Monday, January 4, 2010

My Top 15 Films of the Decade

I've had a Netflix account for about 4 months now. So I've been watching a lot of movies.

There have been some pretty terrible movies this decade. In my opinion, "Wendy and Lucy" (say what you will) is one of the worst movies I've ever seen (exaggerating)...and it even stars Will Oldham.

But there have also been a lot of groundbreaking movies. And I must say, 2 of the films in my top 15 wouldn't exist without Charlie Kaufman...and Synecdoche, New York was probably my 16th favorite movie.

Honorable Mentions:

1) The Return of the King
2) Lost in Translation
3) Synecdoche, New York
4) Zoolander
5) Walk the Line
6) Signs


This film is just plain classy. Daniel Craig is so suave. He looks like he's in a Gillette commercial the whole time and yet his heart stops working at one point...and he also gets some testicle beatings. OUCH.

I just really liked the direction of this film and the style. And I appreciate how the director pulled off a really long poker sequence.


This film hurts my brain. I've seen it twice and I had a headache both times. It's just too brilliantly scripted for my mind to wrap around. I really don't understand how people write this stuff. There are 3 or 4 really complex character developments going on throughout the whole movie and they all intertwine. It's very self-reflective, because it's about Kaufman and he's writing Adaptation and he goes completely schizophrenic over it and loses hair.

All of the shots are so pretty with the flowers and Susan Orlean's poetic description of her parallel universe with the Orchid. And I found her fascination with John Laroche to be so intriguing. He's so ugly and strange, but she is so jealous of his deep passion for flowers and how it whittles his world down to a more manageable size.


This movie makes me so sad. When Kelly runs out to Chuck in the freezing heart grew 20 sizes. It's exhilarating.

And my favorite scene is when Chuck is talking to his friend by the fire near the end of the film. It tore my heart open so deep, because it reminded me of when I went through my break-up and how felt in the beginning stages... impossible to get over her.

Chuck Noland: "And now, here I am. I'm back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass... And I've lost her all over again. I'm so sad that I don't have Kelly. But I'm so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"


This film documents the creation of one of my favorite albums of all-time. And it makes you feel like you had some say in how it was produced, because this film makes you feel a part of the band. You get to see everything. Whether it's Tweedy playing songs no one has ever heard in San Francisco diners or if it's Tweedy throwing up in the toilet after booting Bennett out the door.


Oh man. How is this not in my top 10. I watched this film more than any other in the past year.

This movie makes me laugh so hard...and yet, just like any Wes Anderson film, there aren't many things you can describe to someone who hasn't seen it. You just have to watch it in context with the rest of the film.

I smile when Francis says he got in a motorcycle accident, but can't remember any details. Then he goes on to tell the most elaborate description of how it went down. So funny.

Favorite line:

"Look at these assholes."


McCarthy is one of my favorite authors. And the Coen brother are two of my favorite directors. So this movie pretty much ruled.

Chigurh is super scary. He's chewing almonds or something the whole film and it's somehow creepy.

I also love how there is only one scene with a real existence of music.


Ledger created the best villain I've ever seen. He's one of the more vulnerable villains out there and yet performed with such a raw appetite. With his slurred raspy voice through his cut-open face and his crass and self-loathing freak dialogue, you can't help but feel for him.

The Joker: Come here. Hey! Look at me. So I had a wife, beautiful, like you, who tells me I worry too much. Who tells me I ought to smile more. Who gambles and gets in deep with the sharks... Look at me! One day, they carve her face. And we have no money for surgeries. She can't take it. I just want to see her smile again, hm? I just want her to know that I don't care about the scars. So... I stick a razor in my mouth and do this...
[the Joker mimics slicing his mouth open with his tongue]
The Joker: myself. And you know what? She can't stand the sight of me! She leaves. Now I see the funny side. Now I'm always smiling!


This film made me feel so broken. Randy's character was one of the most genuine characters I've seen. He is beaten up by pro-wrestlers, he is cussed-out by his daughter, he is heart-broken by Cassidy, and he keeps deciding to damage his brain over and over again more and more with drugs. It's the deepest hole he's created for himself and it still breaks my heart that he never really seems to get out of it. It broke my heart to see Randy's troubles and darkness give him so much softness of heart.

My favorite scene was when he plays video games with the kid in his trailer. Randy comes across as so loving, it kills me.


When Barry is talking to his dentist relative about how he needs a shrink to talk to, to understand why he hates himself sometimes and why he cries sometimes, you wanna see Barry find true love.

And when he finds Lena, you feel the world for Barry.

The scene where Barry defends Lena with the crowbar made my heart leap.


I think Ben said it the best, "This film, more than any other, was an experience for me. I was right there with Chris the whole time, cheering his desire to get away, burn his money, and live life, man! But when he reads Dr. Zhivago and writes, 'HAPPINESS IS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED,' I was hit with the same realization. And it floored me. And I haven't been the same since."

The film didn't transform me as much as it seems to have done for Ben. But Emile Hirsch's voice-cracking, high-pitch, screaming cries towards the end of the film when he sees he ate wild potato root (or whatever it was) are so heart-wrenching.


