Best Movies of 2001

10. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

In the Mood for Love

110 LISTS | 11 TOP SPOTS
Kar-Wai Wong | 98 mins | Drama/Romance
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung | Maggie Cheung | Ping Lam Siu | Tung Cho 'Joe' Cheung

“In the Mood for Love is Wong Kar-wai’s ravishing evocation of a unconsummated romantic relationship put through an emotional and cultural ringer, a retread of sorts through Happy Together territory, this time without the kinetic patchwork of jarring film stocks that have become Wong trademarks since Chungking Express. Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) move in next-door to each other in the same apartment building. He’s a journalist who dreams of publishing martial-arts novels. She’s a secretary at a shipping company. They choose to remain loyal to their spouses and through Wong’s glorious masterstrokes, they come to resemble butterflies caught in a rainbow-tinted industrial web. Wong’s use of the interior space is impeccable, recalling Max Ophüls’s obsession with background planes as prisons. Desire is fabulously displaced into the film’s mise-en-scène. Li-zhen must descend a staircase on her way to the local market. Mo-Wan frequently passes the woman on his way up the stairs. This constant ascension and descension looks like performance art but feels like sex.” – Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

9. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS

The Royal Tenenbaums

117 LISTS | 10 TOP SPOTS
Wes Anderson | 110 mins | Comedy/Drama
Gene Hackman | Gwyneth Paltrow | Anjelica Huston | Ben Stiller

“Gene Hackman sets out his funniest and most engaging comic performance as a patriarch, Royal Tenenbaum, whose once-brilliant children come together to bid farewell to the man who seems to have ruined lives of infinite promise. Ben Stiller spits out bile as the real estate and financial genius Chas, robbed by Royal. Gwyneth Paltrow sulks and smokes as the girl playwright Margot, rejected by her adoptive father. Luke Wilson tries to be sympathetic to the dying old man as the junior tennis champion Richie, who blew his fame and fortune in a last disastrous match. Anjelica Huston drips with cynicism but also shows sympathy as Royal’s ex-wife, Etheline. Anderson (“Rushmore”) is the inventive, affectionate director and co-writer, with Owen Wilson (Luke’s brother), who is also featured as an addicted author of books about an invented Old West. Also moving in and out of the castle-like Tenenbaum town house are Danny Glover as Etheline’s new suitor and Bill Murray as Margot’s frustrated psychiatrist husband. Anderson’s book-like comedy abounds in witty touches, and his characters resemble J. D. Salinger’s Glass family.” – Malcolm Johnson, Hartford Courant

8. MOULIN ROUGE!

Moulin Rouge

122 LISTS | 13 TOP SPOTS
Baz Luhrmann | 127 mins | Drama/Musical/Romance
Nicole Kidman | Ewan McGregor | John Leguizamo | Jim Broadbent

“The turn of the 20th century meets the turn of the 21st in director Baz Luhrmann’s dazzling, delirious musical, set in 1900 Paris. It boldly blends an operatic plot, a soundtrack chock-full of rock-era hits and a glorious-Technicolor atmosphere straight out of Hollywood’s all-singing, all-dancing heyday. No. 1 with a bullet on this year’s love-it-or-hate-it list, it’s definitely not for all tastes. But if, like mine, yours runs to dancing in the dark, singing in the rain and following the yellow brick road over the rainbow, “Moulin Rouge” delivers more sheer cinematic delight than anything in ages.” – Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal

7. IN THE BEDROOM

In the Bedroom

130 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
Todd Field | 130 mins | Crime/Drama
Tom Wilkinson | Sissy Spacek | Nick Stahl | Marisa Tomei

“In a year rich in somber domestic dramas, including the excellent Monsters Ball, Shipping News and A Beautiful Mind – none of which has opened in the Lehigh Valley this is the most wrenching. Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson are unforgettable as a New England couple trying to cope with the murder of their only child (Nick Stahl).” – Amy Longsdorf, The Morning Call

6. SHREK

Shrek

137 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson | 90 mins | Animation/Adventure/Comedy
Mike Myers | Eddie Murphy | Cameron Diaz | John Lithgow

