Thursday, December 31, 2009

favorite films of the decade

this was the decade of my cinematic awakening. the decade where i learned just how much i enjoyed film, and just how great film can be. i saw all of my favorite films for the first time this decade. many of those films were old classics that i was simply discovering for the first time. some of those, however, were released during this decade. of those released in the last ten years, these are my favorite:

31) ocean's eleven
(USA, 2001, Steven Soderbergh)
ok, hollywood, LISTEN UP: THIS is what a remake should be. take a crappy film, give it a sexy new spin and a cleverly crafted script, and hand it off to soderbergh. STOP REMAKING CLASSICS.

30) madagascar (USA, 2005, Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath)
what is a simple bite on the butt between friends? come on, give me a nibble.

29) 28 days later (U.K., 2002, Danny Boyle)
for god's sake, when will those damn scientists stop experimenting on monkeys!

28) let the right one in (Sweden, 2008, Tomas Alfredson)
ah, inappropriately young love. and bloodsucking murder. <gush>

27) star trek (USA, 2009, J.J. Abrams)
ok, so it's the death of roddenberry's philosophical vision. but who cares? the other entertaining blockbusters of the decade wish they had a tenth of the wit of this perfectly blended spectacle.

26) the royal tenenbaums (USA, 2001, Wes Anderson)
a true friend is the one willing to knife you in the side when you're being an ass.

25) lost in translation (USA, 2003, Sofia Coppala)
one of two movies in my line-up where you can't hear the secrets whispered at the end.

24) there will be blood (USA, 2007, Paul Thomas Anderson)
just watch your milkshake. or there will be blood.

23) up! (USA, 2009, Pete Doctor and Bob Peterson)
how is it that the opening sequence of a kid's film is the most poetic, succint, and devastating expression of the realities of growing up in all of cinema?

22) intermission (Ireland, 2003, John Crowley)
look, don't piss on collin farrel's leg. just don't.

21) the darjeeling limited (USA, 2007, Wes Anderson)
if you were one of those that complained about this film because it showed india as if it hadn't
changed in the last 50 years, then you missed the point. big time. get over your political correctness.

20) the lives of others (Germany, 2006, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
the brutal, sincere portrait of the greatest tragedy of the 20th century. without the the right to say and think anything we desire, we will wither and crumble.

19) summer hours (France, 2009, Olivier Assayes)
art, life, and the promise of the next generation.

18) the life aquatic with steve zissou (USA, 2004, Wes Anderson)
deadpan berserker, hydrogen psychosis, and the crazy-eye!

17) encounters at the end of the world (USA, 2008, Werner Herzog)
fuzzy itty-bitty wittle penguins? i don't think so. there are those who would have us believe that nature is fuzzy, warm, and harmonious. and there are those who remind us that nature is actually a form of collective murder. thank god someone as eloquent and brilliant as herzog is in the latter camp.

16) science of sleep (France, 2006, Michel Gondry)
cardboard, cellophane, and stop-motion animation do a better job of translating - and inspiring - our imagination than cgi ever could.

15) spirited away (Japan, 2001, Hayao Miyazaki)
we grow up in our imagination.

14) howl's moving castle (Japan, 2004, Hayao Miyazaki)
The mixture of boundless optimism and uncanny eerieness.

13) grizzly man (USA, 2005, Werner Herzog)
only someone who pulled a boat over a mountain could have the patience to scour tredwell's hundreds of hours of unedited footage to plow the deeper mysteries of human existance.

12) eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (USA, 2004, Michel Gondry)
apparently the best relationships are mixture of heaven and hell, and there's nothing you can do to get out of it. so don't even bother having your mind erased.

11) still life (China, 2007, Jia Zhang-Ke)
you can destroy thousands of years of culture in the blink of an eye, but you'll never stop corruption, greed, and individual tragedy.

10) in bruges (U.K., 2008, Martin McDonagh)
who knew a movie about hitmen in fucking bruges could be so wonderfully poetic?

9) in the mood for love (Hong Kong, 2000, Wong Kar-Wai)
love is tragic. but don't let that stop you from whispering the secrets of the universe into a hole in the wall before sealing them up with mud.

8) little miss sunshine (USA, 2006, Jonathan Dayton)
god bless our fucked up families. my wife and i nearly died laughing in the theaters.

7) audition (Japan, 2000, Takeshi Miike)

6) platform (China, 2002, Jia Zhang-Ke)
china, 1980's - a pivotal moment for art wasted by a lingering ideological tyranny and a brainwashed generation of artistic parodies.

5) ponyo (Japan, 2009, Hayao Miyazaki)
soske loves ponyo! great films aren't works of art; they're magic.

4) broken flowers (USA, 2005, Jim Jarmusch)
bill murray's doleful expression is the waggish epitome of human loneliness.

3) inglorious basterds (USA, 2009, Quentin Tarantino)
a cinematic grab-bag of dramatic brilliance. christoph waltz and brad pitt are pitch-perfect polar opposites.

2) my son, my son, what have ye done (USA, 2009, Werner Herzog)
only in his documentaries has herzog has ever acheived such inspired, poetic brilliance. and all it took was a midget, a tree stump, and a minute long stare into the camera!

1) mulholland drive
(USA, 2001, David Lynch)
this movie, more than any other, opened my eyes to the possibilities of cinema. thank you, david lynch. ¡no hay banda!

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