Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mosing's Best of the Decade: Movies

Best Movies of the 2000s

Hollywood is such a mixed bag. In fact, the movies made by Hollywood in a single year span from massive-budget megafilms with jaw-dropping special effects to little indie movies with a tenth of the budget but more heart. Hollywood is a misnomer, really. No single entity can be credited or blamed for all the films produced by the American movie industry. People will lament the decadence and sloppiness of Hollywood with one side of their mouth, and wholeheartedly praise its ingenuity and heart with the other. They're talking about different films that they like and dislike, not the film industry as a whole. All in all, the 2000s were a good decade for film. In the digital age, the signature of approval of a major studio is not as necessary as it once was. "Indie" movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Juno win critical acclaim and audience adoration, without the approval of corporate Hollywood. But here, in my opinion, are the best of the lot.

10. Amazing Grace, 2006

Ioan Gruffud's performance raises this above a normal historical movie. His impassioned portrayal of abolitionist hero William Wilberforce shows a man of true faith who lived it out well and earned the name "God's Politician."

9. Serenity, 2005

This movie adaptation of the short-lived Firefly TV series features a great, eclectic cast, a dark and moral plot, sudden bursts of humor, a great villain and ultimately, a story about responsibility and what happens when the government tries to make the people good.

8. The Lord of the Rings, 2001-2003

Peter Jackson's three films ought really to be considered one massive paean to Tolkien's mythic world. A beautiful, wonderful epic.

7. The Queen, 2006

A soft and subtle piece about the Queen and her troubles. Helen Mirren's performance is outstanding, and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair is one of the best portrayals of a politician ever.

6. Slumdog Millionaire, 2008

A fast-moving love story set in the beauties and horrors of modern India.

5. The Incredibles, 2005

The superhero movie saw a massive resurgence in the 2000s, and Pixar's offering was immensely good. For the first time, the studio portrayed real humans who, despite their powers, struggle with real human dilemmas.

4. The Dark Knight, 2008

Almost frighteningly dark, this movie is ultimately a tale of human failings. Heath Ledger's Joker is scary and unique. Hard to watch, but so, so good.

3. WALL-E, 2008

A Pixar movie for the robotic age, WALL-E is about the perils of dependence on technology. It's really very scary when you think about it. The love story between WALL-E and EVE is adorable. It takes immense skill to make half an hour of movie with no dialogue compelling and watchable. Pixar does just that.

2. The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006

Down and out in America--it's a common premise for films. But few are as big-hearted and touching as this Will Smith movie. A father's love proves true, hard work pays off, and soon a homeless single father becomes a Wall Street financier. Oh, and it's a true story.

1. Napoleon Dynamite, 2004

How can I begin? Napoleon Dynamite is one of the best films ever made. I and most people I know quote it constantly. It's a high-school movie. It's an American movie. Most importantly, it's a movie about people who exist outside of Hollywood films. Sure, Napoleon and Kip and Uncle Rico are exaggerated. But really, people like them are all around us. They're my friends and your friends, too idiosyncratic or not photogenic enough for a normal Hollywood movie. Thank God for Napoleon Dymanite. "Tina! Come get some ham!"


sweetggirl said...

I totally agree about Napoleon being the number one movie of the decade. :)

P.S. You must believe that a new decade has started if you're writing about what the best movies, books, and cars of the last decade were.

Your mother said...

I dropped an NP quote at the knitting store on Wednesday - Make yourself a dang kay-sa-dilla!