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Top 40 Movies of the 2000s

December 23, 2009

Before you start launching comment grenades in my general direction, there are three very important things to consider regarding the following list of my 40 favorite films released between 2000 and 2009:

(1) There are a TON of likely fantastic movies I still have not seen yet, even from several years ago;
(2) As the father of two youngsters, I am subjected to a PAINFULLY inordinate amount of kid flicks; and
(3) My list contains a RIDICULOUS number of low brow comedies, because mentally, I’m still pretty much 15

So, that being said, here’s my list…

1. O Brother, Where Art Thou? – The moment I realized it was futile to hate George Clooney.

2. WALL-E – It took an animated trash compactor to thaw my cynical heart, if only for two hours.

3. Napoleon Dynamite – The single most quote-worthy flick since Caddyshack.

4. (tie) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
4. (tie) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
4. (tie) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – The greatest trilogy since the original three Star Wars films.

7. Remember the Titans – Call it cheesy schmaltz if you must, but it fires me up every time.

8. Step Brothers – POW! POW!  Indeed.

9. Superbad – Never has the male genitalia played so prominent a role outside the porn realm.

10. Frailty – Manages to be extremely disturbing and terrifying without lazily relying upon gratuitous gore.

11. Tortilla Soup – Not too many cooks in this kitchen; an absolutely fantastic ensemble!

12. Mulholland Drive – Trademark Lynchian weirdness and confusion abounds, but you literally can’t avert your eyes for a second.

13. Wet Hot American Summer – A smarter, edgier and sometimes even funnier Meatballs.

14. Snatch – The British Tarantino draws incredibly manic performances from his brilliant cast.

15. Slumdog Millionaire – Not only lived up to, but exceeded, its lofty Oscar-driven hype.

16. Gran Torino – One of Eastwood’s finest performances both in front of and behind the camera.

17. Inglourious Basterds – Tarantino’s WWII cartoon is lifted to great heights by an all-time performance from the previously unknown Christoph Waltz.

18. Old School – This 21st century take on Animal House provided a much-needed respite to all of us facing the otherwise grim prospect of a mid-life crisis.

19. The Bourne Ultimatum – Damon’s Gen-X Bond really hits the mark in this outing that recalls such great paranoia classics as Three Days of the Condor.

20. Nacho Libre – Jack Black may fancy himself more of a tubby troubadour, but this wrestling Mexican monk was truly the role he was born to play.

21. Unbreakable – Still the only good movie Shamalamadingdong has ever made.

22. Anchorman – A fantastic concept flawlessly executed to hilarious results.  The gang fight may be the single funniest scene of the decade.

23. No Country For Old Men – The Coen Brothers manage to maintain maximum tension throughout.  Well done, Friendos.

24. (tie) Kill Bill Vol. 1
24. (tie) Kill Bill Vol. 2 – Uma Thurman’s finest hour(s).  I’m still holding out hope for a Vol. 3 at some point in the future.

26. Fantastic Mr. Fox – Unequivocal proof that Wes Anderson’s trademark brand of indie quirk comes across much less grating when delivered by animated animals.

27. Sin City – I loved every single thing about this movie, except for the lighting during Carla Gugino’s scenes.

28. The Simpsons Movie – Kudos to Groening and company for successfully turning their half-hour cartoon sitcom into a legitimate 90-minute movie and not just three loosely intertwined episodes of their show.

29. Charlie Wilson’s War – Hanks and Hoffman both at the top of their game, with Hanks actually playing a flawed guy, for once.

30. Up – Leave it to Pixar to somehow make ED ASNER lovable.

31. Iron Man – Great effects and action anchored by the best superhero backstory yet.

32. Vanilla Sky – Most people hate this movie, but it really got to me, especially the scene scored by Todd Rundgren’s “Can We Still Be Friends?”

33. Cloverfield – Some real chilling edge-of-your-seat moments, provided you can fight off the vomit reflex triggered by the shaky cam.

34. American Psycho – A tour-de-force performance by Christian Bale, who demonstrates a unique ability to multi-task (impressively operating a chainsaw while crtitiquing the output of Huey Lewis and The News).

35. Shrek – A fresh take on a fractured fairy tale driven by pitch-perfect voice work from Myers and Murphy.

36. Tropic Thunder – Robert Downey, Jr. absolutely carries this one on his shoulders, with a minor assist from a wonderfully bizarre cameo by Tom Cruise.

37. The Royal Tenenbaums – A delightfully unorthodox take on a severely dysfunctional family, led by one of the most inspired performances of Gene Hackman’s career.

38. The 40-Year-Old Virgin – Nobody makes losers more lovable than Steve Carell.

39. Big Fish – Tim thrives taking these tall tales to theaters.

40. Monsters, Inc. – Crystal and Goodman make a great team, even when covered in fur.

There you have it – not too many trendy art house darlings to be found, but I likes what I likes.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2010 11:58 pm

    I love that you have WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER on your list! I can’t get enough of that film. And the Coen’s OH BROTHER…was great, too, though that just missed the honorable mentions on my list.

    And I had forgotten that AMERICAN PSYCHO was released this decade and not at the end of the ’90’s.

    • January 14, 2010 7:44 am

      Thanks – yeah, I had to look up the date for American Psycho to make sure it wasn’t the ’90s.

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