Best of 2002
At the end of the year, we choose our favorite DVDs and DVD box sets of the previous 12 months, a process that always produces animated discussion and an occasional heated argument. We've come up with what we think is a pretty thoughtful array that represents a wide range of tastes and interests while maintaining a high standard of excellence. Please consider this list—and the rest of our selections for the best books, music, and movies of 2002—a reflection not just of our taste but also of our passion.
After the morbid comedy of Delicatessen and the darkness of The City of Lost Children, it might be surprising that director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was responsible for this charming, fantastical tale of one woman's influence on the lives of those around her. It's a visual and feel-good feast. Best extra: "Fantasies of Audrey Tautou," a glimpse inside the actress behind Amélie.
A Beautiful Mind - The Awards Edition
A triumph in every sense, Ron Howard's sensitive, spellbinding film based on the life of schizophrenic mathematical genius John Nash won last year's Oscars for Best Picture and Director. As always, Russell Crowe puts heart, soul, muscle, and sweat into his performance. Best extra: "Creation of the Special Effects" featurette, because it makes you realize how subtle (and numerous) they were.
Dogtown and Z-Boys - Special Edition
During the 1970s, a ragtag group of youths took up their skateboards and revolutionized the world of sports (and empty swimming pools) for generations to come. Narrated by Sean Penn and featuring interviews with legends like Tony Hawk, this superb documentary traces the beginnings of a counterculture phenomenon. Best extra: extended skating footage, featuring some hits and misses.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Special Extended Edition Box
Not since the original Star Wars have audiences been so universally swept away by a fantasy film. Thanks to Peter Jackson's visual mastery and reverence for Tolkien's vision, The Fellowship of the Ring has already become a classic. This collector's box of Fellowship boasts more than six hours of new extras. Best extra: 30 minutes of new footage. Read our interview with Alan Lee, who worked on the production design for the film.
A Hard Day's Night - Collector's Edition
Reporter: "Do you think these haircuts have come to stay?" Ringo: "Well, this one has. It's stuck on good and proper now." Featuring the Fab Four cavorting crazily, merrily showing off their British wit, and lip-synching aplenty, The Beatles' big-screen debut mirrors the Beatlemania that had just begun to sweep the world. Best extra: the behind-the-scenes footage and scrapbook.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Special Edition
If there is any trend that epitomizes 1970s movies, it is that of Hollywood embracing personal expression. Few films illustrate this as well as Cuckoo's Nest, which features the quintessential Jack Nicholson performance as an asylum inmate who refuses to buckle under the system. Best extra: writer Ken Kesey discussing the story's transformation from page to stage to screen.
Reservoir Dogs: 10 Years - Special Edition
Three years before his Pulp Fiction thrust suit-wearing crooks into the mainstream, Quentin Tarantino made this failed-robbery flick. From its hilarious discussion on tipping through its masterful use of flashbacks to its blood-soaked finale, the new gangster film era began here. Best extra: the 1992 Sundance Film Festival Retrospective.
The Royal Tenenbaums - Criterion Edition
Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson (the team that brought us Rushmore) have concocted another bewitchingly brilliant comedy. This time, the story centers on an eccentric yet (slightly) lovable family of geniuses, presided over by patriarch Royal (Gene Hackman), who attempt to reconcile their differences. Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Stiller lead a huge supporting cast. Best extra: all of the outtakes.
Say Anything - Special Edition
Aside from being Cameron Crowe's directorial debut and making now-classic use of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," Say Anything is noteworthy for possessing more truth about the realities of teenage life than many similar films, and it remains one of the sweetest love stories in recent years. Best extra: the fun commentary by Crowe and actors John Cusack and Ione Skye.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - The Director's Edition
Of the "even-numbered" Trek films (which audiences generally consider to be the best), none has garnered more praise than Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It is a rarity in its genre, with its tale of interstellar revenge barely cloaking themes of friendship, redemption, and death. Best extra: William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy disagreeing with each other (in separate interviews).
More Great DVDs
Gosford Park - Collector's Edition
Interview with director Robert Altman
Beauty and the Beast - Platinum Edition
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial - 20th Anniversary Edition
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Amadeus - The Director's Cut
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Austin Powers in Goldmember
Lilo & Stitch
Best DVD Box Sets
The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns
Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Third Season
Spider-Man - Limited Edition Collector's Gift Set
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Second Season
The Simpsons: The Complete First Season
Back to the Future: The Complete Trilogy
The Blue Planet: Seas of Life - Collector's Set
Band of Brothers
24: Season One
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