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Monday, November 8, 2010

Top 50 Movies of the Past Decade (2000 - 2009)

Top 50 Movies of the Past Decade (2000 - 2009)

Towards the beginning of the year I started compiling a list of my favorite movies of the past decade...it of course took until November to get it posted. So here it is....a list of my favorite movies from the 00 decade.

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50) Team America World Police (2004)
(The South Park creators are crude and immature, but also genius social critics)
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49) Sexy Beast (2000)
 (Ben Kingsly as a foul-mouthed British mobster, directed by Jonathan Glazer of Radiohead music video fame)
48) Star Trek (2009)
(If you would have told me years ago, Star Trek would have been #1 at the box office, would have thought you were nuts)
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47) Catch me if you can(2002)
(Simple and light-hearted, but superbly acted and directed)
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46) Black Hawk Down  (2001)
(Intense modern war-fare)
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45) Snatch (2000)
(Foul-mouthed British mobsters, (without Ben Kingsley), fun and stylish, Guy Richie's best)


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44) Igby Goes Down (2002)
(An over-looked dark comedy, about a mis-guided youth dealing with his dysfunctional family)
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43) In Bruges (2008)
(Colin Farrell in a movie where I didn't hate him. A hilarious performance from Ralph Fiennes, in an ultimately pretty dramatic film)
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42) Gegen Die Wand (Head On) (2004)
(A German movie about 2 suicidal Turkish immigrants meeting in a psych-ward and going through with a sham wedding. I've never seen a character get more shafted by a woman...a super psycho woman)
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41) Big Fish (2003)
(An emotional and brilliantly directed movie from Tim Burton, about a son trying to truly know his dying father, one of Tim Burton's finest)
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40) The Prestige (2006)
 (Christopher Nolan makes this list, with almost all of his movies. I think he's an amazing director, and The Prestige is a compelling film about an escalating competition between to Victorian-era magicians)
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39) The Proposition (2005)
(A gritty and haunting western, set in Australia, starring Guy Pearce, directed by John Hillcoat, and written, oddly enough by creepster musician Nick Cave)

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38) Shaun of the Dead (2004)
(British humor and zombies...excellent)
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37) Casino Royal (2006)
(A solid re-vamping of the Bond series. Daniel Craig's breathed new life into a dying franchise)
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36) O Brother Where Art Thou (2000)
(I was not a fan of this movie the first time, but upon further viewings it grew on my as a brilliant mythologizing of Americana) 

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35) The Hurt Locker (2009)
(A truly taut thriller, about the insanely dangerous job of bomb-technicians in Iraq. I don't believe it was best-picture worthy, but it was a very solid film)
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34)Let the Right One in (2008)
(An original take on the vampire film from Sweden. About a strange friendship of an introvert boy and an ageless child vampire. Remade recently for American audience as "Let Me In")
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33) District 9 (2009)
(A truly original alien movie, with incredible special effects, and some pretty awesome action)

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32) Downfall (2004)
(A powerful German film about the last days of Adolf Hitler...not a pop-corn movie, but an incredible performance by Bruno Ganz as Hitler)
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31) Pans Labyrinth (2006)
(An incredible visual feast by Guillermo Del Toro about a girl escaping into a growingly complex fantasy to deal with the horrors of war all around her)


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30) 13 Tzameti (2005)
(A dark-disturbing French film, about a naive young man who gets drawn into an under-world where the rich bet on mass games of Russian roulette...yeah, its intense)
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29) Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
(A British film about a man returning to his home town, to hunt down the hooligans that have tormented his mentally handicapped younger brother. This movie will stick with you)

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28) Broken Flowers (2005)
(Jim Jarmusch's quirky movie about a man (Bill Murray) who receives an anonymous letter from a former lover, advising him he has a son. What ensues is a dry and haunting comedy about him trying to track down who sent the letter, and who is his son)
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27) Gangs of New York (2002)
(An under-appreciated violent epic. Not his best by any means, but Scorsese's style shines)
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26) Ammores Perros (2000)
(Mexican film, roughly translating from a saying 'love's a bitch'; following multiple stories, all tied together by...dogs. Sounds strange I know, but a very excellent film)

