My Top Ten Movies of 2001 - Jack Foley

WIDELY recognised by many as being one of the worst years in living memory for movies since the Eighties (!), 2001 did, nevertheless, contain some success stories - movies which did live up to the hype, or merely came along and surprised.

In this carefully selected top ten, I have picked out some obvious choices, as well as some surprising ones (in my opinion), combining the best that Hollywood had to offer with some of the finer independent moments and a couple of welcome foreign language films.

Indeed, 2001 could really be described as the year in which foreign movies became embraced by the mainstream, helped, no doubt, by the success - commercial, critical and prize-winning - of Ang Lee's stunning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

So while the likes of Audition and Brotherhood of the Wolf just missed out on the top 10, they were notable additions to a year strangely short on quality. Indeed, Shrek aside, the summer was notable for its lack of originality. Sequels were the safer bet, with Rush Hour 2 being tremendously good fun, and Jurassic Park III surprising many by being very good (or merely not as bad as some of the other choices around, see my top 10 turkies).

Also of note (but just outside my top 10) were the likes of The Fast and the Furious (Point Break with fast cars), The Mexican (with James Gandolfini in fine, show-stealing form), One Night At McCool's (Liv Tyler, car washing) and, of course, The Man Who Wasn't There (no year would be complete with a Coens mention).

So here, without further ado, is my selection - starting from 10. Let us know what you think...

10

Title: Almost Famous (15)

Why? Kate Hudson's career-defining performance coupled with Cameron Crowe's assured direction.

Classic two scenes: Penny Lane dancing alone on an empty stage; 'I am a Golden God!'


9

Title: Hannibal (18)

Why? Ridley Scott demonstrates again why he is one of the most stylish directors around.

Classic two scenes: Clarice and Lecter's shopping mall 'encounter'; Lecter kills Pozzi


8

Title: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (15)

Why? Ang Lee's epic rightly put the long-overdue focus of attention on foreign language films.

Classic two scenes: The two women fight; the bar fight


7

Title: Traffic (18)

Why? Soderbergh, Douglas, Del Toro & Cheadle; the drugs do work!

Classic two scenes: Douglas searches for his junkie daughter; any scenes involving Cheadle or Del Toro.


6

Title: Battle Royale (18)

Why? And on today's school curriculum is random blood-letting and death by uzi, knife and dustbin lid!

Classic two scenes: The rules are revealed; schoolgirls turn on each other.


5

Title: Tigerland (15)

Why? A fresh look at the Vietnam war, which benefited from its documentary-style feel.

Classic two scenes: Boz argues with his superiors in the trenches; the should we/shouldn't we jump?


4

Title: Bridget Jones' Diary (15)

Why? Fresh, funny, and British! This was a chick flick with universal appeal - and that is v good!

Classic two scenes: 'It's a fight, a real fight!'; 'I like you... just the way you are'


3

Title: The Deep End (15)

Why? Intelligent, well crafted and supremely well acted, this made a real splash.

Classic two scenes: The final scene between Visjnic & Swinton; Swinton disposes of the evidence


2

Title: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (PG)

Why? It's rare that the hype on a film rings true, but the force was strong in this one!

Classic two scenes: Any scene involving the ringwraiths; Bean and Mortensen's final battle


1

Title: The Pledge (15)

Why? Nicholson delivers an acting masterclass in this cold, dark, but utterly compelling thriller

Classic two scenes: The grim discovery of the body; the agonising wait for the 'killer'