 1999. If God-awful trailers for films like The Core are any judge, 2002 is going to have to last us at least another 12 months… –Christopher Null, Editor in Chief, filmcritic.com


Christopher Null

1. Minority Report – Popcorn movie? You bet! But Minority Report actually offered brain food with its effects, becoming the most thought-provoking film of the year. Even the most devoted art house pictures of 2002 didn’t have much message in them. Think about it: Michael Moore never really found a point in his anti-gun documentary Bowling for Columbine, and if he can’t get his message across, who can? So I’m picking Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg’s dazzling look into the future (which in turn looks into the future), a strikingly realistic and exquisitely detailed labor of love. While the plot relies on one gimmick too many, its inspired soul makes up for any weakness. This is Spielberg’s best work since Schindler’s List and easily the most memorable film of 2002. (Also worth noting: Spielberg directed the real best film I saw this year, but it’s not eligible for the top ten: E.T.)

2. Far From Heaven

3. The Hours – If Julianne Moore doesn’t win Best Actress for Far From Heaven (which she should), she deserves it for her work here — that is, if the Academy can figure out if the three stars are leads or supporting actresses. Never mind Sean O’Connell’s middling review, he’s the kind of goofball that liked Chicago. To be sure, The Hours ain’t gonna play in Peoria (‘The Hours? How many hours?’), but I found my erudite self fascinated at its intertwined tales, each separated by 50 years yet hauntingly interconnected, despite the generation gaps. But more than anything, I credit The Hours for doing what I’d previously thought impossible: It actually made me interested in Virginia Woolf. Now that’s worth an Oscar.

4. Full Frontal – Critics were as divided as North and South Korea on Steven Soderbergh’s grand experiment, one of those staring-into-endless-mirrors tricks designed to make us wonder what’s the reality and what’s the movie? And of course, in the end, Soderbergh pokes fun at us for even trying to take up the challenge, because he smirkingly tells us that it’s all a movie — it’s always a movie. It’s funny that Soderbergh forgot this sense of humor when he made Solaris, his worst film since, geez, The Underneath in 1995.

5. Frailty – One of the most underrated films of the year; stonkingly good considering it was directed by an actor, Bill Paxton, who also turns in one of the year’s finest performances as a demon-obsessed father. Great ending, great production. Taught me a lot about parenting.

6. Catch Me If You Can

7. The Good Girl The only problem here is that Jennifer Aniston is a little too Hollywood to pull off a proper hick. Otherwise, she owns this movie (with more than a little help from a dazzling ensemble of supporting players) as an erstwhile ‘good girl’ just sleepwalking through her tragically humdrum life. Why not have an affair with a fellow Retail Rodeo checkout clerk? Why not agree to screw her husband’s best friend too when he figures them out? Aniston’s Justine never panics for one moment, just taking the curveballs in stride until sorta-kinda figuring it all out in the end. Woody Allen wishes he could still make tragicomedies like this.

8. Roger Dodger – Oh God, Campbell Scott is freakin’ hilarious as a wannabe ladies’ man taking his underage nephew out for a lesson on how to score with the fairer sex. Supporting players like Elizabeth Berkeley and Isabella Rossellini steal his thunder and the show by repeatedly putting Roger in his place, proving by the bittersweet end that those who claim to know the most about love typically know the least. We collectively weep for the future.

9. Interview with the Assassin – Here’s one you never even heard of. This shot-on-video mockumentary asks if the crazy guy across the street really was the second gunman on November 22, 1963, the day Kennedy was assassinated. Neil Burger’s fine independent film is as harrowing as any horror movie and will make you think twice about your crazy neighbors. A real guilty pleasure.

10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding – Everyone else is too embarrassed to put Wedding in their top ten because of its populist appeal. Can’t really blame ’em, but I have to admit I had a lot of fun watching this Windex-spritzing, Ouzo-drinking, whole-lamb-barbecuing family as they deal with their own quirks and insecurities. One of the funniest films of the year, even if it has become too popular for its own good.

