PopMatters Picks: The Best TV, Film, and DVD of 2001

When catastrophic events happen, U.S. tv gives up advertising dollars for two days, irony dies, and mass-media folks start saying that they will rethink their livelihoods, well, you might be forgiven for imagining that something might actually change. Maybe it did, for a minute, but only a minute. Glitter opened, Survivor survived, Ashleigh Banfield was crowned a war-zone star, Russell Crowe was not kidnapped, Gary Condit grimaced, Carrot Top came back, and oh my goodness, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker were naked together. And poor Penelope, whose recent blondishness won’t help: everyone loves Nicole!

Business tends to go on as usual. And, following the trend of previous years, 2001 will go down as yet another disappointing one in movies and tv. Even if David Lynch’s dark assault on the industry, Mulholland Drive, critically outstripped idiotic high concepts like Pearl Harbor and even clever formula flicks like A Knight’s Tale, the fact is, most of the year’s box office came from less than stellar projects — Planet of the Apes, Lara Croft, Rat Race, Scary Movie 2. And while it was the monumentally marketed Shrek that won the popularity/money sweepstakes, after all, it’s I the eye of the beholder whether that bodes well for future filmgoers.

PopMatters critics herewith hold forth, on the best and worse of the media year.

— Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters Film & TV Editor

On to the lists.