‘Best Pictures’ That Just Aren’t – The 2000’s

The Oscar StatueThe most prestigious award that any movie can receive is the “Academy Award For Best Motion Picture” — The Oscar.  Once a movie has this distinction it goes down in history as the “best” movie of that year.  The red carpet at the Oscars is a huge evening every year where all the stars turn out for the event.  The Academy goes through some sort of review process and determines which picture is truly “the best”.  Ol Chewie’s here to tell you that there are many times where they’re just DEAD WRONG.

2000 – Gladiator

Not sure that I can disagree with this one.  If you haven’t seen Gladiator yet you need to drop what you’re doing and get out there and RENT IT.  Russell Crowe plays the main character and Joaquin Phoenix plays the “bad guy” in this Ridley Scott flick.  Action galore, an amazing story and unbelievable scenery and direction.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “At my signal, unleash hell.”
  • “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

Honorable Mentions From The Year 2000:

  • Memento – I didn’t get how brilliant this movie was until I saw it a second time… incredible.
  • Cast Away – SUPER slow, but a great flick.  Tom Hanks at his best.
  • X-Men – I’m a comic book geek… always have been.  This was an incredible adaptation of the X-Men.

2001 – A Beautiful Mind

Not a bad flick by any stretch and proof positive that Russell Crowe pretty much dominated the box office in the early 2000’s.  Ed Harris plays a great roll in this one and Jennifer Connelly is at her best.  That said, there are definitely a couple that are MUCH better in my humble opinion.

Better Than “The Best” In 2001:

  • Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring – the first of a trilogy and a sci-fi/fantasy movie which NEVER win best picture (until Return Of The King that is).  Amazing beginning to this trilogy.  Probably the best ever adaptation of a novel.
  • Shrek – Also in the “will never win” category as an animated movie.  That said, Shrek is the movie that is still the standard when it comes to animation.  It was also one of the first movies to be watchable to an adult audience thanks to quite a few inside jokes purely for the older crew.
  • Moulin Rouge! finally, a reason for straight guys to watch a musical.

2002 – Chicago

Are we kidding here?  A musical with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger & Richard Gere dancing around… and THIS is the best we’ve got for 2002?  Give me a break…

Better Than “The Best” In 2002:

  • Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers – my least favorite of the Rings trilogy and if you hadn’t read the books you wouldn’t know what the hell was going on, but it beats the crap out of dancing Richard Gere.
  • Spider-Man – an incredible vision of the webslinger.  I don’t care what people say, Tobey Maguire was perfect for this roll and I thought he did an incredible job.
  • Star Wars Episode II – Attack Of The Clones – I always have been and always will be a Star Wars geek at heart.  The original trilogy (with the exception of Revenge Of The Sith) should probably have never been made, but this was still TONS better than Chicago.
  • Red Dragon – the prequel to the incredible Silence Of The Lambs.  Learn about Hannibal Lecter, how he got captured and a great villain played by Ralph Fiennes.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding – this indy film was a smash for good reason.  If you’re not married you’ll laugh.  If you are married you’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry.

2003 – The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King

As I’m sure you could have guessed from some of my earlier comments, I’ve got no issue with this one.  Peter Jackson deserves this win as “Best Director” and I’m damn happy to say that the Academy got this one right.  I have a feeling that this was given as an overall show of approval to the Rings Trilogy rather than Kings but I’ve got no problem with that.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “For Frodo!
  • “There and Back Again: A Hobbit’s Tale by Bilbo Baggins, and The Lord of the Rings by Frodo Baggins. You finished it.

Honorable Mentions From The Year 2003:

  • X2: X-Men United – the action packed sequel to X-Men.  This is what X fans were waiting for… awesome.
  • Kill Bill: Volume 1 – Quentin Tarantino’s revenge story starring Uma Thurman.  If you haven’t seen it, you need to.
  • Seabiscuit – A story of a man and his horse.  I promise, it’s not as gay as it sounds.
  • Finding Nemo – Another movie that adults can watch with their kids all day long.

2004 – Million Dollar Baby

The first of three years in a row where I have NOT SEEN the eventual winner.  I’ve heard great things about it but have yet to see it…

Potentially Better Than “The Best” In 2004:

  • Spider-Man 2 – yep, I’m a comic book fan.  I thought the first Spider-Man movie was great… I though this one was better.  More action, better villain, etc.  See this movie.
  • Kill Bill: Volume 2 – quite frankly I view this as part of Kill Bill rather than a sequel to the first.  That’s the way Tarantino saw it as well.  This is an outstanding conclusion to this bloody thriller.
  • Miracle – it’s a Disney movie about a true story.  It’s a movie about hockey.  Despite all of these things it’s an incredible movie.
  • Sawa horror movie will never win an Oscar for best picture.  That said, this is one of the best I’ve seen in quite a few years.

2005 – Crash

Another of the “best” that I have yet to see… will have to reserve judgment until after I’ve viewed it.

Potentially Better Than “The Best” In 2005

  • Batman Begins – if you’re a fan of the Batman character at all you owe it to yourself to see this movie.  Not only is it the precursor to the unbelievable The Dark Knight but it tells the origin of Batman with a fresh slant on a great hero.
  • March Of The Penguins – this sounded like the most boring movie ever… Penguins walk through the cold, lay eggs, and walk back.  Reading this it sounds boring again.  All I can say is it’s not… rent it.
  • Star Wars Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith – the movie that I’d been waiting for since I was old enough to watch movies.  Star Wars defined a generation (or two, or three).  This is the last puzzle piece that fanboys across the galaxy were waiting for.
  • 40 Year Old Virgin – if you think Michael Scott is funny you need to watch this movie.  If you don’t know who Michael Scott is: A) you’re missing some of the best stuff on TV and B) you probably won’t like this flick.

2006 – The Departed

The last of the “I didn’t see them yet” list from the 2000’s.  I can only imagine that this was in fact the best flick of 2006.  Based on what I DID see it didn’t have to beat all that much.

Potentially Better Than “The Best” In 2006

  • Borat – everyone raved about it, but it was one of those “love it or hate it” pictures.  I had a couple of REALLY good laughs which is why I put it in this category, but I don’t think it was everything it was cracked up to be.
  • X-Men: The Last Standas I said, I’ve not seen The Departed so I can’t speak definitively as to how good it is.  I’ve seen this one and I can tell you that I HOPE The Departed was better than this.
  • The DaVinci Code – incredible book which actually made the movie that much worse.  If I hadn’t read the book this would have been a very good movie.  The fact that I knew how good the story SHOULD have been takes away from this one.

2007 – No Country For Old Men

This was an incredible movie… unfortunately the ending sucked donkey balls.  You can read my full review here.  I’m a big “movie ending” guy so this was ruined for me by what I consider to be a terrible ending.

Better Than “The Best” In 2007

  • TransformersThis is a Michael Bay movie through and through.  If you were a fan of the 80’s cartoon this might not be for you but it’s action from beginning to end, a great homage to the original series and a perfect lead-in to hopefully many sequels.
  • Michael Clayton – George Clooney was awesome in this movie… slow at times but REALLY get going about halfway through.  Well worth the rental if you haven’t seen it.
  • Juno – This was a great movie.  The only complaint that I had was the dialog of Juno.  No chance a girl that age has that attitude going through what she did.
  • Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix – this series just keeps getting better.  As the books go so do the movies.  I simply cannot wait to see how the last 2 books translate onto film… should be incredible.

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