Best Films of the Decade

I’ve seen 1857 films over the past 10 years….time to count down my top 100 of the 00s….
#100 – In the Loop – Caustically funny and scathing look at the politics of selling a war. A perfect film to sum up the 00s. (7/24/09)
#99 – 28 Days Later – The fast zombie hits the mainstream in this exciting thriller. Yeah yeah, they weren’t REALLY zombies. (6/28/03)
#98 – Volver – Penelope Cruz is outstanding in this ghost story/thriller/comedy by renowned Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. (9/9/06)
#97 – The New World – Terrence Malick’s hauntingly gorgeous film about the raw beauty of early America, and our fall from grace. (1/21/06)
#96 – Wonder Boys – Downey Jr. & Maguire foreshadow their strong decade , but Michael Douglas is superb in his best role ever. (2/24/00)
#95 – Night Watch – Those darn Russians one-up us in the Vampire genre in the film with perhaps the best designed subtitles ever! (2/18/06)
#94 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Ang Lee brings wuxia to the masses in his beautiful martial arts epic. (12/6/00)
#93 – Tropic Thunder – The one with the dude playin’ a dude, disguised as another dude. (8/14/08)
#92 – Serenity – You need to see Firefly to truly appreciate the best space opera of the decade, but what are you waiting for? (9/30/05)
#91 – Casino Royale – James Bond is back, and, well, better than he’s been since the days of Sean Connery. (11/17/06)
#90 – Millions – Two British kids find a suitcase of money in this delightful film showing the range of director Danny Boyle. (9/16/04)
#89 – An Education – Carey Mulligan is a modern-day Audrey Hepburn in this wonderful British coming-of-age drama. (9/10/09)
#88 – Iron Man – Downey Jr. proves a superhero doesn’t have to be all Broody McBroodersons to make a fun, exciting action film. (5/3/08)
#87 – The Devil Wears Prada – Who’d have thought that an Anne Hathaway vehicle based on a trashy novel could be so entertaining? (6/30/06)
#86 – Star Trek – This great reboot will fuel the fire of Hollywood’s remake craze, but if they’re as good as this, who cares. (5/10/09)
#85 – Slumdog Millionaire – Danny Boyle’s third film on my list so far is a vibrant slice of Bollywood, fun and full of life. (9/10/08)
#84 – Stranger Than Fiction – Will Ferrell’s best movie is the one where he plays the least Will Ferrell-ish character. (11/11/06)
#83 – The Aviator – Scorsese, DiCaprio, & Blanchett are all great here. But the true star is the era-appropriate cinematography! (12/18/04)
#82 – Shaun of the Dead – Not only the best of the decade’s many zombie comedies, but one of the best zombie movies overall. (9/25/04).
#81 – Borat – Sacha Baron Cohen’s improv mockumentary feels like a great, hilarious Andy Kaufman bit. (11/3/06)
#80 – I Heart Huckabees – No, not an endorsement for the GOP candidate…but one of the funniest existential comedies around! (9/11/04)
#79 – A.I.: Artificial Intelligence – Often overlooked due to the slight misfire of an ending, this is some very good sci fi. (6/30/01)
#78 – District 9 – Just when the summer action flicks seemed doomed to be brainless forever, along came this breath of fresh air. (8/15/09)
#77 – Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban – The best of the Harry Potter films brought some needed originality to the series. (6/6/04)
#76 – Shattered Glass – Proof that Hayden Christensen CAN act, plus a great supporting cast, and an insightful look at the media. (9/10/03)
#75 – The Savages – A darkly comic look at family dysfunction. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are just perfect. (9/12/07)
#74 – The Queen – Excellent performances are what make this familiar story fascinating. Helen Mirren is simply amazing.(10/20/06)
#73 – Donnie Darko – It takes a few viewings of this sci-fi mindtrip to grasp all the subtleties, but it’s well worth the effort (10/26/01)
#72 – The Illusionist – The first and best of 2006’s period magician movies has a fascinatingly twisty story. (7/28/06)
#71 – Howl’s Moving Castle – Often thought as a lesser Miyazaki work, this animated fantasy is full of life and simply gorgeous. (6/10/05)
#70 – Bright Star – The most romantic movie of 2009 is this biopic of poet John Keats and his neighbor Fanny Brawne. (9/11/09)
#69 – Hedwig and the Angry Inch – A fun and inventive glam rock musical about finding your other half. (8/31/01)
#68 – Up – Deserves the spot on this list for the moving marriage montage alone. (5/30/09)
#67 – Return of the King – The most satisfying movie trilogy of all time comes to a conclusion without dropping in quality. (12/17/03)
