Thursday, December 31, 2009

All Memory of their Brilliance had been Erased by a Decade of Betrayal, Failure and Disaster: My Fifty-Nine Favorite Films From 2000-2009

I have never viewed art, and specifically film, as an intellectual exercise. I always approach a work of art through my emotions and, no matter how hard it hits my brain, if it doesn't hit my heart then it doesn't resonate with me. Here are my fifty-eight favorite films from the past decade. Overall, I think it was perhaps the second worst decade in cinematic history but, to me, these fifty-nine films would still rank high even in the greatest of decades. They are all fine, brave and extremely indivualistic works that I believe will transcend time and grow richer and richer with each passing year.

I only set myself a couple of rules here. These films were all released between the years 2000 and 2009 so any that might have been playing in 2000 that were released in 1999 were not considered. I also limited myself to only one film per director. This seriously affected artists like Paul Thomas Anderson, Lars Von Trier, Darren Aronofsky and a few others as they would have had more than one film on the list otherwise. Also, and I know this is an overwhelmingly obvious statement, I could only rank the films I have seen. I am fully aware that there are hundreds upon hundreds of films no doubt worthy of such a list that I simply haven't viewed yet but, that said, I am very happy with this group that I have compiled. I'm particularly happy that the list is represented by quite a large number of genres from several different countries. If American film finally dominates the list it is simply because, due to my location, I see more films from the United States than any other country.

So goodbye to what turned out to be a particularly dark decade and thank you to all the filmmakers listed below who made it a little brighter (even the ones who went underneath the darkness with their films). Specifically, thank you to Sofia Coppola, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson...

1. Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003)

2. Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

3. Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

4. David Fincher's Zodiac (2007)

5. David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees (2004)

6. Julio Medem's Sex and Lucia (2001)

7. Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love (2002)

8. Alejandro González Iñárritu's 21 Grams (2003)

9. Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2 (2003)

10. Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

11. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie (2001)

12. Paul Schrader's Auto Focus (2002)

13. Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her (2002)

14. David Lynch's Mulholland Drive (2001)

15. Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous (2000)

16. Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler (2008)

17. Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead (2004)

18. Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny (2003)

19. Greg Mottola's Adventureland (2009)

20. Lars Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (2000)

21. Steven Soderbergh's Solaris (2002)

22. Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa (2006)

23. Alfonso Cuarón's Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

24. Marina De Van's In My Skin (2002)

25. Thomas Vinterberg's It's All About Love (2004)

26. Chris and Paul Weitz's About a Boy (2002)

27. James Gray's The Yards (2000)

28. Andrzej Zulawski's Fidelity (2000)

29. Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale (2002)

30. Ji-woon Kim's A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

31. Andy McKay's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

32. Craig Brewer's Hustle and Flow (2005)

33. Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

34. Tony Gilroy's Michael Clayton (2007)

35. Martin McDonagh's In Bruges (2008)

36. The Coen Brother's No Country for Old Men (2007)

37. Clair Denis' Trouble Every Day (2001)

38. Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World (2001)

39. Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects (2005)

40. Abel Ferrara's Go-Go Tales (2007)

41. Keith Gordon's Waking the Dead (2000)

42. Doug Liman's The Bourne Identity (2002)

43. Matthew Vaughn's Layer Cake (2004)

44. Michael Haneke's Cache (2005)

45. Jason Reitman's Juno (2007)

46. Robert Rodriguez's Sin City (2005)

47. Gaspar Noe's Irreversible (2002)

48. Judd Apatow's The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

49. Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby (2005)

50. Roman Coppola's CQ (2001)

51. Bonnie Hunt's Return To Me(2000)

52. Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (2007)

53. Alexandre Aja's High Tension (2003)

54. Ben Stiller's Zoolander (2001)

55. Tom Tykwer's The Princess and the Warrior (2000)

56. Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers (2004)

57. Neil Blomkamp's District 9 (2009)

58. Jacques Rivette's The Story of Marie and Julien (2003)

59. Alexander Payne's Sideways (2004)


Bunched Undies said...

