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Top 10 Best Movies of 2003

Opinions by Shawn McKenzie 02/16/2004

I didn't see every single movie of 2003, but I did see a majority of them, so I can safely say that I know what was worth seeing in 2003.  You may disagree with my choices, and that's fine, but know what I like.  My lists always seem to sway from what other critics choose.  See what you think.

10. Johnny English-Sure, this movie was a critical and box office bomb, but I thought it was very funny.  Iím not even a ďMr. BeanĒ fan, but I liked it better than the last Austin Powers movie.  Itís too bad it tanked in America, because Iíd like to see a series of English films.

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9. The Shape of Things-Last year, I made the last movie of this filmís director, Neil LaBute, the worst movie of 2002.  I was so glad to see him back to his old devilish form in 2003.  This time, he gave the women a chance to be nasty.  I like an equal-opportunity offender.

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8. Matchstick Men-I canít believe this movie was completely ignored during awards season.  The director, Ridley Scott, had never done anything close to a comedy before, and this obsessive-compulsive con movie was funny, touching, and had a twist near the end that I really didnít see coming.  I wonder if it would have made any difference if it had been released in November rather than September.

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7. Daredevil-I think that this movie was retroactively slammed due to the overwhelming failure of Gigli, which is incredibly unfair.  It had a decent box-office run, and from what Iíve heard from comic book geeks, it was a faithful adaptation.  Add on the great soundtrack (both Evanescence songs on the soundtrack went on to be huge hits) and this is a fun movie overall.  Iím looking forward to the sequel (targeted for 2007) and the spin-off movie Elektra (targeted for 2005.)

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6. Seabiscuit-I realize that this is the only Oscar Best Picture nominee on my top 10 list, but I really liked it (Mystic River is a close second.)  Iím surprised that it was nominated, because movies released in July tend to be forgotten.  Itís still the dark horse in the race though (sorry, I couldnít resist the pun.)

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5. Old School-This was the funniest comedy of the year (I donít consider Nemo or Pirates comedies.)  It reminded me of the old raunchy comedies of the Ď80s like Porkyís and Revenge of the Nerds.  It also created a new favorite director for me in Todd Phillips, the man who actually directed a movie with the horribly unfunny Tom Green (Road Trip) and made it funny.  I hope that the upcoming Starsky and Hutch continues his hot streak.

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4. X2: X-Men United-I think that the original X-Men is the coolest comic book movie ever (sorry Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man), and it was so satisfying to me that this one was just as good.  I was initially concerned about the addition of Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler, but it worked as well.  The next one is targeted for 2006, and Iím geeking out in anticipation for it.

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3. Kill Bill, Vol. 1-Supposedly, this is the most violent movie ever wide released, but if you actually watched it, the violence looks like any given episode of ďItchy & Scratchy.Ē  In other words, it was so cartoonish that it was hard to be disturbed.  Quentin Tarantino is back in fine form, and I donít even mind that he split the movie in two pieces (it helps that I am also a TV critic that is used to cliffhangers.)

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2. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl-When I went into this movie, I still had the sour taste of the Country Bears movie on my tongue.  I was so happy to sit through a fun action movie with a standout performance by the Oscar-nominated Johnny Depp.  I doubt he will win (lighter movie nominees never tend to win), but if I ruled the world, he would.

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1. Finding Nemo-So far, Iíve loved every Pixar movie to come out, but I remember not being too impressed by the trailers for this one.  When I went to see it, I felt like it was the first Pixar movie that truly felt like a Disney movie (especially when it followed the grand Disney tradition of killing off a parent at the beginning of the movie.)  Even though it was made for and targeted towards kids, adults can easily enjoy it with or without their kids.  There is no Oscar race easier to predict than this movieís eventual win for Best Animated Feature.

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Honorable Mentions (movies I gave a 5 or 4 Ĺ camera rating that didnít quite make the list):  The Hulk, Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie, American Splendor, American Wedding, Anger Management, Bringing Down the House, The Cooler, The Core, Dreamcatcher, Duplex, Final Destination 2, Freaky Friday, Freddy vs. Jason, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Identity, Intacto, The Italian Job, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Love Actually, The Matrix Reloaded, A Mighty Wind, Mystic River, Phone Booth, The Recruit, The Rundown, Scary Movie 3, School of Rock, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Underworld

What do you think of my choices?  What would you choose as the best movies of 2003?  Please email me at shawn@entertainyourbrain.com or go to the Home Page and post your opinion on the Entertain Your Brain Message Board!

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