The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Monday, December 23, 2002
TEN YEARS AFTER: I wish I could add to the flurry of December top-ten movie lists, but I haven't seen enough of the year's films to do a credible job. Many of the pictures on other critics' lists haven't even made it to Baltimore yet. I'm as fond of this game as the next fellow, but I won't play until I have a reasonably complete deck.

Until then, I offer a different list -- instead of the top movies of 2002, my favorites ... of 1992:

1. Glengarry Glen Ross
Directed by James Foley
Written by David Mamet, from his play

It's a filmed play, and it shows. But it's also the best Mamet adaptation ever to grace the screen.

2. Unforgiven
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by David Webb Peoples

Wise and bleak.

3. Brother's Keeper
Directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

How is it that two moviemakers could go to a small town, start filming the real events transpiring there, and somehow capture a story more engaging, compelling, and mysterious than almost everything produced by people who get to make shit up?

4. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch and Robert Engels

The Cannes crowd praised Lynch's Wild at Heart, and then they lacerated this prequel to his TV series. I think they got it exactly backwards.

5. Prime Suspect 2
Directed by John Strickland
Written by Allan Cubitt and Lynda La Plante

A very solid Brit mystery miniseries, complete with red herrings, unpredictable plot twists, and other features sadly lacking from most TV police procedurals -- including, alas, some of the subsequent Prime Suspects.

6. Reservoir Dogs
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Written by Tarantino with Roger Avary

Keep your stupid backlash, and stop blaming him for all the poor imitations he inspired. I like Tarantino, and I can't wait for him to finish another movie.

7. The Player
Directed by Robert Altman
Written by Michael Tolkin, from his novel

Altman does Hitchcock.

8. Candyman
Directed by Bernard Rose
Written by Rose, from a story by Clive Barker

Lots of horror movies are based on urban legends. This one is about urban legends, and the whole process of cultural transmission they represent. And yes: it's scary, too.

9. Swoon
Directed by Tom Kalin
Written by Kalin and Hilton Als

The best Leopold 'n' Loeb movie ever made.

10. Zentropa
Directed by Lars von Trier
Written by von Trier and Niels Volser

A very un-Dogme movie from the man who invented Dogme.

Honorable mention:

11. A Brief History of Time (Errol Morris)
12. The Crying Game (Neil Jordan)
13. Wayne's World (Penelope Spheeris)
14. My New Gun (Stacy Cochran)
15. L.627 (Bertrand Tavernier)
16. Malcolm X (Spike Lee)
17. Rock Hudson's Home Movies (Mark Rappaport)
18. Highway Patrolman (Alex Cox)
19. Barjo (Jerome Boivin)
20. Léolo (Jean-Claude Lauzon)

Sooner or later, I'll work up a list for this year too. Or else I'll leap even further back, and give you my favorite films of 1982.

posted by Jesse 5:14 PM
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