Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best 100 Films of the Decade (2000-2009)

The Best 100 Films of the First Decade of the Millenium
AA = Academy award winner for best picture Click those with links for our review at "1000 Dvds to See"

1. Hero (China, 2002) [poster above] I like this because it has action, a compelling story that twists and turns, so you can't predict the outcome, incredible jaw-dropping visuals and sound (it was used for a Bose surround sound tv ad), terrific pacing. There are scenes you'll play over and over. It's the top-grossing film in Chinese history, which means hundreds of millions have seen it. Actor Jet Li said he wept when he read the script. Director Zhang Yimou is China's best, and was chosen to direct the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, easily the best of those in history, the entire world was amazed.

2. Requiem For a Dream (2000) - Darren Aronofsky's creative film is an eye-popping masterpiece. One of the scariest films ever made, it's supposed to make viewers uneasy.

3. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (AA, New Zealand, 2003) - Had I rated the trilogy as one film, it would have been #1 due to it's incredibly ambitious and successful recreation of the trilogy of novels by J.R.R. Tolkien.. That said, no one film has the pace or plotting of Yimou's Hero

4. City of God (Brazil, 2002) - director Fernando Meirelles got four Oscar® nominations for his best, including director. He also got directing help from still photographer Katia Lund, who worked in these ghettos of Rio.

5. The Namesake (India-US, 2006) - Mira Nair's finest is great literature made into a classic multi-generation tale of a Bengali family growing up in America

6. Turtles Can Fly (Iran-Iraq-France, 2004) - an amazing anti-war film filmed with a cast of real war orphans in nortern Iraq, about a village that sits in both Turkey and Iraq, with a barbed wire border in between

7. After the Wedding (Denmark, 2006) - Susanne Bier's masterpiece, one of the finest ensemble casts you'll see, the four leads won six international acting awards between them

8. WALL-E (2008) - my favorite animated film ever, a great science fiction story mixed with Pixar's best animation work; I usually cry when he gives EVA the green plant

9. Finding Neverland (2004) - a wonderfully touching story about the man who gave us Peter Pan and his inspiration

10. Million Dollar Baby (AA, 2004) - Eastwood's best, also Oscar® winner Hilary Swank's best, who is almost inconceivably good in this, an all-time top 10 performance, and Morgan Freeman's Oscar®-winning performance too; as a bonus, the best boxing film ever

11. Traffic (2000) - won every Oscar® it was up for that year except picture, 4 of 5, losing to Gladiator
12. A Wednesday (India, 2008) - the best film yet about terrorism, from any country, and it was Panjay's debut film as a director
13. Memento (2000) - winner of 5 Indie Spirit Awards, including best pic, a mind-blowing homicide mystery, unique in every aspect
14. Whale Rider (New Zealand, 2003) - Keisha Castle-Hughes was picked out of a New Zealand schoolroom with no acting experience and won 5 best actress awards worldwide at age 13; she absolutely makes this film what it is, a powerful coming-of-age Maori folk tale
15. Minority Report (2002) - one of Spielberg's best SF films mixes in crime-mystery, from a Philip K. Dick story (the Blade Runner novelist, which was really titled 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep')
16. The Lives of Others (Germany, 2007) - the European 'Conversation' about electronic eavesdropping, one of 5 films to win the U.S. and British academy awards for foreign language film
17. Open Range (2003) - one of my favorite westerns, in the John Ford tradition by Kevin Costner, is also one of Robert Duvall's best, breathtaking settings they found by helicopter search
18. Water (India, 2005) - every frame is a work of art, beautifully shot by Deepa Mehta, a tale of Hindu widows in a commune, with matinee idol John Abraham a young lawyer trying to help them
19. Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (India, 2002) - touching and powerful yet without sentimentality, a simple tale of travelers helping each other in time of need regardless of their cultural and religious differences
20. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (China, 2000) - Ang Lee's epic Chinese martial arts film, with a great cast, including 80-lb Ziyi Zhang as a tiny master, and Chou Yun-Fat as her persuer, winner of 5 Oscars®

