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Review: Big Fish (2003)

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Big Fish is one of my favorite movies. And it shows what Tim Burton can do if he tones down his “Burton-ess” a tad. But the combination of Burton and a story that gives your dad’s “one that got away” story to shame is a perfect mix. And proves he can have a movie without Johnny Depp.

The tale is that of a dying man’s life; told just like he described it, embellishments and all. But how much do these stories effect the lives of those close to them? The cutting between his past and present is completely dominated by the flashback as only Burton can do. From birth to death, every moment of Ed Bloom’s (Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney) life is fantastic and exists in a dreamlike world.

Don’t get me wrong Tim Burton’s fingerprints are all over Big Fish, but Helena Bonham Carter is no where to be seen and the goth atmosphere is nonexistent. In fact, I view this film as his best work since Edward Scissorhands. The reason why? It gets back to the modern fairy tale story that is so unique today. The characters exist in a realistic world, but are much more fantastic than we will ever meet. It’s a truly enjoyable movie to watch. In fact, despite all the great actors, the story is the true star of Big Fish, as much as the story was the star in Ed Bloom’s life.

My Rating: A

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Top Three: 2003

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Say you’re putting 3 movies from each year in a time capsule. What ones would you want people to see? Forget critical acclaim. Forget the critics in general, what are the three best movies from that year?

Today, our first foray into the list is 2003.

3. Finding Nemo

The love between a father and son is one of a kind, even if both the father and the son are fish. Pixar’s 2003 classic tells the journey of a clown fish, who, with the help of an entire ocean of creatures treks on to find his kidnapped son. It was funny (Forgetful Dory completely steals the show), adventurous, and heartfelt.

2. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The finale that LOTR fans had been waiting for. The ending to Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy was a sight to behold. It put a nice shiny bow on any unfinished plot and of course that pesky ring that we were dealing with over 8 hours (At least the extended version viewers were). But seriously, this is many LOTR fan’s favorite one, and every movie fan should see this trilogy at least once.

1. Oldboy

This Korean flick isn’t seen as much as the other two, but not for lack of quality. Oldboy is the ultimate revenge movie, as a man is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years than freed. Of course, there are plot twists, but even without them it is still worth watching for its all too realistic depiction of violence, no matter how disturbing.

Honorable Mentions:

Big Fish

Old School

Lost in Translation

Seabuscuit

21 Grams

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl