Films of my life – 2000

Films of my life – 2000

Time for a look at a more recent time in my life (but still 16 years ago). Here is the best known quote from my favourite movie of 2000:

 “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

By 2000, Gill and I were living in North Yorkshire, with 3 active boys (James, Harry & Richard). This meant that most trips to the cinema were for family films, as our eldest son, James was only 8! More adult material, we tended to catch-up with on DVD (which started to replace VHS in the mid-1990s).

Growing up, the new millennium seemed so far away – I used to think “God, I’ll turn 37 in 2000” and as you know, when you are young that seems to be VERY old. Now, of course, I look back from (nearly) 53 and wish I was that young! Ah, c’est la vie.

Our nearest cinema in 2000 was the “Showcase” at Teesside Retail Park, near Stockton. This was one of the first big multiplexes in the north east. In more recent times, multiplexes have opened in Middlesbrough and Darlington.

showcase-cinema

courtesy of thiistockton.co.uk

2000 was not a particularly great year for movies – there was plenty of quantity, but little quality. You may well have guessed it from the quote, but before I get to my favourite movie, here are the other movie highlights of 2000:

  • X-men
  • Almost Famous- Cameron Crowe’s semi autobiographical tale about a cub reporter with Rolling Stone in the early 1970s. Has a great soundtrack
  • High Fidelity – decent adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel, relocated to Chicago with  John Cusack and a breakout role for Jack Black
  • Billy Elliot – uplifting tale set around the miner’s strike of 1984 in north east England, which had resonance for me (the miners rather than the dancing)
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Ang Lee’s beautifully choreographed and shot tribute to eastern cinema

gladiatorMy favourite film of 2000 was Gladiator. This reboot of “The Fall of The Roman Empire” made a superstar of Russell Crowe (he won a “Best Actor” Oscar and the movie was “Best Film”). It has a great score from Hans Zimmer too. But what makes Gladiator so special for me is the sheer scale, enhanced by (at the time) ground-breaking computer generated imagery. CGI was also used to ensure that Oliver Reed completed the film, despite dying during filming. Director Ridley Scott crafts an epic tale that works on a human level. Crowe’s Maximus is one of the great screen heroes, not least because of how he stays loyal to his values and beliefs.  I’m not sure that either Scott or Crowe have made better movies in the years since Gladiator was released and it remains a favourite of mine to this day.

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