Remembering a Decade…2000

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.

Best of 2000


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.

2) Traffic
– 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.

1) Memento
– 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

THE COMPLETE SERIES (so far):
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008

.

63 comments

  1. oh yes! glad to see love for #3 :-)

  2. Wow Traffic over In the Mood for Love? I am probably the minority but I really disliked Traffic. 2000 was a very bad year by my estimation, a lull after a bumper crop in 1999.

    • I disagree. Both regarding Traffic and that 2000 was a bad year. Movies not making the list are all pretty fucking impresive: Contender, Shadow of the Vampire, Wonder Boys, Best in Show, Thirteen Days, Chocolat, Sexy Beast, Pitch Black, You Can Count on Me, Snatch, In the Mood for Love, Unbreakable, Audition, Il Mare, 101 Reykjavík, Battle Royale

      So I actually don't know what the fuck you're talking about rot.

  3. ugh, the mediocrity huts my eyes, make it stop.

    thats an entire year of films, and aside from the three I chipped in, I don't think I could justifiably make a top ten I would feel proud of.

  4. Was Waking Life 2000? That'd get my vote probably. And Ghost Dog was 2000, at least that's when it got a theatrical release. Those than any of these. I like You Can Count On Me and Unbreakable a lot. Not sure how much I personally like Audition but it's a classic.

  5. I think I agree with Rot. I'm pretty down on the 2000 crop. What were the big summer movies that year?

  6. Of all the movies I listed including our top 5 above, 11 of them are on my personal top 100 of all time.

    You think Contender, 13 Days, Shadow/Vampire, Best in Show, Wonder Boys are mediocre?

  7. American Psycho… Right.

    I'd even take Gladiator over most of these films. 13 Days is quite good, but goes on for too long. When I rewatched it recently, it didn't hold up to the fond memories I had of it.

    "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."

    Seriously? Is this written by John Campea?

  8. @ Seriously? Is this written by John Campea?

    Nah, that's classic Andrew. This one won this many oscars, but this other one won more oscars which is A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE when will they get it right. It's on my top ten list of action adventure romances of 2008 OF ALL TIME.

    I can't relate to anyone who expects an award show to reflect their personal opinions. It's an industry award. They're voted on by committees.

    Requiem For A Dream is not a good movie.

    • I don't expect an award show to adhere to my tastes. I simply find it baffling that it won all the major categories, but then was snubbed for the big one for fucking Gladiator – which was mediocre at best. Another "epic", muscle bound, jerk fest for guys who like UFC.

  9. lol

    god, i've never seen a site with snobbier commenters. i'm so glad i'm not such a miserable asshole.

  10. by the way, glad to see both AMERICAN PSYCHO and GEORGE WASHINGTON get some love. incredible little films and two of my favorite of the decade.

  11. @ I simply find it baffling that it won all the major categories

    Yeah, the same thing happens every year but somehow you manage to be baffled by it. Sooner or later you'd think you'd realize the rules of the game.

    @ i’ve never seen a site with snobbier commenters. i’m so glad i’m not such a miserable asshole.

    I don't know Murph, whatever you do don't turn around. You might find you're in the monkey house with us, on the wrong side of the locked door.

    • @ Rusty: "Yeah, the same thing happens every year but somehow you manage to be baffled by it. Sooner or later you’d think you’d realize the rules of the game."

      Without looking at the winners from the past few years, does this really happen every year? I'm pretty sure the film that sweeps all tha major categories like that (especially director) usually wins best picture. Not saying it's right or wrong, it's just weird that a movie can have the "best" script, the "best" editing, the "best" direction, the "best" actor but not be the best picture overall.

      Not disagreeing with you, I'd just like to see your evidence to support your statement.

  12. Pretty solid list there! I've seen this countdowny type making the rounds and it's always fascinating to see the choices. I totally agree with Almost Famous and Memento. It's amazing to think of the films that were released at the same time and now almost 10 years ago. Don't agree with the (mentioned but not on the final list) of The Contender. That one really rubbed me the wrong way even with the fantastic cast & acting – I hated the message.

    I do love Gladiator though, I don't care what people say. I don't know anyone who didn't love it at that time either. It was great to see something so epic in the theatre again after years on not. I even remember being excited over the preview of it – which I think was shown with Pitch Black. Fun times.

  13. Another “epic”, muscle bound, jerk fest for guys who like UFC.

    Not that I'm a huge Gladiator fan but better those then having to watch the films that make your vagina weep.

    Also, I like that you trash Gladiator yet proclaim how you love shitty action films and constantly proclaim their awesomeness. Transporter rules, “epic”, muscle bound, jerk fests suck. Got it.

    • @Matt. I challenge you to find any recording or comment I've ever made in which I said Transporter rules (or anything even close to that effect). Good try though.

