Best Movies of 2002

10. SPIRITED AWAY

Spirited Away

110 LISTS | 11 TOP SPOTS
Hayao Miyazaki | 125 mins | Animation/Adventure/Family
Daveigh Chase | Suzanne Pleshette | Miyu Irino | Rumi Hiiragi

“The great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has a feel for the scary magic of fairy tales that the purveyors of American kid culture have almost entirely lost. This story of a 10-year-old girl’s adventures among the ghosts and monsters who inhabit an abandoned theme park may call to mind Lewis Carroll or ”The Wizard of Oz,” but its painterly colors and hallucinatory inventiveness ultimately defy all comparison.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

9. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE

Punch-Drunk Love

117 LISTS | 10 TOP SPOTS
Paul Thomas Anderson | 95 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Adam Sandler | Emily Watson | Philip Seymour Hoffman | Jason Andrews

“Reese Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama is not my idea of an entertaining romantic comedy. But her The Importance of Being Earnest is, and so are Cherish and even My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Hugh Grant starred in two more I like: About a Boy and Two Weeks Notice. But best of all is P.T. Anderson’s Punch- Drunk Love, which got to me with its audacity. Adam Sandler redeems himself with a fearless performance as an explosive man in love.” – Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel

8. TALK TO HER

Talk to Her

122 LISTS | 13 TOP SPOTS
Pedro Almodóvar | 112 mins | Drama/Mystery/Romance
Rosario Flores | Javier Cámara | Darío Grandinetti | Leonor Watling

“Pedro Almodóvar‘s fourteenth effort was the rare foreign film that finds recognition among regular Oscars, including Best Original Screenplay and a nomination for Best Director. An intoxicating, mysterious, and achingly felt melodrama, it chronicles four lives brought together by chance, fate, obsession and love. Two men — a nurse and a journalist — build an unlikely friendship when taking care of two women they love who are in comas, one a bullfighter gored in action (Rosario Flores) the other a young ballet student (a ravishingly beautiful Leonor Watling) crippled by a car accident. Time feels fluid as past, present and future moments bleed into one another, falling to an unpredictable, almost mystically tragic conclusion. Impossibly romantic, sensually tactile, intricate and mature, it may be Almodóvar’s unimpeachable masterpiece. The melancholy showstopping Cataeno Veloso song, just after the first act, represents the film well, producing goose bumps and stealing your breath away.” – indieWIRE

7. CHICAGO

Chicago

130 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
Rob Marshall | 113 mins | Comedy/Crime/Musical
Renée Zellweger | Catherine Zeta-Jones | Richard Gere | Taye Diggs

“There may never be a musical to rival the great days of “Singin’ in the Rain,” and “Top Hat.” But Rob Marshall’s movie, an inspired, breathtaking adaptation of the Broadway musical (co-created by Bob Fosse), sure brings you close to that feeling. A perfect union of stage and cinematic choreography, with great performances by Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere, this is the funnest, smartest movie musical since “Cabaret.” (“Moulin Rouge” was brilliant but handicapped by its leading performers.) I won’t be a bit surprised to see this movie win big around Oscar time.” – Desson Howe, Washington Post

6. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS

The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers

137 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
Peter Jackson | 167 mins | Adventure/Drama/Fantasy
Leonardo DiCaprio | Cameron Diaz | Daniel Day-Lewis | Jim Broadbent

“The Two Towers: Part two of the trilogy was even grander and more imaginative than the triumphant first episode. It is the most difficult of the three films, because it starts and ends in the middle of a long story, but director Peter Jackson again has captured a magical world, and he has presented it with the epic scope and big-screen excitement that it merits. Bonus marks for creating computer-generated characters that we care about.” – Jay Stone, Ottawa Citizen

5. GANGS OF NEW YORK

Gangs of New York

142 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
Martin Scorsese | 167 mins | Crime/Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio | Cameron Diaz | Daniel Day-Lewis | Jim Broadbent

