Persall's top 5
By STEVE PERSALL
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000
Recent releases recommended by Times film critic Steve Persall
1. Billy Elliot -- Times correspondent Philip Booth enjoyed this British blend of comedy and drama, featuring a young boy aspiring to dance ballet instead of working in coal mines.
2. Men of Honor -- Fact-based story of Carl Brashear, the U.S. Navy's first African-American master diver, and the prejudice he overcame to reach that goal. Oscar winners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Niro co-star.
3. Almost Famous -- Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical tribute to 1970s rock 'n' roll is one of the year's best films. Funny, wistful, romantic and always dead-on with its atmosphere and attitude.
4. The Contender -- Washington scandal impedes the appointment of a female Democrat as vice president. Partisan, engrossing drama with Oscar-caliber performances by Joan Allen, Gary Oldman and Jeff Bridges.
5. Meet the Parents -- Lunkhead in love (Ben Stiller) suffers through a weekend with his girlfriend's father (Robert De Niro). Grand, grotesque comedy. This year's There's Something About Mary.
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