1. South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut. A comedy about censorship, war, dysfunctional relationships, and misunderstood children ruled the day, despite having the most deceptively primitive animation since Rocky and Bullwinkle (who, by the way, get their own movie next year). Director Trey Parker's obvious love of musicals made the film both a great musical in its own right and a dead-on parody of musical clichés. Even after repeat viewings, when the laughs are no longer original nor the profanity shocking, the story emerges as a surprisingly poignant tale of neglected children living in a knee-jerk society. Try naming one other movie that uses satire so effectively to take on the United States' arrogant attitude toward the U.N., racism in the military, Japanese internment camps, gay rights, war propaganda, the gender and generation gaps, and our hypocritical national preference for violence over sex -- all with insanely catchy tunes that may get you into trouble if you're caught singing them. (read New Times' review)
Because this year has been a remarkably good one for movies, I'd like to also list some honorable mentions, films that might have made my list in a lesser year. I have tremendously enjoyed, in no particular order: Perfect Blue (an animé far superior to and more innovative than Princess Mononoke), The Iron Giant, Sleepy Hollow, Election, The Insider, The Sixth Sense, Trick, Dog Park, Bringing Out the Dead, La Ciudad (The City), Beyond the Mat, Galaxy Quest, Eyes Wide Shut, Toy Story 2, and Terror Firmer. Not yet seen, but greatly anticipated, is Man on the Moon.