Friday, December 11, 2009

Best Films of The First Decade of the 21st Century

(UPDATED 8/15/12)

I'm not one for assigning much meaning to end-of-the-year lists and other games, but I do think they're always a fun exercise. Obviously it's nearly impossible to rank quality, and it's especially silly to assume that one's thoughts couldn't change sporadically, but what I do think these lists do is provide a place for cinephiles to spot a film they have not seen and seek it out. It is a nice way to get some idea of what to bother with and what not to. Of course, I haven't seen every film that has been released this decade, so there are certainly some omissions that many would complain about, but here's what I've come up with for the films I found most fascinating, most gorgeous, most perplexing, and most hilarious.

1. Werckmeister Harmonies (Tarr, 2000, Hungary)
2. Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001, USA)
3. Songs from the Second Floor (Andersson, 2000, Sweden)
4. The New World (Malick, 2004, USA)
5. There Will be Blood (Anderson, 2007, USA)
6. In Vanda's Room (Costa, 2000, Portugal)
7. Secret History of the Dividing Line / The Great Art of Knowing (Gatten, 2002/2004, USA)
8. What Time is it There? (Ming-Liang, 2001, Taiwan)
9. Before Sunset (Linklater, 2004, USA)
10. Hunger (McQueen, 2008, UK/Ireland)
11. Zodiac (Fincher, 2007, USA)
12. Revanche (Spielmann, 2008, Austria)
13. In the Mood for Love (Wong, 2000, Hong Kong/France)
14. Still Walking (Kore-Eda, 2008, Japan)
15. Saddest Music in the World (Maddin, 2003, Canada)
16. Three Times (Hou, 2005, Taiwan)
17. Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001, Japan)
18. In the City of Sylvia (Guerin, 2009, France/Spain)
19. INLAND EMPIRE (Lynch, 2006, USA)
20. Public Enemies (Mann, 2009, USA)
21. No Country for Old Men (Coens, 2007, USA)
22. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004, USA)

23. Flight of the Red Balloon (Hou, 2007, Taiwan/France)
24. The Holy Girl (Martel, 2004, Argentina)
25. The Life Aquatic (Anderson, 2004, USA)
26. Elephant (Van Sant, 2003, USA)
27. The Intruder (Denis, 2004, France/Switzerland)
28. Cache (Haneke, 2005, Austria/France)
29. Distant (Bilge Ceylan, 2002, Turkey)
30. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Ming-Liang, 2003, Taiwan)
31. Silent Light (Reygades, 2007, Mexico)
32. Summer Hours (Assayas, 2008, France)
33. Birth (Glazer, 2004, USA)

34. Synecdoche, New York (Kaufman, 2008, USA)
35. Gerry (Van Sant, 2002, USA)
36. Dogville (Von Trier, 2003, Denmark)
37. 35 Shots of Rum (Denis, 2008, France)
38. Liverpool (Alonso, 2009, Argentina)
39. Waking Life (Linklater, 2001, USA)
40. White Material (Denis, 2009, France/Cameroon)
41. The Last Mistress (Breillat, 2007, France)
42. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Ming-Liang, 2006, Taiwan)
43. The Man From London (Tarr, 2007, Hungary)
44. The Girlfriend Experience (Soderbergh, 2009, USA)
45. AI: Artificial Intelligence (Spielberg, 2001, USA)
46. Alexandra (Sokurov, 2007, Russia)
47. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Puiu, 2005, Romania)
48. The Squid and the Whale (Baumbach, 2005, USA)
49. The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson, 2001, USA)
50. Collateral (Mann, 2004, USA)

Once in the list, now bumped out: Millenium Mambo (Hou, 2001, Taiwan), City of God (Mierelles, 2002, Brazil), Three Monkeys (Bilge Ceylan, 2008, Turkey), Minority Report (Spielberg, 2002, USA), Enter the Void (Noe, 2009, France/Japan), Science of Sleep (Gondry, 2006, France), Old Joy (Reichardt, 2006, USA), Heima (DeBlois, 2007, USA/Iceland), Eastern Promises (Cronenberg, 2007, USA/Russia), Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009, USA), Los Muertos (Alonso, 2004, Argentina), Garden State (Braff, 2004, USA)


Loren Rosson III said...

Lists like these are indeed fun. Are the titles ranked in descending order?

I may have to come down to Emerson and publicly chastise you, however, for omitting Pan's Labyrinth.

Carson Lund said...

Hey Loren. The list goes from 1, being my favorite, to my 50th favorite. I could have made a top 100, but I thought that would be too much.

As for Pan's Labyrinth, I agree that it's a strong film. It just didn't really do it for me as much as these. I might have to rewatch it, but on first viewing I felt it was visually and texturally beautiful but emotionally stale. I found Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone to be more interesting.

Loren Rosson III said...

That's interesting. I'm working on a top-20 list for the past five years ('05-'09) and Labyrinth is my #1 choice. (I'll probably have this list up sometime next month.) Glad to see City of God placing high for you. I watched that one again recently and am still in awe of it.

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

Good list, although I'm surprised you put the first Lord of the Rings on there.

Unknown said...

Pretty nice list you got there. Your movietaste is actually scary similar to mine.

My top 100 films

seb said...

I'm glad you remembered life aquatic...but seriously, borat? haha, you need to see the movie Layer Cake if you havn't already. the director is Matthew Vaughn, which means its great.

Carson Lund said...

I haven't seen Layer Cake, Seb, but I've heard about it. As for Borat, I think it's hilarious. I admire Sacha Baron Cohen's willingness to push boundaries extremely far.

Dan Radu said...

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