“A landmark film from Martin Scorsese, who turns a tale of immigrant gangs in the 1860s into a hot-blooded epic for the ages. Ignore the love fluff with Cameron Diaz; Leonardo DiCaprio and a stupendous Daniel Day-Lewis bring history to raw life. No one dares more than Scorsese. Watch him fly.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

4. ABOUT SCHMIDT

About Schmidt

147 LISTS | 16 TOP SPOTS
Alexander Payne | 125 mins | Comedy/Drama
Jack Nicholson | Hope Davis | Dermot Mulroney | Kathy Bates

“Of all the good movies that unspooled this year, the one that moved me most celebrated the constricted life of an average Midwestern retired insurance actuary. Although About Schmidt is, in a way, a social satire, and in some places even a comedy, at its core it’s a bracing paean to a certain kind of American Everyman resilient enough to deserve a parade. Warren Schmidt isn’t a hero; no member of the Greatest Generation ever looked so indistinguishable from the knickknacks and wallpaper around him. “Don’t dillydally!” Schmidt is admonished by his up-and-at-‘em wife – and Jack Nicholson, in one of the best roles of his career – doesn’t have to be told twice. The actor, in his 60s, plays a man in his 60s with a weary dignity that, like Schmidt’s astonishing comb-over doesn’t get dislodged even when he is splayed and jiggling hilariously on a water bed. And as the pensioner takes to the open roads, driving his Winnebago from Omaha to Denver to visit his resentful grown daughter, Nicholson never lets us forget Schmidt’s basic, bewildered decency. Alexander Payne’s great handmade American beauty, a comedy of national character assembled from hundreds of acutely observed details of national mannerisms, expands into something much bigger and more important than a quirky follow-up to Election from a bard of Omaha: It becomes a specimen of personal moviemaking at its most accomplished.” – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

3. ADAPTATION

Adaptations

184 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
Spike Jonze | 115 mins | Comedy/Drama
Nicolas Cage | Meryl Streep | Chris Cooper | Tilda Swinton

“The real-life Charlie Kaufman pares The Orchid Thief down to its most important elements and contemplates what would have happened had Susan Orlean and John Laroche become lovers. The wackiness with which Orlean and Laroche chase after the Kaufman brothers invokes subjects revolting against their authors; their actions certainly aren’t too far off from the kind of behavior that drove countless hunters and explorers to their deaths in search of elusive orchids. The film’s Hollywood ending is effective not only because it’s deliriously self-conscious but because it truly feels like a natural extension of everything that transpires prior. Kaufman rightfully believes that these kinds of Hollywood endings have to be earned. Adaptation. makes for a very rocky experience but watching it evolve into something profound, if not entirely complete, is certainly beautiful to behold.” – Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

2. Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN

Y Tu Mama Tambien

190 LISTS | 23 TOP SPOTS
Alfonso Cuarón | 106 mins | Drama
Maribel Verdú | Gael García Bernal | Daniel Giménez Cacho | Ana López Mercado

“Part penetrating drama, part randy sex comedy, Alfonso Cuarón’s road trip fantasy Y Tu Mamá También was a blast of sheer liberation the likes of which is rarely, if ever, seen in films from our country. Much was made about the volume of all-clothes-barred sex scenes, but the film isn’t merely an excuse to stage the down-and-dirty escapades of its two horny teenage heroes (Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna). Cuarón instead probes into the emotions masked by youthful carnal pursuits of the opposite sex, revealing a lot of bumpy truths in the journey from adolescence to adulthood that films like American Pie wouldn’t know what to do with. The film begins with an infectious jubilance but winds up at a merciless crossroads of confusion and shame.” – Chuck Rudolph, Slant Magazine

1. FAR FROM HEAVEN

Far From Heaven

252 LISTS | 44 TOP SPOTS
Todd Haynes | 107 mins | Drama
Julianne Moore | Dennis Quaid | Dennis Haysbert | Patricia Clarkson

