Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top 10 Films of the Decade REDUX

I hate making end-of-year lists with a passion. I tend to do them out of occupational obligation, or some strange personal necessity to challenge myself, but I'm never satisfied with how they turn out. The damn thing never looks right. So out of this "personal necessity" I'm going to attempt picking my top 10 films of the 2000s here. But I'm also doing this partially to set the record straight that the list which appeared in Real Groove's December issue doesn't reflect my tastes accurately (The Royal Tenenbaums wouldn't even crack my top 50!), but is the result of tallying votes from all the RG contributors who sent in their lists. Just felt like I need to clarify this, since I've had quite a few people come up to me wondering what IS up with that list... it probably wasn't made clear enough in the copy, but anywho, things happen - now onto the Real List (or as real-as-can-be-at-this-point-in-time, i.e. meaning "will regret once posted").

(Robert Zemeckis, '00)
I'm no Tom Hanks fan, but this is probably his greatest performance to date. The first two-thirds is pure incredible. Stranded on an island. Volleyball. Large stretches of no dialogue. Some of the Zemeckis' best, bravest work.

(Bong Joon-ho, '06)
The best monster flick of the last decade came from South Korea. Stylish and funny, superb effects, a Jurassic Park for the new millennium.

(Andrew Bujalski, '03)
I'm not going to call to this mumblecore - the much-derided term given to the movement this film help kickstart; Bujalski's debut is just a fresh, raw, smart, unaffected "small film" that rings true. A genuine independent gem.

(Hayao Miyazaki, '01)
I think Miyazaki might have peaked with this film. Spellbinding MAGIC.

(Kinji Fukasaku, '01)
Surprised to see this not getting mentioned more in end-of-decade lists around the web. Timely, blood-soaked, hyperkinetic action movie with a brain.

(Gus Van Sant, '02)
Don't care if Van Sant was shamelessly riffin' on Bela Tarr. This is my favourite of his "Death" trilogy. Beautiful head movie to zone out to.

(Shane Carruth, '03)
Ultra-cerebral low-budget sci-fi screwed my mind and I loved it. Nothing quite like it.

(Lodge Kerrigan, '04)
Remember seeing this at the Melbourne Film Festival and being blown away and emotionally shattered. Why isn't Damien Lewis more famous? This is a performance for the ages. Kerrigan should be making more films.

(David Fincher, '07)
Finally Fincher is married to material that's worthy of his perfectionism and obsessiveness. Mystery with no solution. Devil is in the details. Masterpiece.

(Kiyoshi Kurosawa, '01)
If the 2000s felt somewhat apocalyptic - Y2K fears, swine flu, Bush, recession, etc - Pulse seemed to prefigure, and perhaps now in a way encapsulate, this prevading ominous mood that we've been experiencing in the past ten years. As a horror film, it pretty much closed the chapter on the post-Ring J-horror boom, and for my money, it's one of the scariest, creepiest and most haunted movies ever made.

Films for one reason or another couldn't be squeezed into the Top 10, in no particular order:

L'Intrus (Claire Denis, '04)
Read My Lips (Jacques Audiard, '01)
Yi Yi (Edward Yang, '00)
Demonlover (Olivier Assayas, '02)
Session 9 (Brad Anderson, '01)
Werckmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr, '00)
Ong Bak (Princa Pinkaew, '03)
Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, '05)
Ratatouille (Brad Bird, '07)
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Cristian Mingiu, '07)
Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, '03)
Gosford Park (Robert Altman, '01)
Adaptation (Spike Jonze, '02)
Femme Fatale (Brian DePalma, '02)
Apocalypto (Mel Gibson, '06)
The Triplets of Belleville (Sylvain Chomet, '03)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg, 01)
Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, '00)

Missing lots no doubt. Next up? Top 10 of 2009. Gahh.


  1. Pulse! Oh no, I had respect up until that point (Battle Royale would be in my top 10 too). Whilst Pulse had its moments, I found it to be unlinked nonsense. What were they trying to say? ***spoiler alert***Too many dead so people becoming undead by committing suicide or just disappearing into oozing blobs? And only if they saw a ghost? Or... what?!***here endeth spoiler alert***

  2. Superb list Aaron. Well I probably would say that seeing 5 films on your list all premiered in the Incredible Strange!

    CASTAWAY never gets the love because of its final quarter but I challenge anyone to find another major studio film as sparse and gripping as that films first 3 quarters. Now Zemekis is lost in the land of CG forever... a real shame as he's can be a phenomenal filmmaker.

    I know your pain about these lists. I had to pull out of the FLICKS Best of the Decade one because I saw that shit like MOULIN ROUGE was going to end up on it and I couldn't live with being associated with that sort of insanity.