January 30, 2003

Daze Year End Notebook

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5. About Schmidt

4. Signs

3. Punch-drunk Love

2. The Ring

1. Minority Report

Steven Spielberg’s futuristic masterpiece is a visual and contextual wonder. Along with a team of technological experts thinking of interesting ideas for the future, Report remains a Grade A who-done-it action-packed thriller. It’s all there. The amazing effects and philosophical debate worthy of The Matrix. A supporting cast of young (Colin Farrell) and old (Max Von Sydow) talent. The film does more than just empathize with the framed protagonist (Tom Cruise). Minority Report brings you inside his world of leadership, depression, drugs, and justice. — Dan Cohen

5. Gangs of New York

4. The Road to Perdition

3. Adaptation

2. Minority Report

1. Chicago

No film released in the past year equaled the passion or ingenuity of Chicago, the latest example of the remergence of the movie musical. The first time I saw this film the audience cheered after every number and stayed planted in their seats until the final credit had rolled. That’s saying something. Great individual performances, a stellar soundtrack, and gorgeous, sexy numbers imaginatively brought to life on film make this movie experience my favorite of the year. — Jason Mednick

5. The Quiet American

4. Adaptation

3. About Schmidt

2. The Pianist

1. Gangs of New York

This is the film Scorsese has been working towards all his career, and like all his other work it is a masterpiece which is somehow the stronger for its flaws — and the flawless Daniel Day-Lewis. Watch Lewis’ Lear show DiCaprio’s Hamlet what it means to act. — Erica Stein

5. Sunshine State

4. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

3. The Kid Stays in the Picture

2. Adaptation

1. Minority Report/In Praise of Love

Spielberg’s movie is about how history can’t be condensed and how the future can’t be predicted. Godard’s is about how Spielberg is a hypocrite. He might have a point, but he doesn’t have Tom Cruise dodging robot cars and jet packs. — Alex Linhardt


5. Destroyer — This Night (Merge)

4. The Mountain Goats — Tallahassee (4AD)

3. Otomo Yoshihide’s New Jazz Ensemble — Dreams (Tzadik)

2. Philip Jeck — Pax (Touch)

1. Xinlisupreme — Tomorrow Never Comes (Fat Cat)

Xinlisupreme’s remarkable debut manages to do what precious little music these days does: it surprises you. Mashing together equal parts of IDM, noise-metal, ambient, jazz, Krautrock, and balls-out rawk, Tomorrow Never Comes funnels it all through a fractured world outlook that will leave you dizzy and confused (but thrilled) when it’s over. — Ed Howard

5. The Flaming Lips — Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Bros.)

4. Super Furry Animals — Rings Around the World (Beggars Banquet)

3. The Notwist — Neon Golden (City Slang)

2. Wilco — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)

1. Johnny Dowd — The Pawnbroker’s Wife (Catamount)

The mystery and depth strived for, and to a large extent achieved, by the other artists on this list is simply and stunningly inherent is Dowd’s music. Words of failing love and ominous death are traded between Dowd’s pained and painful Southern drawl and the seductively sweet voice of his ethereal foil, Kim Sherwood-Caso. They envelop you with raw energy and emotion. They leave you uneasy the way honest music should.

— Ben Kupstas

5. Interpol — Turn On The Bright Lights (Matador)

4. Wilco — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)

3. Tom Waits — Blood Money (Anti)

2. Lambchop — Is A Woman (Merge)

1. Spring Heel Jack — Amassed (Thirsty Ear)

This one came out of nowhere to steal the top spot. The unity of free jazz and ambient electronic textures in hindsight seems so logical and fitting that it’s amazing there aren’t more records like this one. A seamless ride from beautiful to cacophonous all the way to plain menacing and back again. — Maxim Pozdorovkin

5. The Mekons — Fear and Whiskey (Quarterstick; reissue of the year)

4. Tanya Donelly — Beautysleep (4AD)

3. Enon — High Society (Touch & Go)

2. Tom Waits — Alice (Anti)

1. Knead — Knead (Pacific Jazz)

Keiji Haino, the Hendrix of mistuned guitars, has been making gloriously irritating music for 20 years. The Ruins have been making average irritating music for ten. Now, malevolent forces have merged the two. The result is the aural equivalent of combining every color of the spectrum, forming a hideously muddy brown that, through sheer perseverence, rocks. If you can’t find it in the stores, it’s because the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty prohibits all nuclear explosions. — Alex Linhardt

5. Sonic Youth — Murray Street (Universal)

4. Interpol — Turn on the Bright Lights (Matador)

3. The Roots — Phrenology (MCA)

2. The Walkmen — Everyone Who Pretended… (Star Time)

1. Wilco — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)

Wilco flat out stole my heart. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was my summer. Its endearing clanks, noises, and fuzz echoed across dew-stained early July mornings, and its melodies ran through my head as I watched the Atlantic’s waves relentlessy try to swallow the eternal sand. Then, when the sun fell behind the earth at the end of the day, and “I missed the innocence I’ve known,” Wilco was there to reassure me. — Andrew Gilman

5. Phantom Planet — The Guest (Sony)

4. Weezer — Maladroit (Interscope)

3. Foo Fighters — One by One (RCA)

2. Audioslave — Audioslave (Sony)

1. Coldplay — A Rush of Blood to the Head (Capitol)

While many critically acclaimed artists stumble and lose focus with their sophomore efforts, Coldplay created an album that outshines their debut. Chris Martin’s increasingly stellar songwriting and piano are proof that the hype surrounding the group’s first disc, Parachutes, was well deserved. Rush firmly establishes Coldplay as more than a fleeting moment on the charts and radio. — Sophia Asare

Archived article by Sun Staff