Well, 2003 has come to a close, so it's time for Errata's first ever year-end list of favorites. I'm limiting the list to 8 instead of the traditional 10, because this site was only open for 9 and a half months. We need rules, you see. Rules that involve math.
One more rule: I'm not going to tell you which movies I didn't see, a sort of hedge. Because, you know what? However many movies I saw this year, it's a fraction of what was available.
Let me explain.
I'm surprised by the number commentators who, in early December, compiled a "best of" list with the caveat that the third Lord of the Rings movie would "probably" be added, too. After they see it, of course, a mere formality. Hey, it's my dream come true. An even larger number of critics said, "Here's my list, but I still haven't seen X and Y." I have two problems with this: 1) It furthers the misconception that any of these lists is complete, that anyone — anyone — who writes about movies can see even a simple majority of the movies that played in theaters in the U.S. this year, and 2) it implies that of the hundreds of movies the critic didn't see, X or Y in particular have a good chance of getting into the top 10, which means the critic making the hedge evaluates movies based on some criteria outside the movie itself. Context is one thing, but going through the motions is another.
I myself am tempted to put a caveat on my list, because holiday travel has prevented me from seeing the new movie by one of my favorite filmmakers, but so be it. That's the breaks, man! Definitive, schmefinitive. These are my ideas, that's all. These are my "favorite" movies (relative), not the "best" movies (absolute). Picky, picky. Time to put my taste on the line.
So in no particular order, here's what I really liked this year:
Next: a list of the year's provocations.
Great list, Robert--especially since The Son was my favorite film of 2003, too!
I've been tempted to get the Danish Dogville DVD, but von Trier is hit and miss for me. And I increasingly regret having missed Elephant. Hmm...
(And you should go ahead and add Oasis since your site is nine months old...that would mathematically jive with nine films, wouldn't it?) :)
Hey, Doug, I like your math. And your list, by the way. When I run the numbers (pulling the lever on the adding machine that I keep next to my popcorn popper) I come up with 5 or 6 films in your list that I haven't seen. Excellent!
And that's not counting your video lists, which are going to keep me busy for a while. Thanks. Your breadth is something I aspire to.
You should check out Elephant. I'd be curious to hear your take. I kick myself for missing The Station Agent which has shown up on a few lists, including yours. It's one of those that I had plenty of opportunities to see but never got around to.
Okay, I might see Elephant tomorrow at 11:00 a.m...we'll see.
I know what you mean about The Station Agent--for some reason, I didn't expect it to be as good as it was, either, so I kept finding other films I wanted to see more. I'm glad I finally gave it a chance.
(BTW, hilarious comments on Kiarostami's "remake.") :)