Top 10 Movies 2000-2009

Here it is.  My Top Ten Movies of the Oughts.   I’ve been hemming and hawing over how to piece together this list.  What to add, what to remove, what to try and pull my personal grievances and forgiveness away from in an attempt to look at them all objectively.  There were many hard decisions made. Movies that I feel particular personal guilt over excluding, but I removed none-the-less are: Primer, Brick, The Host, Psycho Beach Party, Good Night, And Good Luck,  Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Sunshine, The Way of the Gun, Man On Wire, and Casino Royale.

In the end, I don’t know where I, Videodrome, or “the pictures” would be without this group of movies.  I felt it necessary to provide a list that was in keeping with the heart of the radio show, and what we try and do week in and week out.  Tell the truth, be critical, and mostly be right.  Mostly.

If you have some thoughts or grievances, feel free to send a message to and I’ll do my best to thank you or explain to you why you’re wrong.

– Hank

10. Dogville (2004)

I put this on at 1:30 am and believed I’d only watch an hour of it before going to bed.  A story in nine parts, with the third part ending roughly one hour in, the result of which caused me to stay up the remaining two + hours to find out what happened next and next and next.  Lars von Trier managed to make one of the most gripping movies ever, with no sets, no fancy lights, just a lot of motts.

9. The Fall (2008)

Director Tarsem made tons of music videos and then directed The Cell many years ago, blowing minds with his visual style.  It took several more years for his storytelling to catch up, and with The Fall, the meeting of both his visuals and a wonderful, that’s right, WONDERFUL, story (told to a young child a la The Princess Bride) manages to capture an artist at the height of his power.  A singluar and amazingly visceral movie-going experience.

8. Lucia y el sexo (2002)

There’s a lot said about eroticism in movies, but those sort of sinnin’ flicks are never actually good.  And I mean, good-good.  Not good-HA-WINK-good.  9 1/2 Weeks this is not.  It’s got an absolutely phenomenal script, stellar performances, beautiful photography, and a dizzying story that combine for an unforgettable film meditating on the meaning of love, lust, and happiness.

7. Fa yeung nin wa (In The Mood For Love (2000)

Restraint, oh restraint.  Doing right when you’re wronged.  Desire.  Subtlety.  This movie will hit you in the mouth with anxiety, longing, and bittersweet sentiment.  Why isn’t this on more of these best-of lists?  Wong Kar-Wai (Kar-Wai Wong) could have changed his name to Brilliant Artist with this one.

6. Encounters At The End Of The World (2008)

It took the mad genius of Werner Herzog to make a documentary not about the natural world of Antarctica, but about the people who choose to live there.  Herzog, in incomparable, and almost incomprehensible fashion,  manages to explain in no light-handed terms the true nature of humanity. This is the stuff of legend.

5. The American Astronaut (2001)

Cory McAbee is modern-day cinema’s greatest threat.  He stands to make every moviemaker that wrongly consider themselves to be artistic look like the phonies they are.  Between this and 2009’s Stingray Sam, he’s the underdog, but perhaps most deserving of a Best Director of the Last Decade award.  Remember when movies were new,  fun, and exciting?  Neither do I, but  McAbee manages to make me feel like I’m experiencing something new and altogether great with each endeavor.  It’s 100% art and 100% entertaining.  If Hollywood would take more chances and gave wider releases to movies like this, maybe one day the Best Picture Award will actual mean something again.  A musical-western set in space.  Pure brilliance.

4. Memento (2001)

It’s a gimmick.  I know.  Maybe it wouldn’t be any good if it didn’t play out in a randomized order that’s mostly backwards, but, it’s the best gimmick in movies since Psycho.  And it’s alarmingly good despite the use of said gimmick.  It’s also the best & most famous film noir since Chinatown.  It gave us a reason to see a movie again as soon as we finished watching it the first time, because we had an idea as to what we’d just seen but were afraid our brains were playing some cruel trick on us.  In reality, the trick was the (mis-)deed of director Christopher Nolan who at the time was a relative nobody and is now one of the three biggest directors in movies.  This isn’t where it all began (see Following), but it’s where it all got going full speed ahead.

3. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Lynch’s failed TV pilot turned into the craziest delirium nightmare one could ever want to sit through for two and a half hours.  This movie managed to beat Memento for the “What did I just watch?” debates of 2001.  Consider an alternate title: Los Angeles, Crucified.

2. Children Of Men (2006)

Alfonso Cuaron has made some of the most fantastic movies this decade, but Children of Men stands heads above both his other efforts, and nearly every other movie made in the last ten years.  All but one, to be precise.  It doesn’t hurt that this movie combines a wrenching story, staggering cinematography, and a performance from Clive Owen that will go down as one of the most under-rated in the history of film.  Nothing is wasted here.  A story where the world is at the brink of collapse and one man brave man might be able to save it.  Ahhh.  It’s good.  So, good.

1. There Will Be Blood (2007)

Without question, the hands-down winner.  I couldn’t come up with anything else when a friend candidly asked me what I thought the best movie of the last ten years was.  I found myself speaking aloud, without a moment of hesitation, “There Will Be Blood.”  No other movie made in the last ten years approaches this one.  The fact that it didn’t win the coveted, yet no longer actually indicative of, Best Picture award, bolsters the argument of its greatness.  Not only in terms of the year it was nominated and lost, but also in comparison to all the other best pictures winners released in the years surrounding it.  That award is seemingly and unfortunately reserved at this point for the next “it” movie that Hollywood desperately needs viewers to flock toward, for fear of losing them forever in the current age of diminshing box office numbers (I’m not sure what kind of new math they’re using to determine this problem) and paltry studio offerings.

When they look at movies a hundred years from now, more will be written about There Will Be Blood, on a critical and scholarly level, than any other movie this decade.  Significantly more than No Country For Old Men, which beat it out for the golden rod.  I liked No Country For Old Men.  A Lot.  But, it didn’t come close to this.  This one is an epic movie along the lines of the grandiose “Old Hollywood” efforts.  It’s belongs to a class of movies that stand above all others, sharing space with The Thin Red Line, Raging Bull, Lawrence of Arabia, et al.  All the pieces, from direction to story to photography to acting, are without flaw.  In There Will Be Blood, Daniel Day Lewis, as oil man Daniel Plainview, gives a performance that will not be matched for years to come.  Director Paul Thomas Anderson provides the blue-print for future New Hollywood epics.  Here’s hoping some talented filmmaker aims to out-do him and comes within a light year of doing so.

2 Responses to “Top 10 Movies 2000-2009”

  1. […] years, but not all of them.  Most notably I have the audacity to claim Dogville as the number ten best movie of the last decade.   I also didn’t put the first Pirates of The Caribbean movie on there, but gave it an […]

  2. […] his ridiculous Sex & Lucia (yes, the very same one from Hank’s Top Ten Movies of the Oughts) review here.  At least we can all take solace in the fact that 62 people felt the need to click […]

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