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

Wednesday, December 21, 2022
THE YEAR I MOVED TO BALTIMORE: On Monday I listed my favorite films of
2012. Now let's step back another 10 years.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked back at 2002, it gave its Best Picture award to Chicago. I know a number of people who simply do not like that movie, but I think it's fine. It even made it into my honorable mentions. But it isn't the year's best—not by a long shot.

1. The Wire
Written by David Simon, Ed Burns, Rafael Alvarez, David H. Melnick, Shamit Choksey, Joy Lusco, and George Pelecanos, from a story by Simon and Burns
Directed by Clark Johnson, Peter Medak, Clement Virgo, Ed Bianchi, Joe Chapelle, Gloria Muzio, Milcho Manchevski, Brad Anderson, Steve Shill, and Tim Van Patten

Even as the old lines between the big and small screens keep collapsing, some people still side-eye me for putting TV shows on these lists. But come on. Put this together with the other four seasons of The Wire, and you've got the best motion picture of the decade; look at this season in isolation, and you've got the best motion picture of the year.

2. Talk to Her
Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar

Almodóvar explores the intersection between fetishism, projection, and unrequited love.

3. Mai's America
Directed by Marlo Poras

The best documentary I've ever seen about immigration.

4. The Office 2
Written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant

You know how sometimes the punchline in Peanuts would be more depressing than funny? The final scene of this one is like that.

5. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Directed by George Clooney
Written by Charlie Kaufman, from a "memoir" by Chuck Barris

A CIA assassin imagines he's pursuing a more socially beneficial life as the creator of The Gong Show.

6. Decasia
Directed by Bill Morrison

A film built from the shards of older, decaying films. Someday it too will decay.

7. The Quiet American
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Written by Christopher Hampton and Robert Schenkkan, from a novel by Graham Greene

Proof (a) that Brendan Fraser can act, and (b) that a remake can be much, much better than its predecessor.

8. Dirty Pretty Things
Directed by Stephen Frears
Written by Steven Knight

"We are the people you do not see. We are the ones who drive your cabs. We clean your rooms. And suck your cocks."

9. About Schmidt
Directed by Alexander Payne
Written by Payne and Jim Taylor, from a novel by Louis Begley

Did you think the British Office was awfully bleak for a comedy? Well...

10. City of God
Directed by Fernando Meirelles with Kátia Lund
Written by Bráulio Mantovani, from a novel by Paulo Lins

"A kid? I smoke, I snort. I've killed and robbed. I'm a man."

Honorable mentions:

11. Man on the Train (Patrice Leconte)
12. 25th Hour (Spike Leee)
13. Femme Fatale (Brian De Palma)
14. In Smog and Thunder (Sean Meredith)
15. Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson)
16. The Girl on the Train in the Moon (Bill Daniel)
17. Chicago (Rob Marshall)
18. 28 days later... (Danny Boyle)
19. Hero (Zhang Yimou)
20. Nixon (Nam June Paik)

Plus a shout-out to the scene in Biggie & Tupac where Suge Knight delivers his "message to the kids."

Of the films of 2002 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Prüfstand VII.

posted by Jesse 11:05 AM
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