21. Atonement (2007) - Saiorse Ronan won a slew of acting awards for her integral role in this epic romance
interrupted by war, and Vanessa Redgrave won a couple for a five minute performance that blew me away
22. United 93 (2006) - Paul Greengrass's almost real-time chronicle of 9/11 is the best film of that day, by far; it's riveting even though we know the outcome of every event set in motion
23. Babel (2006) - several families around the globe are all affected by a single rifle, which becomes a metaphor for strangers all being touched by one act by just one of them, it's ripple effect through humanity
24. Good Bye Lenin! (Germany, 2003) - one of the most heart-warming comedies ever, as a son tries to hide the fall of communist East Germany from his socialist mother who missed the event while in a coma; this is the most loving son in perhaps all of cinema
25. In Bruges (2008) - according to director McDonagh, when you're in Bruges (oldest preserved medieval city in Europe) the only thing to do is see all the old historic sites, then after that, boredom - so his two hitmen characters, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason, hilariously show us both sides; Gleason is a master thespian, one of the world's best
26. Chaos (France, 2001) - the ultimate women's lib revenge film, an incredible story that's a spiraling chain of events that will leave you applauding
27. An Education (2009) - Carey Mulligan won a bunch of acting awards and an Oscar® nomination for this simple coming-of-age tale about a prep school girl's first romance; moving and believable from Danish director Lone Scherfig - she has a great touch with people
28. Big Fish (2003) - Tim Burton's best is a southern U.S. tall tale, the proverbial fish story, but so much more; lovable characters all around, this one is a very unique and lovable fantasy.
29. V For Vendetta (2005) - a great SF revolution film from the Warshowski brothers of Matrix fame; some people are now using this V symbol and committing mayhem - I think that's call 'a movement' - very pro-independence
30. Zelary (Czech Rep., 2003) - a Jewish double agent escapes the Gestapo by fleeing into the Yugoslavian mountains in WW2; beautiful story in a beautiful setting, some winter scenes were shot at thirty below

31. The Prestige (2006) - dazzling magic film with many plot twists about competing magicians Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, circa 1900
32. The Hurt Locker (AA, 2009) - riveting war film made Kathryn Bigelow the first female Oscar®-winning director, 6 Oscars® overall and should've won cinematography as well (lost to Avatar, with all CGI visuals? that I don't get)
33. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - author Charles Kaufman's script won an Oscar® for this quirky romance about being able to have selected parts of your memory erased, so Kate Winslet does that with all her romances when they end
34. The Twilight Samurai (Japan, 2002) - beautiful and touching film about an aging samurai who now has to work in the food warehouse of a rich baron because there are no more wars
35. Together (China, 2002) - the best father-son film I've seen; about a poor father dedicated to helping his violinist son succeed in a music career
36. Nowhere in Africa (2002) Germany - the film that beat out Hero for the foreign language film Oscar®, about a mother who takes her daughter to Kenya to escape Germany in WW2
37. The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina, 2009) - Oscar® winner about an old homicide case recounted by two aging detectives (who may have had a romance) when they meet again years later
38. A Very Long Engagement (France, 2004) - beautifully shot French epic war-romance from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet
39. Batman Begins (2005) - for me, the best of all Batman films, from director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Following), with Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne at the time he begins to fight crime
40. Slumdog Millionaire (AA, 2008) - seemingly inspired by Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay!, this improbable tale is one of both optimism and degradation among Mumbai orphans

