88,000? Do your math; I rounded up to be safe.
The Lorax I am not, I do not speak for the trees. I however do speak for the Me-Tree, the tree that’s me (Dr. Seuss was a genius, I’m not. I know.) There is a strong difference between a person’s “favorites” and what a person thinks are the “best.” Many lists seem to forget that very important fact. Sure, I think There Will Be Blood, Let The Right One In, Pan’s Labyrinth, Requiem For A Dream, Synecdoche, New York (etc.) are probably some of the best films of the decade as far as craft, performances, and technique goes, but they might not make the list (you have to read further to find out.) They might not be flicks that I want to revisit all the time for leisure or laughs. As for the types of movies that usually gravitate toward my favorites, there’s a great quote by Christian Slater, as Clarence in True Romance, that sums it up perfectly:
So, when it comes down to it, I would say my taste mingles well with Clarence’s plus one important addition (make a mental note that I said ADDITION, not difference): humor. Silly, stupid, smart, weird, dry, ironic, satirical, oddball humor…I love it all. I think stupidity can be genius, and genius is often required for well done stupidity. So consider that a warning. Comedy is like pornography: to each his own.
Much like any list there will be a lot of choices that baffle and anger you, forcing you to question my taste. Remember, for every one movie you and someone else vehemently disagree on there are probably five that you happily agree upon. This is MY LIST, these are the movies that made my eyes glue open with wonder, my jaw drop in awe, my giggle switch tingle with glee, and my emotionometer (?) go all upsies and downsies (??) I obviously haven’t seen every movie release in the past ten years, so before you yell at me for leaving something out, leave a comment about it and I’ll let you know why it’s not on the list. Don’t sweat the numbered order too much after the top 20, in fact try not to sweat it much at all, putting this stuff in order is hard…you try it!!! For the 90th time, this is a favorites list, it’s all opinion (IN A HAYSTACK!!!) and just for fun, so I’ll stop trying to justify my crappy selections and get to them:
50. Primer (2004) I’ve always been a sucker for time travel in any shape or form, so it’s no surprise that Primer gets the best of me. Its charm comes from two areas: it’s budget, and it’s intriguingly confusing plot. After watching this film several upon several times I still can’t really figure out what happened. The time travel paradoxes lost me after the halfway mark, but happily tied my brain into knots to the point of wanting to watch it again. When I first saw it I was half asleep and the movie started confusing me so much it gave me nightmares, which in turn inspired me to purchase it.
49. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) The amazing soundtrack to this film overshadowed what a spectacular movie it was. It’s rumored that there is going to be a new film based on Homer’s Odyssey in 2012, no matter how that turns out, I see myself still preferring the Coen Brother’s version.
48. Frailty (2001) Who would have thunk it? Pvt. Hudson can direct a damn great low-budget thriller. Game over man, game over!
47. High Fidelity (2000) There’s two types of people in this world, those who GET Jack Black and those who HATE Jack Black. Consider me in the former. This is the movie that gave the cinematic world Jack Black, which if you hate him will probably make it very bitter sweet as it’s a damn cool flick. Probably the last great “1990s feeling” comedy ever released.
46. Bandits (2001) Solid Acting. Hilarious. Infinitely re-watchable. Billy Bob and Bruce in top form. Easily Barry Levinson’s best directing effort of the decade.
45. Sin City (2005) The only movie on my top 50 that is based on a comic book. The Spirit taught us that in the hands of Frank Miller (circa this decade) that Sin City would have been close to unwatchable. Luckily Robert Rodriguez knows how to have some serious fun and is the best intentional exploitation filmmaker that ever lived (a compliment coming from me, perhaps not if coming from someone else.) R.I.P. Brittany Murphy.
44. A Dirty Shame (2004) Hilarious movie that made the list for introducing me to a timeless concept: UPPERDECKING.
43. Doomsday (2008) I was really hard on Neil Marshall’s Doomsday when I first reviewed it, even though I liked it. It exponentially grew on me with many repeat viewings. I get now what he was trying to do: write a love letter to John Carpenter and George Miller using the most badass ink he could find. This is the boiled down, “tough as nails” remains of the best films of his childhood, and it couldn’t be more fun to watch. Between this, The Descent, and Dog Soldiers, Marshall has proven that he is one of the coolest, hardcore, sci-fi/horror geeks working. It truly saddens me that he won’t be directing Predators.
