I’m always a little ambivalent about doing top 10 lists for this sort of thing, because I’m hopelessly behind on movies and music. I can’t even really do a top 10 of 2009, because I’m not sure I’ve even seen 10 new movies this year, and I probably only listened to like 1 new album. We mostly see things on Netflix like a year after they come out. I just looked at our Netflix history, and everything I enjoyed this year seems to be from 2008. So instead I’ll focus on my top 10 films of the decade, that’s a bit easier. Some of my favorite films of all time have come out in the past ten years, so this is the perfect opportunity. Also, I’m sure there’s plenty that I’m forgetting, but this was sort of a quick list.
1. The Royal Tenenbaums
I must admit that I wasn’t 100% crazy about this movie when it first came out. But it grew on me quickly, and now it’s one of my favorites. A tour de force for Gene Hackman, who has become one of my favorite actors. That scene at the end when Chaz says, “It’s been a rough year, Dad” chokes me up every time.
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I love this movie because the first time you watch it, you have a tenuous grip on what’s happening, but the second time you watch it, it’s even better. Kate Winslet is amazing, and this movie solidified my respect for her. Jim Carrey was surprisingly good, so much that I can’t believe he didn’t move more into drama afterwards. The trouble of course is that since Jim Carrey was in it, they billed it as a comedy, which is such a pet peeve of mine.
Is it super hackneyed to say that this movie is “magical”? I don’t care, because it is. I love it. It makes me feel good, and it makes me love Paris even more.
4. Lost in Translation
This is one of those movies where nothing really happens, there’s not much plot, and I love it. I love the ethereal feeling of it, and that all they do is hang out and worry about their lives having meaning, because that’s pretty much what I do all day. And I also have a crush on Scarlett Johansson.
5. Almost Famous
Another movie that’s small on plot but big on that feeling of je ne sais quoi.
I think I just tend to like movies where people just wander around talking and trying to find their place in the world. And it helps when it’s got a good soundtrack.
I think I love this movie because I was so convinced that I was going to hate it, and then it turned out to actually be hilarious.
Greg and I went to see this the day after watching Stuck on You, which was so horribly bad that it temporarily destroyed our ability to laugh, so it wasn’t until seeing Anchorman for the second time that we could fully appreciate it.
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Am I shocking you with this one? I’m not usually a big blockbuster type of gal, but I can’t help loving this movie. It’s exactly what a pirate movie should be – dark and mystical, and Johnny Depp is of course brilliant in it. I think watching this finally made me understand that old film class term “mis-en-scene”.
9. About a Boy
I have a strange affinity for Hugh Grant, don’t ask me why. This movie was so sad and sweet and redemptive, and it’s one of my favorites to watch around the holidays.
I don’t care that it’s a holiday movie, this is one of my favorites. I love Will Ferrell, I love the mis-en-scene, and I love that it’s somehow able to be hilarious while being completely appropriate for children.
11. Damn, I can’t believe Fight Club was 1999.
Ten years is a long time, and there’s plenty of other movies that I’ve loved that didn’t make it on this list because I didn’t feel like writing a synopsis. So here’s some more that come to mind in no particular order:
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The Motorcycle Diaries
Where the WIld Things Are
Man on Wire
And now for the not-so-best.
Top 9 movies that I still can’t believe everyone loved so much:
Superbad – Jonah Hill screaming in everyone’s face about getting laid for an hour and a half while Michael Cera stands idly by, wondering why this fat kid is upstaging him. P.S. I have since grown to enjoy Jonah Hill a bit more, I’ll assume he was just trying to sort out his acting skills.
Punch Drunk Love – Adam Sandler doing his usual “I’m a quiet weirdo nerd” routine while everyone screams at him.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Forrest Gump, except backwards, more depressing, and unsympathetic.
Grizzly Man – am I supposed to feel sorry for this guy? Not even sure I made it all the way through this one.
Stuck On You – This movie clearly took place in another dimension, because in my universe Matt Damon + Greg Kinnear = Hilarity, but apparently not in the Farrelly Brothers’ universe. P.S. I realize that no one loved this movie, but I’m putting it on this list anyway because it was shockingly bad.
State and Main – Another perplexing equation where an all-star cast of amazing actors adds up to a terrible movie.
Brokeback Mountain – Ummm…am I the only one that found this movie to actually be sort of homophobic?
Babel – It really wanted to be Syriana and just couldn’t hack it. It was sort of just punishingly depressing.
Knocked Up – Hi, my name is Judd Apatow, and in my world women are all heartless bitches who set out to destroy all of us goofy and innocent guys and ruin any fun that we try to have.
Gentlemen Broncos – I really can’t believe that Jared Hess was somehow able to screw up a movie with Jemaine Clement. This really bordered on unwatchable.
Away We Go – Dave Eggers, you’re killing me with this. I was so excited to see this movie, and it turned out to be terrible in so many ways. Absolutely no chemistry between John Krasinski (sp?) and Maya Rudolph, completely absurd one-dimensional characters, and cheap laughs. Halfway through the movie it decided to become sincere, but it was about an hour too late to save it. Simply terrible.