I could go on about this movie. I think this movie is what 1st made me believe in fat chances. The narrator's ridiculous calculations of same things happening at the same time was incredible to me. I love it.

"On September 3rd 1973, at 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same moment..."

Audrey Tatou is such a babe. She has such a pristine smile and perfectly cute everyday haircut. I wanna make out with her SO bad.

And this film revealed a lot of beauty in the ugly for me. There's a lot of sex in France. It's probably the sexiest culture around. I'm not saying sex is ugly, but Amelie reveals a lot of the ugly traits of it, but somehow mystifies them.

And there's a simple sweetness to it that's just plain innocent.

Joseph: You're gorgeous when you blush. Like a wild flower.
Georgette: [shaking head] It's my dyspepsia.


Maybe the most innocent movie I've ever seen. I'm jealous of Roberto Benigni because I feel like he embodies the childlike wonder I wish I still had. He's such a kid...but he's also the most poetic kid around who keeps pulling strings in me time and time again.

Vittoria: Oh my beloved, all creation overflows with passion, and like a golden comet in the sky, from my mouth bursts forth this cry: I love you.
Vittoria: I want to make love to you now.
Attilio de Giovanni: That's the best line I ever heard in my life.

Attilio de Giovanni: I told myself: "One day I thought, there must be people whose job it is to use the right words, put things in a way... who when their heart beats, can get other people's hearts to beat.......that day I decided to become a poet."

I wrote a 5-page paper on this film earlier this semester. That should say something.

There's humor when Aldo Raine tries to speak Italian as terribly as he can ("Gorlami" and "Arrivederci!"), but there's also a sarcasticness behind it that is lividly passionate. When Raine has the black sack over his head and head butts Landa in the face, I was thinking, "Oh no he didn't" and started laughing really hard to myself.

When Shoshanna is talking to her boyfriend, Marcel, about burning the cinema to the ground...I immediately thought Melanie Laurent is my new favorite babe of an actress.

Marcel: What the fuck are we supposed to do?
Shosanna Dreyfus: It looks like we're supposed to have a Nazi premiere.
Marcel: Like I said, what the fuck are we supposed to do?

Marcel: What are we talking about?
Shosanna Dreyfus: Filling the cinema with Nazis and burning it to the ground.
Marcel: I'm not talking about that. You're talking about that.

There's too much class to this film and the climax at the end is EASILY the best climax I've ever seen. All of your favorite heroines come together and there's nothing better than Omar Ulmer (of the Basterds) punching someone while shooting them.

My favorite shot: Marcel flicking the cigarette onto the film reels behind the screen.


Charlie Kaufman (the guy who wrote the script for this film) is a genius to me. And if I ever sell a script...I would wanna sell it to Michel Gondry, because his aesthetic vision parallels mine way too closely.

I think my favorite scene in any movie ever is the scene where Joel and Clementine find the house on the beach at night and decide to break in. When Jon Brion's "Bookstore" comes on as Joel's face is blurred out behind the flashlight and the waves are crashing into the collapsing beach house, it made me feel my emotions more significantly. I've never felt more emotionally connected to a character, than I did to Joel Parrish.

Clementine: Bye Joel.
Joel: I love you...
Clementine: Meet me... in Montauk...


Every character is so believable. Whether it's Elaine Miller's desire to maternalize the same food for thought as Calpurnia from To Kill A Mockingbird or whether it's Sapphire's band-aid approach "to truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts."

As many times as I've seen this film, I've spent as much of life in William Miller's shoes as I have William Rucker's...and that's saying a lot because I love my shoes. I went thrifting A LOT in high school. In a sense, I would buy anything Russell Hammond would buy, because he slightly rules my conscience. His style and his moustache have never made a person look cooler.

And so I guess, this film is just that to me..."The Industry of Cool".


GMAN said...

Very impressive list. Would you consider this your "best" of the 2000s or your "favorites?" I often have to differentiate since I'm often stuck in a place I feel and a place I believe-- Rarely the two coincide.

way said...

I'm not much of a believer. I guess (if one or the other), I'm a feeler. This is why I never argue with people anymore about what bands/movies are the best. Why argue with someone if they say Pink Floyd is the best band ever. I like Pink Floyd, but I don't think they're the best band ever...if anything, let's just enjoy someone else's hyperboles. Pink Floyd is the best band in the world to that person. The best band in the world to me (if I had to pick one) is Grizzly Bear. Maybe you think Nine Inch Nails is the best band in the world. They are just the best bands to us.

So anyways, I'm straying off the subject. These movies are my favorite, yes. But they are also the best movies (to me).

GMAN said...

I gotch'ya. I mean, obviously, if either one of us choose a "favorite," then we believe they're good to some capacity. I suppose I'm more on the fence about my feelings. For example, I like "Collateral" more than I do "No Country for Old Men." I'd probably watch it and enjoy it more than the latter film, but I wouldn't necessarily agree its a better movie.

It's not as if I'm appealing to a guilty pleasure as I believe "Collateral" could have easily stood up to any of the best picture nominees or whatever highly acclaimed movie of 2004. But I do think "No Country for Old Men" has some craft to it that dives in to more notable metaphors.

Then again I might just be too cynical these days. My feelings seem to matter less to me as the clock ticks. Stupid clock...