So many good DVDs were released in 2002 that I find it difficult to choose the ten best. Nevertheless, I've compiled a list of ten of my favorites that includes both contemporary and classic films released on DVD in 2002. Please note that the year in parentheses refers to the movie's original theatrical release. Here's my idiosyncratic list of what I feel are the best DVD films released in 2002.
In this strange and fascinating film, Joe Gillis (William Holden) is a young screenwriter who helps Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) with a script she hopes will launch her comeback. I think Swanson creates one of the most memorable characters in film history. I love the dialogue in the movie, and it's hard to top the film's last line: "All right, Mr. DeMille, Im ready for my close-up."
"Pulp Fiction" is a dark, violent comedy that satirizes our expectations of a crime drama. The film is made up of three interconnected storiesnot told in chronological orderrevolving around underworld types who are the stuff of pulp fiction. I love Tarantino's dialogue in "Pulp Fiction," and I enjoy the way he took crime movie cliches and tweaked them into something fresh and funny.
E.T. is about a 10-year-old suburban boy who finds an extraterrestrial being left behind by his spaceship. I love this heartwarming, cinematic, and highly entertaining film, and I never fully appreciated it until I watched it on DVD. I think that with its improved special effects and remastered sound track, the 2002 update looks and sounds as good as any contemporary movie.
I really like the charm and elegance of "Roman Holiday." The story is about Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn), who while visiting Rome, slips away to have some incognito fun. She meets Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), a newspaperman who shows her around the Eternal City. The movie's satisfying ending is bittersweet and always leaves me close to tears.
The dazzling visual style of "Mulholland Drive" creates an otherworldly mood. The enigmatic story revolves around a young woman who comes to Hollywood to break into the movies and becomes involved in an ill-fated lesbian relationship with a beautiful star. I loved the seductive, dreamlike, noirish cinematography, and I feel that "Mulholland Drive" is David Lynch's best film.
I think that "Gosford Park" ranks with some of director Robert Altman's best work. Set in 1932, the movie is about a gathering of a dozen aristocrats and their servants at a fancy English country estate where someone is murdered. The film has aspects of an Agatha Christie mystery, but what I like best about the movie is that it's a closely observed study of a fascinating social milieu.
In this sci-fi thriller, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) uses the special powers of three psychics who can envision a murder before it happens. But when the system identifies him as being about to murder someone he doesn't even recognize, he goes on the run. Spielberg has created a fascinating portrait of the near-future. I found this film to be filled with thought-provoking and resonant ideas.
Frodo, the wizard Gandalf, and seven others form the Fellowship and embark on a quest to destroy a magic ring in order to save the world from the evil Sauron. I found this movie to be dazzlingly cinematic and intellectually engaging, and Ian McKellen is superb as Gandalf. Stunning location shooting and special effects bring J.R.R. Tolkien's novel to vivid life on the screen.
In "Vanilla Sky," David Aames (Tom Cruise) finds himself incarcerated, accused of a murder he doesn't remember. "Vanilla Sky" blurs reality and fantasy, veering into sci-fi territory. I liked Tom Cruise's performance and thought there was good romantic chemistry between him and Penelope Cruz. The DVD's commentary track by director Cameron Crowe is one of the best I've heard.
The HBO television show "The Sopranos" is the best dramatic TV series I have ever seen. I really enjoy the continuing saga of northern New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his two familieshis crime family and his relatives. "The Sopranos" has won many awards, and as far as Im concerned, it deserves them all.