So, everyone seems to be creating their list of “The Best” movies of the first decade of the naughts. I take exception to the term “best” because all art is subjective. Entertainment, like beauty, is in the eye of the viewer. But, I wanted to compile a listing of the movies that I feel are not the best, but perhaps the most significant or important for the first decade of the double 0’s. These would not all make a list of my personal faves, but after a great deal of thought I do think that these are among the most important films made/released in the first decade of the 21st Century. I think these films will be watched, studied and continue to influence/inspire/provoke both filmmakers and audiences in years to come. Now, this list is just my opinion. I’ve tried to curb it to 15 movies with a nod to 5 others that didn’t quite make my list. The numbering of the list bears no importance. In my opinion, these films are all equal on some level or another.
2. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE (2002) – Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly original take on love, alienation and loneliness in the 21st Century. Especially important for film buffs is the experimental use of music, sound editing and light.
3. BEST IN SHOW (2000) – Christopher Guest’s ultimate comedy! His ‘stock’ of exceptional improvisational actors and clever editing make this the comedy to aim for — so many classic comedic moments!
4. OLDBOY (2003)
4. O’ BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? (2000) – I know that most are citing No Country for Old Men as the Cohen Bros primary contribution to cinema for this decade. But, for me, this re-imagining of Homer is their absolute finest hour. The style, wit, highly effective performances and music merge to create an entertaining and hopeful view of humanity which pacts quite a whallop.
5. THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES (2007) – Andrew Dominik’s film is about as perfect as any movie can get. If you’ve not seen it, you should. Stunning in every aspect.
6. INLAND EMPIRE (2006)
7. UNDER THE SAND (2006) – Francois Ozon’s complex examination of grief and the human struggle against the sheer horror of unresolved loss. I suspect this will be a movie that people will be talking about and studying in years to come.
8. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004) – Michel Gondry’s film of Charlie Kaufman’s intricate screenplay is so creative and complex that it mystifies the viewer and rewards upon repeated viewings. Using top notch film technology and effects — Gondry and the impressive cast lead us through the all-too-real story of doomed love. And, the sad realization that great love may not always last for all of us, but what a joyfully melancholy ride life can bring. This, in my view, is a very important film in the realm of cinema history.
9. GRIZZLY MAN (2005) – Werner Herzog’s tragic and fascinating documentary finally provides him with the perfect subject to match his own personality. Tho, the film breaks a lot of the “basic rules” that I tend to impose on documentaries — the power of this film and it’s maker is undeniable. A pure genius turn of film work.
9. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000) – Ang Lee’s brilliant film forever changed the face of martial art and epic filmmaking. And, at the same time, he created a movie which resonates in the human heart.
10. BRONSON (2008) – Nicolas Winding Refn’s film pays homage to Kubrick and carelessly tosses viewers into a sensory overload telling of the true life of Michael Petersen, Britain’s most notorious prisoner. Filmed without much thought of linear plot or character development — Refin creates magic. The film causes us to reflect on the impact of confinement, alter-ego, socialization, art, crime, punishment and the darkest corners of the human experience. Every frame is brilliant and Tom Hardy’s performance is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
5 OTHER NOTE WORTHY FILMS OF THE FIRST DECADE:
PALINDROMES, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE/2046, FINDING NEMO, 3 IRON, THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU.
…all of these movie absolutely blew me away!
…and, don’t forget to boogie down!
Indie critics pretty much slammed this CD which Devendra Banhart released this past fall. My understanding from what I read was that many felt he was trying too hard to push into the area of commercial pop. So, when I finally heard the CD I was left to scratch my head trying to understand why critics would take this view point. In many ways, this CD is less commercial than his previous release. There is a rather filtered feel to the music on “What Will Be” — to borrow a word from one of his new songs — the music, at times, feels a bit muddy and murky. But this is not a negative thing. There is something so oddly dense and warm about this music. It sort of makes me want to pull up a blanket and just create a sort of sonic cocoon as it plays. Bums me out that it doesn’t seem to be getting the attention I think it deserves.
There seems to be so much re-hash and crap out there right now. It is so refreshing to hear something with a newly fused energy. Not at all commercial pop, but it deserves to reach the commercially successful level. I guess it won’t. But, sometimes, it is cooler when you find some music that feels more like just your own. …Your personal discovery. A sort of musical treasure.
Life continues to throw curve balls. I manage to dodge most of them. Sadly, I end up catching a few. Worse yet, I’ve been hit in the head by a couple. But, one must push forward. Especially when one finds one self using lame/cliche sport metaphor — and one knows nothing of sport.
I wish therapy days did not fill me with such dread and drain me of so much energy. I am told “we” are making exceptional progress. Yet, it feels like it is getting worse before it gets better. It is a feeling. I suppose it is not truth, but feelings are what I run on — so it can get quite grim from time to time.
However, then, something perfect will happen. I’ll see a surfer catch a wave with perfect balance and grace. Or, my lover will kiss me in that way that only he can. Or, I will hear an artist hit that one note that fills my heart with joy. …Or, I will catch a glimpse of what makes the struggle of life so brilliant.
And, it is in these moments of pure hope that I find the strength to keep pushing forward.
I’ve decided my day needs a boost. …a full-on disco down boost!
So, I post this rare promo vid-clip for Andy Gibb’s Shadow Dancing! He was so perfect! I mean – that hair! those teeth! That vest! “Wow” in a word!