Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Top 30 Favorite Films of the Decade (2000 - 2009)

It's always so hard to rank movies (TV shows too). There are so many factors to consider, so many shades of grey.

Some movies are fresh on your mind. Some you're having to judge based on memories of when you saw them several years ago. For instance, I constantly wonder whether "Under the Tuscan Sun" should be one of only nine movie to which I give the ultimate A+ grade. At one time, I must have thought so. I haven't gotten around to watching it lately, so as odd as it feels to say it's better than "The Dark Knight" or even "Iron Man," I'm going to have to go on my opinion of it that is several years old.

Then there's the conflict between objective observation of quality and inexplicable personal appeal. In other words, the best movies and your favorite movies aren't always the same things. Sometimes a movie blows you away the first time, but you have little or no interest in seeing it again. "Memento" would be an excellent example of this. Other times, a flawed or less ambitious movie still has higher re-watch factor, such as "Love Actually" or "Frequency."

Anyway, here's my best attempt to rank the best -- uhm, I mean, my favorite -- movies of the 2000 - 2009 decade. I may change my mind on half of it later, but it'll do for now:

30. The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)
29. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
28. X2: X-Men United (2003)
27. Watchmen (2009)
26. The Prestige (2006)
25. Children of Men (2006)
24. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
23. Ocean's 12 (2004)
22. The Queen (2006)
21. Up (2009)
20. Waitress (2007)
19. Serenity (2005)
18. The Lake House (2006)
17. Spider-Man (2002)
16. Cars (2006)
15. Wall-E (2008)
14. Love Actually (2003)
13. Batman Begins (2005)
12. The Blind Side (2009)
11. Ocean's 13 (2007)
10. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
09. Iron Man (2008)
08. Star Trek (2009)
07. Ocean's 11 (2001)
06. Finding Nemo (2003)
05. The Dark Knight (2008)
04. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
03. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
02. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
01. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

Honorable Mentions: The Bourne Trilogy (2002/2004/2007), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Gran Torino (2009), Casino Royale (2006), 500 Days of Summer (2009), United 93 (2006), The Bucket List (2008), The Terminal (2004), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), and Frequency (2000).

Yes, "Avatar" is intentionally left out. It's on the borderline. It looked good, but the story was a little weak & unoriginal. All the super-glowing reviews I've heard for it on blogs & podcasts -- even the ones from people who admitted the flaws in the story -- come from people who saw it in 3-D. When I went, it was sold out in 3-D. It looked great in 2-D, but I've heard it's just not the same. I'm tempted to see it again, this time in 3-D, to see if the increase in quality raises my opinion of it from B to B+. If so, then it will be an Honorable Mention of the decade too.

And, I'm sure my Facebook friends are tired of excuses I find to mention this, but I think it can't be said enough... The worst movie of 2009, one of the worst cinematic travesties of the decade, and yes, one of the worst movies of all time was, sadly & shamefully, "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen." It joins the ranks of other Grade-F movies "Highlander 2: The Quickening," "Event Horizon," "Batman & Robin," "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows," and "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."

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