The Best of 2001

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The Top 10 Hollywood Movies:

1. The Fellowship of the Ring: For the first film in his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, director Peter Jackson combines mythic power, personal storytelling and breathless Indiana Jones adventure to create a film that is both both intimate and epic. Damn, he's good.

2. Ali: Michael Mann and Will Smith transcend biopic clichés to punch their way to the bruised heart of a hero. Extraordinary.

3. The Royal Tenenbaums: A hurting, healing comedy about the wounds inflicted by family; confirms Wes Anderson as a world-class talent.

4. Shrek: An ogre in love, and a new peak in animation.

5. Vanilla Sky: Cameron Crowe directs Tom Cruise in a psycho-sexual thriller that busts more than a few molds.

6. Moulin Rouge: A musical that pushes so hard it mauls you, but Aussie Baz Luhrmann creates visual wonders.

7. Black Hawk Down: The script's speechifying can't stop Ridley Scott. The director of "Gladiator" and "Hannibal" brings documentary realism to a war film that salutes the soldiers felled in a botched 1993 U.S. operation in Somalia.

8. A Beautiful Mind: Russell Crowe's searing portrait of a schizophrenic never flinches, even when Ron Howard softens the blow.

9. A.I.: Steven Spielberg tries to finish something Stanley Kubrick started. The result is a sci-fi shambles that true film fans will heatedly discuss for ages.

10. Ocean's Eleven: Steven Soderbergh turns a B-movie heist into a class-A exercise in cool.

The Top 10 Indie Movies:

1. Memento: A thriller that runs in reverse allows director Christopher Nolan, 31, to step forward with the year's most dazzling feat of cinematic originality.

2. Mulholland Drive: Life is but an L.A. dream for David Lynch, who dreams like no one else.

3. Waking Life: Richard Linklater's animated riff on the meaning of life goes places that Shrek and Monsters, Inc. never imagined.

4. Ghost World: Steve Buscemi as a love object for teen misfit Thora Birch is just one reason why this Terry Zwigoff film of Daniel Clowes' underground comic book cuts deep.

5. Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Songs, a sex change and a rock tour de force for writer, director and star John Cameron Mitchell.

6. Sexy Beast: A blazing Ben Kingsley is scarier than any Soprano in Jonathan Glazer's stylish gangster tale.

7. In the Bedroom: Actor turned director Todd Field brings lyrical grace to a revenge drama powered by brilliant turns from Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson.

8. The Man Who Wasn't There:  The Coen brothers do film noir set in a barber shop and, o brother, did it come out looking good.

9. Gosford Park: Playing the game of humor and homicide by his own rules, Robert Altman throws a posh party with a cast of Brit legends and serves up a full-course acting feast.

10. Amélie: A love letter to Paris, movies and luminous new star Audrey Tautou from Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

From The Archives Issue 885: December 27, 2001
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