      And actually I don't hate Gladiator exactly. It's just nothing special and I like to call Henrik on his state of pathetic since he just likes to come in to threads and troll.

  14. Greta list, but is weird that most of this list are small films, let wait for 2001 to see what happens.

  15. "* favorite does not always = best."

    So why is it called Best of 2000 then?

    I probably should stop coming to this post and commenting, lists like these always piss me off. If there was ever a wrong way to talk about art, listing it was it.

    • "So why is it called Best of 2000 then?"

      I don't know, good catch! I guess because we thought we could slip one by you, but you are just too damn observant. Way to pick out the meat of this particular post Henrik. We'll try to be more careful in the future – we wouldn't want to confuse anyone.

  16. if there was ever a wrong way to talk about art, Henrik speaking it was it.

  17. I will never be mainstream enough for you murph.

  18. yeah, whatever, go watch some Shyamalan.

  19. Is it really trolling when I express my opinion on the list and the way it is written?

    "I like to call Henrik on his state of pathetic"

    When did you do this? I think I'm much better at calling myself on my state of pathetic than you are.

    • There's a difference in expressing an opinion and writing something like this:
      "Seriously? Is this written by John Campea?"

      #1, I don't understand what you're point is, but #2 it's obviously meant to be insulting; though I'm not sure why pointing out my confusion on the Oscar stuff of 2000 should warrant such insult.

  20. In that Gladiator e-mail discussion between Kurt and I, because it's easy to copy and paste:

    "Trust me, I recognize the many flaws of the movie, but I put Gladiator on a similar plane as Star Wars – it is pure, uninhibited fantasy, epic grandeur that overly emotionalizes and romanticizes everything, pandering to the inner child within us. Some of the dialogue and plot devices seem straight out of a trashy harlequin, but for the majority of people, the film is strong enough in so many other aspects that it can be easily overlooked."

    And I'll take my cheap thrills from Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, over cheap thrills from something like Michael Bay and giant alien cars any day.

  21. I challenge you to find any recording or comment I’ve ever made in which I said Transporter rules (or anything even close to that effect). Good try though.

    Did you forget the Ronin debacle already? You professed your love of Transporter and shitty action movies in that podcast and you routinely spout off about how much you love genre films as well, often times in a context that makes it sound like you are the better filmgoer for liking bad movies. Yet then you turn around and bash Gladiator as if it is beneath you.

    Can you not see how odd that looks?

    If you revel in shit, then you can't sling it when others do the same.

    PS – You are the bitchiest bitch in Bitchdomland.

  22. Gladiator is history porn that can't hold Traffic's dick. They had to increase the scale of the Coliseum (and all other architecture)three times because they knew they were making a melodrama shit pile. If you love Gladiator you drank the kool aid.

  23. Then give me another glass, because that's some kool-aid that tastes good, even if I know it's bad for me. I reiterate what I said earlier:

    "it is pure, uninhibited fantasy, epic grandeur that overly emotionalizes and romanticizes everything, pandering to the inner child within us"

    Melodramatic? Of course it is. I'd be willing to bet more than my dignity that if I looked at films you admire, I could easily pick them apart with the "melodrama" argument. Gladiator is melodramatic and it knows it. I mean, Christ, with lines like the "echoes in eternity," it shows they're not even trying to mask it.

    And please – as if historical inaccuracies have anything to do with it being a good movie or not (this coming from someone who is pursuing a life of academia in history). That argument is so worn out.

  24. @ Without looking at the winners from the past few years, does this really happen every year? I’m pretty sure the film that sweeps all tha major categories like that (especially director) usually wins best picture.

    Well, I don't mean the exact same thing. I didn't realize you were complaining about that specific foible. But in general, the oscar winners over the past few years are not an inspiring list of films to me. A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, King of Whatever, Million Dollar Whatever. I like a lot of em but my favorite films never even make the short list of nominees. I was FUCKING PISSED in 1997 when Gummo didn't win Best Picture. Now I'm over it.

    My favorite films don't even get nominated in the narrower categories where you'd think they'd have a chance. No A Scanner Darkly or Waking Life in Animation. No Devil and Daniel Johnson for Documentary. Children of Men is obviously much better cinematographically than Pan's Labyrinth but it looses. Even when my guy's the front runner (Mickey) he still can't win over some lame, warmed over biopic performance.

  25. what in the world is with the Gladiator hate? you guys never fail to amaze me here.

