100 Favorite Films To Recommend Part 9: The 2000s

Luis A. Mendez

Luis A. Mendez

Published Author Of Both Fiction And Non-Fiction - Dealing In Fantastical Tales, Film Criticism, And U.S/UK Psephology

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34 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    In any given discussion of “best movies”, the question of “wanna watch it again?” pops up a lot.

    Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

    I never want to watch it again.

    The Dark Knight? Hell, I’ll just pull it up in another window right now…

    Does this mean that Dark Knight is a better movie than Pan’s Labyrinth? I don’t think so… really… I mean, Pan’s Labyrinth is a much better movie than Dark Knight (which has a *LOT* of flaws). But I never want to see Pan’s Labyrinth again. Don’t need to. Once was enough. But the flawed movie that wasn’t as good? Hell yes, let’s watch it again. How about a magic trick?Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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      I was just struggling with the same question trying to think about the movie Open Water. It’s the simplest plot, but I’m never going to complain about a simple plot executed perfectly. But I probably will never rewatch it, and I don’t know how to rate it.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird
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      Man, Pan’s Labyrinth is SO good! I’ve heard for a while that Guillermo del Toro’s films are hit of miss, but I’ve only seen that one and The Shape of Water, which was also SO good.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Rufus F.
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        Then may I suggest The Devils Backbone? Its even from the right decade.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F.
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        I would have put Hellboy above Collateral for my 2004 movie. I’d recommend you watch that tonight. Get a frozen pizza out of the fridge and make a night of it.

        He made the 2nd Blade movie. The one with vampire-vampires. As I watched it, I couldn’t help but think that whomever made this movie suffered from nightmares as a kid. Pacific Rim? Magnificently dumb. Giant Robots fighting Cthulhu. One of the giant robots picks up a battleship and uses it as a baseball bat to hit Cthulhu in the head.

        He’s got a couple of stinkers. The sequel to Hellboy was exceptionally disappointing. Crimson Peak was okay… I guess…

        But if you don’t mind big-budget pulp, you should check out the ones I’ve praised above. They’re candy bars… but they’re high-end candy bars.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird
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          I’ve heard that about Crimson Peak. Interesting thing- we have a castle in town. It’s actually a Masonic temple of the Scottish Rite. Anyway, it’s used in that movie, so a lot of people I.know have watched it. They generally said It was okay, I guess.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Rufus F.
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            I would describe it as visually and stylistically excellent but coupled with a very average, genre movie story. Seems like a lot went into making something that came out merely serviceable.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F.
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        The Shape of Water is a confusing film for OT, because when people discuss it here you can’t tell if “fishing” means “fishing” or “fishing”.Report

    • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird
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      I feel that way about “No Country for Old Men.” I thought it was a great movie, but I can’t watch it again. I tried, but I couldn’t.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gabriel conroy
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        There are a number of flicks where all I wanted to see was a particular speech. I’ve seen Anton Chigurh’s speeches from the movie… I’ve never seen the movie.

        The speeches were good, though.Report

      • Avatar jason in reply to gabriel conroy
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        Interesting. I love No Country, and can watch it any time.

        I didn’t like Unbreakable–Shyamalan just doesn’t do it for me. The Sixth Sense was good, but the rest of his movies are just meh (or not even meh) to me.Report

        • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to jason
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          I’ve never seen Unbreakable, but I might since it’s recommended in the OP. I agree with you about the rest of Shyamalan’s work (or at least what I’ve seen of it): the Sixth Sense was good, but the rest were, as you say, “not even meh.” In fact, the rest was, in my view, “I can’t believe I wasted about 2 hours of my life watching *that*!”Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to gabriel conroy
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            I can’t say I predicted Shyamalan’s career path, but I do remember coming out of the theater after seeing The Sixth Sense thinking that Haley Joel Osment did most of the work. That said, I liked Unbreakable. Bruce Willis is effective, and Samuel L. Jackson isn’t allowed to chew the scenery. The result is that they both have actual characters. And I know everyone does gritty subversions of the superhero genre, but this one is unique.Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    There were some very good movies in the 2000’s, but one movie just broke me.

    Amores PerrosReport

  3. Avatar Pinky
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    says:

    I’ve only seen two on this list. I agree with Unbreakable as the best movie of 2000. The Dark Knight is very good, but I think it’s a wee bit overrated compared to the first in the trilogy, and I really liked Cloverfield better.

    2004 is the toughest year for me to pick. Truthfully I can’t, not without a lot more thought. The Prisoner of Azkaban is a great movie and a turning point for the franchise. But House of Flying Daggers is on my personal top ten. It’s arguably the most beautiful movie ever made, and it outclasses Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in action and romance. So I was waffling between those two when I noticed that The Incredibles was made the same year. I’m stumped.

    Also, after playing along during this series of articles, I’m thinking that a biggest disappointments list could be fun too.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy
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    “Collateral” often seems slept on but is so good and fun and well-acted.Report

  5. Avatar Rufus F.
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    says:

    I think the thing with the argument that general audiences preferred Movie A to Movie B, but the academy preferred Movie B, so they must be out of touch is that it’s usually argued with the fact that general audiences didn’t actually see Movie B. It can be true that most people didn’t watch a movie, but if they did, they would have thought it was great.Report

  6. Avatar gabriel conroy
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    says:

    I’ll add to this list, not constraining myself to picking only one movie per year: Batman Begins (over Dark Knight), No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Phone Booth when I rewatch it, I find it a little bit cheesy….even so, I like it), and About Schmidt.