“It’s the donkey, dummy. He’s a needy nuisance, a sweet-souled cynic, a brave coward, a bouncy optimist. In Eddie Murphy’s brilliant vocal characterization, he’s just the guy to lift Mike Myers’ eponymous ogre out of his slough of despondency and serve as long-eared Cupid in his romance with Cameron Diaz’s princess. The movie runs on his delightful spirit — and runs right past an adult’s expectations for animation. We usually hope not to get too restless as we indulge the kids in their cinematic treats. But this pretty, fractured fairy tale offers us real wit — including some nice, satirical hits on the Disney tradition — while still giving the wee ones plenty of broad, silly fun.” – Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine

5. AMELIE

Amelie

142 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
Jean-Pierre Jeunet | 122 mins | Comedy/Romance
Audrey Tautou | Mathieu Kassovitz | Rufus | Lorella Cravotta

“Launching the international acting career of Audrey Tautou and vaulting cult director Jean-Pierre Jeunet into A-list status, “Amelie” was the rare foreign film sensation that both packed theaters and pleased critics. Premiering in North America at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2001 and released in theaters just a few months later, the film harkened back to a more blissfully uninformed time that seemed lost forever in the smoke and fire of the next fall morning. The whimsical, sweet tooth of a story about a charmingly naive and innocent girl who quietly tries to help those around her and stumbles into love was the perfect dose of escapism the world needed. The fact that it’s an enchanting film, with a wondrous sense of comic timing, lovely set decoration and seared with earnest, unaffected hope and optimism, is why it continues to endure.” – indieWIRE

4. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring

147 LISTS | 16 TOP SPOTS
Peter Jackson | 178 mins | Action/Adventure/Drama
Elijah Wood | Ian McKellen | Orlando Bloom | Sean Bean

“Hollywood can put men on Mars and dinosaurs in theme parks. But for all the technical alchemy available today, the ability to convey mythological grandeur is a gift not granted to many; it takes wizards to make art, in a business where the majority of us are Muggles at worst, hobbits at best. And in such a kingdom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring rules. This is how a great movie can tell a great story – when all involved are confident enough (and talented enough, and blessed with enough gold in the corporate coffers) to embrace the classic literature on which it’s based as lifeblood, but not life support. Purists can rest assured that director Peter Jackson’s beautiful adaptation is devoted to the richness of narrative and density of detail in J.R.R. Tolkien’s towering fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings, the text on which the film is built. But movie lovers can also celebrate this first of three Rings installments because it’s so clearly, joyfully true to its artistic vision as a movie – a vision grounded in cinema-epic tradition – which, in turn, compliments the intelligence of its audience, both the scholars as well as the uninitiated. As its own universe, Fellowship is complete and enchanting. It’s also inspiring: Just as the Ring’s heroic quest falls to that most gentle and unassuming of hobbits, young Frodo Baggins, so the thrill and majesty of Tolkien’s resonant modern-day myth is enhanced by the steady devotion with which the filmmakers have worked their wonders.” – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

3. GHOST WORLD

Ghost World

184 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
Terry Zwigoff | 111 mins | Comedy/Drama
Steve Buscemi | Thora Birch | Scarlett Johansson | Brad Renfro

“Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes have adapted Mr. Clowes’s comic book into the best movie about youthful disaffection since ”The Graduate,” a rigorous, sympathetic, tartly funny story of the search for authenticity in a world dominated by phoniness. Thora Birch’s performance stands out as one of the truest portraits of an angry girl on the edge of adulthood ever committed to film.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

2. MULHOLLAND DR.

Mulholland Drive

190 LISTS | 23 TOP SPOTS
David Lynch | 147 mins | Drama/Mystery/Thriller
Naomi Watts | Laura Harring | Justin Theroux | Jeanne Bates

“The first film in David Lynch’s quixotic, ironic style that I’ve liked — and I really liked it. A Hollywood dreamscape, involving the elements of film noir and backstage tarnished tinsel, plus sex, crime and intrigue, all turned in upon itself like a Mobius strip; everything leads to everything else, but there is no beginning and no end. Every single scene is compelling and fascinating, so we’re drawn in — but to what? Laura Harring and Naomi Watts play the two heroines. Or is there one heroine? Or is she a heroine?” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

1. MEMENTO

Memento

252 LISTS | 44 TOP SPOTS
Christopher Nolan | 113 mins | Mystery/Thriller
Guy Pearce | Carrie-Anne Moss | Joe Pantoliano | Mark Boone Junior

