Friday, January 8, 2010

My Movies of the Decade

Admittedly, choosing my favorite movies from the past ten years is daunting, but I’m going to give it a go. I know I’ll forget about a dozen movies that deserve to be here, but I figure if they didn’t leave a lasting impression how good could they have been?

Rules are simple: only 5 movies from each genre, which was harder than I thought.

I should point out that I still haven’t seen a lot of movies from 2009 that might make this list if I had seen them (‘The Hangover’, ‘Hurt Locker’ are two that come to mind). Nor have I seen every single stinkin’ movie from the past decade. For whatever reason (having two testicles) certain movies like ‘Mama Mia’ and ‘Sex and the City’ just don’t appeal to me. Don’t try to talk me into them, it just ain’t happening. I don’t care how well reviewed they are.

Without further ado here are my favorite movies from the zeros.


Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004): The defining comedy of the 2000s and possibly the defining movie. I know, ‘Old School’ set the table, but ‘Anchorman’ tipped that table on its side and started a food fight with everything that spilled onto the floor. Could be the most quoted movie of our lifetimes.

Shaun of the Dead (2004): Two losers so out of if they don’t even realize the zombie apocalypse is upon them until one stands drooling on their back door step. You'll never listen to Queen the same way again.

Superbad (2007): As disappointed as I was in ‘Knocked Up’, this one had me laughing out loud too many times to count. While I wasn’t sure it would hold up over repeated watchings, I find it as funny as ever.

Tropic Thunder (2008): This has been on HBO about 467 times over the summer and if I stumble across it I’m hooked until the end or one of my kids walks into the room. Bonus points for making me appreciate the dancing ability of Tom Cruise.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006): Wasn’t sure if this should be considered drama or not, but considering the number of times I laughed I’ll put it here. Could be a perfectly paced movie; slow to start, builds momentum, snowballs into epic series of events – each building on the other – and ends in the perfectly hilarious and unexpected scene that has been mentally branded onto my brain forever. When my sons are old enough, I’m passing along the grandfather’s advice.

Honorable mention: Role Models, Step Brothers, 40 Year Old Virgin, Old School, Ghost Town.


The Departed (2006): No, it’s not even Scorsese’s best movie, but it still puts most other movies on this list to shame. Plus the ending was so unexpected and disturbing it’s nearly impossible to not have it on this list.

Memento (2001): Still the best confusing movie ever filmed. The very first movie I bought on DVD because I knew I would watch it over and over and over…

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): One of the few Best Picture winners that I actually agree with. Taking a risk putting this here since I haven’t watched it more than once, but it still resonates months later.

Children of Men (2006): I have recommended this to many friends who have come back to me and asked why I like this so much. I don’t know what to say. It’s dark, harrowing, violent, and climaxes with the most exciting 15 minutes ever filmed. It’s sliver of hope at the end makes it that much more memorable. I guess this one isn’t for the faint of heart.

Almost Famous (2001): I’ve only seen this twice and the last time was more than five years ago, but I still vividly remember lines and scenes like it was yesterday. Debated putting this in the comedy section, but strikes me as more of a drama.

Honorable mention: No Country For Old Men (a movie I could write a book about at this point), Eastern Promises, The Pianist, Once.


The Dark Knight (2008): As good as I thought this was the first time I saw it, I was shocked to find it’s even better upon repeated viewings. Another movie I’m sucked into no matter where I pick up on it.

Oldboy (2003): If the world was on the brink of destruction and I was told I could only salvage five movies to watch for the rest of my life, this would be my second choice (see below) followed by days of figuring out the other three. At which point the world would probably have been destroyed and I would have evaporated while browsing my DVD collection. I suck.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy: I know, technically this is three movies, but they may go down as best trilogy movies ever. Move over original Star Wars, you have company. If you want me to pick one, I’ll select the first one mainly because it had me sucked in from the opening shot and didn’t have 18 different endings like the last one. Let’s hope they learn from Lucas and do NOT make any prequels.

