Author Topic: The 100 Best Films of the Decade  (Read 26362 times)

mgriffin

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The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« on: November 10, 2009, 10:27:52 AM »
The 100 Best Films of the Decade
From the London Times

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6902642.ece?print=yes&randnum=1257554128289

I love lists like this, and the arguments they produce.  I especially appreciate being clued-in to things I'd missed, or reminded of things I'd intended to see but forgotten about (Hunger, Last King of Scotland, The Lives of Others).  I suppose there's also a some kind of positive feeling to be derived from confirmation by a "professional" that something I considered great and possibly underappreciated (Let the Right One In, for example, or the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which I'd rate even higher than it appeared on the list) maybe wasn't as underappreciated as I thought.

I don't want to post the whole list of 100 here in one chunk, but here's the top 10, along with a few of my comments.

Quote

10 Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008)
Provocative London-born artist McQueen directs a revelatory Michael Fassbender in a movie that purports to tackle the infamous 1981 IRA hunger strikes but is actually a hypnotic meditation on the ineffable mystery of human life. Achingly profound.

9 The Queen (Stephen Frears, 2006)
Compassionate and intelligent, witty and wicked, this account of what happened behind the Palace gates after the death of the Princess of Wales is a crown jewel of a movie. Helen Mirren is a very human HM.

8 Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006)
The high camp of the Brosnan era Bond is ditched, and Fleming’s hero returns rebooted (and Bourne-ified), with an intense turn from Daniel Craig, and some breakneck set-pieces. An opening parkour-style chase through Madagascar sets the tone.

7 The Last King of Scotland (Kevin Macdonald, 2006)
Forest Whitaker gives one of the great performances of the decade as Idi Amin. He nails the Ugandan dictator’s deadly charm — he’s a charismatic monster; part amiable buffoon, part stone-cold killer.

6 Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008)
Twelve years after Trainspotting, Boyle produces a dizzying Mumbai-set romance that redefines the possibilities of a progressive yet commercially successful national industry. Oscars abound.

5 Team America: World Police (Trey Parker, 2004)
The South Park creators launch an assault on pretty much everyone, from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to poor, hapless Matt Damon. It’s jaw-droppingly offensive and wildly funny.

4 Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
Party nature documentary, part philosophical tract, Herzog’s eerie account of the life and brutal death of mildly unhinged bear-watcher Timothy Treadwell is a monumental piece of cinema — emotionally satisfying, intellectually stimulating, but primal to the core.

3 No Country for Old Men (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 2007)
The alchemic combination of the Coen brothers’ eloquent precision and Cormac McCarthy’s vivid nihilism makes for a bleakly compelling cycle of violence. The only thing more terrifying than Javier Bardem’s haircut is the clinical efficiency of his murders.

2 The Bourne Supremacy / The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass, 2004, 2007)
The action movie is dragged, kicking and back-flipping, into the Noughties courtesy of Matt Damon’s amnesiac superspy and director Greengrass’s film-making élan. Marrying jittery docu-style camera work with healthy political cynicism, Greengrass transformed Bourne into an anti-Bond for the PlayStation generation.

1 Hidden (Cache) (Michael Haneke, 2005)
It is only as the decade draws to a close that it becomes clear just how presciently the Austrian director Michael Haneke tapped into the uncertain mood of the Noughties. The film’s twin themes resonate perfectly with the defining concerns of the time: tacit national guilt about a questionable foreign policy, in the film it’s France’s occupation of Algeria, but it’s not hard to piece together the parallels with more recent conflicts. Plus, as round-the-clock surveillance became a part of our daily lives, here was a film that captured the creeping paranoia that resulted from the eyes of unseen strangers invading private life.

Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche star as Georges and Anne Laurent, the successful couple whose charmed life is disrupted by a series of covertly captured videotapes of their family and home. The campaign pertains to some unspoken and long suppressed event. Auteuil and Binoche are both excellent — their brittle, abrupt performances etch out the fracture lines in their crumbling relationship. But the film’s brilliance comes from two striking, perplexing moments in the film. The first is a shockingly violent suicide that catches the audience off guard. The second is the film’s ambivalent ending — a long shot of a meeting on some steps which could signal the end of the family’s torment, or the beginning of something worse. There have been rumours of an American remake with Ron Howard, of all people, directing. Hopefully common sense will prevail.

The first surprise, obviously, is Cache/Hidden at #1.  I thought this was a very interesting, cerebral film, quite different and mysterious.  But the best film of the past decade?  I guess it's not my list.

And the two Bourne movies at #2.  These were actually pretty well-done, and not just brain-dead entertainment of the bullets-and-bombs, though pleasing enough for the adrenaline-junkie crowd.  But as for these films, individually or put together, being the second best work of the last decade, let's just say I disagree!

Several other obvious & predictable choices in the top 10, though I was pleased and amused to see Team America: World Police in there.  That movie was just packed with ideas and lots of fun, and I think everyone should see it once.  I guess lists like this will convince some people to give it a whirl.

