Over the past ten years (2000-2009), we’ve seen a lot come and go in the world of cinema. A stunning, full-throttle of the summer blockbuster and thanks to the internet and word of mouth, a resurgence of indie fare that slowly became mainstream and really took off (Blair Witch, Juno, Once).
So as we can begin to hear the death rattle of the oughts, we in the thrid row thought that starting today and once a month or so throughout the rest of the year, we will remember the top films of each year of the past decade; culminating in a consensus “ten best of the oughts” list in January.
Please rise for the first lesson: 2000. The same way in which we always do our annual top ten list, each of the admins here took our top three of the assigned year and delegated a point system (with a bit of arbitrary) and came up with a consensus list of our top five favorite* films for that year.
5) Almost Famous
– Arguably Cameron Crowe’s best picture; possibly due to the semi-autobiographical nature of the story. With entertaining performances all around with loads of character actors, a smart script and a soundtrack that just won’t quit (still think the “Tiny Dancer” moment on the bus is one of the best scenes in Hollywood of the past decade), Almost Famous is one of the most compulsively rewatchable films ever.
4) American Psycho
– A little cult fave that was understandably overlooked by many that year. The film is dark, subversive and easily misunderstood. If pressed, I bet most critics who gave American Psycho negative feedback at the time would probably admit epic failure in their comments and recant some of their statements; realizing what this film really is: bloody fantastic… and maybe Christian Bale’s finest work?
3) George Washington
– While there are some clear influences taken from the films of Terrence Malick and Charles Burnett, George Washington remains a curiously idiosyncratic film, murmuring to itself about a band of characters on the fringe of society in a rural Southern town the world left behind. Setting the bar for what would become the David Gordon Green trademark, the film oozes with an authenticity in its depictions of the minutiae of human behavior, more an ethnographic study than a structured narrative. Rising and falling to the symphony of an inner voice, George Washington is truly an art film of the highest order.
– Though taking home 4 Oscars including editing, directing and screenplay, Traffic was overlooked as the best picture of the year in favor of (sigh…) Gladiator. All we can really say is that this is one of the most egregious errors in the academy’s long standing record of egregious errors. Traffic is damn near perfect.
– When looking for originality and/or creativity in cinema over the past ten years, you need look no further than the first year of the decade with Christopher Nolan’s indie, cult hit, Memento. It may take a viewing or two to completely wrap your brain around, but doing so has never been more engrossing.
– – honorable mentions: Requiem for a Dream, O Brother Where Art Thou, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon