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Elston Gunn's Best Of 2000

HIGH FIDELITY may not be *the* best film of 2000, but it's my favorite. This was the movie this year that I wanted to share with people and watch their reactions at the funniest/most honest moments. It went where surprisingly no film about relationships had really gone before. John Cusack outdoes himself, Jack Black steals many a-scene, the writing is top notch, the direction is superb, and, of course, the soundtrack is excellent--a perfect marriage between rock and film (of which I'm a complete sucker). This movie is clever, poignant, hilarious and endearing. It's based on Nick Hornby's novel of the same name. YOU CAN COUNT ON ME; ALMOST FAMOUS; O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?; CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON; and TRAFFIC are runners-up.


The "slice of life" film YOU CAN COUNT ON ME by Kenneth Lonergan was the only film of 2000 that really moved me. It's rare that we get to see a movie about the relationship between a brother and sister, but the change is welcome. I enjoyed and believed the whole thing. The film's performances are as strong as the script itself, but it's the characters themselves, the words they say, their engaging situations and journeys to their destinations are the product of the year's best screenplay. When I saw this movie, I felt that it might as well have been a stage production (not that this takes away from it being a great film), so I found it very interesting when I discovered that Lonergan is currently busy with a new Off-Broadway play.


Some might think it's a cop-out to say that Steven Soderbergh is the year's best director, but whaddya gonna do? He is. It's rare that a director make two films in a year and have them both considered outstanding.

Robert Zemeckis directed two films this year (WHAT LIES BENEATH and CAST AWAY) and, in my opinion, neither one matched the high standards of Soderbergh's ERIN BROCKOVICH, nor TRAFFIC. One could discuss the similarities and differences of both films for hours on end, but it's safe to say that the director didn't repeat himself. Both projects are fresh and different, which is something Soderbergh can guarantee with each project he approaches. He's on a roll now (OUT OF SIGHT, THE LIMEY, ERIN BROCKOVICH, TRAFFIC, upcoming OCEAN'S ELEVEN) and I pray it doesn't end anytime soon.

-- Elston Gunn

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