Grizzly Man seems to be well-known to a certain crowd, I guess the kind of people who don't mind driving downtown to an "art cinema" or renting a DVD out of the documentary section, but to others who haven't heard of it or barely know what it is, I'd say this is one of the more incredible, shocking films you'll ever see.  Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

As I said above, Last King of Scotland has long been on my "watch soon" list and this has convinced me to prioritize it higher.

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

judd stephens

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2009, 08:50:43 PM »
As a somewhat narrow sci-fi, action and comedy junkie, I only saw about 4 of the movies listed there in the top ten.  There was one sci-fi movie I would put really high though, and that was Children of Men.  It was certainly better than the James Bond flick.  I mentioned District 9 recently and that is also hands down one of the best movies I've seen this decade.  The 2 born sequels made it so high, but higher than the first Bourne Identity?  I don't know 'bout that one. 

I agree about the Grizzly Man, what a wild movie.  So sad but so funny at times.  Never did get around to watching Team America or 'King of Scotland, but Forrest Whitaker's character made the latter one look compelling.

Surprising not to see either of Steven Chaow's Kung Fu Hustle or Shaolin Soccer there, with all the comedies that made it on the 100 list...  maybe I missed reading them.

hdibrell

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2009, 10:13:21 PM »
What! :o Not even a mention of The Magnificent Seven?? ???
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2009, 07:24:02 AM »
There will always be problems with such lists.  There Will Be Blood down at 63?
Missing...
Letters From Iwo Jima
The Reader
Juno
Sideways
The Pianist
In The Bedroom
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Chicago
Match Point
Million Dollar Baby
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2009, 07:24:48 AM »
btw
has anyone seen Departures?  I haven't found it on dvd yet.
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Seren

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2009, 09:19:05 AM »
Do we know how many films were made in the decade?

mgriffin

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2009, 09:34:02 AM »
There will always be problems with such lists.  There Will Be Blood down at 63?
Missing...
Letters From Iwo Jima
The Reader
Juno
Sideways
The Pianist
In The Bedroom
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Chicago
Match Point
Million Dollar Baby


Sideways was #27

Yes, there are definitely some choices we could argue with, such as leaving off (fill in the name of well-regarded "serious" film here) in favor of Team America: World Police and so on.  The usual problem with such lists is the emphasis on "serious" dramas and foreign films, and very little in the way of comedy, experimentation, or genre films.  I think this list does a decent job of mixing it up a bit.

Also remember this is not an American list and as such, seems to have less emphasis on Hollywood films than American moviegoers might expect.
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Hypnagogue

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2009, 10:49:44 AM »
I cannot abide any "Best Movies" list that fails to acknowledge the beauty, splendor, and philosophical depth of "Big Trouble In Little China."


(Oh, wait...just this decade? Okay, I give it a pass.)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 10:51:40 AM by Hypnagogue »
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mgriffin

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2009, 10:53:11 AM »
"I feel good, I'm not scared at all.  I feel kind of... kind of invincible."

 ;D
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mgriffin

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2009, 11:04:25 AM »
As I did for the top 10, I'm going to post and comment on the next 10, taking us through #20.


Quote
20 Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001)
Head-tripping sci-fi goes to high school in an Eighties-set psychological thriller with dark Lynchian overtones. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the titular teen — a possible paranoid schizophrenic who may just have the key to time travel.

19 United 93 (Paul Greengrass, 2006)
Shattering, sobering and uncompromising, Greengrass’s masterful drama set onboard one of the 9/11 hijacked planes is resolutely unsensational — and is all the more powerful for it.

18 Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
The biggest vampire movie of 2008 was Twilight, but its bloodless inanities were exposed by this Swedish chiller. Here Kare Hedebrant plays a bullied pre-teen whose burgeoning relationship with an equally alienated girl-vampire radically alters his dull suburban existence.

17 Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)
This achingly sad love story gave Heath Ledger a chance to explore hitherto unsuspected depths. It’s a hugely powerful performance — his inarticulate yearning is almost painful to watch.

16 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
Testing the limits of narrative convolutions and visual technique, Gondry directs an ingenious script about memory-wiping. A central tempestuous romance between Jim Carrey’s Joel and Kate Winslet’s Clementine, however, is never once overshadowed.

15 Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004)
One of the most extraordinary cinematic explorations of failure, disappointment and thwarted ambition ever made, this tale of Hitler's final days features a savage, dazzling performance by Bruno Ganz.

14 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
The tale of an illegal mid-term abortion in Ceausescu’s Romania was never going to be easy. And though the details are harrowing, Mungiu, a former journalist, has such compassion for his heroines Otilia and Gabita that the pain is almost palatable. Almost.

13 This Is England (Shane Meadows, 2007)
Meadows’s most personal film is a real treat, combining the director’s impeccably observed comedy with a gathering storm cloud of ominous ill will and violence. Honest, authentic and ultimately shattering.

