0007: My Ten Favorite 2000 Films

  • 1) Requiem for a Dream
  • 2) Yi Yi
  • 3) In the Mood for Love
  • 4) Memento
  • 5) Divided We Fall
  • 6) Together
  • 7) You Can Count on Me
  • 8) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • 9) Almost Famous
  • 10) Chicken Run

Darn, I missed American Psycho. Did you see Gladiator and The Patriot? Those are my 2 favorite so far. I also really enjoyed U-571 and Final Destination (considering horror films typically suck and this one was pretty intense).

I was extremely disappointed with Gladiator, but I have not seen The Patriot yet. U-571 was much better than it had any right to be, but I felt it a notch below these films. Perhaps I'll eventually add it. I have not seen Final Destination.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

lbangs this is your brother, I enjoy your lists very much and I have gone through most of them although my knowlegdge of movies is limited. I as you might guess, I would put gladiator in that grouping but thats just me. Another good movie of this year is the whole nine yards with bruce willis.

See ya, Tate

I'm going to have to see The Whole Nine Yards. Thanks for the suggestion!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Wasn't Memento terrific? A question for you (others: do NOT read if you haven't seen the movie):

How did you interpret the brief shot of the "I did it" tatoo on his chest? Do you think he had that put on and removed after his first "success", or was it a chronology break and he had it put on after he killed Teddy? Or was it a manufactured idealized memory (albeit I short-lived one) - it was too brief for me to remember if his wife was with him or not?

I think I'm going to have to see it at least one more time before I have a firm internal representation of the chronology.

"What am I doing? Oh, I'm chasing that guy. No, he's chasing me."

My feeling is that he put the tatoo on after he finally tracked the "real" murderer down, realized he no longer had a reason to live (remember the part of the film when he is glad that he has a reason to carry on, revenge?), and removed it. The fact that we are not sure is one of the interesting elements of Memento - we actually "know" (we think) more during the first 15 minutes than we do as the film progesses back in time. By the end, we really aren't sure to what extent the various characters are lying, even to themselves. He could have always put the tatoo on during a brief period of realizing that he was the man in the insulin story (if we can *really* trust the Teddy character), and therefore, that he in a way murdered his wife (perhaps in his mind). We just don't know, but we are fascinated and riveted.

Didn't you love how the first scene told us so much about the film? His memories fade like the photograph we first see, and the segments of the film run backwards, just like the first scene does quite literally.

A fantastic film that proved even better than I expected.

I now have five films I prefer to the five actually nominated for best picture in 2000! There aren't too many years this happens!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

We also saw this movie this weekend and really enjoyed it. I'm still trying to figure out everything and, like Jim, will have to watch it again to try to make sense of all of the lies. Some things that stick out to me...:

What was Dodd's relation to Lenny? It seems that they knew each other from before (at least, Dodd knew Lenny). Was Lenny involved with the whole gang for a much longer time? Jimmy also knew him. Was Lenny involved in the drugs?

I agree that it seems Lenny realized he must continually hunt down John G's to give his life purpose, at least at some point, but when he tatoo's the license plate on himself, that pretty much eliminates everyone and Teddy almost has to be his last John G. Is Lenny now somehow at peace?

Just some questions I had that I couldn't make sense of for myself...

Overall, a very good, interesting, and intriguing movie.

Jim, on a side note, maybe a feature where an entire list can be made to be a spoiler so that new movies and such can be discussed?

Mm, interesting thought, but I think that might get confusing. And there are plenty of non-spoiler conversations you can have about most new movies (it's just that Memento is eminently spoilable). I think having the ability to "spoilerize" an entire list and ensuing discussion only fills a very narrow niche. And besides, how would you know where to swipe? :-)

I would have to watch it again to figure out the Dodd angle. I had a decent explanation for my wife when we left the theater, but now I've forgotten it.

If you like lbang's interpretation that he had "I did it" and removed it to give his life purpose, then there's no reason why he can't do the same thing with the other tatoos. I think his interpretation works well with the movie's chronology. On the other hand, I also like the "achieved peace" interpretation in which the "I did it" was a death scene. But I only like that interpretation because I think his wife was with him - but maybe I inserted her after forming an impression from the briefly flashed scene.

Y'know, it never occurred to me that "I did it" might have applied to his insulin-episode - I automatically assumed it pertained to "solving" the John G. puzzle. Interesting! I like your interpretation, but I also like the interpretation that he painted himself into a corner with his other tatoos being so conclusive, and he killed himself. The "I did it" image was a final flash before death (hence the "I did it" with him smiling in his wife's arms (but was he with her? I can't remember if I'm remembering correctly, but I thought he was)). I often find myself frustrated when movies are too inconclusive at the end, but here it's part of the beauty - all the possibilities are compelling.

And yes, I loved the opening scene. I was immediately engrossed. If I were up for creating such a list, it would certainly go on my "best opening scenes" list.

Now that you have five films that you prefer to the Oscar nominees, is your comment, "sadly, I haven't seen too many films that thrilled me this year" obsolete?

Yes; although I'm still searching for a tenth film to round out this list, I think that comment can go now.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Personally, I loved O Brother Where Art Thou?, and I thought Billy Elliot and Wonder Boys were pretty good.

I'm also looking forward to Best of Show, Amores Perros and Snatch. I'd be interested to see if any of those can fill your 10-spot.

I have a sneaking hunch that Wonder Boys or Amores Perros may have a good shot at rounding off this list. I hope to see the latter this weekend, if it stays in town.