Honorable Mention: Y Tu Mamá También, Read My Lips, Spider-Man, Panic Room, Adaptation, Road to Perdition, Morvern Callar, Signs

Worst of the Year: Star Trek: Nemesis, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, FearDotCom, Halloween: Resurrection, Antwone Fisher, XXX, The Banger Sisters, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Laramie Project, Crossroads, High Crimes, I could go on but I won’t.

Stuff I Missed: The Bourne Identity, The Kid Stays in the Picture, The Ring, Gangs of New York, About Schmidt

Overrated: Chicago, 24 Hour Party People, Scratch, We Were Soldiers, Auto Focus, The Cat’s Meow, Ice Age, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Monsoon Wedding, Bowling for Columbine, All or Nothing

Try as I might, could not bring myself to care: Late Marriage, Antwone Fisher, All or Nothing, Hart’s War, Amandla!, Frida, Monsoon Wedding

Least likely hobby ever incorporated into a movie: Riding the San Francisco bus line just for the people-watching, 40 Days and 40 Nights

Best untapped parody idea: My Big Fat Geek Wedding

Worst graduation speech, ever: The Banger Sisters

Best title design: Panic Room, Catch Me If You Can

Worst title design: Signs

Most dramatic blowing of her shot at stardom: Erika Christensen (2000: Traffic; 2002: Swimfan, The Banger Sisters)

Most willing to accept whatever crap is put on their plate: Star Trek fans


Jeremiah Kipp

1. Far From Heaven – The artificial world of studio sets, too-colorful gardens, and stylized words and gestures create a template for Todd Haynes’s Far From Heaven, inspired by the films of Douglas Sirk. The Technicolor excess actually provides a distancing device for viewers, seemingly viewing a movie from another place and time. Housewife Cathy (Julianne Moore), repressed gay husband Frank (Dennis Quaid), and black gardener Raymond (Dennis Haysbert) each represent easily pigeonholed types. Potentially a liberal guilt melodrama set in Leave it to Beaver suburbia, Haynes implicates each of the characters with their button pushing idealism, self-loathing, or hypocrisy — and he also sympathizes with their plight. They’re doing all that heaven allows in a conservative social climate, accentuated by the limitations of a dollhouse set design and phony blue skies. It’s a beautifully designed prison, and though they make the best of it the situation also makes them weep. With the continual flow of tears, Far From Heaven cracks through its self-contained shell and becomes one of the most emotionally direct films of the year. Told with a modern sensibility (the gay club scene would never appear in a Sirk film) and without condescension to the Sirkian technique or the characters, Far From Heaven is stripped free of irony and achieves pure feeling without shame.

2. Catch Me If You Can – How about that Steven Spielberg? He lands a provocative science fiction thriller about current dreads (Minority Report), re-releases his masterpiece E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and tells another story that, like E.T., is about divorce. This time, instead of being told from a child’s point-of-view, Spielberg relays the Peter Pan independence of a teenager (played by the charismatic, ever-soulful Leonardo DiCaprio). Staving off adult responsibility, this clever lad forges millions of dollars in bad checks and tries not to grow up — all the while play-dressing in grown-up affectations: doctor, lawyer, pilot, and federal agent. It’d be flippant if not for his familial ties to a father crushed by the American Dream (Christopher Walken) and a surrogate father who represents the bureaucracy he’s avoiding (Tom Hanks’ FBI agent). Consummately well directed by Steven Spielberg, whose eye for resonant visuals is unparalleled among his contemporaries, Catch Me If You Can seems lightweight and merely playful but aches with sentiment, emotion, and heart.

3. Trouble Every Day

4. Time Out – With our current economic climate in disarray, Time Out is the unnerving story of a bourgeois office manager, now jobless, who enjoys his free-fall of empty days while keeping up a steady lie with his family. Call it middle class pride, but Vincent (Aurelien Recoing) continues entering office buildings in his suit and tie, hanging on to his lifeline of a briefcase and spreadsheet folders. His desperate clinging to hollow values builds to a final scene where Vincent, sitting in an office, says the words, ‘But I am not afraid.’ It’s chilling: a man trying to believe the corporate lie.