    ETA: I’d also add Brokeback Mountain and Friends with Money.Report

  7. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    I like most of your choices, but I am not very fond of King Kong. To me, that exposed how poor an editor Peter Jackson is. Shots go on too long, and sequences have too many shots. This story could be told more economically, and it would have more impact. You can see these tendencies develop over time in LotR. Fellowship is very, very tight, but RotK has many of the same issues.

    When I look at the to 10 grossers of 2005 the one that stands out to me is Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Now, I’m married, and that probably adds to the appeal of this, but it’s funny and smart (and fast-paced). Batman Begins also came out that year, but you probably didn’t want two Batman films on your list, which is understandable. Still, if I made the list in 2005, it would probably be on it.Report

  8. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    I saw Collateral on your list and wondered what in the world came out in 2004 to make Collateral the best.

    I should say, I like Collateral just fine… but it seemed to say something more about 2004 than anything else. A quick Google of movies released in 2004 make me commend you for the choices you didn’t make.

    The one that stuck out for me, though, was Napoleon Dynamite… not because I’d say its the best of anything, but man, that’s just an uncomfortable movie for me. I know a lot of people find it funny, but there’s something vaguely familiar and simultaneously alien that gives me the creeps. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through an entire viewing… just pieces of it on satellite… over and over. What’s even weirder, I can’t quite figure out what weirds me out about it.Report

  9. Avatar InMD
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    says:

    It was not better than Pan’s Labyrinth but for 2006 I would give an honorable mention to Children of Men. It had probably one of the best battle scenes I’ve ever seen, using the same kind of no-cut filming style they did in 1917.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to InMD
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      says:

      Children of Men fell short for me. There wasn’t enough movie there. I don’t mean it was too short, or too boring, or too slow, but it didn’t give me enough. I have the opposite reaction to Christopher Nolan – the Batman movies, in particular, have too much in them, but I’m ok with it. That’s just how he makes movies. And I don’t mean too much story, or action, or even great acting (although it can get a little overwhelming when there are that many top-notch performances).

      Phone Booth could have been a good TV episode of some show. Children of Men needed to be in movie format because the story was so epic. Nolan’ movies are 2:30 hours and feel like they should have been 3:30.Report

  10. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    2007 had an outpouring of excellent noirish films: There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Michael Clayton, 3:10 to Yuma, Gone Baby Gone, and probably others I’m not recalling. If I had to pick a favorite, probably the Coens.Report

  11. Avatar PD Shaw
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    says:

    Two of my favorite films of all time start out this decade:

    O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
    Spirited Away (2001)

    The first is my favorite Coen Brothers movie, and the second is tied with My Neighbor Totoro (1988) as my favorite Miyazaki.

    Less enthused, but would go with the following:

    Chicago (2002)
    Finding Nemo (2003)
    Mean Girls (2004)
    ???
    Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
    ???
    Dark Knight (2008)
    Coraline (2009)

    Princess and the Frog is probably tied with Coraline; I feel its the best Disney animated feature film since the classic era, but I remember reading Coraline to my daughter as a bed time story and how excited we were to see it at the theater.Report

  12. Avatar Slade the Leveller
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    says:

    2000 – Almost Famous, a really sweet film of a fictitious Cameron Crowe coming of age. (This was a really tough year; Best in Show, or O Brother, Where Art Thou? could easily replace my choice.)

    2001 – Monsters, Inc.

    2002 – Bend It Like Beckham

    2003 – Open Range (love me some Westerns). Also could have been the 2 Matrix sequels.

    2004 – Dodgeball. Excellent lowbrow entertainment.

    2005 – Syriana

    2006 – Idiocracy (who knew?)

    2007 – The Darjeeling Limited (never miss a Wes Anderson flick)

    2008 – Gran Torino. Honorable mention: In Bruges

    2009 – Zombieland. Murray’s cameo alone makes this worth a watch.Report

  13. Avatar Slade the Leveller
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    says:

    This decade had one of, in my opinion, the most profoundly disappointing movies of all time: The Legend of Bagger Vance. I love this novel, and I was so looking forward to seeing it. I was crushed.Report

  14. Avatar Zac Black
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    says:

    2000 – American Psycho [Runner-Up: Best in Show]
    2001 – The Royal Tenanbaums [Runner-Up: The Man Who Wasn’t There]
    2002 – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind [Runner-Up: Adaptation]
    2003 – Master and Commander [Runner-Up: Kill Bill]
    2004 – Shaun of the Dead [Runner-Up: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind]
    2005 – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang [Runner-Up: Hard Candy]
    2006 – Children of Men [Runner-Up: The Fall]
    2007 – There Will Be Blood [Runner-Up: No Country for Old Men]
    2008 – Synecdoche, New York [Runner-Up: In Bruges]
    2009 – In the Loop [Runner-Up: Inglorious Basterds]Report

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