PCR past banners Now in our fourth calendar year
PCR #196  (Vol. 4, No. 52)  This edition is for the week of December 22--31, 2003.
The EnlightenmentThe Enlightenment

Will and Karen's Excellent Adventure to South Florida - Part Two....Plus, Year-End Summary
by Will Moriaty
Cold Mountain
 by Mike Smith
2003 Year-End Edition
 by Vinnie Blesi
The Top Ten Albums of 2003
 by Terence Nuzum
The Top Ten Movies of 2003
 by Terence Nuzum
At The Movies....In Closing...
 by John Lewis
'Twas The Night Before Christmas And At PCR...
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Year That Was....Why God, Why?....Do What We Say, Not What We Do....Yoko Again....Classic Lines....My Top 10 Movies, Phillip's Top 5
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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This year for movies was a bit odd. I didn't find myself going to too many or liking too many independent/art films. They just weren't that many good ones this year. But on the mainstream side, the action/adventure movies were great and many of them harkened back to the older classics. So here you are, my Enlightening movie list for 2003.

10. Freddy vs. Jason. Basically the Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman for the slasher generation. It had it all the stereotypical victims like the stoner kid and the black chick, the monster uber fight of the century and best of all a prologue that shows Freddy terrorizing a little kid for once, and not a 20-year-old! Great just for pure nostalgia cheese.

9. X2. On the list of great superhero movies, this is number 4, as far as I'm concerned (Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man preceed it). It was more serious than the first film, plus its action scenes were the kind of thing that all superhero movies should have, in other words, it keeps you on your toes. Bryan Singer may be wasting his career doing genre sequels, but hey, as long as they are good, who cares. I mean who really likes Apt Pupil anyway?

8. Northfork. The Polish Bros. noirish tribute to Lynch, the Coens, and surrealism in general also has a heart. Its tale of fading angels, the end of the small town mid-west, and one little orphan still manages to touch you under all the symbolism.

7. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl. Depp's take on a pirate as a drunk madman acting like as a swishy fop may leave somewhat to be desired but at least he's good! And the pirate battles are the most awe-inspiring since Cutthroat Island. Plus it has ghosts! Can you ask for more in an Swashbuckling movie?

6. Lost In Translation. Sofia Coppola's Antonioni/French New Wave homage about an travel-weary actor and a young girl who's not sure what direction to take in life, but who both find that they are soulmates, even if they only share it for a couple weeks. While it lacks the furious punk immediacy of her debut, The Virgin Suicides, and I didn't quite love it, one can not deny its importance.

5. Once Upon A Time In Mexico. Robert Rodriguez's ultimate love letter to Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. Depp is ridiculously great as the weird, crooked F.B.I. agent and Banderas actually manages to give the Mariachi some character this time as we see him now as a empty man whose life is violence.

4. Bubba Ho-Tep. After 24 years, all Don Coscarelli had given us was The Beastmaster and Phantasm sequels. So no way did I think he would deliver this great horror-comedy. But it is not just a comedy, in fact, it bends genres and also becomes a drama. Yes, its more than just about Elvis fighting a mummy in a nursing home. It's a tale of conspiracy theories and faded heroes regaining their pride.

3. American Splendor. Harvey Pekar has to have the greatest persona ever. He's self-centered, mean and foul-mouthed, his friends are a cast of characters so freaky that you almost couldn't believe they are real, and oh yeah, he knows Robert Crumb. SO YEAH! Of course this movie is great!

2. House Of 1,000 Corpses. Rob Zombie added just about every '70s horror homage he could in this unnofficial Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. From rednecks to zombies, clowns, serial killers, bigfoot, gas masks, porn shops, to horror hosts this was the fanboy's dream. That and it was ten times more innovative and envelope-pushing than any horror movie in the last 20 years.

1. LOTR- Return Of The King. This was it, the final and last part of Peter Jackson's epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's equally epic novel. The battle scenes put every movie ever made to shame even if it is mostly CGI and the cast pull off the best drama of their lives. When it does get to be too melodramatic it makes up for it in the end at Mount Doom when it all comes to a head in one of cinema's most breathtaking endings. I said before that it was shaping up to be one of the best fantasy trilogys ever and now I can say it is the best. One of the things I thought I'd never see: Hollywood putting out a great adaptation of the book of the century. If Jackson makes nothing else, at least he had this, the greatest fantasy films ever made, a.k.a., take it like a man, George Lucas.

To Hell With You All, Terence Nuzum

"The Enlightenment" is ©2003 by Terence Nuzum..  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.