5. Undisputed – Here are some rites of manhood that don’t simply dwell in macho fist-fighting. Walter Hill’s latest, and most politically aware, film has heavyweight champion Ving Rhames tossed into jail on charges of rape. His livin’ large persona is thwarted by obstacles he can’t simply use muscle to resolve, and while that courtroom drama ensues he seeks out respect on the prison yard. Threatened by this new predator is jailhouse champion Wesley Snipes, a quiet and introspective long term convict who can only define himself as champ within his prison world. As Undisputed marches toward their final match, the pride and desperation of these two male icons makes it more than a clash of the titans. It’s an ideological battleground.

6. Femme Fatale – From its voluptuous opening heist sequence at the Cannes Film Festival to its divine interventions at two climactic murder scenes, Brian De Palma embraces the art of motion pictures. His technique feels like a musical fugue or a silent film, providing direct access to the sensuality of movie-watching and movie-gazing. Each frame is something special. But he also does a nice critique on the mindlessness of film noir. As his characters sink deeper and deeper into their own self-involved bloodshed, De Palma allows for spiritual cleansing through profound use of religious iconography: a glowing neon cross, beams of light shining down from the sky
, and a woman plunged naked into the watery depths only to be reborn. Anyone who called it ‘incomprehensible’ has lost touch with what’s primal about watching movies.

7. Wendigo – Childhood nightmares bubble up in Larry Fessenden’s eerie horror film set in upstate New York. Erik Per Sullivan (the youngest brother from Malcolm in the Middle) plays an imaginative child whose parents might not be able to keep their relationship together. Over the course of a weekend, the boy witnesses strange forces of nature (strong winds, moving trees, gusts of snow) that may be the product of his fevered mind, or may be a creature called The Wendigo who ‘appears like a sudden storm from nowhere.’ A naturalistic family portrait set within the realm of the supernatural, Wendigo is thoughtfully written, perceptively acted, and contains genuinely scary scenes that don’t lose sight of our fear of the unknown.

8. Minority Report

9. Warm Water Under a Red Bridge – Too many movies adopt a callous or uncomfortable view of human sexuality, as though one of our most pleasurable human experiences were merely fodder for existential dread. Shohei Imamura, an old guard of international cinema who still makes movies like a young man with eyes wide open, shatters that myth with this fable about a young woman whose body erupts with tidal waves of water after sex, a fetish that her young paramour finds seductive and refreshing. The titular warm water keeps the town fresh and green, the pools swimming with fish. Imamura complicates the affair when the man grows used to her novelty, and they both have to address issues of commitment and human dignity. A surprisingly complex little comedy-drama that at first seems merely playful. Like Catch Me If You Can, it’s both playful and mindful, and indicates that those two qualities don’t need to be kept separate.

10. All or Nothing – Some may have felt concern that British filmmaker Mike Leigh was returning to the familiar, safe territory of family drama. It’s ground he’s covered before in Secrets & Lies, Life is Sweet, and countless other films from earlier in his career. All or Nothing is a return to the familiar as well as a return to form, heightened by the deep seated pain of a long-term married couple considering whether they still belong together. The repercussions of their dwindling love are felt among their children, and are given counterpoint by other families with familiar strifes. Leigh captures a multitude of small, ordinary moments that slowly build toward a catharsis and, maybe, false epiphanies. Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville have a lived-in, world weary earthiness and longing as the couple, and Leigh views them with tenderness and care.