#66 – Hotel Rwanda – Brutal and devastating, this portrait of the genocide in Rwanda is a powerful, powerful film. (9/13/04)
#65 – The Triplets of Belleville – One of the most inventive animated films of the decade delights, even with almost no dialogue. (11/26/03)
#64 – Dear Zachary – One of the most emotionally powerful films of the past ten years is this little seen documentary about loss. (12/7/08)
#63 – High Fidelity – A very successful adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel that manages to exceed its already good source material. (3/28/00)
#62 – The Departed – Scorsese’s best work in ten years is this taut crime thriller that pulls no punches. (10/7/06)
#61 – The Dark Knight – Ledger took the glory, but the true star here is Nolan, whose brilliant direction revived the franshise. (7/19/08)
#60 – The Host – This inventive take on the giant monster movie deftly slips genres, but always in a highly entertaining way. (9/8/06)
#59 – Little Children – The raw sexual tension between Winslet and Wilson is mesmerizing in this fascinating study of suburbia. (9/13/06)
#58 – Sweeney Todd – A Johnny Depp musical could have been a complete trainwreck, but instead is a darkly funny & bloody delight! (12/21/07)
#57 – The Magic Flute – Kenneth Branagh’s magical musical adaptation of Mozart’s opera. Tragically unreleased in North America. (9/15/06)
#56 – Juno – Twee, sure. Full of Diablo Codyisms, yep. But overlooked among the comedy are several stellar performances. (9/8/07)
#55 – Bowling for Columbine – Michael Moore’s best documentary (sorry Fahrenheit 9/11) is humorous, informative and surprising. (9/8/02)
#54 – Million Dollar Baby – Clint Eastwood’s best directorial outing dared to deviate from the clichéd sports movie formula. (12/15/04)
#53 – Little Miss Sunshine – The best little family road trip since National Lampoon’s Vacation! (7/28/06)
#52 – Everything is Illuminated – This mesmerizing film combines moving drama and high farce; plus the Gogol Bordello is divine! (9/14/05)
#51 – Bend it Like Beckham – A really fun film that is part sports comedy, part clash-of-cultures drama. (9/12/02)
#50 – Spirited Away – Miyazaki’s amazingly beautiful masterpiece was the best traditionally animated film of the decade. (9/9/02)
#49 – (500) Days of Summer – This quirky not-quite-a-romantic-comedy takes chances and succeeds with its non-linear storyline. (3/29/09)
#48 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – A gorgeous story is enhanced by stellar aging and de-aging special effects. (12/26/08)
#47 – Punch-Drunk Love – Paul Thomas Anderson shows his deft touch with this unusual romantic comedy. Sandler’s best by a mile. (9/14/02)
#46 – Away From Her – Julie Christie’s performance is simply devastating in this tale of Alzheimer’s unforeseen effects. (9/12/06)
#45 – Ratatouille – Pixar can do anything: they make a rat in a kitchen seem not only appetizing, but desirable! (6/29/07)
#44 – Gone Baby Gone – Perhaps Ben Affleck should spend his time directing if the results would be as engrossing as this mystery. (10/19/07)
#43 – Munich – Spielberg’s best since Saving Private Ryan is this thoughtful examination of the implications of revenge. (12/23/05)
#42 – Let the Right One In – This creepy, yet moving, child vampire romance one-ups the Twilight saga in every way. (11/1/08)
#41 – Before Sunset – The perfect sequel to Richard Linklater’s romance, Before Sunrise. It’s like catching up with old friends. (7/2/04)
#40 – The Road – As bleak as the book, but Viggo’s performance keeps the fire alive in this powerful tale of the postapocalypse. (9/13/09)
#39 – Flame & Citron – A film about resistance fighters in WWII, full of double-crosses and great Tarantino-esque action pieces. (9/06/08)
#38 – Avatar – The best of the 3-D movie renaissance over the past decade. In terms of sheer spectacle, it’s hard to top. (12/18/09)
#37 – The 40-Year-Old Virgin – None of the tidal wave of Apatow-produced comedies that followed has matched this one’s heart. (8/20/05)
#36 – About a Boy – A wonderful film about friendship, growing up, and connecting with people. A perfect role for Hugh Grant. (5/17/02)
#35 – No Country for Old Men – The Coen bros. go bleak and violent, to spectacular effect. Bardem is simply amazing, friend-o. (9/10/07)
#34 – A Single Man – In this exceedingly stylish and heartbreaking film, Colin Firth gives the performance of his career. (9/14/09)
#33 – Zodiac – A visually striking police procedural disguised as a serial killer flick, but easily the best since LA Confidential. (3/2/07)