“From the earliest days of Hollywood moviemakers have tried to re-create the past on film. The beauty, and genius, of Todd Haynes’ daydream of a 1950s Hollywood soap opera is the way that it re-creates the synthetic glories of the movie past, only to turn them into a universal canvas of hidden romantic longing. Haynes, in an act of technical and imaginative audacity, conjures the domestic hothouse world of director Douglas Sirk down to the last exquisitely too-perfect autumn leaf and cocktail-noir camera angle. Yet it isn’t just the candied retro look of Far From Heaven that is brought off with such nimble virtuosity; so is its rapturous atmosphere of retro passion. Playing characters who are trapped, without knowing it, in a world that insists on straightening every last kink of romantic craving, Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, and Dennis Haysbert turn their wholesome dialogue into pure poetry, a conduit for emotions too forbidden to be expressed. Haynes embraces the fakery of old Hollywood, but he loves its sincerity, too. As you watch Far From Heaven, the movie seems to keep asking whether this lavishly repressed landscape of ‘50s suburban artifice could possibly be our world as well. The answer, of course, is that it is and always will be – as long as decorum fights desire, and as long as our dreams of fulfillment remain inseparable from the movies that helped shape them.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Full Top 50:

RTITLEL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1Far From Heaven248443.7859%13%1552659%13%
2Y Tu Mama Tambien189234.3145%7%1131943%9%
3Adaptation181184.2343%5%1101142%5%
4About Schmidt145163.9735%5%831132%5%
5Gangs of New York139194.4733%6%831332%6%
6Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers137194.0733%6%79830%4%
7Chicago129194.3931%6%651025%5%
8Talk to Her121134.1229%4%83932%4%
9Punch-Drunk Love114104.5527%3%70727%3%
10Spirited Away109114.2726%3%841032%5%
11The Pianist106114.2925%3%70727%3%
12Bowling For Columbine9744.9023%1%58122%0%
13The Hours87114.3921%3%48418%2%
14Minority Report8664.9821%2%57622%3%
15Road To Perdition8164.6319%2%40215%1%
16Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner7674.0518%2%53420%2%
17Catch Me If You Can7015.2917%0%35013%0%
18About a Boy6715.5016%0%42116%0%
19Bloody Sunday5664.9013%2%34413%2%
20Time Out5144.5412%1%43316%1%
21Russian Ark5463.4212%2%40515%2%
22Rabbit-Proof Fence5025.9512%1%30211%1%
23Monsoon Wedding4635.7111%1%30311%1%
24Igby Goes Down4615.1411%0%28111%0%
2524 Hour Party People4406.1010%0%31012%0%
26The Quiet American4426.3610%1%28111%0%
27Frida4225.2510%1%2218%0%
2825th Hour3966.269%2%25410%2%
29Spider44104.089%2%33613%3%
30The Piano Teacher3825.089%1%28111%0%
31Spider-Man3804.939%0%25010%0%
32The Kid Stays in the Picture3616.099%0%2018%0%
33What Time Is It There?3335.218%1%27210%1%
34Sunshine State3315.918%0%2419%0%
35Morvern Callar3415.308%0%31112%0%
36Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind3305.778%0%2108%0%
37Insomnia3205.468%0%1606%0%
38Lovely & Amazing3105.427%0%2208%0%
39Late Marriage3015.847%0%2118%0%
408 Mile2806.007%0%1305%0%
41Thirteen Conversations About One Thing2605.256%0%1706%0%
42Signs2555.676%2%1215%0%
43Femme Fatale2525.956%1%2128%1%
44Antwone Fisher2305.815%0%1205%0%
45One Hour Photo2216.585%0%1305%0%
46Frailty2205.005%0%1004%0%
47All or Nothing2215.765%0%1706%0%
48My Big Fat Greek Wedding2126.925%1%602%0%
49The Rookie2105.315%0%1004%0%
49Standing in the Shadow of Motown2106.415%0%1004%0%

Lists Included 419 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 263

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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