Scott Hardie | January 1, 2004
After writing and polishing it for the good part of a week, my annual list is done at last. I open the floor to discussion. (Make sure you read the feature itself before any comments below.) My thanks to Matt Preston for giving it one final proofreading.

Jackie Mason | January 1, 2004
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Matthew Preston | January 1, 2004
Excellently put together list. I didn't see that number one coming, but am pleasantly surprised as I enjoyed it immensely. I need to thank you for doing what so many other movie critics didn't... wait for 2003 to be over! So many best of 2003 lists came out in early December and they didn't include any of the good December films. (Lord of the Rings, Cold Mountain, 21 Grams, etc.)

Steve West | January 2, 2004
Now I have to see Poolhall Junkies. I thrive on awful films - searching for that one nugget of whatever made the film-makers think this piece of garbage was a good idea.

Scott Hardie | January 2, 2004
Glad you all liked it!

Jackie: "Chicago" was January 2003 release that was put out to limited theaters a few weeks early to qualify for the Oscars. I date films according to their national release date. Actually, I saw "The Pianist" back in its December 2002 limited release; it was the first 2003 film I saw.

Matt: Ha, yeah, I'm glad I wait too. I'd like to think that if I were a professional critic (again), I would still obey my date standards, but I probably wouldn't have a choice.

Steve: Welcome to TC at last. My description of "Poolhall Junkies" was dramatic but not untrue. I hope that movie's every bit as terrible for you as it was for me. :-)

Anna Gregoline | January 3, 2004
Awesome. I added so many to Netflix! Thanks again, Scott! =)

Jackie Mason | January 3, 2004
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Scott Hardie | March 26, 2004
So Steve, did you ever manage to see "Poolhall Junkies" and if so, have you yet recovered?

Steve West | March 27, 2004
No, it remains unchecked on my list of New Year's resolutions. Although, I just got home from seeing The Ladykillers. Not putrid but I'm not really sure why it isn't. Tom Hanks was tremendously fascinating but still not on a par with Alec Guinness in the original. And the Coen brothers have been funnier (waaaayyyy funnier). Review it quick so that people won't be able to say they weren't warned.

Jackie Mason | March 27, 2004
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Scott Hardie | March 27, 2004
I'm not a big fan of the theory that there are only 14 (17?) different plots in Hollywood, but there's something they love about recycling old material. What have been the last three number-one movies? Starsky & Hutch, The Passion of the Christ, and Dawn of the Dead. Now Scooby-Doo 2 is expected to win this weekend. Why should Hollywood come up with something new when audiences will go see film versions of television shows they have already watched and books they have already read?

Kris Weberg | March 27, 2004
More to the point from a movie company's perspective, why risk losing monmey on something new when you can simply make a film of a proven commodity witha built-in audience?

Melissa Erin | March 27, 2004
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Melissa Erin | March 27, 2004
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Steve West | March 27, 2004
Most filmgoers would agree, I think. For every Godfather Part 2 there are one hundred (easily) Rocky II's, III's & IV's etc. ad nauseum. Although I guiltily admit I loved Mr. T as Clubber Lang.

Kris Weberg | March 29, 2004
Besides T2 and Godfather Part II, are there any sequels that most people feel surpassed the originals?

Scott Hardie | March 29, 2004
Steve: Good point. Why is it that when a modern sequel is made to a revered classic, it is automatically considered bad? I know the dread some filmgoers experience about their favorite classics getting tarnished (I am NOT looking forward to the "Easy Rider" sequel), but once the sequel is finished and released, what's wrong with evaluating it on its own terms? "The Godfather Part III" and "The Two Jakes" are not as good as the classics that preceeded them, but I still count them among my own favorite films.

Kris: I love your question! "The Silence of the Lambs" comes to my mind immediately as a superior sequel. As far as I know, "Army of Darkness" and "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Return of the King" and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" are considered the best installments in their respective series. Fans consider "Drunken Master II" to be Jackie Chan's best film (but in my opinion it is a fraction the fun of its predecessor). "Toy Story 2" and "X2" also come to mind. IMDb voters rate "Goldfinger" the best of all the James Bond films. What else we got?

John E Gunter | March 29, 2004
Well, looking at the second movie as a sequel, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was so much better than Star Trek the Motion picture. I'm sure there are Star Trek fans that would rather have Wrath as the first movie in the series.

I on the other hand liked both, but will agree that Wrath is a much a better movie than it's predecessor.

Steve Dunn | March 29, 2004
I think The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the Star Wars films.

Also, Scott, the link to the 10-best list isn't working for me.

Scott Hardie | March 29, 2004
Sorry about that, Steve; TMR has since become TMW. Here is the ten-best list at its new address.

Kris Weberg | March 31, 2004
The sad thing -- reading your review list, I realize that i didn't see even ten new movies in all of last year. Yet I saw many movies. Hmmm.

Anna Gregoline | March 31, 2004
I didn't either, Kris. Don't feel too bad.

Lori Lancaster | March 31, 2004
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Scott Hardie | March 31, 2004
Well, as I said in the introduction, Netflix helps. Every Monday, I check the new theatrical releases and the new DVD releases and queue anything that sounds interesting. (I now also list my picks of the interesting releases each week to the sidebar of my weblog.) Through this practice, I wound up with about 20 titles at the end of 2003 that I just didn't see in time, but I found several dozen more that I never would have known about otherwise, including several titles in the top ten, and the best film of 2002. Viva Netflix!

Scott Hardie | March 31, 2004
Lori's comment brings to mind a new poll question: What is your favorite film score? Mine continues to be "Schindler's List" after all these years.

Anna Gregoline | March 31, 2004
Wow. Beetlejuice springs to mind as a really great score. All those dissonant strings, yum.

Lori Lancaster | March 31, 2004
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Kris Weberg | April 1, 2004
The Third Man

Melissa Erin | April 1, 2004
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Steve West | April 1, 2004
The Natural.


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