41. The Fountain (2006) - another Aronofsky masterpiece is a complex tale of past (a knight hunts for the fountain of youth), a present (a researcher attacks brain cancer while his wife fights it), and future (a space traveler searches the cosmos for the Tree of Life); mind-blowing
42. Mystic River (2003) - another Eastwood gem, about a murder, acting Oscars® for both Sean Penn and Tim Robbins
43. Chicago (AA, 2002) - six Oscars® for the best of the Bob Fosse musicals, filmed with a stellar cast, about women in prison for murdering their men, usually cuz they deserved it (but in one case, 'he wouldn't stop popping his gum')
44. Gran Torino (2008) - just another Eastwood classic, about a disgruntled, bigoted war vet who won't leave his home even though now surrounded by Hmong immigrants from SE Asia; his classic Detroit car becomes a metaphor for an America of the past that we keep in our memory
45. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) - Ernesto 'Che' Guevara's motorcyle trip around So America with his buddy Alberto Granada after medical student days to see how best to help mankind; touching and inspiring, from Brazilian director John Salles (who also directed the even better Central Station (98), about a letter writer who decides to help a boy find his parents in rural Brazil)
46. The Visitor (2008) - a man returns to his rarely-used 2nd apartment in NYC to find a family of immigrant squatters there, and they touch something deep within his soul; Richard Jenkins was superb, Oscar-nominated
47. Munich (2005) - Spielberg's take on what happend in the aftermath of the Munich Olympic terrorism, as a dedicated Israeli agent seeks the perpetrators
48. Zodiac (2007) - fascinating story of a journalists dogged determination to unravel the Zodiac killer's true identity, perhaps David Fincher's best film
49. 13 Tzameti (France, 2006) - mind-blowing bw crime film of a man out for some easy money who gets more than he bargained for
50. The Departed (AA, 2006) -Scorsese's remake of the mediocre Hong Kong police film, Infernal Affairs, became his first directing and picture Oscar® thanks to a brilliant script and cast

51. Gladiator (AA, 2000) - after seeing this in the theater, I told friends (who laughed), "this will win 4-5 Oscars®, no kidding" - it won 6, including best picture
52. The Triplets of Belleville (France-Belgium-Canada-UK, 2003) - incredible hand-drawn animation was modeled on 50's Disney films; hilarious and without dialogue; Bruno is the best dog in movies, ever
53. The Chorus (France, 2004) - along with 39's Goodbye, Mr. Chips, the best films ever that pay homage to the power of good teachers in influencing lives positively
54. Everything Is Illuminated (2005) - a young American Jew travels to Russia to find his historical roots, and his travel guide provides hysteria in this unique comedy
55. Finding Nemo (2003) - touching and heart-warming, AA winner for animated film has a great cast and story
56. Jodhaa Akbar (India, 2007) - winner of many Indian awards, recounts the story of the Mughal king to united Hindustan and tried to erase religious bigotry
57. The Good Shepherd (2006) - Robert de Niro proved he can direct in this subtle spy story based on a true CIA operative's life
58. Hidalgo (2004) - classic Disney horse film with Viggo Mortenson in the true story of the greatest long-distance race horse in history
59. The Cuckoo (Russia, 2002) - the strongest woman in film is a Finnish widow in neverland who rescues two soldiers
60. The Road Home (China, 2000) - touching story of a marriage told in flashback as the husband's body is brought given "the road home" by friends

61. Micmacs (France, 2009) - clever and inventive revenge comedy of a man wronged twice by arms manufacturers who now carries a bullet in his brain
62. Nothing But the Truth (2008) - topical legal story about a journalist who refuses to give up her source for a story about the U.S. falsifying intelligence to invade Venezuela (sound familiar?)
63. Gangs of New York (2002) - one of Scorsese's most ambitious and large-scale films, the 1850's when street gangs dominated lower Manhattan
64. No Man's Land (Bosnia, 2001) - anti-war tale won many awards, about the 'free zone' between the lines in Bosnia, and people trapped there
65. Friday Night Lights (2004) - one of the best sports films ever is the true story of a west Texas high school team fighting to get to the state championship
66. Star Trek (2008) - featuring neither tv 'generation', a refreshing new look at this genre from J.J. Abrams, more like a Star Wars film, thankfully - best of the series by far
67. The Claim (2000) - Canadian western about a mining claim is unlike any other, subtle and intelligent
68. American Splendor (2003) - clever and inventive, mixing live action and animation
69. Thank You For Smoking (2005) - hilarious tongue-in-cheek poke at U.S. corporate capitalism using the concept of 'freedom' to promote smoking, alcohol, and firearms
70. Warriors (aka Guerreros, Spain, 2002) - riveting war film as a tank squad from Spain gets lost in Bosnia and finds the 'enemy' everywhere as everyone shoots at everyone