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25) 28 Days Later (2002)
(Changed the zombie film by introducing 'fast zombies'...freaky)
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24) Batman Begins (2005)
(Christopher Nolan expertly re-booted the dying Batman franchise, setting the film into real-world realm of believability)
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23) A Prophet (2009)
(A french prison film. One of the best film's I've seen this year, was up for best foreign film)


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22) The Bourne Identity (2002)
(A great action franchise was started in 2002, in the style that the dying Bond franchise should have been in)
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21) Amelie (2001)
(French film about an imaginative French woman, trying to find love...yes sounds very girly, but the visuals of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet are so much fun to watch)
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20) Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands (2004)
(A brutally raw Danish crime film. The 2nd in the series is by far the strongest, and stars extremely underrated actor Mads Mikkelsen (Villian from Casino Royal) in an incredible performance. The ending will make you happy, and sad, and unsure all at the same time)

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19) About Schmidt (2002)
(I believe this is one of Jack Nicholson's best performances, and an extremely under-rated movie about a retired man who sets out to do something with his life)
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18) Mulholland Drive (2001)
(Every time I've seen this film, I've gotten more out of it. David Lynch's surreal take on Hollywood delusion)
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17) Borat (2006)
(I laughed for almost every second of this movie. Will go down as one of the funniest comedies ever made)
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16) Road to Perdition (2002)
(I may have used the word 'under-rated' one too many times on this list, but I truly think this is one of the most underrated movies of the decade. Tom Hanks as an Irish-Mafia hitman, directed by Sam Mendes)
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15) Oldboy (2003)
(Korean film about a man who is locked in a hotel room for years by unseen captors, and then suddenly released. The films follows him tracking down his captors and trying to figure out why he was imprisoned...and features one of the most twisted endings in recent memory)
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14) Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)
(Ang Lee's epic featuring flying acrobatic sword-fights)

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13) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
(Jim Carey, and Kate Winslet fall in and out of love, and have their minds erased of the whole experience, only to repeat the same 'mistakes'. Visually interesting and poetic in its own way)
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12) Minority Report (2002)
(Spielberg's epic about a future dystopia where crimes are non-existent due to the help of psychics. Incredibly exciting and suspenseful)
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11) Children of Men (2006)
(Set in the near future, where inexplicably woman are no longer able to have babies...and hell breaks loose. Tautly directed by Alfonso Cuaron, just barely missing my top 10.

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10) Inglorious Basterds (2009)
One of two Tarantino movies in the top 10. I've only seen this movie once, in the theater, but am dying to watch it again. Christopher Waltz and Brad Pitt steal almost every scene they're in. The movie is not as action packed as it appears in trailers, but the movie is filled with some awesome dialogue and extremely memorable scenes. (The Shootout in the basement of the bar) The movie is also a real treat if you're a film nerd, as it taps into a tone of film theory ideas. For example the ending shows Nazi's watching a hyper-violent movie laughing at American's being killed...and then 20 minutes later we all laugh at History being re-written in an over the top fashion. It says so much about the power of films. It shows Nazi's being killed, literally by film. 

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9) The Lives of Others (2006)
If you have no seen this movie, do yourself a favor and rent it. Set in East Berlin during the cold war, in essentially a real life 1984 where the government spies on your every move. A writer works in secrecy to create a politically motivated article condemning the government. Little does he know a government agent listens to his every word. The movie is painfully suspenseful, and sticks with you long after its over. 

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8) The Lord of the Rings (Series)
What can be said about these movies. Peter Jackson did an amazing job bringing to life the beloved book series. I have not actually read them, but I understand there are pages upon pages of descriptions of the setting, which Jackson created faithfully. Exciting and dramatic, and definetly one of the best series of the decade.


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7) There will be blood (2007)
I truly did not know what to think when I went into the theater to watch this movie. What I think now, after seeing the film twice, is that it is a modern "Citizen Kane" (Modern, in that it was made after CK, not that it takes place after it). The  movie is owned by the comanding performance by Daniel Day Lewis. And yes...'blood' is in the title, and yes, the movie is about oil, but no... it is not a metaphor for Bush and/or Iraq, and you sound retarded.


