After waiting a year (almost) for the movies of 2000-2009 to fully sink in, we’re finally prepared to unleash our best of the decade list. Hold on to your butts.
20. Memento – The infamous “backwards movie” that really launched Christopher Nolan’s career (The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Inception). Nolan packs enough action into his movies to satisfy most everyone, but at the root of his best movies are unique story/narrative concepts that are fully developed and realized via complex plots. Hard to believe that some thought of him as a “gimmick” movie maker when Memento first came out.
19. Cloverfield – A documentary style horror movie, effectively crossing Godzilla with The Blair Witch Project. Maybe not completely beloved by critics, but beloved by me. Cloverfield‘s faithfulness to its point of view gives the unfolding horrors a sense of realism that heightens their impact.
17. Dogville – Lars Von Trier’s controversial 2003 movie starring Nicole Kidman and set on a stage with no props, backdrops, or scenery. Very dark.
15. The King of Kong – This documentary tells the story of the all-time Donkey Kong arcade game record, which is surprisingly dramatic. There’s sabotage, conspiracy, and an antagonist so villainous, you wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t real. Plus a lot of hilarious nerds.
13. The Man Who Wasn’t There – Billy Bob Thornton stars in this barber shop Noir. My favorite Coen Brothers movie of the decade, even if it’s not the most critically acclaimed.
12. Brick – This is what happens when you view a high school drama through a Noir lens.
11. The Descent – A horror movie that rises to the challenge of having an actual story with real characters, while remaining truly scary. (Side note: In seventh grade, I made it to the southwest semifinal spelling bee for my state, and I got out on my first word. Descent. Ever since, the word has terrified me.)
10. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Charlie Kaufman’s “what if we could pay to erase our bad memories?” movie, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.
7. Inglourious Basterds – Most critics prefer the Kill Bill movies, but despite many openly sophomoric elements, Basterds struck me as Tarantino’s most mature movie, and it’s my favorite of his from this decade, and maybe my favorite over all.
6. A Tale of Two Sisters – This Korean horror movie combines a “what the hell is going on” plot with a variety of creepy visuals. It has stuck with me for about 7 years. (It also was remade into the horrible American horror movie “The Uninvited“.)
5. Shotgun Stories – A blood feud erupts between two families in a rural Arkansas town, and it’s not long before both sides go too far.
4. Amelie – A French story about an eccentric girl and her first secret adventures after a childhood of isolation.
3. The Station Agent – A lonesome dwarf inherits an old train station building in rural New Jersey and befriends some of the locals.
2. The Best of Youth – Originally made for Italian TV, this 6 hour mini-series/movie tells the story of 2 brothers, covering from their high school years up through adulthood.
1. Grizzly Man – The life and death of Timothy Treadwell – the guy who voluntarily lived among the bears in the wild of Alaska for months at a time – filmed by Treadwell himself and pieced together into a documentary by Werner Herzog after Treadwell’s death. I watched this over 5 years ago and still think about it a lot. It didn’t win the Oscar, in fact it wasn’t even nominated, but it’s number 1 in our book.