Something needs to be said about Craig Conway’s terrific turn as Doomsday’s main antagonist Sol. He is an absolute psychotic, who doesn’t get much screen time, but milks every nano second of it. His on screen demise is one of the funniest and most extreme moments of the decade, which takes place during one of, if not the, best car chases of the decade.
42. Cast Away (2000) Robert Zemeckis’s only non-motion-capture film of the decade and by far his best. I love everything about this film. Being alone on an island with Tom Hanks for 40 minutes sounds boring, but it couldn’t have been more captivating. There was a lot of depth to this movie that was overlooked due to the comedic potential of Wilson the volley ball. Any of us in a situation like that would need to talk to someone to keep us sane, loneliness is the true hell. Hanks was playing a man with no faith, Wilson was Chuck Noland’s substitute for god. Think about it, pretty cool right? Open message to Robert Zemeckis: START MAKING LIVE ACTION MOVIES AGAIN!!!
41. Beerfest (2006) My biggest problem with Broken Lizard is the fact that they seemingly named their comedy group in homage to Monty Python when they are absolutely nothing like Python. They don’t make biting, clever satire, they make “party” comedies, which is fine. Drinking, and drinking parties, are prominently featured in all of their films, thus making Beerfest the apex of everything they do. This, as well as their other flicks, might not be the most finely crafted movie ever, but it’s a hilariously good time hanging out with a bunch of funny guys and their best buddies. Beerfest is on my list for a lot of reasons, if none other than the death and non-supernatural-resurrection of a main character, Landfill, all for the sake of absurdity.
40. Zombieland (2009) Read my review here. Hope the sequel doesn’t ruin it.
39. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Still Wes Anderson’s most solid flick. Every frame of Bill Murray in this movie causes me to crack up. Dry humor at its finest.
38. Drag Me To Hell (2009) If we never get Evil Dead 4, this will suffice.
37. Little Children (2006) Some of the best acting this decade, and starring two of the Watchmen! This is the film that gave us Jackie Earle Haley (again.) It’s cliché to say, but the chemistry between Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson is all too real. I was very late to the party with this movie, seeing it only about a year ago, but since then I have viewed it numerous times, and it gets better each go around.
36. Zodiac (2007) I know many people found this movie dawdling and anticlimactic. I saw it four times in theaters and was on the edge of my seat each time. The pacing was very intentional and meant to reflect the actual hunt for the Zodiac Killer and eventual failure to catch him. David Fincher’s best offering of the decade in my opinion. A movie so well done that it made me afraid of Roger Rabbit.
35. Burn After Reading (2008) This is the Coen’s new Big Lebowski. An oddly paced, weird, dark, cult comedy with no clear cut reason or meaning for the events in it, that they made directly after their Oscar winning best picture. Probably my favorite ending of the past ten years, and, besides Seth Gecko, my favorite performance by George Clooney.
34. Best In Show (2000) Most people would go with A Mighty Wind, I go with Best In Show. I adore all of Christopher Guest’s movies, but there is something about people personifying dogs that makes me laugh.
33. Unbreakable (2000) Upon seeing this film on opening night I remember hating it. I thought it was tedious, boring, stupid, and a general waste of time. Fast forward 9 years, multiple viewings later and I think its one of the most poignant, dramatic portrayals of a superhero’s origin ever. I was too young to give it a chance in 2000 I guess. Sadly, due to poor box office take, we will never see the further adventures of Bruce Willis: Security Guard, but one can dream. Perhaps that is why most “lists” are bunk, you need around 5 years to truly test a film’s legs. I argued this in one of my first columns on this site.
