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10 Best Films: Ian Grey

By Ian Grey | Posted 12/20/2000

Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, United States) Four very different souls go to Consumer Hell in Aronofsky's hyperactively inventive, unsparing, acid-bath allegory of the American Dream.

All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, France/Spain)* The deliciously tweaked Almodóvar usurps the oldest cliché about gay males--that they have an unhealthy fixation on their moms--and then enlists even more hoary queer accoutrements (shrieking drag queens, Douglas Sirk-style über-melodramatics) to establish the crazed glory of the nonbiological femme.

Jesus' Son (Alison Maclean, United States)* A white-trash ne'er do well named Fuckhead (Billy Crudup) finds redemption amidst the human detritus of 1970s urbania. Director Maclean (Crush) has fashioned a luminously beautiful, peculiarly American Gothic.

American Psycho (Mary Harron, United States)* The great sucking sound of '80s greed, translated through our current dot-com version of same, is represented by Christian Bale's stunning dead/alive performance as the titular serial killer/stockbroker. Harron's sophomore film has all the icy precision of prime Kubrick, but with a generosity of basic humanity that's even extended to the film's featured monster.

The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, United States)* Coppola makes good on the promise of her father's early career in this dreamy and poetic--in the non-vomit-inducing sense of the word--drift through the lives and early deaths of a group of Normal Suburban Girls.

Charlie's Angels (McG, United States) Co-star/co-producer Drew Barrymore co-commandeers $100 million, a first-time feature director best known for Korn videos, and the more bimbo-ish skills of Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu and scores big time with this feckless guilty pleasure informed by a truly stunning level of adorable dorkiness. It was that sort of year.

Sex: The Annabelle Chong Story (Gough Lewis, United States)* Self-styled Gen X porn icon Chong sets out to prove that fucking 251 guys is empowering; this documentary explores the result of this collision of "post-feminism" and commerce, the complete demolition of a human personality. Sex re-calibrates your thinking about a lot of things you might have taken for granted, with images that will stay with you forever. Who said art would always be fun?

Rosetta(Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France)* A wretchedly poor gamine runs her way to the only dream she has left: a tolerable job. And even that's a nightmare. An incredibly tense/terse examination of the annoying way everything can, and often does, fall apart for unknowable reasons.

Winter Sleepers (Tom Tykwer, Germany)* Utterly resistant to synopsis, Winter Sleepers finds Run Lola Run director Tykwer creating Lola's aesthetic opposite, a sensually glacial investigation into the intractability of memory, the nature of crime, and other depressing German subjects. Smart as hell and erotic as fuck.

Waking the Dead (Keith Gordon, United States) * In the first minutes of this heart-wrecking study of the political becoming very personal, a politician wannabe (Billy Crudup) watches a TV news report that tells him that his radical-activist lover (Jennifer Connelly) has died in a car bombing. Or has she? Despite a thematic wimp-out of a finale, Waking the Dead works as a magical-realist three-hankie romance, a thorough meditation on public and personal responsibility, and another opportunity to watch the almost ethereally beautiful Connelly become one of our most acute performers.

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