71. No Country For Old Men (AA, 2007) - the Coen Bros most successful is a bounty hunter, Javier Bardem, on a homicide spree while hunted by sheriff Tommy Lee Jones
72. The Girl in the Cafe (2005) - surprising small tale of a diplomat who meets a girl in a crowded cafe who changes his life
73. Almost Famous (2000) - Camerone Crowe's autobiographical tale of a teenage writer for Rolling Stone sent on tour with a rock band
74. The Children of Huang Shi (2008) - inspiring tale of orphans in Nanking who escape w the help of a British journalist when the Japanese invade
75. In the Mood for Love (China, 2001) - Wong Kar-Wai's moody love story is beautifully shot by ace cinematographer Christopher Doyle (also used by Zhang Yimou on HERO)
76. Devils on the Doorstep (China, 2000) - film of Japanese occupation of a small coastal village in WW2
77. Sideways (2004) - wonderful romantic comedy penned by director Alexander Payne, with a stellar cast, an unusual, unlikely romance
78. The Dark Knight (2008) - a cult fave due to Heath Ledger's bizarre Oscar®-winning take on the Joker character; thanks to the artistic direction of Christopher Nolan
79. Revolutionary Road (2008) - a look at the dark side of suburban life in the 50's, a fight for individuality in a mass of dull conformity
80. Downfall (Germany, 2004) - the last days of Hitler from the memoirs of his last secretary, who survives to tell this tale to the world

81. Kinamand (Denmark, 2005) - Danish for "Chinaman", a beautiful story of interracial romance
82. Spring Summer Fall Winter.. and Spring (Korea, 2003) - a Zen odyssey at an isolated lake home of a monk
83. Milk (2008) - true story of SF gay politician Harvey Milk won another Oscar® for Sean Penn
84. Rabbit-Proof Fence (Australia, 2002) - inspiring true story of three Aborinine half-caste sisters who escape a 'prison' called a girls school
85. The Constant Gardener (2005) - little known John Le Carre novel of corporate corruption costing lives in Africa
86. Brothers (Denmark, 2004) - one brothers is captured in Afghanistan, while the other tries to become the man of his household back home; emotionally powerful story from Susanne Bier, remade in the west, stick with the original as Connie Nielsen won 5 acting awards
87. Lost in Translation (2003) - Bill Murray's best as a jaded American star in Japan for an endorsement, who meets bored young wife Scarlett Johansson and becomes her friend
88. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) - best of the Bourne trilogy, the most action, from master director Paul Greengrass
89. The Beautiful Country (Norway, 2004) - beautiful story of a Vietnamese youth w an American father who dreams of finding him in the U.S.

90. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) - best of the trilogy features some eye-popping and creative Oscar®-winning special effects, a swordfight inside a rolling water wheel, a net cage full of pirates hanging off a mountain cliff
91. A Prophet (France, 2009) - gut-wrenching crime drama of an Arab youth in prison
92. Into the Wild (2007) - true story of a American youth who wants to find himself in the Alaskan wilderness after college rather than continue studying or starting a career
93. Donnie Darko (2001) - bizarre sf-fantasy tale of a disturbed teen and his rabbit friend
94. The Barbarian Invasions (Canada, 2003) - a man's last days are spent with family and relatives
95. Cinderella Man (2005) - true story of a boxer making a comeback after a bad injury, a very good realistic boxing film as opposed to the contrived Rocky series
96. The Incredibles (2004) - wonderful animated tale of a family of super-heroes
97. Best in Show (2000) - great spoof on the pedigreed dog-show crowd, features all types of people in director Christopher Guest's best ever; Catherine O'Hara leads a hilarious cast
98. Runaway Jury (2003) - riveting John Grisham tale of how each side manipulates a trial using jury tampering and bribes, as a widow takes on an assault gun manufacturer in a landmark case
99. Mongol (Russia, 2007) - first of intended trilogy on Genghis Khan, who was actually a benevolent ruler that banned torture and built Beijing, the first Asian city - with just 10,000 men on horses, he controlled three million square miles!
100. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) - heart-shaking story of the Irish revolution in the 20's that pits brother against brother
100. The Counterfeiters (Austria, 2007) - true story of the Nazi effort to use Jewish forgers to counterfiet British pounds and US dollars to topple those currencies during the war

