It's been a little while since I did this feature, but it's back! Looking back, here is my top 10 of 2003.
(Also, please see the side of my blog to get easy access to all my previous top 10 lists!)
Runners-Up: 21 Grams, Capturing the Friedmans, Dirty Pretty Things, A Mighty Wind.
10. Cold Mountain: Despite Renee Zellwegger being a little annoying (albeit interesting) and Nicole Kidman being a little miscast, I thought this was a beautiful Civil War movie with a great performance by Jude Law and numerous masterful scenes by the late director Anthony Minghella.
9. The Fog of War: This documentary is basically an interview with Robert McNamara, the chief architect of the Vietnam War. Great documentarian Errol Morris is able to get fascinating footage from his interview, and McNamara engages in gripping scenes of self-doubt and (almost) apology.
8. Finding Nemo: Another excellent animated film from Pixar, the most visually stunning film they had made to date.
7. The Return of the King: While it had about 4 endings too many, there is no denying the scope and beauty of Peter Jackson's finale to the amazingly detailed trilogy.
6. In America: A lovely semi-autobiographical film from Irish director Jim Sheridan about a new immigrant family's adjustment to life in America. I dare you not to choke up.
5. Spellbound: This hugely entertaining and edge-of-your-seat documentary profiles contestants from various walks of life making their way to the National Spelling Bee.
4. Mystic River: Clint Eastwood directs a superb cast (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Marcia Gay Harden) in a great drama about wounds of the past and how they follow people into the future.
3. American Splendor: Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis are excellent as comic-book artist Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner, two misfits who somehow find love. This movie utilizes animation, documentary, comics, and fiction to tell the story of some of the most unique individuals I've ever seen in film.
2. City of God: I can still remember being absolutely riveted while watching this in the theater. Has the violence and energy of early Martin Scorsese, with the added freshness of its Brazilian-ghetto setting. One of those movies that's depressing, but also very invigorating because of the power of its filmmaking.
1. Lost in Translation: A movie I can watch over and over again. Few films have gotten the sense of loneliness and human connection so right as Sofia Coppola does. Bill Murray is astonishing and Scarlett Johannson also great (in a role that fits her perfectly) as Americans lost in their lives and lost in Tokyo. Easily one of my favorite movies of the decade.
Summing it Up: A strong year for film, especially my top 5. It had a wide range of genres that caught my love and admiration.