Today was also the day we went to see Return of the King, and, as motomotoyama has often noticed, the excess of hype made it difficult for the movie to live up to the expectations I had. I found myself frequently irritated by fairly small things (like bad hobbit stand-ins, Frodo's singular expression, the unrealized passion between Frodo and Sam, the shortage of real people and horses in the crowd scenes), on top of the irritations I did expect, like the overly long running time, the crap seats we got (after I waited in the snow even!), and the twenty minutes of endings. I guess that fairly well explains why NONE of the many people I know who went early bothered inviting me to come with them.
But thanks to this just-under-the-wire flick, I ended the year with 52 movies under my belt, and the very best one of all was ... Night of the Hunter, some old chestnut that just blew my fucking mind away. It was so damn creepy, and every minute of it was utterly perfect - defining the concept of "gothic" in my mind. For this year, I think number one was Lost in Translation, despite the fact I watched Chicago more times (and bought the soundtrack, and the DVD, and the London cast recording, and the original cast recording on vinyl, and dressed up like Roxie Hart for Halloween, and have persisted in performing the songs live at the piano bar whenever I get to go). Chicago had some glaringly not-perfect moments, and Renee Zellweger wasn't as brilliant as she should have been. LITR, by comparison, aspired to less, but it was just ... perfect, like one absolutely delicious chocolate truffle in a beautiful box. And for being perfect, and small, and quiet, I name it The Best Movie I Saw in 2003. Hi Ho 2004! I'll get off to a wonderful start with a silent movie from 1927 tomorrow at 7 PM. Yay!