Monday, August 3, 2009

Top 50 Movies of 1998-2008: Part 2

40. Ratatouille – An incredibly entertaining entry into the Pixar arsenal that proved to be one of its most clever films. It took something that no one would have thought could be great: A rat that can cook, and turned it into one of those incredible animated films that would have benefitted from ten Best Picture nominees, and what a shame, this one was truly one of the best.

39. Knocked Up – While the latest Apatow comedy is currently topping the box office, it begs repeating the greatness of his sophomore effort as a director. With the sexiness of Katherine Heigl, and the humor of Seth Rogen, the creation of the most unlikely pair to ever conceive, made Knocked Up one of the funniest movies of the decade.

38. Tropic Thunder – Speaking of great comedies, this gem of a summer blockbuster, came onto the scene with a bang. Making a movie about making a movie, proved to be an incredible formula for another one of the most hilarious movies of the decade. It, combined with Iron Man, also re-launched the career of one of the most talented actors in Hollywood today, Robert Downey Jr. I just hope drugs don’t ruin the second chance he was given, with this great film.

37. March of the Penguins – This little documentary proved to be a bit hit, and a captivating story about one of the most astonishing creatures on this planet. The enchanting, true story of a group of penguins, matched with the grandfatherly voice of Morgan Freeman, proved to be a winning combination of heart, information, and a journey that will not be forgotten any time soon.

36. The Departed – Compared to Raging Bull or GoodFellas, The Departed was a minor entry into the Martin Scorsese collection. However it proved to be the winning ticket that gave the overdue director the honor he so deservingly earned. With an incredible, male-dominated cast, this gangster flick proved to be an entertaining and brutal movie that truly showcased the gift that Scorsese has. No other director could have the f-word repeated several hundred times in one movie, and still win Best Picture other than the great Marty Scorsese.

35. Little Miss Sunshine – This film was the quirky little movie that could. While it failed to win the coveted Best Picture, it set the bar pretty high for all comedies that would follow it. An incredible cast including Steve Carell, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Greg Kinear, Abigail Breslin, and Paul Dano, proved to be straw that broke the camel’s back. With that combination of talent, that won the SAG Ensemble award, this was destined for movie greatness.

34. Training Day – The reason this movie is on this list is for one reason and one reason only: It is kick-ass. Denzel Washington should consider playing more villains, after this movie, I can comfortably say it fits him well. His performance combined with the scared, yet talented chops of Ethan Hawke made this gritty crime drama incredibly entertaining.

33. Mulholland Drive – David Lynch is simply brilliant and this piece of cinema history only proves my point. It had drama, mystery, and romance, and a lot of weirdness, which coalesced together into an incredible fantasy drama that earned Lynch a Best Director nod, and became an underground hit reminiscent of Fight Club and Requiem for a Dream.

32. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – The first in a series of three began one of the greatest movie franchises of all time (second only to The Godfather trilogy). Unlike the later two installments, this one starts off in a fanciful world, providing us a suitable base for launching an epic. It then slips into the wonderful story, perfectly setting up the last two movies, and capturing the dark mood of its original source.

31. The Insider – While it’s no Heat, The Insider was a taught and fast-paced drama featuring great performances from Russell Crowe and Al Pacino. What really worked was the mystery and excitement brought on by the screenplay, by the Academy Award Winner, Eric Roth, who recently penned the fanciful The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the tight direction by the great Micheal Mann. With great performances and a great story, this proved to be a fantastic movie that I feel the Academy missed the mark on: 7 nominations, 0 wins.

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