Last year I was throwin' up quickie top ten lists for each decade for archival and discussion purposes and tonight wI realized that I'd never finished the run skipping the Aughts and the 1920s and the 1910s (the latter two because I'd hoped to see more silent films before top ten'ing it). So herewith a revisit / rework of a "best of the aughts" list originally published in 2010 but many of you have joined us since!.
Care to share yours?
01 Moulin Rouge! dir. Baz Luhrmann (2001)
The party of the decade. The inspired mashup conductor (Baz) and his darling stars (Nicole, Ewan, Jim) put on the messiest craziest livelest funniest tearjerking "Spectacular! Spectacular!" show on earth. I'd never claim it's a perfect movie but flaws are endearing when you love madly and deeply. and Love Is All You Need.
02 Brokeback Mountain dir. Ang Lee (2005)
A love story for the ages. And one that quietly enrages.
03 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind dir. Michel Gondry (2004)
The Eyes: a singularly imaginative visualist in Gondry. The Brain: the twisty intellect of Charlie Kauffman. The Body: a great acting ensemble operating as one powerful machine. The Heart: a comic (Jim Carrey) positively aching with true drama. The Soul: one of the most elemental faces and emotional forces in cinematic history (Kate Winslet); It's the collaborative miracle movie of the decade, all its parts made greater by their interconnectedness.
04 Dancer in the Dark dir. Lars von Trier (2000)
The story of the Aughts for this particular moviegoer was the rebirth of the musical. To yank the dead genre from its unfortunate grave, fearless visionary filmmakers and prodigiously gifted musicians were required. The impish deconstructionist (von Trier) provoked such genius from a totally modern composer (Björk) that a decade later you can still be transported with just a bar of "New World" or "I've Seen It All".
05 Far From Heaven dir. Todd Haynes (2002)
Of all the things we have to thank Todd Haynes for: new ways of looking at Barbie dolls, Bob Dylan splintered, restless experimentation as cinematic life-blood, a mini Douglas Sirk revival, Ewan MacGregor naked and covered in glitter... this is the gift I cherish most: Julianne Moore in a purple scarf, waving love goodbye.
06 In the Mood for Love dir. Wong Kar Wai (2000, released in 2001)
In a perfect world, I would always be fetching noodles or trying on cheomsangs with Maggie Cheung. Either that or writing wuxia and smoking with Tony Leung Chiu Wai. I'd gladly pay the price of heartbreak in the end.
07 Talk To Her dir. Pedro Almodovar (2002)
So imaginatively structured, exquisitely controlled, and enigmatically moving that it's nearly impossible to wrap your head around in one go. It's a good thing then that Pedro's movies miraculous improve with repeated viewings... even when they were brilliant to begin with. "Cucurrucucú paloma, cucurrucucú no llores."
08 Rachel Getting Married dir. Jonathan Demme (2008)
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change... like the fact that so many people don't love this movie. Their loss. I'm ready to dive back into this immersive, noisy, eclectic, spontaneous, superbly acted, wonderfully sustained, bleeding heart of a movie right this very second. Pass me the DVD.
09 Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon dir. Ang Lee (2000)
Ang Lee is the only filmmaker with two movies in the top ten. How glorious was/is this utterly transporting adventure?
10 A History of Violence dir. David Cronenberg (2005)
In the past I've likened this movie to a machine, it's so finely calibrated and efficient. But that doesn't get at its emotional fire, its guttural poetry, and its savage eroticism. It's more like a cyborg.