32. Donnie Darko (2001) The theatrical cut, not the director’s cut.
31. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) A movie that will prove its merit with time, at least I believe so. I realize that most people blame Spielberg for ruining Kurbrick’s vision, but I would argue that the subject matter was way better suited to Steven than to Stanley. It’s sad that Haley Joel Osment’s career disappeared after his dynamite performance here, luckily Jude Law is still with us. His portrayal of Gigolo Joe was acutely perfect, but the award for coolest character most certainly goes to Teddy. As for the ending, I will say this: if you turn the movie off right as the camera zooms away from the amphibicopter at the end, you just watched one of the science fiction masterpieces of our time. If you don’t turn it off, you just watched a masterpiece with a pretty good, but unnecessary, second ending. What many of you have never bothered to realize is that the “tacked on ending” is Kubrick’s doing…not Spielberg’s. Look it up.
As much as I love it, this still doesn’t make up for Indy 4.
30. Hot Rod (2007) Don’t crucify me. I’m praising each movie on this list according to its own aspirations and goals. That’s how I get things like Beerfest and Hot Rod on a list in company with timeless, powerhouse, Oscar winning dramas. At the end of the day I don’t really need to justify what I find funny, so why bother. When praising a movie such as this, anyone is going to be on the offensive.
As a fan of the art of editing, especially editing for comedic effect, Hot Rod destroyed me (and I’m not exclusively talking about the “cool beans” scene.) Say what you want about how stupid and awful you think this movie is, but at least it forms a well rounded old-school-style comedy film. I’m not much of a fan of Judd Apatow’s meandering, improvised, disjointed movies. They are funny and all, but they are just a big pile of catch-all riffing and outtakes coupled with way too many dated references. How many times did they mention Spider-man 3 in Knocked Up? Hot Rod is a tightly knit bag of weird soup, held together by classic winks and nods (Footloose punch-dancing) that don’t date the movie at all. It is basically The Lonley Island: The Movie (thus in turn making it the SNL Digital Short: The Movie.) It’s odd that I feel like this flick is more akin to the Caddyshacks, Animal Houses, and Vacations of the past than all the comedies of this decade that didn’t bomb at the box office…oh well.
29. Storytelling (2001) Director and writer Todd Solondz never fails to deliver the most disturbingly interesting character pieces you will ever see.
28. Children Of Men (2006) The Blade Runner of our time? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Discuss.
27. Kung Fu Hustle (2004) Wasn’t it Roger Ebert who said this movie was a mix of Jackie Chan, Buster Keaton, Tarantino and Bugs Bunny? Well, he was right.
26. Pineapple Express (2008) Cheech, Chong, Bill, Ted, Wayne, Garth, Kyle, JB, Jay, Silent Bob, and now Saul and Dale. Pineapple Express is a more than worthy addition to the buddy comedy genre, especially considering the weed humor and the 1980’s style theme song by Huey Lewis.
25. The Rules Of Attraction (2002) James Van Der Beek can act. I was surprised too.
24-22. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (2001-2003) The Extended Edtitions especially. There’s nothing more that I can say about this triumphant franchise that hasn’t already been said. All I ask is that you give me credit for not coping out and using up only one slot for all three movies. I hate it when people let an entire franchise take up only one space on a list.
21. Gladiator (2000) Has it really been almost ten years? Love the movie or not, Maximus is one of cinema’s best ass kickers in one of this decade’s best revenge stories.
20. Grindhouse (2007) There is some contention about whether or not this is one movie or two. I saw it in theaters, billed as simply Grindhouse, for one ticket price, hence on my list it will count as a single film. Sure, it is more of an experience then a movie, an experience that was an experiment that didn’t financially work to well. Regardless, it was one of the most enjoyable movie going experiences I’ve ever had, and each flick gets even more enjoyable with repeat viewings. The beauty of Planet Terror is that it’s intentionally not completed, and the beauty of Death Proof is the over-the-top sounds of the mighty Kurt Russell getting punched in the face.
19. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) Not that it matters, but can we give Jim Carrey the Oscar he deserved as far back as Man On The Moon?
18. Wet Hot American Summer (2001) Anything sir David Wain touches I want to put inside me (great sentence.) Role Models, Stella, The Ten, The State, even Superjail!…all of it hilarious, all of it sexy (as in quality.) Wet Hot is still my favorite “thing” he’s done (so much innuendo.) If there was ever a decade where GOOD spoofs needed to be appreciated, this is the one.
