With apologies to Cameron Crowe's ALMOST FAMOUS, I've seen the best film of 2000, Pay It Forward.
Wow, some movies just blow you away…this is one of those movies. You take a perfect cast, give them a perfect script, and then leave them in the surprisingly skilled hands of director Mimi Leder, and just like that you have what is very likely to be a top contender for Best Picture come Oscar time. I refer to Leder's directing as surprisingly good because I'm not familiar with it. I've never seen her feature films before, just her work on early episodes of ER, which of course do represent quality television.

Pay it Forward is based on a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde, and has a script by Leslie Dixon. I've never heard of Leslie Dixon, but I'm pretty sure her name will come up at least once on Oscar night. I really like the premise of the movie. So much so that I might actually get the original book, which surprises even me, because I rarely if ever read a book that's not a horror story.

The perfect cast I mentioned consists of Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment , as well as smaller roles for Jay Mohr, Jon Bon Jovi, and even Angie Dickinson.
Kevin Spacey is an incredibly talented actor. It's almost scary how well he becomes his characters. As disfigured Social Studies teacher Eugene Simonet, Spacey once again shows off his talent, and I think it's safe to say he too will be wearing a tux on Oscar night. Unfortunately, since he won last year for AMERICAN BEAUTY, chances are he won't get the nod this year. Bummer. He deserves it.

Note - I don't like to give away anything in these little "reviews" of mine, so I was hesitant to mention Spacey's disfigurement. I only included it because it is shown in the trailer to the movie. I also wanted to say that the make up job on Spacey, his face in particular, is absolutely amazing. Yet another possible Oscar nod…

Helen Hunt is truly at her best here. I've always liked her, but I used to think that she was a little over rated as an actress. Well, not with this performance. She richly deserves whatever accolades she receives, and I'm sure they will be many.
And just for the record, for the most part in Pay It Forward, she looks damn good too…in a white trashy sorta way!
Here's the clincher. You kinda expect Spacey and Hunt to be good, even phenomenal, but Haley Joel Osment was the wild card. Yes, he gave an incredible performance in The Sixth Sense, but you had to wonder if it was a fluke.
No, not at all. In Pay It Forward, Osment gives an even better performance than in his previously nominated role. He says more with his face than many adult actors can with actual dialogue, and he shows a wider range here than in Sense. Another Best Supporting Actor nomination is definitely a possibility. Dare I say, maybe even a win?

I saw Pay It Forward as a sneak preview. It was a full house, and it was pretty obvious that it was very well received. I was actually almost expecting a round of applause at the end.
When movie magic happens, you just know it.
Pay it Forward is movie making at it's most magical.