Monday, December 28, 2009

MASTER LIST #19: The 101 Best Films of the 2000s


On the heels of perusing so many "best of the decade" lists, I do get the impression that there is much more from this decade I need to see (particularly from Asia and Eastern Europe); I have passion for all these films listed, but I'm still left with a needling and probably wrongful suspicion that movies are a dying art form. I'm not making excuses here, but the fact is that, unless one is granted admission into the somewhat cloistered world of film festivals and metropolitan movie houses, the chance to see projected on screen films by, for instance, Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul or Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-hsien is somewhat close to nil. Even so, I feel confident that the majority of these titles stand strong as the best of this most recent, tumultuous, sometimes exasperating era in cinema. We can be thankful that the first 10th of the 21st gave us the opportunity to see stunning work from old hands like David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Quentin Tarantino, Darrin Aronofsky, Joel and Ethan Coen, Gus Van Sant, Jean-Pierre and Luc Darden, Mike Leigh, the crew at Pixar, Clint Eastwood, and Lars Von Trier. And the decade introduced us to thoughtful new talents like Kelly Reichardt, David Gordon Green, Paul Greengrass, Andrew Dominick, Richard Kelly, Todd Fields and Shane Meadows, among many others. And so, now, with my eventual growth in tastes perhaps to come (it's always a work-in-progress), here are my choices for the best movies of the aughties, in order of preference according to (1) personal affection, (2) historical influence, and (3) overall quality:

1) The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005)
2) Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
3) The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominick, 2007)
4) The House of Mirth (Terrence Davies, 2000 (U.K./France/Germany/U.S.))
5) You Can Count On Me (Kenneth Lonergan, 2000)
6) Russian Ark (Alexandr Sokurov, 2002 (Russia/Germany))
7) Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001)
8) The Fountain (Darrin Aronofsky, 2006)
9) United 93 (Paul Greengrass, 2006)
10) Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2003)
11) Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, 2006)
12) Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001)
13) Nobody Knows (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2005 (Japan))
14) No Country For Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
15) Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009 (U.S./Germany))
16) The Fall (Tarsem Singh, 2008)
17) There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
18) Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, 2004)
19) The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001 (Germany/Poland/France/Austria))
20) L'Enfant (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2005 (Belgium/France))
21) Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)
22) Vera Drake (Mike Leigh, 2004 (U.K))
23) Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005 (U.S./Canada))
24) Children of Men (Alfonzo Cuaron, 2006 (Japan/U.K./U.S.))
25) A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg, 2001)
26) The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo, 2003)
27) Dancer in the Dark (Lars Von Trier, 2000 (Denmark/Germany/Netherlands/U.S./U.K.))
28) In The Bedroom (Todd Fields, 2001)
29) All The Real Girls (David Gordon Green, 2003)
30) Max (Menno Meyies, 2002)
31) Cache (Michael Haneke, 2005 (France/Austria/Germany/Italy))
32) The Lives of Others (Florian Henkel von Donnersmark, 2006 (Germany))
33) The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009)
34) Grindhouse (Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, 2007)
35) Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh, 2008 (U.K.))
36) Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (Michael Winterbottom, 2006 (U.K.))
37) Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)
38) Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001)
39) Capturing the Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki, 2003)
40) Synecdoche, NY (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
41) To Be and To Have (Nicolas Philibert, 2002 (France))
42) Little Children (Todd Fields, 2006)
43) Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonzo Cuaron, 2002 (Mexico))
44) Requiem for a Dream (Darrin Aronofsky, 2000)
45) Day Night Day Night (Julia Loktev, 2007)
46) In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar-Wei, 2000 (Hong Kong))
47) Napoleon Dynamite (Jared Hess, 2004)
48) Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2001)
49) Time Out (Laurent Cantet, 2002 (France))
50) Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009 (U.K./Australia/France))
51) Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008 (Sweden))
52) Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt, 2008)
53) Monsters Inc. (Andrew Stanton, 2001)
54) George Washington (David Gordon Green, 2000)
55) The Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003)
56) Catch Me If You Can (Steven Spielberg, 2002)
57) In America (Jim Sheridan, 2003)
58) Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)
59) Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
60) O Brother Where Art Thou? (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2000)
61) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
62) The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2009)
63) Bad Santa (Terry Zwigoff, 2003)
64) Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, 2008)
65) No End In Sight (Charles Ferguson, 2007)
66) Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles, 2006)
67) Sideways (Alexander Payne, 2004)
68) Mystic River (Clint Eastwood, 2003)
69) Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Peter Weir, 2003)
70) Birth (Jonathan Glazer, 2004)
71) Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (Stephen Kijak, 2008 (U.K.))
72) Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006)
73) Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott, 2001)
74) 8 Women (Francois Ozon, 2002 (France))
75) This is England (Shane Meadows, 2007 (U.K.))
76) A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009 (U.S./U.K./France))
77) The Son (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2003 (Belgium/France))
78) Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 2000 (Scotland))
79) City of God (Fernando Merilles, 2003 (Brazil))
80) The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Judd Apatow, 2005)
81) The Wrestler (Darrin Aronofsky, 2008)
82) Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001)
83) Dogville (Lars Von Trier, 2003 (Denmark/Sweden/France/U.K./Germany/Netherlands))
84) Unbreakable (M. Night Shamalyan, 2000)
85) Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (James D. Scurlock, 2006)
86) Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, 2003 (South Korea))
87) Still Walking (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2008 (Japan))
88) Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004 (Germany))
89) Thanksgiving (Alex R. Johnson, 2001)
90) Series 7: The Contenders (Daniel Minahan, 2001)
91) Anvil!: The Story of Anvil (Sacha Gervasi, 2009)
92) The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach, 2005)
93) 12 (Lawrence Bridges, 2002)
94) The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009 (Austria/Germany/France/Italy))
95) The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)
96) American Splendor (Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, 2003)
97) Somers Town (Shane Meadows, 2009 (U.K.))
98) Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004 (U.K.))
99) Hustle and Flow (Craig Anderson, 2005)
100) In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008 (U.K.))
101) Sunshine (Danny Boyle, 2007 (U.S./U.K.)