Accurate is a misnomer. The Amplified Bible is the most literal (as opposed to dynamic equivalence or paraphrase), while the Message is the most "free."
I basically agree with you Scott though not completely. Literal translations such as the Amplified, NASB, ESV, NKJV, KJV are generaly better at giving the most accurate reading of the text in my opinion BUT a strictly literal translation is at time awkward such as the NASB. Of course there are no perfect translations.
The NIV is my favorite of the free translations. It gives a great translation of 2 Tim 3:16 "all scripture is God breathed" Free Translations such as the NIV often are easier to read yet often are deficient in areas of accurately conveying the meaning of the text because they too often sacrifice literalness for more readability. The new Holman Christian Standard Bible NT seems to attempt at being both literal and free and in my opinion is far superior to the NIV. I look foward to the HCSB coming out in full Bible form in the spring.
The Message is in my opinion a awful paraphrase that might be good to read for casual reading while you are in the Doctor's office or to use for comparison reading when using a more solid translation such as the ESV, Amplified, NASB, NKJV, NIV.
Getting back to the Amplified...I find that most people either love it or hate it. I find it to make the Scriptures come alive when I read it though there are places I sometimes may not agree with the Amplification - But then again all Translations have their weaknesses. I personaly think a person could get much out of the Amplified because it is both readable and literal (Though many find it's amplifications distraction)and it opens up the original meaning of Holy Writ better than most translations.