my top 20 films of the decade

What did I leave off? Tell me in the comments.

20. Primer (2004)

19. Adaptation. (2002)

18. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

17. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

16. The Wrestler (2008)

15. Memento (2000)

14. Ratatoille (2007)

13. Eastern Promises (2007)

12. Cast Away (2000)

11. Children of Men (2006)

10. No Country for Old Men (2007)

I am currently in the middle of the novel right now, and reading it is only making me like the film even more. The Coen brothers continue to play in their corner of sandbox all they want if they keep building castles like this one.

9. Amelie (2001)

Before Audrey and I were dating, she spent a month living in Paris. While she was there, I climbed House Mountain and found a good skipping rock and sent it to her in an envelope and told her to find the canal in Montmartre where Amelie skips rocks and to do the same.

And the rest is history.

8. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

It wasn't Bottle Rocket or Rushmore that made me a Wes Anderson fan, it was this. And while Anderson's perfectionism can rub the wrong way with each slo-mo-mid-1960's-Rolling-Stones-song scene or meticulously and symmetrically placed prop and set piece, sometimes it all just comes together and forms the perfect film to watch for Halloween costume inspiration. I mean that in the best way.

Highlight: When Margot steps of the bus to Nico's "These Days"

7. The Visitor (2008)

I don't even remember why I watched this movie. I didn't know what it was about or who made it. But what I saw was Richard Jenkins giving one of the best performances I have seen. All I really want to say is: See This Film.

6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Somehow, knowing I was going to see the new Tarantino film, I went into the theater not expecting much. Maybe it was the off-putting trailer. Maybe it was Brad Pitt. Maybe it was the swastikas.

But what I saw was the most subversive (in only the best way) film I've seen, maybe ever. I left not knowing how to feel about what I had just seen, and in this case, I think that means Tarantino succeeded in his mission.

5. Almost Famous (2000)

This was my favorite film when I was in high school. When I was 18. Okay, I was 17. I was 16.

4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco (2002)

While this pick may have something to do with the fact that it chronicles the creation of my favorite record of all time (forever till the end of time), I think it is safe to say that whatever you think of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, this is still a fantastic documentary. Wilco will love you, baby.

3. Into the Wild (2007)

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 ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED," I was hit with the same realization. And it floored me. And I haven't been the same since.

2. Lost in Translation (2003)

Sometimes the big reveal is that there is no big reveal. And sometimes that is brilliant.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This was an easy choice for me. On most days, I have at least one moment where I think, "I kinda wanna watch Eternal Sunshine right now."


lizaloo said...

excellent choices. i especially like the amelie story.

benjamin said...

ha, yea. audrey did end up finding the canal to skip the rock, but her aim was a little off and ended up throwing it to the side. i don't even think it hit water. le sigh.

micah daniel said...

good list. i've been meaning to watch lost in translation again. i remember thinking afterwards that it was the subtlest movie i had ever seen.
a few others to consider: the pianist, the motorcycle diaries, lars and the real girl (a real surprise). and a good documentary choice: man on wire

way said...

Yea, I love your list a lot. I think my number 1 favorite is still Almost Famous. And then 2nd place would probably be Eternal Sunshine.

To Michael Daniel...I have seen all of what you mentioned, except for Pianist. It is on my Netflix though. Man on Wire is pretty astounding, Ben. If you haven't seen it...I would love to watch it with you. It was a surprise to me.

There were some on your list that I haven't seen. I've never seen Primer, Ratatoille, and Eastern Promises (would like to watch it with ya).

I've heard City of God is amazing.

Some of my faves that I'm not sure you've seen: A History of Violence, Punch-Drunk Love, Wall-E, Synecdoche New York, The Tiger and the Snow.

way said...

Actually, I think Inglourious Basterds is my fave of all time. Then Almost Famous.

Pff...I'm just gonna make my own list on my blog.

benjamin said...

michah, yea i actually recently saw Man on Wire - it would definitely be included if the list was a top 30. i also need to check out lars and the real girl - i've heard good things.

will, i have been wanting to see city of god for a long time. let's watch that and all the others that one of us hasn't seen.

and i await your list....

ck said...

I had a similar experience with Into the Wild, but with the book. I loved it so much that I've been too scared to watch the movie.

Drew said...

Just checking out your blog for the first time. I was gonna ask you if you had seen Into the Wild and there it was on your list :) Def one of my faves as I have that movie and love the scenery and that quote too...

benjamin said...

Into the Wild is/was a religious experience, in every sense of the phrase. It is full of the legendary electricity.

As I write this, I slightly regret not making it number one.

And ck, it's funny that you say that b/c I am in the exact opposite position. I am scared to read the book :)