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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)