#32 – The King of Kong – The best documentary of the decade may be about arcade games, but it’s packed full of fun thrills. (1/29/08)
#31 – Best in Show – Christopher Guest is King of the Mockumentary, and this hilarious one about dog shows is easily his best. (9/27/00)
#30 – Oldboy – A tragic South Korean masterpiece. The hallway hammer fight is one of the best action sequences of all time. (3/26/05)
#29 – Thank You For Smoking – Jason Reitman’s caustic satire is enormously funny, and a perfect debut for the talented director. (9/11/05)
#28 – The Brothers Bloom – This quirky and imaginative con artist comedy from writer-director Rian Johnson is delightfully funny. (9/11/08)
#27 – Brick – Rian Johnson’s FIRST film was even better, a high-school-set film noir with rapid-fire sharp dialogue. (5/6/06)
#26 – Once – A musical stripped down to its basics. Raw emotion and great music can make a simple film simply beautiful. (5/16/07)
#25 – Billy Elliot – An incredibly moving film about following one’s passions, no matter what others think. (10/13/00)
#24 – Atonement – A heartbreaking drama about love, misunderstandings, and the inability to make amends. Great debut by Ronan. (9/10/07)
#23 – Spider-Man 2 – A perfect superhero film, that manages to improve on the first with the addition of a non-ridiculous villain. (6/30/04)
#22 – Requiem for a Dream – Bleak, bleak, bleak…but oh, so beautiful.  Hard to watch, but you never forget it once you do.  (11/24/00)
#21 – Chicago – Stylish and filled with energy, this musical is full of good acting, sharp dialogue, and great music. (12/28/02)
#20 – The Incredibles – Brad Bird delivers this fantastic superhero riff, where the family dynamic is as good as the action. (11/5/04)
#19 – Kill Bill, Volume One – Tarantino’s action-packed, genre-bending tribute to 70s cinema is his best since Pulp Fiction. (10/10/03)
#18 – Pan’s Labyrinth – Part magical fairy-tale, part retreat from the horror of war, it’s amazing no matter how you look at it. (9/13/06)
#17 – Fellowship of the Ring – Epic, gorgeous, fun, and above all faithful, this entry proved Peter Jackson had the magic touch.  (12/19/01)
#16 – Moulin Rouge – Luhrmann’s brilliant take on the musical is full of more energy and life than anything seen before or since. (6/1/01)
#15 – O Brother, Where Art Thou? – The Coens deliciously adapt Homer’s Odyssey as a madcap 1930s Southern comedy, and it works! (12/22/00)
#14 – WALL-E – Who would have thought a Disney cartoon could present such a dystopian future? And a smart one, too. Thanks, Pixar! (6/28/08)
#13 – The Hurt Locker – Not just a great war movie, but one of the best collections of edge-of-your-seat thrill sequences around. (9/8/08)
#12 – The Sea Inside – Javier Bardem gives a searing and unforgettable performance in this Spanish film about the right to die. (9/15/04)
#11 – Finding Nemo – Pixar’s best uses a tired buddy-comedy-road-trip formula that shouldn’t work…but it does and it’s magical. (5/30/03)
#10 – Up in the Air – Reitman’s examination of the transitions in life and the importance of connections is perfect for our time. (9/12/09)
#9 – Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – An overlooked, underappreciated gem. Perhaps the funniest action comedy in at least twenty years. (9/8/05)
#8 – In America – A moving portrait of modern-day Irish immigrants in New York. One of the best unabashed tearjerkers around. (9/14/02)
#7 – 25th Hour – Spike Lee’s best film since the 80s…and maybe ever.  An ode to post-9/11 NY, and the tragic loss of potential. (12/19/02)
#6 – Memento – More than just a gimmick, Christopher Nolan’s fun puzzle of a film is suspenseful even when you know what happens. (3/17/01)
#5 – There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day Lewis’s portrait of obsession is a masterful performance in a masterpiece of a film. (12/26/07)
#4 – Brokeback Mountain – More than just the “gay cowboy” movie, this is a heartrending romance and a tragic tale of repression.  (9/12/05)
#3 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – A beautifully mindbending romantic piece of SF about memory, precious and painful. (3/19/04)
#2 – Children of Men – A haunting near-future drama about hope in a society on the brink of collapse. And, oh, that camerawork! (12/27/06)
#1 – Amelie – This whimsical tale of a shy do-gooder who yearns for love is packed with delightful characters and rich details. (11/17/01) 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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