“Thriller is a rod that long ago lost its thrill. This year, though, a fascinating evolutionary zigzag in movie culture took place: The thriller became the prestige enthrallment of choice. Sexy Beat, The Deep End, even In the Bedroom, with its domestic fusion of torment and firearms – these, in their disparate ways, were the new art thrillers. The greatest of them all, and the most cathartic and haunting movie experience I had this year, was Memento. For 113 spellbinding minutes, Christopher Nolan’s visionary film noir places us directly inside the furiously revolving tape-loop brain of a man who has lost his short-term memory, his identity, maybe even his sanity, and who therefore clutches at every waking moment as if it held the answer to life itself. The audience clutches right along with him. Structured not so much backwards as sideways, so that the past and the future appear to be crashing, with atomic fury, from both ends into the present, Memento turns the very process of watching a movie into an investigation of how a splintered modern soul assembles itself into being. Guy Pearce, in the performance of the year, invests each tentative, do-or-die encounter with a volcanic desperation made flesh. The billboard of clues tattooed on his body – the ultimate To Do list – suggests nothing less than crucible of the information age. Memento was scary, hypnotic, and profound. In a word, thrilling.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Full Top 50:

RTITLEL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1Memento220383.9357%12%1201752%9%
2Ghost World183114.7247%3%119851%4%
3Mulholland Dr.183294.1847%9%1151949%10%
4The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring161383.8442%12%902439%12%
5Amelie161224.7942%7%891238%6%
6In The Bedroom143154.0337%5%901139%6%
7Shrek138104.4836%3%80634%3%
8Moulin Rouge137194.2035%6%711030%5%
9In The Mood For Love126163.6033%5%871237%6%
10The Royal Tenenbaums127124.6233%4%84736%4%
11Waking Life9474.9724%2%65428%2%
12The Man Who Wasn't There9225.6724%1%53223%1%
13A.I. Artificial Intelligence86155.2822%5%48921%5%
14A Beautiful Mind7884.6720%2%42118%1%
15Gosford Park7664.4519%2%55224%1%
16Amores Perros7163.9318%2%47320%2%
17Sexy Beast6825.7118%1%49021%0%
18Hedwig And The Angry Inch6854.9318%2%40317%2%
19Monsters, Inc.6315.1716%0%34115%1%
20The Others5305.7014%0%2209%0%
21The Deep End4815.5912%0%31113%1%
22Black Hawk Down4705.1512%0%31013%0%
23Together4815.0812%0%34115%1%
24Monster's Ball4115.5611%0%1818%1%
25Ali4015.5310%0%24110%1%
26The Circle3905.0310%0%27012%0%
27No Man's Land3925.3010%1%29212%1%
28Apocalypse Now Redux36105.259%3%26811%4%
29Fat Girl3415.309%0%25111%1%
30Donnie Darko3405.749%0%2109%0%
31The Gleaners & I3225.508%1%23210%1%
32Under the Sand3215.208%0%2219%1%
33Bridget Jones's Diary3116.358%0%1316%1%
34Lantana2815.877%0%1818%1%
35The Pledge2716.147%0%1406%0%
36Startup.com2626.567%1%1707%0%
37With a Friend Like Harry2605.407%0%1607%0%
38Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone2425.426%1%904%0%
39Ocean's Eleven2405.956%0%1004%0%
40Werckmeister Harmonies2323.466%1%1617%1%
41The Road Home2323.816%1%1828%1%
42Va Savoir2145.805%1%1727%1%
43Eureka1913.675%0%1205%0%
44Faithless1904.435%0%1406%0%
45Spy Kids1906.115%0%803%0%
46L.I.E.1824.925%1%1225%1%
47Divided We Fall1725.004%1%713%1%
48Our Song1715.254%0%1316%1%
49Vanilla Sky1704.544%0%1105%0%
49Innocence (2000)1705.254%0%1004%0%
49The Tailor Of Panama1706.174%0%1004%0%

Lists Included 386 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 233

R Rank
L Total number of lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
AR Average position on ranked top 10 lists
#1 Total number of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year
L% Percentage of total lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
#1% Percentage of mentions where the film was selected as the best film of the year
TCL Number of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1 Number of times that the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL% Percentage of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1% Percentage of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists

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