17. Adaptation. (2002) For every great performance that Nic Cage puts out, he makes four ridiculous movies to overshadow it. His acting credentials this decade have been wonderful…if you are looking in the right places: Matchstick Men, The Weather Man, Lord Of War…etc. I’m a fan of Mr. Cage even at his most ridiculous, and I would say that Adaptation was his best performance, even outshining Leaving Las Vegas, which he won Best Actor for. With that said, the true stars of this movie are Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze.
16. Sunshine (2007) The 2001: A Space Odyssey of our time? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Discuss.
15. Tenacious D: In The Pick Of Destiny (2006) Remember back to #47 when I said there are two types of people: Those who GET Jack Black and those who HATE Jack Black. I really, really get Jack Black. I’ve loved the D ever since the first episode of their short lived TV show, and this movie/musical was everything I wanted it to be and more. The music is top notch and the oddball vibe flows hard and deep in this little movie known to it’s creators as “The greatest motion picture of all time.” Why so high on the list? Because I love it that much, and will watch it frequently for the rest of my days. This is a great little movie to add to the pantheon of silly/dark buddy comedies, much like Pineapple Express or Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. The opening and closing musical numbers are exceptionally well done, not to mention a gut-busting hilarious cameo from Jack Black’s UCLA college buddy Tim Robbins. There’s no need for me to justify it further, either you are still with me, or I just lost you forever. Either way, fueled by Satan, the D shall live on!
14-13. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 (2003-2004) Note how I once again didn’t cop out and let them take up two spaces. They were both released theatrically separate, until that changes in the USA they count as two flicks according to my criteria. Two amazing flicks.
12. There Will Be Blood (2007) If I was making a “Best Of” list instead of a “Favorites” list then Paul Thomas Anderson’s emotionally taxing masterpiece of craft, performance, and direction would be number one (sans “I drink your milkshake” jokes.)
11. Apocalypto (2006) If this is the kind of movie that comes from Mel Gibson drinking all that crazy sauce, then his next glass is on me. ZING!
10. Team America (2004) The Dr. Strangelove of our time? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Discuss.
9. The Wrestler (2008) Proof that any subject (‘80s wrestling) can be taken seriously and turned into something entertaining and ultimately beautiful.
8. The Mist (2007) Frank Darabont + Stephen King = Heaven (but it might look a lot like Hell.) A beautiful allegory of the unstable human society that springs up when the lights go out. Chock full of commentary on religion, racism, and logic, this movie probably has my favorite film ending of the entire decade.
7. Inglourious Basterds (2009) You know, I never considered myself a Tarantino fan boy, but looking back on this list I have included every theatrical effort made by him this decade. Guess I qualify. Why are Tarantino’s movies so damn, fudging, good? I would have to say that it’s because the guy only makes the movies he wants to make, and meticulously so. After Pulp Fiction Tarantino could have made triple the amount of films by now, instead he took his time and did what he wanted to. It shows.
6. American Psycho (2000) By far Christian Bale’s greatest performance to date. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to return some videotapes.
5. Slither (2006) Meat! James Gunn’s lovingly disgusting homage to a bygone cinematic era of horror, science fiction, and humor. This film hits absolutely every mark it goes for. The mainstream, choking to death on torture porn, was in dire straits until Gunn came along and turned Michael Rooker into a gorgeous pile of tortured flesh.
4. Snatch (2000) Guy Ritchie’s air-tight, razor-sharp masterpiece of cool, comedy, crime and filmmaking. The editing is beyond impressive, and every actor does a pitch perfect job as pieces of this well oiled machine. This is easily my favorite film of Ritchie’s, however I have yet to see Sherlock Holmes, which would have to be un-fricken-believable to dethrone Snatch.
