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Summer '00 in Review

Opening Commentary: For those unacquainted with the Hollywood system, there are unwritten rules about the season.  Winter/Fall is where studios release most of their award worthy films (usually dramas), Summer is the time for big budget high-grossing films (usually action/adventures), and Spring is the dumping point for the films that are unreleasable in the other months (usually comedies).  There are exceptions to the rules of course (The Matrix was out in the Spring last year; Jakob the Liar made its bow in the Winter) but for the most part, the studios follow these rules.

Like last season, the reason that there are many more recommendations percentage-wise than this same period last year is that I have skipped many films.  Yes, I know that this causes an incorrect shift in figures between years, but this has helped to keep my sanity. In the body of this article, I shall analyze the season by genre as well as my own personal awards for the season. Then in the closing section, I shall order the 49 films that I saw between 1 May to 31 August in order of worth.



Action/Adventure

What a season for the action films.  I know that it is normal for the Summer to be a big period for the high octane adventures, but rarely are they this good.  Of course, most of this Summer's action films were from big name directors hitting out more dramatic stories (Wolfgang Petersen with The Perfect Storm, Ridley Scott's Gladiator).

But there were a fair share of action films that could be called "eye candy" yet remained consistently enjoyable (Bryan Singer's X-Men, Tarsem Singh's The Cell, Robert Zemeckis' What Lies Beneath).  Still, one can only wonder what will happen with this year's great guilty pleasure, Dominic Sena's Gone in Sixty Seconds.

This is not to say that the season was devoid of any mistakes.  The Art of WarThe In CrowdHollow ManShaft?  And I did not even see Battlefield Earth.

BestGladiator followed by The Perfect Storm

WorstThe Art of War edging out Hollow Man


Drama

I've said it before and I'll say it again, one of this year's most underseen film that deserved an audience was Wonder Boys. Thankfully, there will be a rerelease of the film soon, which might bring the film it audience.  This Summer brought another deserving film that went forgotten, Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides.  Among the many films that I've seen so far this year, The Virgin Suicides has a hard spot in the top 3.

While The Virgin Suicides, Croupier, Hamlet, Sunshine, and the stylistically incredible Time Code brought faith to the world of dramas, this was not the full span of the dramas, with Autumn in New York proving that some dramas are born bad.

BestThe Virgin Suicides followed by Croupier
WorstAutumn in New York edging out Onegin


Documentary

Ok, so Fantasia/2000 is not really a documentary, but I have no section for musicals or animated films, making this the closest choice.  Anyway, it was one of the most stunning films from recent animated films -- and I did not even see it in an IMAX theatre!

But, the real treat in documentaries was 42 Up, the sixth installment in Michael Apted series.  Being blown away by four documentaries within a season (the others being the Sex Pistols film The Filth and the Fury and the comedy troupe show The Original Kings of Comedy) is quite a momentous occasion.  Perhaps, I can start getting more documentaries in these woods.

Best: 42 Up followed by Fantasia/2000


Foreign Language Film

I hate to say it, but when a foreign film is bad, I'll admit it.  Beau Travail was an artistic threat to brain cells, and I have not been this adamant about a bad foreign film since I started regularly writing for Cinema-Scene.com.  That's not to say that this season was devoid of fine foreign films, but it was just surprising to be thrown off by a film in the normally fine genre.

BestMifune followed by The Terrorist
WorstBeau Travail edging out East-West


Comedy

Usually a dumping ground for the dumbest of the dumbest comedies, this season did not fail expectations.  There was Me, Myself & Irene, The Replacements, Scary Movie, and Shanghai Noon, but nothing could compare to that little claymation film that could, Chicken Run.  Without a doubt one of this year's best looking films, it was also a hilarious riot.

In fact, thanks to many mediocre but enjoyable comedies, the Chicken Run/Jesus' Son lead genre had for more recommendations than any other genre, with a 75% reliability -- of course, we must keep in mind that I skipped films like Boys and Girls, Bossa Nova, Big Momma's House, Screwed, or Road Trip.

BestChicken Run followed by Jesus' Son

Worst8 Women edging out Loser



Accolades

I'm simply going to reuse the categories from the annual Golden Brando awards while adding a worse category for each (hence no Ed Wood Humanitarian award this time around).