Just off the list Changeling (2009), Valkyrie (2008), The Last Station (2008), Dreamland (2006), Touching the Void (2003), The Reader (2008), Che (2008), Closer (2004), Frequency (2000), In the Valley of Elah (2007), Frost/Nixon (2008), Bloody Sunday (2003), Australia (2008), Catch Me If You Can (2002), The White Ribbon (Germany, 2009), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Chocolat (France, 2000), The Contender (2000), A Beautiful Mind (AA, 2001), 50 First Dates (2004), Angels and Demons (2009), Perfume (Germany, 2006), There Will Be Blood (2007), Vatel (France, 2000), Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008), The Wrestler (2008)

Director of the Decade: Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, Mystic River, Changeling, Invictus) - is there any doubt he had the best decade of any director?

Runner-Up: Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler)

TV Miniseries A series with a planned finite lifespan, usually one story told completely, such as a novel (Gormenghast, Dune), non-fiction book (Band of Brothers), or set period in history, such as a biography (John Adams is one of the best, Longitude one of the most compelling stories in history, of an invention which changed mankind). A very few are successful when written for the series (Into the West, Broken Trail, The Lost Room). I could only rate ones that I had seen entirely, which left out Scorsese’s blues series for PBS.

1. Band of Brothers (2001, hbo) 10 hr – costing over 100m, co-produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, this is a good as tv gets, or will likely ever get. Each one–hour film has a different director. A perfect 10/10 rating (Rated 9.6 at IMDB, if included in their top 250 films, it would easily be #1, well ahead of Shawshank at 9.2)

2. Planet Earth (2007, bbc) 12 hr - nature
3. Into the West (2005, tnt) 10 hr - western epic
4. Broken Trail (2006, tnt) 4 hr - western
5. Gormenghast (2000, bbc) 4 hr - fantasy adventure epic
6. Longitude (2000, bbc) 4 hr - true biopic of inventor
7. John Adams (2008, hbo) 6 hr - historical biopic of President
8. The Best of Youth (Italy, 2003) 4 hr - tale of brothers lives
9. Dune (2000, syfy) 4 hr - science fiction epic
10. Carrie's War (2004, bbc) 4 hr - coming-of-age tale of wartime at home
11. The Lost Room (2006, syfy) 6 hr - science fiction mystery

These are tough to rank – I have to be moved, either to tears, anger, or both (Memory Loss Tapes, God Grew Tired of Us.) I usually need to be exposed to something I didn’t know in order to gain my interest, in an engrossing manner so it’s not like a classroom on film. A few are also innovative visually, offering unique images never seen (Winged Migration, Rivers and Tides), even some about still photographers (War Photographer, Manufactured Landscapes). Touch the Sound is the first one I’ve ever seen about sound, the story of deaf percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. The Beck is merely a live concert filmed well.

1. Winged Migration (France, doc., 2001) – 7 yrs in the making, filmed at over 200 locations, likely the best nature film you will ever see
2. War Photographer (2001) - biopic of a still photographer
3. Control Room (2004) - inside Al Jazeera during the invasion of Iraq
4. The Memory Loss Tapes (2009) - heart-rending look at Alzheimer's
5. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) - biopic of the greatest director
6. Rivers and Tides (2003) - biopic of an environmental artist
7. The Power of Nightmares (2007) – free at, 3 hr look at rise of Al Quaeda and US christian fundamentalism, who feed off each other
8. God Grew Tired of Us (2006) - the lost boys of Somali, follows some to the U.S.
9. The Story of the Weeping Camel (Germany, 2003) - heart-rending story of a camel that rejects its offspring
10. Jeff Beck Live at Ronnie Scotts (2008) - live concert film shows that Beck can still outrock the best in his 60's
11. Sleepwalking Through the Mekong (2009) - follows L.A. Cambodian rock band Dengue Fever on its tour of Cambodia
12. Touch the Sound (2004) - the story of deaf percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, very inspiring and musical
13. Manufactured Landscapes (2006) - a still photogrpher's global trek to show the effects of man on the natural world

