Weekly Top Ten-#16
Celebration of the Decades #1
My Top Ten Favorite Films of the Decade (The 2000's)
For the next month or so, all of you readers are in for a nostalgic and fun time with my weekly top ten lists. I am kind of in a back-in-time funk, and the my only anecdote seems to be list making. So for the next couple weeks I am going to take you back in time, decade by decade, and discuss my favorite films of those decades. This week I will look at the decade that just left, the 2000's. Then next week will be the 1990's, then the 1980's and somehow I am going to attempt a 1970's list. The '70's list is a list I am afraid of, simply because arguably the 1970's was the best decade of film in the history of the medium. An opinion I think I may just agree with.
But hey, we are getting way to ahead of ourselves. Lets look at the list at hand tonight. If you remember back in January 2010, I actually attempted a Best of 2000's List on my Facebook page. To be honest, I look at that list now and I am not as in love with it as I once was. Sadly I don't think I sampled as much from that decade that I should have to really create a great list. There was lots of stuff that I felt deserved to be on that top 50 that wasn't. That is why since 2010, I have been working proactively to make this next ten years better.
No matter what though, I don't think there is a single force known to man that could knock these ten films off the pedestals they are on. Check out my list below.
10. Battle Royale (2000)
Now, if I were to describe the premise of this movie, you would think "Japanese Hunger Games," but the thing is, this movie came first, the novel was written in 1998 and the movie came out in 2000, twelve years before "Hunger Games" the movie. Also, even though the premises for both films are similar, the two movies couldn't be more different from each other. Instead of picking two people from a district, an entire class of kids from a school, all who know each other are selected by the government to kill each other for sport. This story I feel is a bit more compelling compared to "The Hunger Games," but I do love both movies for separate reasons. "Battle Royale" is extremely violent but it is well acted and stylish. It is also a great example of foriegn cinema from last decade.
9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
I'll admit it, I am a sucker for a good romance movie. And when the genre was blended with sci/fi ideas, I couldn't wait to check this out. This is a joyous film about how we try to shake off the relationships that eat at us once they end. Some say Jim Carrey solely belongs in comedy, but after this, I disagree. He came alive in this film in a much different way compared to something like "The Truman Show." Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood also add great acting texture to the blissful motion picture. This maybe a film that sneaked under the radar when it came out, but there is no denying it is completely transcendent once viewed.
8. There Will Be Blood (2007)
I must say, it took me a couple viewings to finally settle into P.T. Anderson's hypnotic, bizarre and utterly shocking drama. What kept me coming back of course, was the engrossing performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. It seems weird to say that Daniel is one of a kind, simply because everyone knows he comes every few years and wins an Oscar. But after watching this several times, I really was knocked flat by the entire cast, (Paul Dano is supreme in this as well) the story, the atmosphere and the chilling music. I love to discuss the mysterious ticks of the film (Was Dano's character really twins or one person?), the sudden outburst of violence, and the strange yet satisfying ending. No matter how you look at it, both Anderson and Day-Lewis are powerful artists and we will enjoy their merits for a lifetime.
7. Minority Report (2002)
I have been surprised for many years now how this film is barely remembered for its obvious lightning bottle of awesome. The best science fiction is the stuff that makes you think, and there was something on Steven Spielberg's mind when he made this. I think he triumphed where he failed with "A.I." a year prior to this. Tom Cruise maybe crazy in real life, but there is no denying he is the most reliable movie star working today. And he gives a career-high performance in this film. There is lots of eye-popping imagery on display, but it is all window dressing to the engaging plot which makes us think about how we treat people with gifts, how think about our justice system, and how we try to wrong our faults through life. I hope this gets rediscovered sometime down the road and people will realize just how powerful a piece it really was.
6. Oldboy (2005)
I know you all have heard me speak at length about this film and I hope I have pushed a couple newcomers to finally check this out. Without a doubt, this film had the best surprise ending of the decade. (That's right M. Night Shymalan, Asia beat you!) This hyperviolent and twisted tale of revenge was brought to life by an astounding ensemble of Korean actors, it was stylish in its execution and completely pushed the limits of tense thrillers. No matter if Spike Lee's remake is good or bad, one thing is for certain: it has huge shoes to fill. Because the original is something of a marvel.
5. No Country For Old Men (2007)
This was a movie I have shown a majority of my friends and the ending kills them. For me, it just felt right and I was intrigued by its ending more than disappointed by it. The Coen Brothers are true artists, something I have also said many time before, and when they make thrillers, boy are they startling. There is a reason why Javier Bardem won the academy award for best supporting actor, and I don't know if I could say anymore about the performance that has already been said. All I can tell you is that we shouldn't forget the incredible performance by Josh Brolin, as he creates a great foe for Bardem's character. Tommy Lee Jones is ingenious once again and Garrett Delahunt hits the comic relief with real power. This is a movie I still love to revisit and I still think it works wonders.
4. The Departed (2006)
Telling from the list so far, there was a lot of darkness in the theater last decade, and I couldn't help but love quite a bit of it. However, I love a good, fun time at the theater as well. Even though "The Departed" featured some tense situations, I felt this played more fun than dark. You can tell the actors had a hell of a time making this. When you've got a group of actors including Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Anthony Anderson, Ray Winstone, David O'Hara and James Badge Dale, you can't go wrong. Particularly when it is directed by Martin Scorsese. Compared to other films in Scorsese's filmography, this may look like candy. I will admit that he made other conventionally "great" films last decade, there is no doubt that this film wraps around my pleasure center every time I watch it.
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
During the summer, I wrote a top ten about my favorite superhero films and "The Dark Knight" took the top spot and I think it equally deserves to be this high on this list. How Christopher Nolan was able to juggle two of Batman's most textured villains (Two-Face and The Joker) is marvelous. How he was able to successfully evoke 9/11 in a mainstream movie is equally mesmerizing. Everybody will forever remember Heath Ledger and The Joker, but I truly feel this is an ensemble masterwork. Each actor delivers when they are onscreen and the result is truly awesome, even the smallest of roles. When someone like Tiny Lister makes an appearance, and almost outdoes all the other A-List actors in the film, for only being onscreen for about 2 minutes, that's saying something. "The Dark Knight" is a powerful motion picture, a massive achievement, a genre-altering experience and I will love it forever.
2. The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)
This was no doubt the biggest cinematic achievement of last decade and it still holds up today. Too hard to pick one film from the trilogy to be on this list, because its all one story. The book essentially wasn't three books but one huge book split in three parts. The movie feels just like the book in that essence. This was also the most emotional ride I took all decade last ten years. Just thinking about parts from all three movies nearly brings me to tears. I still revisit it from time to time and I still tear up every time. I don't think this trilogy will be loosing its gloss any time soon.
1. Memento (2001)
This is movie I revisit at least once every year, and this feels like something that will be part of my life until the day I die.
Its hard to believe that Christopher Nolan created a treasure chest full of unique storytelling last decade, and this movie was what really put him on the map. When a director can put this and two Batman movies out in the same decade and make them all memorable, that's true talent. This modern film noir makes me giddy every time I watch it, even though I know what happens. It showcases how great a performer Guy Pierce is, looking at this then looking at him in "Lawless" or "Iron Man 3," its crazy to think its the same guy. The story is just as intriguing at the head game this movie plays. Whatever people think "Memento" is, its definitely NOT boring. Most of all, this was an experience unlike any I have had last decade or any other decade prior, hence its topspot.
Many films I could list that were close to the top ten, but just ask if you want to get into that. I hope you enjoyed this list and plan on other fun decade lists in the weeks to come!
Feel free to post your favorite films from last decade?