Honorable Mention: 24 Hour Party People, Russian Ark, Gangs of New York, Spider, No Such Thing, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Back Against the Wall, The Truth About Charlie, Spirited Away, The Lady and the Duke, Adaptation, Dahmer

Haven’t Seen: The Hours, Chicago, Talk to Her, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Monsoon Wedding

Worst of the Year: Orange County, The Rules of Attraction, Rollerball, Storytelling, Y Tu Mamá También

Most Overrated: Y Tu Mamá También, The Piano Teacher, 8 Mile, Secretary, The Fast Runner

Mantra of the Year: ‘Well, goodbye. We obviously have nothing in common. I’m a genius. You’re all wankers. You’ll never see me again.’ — Andy Serkis in 24 Hour Party People

Alternative Mantra of the Year: ‘You don’t have to lick my ass. Just fuck me.’ — Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in Femme Fatale


Sean O’Connell

1. Gangs of New York – A bare-bones vengeance flick disguised as a sweeping period piece, Martin Scorsese’s triumphant Gangs never questions where it’s going, but delights us with spectacular visual flair on its way. The threat of violence – personified by a wickedly brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis – enhances the vision and keeps us on our toes. Scorsese reportedly spent 25 years crafting Gangs in his mind. His passion and conviction for the city he adores shows up on screen.

2. Punch-Drunk Love

3. Chicago – I’m a sucker for a good musical, but you’d have to be a corpse not to stomp your feet to the infectious energies of Chicago. The rock solid ensemble of Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere razzle-dazzles us with all that jazz. The most pure, unadulterated fun I had at the movies this year.

4. Sunshine State – John Sayles digs deeps into the heart of soulless Florida, and unearths a treasure of a performance from the wonderful Edie Falco. The rest of his stellar cast ain’t half bad, either.

5. The Quiet American – As good as Falco is in State, Michael Caine is better in The Quiet American. Romance, political intrigue and the dawn of U.S. involvement in Vietnam keep us riveted – even with Brendan Fraser (Monkeybone) as Caine’s foil.

6. Frida – Like a Frida Kahlo painting, Julie Taymor’s picture swirls infidelity, passion, and pain into a vibrant work of art. Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina are ideally cast as feuding lovers who worship their talents over their union. Taymor is given a giant canvas – the movie screen – and she never runs out of original ways to fill it.

7. The Pianist – You don’t enjoy Holocaust movies, you appreciate them, and there’s plenty to appreciate in Roman Polanski’s emotional film. Start with his searingly hollow and draining cinematography. Add his unflinching accounts of senseless violence perpetrated against the Jewish people. And end with an award-worthy performance fro
m the gaunt Adrien Brody, which anchors all of the sadness.

8. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys – Screw the improbable Y Tu Mamá También, where Mexican teens simultaneously bed a gorgeous hottie. When I look back on my formative years, it looked a hell of a lot more like Altar Boys than I care to admit. Jena Malone even looks like an old girlfriend. [Riiiiiiiiiight. -Ed.] Of course my youth had more of an emphasis on Todd McFarlane’s superhero animation part, and less on the getting devoured by a lion part.

9. Road to Perdition – Another film dealing with unconditional love, this time expressed by a concerned gangster father (Tom Hanks) who’ll do anything to protect his oldest son (Tyler Hoechlin). In a cast bursting with A-list talent, highlighted by Jude Law and Paul Newman at the tops of their games, the real star is Conrad Hall’s gorgeous cinematography, which smoothly converts a graphic novel into a film.

10. The Kid Stays in the Picture

Honorable Mention (alphabetically): Antwone Fisher, Bloody Sunday, Bowling For Columbine, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Count of Monte Cristo, Far From Heaven, Minority Report, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Secretary, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, The Ring, Treasure Planet

The Five Worst (in order): The Rules of Attraction, A Walk to Remember, The Sweetest Thing, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Serving Sara

Wish I’d Seen: Unfaithful, Undisputed, Undercover Brother, Dogtown and Z-Boys, About a Boy, Max, 24 Hour Party People, Igby Goes Down, Heaven, Welcome to Collinwood

Highly Overrated: Adaptation, Monsoon Wedding, Y Tu Mamá También

Biggest Disappointment: Spider-Man

Best performances in a movie I never want to see again: Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader, Secretary

