Moving right along, our favorite movies of the decade...
10 Coffee and Cigarettes – OK, this pick is random, but I loved it. It’s a series of black and white vignettes with actors and musicians chatting over (you guessed it) coffee and cigarettes about odd topics. Cate Blanchett plays herself and her jealous cousin, Jack and Meg White discuss Nikola Tesla, Bill Murray serves coffee to the Wu Tang Clan, etc, etc. Probably not going to make a lot of “best of the decade lists,” but it was certainly a bright spot for me over the last few years.
9. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – This was a decade clogged with movies about hilariously immature men and the horrible, bitchy women with the gall to want them to grow up. What I love about Anchorman is that it seems to realize its idiot male characters are idiots, rather than role models to aspire to. That, and its got more laughs per minute that pretty much anything released in the last ten years. “Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.” Priceless.
8. Before Sunset – Before Sunrise was a little movie about an American backpacker and a young French woman spending a special night together in 1995 Vienna. In 2004, director Richard Linklater picked the story back up, with the two meeting again after 9 years. While the first film is cute, the second has an emotional heft you don’t expect, and Linklater’s growth as a director is on full display. Before Sunset is what happens to rom-com characters after the credits role.
7. Persepolis – This is a movie about a young woman coming of age in Iran while the country is turning into a theocratic tyranny, and somehow I strongly related to it. Apparently growing up sucks everywhere, no matter what. Good to know.
6. There Will be Blood – A look at the two biggest forces in American history - capitalism and religion – and what happens when they collide. Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood’s score aptly sounds like the music for a horror movie.
5. No Country for Old Men – Javier Bardem personifies death (and maybe the devil) itself as he stalks Josh Brolin across the southwest in this Cohen Brothers masterpiece. Who knew death looked like the Little Dutch Boy? Intense, funny and frightening, this was one of the most deserving Best Picture winners of the decade.
4. Kill Bill (I count Vols. I and II as one film. Suck it). In both sending up and paying homage to action movies of every stripe, Quentin Tarantino endows the violence with the kind of feeling and artistry that we’re not used to seeing in our roaring rampages or revenge. I guess it takes a woman’s touch.
3. Lost in Translation – Two adrift souls find each other in Tokyo, and discover confusion isn’t so bad when you’re not alone.
2. The Royal Tenenbaums – I love Wes Anderson as much as the next middle class college graduate, but sometimes his characters are less human beings than collections of affectations. In The Royal Tenenbaums, he struck the right balance, and made one of the greatest examinations of family I’ve ever seen.
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Jim Carrey proves he can act without ACTING!, Kate Winslet shows us the dark side of the manic pixie dream girl, and the film as a whole makes us ponder the meaning of love, memory and everything else that matters.
10. Sideways - Maybe it's because it takes place in California...or because it got me more interested in wine...or maybe it's because it let us all know just how amazing Paul Giamatti is, but I loved this story of love and friendship and wine and middle age. Endlessly watchable for the performances alone. I'm still not drinking any fucking Merlot!
9. Mean Girls - Everything about this movie is teen flick perfection. Penned by the genius Tina Fey, starring the pre-trainwrecky LiLo, and introducing us all to Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried, it's one of my all time favorites.
8. High Fidelity - There are several irrefutable truths about me: 1. I love John Cusack with the fire of a thousand suns and 2. I will read just about anything Nick Hornby touches. Naturally, that makes HF a big hit in my heart. Plus, Johnny's love interest in the movie is named Laura...which may or may not have special significance to me. AND The Boss cameos! ALSO, Jack Black is hilarious. I think you get the point. This movie is awesome.
7. The Wes Anderson Collection - I tried (really I did) to choose one Wes Anderson film for this list, but I can't do it. I like them all equally. Even The Darjeeling Limited (which no one liked). Thank God this is my blog and I can do what I want!
6. The Station Agent - Who knew a movie about a dwarf, a grieving mother and a mouthy Cuban could be so damn entertaining and heartbreaking? Bonus points for Peter Dinklage and Bobby Cannavale looking so hott!
5. O Brother, Where Art Thou? - My favorite Coen movie of the decade (yes, I like it even more than NCFOM). It looks and sounds amazing, draws inspiration from Homer, and is really, really hilarious. Can't ask for more than that really.
4. The Dark Knight - Best. Comic book movie. Ever.
3. WALL-E - The star of a very bright Pixar galaxy and the best first half hour of cinema since Saving Private Ryan.
2. Lost in Translation - There is absolutely nothing I love more than movies about loneliness and no movie has ever captured it better. Sofia Coppola is a genius and I think we all thank God for Scarlett Johansson.
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - I've seen this at the top of several Best of the Decade lists...especially those complied by 20/30-something bloggers. Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry obviously tapped into something profound and universal. And, like Liz said, the performances by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are just perfection.
Honorable Mentions - 28 Days Later, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Departed, Once, Shawn of the Dead, Bowling for Columbine, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Memento, Children of Men, Moulin Rouge
So, there's our 2 cents. Your thoughts on a decade of movies?
Friday, December 18, 2009
Moving right along, our favorite movies of the decade...