Inspired by the writers at the Donnybrook Writing Academy, and their “Without Question, the Definitive Top Films of the Decade” post, I have compiled my own list.
According to one of Donnybrook’s members, there were 7,130 films made between 2000 and 2009. So obviously it’s a daunting task to pick the best of the bunch, especially when it’s only possible to see a fraction of them and I’m the one making all the decisions. Therefore, I’ve decided not to make my decisions as a so-called “film critic,” but as a fan of movies.
In other words, this is a list of movies I like because they inspired me to think or inspired interesting conversations. A couple made the list simply because they entertained me. I’m sure many of you may disagree with some of my picks, but I’m the Mayor of this town and this is my list.
Without further ado, here’s my list in chronological order:
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000) – This Chinese-language, martial arts masterpiece set the bar for many martial arts films to come. It won over 40 awards and became the highest grossing foreign language film in American history.
“Memento” (2000) – A delightfully twisted film about a man who has lost his ability to create memories due to a severe head injury. Despite his disability he is desperately trying to solve the murder of his wife. I recently re-watched “Memento” and it was just as mesmerizing as I remember it being.
“Traffic” (2000) – This movie won Best Director and should have won Best Picture, but that honor went to “Gladiator.” The movie tells the story of illegal drug trafficking from multiple perspectives, including drug users, law enforcement agents, traffickers and politicians.
“AmÃ©lie” (2001) – I simply adore everything about this film, from Audrey Tautou’s whimsical performance to the eccentric cast of characters. “AmÃ©lie” is an uplifting French film peppered with colorful quirkiness.
“Gosford Park” (2001) – This film, by the late Robert Altman, is as clever as it is beautiful. Set at an English country estate in 1932, it’s a dialogue driven movie complete with insight into the British class system, illicit affairs, and a murder.
“Chicago” (2002) – As the film adaptation of the American stage musical of the same name, “Chicago” won six Academy Awards in 2003, including Best Picture. The movie is just plain fun and the soundtrack never gets old.
“Lord of the Rings Trilogy” (2001), (2002), (2003) – If you haven’t heard of these movies, you’ve been living under a rock on the moon. For those who aren’t fans of fantasy, this one doesn’t make the cut, but for those of us who are fans of the genre or the books, this trilogy is tops.
“Finding Nemo” (2003) –I don’t particularly care for animated films, but I love this movie and have watched it many times. Funny dialogue in combination with all my favorite sea creatures, including surfer turtles and clumsy pelicans, makes this one a top ten for me. Plus, I speak whale.
“Lost in Translation” (2003) – Directed by one of the best, Sophia Coppola, and starring a personal favorite, Bill Murray, this film had to make my list. This melancholy movie, set in Japan, explores multiple themes including loneliness and culture shock, among others.
“Grizzly Man” (2005) – This fascinating documentary by Werner Herzog makes my list because it inspired many a conversation among my outdoorsy, wildlife-loving friends. Never underestimate the power of a film that motivates astute conversation.
“Shanghi Noon” (2000) – Make fun if you’d like, but Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson are a duo made in comedy heaven. Unfortunately, the sequel, “Shanghi Knights,” wouldn’t even make my top 500 list.
“Finding Neverland” (2004) – I seldom see movies in the theater more than once, and I rarely cry during a movie. I saw “Finding Neverland” in the theater twice and sobbed like a baby both times. This movie is moving, beautiful and stars Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, two truly capable stars.