The complete honor roll of the decade
Year by Year [202 total listed] (Bold is an attempt to show my favorite, very hard. AA is the Academy Award winner)

2009 (15) - lean on quantity, but high in quality, I'd say 4-5 of these are destined 'classics' (Education, Secret, Ribbon, Locker, Prophet, Micmacs)
The Hurt Locker (AA), An Education, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina), A Prophet (France), The White Ribbon (Germany, bw), The Last Station, Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, Angels and Demons, The Memory Loss Tapes (tv, doc.), Sleepwalking Through the Mekong (doc.), Micmacs (France) , In The Loop, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

2008 (25) - the best films this year were all ignored for even the AA nomination! A Wednesday deserved the foreign AA, perhaps the best terrorism film yet from any nation
WALL-E (anim.), In Bruges, A Wednesday (India), The Dark Knight, The Children of Huang Shi, Changeling, Red Cliff (China), Jeff Beck Live at Ronnie Scott's (concert doc.), Nothing But the Truth, Che, Star Trek, Gran Torino, Defiance, Australia, Revolutionary Road, The Reader, The Wrestler, Valkyrie, John Adams (TV), Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Visitor, Slumdog Millionaire (AA), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Vicky Christina Barcelona

2007 (22) - Lives is one of 5 in history to win the US and UK AA's for foreign language film
The Lives of Others (Germany), Atonement, No Country For Old Men (AA), Blood of My Blood (Mexico), Youth Without Youth, I'm Not There, The Kite Runner, Rendition, Jodhaa Akbar (India), My Blueberry Nights, Assassination of Jesse James, In the Valley of Elah, The Kingdom, There Will Be Blood, Mongol (Russia), The Bourne Ultimatum, American Gangster, The Counterfeiters (Austria), Zodiac, Into the Wild, The Power of Nightmares (doc.), Volver (Spain), Eastern Promises

2006 (27) - a terrific year for foreign films, if you include the UK
The Namesake (India-US), United 93, After the Wedding (Denmark), God Grew Tired of Us (doc.), 13 Tzameti (France, bw), The Tiger's Tail, The Fountain, The Prestige, Half Moon (Iran-Iraq-France), Manufactured Landscapes (doc.), The Fall, A Good Year, Quinceanera, Happy Feet (anim.), Dreamland, The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ireland), The Good Shepherd, Cars (anim.), Babel, The Departed (AA), The Lost Room (TV), Broken Trail (TV), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Children of Men, The Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond, Perfume (Germany), Letters From Iwo Jima

2005 (15) - a lean year, with V the underrated sleeper, a SF classic
V For Vendetta, Water (India), The Italian (Russia), Junebug, Fateless (Hungary-Germany-UK, bw), Kinamand (Denmark, The Girl in the Cafe, Munich, Cinderella Man, The Constant Gardener, Thank You For Smoking, Batman Begins, Everything Is Illuminated, Sin City, Into the West (TV)
[the AA winner Crash did not make my list]

2004 (27) - what a great year overall, and really 4-5 classics
Million Dollar Baby (AA), Finding Neverland, Turtles Can Fly (Iran-Iraq-France), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Chorus (France), Vera Drake, Zhou Yu's Train (China), Touch the Sound (Germany, doc.), A Very Long Engagement (France), Millions, Carrie's War (TV), Veer-Zaara (India), Brothers (Denmark), Control Room (doc., aka Central Al Jazeera), The Incredibles (anim.), House of Flying Daggers (China), The Bourne Supremacy, 50 First Dates, Spiderman 2, Ned Kelly, Sideways, The Motorcycle Diaries (Brazil-US), Friday Night Lights, Closer, Hidalgo, The Beautiful Country (Norway)

