Best movies of 2002

We suffered for you. That is, if countless hours of entertainment accompanied by bucket upon bucket of popcorn can be considered suffering. After a year of ups and downs at the cinema, the staff of the UP put our brains together and chose the best movies of 2002. Its no use arguing, all decisions are final. If you missed any of these films we strongly encourage you grab a date (or some more popcorn for the lonely ones) and run to your friendly neighborhood theatre or video store. Enjoy!

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers The second installment of Tolkein’s trilogy plays more like a war epic than a fantasy adventure. This film really ups the intensity level in comparison to the first and still moves easily between the multitude of storylines. Towers separates itself from Fellowship with the addition of a few new creatures and much more involved special effects. Gollum/Smeagol effectively toes the line between adorable and disgusting — D. E.

Ice Age Slightly better than Lilo and Stitch and much better than Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron, Ice Age is the animated film representative on our list. It relies heavily on the star power of Ray Romano (Manfred) and Denis Leary (Diego), but the most memorable performance came from John Leguizamo (Sid). Ice Age is a straightforward comedy for everyone with all the markings of a classic. — D. E.

Minority Report This science-fiction thriller takes place in the year 2054. Tom Cruise plays John Anderton, Chief of the Department of Pre-Crime, which has the ability to predict murders before they happen. It’s fine for Anderton, until he’s hunted for a future murder. Minority Report succeeds wonderfully as a thriller, and as intelligent social commentary. How much freedom would you give up to stop murders? — C. P.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding The response to this film proves that it is more than a generic romantic comedy. It recently became the most successful independent film ever, as well as the highest grossing film never to reach #1. It is a classic heartwarming tale of love and family and ethnicity. This is a rare event that touches people with the sweetness of laughter and the bitterness of tears. The entire cast of lesser-known names in My Big Fat Greek Wedding is genuine enough to bring home to mamma. — D. E.

Van Wilder We had to pick this one. It’s hilarious! Gwen (Tara Reid) is writing a story for her college newspaper about Van Wilder. He’s been the most popular student at her college for the past seven years, and his unconventional daily activities are the subject of the movie. One of several funny parts concerns his pet bulldog and a basket of í©clairs. This is one of the great all-time college comedies along with Animal House, Back to School, and P.C.U. — C. P.

Red Dragon In this prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Sir Anthony Hopkins returns as the evil Hannibal Lecter. He’s creepy as usual, but also funny at times because we’ve become familiar with him. Also creepy is Ralph Fiennes, who plays an obsessed serial killer called the Tooth Fairy. Red Dragon relies less on gratuitous violence than Hannibal, which is a plus, but is just as eerie and suspenseful as its predecessors. — C. P.

The Ring The Ring is a successful remake of a popular Japanese horror film. The plot centers on a video filled with dark imagery, and then adds a twist. Anyone who views the tape will only have seven more days to live. This effectively creepy film took moviegoers by surprise. Low expectations at the box office allowed The Ring to shock its viewers. Parents beware — this is the type of movie that will give the kids nightmares for weeks to come. — D. E.

Signs Signs was the most entertaining film this year. Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) has once again written and directed a suspenseful masterpiece. With moments that were as silly as they were scary, Signs ran the gamut of emotions during the crop circle mystery/thriller. Mel Gibson is terrific as a former priest and single father bravely playing against his typical tough guy roles. Once it hits DVD every movie fan should have this in their collection. — D. E.

Spider-Man Superhero movies usually lack something. They have a few eye-popping action scenes, but nothing else grabs you. This isn’t the case with Spider-Man. There’s action mixed with a love triangle, and a strong message about family values. We’re rooting for Peter Parker/Spider-Man through it all. Green Goblin is also an entertaining villain remaining truly evil throughout. Director Sam Raimi artfully tells the story of Spider-Man’s beginnings, without too much Hollywood. — C. P.

Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones While it was overshadowed by Spiderman at the summer box office, Attack of the Clones was still one of this year’s better films. It’s part of the Star Wars franchise and that fact alone earns it a spot in the top ten. The story line might not have been stellar, but the effects were mind blowing. Overall, Lucas did three things right with this movie: (1) he kept Jar Jar Binks quiet, (2) Yoda had a fight scene, and (3) it set up what should be a climactic Episode III by revealing the dark and arrogant mentality of Anakin Skywalker. — D. R.