Home > Film > Films of the Decade: 5-1

Films of the Decade: 5-1

5. Superbad (2007): Superbad wins the award for the funniest film of the decade. Although perhaps too vulgar and overly raunchy for some, I found the tale of three soon-to-be-high-school-graduate-virgins to be full of laughs from beginning to end. Part of the delight comes in the actors’ ability to make us really believe that this is the way they talk and think. The constant cursing and sex lingo rolls off their tongue so smoothly and without restraint that one believes every word that they say. None of it feels forced or over-the-top. In fact, the entire film is like that. It serves as a surprisingly authentic look at adolescence. Equally refreshing are two cops who—instead of chasing down troublesome teenagers—are themselves rebellious adolescents at heart who have no qualms about drinking on the job, shooting stop signs to kill time, or pretending to arrest a young man just so he can look like a bad-ass in front of his peers.

4. V for Vendetta (2006): If it qualifies, V for Vendetta is my favorite comic book film ever made. It features a rare perfect blend of stylistic action and intellectual themes. This is a revenge tale. It is also a mystery tale. It is an ideas tale. And, of course, it is a political tale. This film blurs the lines between right and wrong, between governments and their people, and between terrorists and saviors. And it embodies the Lockean ideal that people have the right to overthrow their rulers and their governments when they are no longer working in their best interest. Far from being a commentary on the virtues of totalitarianism, V for Vendetta reminds us that it is the people—and not the governments that represent them—who ultimately have the power. And it also reminds us that such ideas are, well, bulletproof.

3. Inglourious Basterds (2009): Quentin Tarantino may very well be my favorite director (with the possible exception of Christopher Nolan) and Inglourious Basterds is a major reason why. It is my pick for the best film of 2009 and justice would not be absent from the Oscars if Tarantino and the film itself are both given top awards. Christoph Waltz is equally deserving for his role as the brilliant and menacing “Jew-Hunting” Nazi, SS Colonel Hans Landa. Characteristic of Tarantino, the film is split up into multiple chapters that each serve as short films in and of themselves; contains very graphic and stylized violence; is highly unpredictable; evades categorization (what type of film is this, really?); and features some of the best, well-written, clever, entertaining dialogue that the film medium has to offer. Not meant to be an historically accurate reenactment but an act of filmmaking creativity, it succeeds wonderfully.

2. The Prestige (2006): The Prestige is Christopher Nolan’s much-overlooked masterpiece. It never quite garnered the critical praise and cult following of Memento and never came close to becoming as popular as the monster known as The Dark Knight. Yet I think it is, even if only slightly, my favorite Nolan film to date. I found The Prestige to be so complex and so ingenious that it was the film I choose to do a six-page analysis on for my intro to film class a few years back. Its complexity and ingenuity are derived from its editing, its unorthodox time structure, its characters, its psychology, and ultimately from its excellent blending of form and content. As is usual for Nolan, the lead characters are less-than-admirable: they are obsessively ambitious, sometimes boarding on the psychotic. And it is the editing that allows Nolan to confuse his audience by messing with time and by throwing them into all sorts of blind alleys. This is as much of a film about deceiving the audience as it is about characters that deceive for a living. The question is: “Are you watching closely?”

1. The Lord of the Rings (2001) (2002) (2003): The Star Wars of my generation, The Lord of the Rings trilogy goes down in my book as the greatest filmmaking achievement of the decade. I can still claim to this day that watching the Fellowship of the Ring for the first time in December of 2001 is the single greatest movie experience of my life. It was unexpected, it was unprecedented, it changed my life.

Thanks to the genius of Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, Howard Shore, Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, and many others, nearly every aspect of LOTR was top tier. The acting was solid through and through; the musical score was one of the best ever; the special effects—CGI as well as the use of models—were ahead of its time; the writing was inspiring; the cinematography was grand; and the story (much thanks to the author) was epic.

Having never read the LOTR books prior to viewing the film, in a matter of three hours I had been converted into a LOTR nerd. I would soon come to read the books, learn about a man named Tolkien, study the mythology behind his world, and kiss his grave while studying abroad in Oxford, England. Although in many ways my film tastes have changed since that time—now favoring more psychologically and philosophically driven films over grand epics—no film has affected my life more than LOTR. And there is no film that I am looking forward to more than The Hobbit, set to release in the Winter of 2011, a full decade after its predecessor. One can only hope that it will be half as great.

Honorable Mention:

The Bourne Trilogy

School of Rock

Napoleon Dynamite

Catch Me If You Can

Signs

No Country For Old Men

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  1. 02/06/2010 at 1:37 pm
  2. 02/06/2010 at 4:28 pm

    What's good about it? 😉

  3. 02/06/2010 at 8:06 pm

    you just want more comments on your post. but i'm not doing it. i'm not feeding your addiction. uh-uh.

  4. 02/06/2010 at 9:17 pm

    Ummm, you just added a comment by telling me you didn't want to add a comment. Also, my addiction is to fun and enlightening conversations, not to having a lot of posts on my blog. 😛

  5. 02/07/2010 at 3:23 am

    um, that was a joke. you take me so seriously. you should stop that! 😛

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