Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Best Of A Decade

Because my Top 10 list for 2009 is not coming until January and because I'm getting too anxious with all this "Best of" nonsense already and all these lists already floating around, I figured I needed to make a list of some sort. So, here's my Top 10 list for what I feel to be the best movies of the past decade. Except we're heading back an extra year because 2009, which has already proven to be a year filled with spectacular movies, isn't quite over yet. And because I feel every year needs a representative, there will be no double-dipping in terms of year in this list. Each year will get its best film.

Being John Malkovich

An insanely inventive screenplay from Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze's exquisite directing proved to be a perfect combination as the two would team up again to make "Adaptation." While darkly comic and wonderfully fanciful, the film was also a strangely profound meditation on gender, sexuality, identity, and consciousness.

Requiem for a Dream

Darren Aronofsky's most well-known and controversial film and also one that is unforgettable. Here's a film that shakes you to the core with its disturbing and chilling vision. Just watch what drugs do to the people in this movie, and you'll never look at self-destructive addictions the same again. It's a knockout.

Mulholland Drive

David Lynch works his crazy magic with his most approachable movie. This sleek, sexy, absolutely incomprehensible adventure into the dark depths of Hollywood is the absolute definition of mind-fuckery, and it is cinematic perfection. Here's a movie you can watch an endless number of times and come up with endless theories to unravel the puzzle that Lynch creates.

Spirited Away

From the Japanese master of animation, Hayao Miyazaki, this is a surreal journey into a world that is a cross between "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Wizard of Oz." In this world, a scared little girl has to find her way through a colorful cast of characters, and it becomes a breathtaking journey of self-discovery. It is a wonder to behold and simply labeling it a masterpiece does not do the film justice. All you can do is go see it.

Lost in Translation

Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson deliver excellent performances as two strangers in Tokyo, Japan who find each other and, consequently, find themselves. It's a fantastic story about two dislocated people just trying to make it by, and these characters feel entirely truthful. The genius of this film comes from director Sofia Coppola whose keen style found a balance between the hilariously comic and the deeply sad.


Based on the novel by Rex Pickett, this film from director Alexander Payne is a bittersweet and sublime variation on the buddy road comedy. The casting is all around superb with Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, and Sandra Oh all turning in absolutely ideal performances. They don't misstep once. Here's a movie whose greatness doesn't come to the forefront until the end as it gradually builds along the way.

King Kong

Peter Jackson takes on a classic and does a marvelous job. This is sweeping, epic, romantic, pure moviegoing bliss, the best we've seen since "Titanic." It's the reason we go to the movies in the first place with big, eye-popping, breathtaking action and set pieces. Jackson has taken the hidden potential and opportunities of the original classic and has brought them to exploding life.

Pan's Labyrinth

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro presents audiences with fantastical and real-life monsters with a stirring and masterful blend of history, fantasy, and horror. This violent and shocking fairy tale for adults will keep you riveted, and by encoding its message on morality in magic, the film pulls off a dazzling feat. It is utterly unmissable.

No Country for Old Men

With an ending that hits you like a sledgehammer, this Best Picture-winner from the Coen brothers is their darkest and most profound movie they've made. As commentary on America's dark underbelly, this sparse and probing masterpiece is adapted from Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same name.


The finest piece of animation to come out of the Pixar canon, this is a riveting cautionary tale disguised as a family film and one that works on both fronts. The romantic tale of two robots is the forefront with a earth beyond repair as the backdrop. And from an opening sequence that is entirely void of dialogue and onward, the film is pure poetry. This one was worthy of not only the Best Animated Film Oscar but also the Oscar for Best Picture.

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