Saturday, December 19, 2009

Top 50 Films of the Decade

I don't take these lists lightly. I probably do more homework than the folks at Entertainment Weekly, AFI, and Variety combined. I've been at this for a week now, and I think I'm happy with the list I put together. I took into consideration every film I viewed and rated as an A- or better from 2000 to the present. There were many B+ movies that felt deserving, but just missed the mark. In fact, I had a list of over 100 to whittle down that were A- or better.

Putting them in order was a challenge. The top 25 are pretty solid, 26-50 are more or less in order. Many of my selections will be on most people's lists, but I have plenty of films that are likely unique to mine. I've rounded up posters from all the films to help jog your memory. 10 years is a long time. I also have included statistical data at the bottom, for those interested in that kind of thing.

Obviously, I haven't seen every film released in the last decade. As I continue to see great films, I will have to drop some movies from this list and add others. I'd love to see others top films from this decade, so if you have a list posted somewhere, please post a link in the comments. Feel free to bash or praise my picks. I love a good movie debate.

I'm starting my list at number 50 and working my way to #1 to add more suspense. The order of information is as follows: Rank, US Title, Foreign Title (if applicable), Rating, Year Released, Production Country/Countries


#50 Nurse Betty (R) (2000) US

#49 Hard Candy (R) (2005) US

#48 Red Dragon (R) (2002) US

#47 Rabbit Proof Fence (PG) (2002) Australia

#46 Oceans 11 (PG-13) (2001) US

#45 The Descent (R) (2006) UK

#44 Amores Perros (R) (2000) Mexico

#43 Sexy Beast (R) (2001) UK, Spain

#42 In Good Company (PG-13) US

#41 Memento (R) (2000) US

#40 Across The Universe (PG-13) (2007) US

#39 High Fidelity (R) (2000) US

#38 Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Ong-bak) (R) (2003) Thailand

#37 Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain) (R) (2001) France, Germany

#36 Once (R) (2006) Ireland

#35 Lars and the Real Girl (PG-13) (2007) US

#34 Snatch (R) (2000) UK

#33 Ghost World (R) (2001) US

#32 Raising Victor Vargas (R) (2002) US

#31 The Notebook (PG-13) (2004) US

#30 The Dark Knight (PG-13) (2008) US

#29 Whale Rider (PG-13) (2003) New Zealand

#28 Dan in Real Life (PG-13) (2007) US

#27 Black Hawk Down (R) (2001) US

#26 About A Boy (PG-13) (2002) UK, US

#25 X-Men 1 & 2 (PG-13) (2000, 2003) US

#24 Stranger Than Fiction (PG-13) (2006) US

#23 Wall-E (G) (2008) US

#22 Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Le Parfum: Histoire d'un Meurtrier) (R) (2006) Germany, Spain, US, France

#21 The Station Agent (R) (2003) US

#20 Heaven (R) (2002) Germany, Italy, US, France, UK

#19 Garden State (R) (2004) US

#18 28 Days Later (R) (2002) UK

#17 Holy Smoke (R) (2000) Australia

#16 Kill Bill (R) (2003, 2004) US

#15 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (R) (2004) US

#14 Sin City (R) (2005) US

#13 Girlfight (R) (2000) US

#12 Life as a House (R) (2001) US

#11 Dancer in the Dark (R) (2000) Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, US, UK, France, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway

#10 Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (R) (2000 -- this film is cited in different places as 1999 and 2000. I'm going with the 2000 citations) US

#9 Punch-Drunk Love (R) (2002) US

#8 Unleashed (Danny The Dog) (R) (2005) UK, France

#7 Gangs of New York (R) (2002) US

#6 Gladiator (R) (2000) US, UK

#5 The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (PG-13) (2001, 2002, 2003) US, New Zealand

#4 Mongol (R) (2007) Germany, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia

#3 The Pianist (R) (2002) France, Poland, Germany, UK

#2 Requiem for a Dream (R) (2000) US

#1 City of God (Cidade de Deus) (R) (2002) Brazil

Directors with two films in my Top 50:

Ridley Scott: Gladiator & Black Hawk Down

Tom Tykwer: Heaven & Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Paul Weitz: About a Boy (co-director) & In Good Company

Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight & Memento

Actors in multiple Top 50 films:

Elijah Wood: Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Sin City, & Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Morgan Freeman: Unleashed, Nurse Betty, & The Dark Knight

Emily Watson: Punch-Drunk Love & Red Dragon

Brendan Gleeson: Gangs of New York & 28 Days Later

James Marsden: The Notebook & X-Men

Dustin Hoffman: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer & Stranger Than Fiction

Cate Blanchett: Lord of the Rings Trilogy & Heaven

Harvey Keitel: Holy Smoke & Red Dragon

Aaron Eckhart: The Dark Knight & Nurse Betty

Benicio Del Toro: Sin City & Snatch

Kate Winslet: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind & Holy Smoke

Orlando Bloom: Lord of the Rings Trilogy & Black Hawk Down

Sam Shepard: Black Hawk Down & The Notebook

Ian Holm: Lord of the Rings Trilogy & Garden State

Patricia Clarkson: The Station Agent & Lars and the Real Girl

Michael Madsen: Sin City & Kill Bill

Ewan Bremner: Black Hawk Down & Snatch

Ian Mckellen: Lord of the Rings Trilogy & X-Men 1 & 2

Maggie Gyllenhaal: Stranger Than Fiction & The Dark Knight

Josh Hartnett: Sin City & Black Hawk Down

David Cross: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind & Ghost World

William Fichtner: Black Hawk Down & The Dark Knight

Scarlett Johansson: Ghost World & In Good Company

Cillian Murphy: The Dark Knight & 28 Days Later

Ryan Gosling: The Notebook & Lars and the Real Girl

Brad Pitt: Snatch & Oceans 11

Ty Burrell: In Good Company & Black Hawk Down

Frankie Faison: In Good Company & Red Dragon

Countries that produced the most Top 50 films outside the US (or at least co produced)

UK: 10
France: 6
Germany: 6
Australia: 2
New Zealand: 2
Spain: 2

However, the best film of the decade came from BRAZIL!