3. Shaun Of The Dead (2004) Duh.
2. Clerks II (2006) How must this look? Putting Clerks II as number two on a list which is being written for Quick Stop Entertainment seems like either the biggest kiss ass move ever, or the actions of a total sell out. Well I can assure you I’m not trying to kiss ass as I dearly loved Clerks II long before I ever touched a keyboard for this website. As for being a sellout, I have received no compensation for my choices on this list except for the heaping amounts of self satisfaction I get from being allowed to voice my brain waves via such a wonderful utopia of shining entertainment joy that Quick Stop most certainly is (now I’m kissing ass.) Please trust me, this is my true #2, the platform for which I write doth not affect my decision.
Clerks II is a raunchy comedy first and foremost, and a great one at that. However, I think what it does best is show the trials and tests that friendships go through when midlife is just around the corner. Hollywood often reflects societal values to their most boiled down form, which usually results in the message that love, of the romantic persuasion, conquers all. The thing that is most often pushed to the wayside in that equation is the loss of friendship, and how that loss affects those of us who value our friends just as much, if not more than, we value our romantic entanglements. In my personal life I’ve often been known to rant about how the western world hates “friendship” but upholds “romantic relationships” so you can imagine how and why Clerks II spoke to me between all of the pussy jokes. To me, the movie is ultimately about a guy learning that, while life has much to offer in many arenas, there’s simply nothing more important and satisfying than spending time with your best buddies. That it isn’t a waste of time, but rather, time very well spent. The fact that this occurred between two characters whom I had grown up with for almost a decade made it all the more affecting.
Plus it had inter-species erotica, which is also deeply affecting.
1. Hot Fuzz (2007) “Both Edgar Wright movies in the top 5? Really Bob?” Yes, really!
This was the easiest decision for me on this list. They mixed together their sharp comedic wit, pulp action movie elements, some of the best editing of the decade, added in some gore, a touch of The Wickerman (1973), a tighter-than-hell script, and a cast built from welcomed faces of cinema’s past and got something wholly new out of the broth. It’s quick, it’s funny, its ridiculous at points, but most of all it’s 100% grade A entertaining. I could revisit this flick a hundred times and still be ready to see it a hundred more. If only all satires, spoofs, and homages could be this wonderfully crafted. Hot Fuzz and Shaun are most certainly the high watermark of their kind, and the former is easily my favorite movie of the ‘00s. Shit just got real.
Flicks that just missed the list, in alphabetical order:
28 Days Later…, 3:10 To Yuma, 40 Year Old Virgin, The, Almost Famous, Anchorman, Anvil! The Story Of Anvil, Aristocrats, The, Avatar, Bad Boys 2, Bad Santa, Be Kind Rewind, Beautiful Mind, A, Beowulf, Big Fish, Borat, Bruno, Bubba Ho-Tep, Club Dread, Crank, Crank 2: High Voltage, Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The, Death Race, Death To Smoochy, Descent, The, Devil’s Rejects, The, District 9, Elf, Feast, Fido, Freddy Got Fingered, Funny Games, Gone Baby Bone, Gonzo, Gran Torino, Grizzly Man, Hangover, The, Hellboy, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, History Of Violence, A, I.O.U.S.A., Idiocracy, In Bruges, Incredibles, The, Informant!, The, Into The Wild, Iron Man, Jackass Number Two, Jackass: The Movie, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, JCVD, Jesus Camp, King Of Kong, The, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Kung Pow: Enter The Fist, Ladykillers, The, Let The Right One In, Lord Of War, Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World, Match Point, Matchstick Men, Memento, Mighty Wind, A, Monster House, Moulin Rouge!, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Napoleon Dynamite, No Country For Old Men, Observe And Report, Osmosis Jones, Outlander, Pan’s Labyrinth, Peter Pan, Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, Producers, The, Punisher: War Zone, Religulous, Requiem For A Dream, Rescue Dawn, Revolutionary Road, Road To Perdition, Rock Star, Role Models, Scanner Darkly, A, School Of Rock, Seven Pounds, Shaolin Soccer, Shoot ‘Em Up, Simpsons Movie, The, Sky High, Sleeping Dogs Lie, Slumdog Millionaire, Smokin’ Aces, Spider-Man 2, Star Trek, Step Brothers, Stranger Than Fiction, Super Troopers, Synecdoche, New York, Talladega Nights, Ten, The, Thank You For Smoking, Trick ‘r Treat, Tropic Thunder, Up, V For Vendetta, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Wall-E, Watchmen, Whatever Works, Where The Wild Things Are, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Zathura, Zoolander
Here’s some smaller lists for ya:
MY TOP 10 DOCUMENTARIES OF THE DECADE:
(This list is really just the docs that I had a chance to see. I don’t see that many. And no, I haven’t seen Man On Wire yet. I’ll get on that.)