Great List Jeremy. I had forgotten about Ron Burgundy and Ghost World. The movies were definately the best thing about the Aughts.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks, I appreciate the comments.

Joe said...

Very (pleasantly) surprised to see La fidétlité on here. I too loved it, though I think the few that did see it felt differently. Too bad that Żuławski says it's his final film.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Joe,
I absolutely love that film and find it to be one of the most moving and powerful of the decade. It's nice to hear from someone else who admires it...thanks again!

La Boucle Gracile said...

Soberbio! Great list and great blog.
Greetings and Happy New Year

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks you very much and a happy New Years to you. Wonderful pic of Rachel by the way....

J.D. said...

Love your list and esp. your criteria for why you picked the films you did. So often I find myself divided between films that appeal to the intellect and those that appeal to the heart.

I particularly enjoyed that you included SOLARIS (that was a ballsy pick!) and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. We certainly see eye-to-eye on a lot of these films that you selected. Great stuff, my friend.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks so much JD,
Thrilled to hear you mention SOLARIS and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS as those were two that I absolutely wanted to include. I think time will be especially kind to both. Thanks again and I hope you are having a nice beginning to your new year.

Professor Brian O'Blivion said...

Happy New Year. Great list. Happy to see the Rocky Balboa high on the list. I love that film a great deal.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks you very much Professor,
I was really hoping someone would mention ROCKY BALBOA. That film meant so much to me and I wouldn't have done the list without putting it on there. Thanks again and long live the new flesh!

Tony Dayoub said...

Damn you, Jeremy. How'd you get to see Ferrara's GO GO TALES, you lucky dog?

I must also point out that I have to get around to seeing Haneke's CACHE. It's on a lot of lists I've seen from people I respect (like yourself).

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Tony,
I have an import of GO GO TALES. It's an incredible film and the fact that it doesn't have a stateside release yet is as tragic as it is insulting. Thanks again and I hope you enjoy CACHE.

cilla said...

I love the first two sentences of this post.

... I've had a hard time with this decade, it's seems so rare for anything makes a lasting impression. I did love Ghost World + Punch Drunk Love though...

dying to see Go Go Tales!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Cilla,
I didn't know if what I wrote at the beginning made much sense so I appreciate you saying that. I can also say that the more I think aboutit, GHOST WORLD should have been higher on the list.
Thanks again and I hope you are having a nice new year!

Brandon Colvin said...

I quite enjoy your list, Jeremy! You always seem to find films that have been sorely overlooked. There are at least 10 or so that I haven't seen. I'll be sure to Netflix them.

I opted not to stick to the one film per director rule. As a result, the Top 13 list I did for Out 1 has three directors with two films each. I wrestled with it, but I decided to leave it that way as it represents the extra weight those filmmakers have carried for me. Oh well. I hope you enjoy our lists when they come out.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Brandon,
I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. I know there are several films on your list I haven't seen as well so I am am going to get those in my Netflix que asap. I also look forward to seeing everyone's list at Out1. Thanks again!

Guillaume said...

Nice list!

Of course i'll add to my list too WAKING THE DEAD!

Some others titles i could add...:


Professor Brian O'Blivion said...

I've got a lovely little award for for your efforts. Come claim it whenever you get the chance.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Guillaume,
Terrific list! Both THE INSIDER and THE VIRGIN SUICIDES rank on my all time favorite list, but since they had some play dates in 99 I didn't consider them here. Thanks again for offering your choices.

Jeffrey Goodman said...

I'm embarassed to say that until your list I had never seen De Palma's FEMME FATALE. What a great surpise! I loved it. Do you think De Palma was inspired by MULHOLLAND DR at all?

Thanks for turning me on to one I'd somehow overlooked.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Jeffrey,
So glad you enjoyed FEMME FATALE, one of the most vastly undervalued films of the past decade. I would love to hear what De Palma thinks of MD. Thanks again!

Jeffrey Goodman said...

Here's a little piece I just wrote on FEMME FATALE. Thought you might enjoy:

Thanks again for leading me to it!