Best Sound: Gladiator
Worst: The Art of War
Best Sound Effects Editing: Gladiator
Worst: The Art of War
Best Visual Effects: Gladiator
Worst: The Art of War
Best Original Song: "Playground Love" (The Virgin Suicides)
Worst: "Doesn't Really Matter" (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps)
Best Comedic ScoreJesus' Son (Elizabeth Cuthrell, David Urrutia, and Oren Moverman)
Worst: 8 Women
Best Dramatic ScoreThe Virgin Suicides (Air)
Worst: The Art of War
Best Film Editing: Gladiator
Worst: Autumn in New York
Best Makeup: The Cell
Worst: Hollow Man
Best Cinematography: Gladiator (John Mathieson)
Worst: The Art of War
Best Costume Design: The Cell
Worst: Loser
Best Art Direction: The Cell
Worst: Hollow Man
Best Supporting Actor: James Woods (The Virgin Suicides)
Worst: Michael Biehn (The Art of War)
Best Supporting Actress: Samantha Morton (Jesus' Son)
Worst: Laurie Fortier (The In Crowd)
Best Actor: Russell Crowe (Gladiator)
Worst: Kevin Bacon (Hollow Man)
Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst (The Virgin Suicides)
Worst: Elisabeth Shue (Hollow Man)
Best Comedic Acting Ensemble: Jesus' Son
Worst: Loser
Best Dramatic Acting Ensemble: The Virgin Suicides
Worst: Hollow Man
Best Original Screenplay: Gladiator (David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson)
Worst: Hollow Man
Best Adapted ScreenplayThe Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola)
Worst: Beau Travail
Best Director: Ridley Scott (Gladiator)
Worst: Paul Verhoevan (Hollow Man)
Best Picture: The Virgin Suicides
Worst: The Art of War



Blatant Opinion: As the dust clears, 49 2000 films were seen for the first time between 1 May and 31 August.  In addition are multiple viewings like three of Gladiator, three of The Perfect Storm, and five of Scary Movie.  So here it is, the complete listing of 2000 Summer films with ratings:

Virgin Suicides, The ( A / **** )
Gladiator ( A / **** )
42 Up ( A- / ***1/2 )
Chicken Run ( A- / ***1/2 )
Fantasia/2000 ( A- / ***1/2 )
Croupier ( B+ / ***1/2 )
Jesus' Son ( B+ / ***1/2 )
Perfect Storm, The ( B+ / ***1/2 )
Hamlet ( B+ / ***1/2 )
10 Filth and the Fury, The ( B+ / ***1/2 )
11 Mifune ( B+ / ***1/2 )
12 Terrorist, The ( B+ / ***1/2 )
13 Sunshine ( B+ / ***1/2 )
14 Time Code ( B / *** )
15 Color of Paradise, The ( B / *** )
16 Small Time Crooks ( B / *** )
17 What Lies Beneath ( B / *** )
18 Cell, The ( B / *** )
19 Scary Movie ( B / *** )
20 Chuck & Buck ( B / *** )
21 Titan A.E. ( B / *** )
22 X-Men ( B / *** )
23 Original Kings of Comedy, The ( B / *** )
24 Return to Me ( B / *** )
25 Joe Gould's Secret ( B / *** )
26 Bring It On ( B- / *** )
27 Me Myself I ( B- / *** )
28 Shanghai Noon ( B- / *** )
29 Replacements, The ( B- / *** )
30 Me, Myself & Irene ( B- / *** )
31 Committed ( B- / *** )
32 Big Kahuna, The ( B- / *** )

-------END OF RECOMMENDED FILMS-------

33 Gone in Sixty Seconds ( C+ / **1/2 )
34 East-West ( C+ / **1/2 )
35 Patriot, The ( C+ / **1/2 )
36 Up at the Villa ( C / ** )
37 Onegin ( C / ** )
38 Space Cowboys ( C / ** )
39 Mission: Impossible 2 ( C / ** )
40 Coyote Ugly ( C- / ** )
41 Beau Travail ( C- / ** )
42 Shaft ( C- / ** )
43 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps ( C- / ** )
44 Loser ( C- / ** )
45 Autumn in New York ( D+ / *1/2 )
46 8 Women ( D+ / *1/2 )
47 In Crowd, The ( D / * )
48 Hollow Man ( D- / 1/2 )
49 Art of War, The ( F / NO STARS )


Analysis by:
David Perry
2000, Cinema-Scene.com

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