  26. if Waking Life was 2000 it would be my #1 by a goddamn mile.

    while I love rus' astute analysis that "Gladiator is history porn that can’t hold Traffic’s dick" I think Traffic just feigns like it is smarter than Gladiator, its a lot of posturing about how big and complex an issue it is dealing with, but the entire enterprise feels false to me. In general I don't like these sprawling multi-thread narratives trying to nail down the 'issue' they are all consecrated from, it feels backwards and forced to me… unless maybe you have seasons to explore the issue, breathing room. But Traffic is the bullet point version and provides no real insights on the subject, the drama is hackneyed no better than your typical CSI or Law and Order contrivances, its just always pushing the issue… and I find it strange that a lot of the people who love Traffic hate Syriana, when they are essentially the same thing, just not a big name director. Actually Syriana is better because it doesn't hold your hand through the film the way Traffic does.

  27. Traffic, Syriana, Fast Food Nation, Babel, what else?

    These films that take the issue first and affix their multi-thread narratives to keep hammering it home. Trying to think if this ever works for me.

    • "Traffic, Syriana, Fast Food Nation, Babel, what else?"

      I like all of these movies. But then, I like Haggis too. So there you go.

  28. ah yes Crash… another one to the list, except I do like Crash, almost in spite of what it is trying to say.

  29. I bashed the shit out of Transporter.

    No, you bashed the shit out of Transporter 3. Hell, I can even pull from a few weeks ago when you were lecturing people on why they didn't like Jumper of all movies.

  30. yeah, Andrew…. he's got you on Jumper…

    you love Jumper… but bash Gladiator. BLAH!

    • Jesus. I don't love Jumper. It's an example of a (sort of) super hero movie that I actually enjoyed. Like Wanted, it's a helluva lot better than most of the super hero garbage we see on a monthly basis. And I never "lectured" people for not liking it. I just pointed out the reasons why I liked it.

  31. hey, no need to take Jim Caviezel's name in vain

  32. @ "Mike Rot: Contributing Writer to Row Three. Toronto-based. Reincarnation of Martin Luther. "

    he he.

  33. Also, this all coming from the guy who sings the praises of Ninja III.

    It has zombie ninjas. Transporter is just a guy in a suit.

  34. Matt, as usual your posts are pointless hit-n-run drivel. I listened to that podcast, Andrew never said he liked Transporter. I think he said he never saw the original. If anyone was defending it was you.

    Just stop. You edged out Henrik as this sites leading troll a long time ago.

  35. If anyone was defending it was you.

    Kurt defended Transporter 2, I can't stand either of the first two films and will never see the third. That would be why I stated that Transporter 1 & 2 were retarded from the get go.

    I went back and listened to it and it was Crank that Andrew was really raving about, which is even more ridiculous then Transporter. (I like over the top awesomeness, I like ridiculousness… I love Crank. I think Crank is great. – is the direct quote from Andrew)

    My biggest knock about Andrew's critiques is he too often, though certainly not always, puts his opinions on a pedestal. Take Jumper for example. He wonders why people can like movies like Iron Man (which he and Kurt routinely rip on) and not like Jumper (a film he incorrectly claims is both original and not a superhero film on the podcast). The tone of his critique is that people are stupid for liking a movie that he thinks is bad (Iron Man) and stupid for not agreeing with him on the movie he thinks is fresh and original (Jumper).

    Or when he turns around and rips on Gladiator for being essentially a testosterone filled action fest (as well as ripping on anyone who could have been stupid enough to vote for it), then proclaims his love for Crank. These are clear double standards and bad habits in his style. He needs to stop editorializing in his reviews and stick to critiquing the films. Lay out what he thinks is done badly, why he thinks it was done badly, and give evidence for those feelings. Not openly questioning his audience on why they aren't agreeing with him.

    Now, do I think Andrew really thinks he is better then people who disagree with him? Nope. In fact 99% of our bitching at each other we do because we think its funny, but if Andrew wants to be a better critic, and I believe he does, then he needs to work on correcting his bad habits. Agreeing with me more would help too.

  36. Rusty James

    @ My biggest knock about Andrew’s critiques is he too often, though certainly not always, puts his opinions on a pedestal.

    yeah. There's tons of reasons to give Andrew shit. That's why it's mystifying that you have to resort to making shit up.

    Is it hypocrisy to trash Gladiator but love Crank? Nah. They're different movies. Anyways, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. Andrew just needs to get a lot better at articulating himself, I agree with you on that.

  37. Yes, I think Crank is really great and fun. Do I think it should be nominated for finest picture of the year? Hell no. My biggest beef with Gladiator is that it's praised as the finest film of the year; hence Oscar win – which is preposterous, which is why I "bashed" it. I couldn't care less if someone likes it and I would never think less of a person who does like it. But it's easy to rip apart when it won best picture and I didn't love it.