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6) Kill Bill (Part 1, Part 2)
People that don't like Tarantino...simply put, are jealous. The man is creepy and weird looking, and probably a complete asshole, but nobody can doubt his love of movies, and nowhere is it more evident than in the campy thrill ride, Kill Bill. I will watch these movies anytime they're on. I remember a period my sophomore year of college, when the film had just hit the premium cable channels, that I watched it in a drunken stupor, spilling ramen noodles all over myself, at 2:30 am, like 8 weekends in a row. Each time thinking...god this movie is awesome!


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5) Memento (2000)
Ok, so the movie goes backward...its not the most insane concept to be done in film, but to my 16 year old brain, cultivating a love of cinema..this movie blew my mind, and almost single handedly made me decide to study film in college...(which is exactly why I now work for Wells Fargo) The movie, directed by The Dark Knight's Christopher Nolan, was apparently based  off a short story by his brother. It is such a dense movie, and certainly takes more than one viewing to totally appreciate but it's so well executed that it takes a spot in my top movies of the decade.   


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4) The Departed (2006)
The Departed took the very best elements from the original Hong Kong film (Infernal Affairs) and put it in the hands of Martin Scorsese. Throw in an all-star cast, and what you get is by far and away one of the best films of the decade. Gritty crime films are what Scorsese does best, and this is no exception. I have never seen an audience, jump, scream, and then go dead silent as they did at 'that' scene towards the end. If you have not seen The Departed...go do so, now. 

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3) City of God (2002)
If you have not seen City of God, you need to. It's one of the most unforgetable films I have ever seen. From the opening sequence, a chicken minutes before slaughter, surrounded by the insturments of his demise, breaks free, a microcosim for the theme of the movie itself. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igxT-03XkXA) (Don't watch the whole movie on youtube) The movie is near perfectly directed, stylish, and poignant. Some of the finest directors in cinema today are from Latin America.

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2) The Dark Knight (2008)
I was always annoyed by comic book movies because I felt they were so disconnected from reality. I understand that sounds a little goofy since they are indeed comic books. I just felt like I couldn't suspend my disbelief throughout so many of them, and had always hoped a superhero movie could be set in a reasonable reality. Batman Begins paved the way for what I really think is a masterpiece. This movie was scary good. I haven't been as giddy and excited during a film as I was when  this movie was released...which is why I saw it 3 times in theaters. Of course Heath ledgers portrayal of the Joker will go down as one of the greatest villians in film history. I remember my dad, a huge Jack Nicholson fan, said before seeing The Dark Knight "nobody will top Nicholson in that role" After seeing the movie with my dad...he admitted he was wrong.

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1) No Country for Old Men (2007)
When I first saw this movie I loved it, and knew it was something special, although I don't think I really "got it". It's during a 2nd view of this film where you really see why the Coens won and very much deserved best director last year. The way in which they bring to the screen the dark, desperate story by Cormac McCarthy is remarkable. The film's tension-filled cat and mouse game between Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem is a ploy to bring to light the personal spiritual struggle of Tommy Lee Jones' character. He mentions throughout the movie both a profound admiration for the past (repeatadly mentioning that he is a long line of lawmen) as well as a disdain for what has been lost from that time period to now. For the sake of simplicity; violence represents 'spirituality' in many of McCarthy's stories. Tommy Lee Jone's character is always 2 steps behind a vicious serial killing assasin, constantly seeing the effects of Bardem's characters 'work' but never being personally effected. The Coen's do an amazing job of showing the desperation of Jone's character
examining the signs of a phantom killer, one which he will never see, or personally know the brutality of. Throughout the movie Jone's character recalls the ways in which his anscestors 'died by the gun' so to speak, with a sense of jealousy. In an extremely powerful scene Jone's character visits the scene of a crime, where the killer is hiding. You believe Jone's character is almost hoping to be ambushed and attacked, just to feel something real.
The movie is brilliant from start to finish, and the best film of the decade.
 

Agree, disagree? Something major I forgot let me know!

1 comment:

  1. OMG we totally have like a ton of these movies. Some sound pretty good that we may have to check out. Our last foreign film was "La Moustache" which was awesome...about a guy who shaves his mustache that he had forever and nobody notices and he thinks he's going crazy.

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