While the Oscar season is kind of in limbo between summer blockbusters and the fall contenders, I decided to make a list of the best movies of the last ten years, ending in 2008, seeing as 2009 is not over yet. These are personal picks, and I hope you enjoy the first ten below.
50. No Country For Old Men – I didn’t ooh and ah over the Coen Brothers cat and mouse Best Picture winner like most people did, but I did find it to be surprisingly intense, and more importantly, it kept me on the edge of my seat. While it’s not my favorite movie by the pair, I still thought it deserved a place on this list for one big reason: Javier Bardem. His role as the ruthless Anton, not only scared the s*** out of me, but it will go down as one of the iconic performances of this decade.
49. Primary Colors – I personally think this is one of Mike Nichols’ best, although some may disagree. I found it to be hilarious, especially the always incredible Kathy Bates. I think the real reason is my love of politics. As a political science major, I found this presentation of campaign antics to be very interesting, and it definitely fed my political hunger in the process.
48. Chicago - While I think it’s a bit overrated, I put it on my list because of what it did: revitalized the musical. For many years before 2001, many thought the musical had finally died. However with the critical and box office success of Chicago (Not to mention its 6 Oscars!), it put movie musicals back in the spotlight and since then we have seen numerous pop up; some good (Dreamgirls, Hairspray) and unfortunately, some not so good (Mamma Mia!, Across the Universe). However, the great performances from Renee Zellweger, Queen Latifah, and Catherine-Zeta Jones, and its commanding style, don’t hurt its cause.
47. Big Fish – I know this isn’t the biggest or most important entry in the Tim Burton collection, but it’s one of my favorites. I think that is so because of the wonderful and charming story that had a resonance with me , long after I left the theater. Combine a great story with fine performances by Jessica Lange, Albert Finney, Helen Bonham Carter, and Billy Crudup, and the usual Tim Burton wackiness and you have a fun, fanciful, and quirky movie that won me over.
46. Hairspray – This 2007 movie was one of those musicals that really worked. With an incredible cast featuring Michelle Pfeiffer, John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Zac Efron, Christopher Walken, and newcomer Nikki Blonsky, and solid directing by Adam Shankman, Hairspray proved to be a fast-paced, non-stop musical romp that was one of the best times I have ever had in a movie theater.
45. An Inconvenient Truth – This may just be the liberal in me talking, but I found Al Gore’s environment dissertation to be one of the most fascinating and truthful documentaries of all time. Combining an interesting personal story with humor, science, and urgency, An Inconvenient Truth, proved to be a pop culture phenomenon, and a worthy entry into the environmentalist’s arsenal.
44. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – I decided to include one entry of the Harry Potter saga into my list, and this was my personal favorite. The quirkiness of Alfonso Cuaron could be felt from the first scene, and I have to say it made a world of difference in the quality of the movie. It captured the magic of the story, and created a perfect set and atmosphere that represented the gloom of that magical story, and more importantly, it was a lot of fun.
43. Godsford Park – While it’s no Nashville, Godsford Park proved to be a classic Robert Altman ensemble movie that included a plethora of legendary British actors like Maggie Smith, Emily Watson, Helen Mirren, and Michael Gambon. With that great British charm and wit, Godsford Park, proved to be mysterious, funny, and simply great.
42. The Sixth Sense - Today this remains the only M. Night Shyamalan that was worth anything and with a debut like this into mainstream Hollywood, the future was so bright; too bad it didn’t amount to much. This movie was creepy, shocking, and simply brilliant, and made the phrase “I see dead people…” become the most overused, yet great, phrases in pop culture.
41. Frost/Nixon – I felt that this movie got the shaft last year. Basing an entire movie on an interview was risky, but the combined talents of Ron Howard, Frank Langella, Micheal Sheen, and a plethora of talent in the supporting cast, created a witty and tiger-like battle of two great talents that was superbly entertaining.