With the first decade of the new Millennium winding down, I felt it time to write about the best films so far. This is a list of my favorite movies of the last decade. They will be split into separate parts and released every few days. All movies included were released on or after January 1, 2000.
Slumdog Millionaire A classic, simply put. This is a movie that, in 40 years, will still be remembered for how good it was. It was a little dry up until the Taj Mahal scene (the lives of most children are, to be honest), but after that, it really shown bright. It rightly deserved Best Picture this year. This movie is one that makes you realize how much you take your life for granted. Its vivid and realistic imagery makes you really feel bad for the people living in the slums of India.
Hero This is, at the moment, the only foreign language film I am putting on the list. Jet Li’s Hero is a film that absolutely has to be watched in Chinese and with English subtitles. The lasting effect of the movie is so much more powerful this way than when watching it dubbed over in English. There is little I can say about this movie. Just know that the imagery is possibly the most eye-pleasing on my list, the story is fantastic, and the action scenes are the best that Jet Li has ever done.
Spiderman 2 Not a hard pick. If not for Christopher Nolan, this would be the best comic book film of the decade. Doc Oc was a much more satisfying villain for me than Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. The humanity in Doc Oc at the end, to me, was a much better theme for him than the Green Goblin’s “Evil to the end and even after death” motif. The story of this was excellent as well. Let’s hope that Spiderman 3 (I refuse to acknowledge the real Spidey 3) will prove as good as this one was.
21 This one might get me a bit of backlash. A lot of people didn’t like this. It was cliche. It was white-washed. It wasn’t accurate to the book and the real story. Blah blah blah. I don’t care. I enjoy the hell out of this card counting tale. Kevin Spacey shows glimpses of his former, two-time Oscar winning self while Jim Sturgess was thrilling as Ben Campbell and Aaron Yoo’s thief of a genius character provided hilarious comic relief. Say what you want about the movie, but I can watch this three times in one day and not ever get bored of it.
Pineapple Express This movie is absolutely brilliant. Who, honestly, figured that one of the most promising young actors (James Franco) could be such a hilarious stoner? Not I, that is for sure. Combine him with Seth Rogen and Danny McBride (who has yet to make a movie I did not like, although I did not see Land of the Lost) and you laugh your ass off the entire way through. “Thug Life!”
The Hurt Locker I’m not going to say much about this one. I don’t like modern war movies. I just can’t seem to enjoy them no matter how much I try. This one, however, caught my attention and I really, really liked it. This might be able to win Best Picture next February and Jeremy Renner will likely be neck and neck with Sam Rockwell for Best Actor.
Taken Studio executives must have gotten together one day and said to themselves, “OH!! I know!! Let’s make a new Bourne type series!! This time with an older actor!!” And thus, Taken was born. Who would have thought that it would be so damned good too? Liam Neeson is another favorite of mine, but I honestly did not know he could be such a badass. A great story and some memorably lines such as, “You either give me what I need or this switch will stay on until they turn the power off for lack of payment on the bill” really give this film a very firm position as one of the best of the new Millennium.
The Prestige This was released the same year as The Illusionist and I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if they cut into each other’s profits at all. Either way, this is a reteaming of the Batman Begins crew. Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, and Michael Caine are joined by Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Piper Perabo, Andy Serkis, and the ever-wonderful David Bowie who played real-life scientist, Nikola Tesla. The Prestige is awe inspiring. The battle between Jackman and Bale to be the best magician would be legendary if it were true and the twist, while not as shocking as, say, Fight Club, is still a jaw dropper. Many claim to have figured it out early on, it took me the entire film to realize it.
The Hangover This is, in my opinion, the best comedy of the decade. In a decade dominated by the Frat Pack and the Judd Apatow group, it is amazing that this isn’t by either of them. Zach Galafanakis’s “Alan” is one of the funniest characters I have ever seen. I could give you a hundred quotes from him that I use on a daily basis; instead I will leave you with just one word from him: “Ratard”.
Reign of Fire A movie that got horrendous reviews and is generally dismissed by the public as something that Christian Bale never did. I love it, though. I even like Matthew McConaughey, something that has only ever happened in one other movie. Dragons, post-apocalyptic Great Britain, betrayal, desperation, and sky diving all in one amazing movie. Just one hell of a movie to sit through.