Flashback: Bryan’s Top 10 Movies of 2001

I was digging through some old paperwork and I happened upon my old handwritten top ten list from 2001. So, I thought I’d share it and a few thoughts with everyone as an interesting look at my tastes and how they’ve evolved (or haven’t) over the years. Plus, it’s been about 10 years more or less so an anniversary is a good enough excuse as well.

I was 18 when I made it and almost a full year out of High School. It’s the first complete list I ever made, and I’ve created one every year since. I always thought it was a pretty great year, with four of these films making it onto my top 20 of the decade list and most of the rest just missing the cut. I’ve scanned it, so you can see it for yourself.

If you can’t read my chicken scratch, it breaks down like this:

  1. Memento
  2. In the Bedroom
  3. The Man Who Wasn’t There
  4. The Royal Tenebaums
  5. Mulholland Drive
  6. Monsters Inc.
  7. A.I.
  8. Moulin Rouge
  9. Amelie
  10.  (Tie) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Donnie Darko

Honorable Mentions: Ghost WorldA Beautiful Mind, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Sexy Beast

Special Amazing Achievement – Non-Narrative: Waking Life

So, a few thoughts. Let’s start at the bottom. I still stand by Waking Life being in a separate category and a separate discussion. It belongs to a small group of films that I can’t truly judge among the rest. 2001: A Space Odyssey is my best example of another such film. It’s a thought-provoking, trippy experiment, with philosophies on dreams and such. It hurt my brain back then, and I still wanted more. Sure I’m wussing out by not finding a proper place for it, but it’s my old list so fuck you.

Then there are the honorable mentions. While A Beautiful Mind and Hedwig are really good movies I still enjoy, they would not be here if I remade the list today. I was desperate to fill out my list with extra titles for some reason, even if they were movies I didn’t absolutely LOVE.

Further proof of this can be found on the scan, where you see the black bar next to the other titles. That was me trying to suppress the fact that I had also put Shallow Hal on here. When I came across my list back in 2004, I tried to change history with my scribbling. I can’t embarrass myself any more than that. Let’s just go back to pretending that was just a doodle, shall we? (But seriously, I crossed out something that was meant to be a record of what I thought at the time because that’s how much shame I felt.)

Moving on to the main list, it is clear to me now that Donnie Darko would be bumped to an honorable mention while LOTR would move up. Back then I was not the LOTR fan I am today. Darko was so different (still is), that I overlooked its rough edges at the time. I still love it though. I still really love the rest of the films and I don’t really want to reorder them too much. In the Bedroom would certainly fall a little, so would The Man Who Wasn’t There, and I might move Moulin Rouge down to an honorable mention. But Memento was my runner-up for the decade and the beginning of my long standing Nolan-crush, so that is staying put. It is still a remarkable piece of cinema.

Without remaking the list, I do want to quickly list some other films that I would consider for placement. These movies might not claw their way onto the list, but since were talking about 2001, I thought I’d at least mention them. They weren’t mentioned at the time because they’ve either grown in my estimation or I hadn’t seen them yet: The Devil’s Backbone, Wet Hot American Summer, Read My Lips, Fat Girl, Session 9, Black Hawk Down, Zoolander, and Sex and Lucia.

And as an added little treat, I’ve had a different friend whip up another fun montage video. I think it’s pretty fun and well done (especially considering how much fucking harder this video was to make than the last one. Just getting materials together was a nightmare. Hence the total absence of Hedwig). Watch the video, enjoy, and in the comments tell me about your favorite films from 2001.

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