Friday, December 26, 2014

The ten best movies of the decade

List-o-mania strikes again: Steven Rea's ten best movies of the Oughts.

The ten best movies of the decade

The ten best movies of the last ten years?

The lists are flying left and right as the Oughts wind down, or wind up, and I’m not proud -- I’ll add my catalog of essential titles to the deliberations. Culling from my year-end best-of lists (and adding one glaring omission – how could I have overlooked the title responsible for the decade’s ultimate movie catchphrase, “I drink your milkshake”?), and revisiting work by the likes of the Andersons (Wes and Paul Thomas), the Coens (Joel and Ethan),  Clint Eastwood and Ang Lee (all with multiple contenders over the last decade), I’ve got the list down to the requisite ten.
 
Here goes (alphabetically):
 
Amelie (2001), with Audrey Tautou as a playing-with-fate café waitress, from the impossibly inventive director Jean-Pierre Jeunet
 
Brokeback Mountain (2005), the heartbreaking gay cowboy love story, with a sad, searing performance from the late Heath Ledger
 
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004): Even with Jim Carrey in the lead, this is great stuff -- a trippy, goofball study of love and memory, steeped in melancholy
 
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Wes Anderson makes stop-motion animation magic, and offers a witty but profound take on the nature of -- well, human nature. Not to mention the nature of well-dressed, well-spoken foxes, badgers and moles, too. For kids, for adults, for everyone.
 
Into the Wild (2007), Sean Penn directs this Great American road movie, a beautiful tragedy about the need for human connection, and what happens when the quest for solitude turns dark and dire
 
Michael Clayton (2007), George Clooney stars in Tony Gilroy’s endlessly satisfying legal thriller/existential drama (really – it’s been on HBO heavy rotation forever, and never disappoints)
 
Million Dollar Baby (2004), Hilary Swank’s Oscar-winning femme fight flick, with the sage Clint Eastwood guiding her both onscreen and from behind the camera
 
Sideways (2004), an oenophilic road movie and bittersweet romance, with Paul Giamatti as the tortured writer/Merlot hater. Smart, funny, sublime
 
Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Danny Boyle’s whirling Hindi fable about love and destiny, good fortune and cold cruelty, the hardships of life – and the happiness it can bring. (Especially when everybody in the cast starts boogieing crazily as the end credits roll)
 
There Will Be Blood (2007) Daniel Day Lewis is unforgettable as a money-mad oil prospector in Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic about greed, God and going off the deep end in your own private bowling alley
Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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