Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Best Films of the Decade

I've seen many "best films of the decade" lists along with the usual "best films of the year" compilations. If nothing else, it's a nice way to make a viewing list. Ann Hornaday at The Washington Post had a great reader chat on 12/18/09 about the best movie scenes of the decade. This helped add in many comedies, which often get overlooked otherwise (I'd add the chest-waxing scene from The 40 Year Old Virgin). It also reminded me of some well-regarded films (especially foreign) I still need to see.

I feel that, as a general rule, a film's "greatness" is better judged over time and after repeated viewings. Some of the films listed below are pretty recent, and others I haven't seen a second or third time yet. I've reviewed most of these elsewhere (or for 2009 films, will do so in my annual post-Oscar roundup), so I'm not going into great depth here, but am happy to discuss them in the comments. I'm sure I'm missing many, and feel free to move any film into a different tier – I certainly may change my mind.

The Short List

City of God
The Lord of the Rings
(the trilogy)
WALL-E (Feel free to substitute – or add - Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Up)
Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days
The Lives of Others


There Will Be Blood
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Children of Men
Pan's Labyrinth

The Jason Reitman catalog (Up in the Air, Thank You for Smoking, Juno)
The Christopher Nolan catalog (Memento, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige)
Spirited Away
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Pianist
Match Point
You Can Count on Me
In the Loop
Hot Fuzz
Slumdog Millionaire
United 93
War Photographer
Grizzly Man
Fog of War

Honorable Mention

About Schmidt
Little Miss Sunshine
Path to War
The Descent
Dirty Pretty Things
The Road to Perdition
Michael Clayton
Casino Royale
The Proposition
Y Tu Mamá También
The 40 Year Old Virgin
The Aristocrats
The Class
Brokeback Mountain
The Station Agent
The Royal Tennebaums
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Gosford Park
No Country for Old Men
O Brother Where Art Thou
A Mighty Wind
Ocean's Eleven
Amores Perros
The Hurt Locker

What are your picks?


Dr. Zaius said...

What about Watchmen or Donnie Darko? Happy New Year, Batocchio! :o)

Brian S said...

I'm glad to see Hot Fuzz get some love, as I think it's one of the more underrated films of the last ten years, and when I press it on my friends, they always thank me for it later.

Couldn't agree less about You Can Count On Me, though, and it's funny because that movie came out when I was in grad school, and all my fellow writers just went on and on about it. I thought it was tedious and self-important. Not as bad as Crash, but still, did not enjoy it.

Batocchio said...

Dr. Z: I liked Watchmen, but I don't think it works as well for folks who weren't fans of the comic. Parts of the adaptation were brilliant, and Snyder has a great eye, but I fear he's much weaker on acting/performance (Malin Ackerman). I'm happy to screen it with fans, though.

Donnie Darko I only saw once, years ago. I liked it, but found a few bits forced (Sparkle Motion or whatever), and think it's been overhyped. I do think it deserves credit for being original and memorable, though, and I could see putting it in the Honorable Mention category. I haven't seen Richard Kelly's other films, but I thought he had promise.

Brian: Yeah, I screened Hot Fuzz at my birthday last year - everyone was at least a bit of a film buff, yet no one had seen it - and they all loved it!

I'm surprised on You Can Count on Me. I watched it once, then again with the commentary. It's got a somewhat unusual rhythm, but I thought the acting was superb (I didn't like Linney before it, actually) and I liked that many of the scenes did not play out as I might anticipate - or at least not conventionally. I thought Lonergan succeeded in getting more of real life in all its messy grays, and I appreciated his restraint, including his (non-)use of the title.

Crash I definitely need to see again, because I think my reaction might be quite different now (it was neat seeing it out here with an LA crowd before it got its nominations) and it's one of the most divisive films of the decade.

Cheyanne (Shy Ann) said...

Hello and Happy New Year Batochio!!!

I liked Avatar. I saved my 3D glasses and I'm gonna wear them outdoors because they look like Roy Orbison glasses.

I see Dr Zaius whom I've just discovered stoppped by to put his two cents in. I've put him on my blogroll, I like his stuff like I like yours.

You forgot the movie "Don't Judge The Book By The Movie" which I highly recommend. OK, it's a bumpersticker, but it speaks volumes. I'm trying to be witty. I like books and the written word.