The Year That Was ... Pretty Good

Even New Times critics liked what they saw

10. Stir of Echoes: Otherwise known as "the other movie about a kid who sees dead people." A release date about the time The Sixth Sense was becoming a national phenomenon effectively killed David Koepp's spookier ghost story, which is too bad. Kevin Bacon turns in a great performance as a man obsessed by delusions, Koepp's cinematic visualization of a hypnotic trance is stunning, and residential Chicago is effectively portrayed as a near-Hell on Earth. Read the full New Times review -- Luke Y. Thompson

Bill's Top 10
1. American Beauty
Read the full New Times review

2. Being John Malkovich
Read the full New Times review

Feeling good about Being John Malkovich
Feeling good about Being John Malkovich
Like South Park, movies this year were bigger, longer, and better
Like South Park, movies this year were bigger, longer, and better

3. The Insider

4. Magnolia
Read the full New Times review

5. Topsy-Turvy

6. The Matrix
Read the full New Times review

7. The Dreamlife of Angels
Read the full New Times review

8. Election
Read the full New Times review

9. An Ideal Husband
Read the full New Times review

10. Holy Smoke -- Bill Gallo

David's Top 10
1. Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train: Patrice Chereau's film about a funeral and its aftermath is the greatest motion picture made not just this year, but in the past 32 years. Read the full New Times review

2. The Lovers on the Bridge: The second greatest motion picture made in the past 32 years. Léos Carax's romantic epic bankrupted three companies before its four years of shooting and postproduction was finished. It was worth it.

3. Mandadayo: Thanks to Turner Classic Movies for premiering Kurosawa's final film, about an old professor, his class of adoring students, and the loss of a beloved house cat.

4. Being John Malkovich: "Craig, you can't stand in the way of my realizing myself as a man." Read the full New Times review

5. Eyes Wide Shut: The year's most misunderstood film: It's not about sex -- it's about bundt cake. Read the full New Times review

6. Lola and Billy the Kid: Gay, Turkish-immigrant drag queens and street hustlers in Germany, brilliantly directed by UCLA film school graduate E. Kutlug Ataman.

7. The Talented Mr. Ripley: Patricia Highsmith's novel, first filmed by Rene Clement as Purple Noon and starring Alain Delon, now is reconfigured by Anthony Minghella for Matt Damon. Beautiful, scary, and sexy as hell, thanks in no small part to the babealicious Jude Law. Read the full New Times review

8. Dogma: Fallen angels Matt Damon and Ben Affleck argue Catholic theology in a style that hasn't been seen since Edmund O'Brien and Marius Goring locked horns over oil-depletion allowances in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Barefoot Contessa. Kevin Smith may have Luis Buñuel on the brain, but he's Mankiewicz's heir apparent

9. Boys Don't Cry: A true picture of the heartland, with an incredible performance by Hilary Swank. Read the full New Times review

10. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: Jack Valenti stole my Cheesy Poofs! -- David Ehrenstein

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