Which years featured the best films?

2000: 12
2002: 11
2001: 7
2003: 6
2004: 5
2006: 4
2007: 4
2005: 3
2008: 2
2009: 0

Not a single film I've seen so far from this year has been Top 50 worthy. That could change with all the Oscar contending films being released this month.


  • The only animated film to make the list: Wall-E
  • The only zombie movie to make the list: 28 Days Later
  • The only true horror movie to make the list: The Descent
  • Two musicals made the list: Once and Across The Universe
  • 36 of the Top 50 films are rated R
  • Rabbit Proof Fence is the only PG rated film
  • Wall-E is the only one rated G
  • Only 2 of my films won the Oscar for Best Picture for the year they were released: Gladiator in 2000, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003,
If the Academy had any sense whatsoever, they would have awarded best picture as follows:

2000: Gladiator (won)
2001: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (instead of A Beautiful Mind)
2002: City of God (instead of that horrific Chicago. IDIOTS!!) It wasn't even nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.
2003: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (won)
2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Not even nominated!!!! The complete downer Million Dollar Baby won.)
2005: Unleashed (Again, not nominated. The very average Crash walked away with the trophy.)
2006: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Not nominated. They decided to reward Martin Scorsese this year for The Departed instead of his much better Gangs of New York in 2002. )
2007: Mongol (No Country For Old Men won the big prize. Mongol was nominated for Best Foreign Film, but lost to The Counterfeiters, which was very good, but not as good.
2008: Wall-E (Not nominated for Best Picture, which is just stupid. Neither was The Dark Knight for that matter. The academy is retarded. Slumdog Millionaire won, which is at least a good film.)
2009: ????

See you next decade.


Aaron said...

I guess what bothers me about this list is how few of the movies I've actually seen. I went through and counted and came up with 24, which is more than I thought at first glance, but still. I've really slacked off on my movie watching over the last few years.

Provlear said...
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Provlear said...

I think everyone should start their comment with how many they've seen: 34.

You and I never wholly agree on movies, Shane... though I'm still surprised that quite a few movies I despise are on the list.

Furthermore, were I to put only the movies on this list in order from best to worst, it would almost be an inversion of your list ;)

That being said, I appreciate the effort it takes to make a list like this. I dunno that I could manage something like this... end of year top 10 lists are maddening enough, but looking back through an entire decade... whoo.

The good news is, you've clued me in to Mongol. Such high praise for a film I've never even vaguely heard of. I'll check it out. And int he future,you don't need to include proof of how retarded the academy is.

Samantha said...

Wow. I've only seen 15 but that's because I don't really watch rated R movies. Most of the R's that I've seen have been edited on TBS. haha OUt of the ones I have seen, I was a little surprised to see "In good company" up there. I thought the movie was fine, I just didn't realize it would make anyone's top 50 of the decade. Also, man I thought Wall-E was kind of a snore fest. Fun to read your list though.

angie said...

I was thrown off instantly with "nurse betty" making your list, and never fully recovered. but I won't dare go head to head with you. But I appreciate the effort that went into your list. very impressive!

blaine said...
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deanna said...

I've only seen 10 movies pictured on your of them with you at Sundance. BUT...someone did tell me I reminded them of Natalie Portman's character in the movie Garden State. Haven't seen it so I don't know if that's good or not.

Supercords said...

Oh, it's good.

Provlear said...

I dunno that it is good, actually.

Captain Emus said...

I've seen 25 of the 50 listed.

First, the comparison to Natalie Portman's character in Garden State is definitely good.

Second, I agree with Angie. I was so distracted by the inclusion of Nurse Betty right off the bat that I viewed the next 15-20 films with some skepticism. You should explain to your readers how that movie made the top 50 of the decade (it would make my Top 50 I Don't Want To Watch A Second Time).

Third, I'm not sure how you can lump the Lord of the Rings Trilogy into one entry, especially when you are willing to award a Best Picture to two of them in your comments section. I would be interested to know where they would rank individually on your list.

Finally, here are your selections that I most agree with and most disagree with:

Most Agree: Requiem For A Dream, Gangs of New York, Garden State, Snatch

Most Disagree: X-Men, Sin City, Nurse Betty

Supercords said...

Nurse Betty is a dark, witty, original comedy from Neil Labute. I really appreciated the tone of the film. I like wildly inappropriate scenes that catch viewers off guard, such as the scalping in Nurse Betty. I guess I love Nurse Betty for the same reasons other weirdos love The Big Lebowski.

I treated The Lord of the Rings and Kill Bill as single features because that's what they are. It's Hollywood that demands films be under 3 hours. I believe the director's vision was to have them viewer back to back, as one movie.

Rachel said...

I don't know if you're still checking comments - but I'll add - (seen 9 of the 50)

Totally disagree - x-men and In Good Company - The x-men movies were okay - the second one sucked and In Good Company was a completely forgettable renter.

Agree wholeheartedly with - The Dark Knight, Dan in Real Life, About a Boy (one of me and Josh's favorites), and somewhat agree with Stranger than Fiction.

I'm surprised you didn't have the last Die Hard movie - Josh wanted to see it in the theater and I was surprised how much I liked it.

Also - no Bourne movies? Napoleon Dynamite?