countdown//TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE (50-41)
It took me forever to narrow it down, but here they are: my picks for the best movies of the past decade. You may disagree with where some of my choices rank (or the exclusion of some of your favorites) but these are the movies that struck me the most and will, undoubtedly, go down in history as some of the best motion pictures ever.
50. 21 GRAMS (2003)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has become known for his amazingly honest ensemble dramas, centered around a singular event and how it connects multiple characters who wouldn't normally be connected. In this case, it's a car accident that links together a born-again ex-con (Benicio del Toro), a grieving mother (Naomi Watts), and a critically ill mathematician (Sean Penn). The cast is stronger, the cinematography is gritty and emotional, and the story is so cleverly written it hits you to the core.
49. I LOVE YOU, MAN (2009)
In the last half of the decade, the buddy comedy matured into the man-child comedy, thanks to writer/director Judd Apatow and his way of mixing laugh-out-loud lines, crude humor, and honest drama together with outstanding comedic performances. Though not an Apatow project at all, I Love You, Man is the first to portray an honest bromance in the most relatable way, even better than the mega-hit The Hangover. Like Entertainment Weekly put it, it shows how difficult a friendship can be, as if it were a romance, which in reality, it is. Plus Paul Rudd proves here why he's one of the best comedians today.
48. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003)
Nothing can beat the original (except maybe Sister Act 2), and this film proves why. This if the very first time we've ever been introduced to Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow (easily one of the most memorable screen characters of all time). And that's the beauty of this film. There's no anticipation, no expectations. Just good, honest, swashbuckling fun. The sequels didn't have this magic to rely on. We were already in on the surprise. Also, what this one has, and the others lack, is a good story written just for this film. Easily one of the best pirate movies ever made, even though its based on a theme park ride.
47. IN THE BEDROOM (2001)
Art house films got a boost this decade, and some even made box office magic, and In the Bedroom was no exception to the former. With a pretty heavy cast full of some big Hollywood hitters, the film captured an interesting look into a forbidden romance and heartbreak in a small town. The filmmaking alone is pure gold. Will definitely be one of the greater independent films ever made.
46. REQUIEM FOR A DREAM(2000)
No other scene revolted and amazed me like seeing Jared Leto's arm rotting off. The epitome of drug-related films, Darron Aronofsky's movie definitely struck a chord in me. With stellar performances from everyone in the cast, most notably Ellen Barkin, the movie is a great testament to the use of drugs among people today. It's a trippy movie, leaving you feeling dirty and gross, even if you haven't just shot up.
45. MATCH POINT (2005)
In my opinion, Woody Allen's best movie, or at least his best-written movie. Scarlett Johansson delivers her best performance to date, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers officially puts his name on the list of people to watch. One of Allen's few drama pieces in his repertoire, the film is a nice thriller, set in London, which keeps you on the edge of your seat, while also treating you to some delicious dialogue.
44. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001)
Once again, my opinion is that the first is the best. However, with this trilogy of films, it's hard to pick just one. If I had to pick another, it'd be the third in the series. The ensemble cast is outstanding, especially for a big, fantasy movie. The graphics, while computer-generated, are top-notch and should be able to stand the test of time.
43. DONNIE DARKO (2001)
Easily the ultimate cult classic of the decade, this Jake Gyllenhaal starrer was a box office dud, but has boomed on DVD. The story is twisted and the script is intelligent. The acting is superb and the casting choices are perfect. The movie offers another perspective on the society we've lived in this decade.
42. FINDING NEVERLAND (2004)
Though nominated for Best Picture, this film seems to have slipped past most people's memories. Johnny Depp proves that he can tackle any strange character as he seemlessly portrays J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. And Kate Winslet, the Best Actress of the decade, plays the mother of the boys who inspired the tale, in this based-on-a-true-story film. The cinematography is stunning and the movie magic brings you to tears towards the end. One of the only films to really take my breath away.
41. LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)
I really enjoy the ensemble films, but this one really shocked me. I had low expectations for it, which must have been a good thing. I was thoroughly moved by the story and it's laugh-out-loud moments and how honest of a picture it was, for being a comedy set at Christmastime. One of the better British films of the decade, it also made me realize how wonderful Emma Thompson truly is.
So, there you have it, 50-41. Check back soon for the rest! Also, let me know what you think. Did I miss any?