Top 10 Movies I Haven't Seen This Year

I was reading this New Yorker piece about Top Ten Lists and I thought to myself, I should do a top ten list. Those who know me know I'm awful at this sort of thing, in that I have a hard time choosing favorites - especially when the options are varied and diverse. That said I'm usually able to pull it together for movies, if a little late (best of 2001 coming soon!). This year I find that I'm not sure I could compile a top 10 (possibly even a top 5), but that is at least in part due to the fact that I didn't see a lot of movies this year. It is also due to the fact that I didn't love a lot of the supposed "great" films this year. There were several films I considered to be really good and entertaining, but very few blew me away.

So instead of producing a substandard top 10 best films of 2003, I'm going to try something a little different. I tried to emphasize offbeat films in this list, though there are a few mainstream flicks in there as well. This means that several are foreign films, indy pics, or even documentaries. Also keep in mind that I haven't actually seen any of these films, so they're not really recommendations... just films I think sound interesting. Make of that what you will, and enjoy:

Top 10 Films I Should Have Seen in 2003
In no particular order*
  • House of Sand and Fog: Well, it sounds a little pretentious, but I still want to see it. Plus, Jennifer Connelly is hot. Score.
  • The Russian Ark: I want to see this movie solely based on the knowledge that it consists of a single shot that lasts for the entire length of the film.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: I know it was probably butchered, but I need to watch it anyway, if only to marvel at what could have been. I will note, however, that this attitude usually leads to my enjoying the movie a lot more than I thought...
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico: The continuing saga of "El Mariachi", supposedly written and filmed on the fly by director Robert Rodriguez. Sounds fun, but I don't expect a whole lot.
  • The Cooler: The unluckiest man in Vegas (played by William H. Macy) finds a way to apply his bad luck for the benefit of a casino, but runs into trouble when he falls in love and suddenly finds himself dancing with lady luck... Alec Baldwin apparently turns in a great performance as the nasty casino director (he's done similar things before). I'm a sucker for gambling movies. Sue me.
  • American Splendor: The comic book related story of everyman Harvey Pekar.
  • Spellbound: The supposedly riveting documentary which follows 8 teenagers during the 1999 National Spelling Bee. We'll see about that.
  • The Man on the Train: A chance encounter on a train leave a schoolteacher and a crook envious of each other's lives. Another that I meant to see but missed out on...
  • Lost in Translation: Must. See. Bill. Murray. In. Excellent. Role. Soon...
  • Owning Mahowny: Bank clerk played by Philip Seymour Hoffman takes on Vegas? I'm so there. I meant to see this one in the theaters, but it was only playing at the Ritz and I didn't get out there in time... I hope to rent it this weekend.
* This is, in fact, only partially true. The films are roughly listed in order from what I want to see least to most, with stress on the "roughly"

Damn, that list filled up quickly. Honorable mention: Irreversible (described by James as "Memento on Heroin"), Capturing the Friedmans, Cold Mountain, Mystic River, The Fog of War, Elephant, Swimming Pool, Cabin Fever, Dirty Pretty Things, and Underworld.

Whew. I probably won't even get around to seeing all of these films, but they all seem interesting and at least worthy of consideration. Check them out if you're in the mood for something different... I know I will.

Update: Knock a few off the list...

Update: Oh damn! How could I forget Bubba Ho-Tep! Still not playing in Philly, but it appears to still be making the rounds, so I'm crossing my fingers...