Too Bizarre to Explain: The Country Bears

Enough, already: Jason X, Halloween: Resurrection, Die Another Day, Friday After Next


Norm Schrager

1. Y Tu Mamá También – The risqué film that caused mayhem in Mexico – kids prevented from entering theaters threatened to get naked – is the best U.S. release of 2002. Alfonso Cuarón‘s sexuality-drenched road trip has a buoyant combination of ferocious honesty and teenage boy fantasy. Brought to colorful life by courageous performances (most notably, that of Maribel Verdú) and a telling record of the Mexican landscape, Cuarón’s masterpiece conveys just what it means to enter manhood when it’s least expected.

2. Punch-Drunk Love – The passion for filmmaking that Paul Thomas Anderson so deftly displayed in Magnolia and Boogie Nights (possibly the greatest film of the ’90s) bursts through again in this oddball love story. Anderson provides a slew of surprises, as Adam Sandler trades in his screen silliness for a sad, explosive lost soul who’ll do just about anything for love. As usual, Emily Watson is stunning in more ways than one.

3. Adaptation – Charlie Kaufman’s screenplays range from ingenious to genius and this pseudo-adaptation of The Orchid Thief is the perfect reflection of his incredible creativity. Ably directed by Spike Jonze, this multi-layered literary adventure offers remarkably enjoyable film school conceit and a jaw-dropping Nicolas Cage, playing a dual role that easily makes you forget Gone in Sixty Seconds
4. Monsoon Wedding

5. Lovely & Amazing – Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn and Emily Mortimer deliver knockout performances in Nicole Holofcener’s tale of a dysfunctional clan of self-loathing females. Holofcener examines girls and women with a graceful, fine-tuned dialogue and a complete lack of heavy-handedness.

6. Bowling for Columbine

7. Minority Report

8. Son of the Bride – This Argentine drama starts with all the makings of a mushy melodrama…and becomes one of the most touching and satisfying films of the year. A workaholic suffering from a dose of midlife crisis deals with his mother’s Alzheimer’s and the wishes of his aging father.

9. Blue Crush – Anyone expecting a dopey, chick-ogling surf movie will be sorely surprised. Director John Stockwell lets his young female actors have a ball, creating an infectiously giddy film that has a sweet, charming innocence.

10. Talk to Her

Honorable Mention: Catch Me If You Can, The Good Girl, 13 Conversations About One Thing, Welcome to Collinwood, The Mothman Prophecies

Teenage actor most worth envying: Jake Gyllenhaal, who seduced Jennifer Aniston (The Good Girl), Catherine Keener (Lovely and Amazing), and Ellen Pompeo (Moonlight Mile) onscreen in the same year.

Oddest pair of credits: Susan Orlean, credited for the original basis of two screenplays: Adaptat
ion
(The Orchid Thief) and Blue Crush (‘The Maui Surfer Girls’)

The ‘Aren’t I Smart?’ Award: Burr Steers, whose grandly overrated Igby Goes Down is just chock-full of smarmy, pseudo-intellectual, ennui-laden dialogue.

Best use of an earthworm to initiate office S&M: Secretary

This movie’s pretty good, but my ass hurts: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers


Rachel Gordon

1. Far From Heaven

2. Talk to Her Talk to Her returns the illustrious Pedro Almodovar to the more moving, simple connections of two men learning about themselves as they bond over the inert bodies of women.

3. Spirited Away Hayao Miyazaki also pleasantly regresses from the operatic Princess Mononoke to bring us Spirited Away, a thoughtful fable that all generations can appreciate despite the usual insistence that animation is just for kids.

4. Catch Me If You Can

5. 24 Hour Party People – This was a fantastic splash that intelligently manipulates image and point of view of an era, and the people behind it. It’ll be interesting to see where the chameleon-like vision of Michael Winterbottom is directed next.

6. Ararat – His latest proves that Atom Egoyan can manage evolving several ideas through a mixed ensemble instead of the simple human interest dramas he’s done so well with in the past.

