100 Favorite Movies, 2000-2009

(Also: Five favorite filmmakers of the decade.)

royal-tenenbaums.jpgThe first thing to say about this list is that because of my nature, my favorite 100 movies from 2000 through 2009 are culled from viewing that would under no definition be considered comprehensive.

How little do I see? Of 45 Best Picture nominees so far this decade, I’ve taken in 31. So I’ve missed nearly a third, including winners Gladiator and Million Dollar Baby. (The other nominees I’ve so far skipped: Atonement, The Aviator, Chocolat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Finding Neverland, Frost/Nixon, Gangs of New York, Juno, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Reader, and Seabiscuit.)

It is certainly possible that some of these movies, if seen, would be on this list. Based on what I know about myself and these movies, though, there’s a far greater likelihood that bypassing them was a sound choice. That’s a sign of a less-than-fully-open mind, certainly, but it’s also a matter of priorities: Do I think this movie would reward my time investment as much as [a different movie, sleeping, Wii, etc.]?

The Top 10

Memento1. Memento
2. Pan’s Labyrinth
3. Requiem for a Dream
4. Oldboy
5. The Royal Tenenbaums
6. No Country for Old Men
7. The Mothman Prophecies
8. Mulholland Drive
9. Donnie Darko (original theatrical version)
10. The Descent (international version)

The Next 88 (in alphabetical order)

Adventureland
American Splendor
Amores Perros
Ararat
The Aristocrats
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Away from Her
Batman Begins
Birth
Brokeback Mountain
Burn After Reading
Camera (short film; YouTube.com/watch?v=hQlQgzRyBfY)
Capote
Capturing the Friedmans
City of God
Collateral
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Dancer in the Dark
The Dark Knight
The Deep End
The Devil’s Backbone
District 9
Dogville
Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist
Eastern Promises
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Finding Nemo
The Five Obstructions
Game 6
Ghost Town
Ghost World
Ginger Snaps
Grace (2009, directed by Paul Solet)
Happy Endings
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Helvetica
A History of Violence
Holes
I Heart Huckabees
In America
Incident at Loch Ness
The Incredibles
Inside Man
Intacto
JCVD
Land of the Dead
Lantana
The Last King of Scotland
Let the Right One in
The Lives of Others
Lost in Translation
Moulin Rouge!
Murderball
The Orphanage
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Pieces of April
A Prairie Home Companion
The Prestige
Primer
The Proposition
Rachel Getting Married
Requiem (2006)
Shattered Glass
Spider
Spider Forest
The Squid and the Whale
Stone Reader
Stranger Than Fiction
Talk to Her
Teeth (2007, directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein)
Terminal Bar (short film)
There Will Be Blood
Thirst (2009)
13 Tzameti
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Timecode
Touching the Void
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
Trouble Every Day
25th Hour
28 Days Later
Unbreakable
Up
Waking Life
WALL•E
Wolf Creek
The Woodsman
Zodiac (2007, directed by David Fincher)

The Final Two (because they amuse me)

99. Tongues and Taxis (short film; YouTube.com/watch?v=tvJguvgTQfg)
100. Monkeybone

(This article originally appeared in the River Cities’ Reader.)

Interesting pick on “The Descent.” For me, it’s one of those films (horror or otherwise) that I enjoyed, but didn’t think I’d give much thought to afterwards. But as the years have gone by, I find myself sharing your sentiments that it’s a flawless terror film.

I haven’t listened to your audio commentary yet, so forgive me if this is a pointless question: What were the major differences between the U.S. version and the International version? I watched the unrated DVD, but I don’t remember reading the case and seeing anything that specified a certain theatrical release.

Jamie: The U.S. version ended in the SUV. What happens after the SUV is what was in the international version. If you watched the unrated DVD, you should have been okay.

It’s odd, but if you only saw the U.S. theatrical version, you saw a movie in which the prologue and the dead kid are basically window dressing. The proper ending gives the movie all of its resonance.

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