The Incredibles (2004): Laugh all you want, but if you enjoy action movies you owe it to yourself to watch this one. Picture a kids version of ‘Watchmen’ only funny, touching and a hundred times more entertaining. It also contains some of the best action sequences you’ll ever see.

Casino Royale (2006): James Bond reinvented as a damaged, deranged, relentless force of nature who will do whatever (and whomever) it takes to win.

Honorable mention: Any of the Bourne movies, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Hellboy, Gladiator, Sin City, A History of Violence.


Serenity (2005): The movie adaptation of the television series ‘Firefly’. Places the old gunslinger western in outer space while sprinkling in humor, tragedy and truly horrifying creatures. Also has one of the most interesting villains film has seen in some time.

Star Trek (2009): Put it here purely based on how entertaining it was. Not the best plot, but certainly gets the blood pumping and has enough humor to carry things through. I may feel different in a few years, but I’m betting this stands up well.

The Descent (2005): I need to be clear about this one, because the version we had in the U.S. is not the version I’m referring to. Watch the original ending not the one released here. If you get the uncut DVD version it will have the original ending. I’ll try not to give it away, but the U.S. one stopped when she was in the jeep. The intended (and far and away better) ending has another few minutes after that scene. That’s the one you want. It will make sense.

28 Days Later (2002): Ushered in a new generation of zombie movies with style, intelligence and extreme violence. Still haunted by the scenes of Cillian Murphy’s character wandering the deserted London streets.

Honorable mention: Pitch Black (which may still be the only good Vin Diesel movie), The Host, Spider-Man (1 or 2), War of the Worlds, District 9.

And finally.

My single favorite movie of the past ten years. There’s a reason I only had four in the above section.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006): I don’t even know what to say other than simply demanding you see it. I think Stephen King described it best as a ‘fairy tale for adults’. It’s original, brutal, magical and haunting. Besides being my favorite movie of the decade, historically it may be looked back on as it’s best.

Think that covers it. I promise I’ve probably forgotten one great movie that I love, but I can’t think of it at the moment. Therefore, it doesn’t exist.

Enjoy your weekends.

Today’s distraction: Paste Magazine’s 50 Best Movies of the Decade. Frankly, I’ve never seen their number one movie (City of God) but I can’t imagine it topping ‘Pan’s Labyrinth. Still, I’ll give it a shot.


Hammen said...

Besides the movies on your list that I hadn't seen, I don't think I can argue with a single choice. All solid picks. Anchorman is also my best comedy, and Departed is probably my favorite movie of all time.

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

I agree with just about all your choices. I would however move Role Models up in the comedy section and I might also include Zoolander. I have also watched Tropic Thunder just about ever time it's on HBO, I can't help it.

Oldboy was seriously one of the most fucked up movies I've seen, but I do love it.

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

O yeah forgot to mention City of God is a solid flick, so much so that I actually own it.

Julie L. said...

What, no mention of Snow Dogs????

Very solid list. I haven't seen them all, but I agree with almost all your choices. Kudos for mentioning Eastern Promises and Once, both great movies that not enough people saw, and for including The Incredibles in the action list (it could also go under comedy, but I think action is more fitting).

Everyone over the age of 14 should watch "City of God." One of the best movies ever.

BeachBum said...

Wow, I really need to see City of God!

I could be talked into moving Role Models into the top five and possibly moving Little Miss Sunshine into the honorable mention section. I must admit the comedy area was the hardest internal debate. So many hilarious movies to choose from.

Clayton Bigsby said...

Where's Sak?

He's not feeling well.

"We'll sail WITHOUT HIM!"

Wedding Crashers still cracks me up, but Anchorman was a good choice.

thepowerof10 said...

I saw The Descent in theaters, and it was the first time I considered asking for my money back in the history of going to movies. Of course, I later heard that I missed out on about three minutes at the end, because it made exactly ZERO sense ending it in the jeep.

And I wholeheartedly agree with The Departed. Maybe the movie of the decade for me.

Rob said...

Rented Children of Men through Netflix. Watched the first half last nigth and can't wait to finish it tonight. Thanks for the suggestion.