Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 50 best films of the decade

Here's my list. I've been slowly reorganizing it, tweaking/adding/subtracting, for about a month. Tell me why I'm wrong in the comments section. What am I missing?

Honorable mentions:
The 40-year-old Virgin, Superbad, Little Miss Sunshine, Audition, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Inglorious Basterds, Primer, Time Crimes,
The Proposition, 25th Hour, Punch-Drunk Love, The Man Who Wasn't There, Watchmen, In Bruges ...

50. Training Day
49. Gone Baby Gone
48. Bowling for Columbine
47. High Fidelity
46. Borat
45. American Splendor
44. Old School
43. Zodiac
42. Amelie
41. District 9
40. I am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco
39. The Prestige
38. The Wrestler
37. Eastern Promises
36. King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
35. Brick
34. Once
33. Ratatouille
32. The Incredibles
31. Mystic River
30. Waltz with Bashir
29. Bad Santa
28. American Psycho
27. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
26. Burn After Reading
25. Donnie Darko
24. Waking Life
23. The Departed
22. Human Nature
21. Adaptation
20. Mulholland Drive
19. Royal Tenenbaums
18. Ghost World
17. The Pianist
16. A History of Violence
15. Kill Bill (1 and 2)
14. Oh Brother Where Art Though?
13. The Dark Knight
12. LOTR trilogy
11. Wall-E
10. Shaun of the Dead
9. Requiem for a Dream
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
7. Old Boy
6. There Will Be Blood
5. Pan's Labyrinth
4. Children of Men
3. No Country for Old Men
I have some newly discovered issues with this film. The first three times, it completely lived up to the hype and I was enraptured and speechless for the entire run time. But I watched it for a forth time this week, and now I'm enough removed from the plotting and terrific suspense, which is the film's best attribute — not any symbolism or highfalutin art film appeal (side-note: NCFOM is more than a little pretentious) — but, the unbridled, brilliant tension and suspense is what really drives the film. Also, the cinematography by Roger Deakins is nothing short of breathtaking. This was simply one of the best looking films of the decade.

Here are the problems: the dialogue bo
rders on camp. Every word that comes out of Tommy Lee Jone's mouth is infuriating, like some sort of Hollywood bastardization or approximation of ornery folk wisdom. He's relentless with the "I think I'm too clever and wise to answer a question in a straightforward manner" attitude. Same thing with the dialogue between Josh Brolin's Llewelyn Moss and his wife Carla Jean Moss, played by Kelly Macdonald. Their back and forth sounds nothing like the way anyone actually talks, and is usually one note, Carla Jean playing a child-like, naive girl to Brolin's taciturn tough guy. The Coens are my favorite contemporary filmmakers, and usually I enjoy their unique brand of sharp-witted black comedy, but the depiction of the locals in the film's early '80s Texas seems more contemptuous caricature than real setting. But, the movie is staying in the top five for nothing more than the terrifying heavy in the film, Anton Chigurh, played by Javeir Bardem. The guy is the scariest motherfucker on film in years, and the Coen's unflinching ability to show his pure manifestation of evil with coldblooded conviction is rare and appreciated. He is what you remember when the film is over, scenes replay in your head and you want to watch it again to experience that same dread and fear that only the inevitable, certain doom that a menace like Chigurh can conjure on screen.

2. Memento

1. City of God


Brendan said...

Very good choices, but what about "In fucking Bruges"?!

Carrie said...

Lost in Translation?
Little Miss Sunshine?
Into the Wild?

Brendan said...

Yeah, Carrie's right, man. I'm going to make my own list of the decade's best movies to rival yours.

Brendan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brendan said...

(No offense to above comment or to future recommendations. And I apologize for commenting so much)

Ocean's Eleven
The 40 Year Old Virgin
V For Vendetta
The Constant Gardener

I'm ashamed to have forgotten many of the movies I've seen this decade. And it's hard to refrain from adding movies I like that are guilty pleasures or not very well-respected by legitimate movie buffs. You pretty much nailed most of them, though, to make a solid list.

Warped Coasters said...

1st, "Crash" is awful.
"Little Miss Sunshine" would probably be in my top 100.
"Into the Wild" was good but not one of my "top whatever number" films of the decade.

I didn't care for "Lost in Translation," maybe I'll revist t, though.

I'm going to add some honorable mentions because there's so many good films that didn't fit in a top 50 list.

Abby said...

Solid. I'm not taking much issue with anything here, though I still don't get why No Country for Old Men gets the acclaim it does. It's a damn good movie, but I would put a lot from the decade in front of it, partially for the reasons you mentioned. And because I honestly still think There Will be Blood was the better film.

Crash, on the other hand, tops my list of "Most Undeserved Recognition" for films in the '00s. What a load of bullshit.

Carrie said...

haha oh lord I must be wrong. I saw Crash in...7th grade? Maybe I should have considered that before I made it public. I love Lost in Translation. We own it Ed...winter break?

Jeff said...

Eddie I love the fact that at the bottom of your list is an ad for night at the museum two.... where was that on your list????

The Juice Box said...

Did you make 50 and put them all in one post so you could be better than me? I think so.

Warped Coasters said...

looks like Night at the Museum just missed the cut haha

hahah Juice Box I'm not coping, damnnnn

Warped Coasters said...


Professor Film said...

Am I the only person who was able to figure out the plot twist to "The Prestige" within the first 20 minutes? If someone has a huge bushy beard, then they're hiding something. It's a well-made film, to be sure, but it felt very cold to me, like it existed for the sole purpose of its twists. And then I'm reminded of M. Night Shyamalan, and then I get pissed off, because I think about "The Village."
I'm with you on "Into the Wild." The book really made you feel something, while the movie made you wonder why Emilie Hirsch was such a selfish prick. He discovers as the end of the film that you need the love of other people, and it comes as this huge realization, thus re-affirming his selfishness, thus reminding me that I don't give a shit about this character. And I really hated how Sean Penn presented "city life," as if civilization is inherently evil.
And I have to agree with Brendan, "In Bruges" is the best film of 2008. I could quote that movie for hours.

Warped Coasters said...

Shit I kept meaning to add "In Bruges" to the honerable mention list. I had a lot of fun watching it the first time and then again whenever it's on HBO, but it's not a film I ever think about once it's over, or felt motivated to buy for whatever reason. Definitely quotable, though it inspires me to shout things in a poorly executed british accent which I'm sure is annoying for everyone around me.

And I didn't guess the twist to the prestige ... I guess i was just gullible enough to enjoy it.