Friday, December 11, 2009

50 Best Films of the '00 Decade

Of the 50 best films of the last 10 years, I’ve seen exactly one!
by Charlie Leck

I get out to about 5 or 6 films (movies) a year. I watch another 5 or 6 each year on TV (we’ve got the movie package from DTV). That amounts to about 10 to 12 movies each year and about 100 to 120 over a ten year period. So, I was interested the other day, when the AV Club released its list of the 50 best movies of the 00 Decade. I carefully perused the list to see just how many of them I had seen.

Gulp. One! Of the 50 best movies of the decade, I had seen exactly one – the one they listed at the 43rd best, Brokeback Mountain. Not a very good record of film selections for me, is it?

Well, Brokeback Mountain was a powerful and startling film. I can’t say that I enjoyed it, but I was pleased that I saw it. Another couple, who we totally enjoy, had invited us to go to dinner and the film with them. I remember having some wonderful Mongolian Lamb and spectacular rice at dinner. We slipped and slid across an icy parking lot to the theatre and slid into our seats, wondering what to expect. Keith Ledger was extraordinary in a very difficult role. I tried to look at it as just a difficult, tense and passionate love affair. It was, however, more shattering and troubling than that. I don’t know why I was so surprised that we were able to have a comfortable and meaningful conversation about the film and its subject matter as we were leaving the theater. What a shame Ledger had to die so young, with so much possibility out in front of him.

Now for the others on the list, there was only one that I had even tried to see or listed as a “want to see” film over that 10 year period. That was No Country for Old Men, listed as the 4th best cinema of the decade. It’s a movie that I’ll be sure to see over the next few months. Why do I know so little about the other highly regarded films? Do I just pay too little attention? Do I need a film counselor to help me choose my movies? None of the other top ten movies on the list even appeal to me.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
2. 25th Hour (2002)
3. There Will Be Blood (2007)
4. No Country for Old Men (2007)
5. Memento (2000)
6. Spirited Away (2001)
7. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
8. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)
9. The New World (2005)
10. Children of Men (2006)

I need counsel. Since I know nothing about 9 of these 10, tell me which I should really make an effort to see. I feel kind of stupid this morning!

1 comment:

  1. That is a fascinating and quite provocative list they've compiled, Charles. I would actually recommend the book of 25th Hour ahead of Spike Lee's fine film.

    It portrays the hours before an Irish-American drug dealer is supposed to go to jail. This is not a novel about crime and the New York underworld, however, but is an amazing meditation on missed opportunities and friendship and family.

    The central character came from a tough neighbourhood but won a scholarship to a fine school. He is an intelligent and charming young man (played brilliantly in the film by Ed Norton) who is not a gangster but someone whose life choices parallel those of his closest childhood friends. One is a city trader and the other is an English teacher.

    Over the course of one night they are reunited and, with beautiful pacing, their stories unfold.

    Spike Lee gave the film a unique 9/11 twist, which establishes it as a distinct work of art. It demands to be seen, but I would visit David Benioff's slender but mesmerising novel first.