    As for Crank vs something as inane as Transporter 3: the difference between them is that (as my Ronin comment was going to punctuate until it was interrupted by jeers) Transporter 3 starts as a fairly straight forward action picture. It has moments, like a neat-o car chase that are mildly interesting, but then it completely goes out of the stratosphere with ridiculousness. Then it's back to halfway believable for a while. Crank on the other hand is balls out action with a much more interesting premise (keep the adrenaline rush going or die vs Transporter's get from here to here quickly) from start to finish. At no point does it try to be realistic in the slightest. It's supposed to be dopey. I get the sense that Transporter 3 wants you to believe that someone like Statham's character can actually exist, but let's just throw in this preposterous moment for use in the trailer.

    And when it comes to movies like Jumper or Wanted, it's true: I can understand why someone would like them or not like them. But what I can't understand is how someone can hate on them, but then turn around and praise Iron Man or Incredible Hulk as great sci-fi fun. It's true that this baffles me and I can't wrap my head around it for resasons I can list and backup (not here, I've done it a million times). And I don't think people are stupid for it, I just literally don't understand.

    A good example actually would be Hancock. It's very similar to Jumper in most respects. Why was H praised and J shat upon? Is it just a matter of Will Smith vs. Christianson? Fair enough I guess, but for me, J was much more fun to watch and guess what? J did it first.

    Also, Jumper is NOT original? Which movie does it steal its idea from?

  38. Rusty James

    @ like Jumper (a film he incorrectly claims is both original and not a superhero film on the podcast

    ha ha. He did the same thing with Wanted. It's original! Not like all those comic book movies.

  39. Rusty James

    @ J was much more fun to watch and guess what? J did it first.

    I don't understand this comparison. What did Jumper do that Hancock followed? They're pretty different.

    I thought Jumper was poorly made but kinda fun. I don't think Hancock was actually widely praised.

    • Maybe I'm incorrect in assuming Hancock was praised. If not, then the point is kind of moot I guess. Both stories revolve around kind of a lazy guy who just uses his super powers non-challantly or just to get a head in life (a premise I really like) – they use their abilities for fun.

      **SPOILERS**

      They both discover that a bad guy is after them but not before discovering they are not alone with their power – someone else close to them also has the power. Then together with their new found friend they must defeat the bad guy. I guess the difference with Jump is all of the neat locales the fight goes through. It also looks cool how they do it (the car ride through Tokyo(?) is awesome). With Hancock, the two fighters just throw each other around a couple of city block for a while (like Hulk, Iron Man, Transformers, Hellboy, etc etc.). The fight in J is far more original and interesting.

  40. Rusty James

    @ The fight in J is far more original and interesting.

    Not the final fight really (well, it's better than Hancock but that's like being better than shit) but I agree about the car ride. They should'a made it into a chase. Have you seen Push?

    • I have not seen Push… but I will once it hits DVD. Perfect Tuesday night movie to watch after a long day of work and my brain hurts.

  41. Rusty James

    @ Plus I have a thing for Rachel Bilson.

    What!? c'mon! That's just shite.

  42. re: Why someone would like Hancock and Jumper (which I did!)

    *Spoilers*

    Jumper the protagonist is mean, steals and the film seems to show to the audience that this is what people would do with this kind of powers. Be creepy and theify.

    Hancok, although he ain't no shining star, does – begrudgingly, try to better himself.

    I like people like that, and would rather cheer for them than creeps!

    It is a interesting analogy though, I never would have thought the 2 films were similar but the set up sure it.

    • Funny Shannon, what I like about Jumper is exactly what you don't like! I like that the guy uses his powers to get money and chicks and be arrogant rather than saving the planet. I think it's much more believable (or maybe I'm just cynical :)

      But contrary to what Gamble thinks, I don't think it's stupid to have that opinion.

  43. My Campea-snide was made because I thought it strange and beneath any person, that you could do a write-up on a movie and only have it be about it's Oscar-relevance. This is something I would expect from John Campea. It wasn't because you didn't have your facts straight about the oscars, I'm sure you do!

    I treat the oscars, like I treat the american election, all I hope for is the winner isn't an evil retard.

    I still don't think I was trolling. I commented on the article, the content and form. Somebody else of course made it personal, that always happens.

    "consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."

    I would say I agree with this sentiment. You don't have to be consistent, you just have to make sense. And be honest about everything.

  44. Aha Andrew, then it did what it did successfully!

    Interesting though on the believable part, I think that's key to making a film work but I thought both characters were believeable in their portrayals, I just like one better than the other.

    That's the awesome thing about opinions – they are unique. Own it, live it, love it!

  45. actually never mind, 2000 was probably worse than 2003

    Ranking the decade: :)

    1. 2007

    2. 2009

    3. 2008

    4. 2006

    5. 2002

    6. 2001

    7. 2005

    8. 2004

    9. 2003

    10. 2000

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