Hopefully, everyone has enjoyed my top five film series. I covered ten years ago and twenty years ago; now, it’s time to meet in the middle. 2002 was a time when Tom Brady just won his first Super Bowl, American Idol just debuted, and Nelly’s Band-Aid would’ve had a million Instagram followers if it existed. Also, we had a nice eclectic list of films from that year. I tried to filter through a great list of movies to narrow it down to just five. I found that only one film seemed to be a clear number one. Beyond that, there is a lot of good films that could easily make the list. Here is what made my final cut.
Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers– Directed by Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson’s work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy is perhaps the most ambitious adaptation of all time. The last hour of this film may be one of the greatest sequences in film history. The Battle of Helms Deep is brilliantly built up and executed, considering the fact fans of the books claimed it couldn’t be done. The role of Aragorn played by Viggo Mortensen is widely expanded, and he is my personal favorite character of the series. From a filming and staging perspective, this is easily the best film of 2002. Peter Jackson was the king of the early 2000’s with these movies, and this middle chapter is a perfect example of his talent.
About Schmidt– Directed By Alexander Payne
Jack Nicholson is Warren Schmidt, a recently retired man who is coming to a major crossroads in his life. His daughter is marrying a father’s worst nightmare, his wife has secrets, and he has recently started sponsoring a young Tanzanian boy through Plan USA. This road comedy is a perfect example of Payne’s writing and directing style. He makes original adult comedies that are fantastic for laughs and tears. Kathy Bates, Hope Davis, and Dermot Mulroney round out an excellent cast, and this is one of many amazing films from Payne.
Bubba Ho-Tep– Directed by Donald Coscarelli
If this list does nothing but generates some love for this film, it was worth writing. Bruce Campbell stars as a man who believes he is Elvis Presley, and he is now in a nursing home. Ossie Davis is his friend who believes that he is JFK, and they are fighting an ancient enemy. This enemy is a mummy who is sucking the souls from the residents of their nursing home, dubbed “Bubba Ho-Tep” by Campbell’s character. This wonderfully bizarre film is B-Movie gold.
Adaptation– Directed By Spike Jonze
Charlie Kaufman is unlike any writer I’ve ever encountered. His films are bizarre, darkly humorous, and unique. Spike Jonze helms this Kaufman penned film which sees Nicholas Cage playing real life brothers Charlie and Donald Kaufman. They are trying to adapt Susan Orlean’s non-fiction book, The Orchid Thief, and it isn’t working out so well. The film shows Cage brilliantly playing neurotic writer Charlie Kaufman who eventually writes himself into his screenplay. The lines of fiction and reality are blurred in this fantastic movie.
Gangs of New York– Directed By Martin Scorsese
This 19th-century war epic is based on a true story. Racial and religious tension is high between the Protestants and the Irish Catholics of Manhattan. Political corruption, violence, family legacy, and early examples of the American dream are all present in this film by one of all time greatest directors. Daniel Day Lewis is brilliant as Bill The Butcher and shows a darkness that he later perfects in the brilliant There Will Be Blood. This one is a classic and is often overlooked due to Scorsese’s other legendary films.