I hope Best of Show is better than Waiting for Guffman, which left me rather unmoved. I have a few friends who say that it is, so this is hopeful.

I will most likely rent O Brother. I hope I like it.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I would be very shocked if Wonder Boys does not enter top 5, but you never know.

I promise you, I certainly hope it is that good. I'm planning on renting it soon.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Some spoiled comments:

I guess one way to check this theory would be to analyze his tatoos in that scene and see which ones you can see. That would give an idea of when the scene was supposed to take place.

I had forgotten that scene and hadn't thought about what it meant. I think that it was long after he killed the first guy because in the photograph he only had the first tatoo, while in bed with his wife (I'm pretty sure you are right Jim and it was his wife) he had many.

I sort of don't like the idea that he removed tatoos. It seemed to be the one thing he could trust. If he can't trust himself, who can he trust? Of course, he's already lied to himself...

(does tatoo removal leave any scarring?)

At the time, I interpretted that scene as just a blissful moment, a moment of wishing for a perfect time and place: he's killed the murderer and reunited with his wife. But, I'm not sure.

I do believe that tatoo-removal leaves a scar. I think I just have to see it again. :-)

Me too.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I finally saw Memento this week and felt this movie has taken Modern Film Noir to a new extreme. While the characters have always felt a sense of dislocation and alienation from reality (The Third Man, Fargo), this is the first movie I've seen where the audience is the one who feels alienated and dislocated from the story. The main character contained a sense of ironic humor toward the end, while we, the audience, simply left the theatre and wondered how the director got away with manipulating and "playing" our own reality. Good Movie (without even mentioning the narrative structure).


Howdy, all! I'm back, at least for a bit. This has been a very busy summer, and obviously, my Listology efforts have suffered as a result. I am fine, however; I recently switched jobs, and my wife and I are preparing for a cross-town move. Once the move is complete, we will have high-speed internet access. As a result, you'll probably see my face around here more often come mid August.

I've received a number of personal emails, and I promise I will attempt to answer them all soon. Sorry for the wait; I haven't forgotten anybody.

As to Memento, glad you finally saw it. One critic recently suggested that three films of the last ten years have worked to redefine film narrative in mainstream film, and Memento was one of them (for the record, the other two were Pulp Fiction and Timecode 2000; sadly, I've yet to see that last one, though I hope to soon!).

7days, I am well and will respond soon. Johnny Waco, those lists should be coming soon.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Alright, I finally saw Memento.
Here's my opinion on the story:
I think the tatoo that says "I did it" was put on when he killed John G with Teddy. He had it there the entire time, because I noticed it when he first showed us the tatoos, which was the beginning of the story (in black and white mode). He kept it there, but he could ignore it if he wanted to, much like the fact that his "condition" was physical not mental.
Also, I think that Lenny was Sammy Jenkins. Not in name, but I think that we really did accidently kill his wife and then was commited. The reason I believe this is because when you see the shot of Sammy in the hospital, a nurse passes by, and he quickly changes to Lenny for about half a second. I'm guessing that teddy got him out of the hospital, then Lenny managed to kill the real John G.

That's my take on the entire thing.

Is Yi Yi the new addition to this list? I loved the little things . . . like Yang-Yang's notion of photographing the backs of peoples heads for them or Mr. Ota (before we know who he is) and the pigeons. And I thought Nien-Jen Wu's portrayal of N.J. was marvelously understated. Perfectly downtrodden without being emotionless. Oh, one more thing . . . I was completely convinced that Yang-Yang had drowned, and was all prepared to be heartbroken when he reappeared :-)

Yi Yi is the new addition, and I'm thrilled that you also enjoyed the film. On top of seeing a family drama that actually had an interesting story to tell about each member, I also loved the understated style and the wonderfully composed mise-en-scene. Nice use of color and music as well. An amazing film I can only hope others will check out.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ah, is Together the new member of this list? What did you think of it?

Together is perhaps a bit slight, but it is very fun. The rare well-done feel-good film. I'd say bring the family, but the sexual content would prohibit that...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

hmm, was Wonder Boys intentionally left off this list?

Yes, but not in a mean way. I liked the film, I just didn't love it. That seems to be adding up to the way most Curtis Hanson films strike me.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I know this is gonna sound mean, but why the Hell is Chocolat even close to making this list?

Sorry if that was abrasive, I just detest that film, and I wonder what you like about it.


I enjoy the film. It is a bit predictable, as 99% of all films are, but there really wasn't too much else wrong with it. The acting and directing were good, and they even resisted the temptation to make the bad characters completely bad and the good characters completely good. Like I said, I enjoy the film. Not my favorite, but much better than the odd drama Hollywood occasionally decides to throw out with the wave of action and comedy flicks. With all the hubbub of people grumbling, "Boy, that didn't deserve a nomination," I was wondering, "Gladiator did? The freakin' film won, for God's sake, and it much worse than Chocolat!!!"

Alright, so what do you hate so much about it? Be as abrasive as you necessary to clean this smudge off of my good taste... ;)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

There, AAA, it has been bumped off now. Happier? :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Quite relieved. If you check my profile, I updated my 2000 list as well. Chocolat is absent, but I think it still stands up to scrutiny.

Maybe you remember: Some months ago, I told you about a Korean film called Memories of Murder. Today I finally managed to see it, and all I can say is: See it! It is outstanding!