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Jan/Feb/Mar 2002

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THIS ISSUE!:    Oscar Fever! The Lord of the Rings! Supercrap on the WB!
PLUS: Amelie destroys Western Civilization! And the Coming of the Coreys!
X-The X With the X-Ray Eyes

The year 2001 has finally passed, and much like the movie after which the year was named, it was a dull, stupid, waste of time. The only thing that saved us all from heading down the poisoned Kool-Aid highway of mass ritual suicide was the startlingly fantastic array of feature films gifted to us by our benefactors in Hollywood. Just when you think mankind is going to Hell in a hand basket, along comes a saintly studio exec with another piece of movie manna. Terrorist attacks getting you down? Take your mind off things and watch the glorious Mariah Carey vehicle, Glitter! That economy sure is a bitch. Well, chum, ease your mind and see See Spot Run!

But Glitter is merely the bottom of the quality barrel. When picking the Oscars for the year, you have to assess how each film shapes up as a shining example of the cinematic form. All too often, popular pundits choose films which are British, or just plain boring. They never have the courage to wade into the sea of celluloid and pull out the true Catch of the Day. Well, your old friend X is no coward. I present to you my Oscar Picks, and if they seem outrageous, remember it is just because the fat cats at the Academy don't have the stones to do as I do.


"Spirit Dreams Inside" - Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Words and Music by Hideto Takari

When you hear this song over the CGI bird soaring at the end of FF:TSW, you know you have just seen something special. This song deserved all the acclaim that Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" received for Titanic.


Ghosts of Mars - Arranged and composed by John Carpenter

We've been hearing the hauntingly beautiful music of John Carpenter on movies for years. Usually on movies he has written and directed. Isn't it about time we awarded a true auteur? With Ghosts of Mars, Carpenter elevates the score from a necessary evil to a work of art in itself.


The Mummy Returns - Carol Ashley, Victoria Beharrell, Jennifer C. Bell, John Andrew Berton Jr., Jon R. Brown, David Bullock, Colin Campbell, Glenn Cotter, Carole Cowley, Fon Davis, Joel Davis, Tabitha Dean, Louis Dunlevy, Julia Egerton, Leigh Ann Fan, Fortunato Frattasio, Alex Frazao, Miguel A. Fuertes, Ray Gilberti, Adam Glasman, Paul Goodfellow, Darrel Griffin, Doug Griffin, Paul Griffin, Andy Hague, Henrik Hoffgaard, Jan Hogevold, Gary Jackemuk, Oliver James, Daniel Jeanette, Merrin Jensen, Drew Jones, Matt Kasmir, Keiko Koyama, John M. Levin, Brendan Lonergan, Roz Lowrie, Scott Marriott, David Marsh, Ann McColgan, Joel Meire, Mark Moore, Aaron Muszalski, Mark Nelmes, Brett Northcutt, Dominic Parker, Janet Quen, Chad Rogers, Seth Rosenthal, Mike Sanders, Dominic Sidoli, Melissa Taylor, Gavin Toomey, Megan Upcraft, Danny Wagner, Corrina Wilson, Gordon T. Wittmann, Eric Wong, and Doug Wright

Who says too many cooks spoil the broth? These 59 talented technicians created one of the most memorable sequences in movie history: the Rock as a Scorpion creature. It was so life like and believable, I felt like there was actually a life like and believable Scorpion creature there on the big screen. Genius!


Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Sara B. Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary, Simon West, Patrick Massett, John Zinman

I know what you're thinking: 6 people to make a cogent narrative out of a video game; how did they do it with less than 12 people? The results are on the screen in this faithful, thoughtful, and beautiful story.


The Animal - Tom Brady and Rob Schneider

This moving masterwork about a misfit who just wants to fit in is truly a moving masterwork. Having Survivor 1's Colleen on hand to speak the nigh-Shakespearean dialogue and perform alongside thespian extraordinaire Rob Shneider is merely icing on the cake.


Paul Bettany - A Knight's Tale

Bettany brought to life the role of that medieval ne'er-do-well, Geoffrey Chaucer. Best known for writing The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer apparently also invented the WWF and went around drunk and naked a lot. Bettany was the perfect man for this perfect role.


Joey Fatone - On The Line

Strictly speaking, Joey Fatone is not an actress. Nor is he an actor, per se. He is a member on *Nsync, however, and I feel that qualifies him for this category. As the emotional rock for fellow *Nsyncer Lance Bass, Fatone really shines in this touching comedy.


Heath Ledger - A Knight's Tale

You can never go wrong with hunky Heath Ledger, and the modern chops he brings to the Middle Ages drama about knights and jousting are well used, well honed, and well chopped. No Will Smith or Bill Pullman could have handled this role. Ledger knocked the ball out of the park on this one.


Natasha Henstridge - Ghosts of Mars

For shame on all who did not see Ghosts of Mars. The lovely Ms Henstridge shows a tougher side in her portrayal of a heterosexual Martian cop in a world run by lesbians. And she did it all without baring a single breast. Bravo, Natasha, bravo!


Steven Spielberg - A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Sure, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan were good, but this film truly tests Steve's skill, and he comes out with a gold medal. In choosing to follow up on late thrillmeister Stanley Kubrick's oblique vision of a future where Irish character actor Brendan Gleeson wisely tries to kill any and all Haley Joel Osments, Spielberg brings us not to the future, but to ourselves. This gift is worth all the Oscars in all the land. God bless you Steve! And Robin Williams!

And X's pick for BEST PICTURE 2001 is...

How High - Pamela Adby, Danny DeVito, James Ellis, Louis G. Friedmann, Shauna Garr, Michael Shamburg, Stacey Sher, and Johnathan Weisgal Producers.

They always save their Oscar flicks for the end of the year, and this touching tale of two stoners bringing the ghetto to stuck up Harvard University is truly the pick of the litter. Like Kareem Abdul Jabar freakishly towers over normal people, How High stands above most other films, though Tomb Raider and See Spot Run come close. Rappers Method Man and Redman manage to bring the intimate, personal vision of the 8 producers to life, tearing down once and for all the notion that Hollywood is nothing but a big factory production line for lowest common denominator movies.

There you have it. I hope you have learned something, and when the awards ceremony comes on in March, should the terrorists not kill us all first, think hard about exactly who is winning, and ask yourself exactly why they are and my choices above aren't. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the answer.

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