Best Movies of All Time + [Y tu mamá también]

Top 10 Films of 2002

The year is 2002, and a lot has happened in the movie world. To help take you back in time, here's a look back at some of the film-related events that took place:

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers becomes the year's highest-grossing, earning over $925 million at the worldwide box office.

Spider-man becomes the first film ever to earn over $100 million in its opening weekend without adjustment for inflation.

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones is the first film in the Star Wars franchise not to be the highest-grossing film of the year. It finished at fourth with $649 million.

Chicago takes home six Academy Awards, including wins for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

The world loses the likes of Dudley Moore and Richard Harris.

I've been able to see 64 films released in 2002, and from those, I've compiled my own top ten list. As one can imagine, some great films had to be left off the final list. Here's a look at some of the movies (listed alphabetically) that just missed the cut:

8 Mile
Catch Me If You Can
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Insomnia
The Pianist
But enough about the runners-up; here's the list you've been waiting to see! Counting down from number ten to number one, I've listed each film and have given the principal cast list as well as if and how fared at the Academy Awards. Also, I've listed the film's rank on my "Best Films of All-Time" list, if applicable. So without any further delay, here's my top ten movies of 2002!

10. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Cate Blanchett, Bernard Hill, Brad Dourif, Miranda Otto, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, David Wenham
Academy Awards: 6 nominations, 2 wins
***
Arguably the weakest installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers is still head-and-shoulders above your average adventure flick. Jackson goes the way of the typical middle film in a trilogy and makes this one a little bit darker than the others, but it still plays out very well and does well to keep its audience captivated from start to finish.

9. Minority Report

Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Cruise, Max von Sydow, Colin Farrell, Neal McDonough, Samantha Morton
Academy Awards: 1 nomination
***
Although the acting wasn't all that phenomenal, Minority Report manages to succeed on a few other levels. First, we're getting a fantastic screenplay that throws in a number of twists and turns. Second, the visual effects are top-notch, creating quite the visual spectacle. Finally, the John Williams score helps create and hold the tone of the film throughout, making for a thrilling action mystery that holds its viewers' attention from start to finish.

8. Death to Smoochy

Rated: R
Directed by: Danny DeVito
Starring: Robin Williams, Edward Norton, Catherine Keener, Danny DeVito, Jon Stewart, Harvey Fierstein
***
I may get a bit of grief for this pick, but I personally thought Death to Smoochy to be a well-made comedy that featured a slew of great performances. Robin Williams is at his over-the-top best, and the comedic turn by Edward Norton is a revelation. Sure, it's dorky and a little ridiculous at times, and Jon Stewart has made it a prime example in the reason his acting career failed, but I still think it's good for quite a few laughs and a jolly good time.

7. Y tu mamá también

Rated: R
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Maribel Verdú
Academy Awards: 1 nomination
***
I've been quite a fan of the work of Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal, and to have them in a film with Maribel Verdú made this a must-watch for me. This is a Spanish-language sexual romp filled with passion and adolescent awkwardness to top it all off. This isn't going to be enjoyed by everyone, but those of you who do enjoy it are going to absolutely love it. I can be pretty sure of that.

6. About Schmidt

Rated: R
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Kathy Bates, Dermot Mulroney
Academy Awards: 2 nominations
***
If you put Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates in a film together, you can be sure that I'm going to give it a view at one point or another. It's a little offbeat, but it strikes all the chords it's trying to strike. The comedy and drama blend well together, and it ultimately just suffers because it was released against some other dramatic comedies that were just a little bit better.

5. The Hours

Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Ed Harris, John C. Reilly, Claire Danes, Miranda Richardson
Academy Awards: 9 nominations, 1 win
***
A brilliant film that tells the stories of three women in different time periods who are affected by Virgina Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway. Most of the praise was lauded upon the three leading ladies here, but I think a lot of attention should be given to Harris's performance here as well. In a way, it's a character-driven story with each actor bringing just a little bit more to the table. Watch it for the performances, but be taken by the interconnected storyline.

4. Gangs of New York

Rated: R
Directed by: Martin Scorsese 
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Liam Neeson, Jim Broadbent, Brendan Gleeson, John C. Reilly
Academy Awards: 10 nominations
***
While not quite up to snuff with the rest of Scorsese's films, Gangs of New York still offers quite a lot to enjoy if you're ready for something just a tad less profound. Centered around a (typically) brilliant performance from Daniel Day-Lewis and fine turns by DiCaprio and Gleeson - as well as Neeson in a tiny role - this look at the battle between different races in early America is still a very good film to be enjoyed.

3. Adaptation.

Rated: R
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Cara Seymour
Academy Awards: 4 nominations, 1 win
***
I'm definitely a sucker for movies about movies, and this one is a screenwriter's dream. It's the story of real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman attempting to adapt a seemingly unadaptable novel into a screenplay, but he's having a few issues. This is easily my favorite of Nicolas Cage's performances as he takes on the role of twin brothers with vastly different personalities and approaches to their lives. It's bitingly hilarious and definitely worth a watch if you're a film fan of any degree.

2. Chicago

Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Queen Latifah, Taye Diggs
Academy Awards: 13 nominations, 6 wins
All-Time Ranking: 147
***
Topped by brilliant musical numbers and pitch-perfect performances, this is the film that put Rob Marshall on the map. It jumped into my consciousness after making its big splash at the Academy Awards, and I have to say that it's easily one of my favorite cinematic musicals. This story of jazz, sex and murder is enough to rev anyone's engines, and the music's going to stick with you for a while.

1. Road to Perdition

Rated: R
Directed by: Sam MendesStarring: Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, Stanley Tucci
Academy Awards: 6 nominations, 1 win
All-Time Ranking: 77
***
This was a film I had every intention of seeing upon its initial theatrical release, but I never got the chance to do so. When I finally had the opportunity to sit down and give this one a view, I was overwhelmed by its power and its brilliance. This is far and away my favorite of Tom Hanks's performances, and when it's aided by fantastic turns by the likes of Paul Newman (in his last film), Jude Law and Daniel Craig, as well as aided by stylish direction by Sam Mendes, you can be sure that this one's going to win you over.