10. My Date With Drew (2004)
9. Jackass Number Two (2006)
It might seem like a stretch, but the Jackass movies aren’t scripted. They aren’t skits, they aren’t fake characters. These are documentaries about guys hurting each other for comedy. If you disagree that they qualify, just pretend it’s a Top 8 list.
8. I.O.U.S.A. (2008)
Probably the scariest movie of the decade.
7. Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008)
6. Religulous (2008)
5. The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters (2007)
4. Jesus Camp (2006)
3. Jackass: The Movie (2002)
2. The Aristocrats (2005)
The most impressive collection of comedians on screen ever.
1. Grizzly Man (2005)
TOP 5 DVD EXTRA FEATURES:
5. Road House – Fan Commentary by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier (available here.)
It’s great, not just because of the commentary itself, but because of the mere fact that it exists, and the silly way it came to exist.
4. Freaked – Squeal Of Death – short film (available here.)
Witness the unending genius of Alex Winter.
3. Back To The Future: The Ride (available here.)
Unless you live in Japan, your home is now the only place to ride one of the greatest simulators of all time.
The visual of Steve Carrell screaming while a halo of fire shoots out from the back of his skull is a bigger laugh than any of the ones left in the movie from which it was cut.
1. Talladega Nights – Commentary by Ian Roberts and Director Adam Mckay (available here.)
Funnier then the movie itself, this commentary is a snowballing, dry delivery masterpiece of excess and sarcasm in which Roberts and Mckay talk about the ridiculous (and fictitious) multi-billion dollar production of Talladega Nights without ever breaking character. This is probably my favorite DVD extra of all time, and possibly my favorite comedic “thing” of this decade. Once you here Adam Mckay giving a deadpan description of how, during production, he was blowing up the Easter Island Heads from a helicopter using a Howitzer machine gun while thriving on diet consisting solely of human blood…there’s really nothing that is going to top that. Here’s an exert from the beginning:
Adam Mckay: “During the course of making this film, I changed religion four times. I gained a hundred and forty pounds. I lost another two hundred pounds. Three times I flat-lined from heart attacks. I went blind. I regained my sight…this is a journey we all want to share with you, if you will allow us to.”
TOP 7 BATS-SHIT INSANE AWESOME ACTION FLICKS:
6. Death Race
4. Shoot ‘Em Up
2. Crank 2: High Voltage
1. Punisher: War Zone
Dominic West and Doug Hutchison deserve more recognition for whatever it is they were trying to accomplish with those accents. Hilarious.
MY TOP 5 WORST FILMS OF THE DECADE:
5. Date Movie
I used to live for spoof films pre-Scary Movie. What the hell happened?
4. Meet The Spartans
3. Epic Movie
These two writer/directors are so awful that they somehow wasted the opportunity of having Crispin Glover play Willy Wonka.
2. Disaster Movie
The worst “narrative” movie I have ever seen in a theater in my entire life.
1. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
TOP 5 PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR WAY THIS DECADE:
5. Steve Martin
Peter Sellers? Really Steve?
4. Robin Williams
RV? Old Dogs? Night At The Museum? License To Wed? I will admit to being one of the few fans of Death To Smoochy and One Hour Photo and Insomnia were great, but still…why tarnish your reputation with all the crap? Hopefully World’s Greatest Dad will help solve this problem.
3. Eddie Murphy
STOP LISTENING TO YOUR KIDS!!!
2. Steven Spielberg
Indy 4? You should know better.
1. George Lucas
You should have retired in 1990.
Ok, That’s about all the list’s I can handle. Thanks for reading and Merry Holidaysmas!
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