7. The Truth About Charlie – Perhaps the most under-appreciated action-packed romantic comedy of the year, though boxing it in genre terms doesn’t do it justice. Despite critical insistence of not meeting the expectations of Charade, Charlie is a flavorful homage to Paris, instantaneous love, and the thrill of being a secret agent that we all dream about.

8. Trouble Every Day – An amazing horror tale which makes one thankful for the French, as it would never have been made in the United States. That Clare Denis can work her way through varying genres is also worthy of recognition.

9. Gangs of New York

10. The Kid Stays in the Picture

Runners up: Femme Fatale, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Igby Goes Down, Minority Report, Roger Dodger, El Bola, Secretary, Adaptation, Bowling For Columbine, Wendigo

Worst wastes of time this year: The Sum of All Fears, Punch-Drunk Love, Auto Focus, Real Women Have Curves, Nicholas Nickleby, 25th Hour


Pete Croatto

1. The Kid Stays in the Picture – Here’s the pitch: How do you turn an average autobiography from an almost obsolete producer (Robert Evans) into a brilliant piece of filmmaking? Cut out the crap, brilliantly weave together pictures and newspaper clips for emotional impact, and have the subject tell it in a voice aged with glory, long nights, and a lot of rough mornings. The result: not boffo box office, but a captivating tale of a Hollywood survivor in its most decadent of glory days. We got a deal?

2. Secretary – Since Pulp Fiction, so many movies have opted for cheap, extreme thrills and aloof cool instead of narrative thought. Here’s a movie that triumphs over its subject matter. In detailing the S&M/working relationship between a meek secretary (Maggie Gyllenhaal in a jaw-dropping performance) and her lawyer boss (James Spader), director Steven Shainberg uses the illicit activities as a springboard for how desperately both need each other to overcome their own personal problems.

3. Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore doesn’t have all the answers as to why America is gun obsessed, but his theories, his sarcastic investigative tactics, and his unabashed passion make this documentary hard to forget. My brother and I walked out of the theater in silence after watching this, not even moving until the last credit rolled.

4. Monsoon Wedding If there was any justice in the world, Mira Nair’s poetic, magical, and riveting tale of an arranged New Delhi wedding and its romantic and realistic consequences would have been the wedding movie of the year. It’s a wonderful movie and an insightful look at a culture that’s even more ignored than Nia Vardalos’ Greek crew of caricatures.

5. Far From Heaven

6. Gangs of New York

7. The Ring – It’s easy to scare someone. It’s harder to haunt someone. In another year of mostly lame scary movies (Below, another Halloween entry, a sequel to ), here’s the one that not only gets to you at the theater, but also when you pull the covers over your head at night.

8. About a Boy – Pulls off an amazing feat in showing without drippy sentiment how difficult it is for kids and adults to grow-up. The performances really pull everything together, especially Hugh Grant who puts away his stammering fop routine and comes out more endearing in the process.

9. Wet Hot American Summer – It’s the responsibility of movie reviewers to unearth buried treasures for readers. Technically a 2001 release, no one saw it theatrically then. Released on DVD in early 2002, let’s hope this smart, wonderfully loopy comedy becomes a quotable pop culture staple in dorm rooms and bars across America for years to come.

10. Late Marriage – A sobering comedy/drama about arranged marriages among Russian émigrés in Israel and how love rarely enters into the decision. Fans of TV shows like The Bachelor should watch this and then do some heavy thinking.

Honorable Mention: Swimming, Spider-Man, Tadpole, Catch Me if You Can, Super Troopers, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie

The Worst (in no particular order): They, 13th Child, Slackers, American Psycho 2: All American Girl, Longshot, The Last Kiss, New Best Friend, The New Guy, Halloween: Resurrection, The Mystic Masseur, everything after the opening scene in Austin Powers in Goldmember
Overrated: Y Tu Mamá También, Punch-Drunk Love, The Man From Elysian Fields, The Last Kiss, Read My Lips, Road to Perdition, Kissing Jessica Stein
Biggest disappointments: Moonlight Mile, Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones, Hollywood Ending, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Orange County

Best example of gratuitous T&A nearly saving a movie: Eliza Dushku trying on bikinis in the otherwise dreadful The New Guy

Best example of gratuitous T&A causing severe emotional and psychological damage: Mamie Van Doren topless in Slackers. Who, exactly, asked for this?

