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Arts & Culture/Reel Dealz
Date Posted:1/20/04

Year in Review: 2003
by:Edwardo Jackson

I know I got started late reviewing last year, but you know a brotha was watching movies the entire time. So here's THE REEL DEAL on 2003. Just keep in mind that these reflect the movies I have SEEN and not all movies out there:

10. Pirates of the Caribbean - Yeah, I said it. An unabashed good time with a startlingly funny Johnny Depp. Go ahead, hate away. "Bring It On!" ;-)
9. Tupac Resurrection - Arrestingly compelling from beyond the grave. I dare you to look away.
8. Something's Gotta Give - With two older stars, the very definition of romantic comedy.
7. School of Rock - I HATE rock and roll, and this movie left me singing its songs. Finally a vehicle that makes best use of Jack Black.
6. The Last Samurai - Beautifully executed with a great performance by Ken Watanabe.
5. Cold Mountain - Another beautifully executed, wonderfully acted period piece and ode to the strength of love.
4. Shattered Glass - Woefully underseen, but Oscar-worthy performances by Hayden Christensen and Peter Sarsgaard.
3. 21 Grams - Controversial, stunning. A complete and utter film, in the classic sense.
2. Dirty Pretty Things - One of the most complex, gritty, involving films of the year. A stunning coming out party for my new hero, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
1. Finding Nemo - Who woulda thunk it? The same reviewer that hates kiddie flicks gets swept away by the ultimate family film. Witty, hilarious, brilliant.

Honorable Mentions: Monster (too dark), Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (too long), Lost in Translation (too hyped), Bend It Like Beckham (too earnest), Runaway Jury (too underrated), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (wayyy too bloody)

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCES - MALE (because there are no best actors any one year, just better performances)
5. Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean - Loopy and inspired.
4. Jack Black, School of Rock - To him, "I raise my goblet of Rock!"
3. Hayden Christensen, Shattered Glass - Totally slept on.
2. Bill Murray, Lost in Translation - The best role of his great career.
1. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dirty Pretty Things - Could be the British Denzel.

Honorable Mentions: Sean Penn, 21 Grams; Jack Nicholson, Something's Gotta Give; Russell Crowe, Master and Commander; Jude Law, Cold Mountain; Will Ferrell, Elf; Nicolas Cage, Matchstick Men

5. Parminder Nagra, Bend It Like Beckham - Easy on the eyes with talent to boot.
4. Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation - Murray's perfect counterpoint.
3. Ellen DeGeneres, Finding Nemo - Sure it's just her voice, but still hilarious.
2. Naomi Watts, 21 Grams - The emotional focus of this gritty, tough drama.
1. Charlize Theron, Monster - Simply disappears. An amazing transformation.

Honorable Mentions: Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give; Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain; Audrey Tautou, Dirty Pretty Things

5. Peter Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass - Controlled, justified anger.
4. Sean Astin, Lord of the Rings - The true hero of the trilogy.
3. Benicio del Toro, 21 Grams - Basically the third great lead in that film.
2. Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai - Worth the price of admission alone.
1. Alec Baldwin, The Cooler - Has found a second career as second banana.

Honorable Mentions: Bill Nighy, Love Actually; Hugh Grant, Love Actually; Paul Bettany, Master & Commander; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cold Mountain, Djimon Hounsou, In America

5. Emma Thompson, Love Actually - Heartbreakingly strong.
4. Maria Bello, The Cooler - Comes from outta nowhere.
3. Christina Ricci, Monster - Gloriously needy and abusive.
2. Sarah Bolger, In America - The glue that held that family together.
1. Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain - The easy/clear choice.

Honorable Mentions: Keira Knightley, Bend It Like Beckham; Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog; Martine McCutcheon, Love Actually

BEST SCREENPLAYS (adapted, original or otherwise)
5. Nancy Meyers, Something's Gotta Give - Defines the rom-com.
4. Andrew Stanton, et. al., Finding Nemo - Witty and touching family fare.
3. Sophia Coppola, Lost in Translation - Brilliant dialogue.
2. Richard Curtis, Love Actually - How does he keep all those stories in the air?
1. Steven Knight, Dirty Pretty Things - Amazingly human, in all facets.

Honorable Mentions: John Logan, et. al., The Last Samurai; Anthony Minghella, Cold Mountain; Guillermo Arriaga, 21 Grams; Peter Weir, Master & Commander

BEST MUSICAL SCORES (because I care about these things)
5. Howard Shore, Lord of the Rings - Creepy and adventurous.
4. Gustavo Santaolalla, 21 Grams - Spare and tense. Perfect.
3. Don Davis, The Matrix Reloaded - Techno pulse pounding fun.
2. Hans Zimmer, The Last Samurai - Sweeping, honorable, terrific.
1. Hans Zimmer, Pirates of the Caribbean - Stirring and heroic.

5. "You got me straight trippin', boo." - Bringing Down the House
4. "Life has to go on, Jack. With or without God." - 21 Grams
3. "For another thirty dollars, I'll throw this dress over my head." - Cold Mountain
2. "To wives and sweethearts - may they never meet!" - Master & Commander
1. "Don’t do drugs. Become a pop star and they give you them for free." - Love Actually

5. Edward Zwick, The Last Samurai
4. Anthony Minghella, Cold Mountain
3. Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation
2. Stephen Frears, Dirty Pretty Things
1. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 21 Grams

That's it for now. I'll be back later with more of my Year in Review 2003.

What do y'all think? Who did I miss? Holla at me with YOUR favorites of 2003!

Like what you read? Agree/disagree with The Reel Deal? Think he's talkin' out his...HUSH YO' MOUF! (I'm only talkin' about The Reel Deal!) Email him at ReelReviewz@aol.com!

Edwardo Jackson is the author of the novels EVER AFTER and NEVA HAFTA, (Villard/Random House), a writer for UrbanFilmPremiere.com, and an LA-based screenwriter. Visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com

© 2004, Edwardo Jackson


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