Top Ten Movies of the Decade

–This is admittedly a very crowded list.  It’s almost impossible to have only ten from the past ten years, but that’s the task at hand.  I know I really should do more, but I feel like it makes them more special if they can get into a list like this, rather than a top 50 or even a top 100.  The criteria are simple.  These are the ten movies I feel, from what I saw, were the absolute best from the past ten years.  Enjoy.

1.Children of Men – A lot of what I think about this movie, I admittedly stole from Josh Gibbs.  There is so much Christian symbolism in this movie, it’s almost mind-boggling, particularly in light of the fact that it was made by a pagan.  There are two scenes that stick out in my mind.  One, when they bring the baby out of the building, just after being born, and all of the soldiers stop fighting and are just standing in awe.  Two, the no-cut, seven minute scene through the “city”, which is quite possibly the most staggering thing I have ever seen on film, outside of Avatar.  This is one of the greatest films I have ever seen, and is frame for frame, shot for shot, perfect, in my humble opinion.

2.Memento – I was absolutely blown away by this movie, because I had to watch it two or three times just to understand what the hell was going on.  Christopher Nolan’s breakout film, it is essentially played in reverse, so that you are sympathizing with the main character, who suffers from short-term memory loss.  The skill with which this movie was written and directed blows my mind, and further cements the fact that I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. 

3.Lost in Translation – So gentle, so peaceful, so heart-breaking.  The movie looks and sounds terrific, and Bill Murray has never been better.  He plays each scene better than the last, being funny when he needs to be funny, sad when he needs to be sad, and just plain dynamic throughout.  There is not one scene that doesn’t fit the mood, or the title, and it’s just brilliant inside and out.  I truly appreciate movies that were written and directed by the same person, and this is one of seven out of the ten on this list.  Sofia Coppola really outdid herself.

4.Unbreakable – Unlike many people, I have not turned on M. Night Shymalan.  However, this is hands-down his magnum opus (though The Sixth Sense has a better ending and influenced cinema in a way this can only dream of).  The characters are beautifully drawn, and there is inordinate skill involved in the crafting of this film.  Each scene builds tension beautifully, and builds upon the last.  I swear, I could barely breathe at times during the movie.  I especially appreciate the scenes between Bruce Willis and his son and wife – in a “comic book movie” they are a breath of fresh air.

5.The Departed – Outside of maybe Casino, this is Scorcese’s finest work, in a career of incredible filmmaking.  DiCaprio and Damon play off each other brilliantly, despite sharing basically no screen time.  The all-star supporting cast is unbelievable, and when Martin Sheen is falling off the roof to silence, I almost screamed.  I loved each and every scene, and I will take issue with anyone that disagrees.

6.Moulin Rouge – The first time I saw this movie, I knew I loved the music, but I have to admit:  the quick cuts made me dizzy.  Now that I’ve seen it more than a dozen times, I appreciate the skill in editing that was involved, as well as the preparation to shoot scenes like Baz Luhrmann does.  This is an amazing movie, from the choreography to the soundtrack to the acting/singing/dancing to the themes to everything in between.  Long my wife’s favorite film, I am still amazed at how the music weaves the story together.  Ironically, it was on TV the other day, and I couldn’t help but leave it there.  Just a marvelous movie. 

7.There Will Be Blood – Admittedly, I haven’t watched this as many times as the others on the list.  It is difficult to watch, given its length and that my wife doesn’t care for it.  But it is impossible to deny that this movie, from beginning to end, is incredible.  The imagery, script, acting, score, direction, you name it, is basically flawless.  There is so much to be gleaned from this movie, I haven’t even scratched the surface.  P.T. Anderson is truly a wonder.

8.I Am Legend – Every time this comes on one of the movie channels, I find it almost impossible to turn to something else.  If for nothing else than the way the director uses light and dark, which is a clear metaphor for good and evil – stamped by the fact that the final shot of the movie is a massive church.  Will Smith is unbelievable in this role, and it far surpasses any “zombie” movie I’ve ever seen, save perhaps 28 Days Later.  But I preferred this one, hence it is on my list.

9.The Royal Tenenbaums – I’ve always loved Wes Anderson, and I still maintain that Rushmore is his finest work.  But this is VERY close.  He assembles an absolutely stellar cast, and they are all simply perfect in their roles.  Hilarious at times, touching at others, and sad at still other moments, this movie has a lot to say about fathers, sons, daughters, and family.  Great, great movie.

10.Almost Famous – Some friends that I really respect disagree with me about this one.  But I thought that it captured the spirit of loyalty quite well.  I know it’s supposed to be about music, life on the road, etc.  But I really found myself drawing parallels to inter-personal relationships, and I felt like Cameron Crowe really nailed it, with what I consider to be his greatest work.  It also helps that the soundtrack is amazing, it is extremely quotable, and that it’s based on his life.  The scene on the bus, set to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” is one of my favorite scenes of the decade.

–As a side note, after looking at various lists on the internet, and regardless of how excellent each of the movies on this list is, I think that if you were to compare the top 50 movies of the 90’s versus the 00’s, the 90’s would come out on top by a landslide.  That kinda makes me sad.

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3 Responses to “Top Ten Movies of the Decade”

  1. Joshua Says:

    Good list, buddy. I can respect most of these, high ranked though they be over my placement.

  2. Woelke Says:

    Nice list. Gotta say, though: the plot outline of Children of Men was from “The Children of Men,” by PD James, a Christian mystery writer. (I haven’t seen the movie mostly because they made several key changes to the book that I read about, and I love the book dearly.)

  3. jmmelton Says:

    Actually, Woelke, that makes me feel even better. I’m glad to know it was written by a Christian, because it seemed awfully fishy, all that Christianity in the film. You really should check out the movie, but go into it with your background knowledge and don’t expect too much. It’s a must see, if only for the 7-minute no-cut sequence, which is filmmaking at its finest. Unbelievable.

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