Best performance by a Gyllenhaal: Maggie in Secretary. In about two hours, she blooms from a mousy, troubled loner into an independent, sexually aware spirit. And amazingly, everything she does seems natural. Julianne Moore now officially has competition.

Worst performance by a Gyllenhaal: Jake in Moonlight Mile. Did he blink his eyes even once?

Daniel Day-Lewis Award for Best Villain: Dwight Yoakam (Panic Room), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), Guy Pearce (The Count of Monte Cristo)

Line of the year: ‘Who wants a mustache ride?’ (Super Troopers)

BONUS: 11 Top Tens — “clip ‘n’ save”

Christopher Null
1. Minority Report
2. Far From Heaven
3. The Hours
4. Full Frontal
5. Frailty
6. Catch Me If You Can
7. The Good Girl
8. Roger Dodger
9. Interview with the Assassin
10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Jeremiah Kipp
1. Far From Heaven
2. Catch Me If You Can
3. Trouble Every Day
4. Time Out
5. Undisputed
6. Femme Fatale
7. Wendigo
8. Minority Report
9. Warm Water Under a Red Bridge
10. All or Nothing
Sean O’Connell
1. Gangs of New York
2. Punch-Drunk Love
3. Chicago
4. Sunshine State
5. The Quiet American
6. Frida
7. The Pianist
8. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
9. Road to Perdition
10. The Kid Stays in the Picture
Norm Schrager
1. Y Tu Mamá También
2. Punch-Drunk Love
3. Adaptation
4. Monsoon Wedding
5. Lovely and Amazing
6. Bowling for Columbine
7. Minority Report
8. Son of the Bride
9. Blue Crush
10. Talk to Her
Rachel Gordon
1. Far From Heaven
2. Talk to Her
3. Spirited Away
4. Catch Me If You Can
5. 24 Hour Party People
6. Ararat
7. The True About Charlie
8. Trouble Every Day
9. Gangs of New York
10. The Kid Stays in the Picture
Pete Croatto
1. The Kid Stays in the Picture
2. Secretary
3. Bowling for Columbine
4. Monsoon Wedding
5. Far From Heaven
6. Gangs of New York
7. The Ring
8. About a Boy
9. Wet Hot American Summer
10. Late Marriage
Blake French
1. Moonlight Mile
2. Minority Report
3. The Emperor’s Club
4. About a Boy
5. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
6. Bowling for Columbine
7. Frailty
8. One Hour Photo
9. Antwone Fisher
10. Far From Heaven
Kevin Smokler
1. Sunshine State
2. Monsoon Wedding
3. Y Tu Mamá También
4. Far From Heaven
5. Bowling for Columbine
6. Frida
7. The Emperor’s Club
8. Minority Report
9. Standing in the Shadows of Motown
10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Matt Langdon
1. Talk to Her
2. Alias Betty
3. Y Tu Mamá También
4. War Photographer
5. Late Marriage
6. Sex and Lucia
7. Scratch
8. 13 Conversations About One Thing
9. The Fast Runner
10. Dogtown and Z-Boys
David Levine
1. The Grey Zone
2. Far From Heaven
3. Gangs of New York
4. Minority Report
5. Road to Perdition
6. Spirited Away
7. Read My Lips
8. Chicago
9. Antowne Fisher
10. Evelyn
filmcritic.com Reader’s Poll
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2. Spider-Man
3. Minority Report
4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
5. Signs
6. Insomnia
7. (tie) We Were Soldiers
7. (tie) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
9. (tie) Die Another Day
9. (tie) Frailty
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