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Gonnawatchit's Top 35 Movies of the Decade, 2000-2009

  • May 13, 2011
This is the list I've been working on for the last year and a half on my website, The full list is 100 movies, but 35 is a good start.)  Visit the website to read reviews of each movie, in order.
City of God
"City of God" is "Goodfellas" set in the slums of Brazil; it's "Pulp Fiction" starring hoods and criminals a decade or two younger than the ones in "The Godfather."    (read the full review here.)
Mystic River (Widescreen Edition) (2003)
One of those rare convergences of talent and timing in cinema where a talented cast, crew, and writer are all doing their best work. (read the full review here.)
Rachel Getting Married
Jonathan Demme really should have won an Oscar for his direction of this gem, capturing both the fine balance (or lack of it) between tender, emotional moments and the overwhelming logistical nightmare that makes up most modern weddings. (read the full review here.)
I'm Not There
Moves beyond depicting a confusing, complicated, controversial, conflicted, and contradictory man and was describing an era that could be described using those same words. Hang on to this one, National Film Registry: when we come back in 500 years and try to understand the 20th century, this film will be key. (read the full review here.)
The Departed
With "The Departed," we find Scorsese right in his wheelhouse. And he hasn't lost a step. (read the full review here.)
I've heard it described as dark and depressing; this seems odd to me, as so much of the movie is concerned with hope and the future. But it is fast-paced, intense, and at times, ruthless. It is a vision of a film, well realized and unforgettable.   (read the full review here.)
Gone Baby Gone
Questions when and how, if ever, it's appropriate to play God. (read the full review here.)
Lars and the Real Girl
The dustjacket will say it's about a delusional man and his sex doll; I say it's about  an understanding and supportive community that helps a deeply wounded man work through his issues and move towards health and wholeness. (read the full review here.)
a nuanced, thoughtful, but also thrilling and suspenseful look at the War on Drugs.  (read the full review here.)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward
Offers a compelling, edge of your seat story while exploring the outlaw psyche and, best of all, works as a rumination on the cost and nature of fame that rings true in modern times. (read the full review here.)
Pan's Labyrinth
Guillermo del Toro has recaptured that old fairy tale feeling– that old bone-chilling magic. (read the full review here.)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon DVD
Has everything and you can watch it with anyone. Fans of Michael Bay and Terrence Malick films can sit happily on the couch together.   (read the full review here.)
Let The Right One In
If Ingmar Bergman were to make a vampire film, "Let the Right One In" would be that film.  (Read the full review here.)
The Hurt Locker (2009)
May be the first essential war movie to come out of this mess we're in. (Read the full review here.)
Michael Clayton
Up til this point, Clooney was a movie star; "Clayton" marks his development into a bona fide actor.  (read the full review here.)
Punch-Drunk Love
There's not a single scene here that doesn't feel fraught with energy, jumping off the screen in its own odd but terribly captivating way. (Read the full review here.)
United 93 (Widescreen Edition) (2006)
Illustrates an important aesthetic principle – if you focus on telling a story instead of telling an audience what to feel about a story, the result might be something worth remembering. (Read the full review here.)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
At its rapidly beating heart, "Sunshine" is a film about human brokenness, romantic relationships, and the paradox of combining those two things. (Read the full review here.)
Nostalgia gives this "sci-fi" film a big heart, which is good, since it's about an abandoned planet and nearly hopeless future for our kind.  (read the full review here.)
Mulholland Dr.
You won't get the premise the first time through — at least, I didn't — but the mood comes through loud and clear. And half the joy here is watching it again. (Read the full review here.)
Gangs of New York
Contains perhaps the strongest supporting performance of the decade from Daniel Day-Lewis — even his character in "There Will Be Blood" seems like a shadow of Bill the Butcher – as well as certainly the best performance ever squeezed out of Cameron Diaz. Leonardo DiCaprio's not bad, either. (read the full review here.)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Not saddled with character exposition, like the first, or storyline resolution, like the third, the middle installment of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy has room, instead, to really dig into its story and its characters. (read the full review here.)
Juno is snarky, sure, but it's  more than snarky. It's actually warm, and honest, developing lovable characters at a comfortable pace and bringing them into real conflict and resolution.   (read the full review here.)
Synecdoche, New York
unfolds methodically, beautifully, with a kind of logic that defies reason but gives every bizarre turn of events not only the ring of truth, but a sense of inevitability. It feels like the opposite of a Russian doll: one layer piles onto the next, always expanding outward, always looking basically the same. (read the full review here.)
Little Miss Sunshine
A hilarious, touching, skewed picture of a family bonding together and taking care of one of their own. (read the full review here.)
The Royal Tenenbaums
While "Tenenbaums" is just as angular and formal and well, odd as any of the rest of Anderson's films, it's also heartwarming and sincere. I still don't understand how it manages that. But it does. And that makes it a legitimately great film.  (read the full review here.)
The Incredibles
The deconstruction of the superhero mythos was a popular theme in the first decade of the 21st century, and you know who did it best? It wasn't Marvel or DC, it wasn't Warner Brothers or Fox, it wasn't even Alan Moore or Frank Miller; it was those guys who made movies about little lost fish and toys that come to life. (Read the rest of the review here.)
High Fidelity (2000)
Top 5 Reasons Why I Love High Fidelity:

5. John Cusack. Playing, essentially, an older version of his character in "Say Anything." The guy who didn't want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career naturally owns a music store that's going under.

(Read the rest of the review here.)
No Country for Old Men
Surely this is the tensest, most intelligent and horrifying cat-and-mouse chase of the decade. (Read the rest of the review here.)
Spirited Away
For my money, the ghost world of "Spirited Away" is one of the most interesting, humorous, and engaging places in 21st century cinema. (Read  more here.)
The Prestige
works cinematically in much the same way its characters work: through showmanship and misdirection. (Read the more here.)
Whale Rider
These days we have a hard time understanding how myths could be based in fact, or how real stories could eventually become mythical; "Whale Rider" demonstrates. (Read more here.)
The Lives of Others
about an ordinary man who routinely participates in brutal and repressive acts, until the simple act of listening changes his life. (Read more here.)
The Triplets of Belleville
This nearly wordless, imaginatively animated tale of a grandmother's love simply hasn't been seen by enough people. (read more here.)
Children of Men
contains one of the top 2 scenes of the decade (read more here.)

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May 23, 2011
This is a great list! I have seen and enjoyed most of these which leads me to believe the ones I haven't seen on here, I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing :)
May 20, 2011
very cool list! I dunno how I almost missed this....I apologize for that. featured!
May 20, 2011
thanks. what does "featured" mean?
May 23, 2011
Woo is the fearless leader of Movie Hype, so he means that he featured your list in that community- meaning he spotlighted it as one of the best lists in Movie Hype.
May 23, 2011
exactly what I meant. Thanks, DJ!
May 20, 2011
Fantastic list! I need to catch several of these soon. Thanks!
May 16, 2011
Awesome list, Willie! I've seen most of these and agree with you. Thanks for sharing!
About the list creator
Willie Krischke ()
Ranked #62
I write reviews for the Durango Telegraph, Indian Life,,, and other publications from time to time.
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