Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Top 50 Films of 1998-2008: Part 4

20. Requiem for a Dream – Darren Aronofsky is one of the best directors around, and never gets the love and respect he deserves. This incredibly strange and raw film about drug addiction is a perfect example. Boasted by great performances by Jared Leto and Ellen Burstyn, and Aronofsky’s signature style, Requiem for a Dream goes down as one of the most underappreciated films of all time.

19. Traffic – This film not only exposed mainstream America to the daily lives of those involved in the drug trafficking business, but it also created for us a gritty and realistic expose of the lives of all facets of the business in a Altman-esque style. Great performances from Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Don Cheadle, combined with Steven Soderbergh’s dicey direction, made for an intense and entertaining movie experience.

18. South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut – Because of this piece of animated genius, we are still blaming Canada for all of our problems. Oscar didn’t grasp on to this piece of comedic art, which is a shame. The crudeness and crass that oozed out of the scene, would make even the most calm person squirm a little bit, and we can’t thank them enough for that.

17. The Incredibles – In case you haven’t noticed by now, I love Pixar movies; actually, I love animated films in general. I think it’s because they are supposed to be for kids, but are chocked full of humor and action that really appeals to audience members of all ages. The Incredibles was no exception. This fast-paced, action-packed adventure about washed up super heroes is reminiscent of Watchmen, and if I should say so myself, this one was ten times better.

16. There’s Something About Mary – Once again, In case you didn’t know, I love great comedy films as well, I mean who doesn’t like to laugh? This one is definitely in that category, and will leave you laughing long after it’s over. Cameron Diaz was a revelation in this movie, and it was the only movie, with the exception of Crash that Matt Dillon did that was worth anything in the last ten years. This one is raunchy, yet has a lot of heart, and is definitely worth the rent.

15. Sideways – Now this one wasn’t as funny as it was advertised, but let me tell you, the quality of the movie didn’t suffer at all. A little humor and little darkness combined well with incredible acting talents Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, and Thomas Haden Church, and the well-written script made for a small, yet powerful movie about life, love, and mid-life crises.

14. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – This middle child of an incredible saga didn’t get the reception that it’s old and younger siblings did, and I can’t figure out why. I personally found this one to be the most action-packed, the most fun, and unlike its successor, I didn’t feel that it dragged on and on. It was a little bit shorter, and a whole lot more fun. Andy Serkis and Viggo Mortensen were the standouts in this incredible cast.

13. Toy Story 2 – Before the new wave of Pixar films like Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E, there were two of the best movies of the last 25 years: the Toy Story movies. The second movie ended up being better than the first, and this was the movie that solidified Pixar’s animated dominance to this very day. It had to have been one hell of a movie to do that.

12. Election – This little screwball comedy cemented Cameron Crowe’s ability to write great movies forever, and it launched Reese Witherspoon’s string of successful comedic characters. It was quirky, it was high school perfection, and it proved to be one of the best little gems of the 90’s.

11. The Wrestler – Two Words: Mickey Rourke. While I thought his comeback began with Sin City, this movie is the one that really re-launched his career, and gave us the performance of a lifetime. It didn’t hurt that Darren Aronofsky was behind the camera, or that Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood shared the screen, but all in all this is Mickey’s triumph, and one of the best pictures of the decade.

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