countdown// TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE (30-21)

Getting closer to the Top 10!!

Bill Murray hasn't been better in recent years than in this Oscar-nominated film. Paired with Sofia Coppola's intelligent directing, Murray gave a career-altering performance as a past-his-prime actor visiting Tokyo to film a commercial. While there he runs across a curious twentysomething (Scarlett Johansson) and learns more about life than he ever knew.

29. BIG FISH (2003)
Tim Burton has always made love-them-or-hate-them films, but Big Fish was definitely hard to hate. A fantastical journey through the tall tales of one man's life as he lays on his death bed, the stellar cast and haunting visuals keep the movie trailing along to it's beautiful, and moving, ending. Burton's dark, colorful mind is at it's best here. Noticeably absent, though, is Johnny Depp, but Ewan McGregor does an incredible job filling his shoes.

28. SHREK (2001)
Will probably go down as one of the great animated films of our time, Shrek accomplishes what most family-focussed films can't. It's both entertaining and hilarious to kids and parents alike. The swift tongue-in-cheek humor is mixed with the dazzling computer animation (way before it's time in 2001), creating a world called Far, Far, Away, that we would all secretly love to live in. Plus, by featuring just about every fairy tale reference known to man, the movie is exciting time after time of watching (and the sequels to follow aren't half bad either).

Quentin Tarantino at his best. Brad Pitt at his best. 2009 cinema at it's best. There's not much more to say about this epic, bloody, fictitious re-imagining of the downfall of Hitler and his Nazis. Following a group of Jewish-American soldiers as they go on the hunt for any, and every Nazi soldier they can find, the story's seamless plot and juicy dialogue keeps it chugging along to it's incredible, and somewhat shocking, end that is both gratifying and grotesque at the same time. Filled with wonderful performances by actors from both sides of the pond, the film is definitely deserving of all of its award buzz. Most notably is Christoph Waltz's turn as the evil "Jew Hunter".

26. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002)
Steven Spielberg has become one of those directors who is so good, it doesn't matter what the picture is about, people will line up to see it. This caper, starring a dashing Leonardo DiCaprio and a top-notch Tom Hanks, proved nothing less. A box office success when it hit theaters during the bustling holiday season, Catch Me If You Can was a clever, and funny, crime suspense based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., who conned millions of dollars out of pretending to be different professionals, all before his 20th birthday. DiCaprio is stellar, proving that the best of his career is only beginning.

25. AMELIE (2001)
It's still difficult for foreign-language films to make a splash stateside, but France's Amelie mad emore than a splash, becoming one of the better box office success stories of that year. Starring an adorable Audrey Tautou, the film follows a young girl named Amelie as she goes through Paris opting to help others, instead of herself, and subsequently finds love. The cinematography is breathtaking, creating a moving portrait so full of life and art that anyone who watches it is undoubtedly changed for the better.

Led by the tour de force Miranda July, this little indie captures the very heart of people lost in their lives today. July not only stars in the film (giving undoubtedly one of the most honest, heartfelt performances of the decade), but she also wrote and directed the picture. The bubbly music and pop colors only aide in the overall message of the film, that there is art and life in every little thing and person around, along with the dark and evil that most likely lurks somewhere inside of us all.

23. ALMOST FAMOUS (2000)
Cameron Crowe knows America, and proved it with this and Elizabethtown. Starring Patrick Fugit as a fifteen year old kid given the chance to write an article for Rolling Stone about an up-and-coming rock band. He goes on tour with the band, learning the ins and outs of the music business of the 70's. The supporting cast is to die for, including Billy Crudup, Jason Lee, Francess McDormand, and an award-worthy Kate Hudson, in her breakout role.

22. ELEPHANT (2003)
Winner of the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, Gus Van Sant's Elephant is the portrayal of 24 hours leading up to a deadly school shooting. The eery part isn't in the casting of real high school students (almost giving a documentary feel to the picture), or the fact that it almost plays out exactly how Columbine played out. The eeriness is in Van Sant's quiet, subdued style. The camera literally spends two minutes following characters down hallways of the school. At once monotonous, but ultimately heartbreaking. It really feels like we're being allowed inside the lives of real kids. And when the terror finally strikes, we're among those wanting to run down the halls or duck under desks. Plus, at just over an hour long, the film ends before you can even grasp it.

Boasting one of the best performances in history, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood was the mainstream-arthouse movie of the decade. Led mostly by rave reviews of his incredible turn as an oil tycoon who will do anything for money, Daniel Day-Lewis went on to receive his second Academy Award. Anderson's stylized flick is dark and black, filled with nothing more than needed, even in the orchestrated soundtrack (thanks to Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood). It also gave way to one of the decade's most memorable lines: "I drink your milkshake!"

So, how do you like it so far? Anything you would change at this point? Don't miss the Top 20. I should get them posted tomorrow!

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