12 The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
A mercilessly efficient account of Stasi surveillance in mid-1980s East Germany is anchored by a haunting performance from Ulrich Mühe, who died from stomach cancer just after the film’s release.

11 Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles, 2006)
The decade’s favourite sexist, anti-Semitic, racist homophobe, Borat picked at the scabs of America’s intolerance and hypocrisy. Sacha Baron Cohen’s status as the most fearless man in comedy is unlikely to be challenged in the near future.

Borat is another one of those like Team America to which I can easily imagine many objecting.  It really is an amazing film and something I think everyone should see.  The point, obviously, is not that we should "like" Borat or empathize with him, but what he reveals about those who come in contact with him.  You can learn the most about someone when they're outside their comfort zone, no longer to rely on their manners and forced to "wing it," and this film has amazing scenes of people reacting to Borat as if he's not joking.  The point isn't that he tricked them, it's what these people do and say in reaction.

We saw #14, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days , a few months ago and it was both grim and difficult, somewhat documentary in style, and very memorable.  This kind of bitter and harsh story, when told in a realistic way as it is here, is really the sort of thing I don't blame some people for wanting to avoid... sort of the way I've avoided United 93 on this list.

The Lives of Others has been near the top of my Netflix queue for some times and for whatever reason I keep bumping other things above it.  I guess it's time to check this one out finally.

Hadn't heard of This is England or Downfall before this list.

Several of my recent favorites are in this part of the list.  Donnie Darko, Let the Right One In, Brokeback Mountain and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mine are all fantastic and I'm especially glad to see the first two rising up in a sort of cult status of late.
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2009, 11:52:59 AM »
Ok, so I forgot to mention Dark Water.
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mgriffin

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2009, 11:58:41 AM »
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

mgriffin

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2009, 12:03:16 PM »
Ok, so I forgot to mention Dark Water.

Forgot to mention it as in to say you really like it, or that you think it should be on the best 100 films of the decade list?

I haven't seen it (though I usually like Jennifer Connelly) but the consensus of reviewers both professional and amateur is not good:

http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/darkwater

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dark_water/

We all have our guilty pleasures, though!   :)
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2009, 12:08:13 PM »
yep

btw, while we're talking about movie greats...http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091111/ap_en_mo/us_oscars_roger_corman
Roger Corman is getting an honorary Oscar.  The Pit and the Pendulum is one of my all time favorites.  Who can forget such masterpieces like Big Bad Mama and Rock and Roll High School.
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mgriffin

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2009, 12:13:24 PM »
Ignore the spammer... I banned him and deleted his message, in case some of you viewing this topic were wondering.  Pretty brave spammer.  Most of them lie low and don't attract attention to their spammy links!
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LNerell

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2009, 10:23:43 AM »
I would say based upon their top ten list this decade pretty much sucked for films. I've seen most of the films they list and enjoyed most of them, but I would have to say I can't think of any other decade were any of those films would make the top 50.
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mgriffin

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2009, 10:35:24 AM »
I would say this has been a pretty good decade overall.  Pan's Labyrinth, Donnie Darko, all 3 Lord of the Rings films, Chidlren of Men, Synecdoche New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, both Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive from David Lynch, the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, the rise of Pixar, and maybe the best decade for stupid comedies ever (thank you Steve Carrell, Judd Apatow, Sasha Baron Cohen, Will Farrell, and Napoleon Dynamite) have kept me pretty happy, film-wise.

One thing the decade has been short on is the kind of towering, serious dramas that loom over future "best of all time" lists, like the Godfather and Raging Bull and that sort of thing.

Disappointments for me this decade have been Scorsese's focus on less complex entertainments, Spielberg in general, and James Cameron's lack of activity.
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LNerell

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2009, 11:05:07 AM »
Disappointments for me this decade have been Scorsese's focus on less complex entertainments, Spielberg in general, and James Cameron's lack of activity.

Well I thought Aquaman was the best thing Cameron ever did.  ;D

I agree with you to a degree, but I guess I was making more of a comment on their top ten then on the decade. I  think I have seen six or seven of those listed, and not one of them made me think it was one of the best of the year, let alone of the decade.
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mgriffin

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2009, 11:16:48 AM »
I agree with you on that.  Any chance people will look back 50 years from now and say Team America: World Police was the 5th best film of this decade? 

I had to google your "James Cameron's Aquaman" reference BTW.  I'd like to watch Entourage at some point but I've never seen it.
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LNerell

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Re: The 100 Best Films of the Decade
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2009, 01:24:02 PM »
I had to google your "James Cameron's Aquaman" reference BTW.  I'd like to watch Entourage at some point but I've never seen it.

I read an interview with James Cameron in the LA Times right after the "Aquaman" episodes were shown. He said that at one point he could have actually gotten Aquaman made, that's how serious that show is taken in the industry.
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