Best of the Decade: Movies

18 Jan

Ummm, it’s not too late for this, right?  Eh, who cares.  By Tyler Hartsook.

About a month ago, Molly asked me if I would pick the 10 best movies of the decade. Seemed like a no-brainer as I watch about four movies a week, most of which turn out to be turds. With that many stinkers under my belt, it should be fairly simple to pick out 10 great movies. What I realized after a little research is that the 00’s have produced some amazing movies. After scribbling down a list as a starting point, I was well over 60 movies. At a crossroads with how to approach this (and Molly yelling at me for every idea I had on how to structure it) I decided that I was going to title this list as the “10 Movies I Couldn’t Wait to See Again”. Some of these might not even make other Top 50 lists, but you also won’t see those snooty films people feel obligated to like because everyone says they’re “genius”. It pained me to have to leave some brilliant films behind (Eternal Sunshine and City of God for example), but everyone has those lists. Oh, and I am avoiding the whole “brief synopsis” thing — if you haven’t seen these movies you don’t deserve a breakdown.

High Fidelity (2000) – Cusac plays an insanely-tolerable early Jack Black based on a Nick Hornby book. All these things combine to create a funny, quotable, hip Woody Allenesque movie.  In some ways I feel this is the movie that started the whole Judd Apatow bromance movement of the late 00’s.


40 Year Old Virgin (2005) Probably my most watched film of the 00’s. Im currently on my 3rd copy of the movie, and it’s probably the most quoted movie in quite some time. Pretty much made the rest of the whole Judd Apatow machine take flight (much to the happiness of 15-40 year old men everywhere).

Iron Man (2008) While The Dark Knight is possibly the greatest superhero movie of all time, its replay value is not nearly as great as Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark as perfectly as one could hope, walking the line as the ego maniac playboy and the vulnerable, rich loner.  While the movie could have used a little more action, the dialogue and RDJ keep the movie as fresh as the last time you watched it, and will keep me popping it in the DVD player for years or decades to come.

The Departed (2006) A genius movie showing the inner-workings of Boston organized crime and government. With such an all-star cast it was almost impossible to fail, but the movie juggled action, tension and comedy in such a spectacular way that, coupled with Scorsese’s wonderful eye, it became a fixture on most top 10 lists. I still hate the rat at the final scene, but the performances by Marky Mark and Alec Baldwin sealed my love for this movie for a long time to come.

Memento (2000) Flash forwards, flash backs, mysterious killers, massive tattoos, Christopher Nolan and Guy Pierce. Possibly one of the most mindpuzzling and creative movies of the decade, but once I got home I could not wait to look up information on this movie. Any movie that has a special feature of watching the movie in “forward” has to make such a list.

Oceans 11 (2001)– In all honesty, when this movie ended I wanted to sit in the theater to catch the next showing. With witty dialogue being bounced back and forth off of an all-star cast and a director that captured Vegas and its essence perfectly means this one gets constant run still to this day.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)– I am not even sure I have to explain why this movie made the list. It’s neck and neck with 40 Year Old Virgin for most watched and quoted. I’d be willing to bet most of you (except Mazall) thought of at least 3 great quotes immediately when reading the title and even said them in the Rob Burgundy voice (even if only internally). All of that added with the fact that it only gets better the more you watch it made this an easy selection.

Donnie Darko (2001) Easily the most Love It or Hate It selection on my list, and probably on most similar lists coming out on websites in the next few weeks (Molly’s note:  errrm….). Most can appreciate the brilliance of the direction, but the storyline itself (alternate universes, religion, 6-foott bunnies, Patrick Swayze) is where most people either view it as a genius or just something snobs use to hold over those that don’t like it with the “you just don’t understand it” argument. Unfortunately the Directors Cut seemed to take away from the original, and seemingly “dumbed it down” for the masses, without bringing much to the table. For this reason I constantly resort back to the cult classic original.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) – While he’s made many great movies this decade, Tenenbaums is Wes Anderson’s brilliance at its best. It’s quirky with some of the most original, and unforgettable, characters to emerge in film in quite some time. Another movie people either hate or love, but this movie is just like Anchorman; it just grows on you the more you watch it.

Kill Bill Vol 1 (2003) – I actually left the theater and drove straight to Best Buy to purchase the soundtrack. Could not get enough of this movie. From the moment the opening credits started, I was hooked and smiling the entire time. Tough between this and Inglorious Basterds, but any movie that can make me root for Uma Thurman not to die has to win out.


4 Responses to “Best of the Decade: Movies”

  1. Claire January 18, 2010 at 4:42 am #


    • Marc January 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm #


  2. Drewpreme January 18, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Anchorman… Hung over at the loft in ATL and we watched it how many times?

  3. Marc January 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    I love this list, for many reasons, chief among them that, unlike every other list I saw, Mulholland Snore is nowhere to be season. That movie was fucking awful.

    I love every movie on this list. Including High Fidelity was positively inspired, especially given Rob’s penchant for making lists. Well played.

    The only change I would make is putting Old School on ahead of Virgin, but that’s just me.

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