2003 (21) - the best year ever for New Zealand
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (New Zealand, AA), Whale Rider (New Zealand), Open Range, American Splendor, The Story of the Weeping Camel (Germany, doc.), The Triplets of Belleville (anim., France-Belgium-Canada-UK), Secondhand Lions, Good Bye Lenin! (Germany), Rivers and Tides (doc.), Spring Summer Fall Winter.. and Spring (Korea), The Barbarian Invasions (Canada), Lost in Translation, Zelary (Czech Rep.), Big Fish, Finding Nemo (anim.), Touching the Void, Runaway Jury, Mystic River, Seabiscuit, Oldboy (S. Korea), The Best of Youth (Italy, tv)

2002 (17) - no one noticed the top-grossing film in Chinese history in the west (except the Online Film Critics, with 6 nominations and 2 wins for foreign film and cinematography), or Spielberg's best SF film, another geat year for foreign films, esp Asia
Hero (China), Minority Report, Chicago (AA), Catch Me If You Can, City of God, Gangs of New York, The Bourne Identity, Bloody Sunday, El Alamein (Italy), Warriors (Spain), Together (China), Rabbit-Proof Fence (Australia), The Cuckoo (Russia), Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (India), The Twilight Samurai (Japan), Spiderman, The Importance of Being Earnest

2001 (11) - ok, it was tv but Spielberg and Hanks spent 100 mil on the 10-hr Band, based on a non-fiction book, and Winged Migration was a documentary following birds worldwide that took 7 years to make
Band of Brothers (TV), Winged Migration (France, doc.), Chaos (France), War Photographer (Switzerland, doc.), Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (doc.), No Man's Land (Bosnia), The Tunnel
(Germany), Monsoon Wedding (India), In the Mood for Love (China), A Beautiful Mind (AA)

2000 (21) - any of five pics could've been best pic, the only award that Traffic lost, while Requiem scared the bejeezus out of everyone, especially Hollywood, it's a masterpiece and not intended to be easy to watch
Traffic, Memento, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (China), Gladiator (AA), Requiem For a Dream, Almost Famous, Devils on the Doorstep (China), Vatel (France), Longitude (TV), Malena (Italy), The Contender, Best in Show, Nine Queens (Argentina), Boiler Room, Frequency, The Road Home (China), Not One Less (China), Chocolat (France), Gormenghast (TV mini.), Dune (TV mini.), Woman on Top (Spain), The Claim (Canada)

[Note: nothing on this site is final or written in stone, so as I find more films to list I will update this post - like most viewers, I cannot have possibly seen every film so I expect more to be added slowly over time.]

"Your results may vary" - "As always, no wagering"

"That's just my opinion, I could be wrong" - Dennis Miller


Andy Buckle said...

There are a lot of films on this list I haven't seen, and it's certainly an interesting collection. One notable absence I thought was There Will be Blood, which in my opinion is the #1 film of the decade.
Children of Men I would include too.

Lime(tte) said...

Some interesting movies on that list... Did you do it yourself?
Since "The Hero" is on the first place, I might have to watch it sometime... :)

Jose Sinclair said...

Andy, There Will Be Blood is listed under "just off the list".. both that and Children of Men are on my master list of 200 films, they just didn't make the top 100 cut, which I wrestled with for a week or so..

Limette - yes, this is just my preferences, totally subjective, the ones I like the most, with staying power. Those at the top I've seen several times, Hero 5-6 times already.. even some I cut (Avatar), I saw at least 3 times..

I may change my opinion over time as well. I was bored with Trauffaut's 400 BLOWS upon first viewing; after re-watching it last year I moved it to my all-time top 100.. sometimes one is just 'not ready' for a film..

Thanks for the comments, glad it made you think enough to reply! -- Jose

DAvid Head said...

Please vote for your favourite film and help us identify the worlds genuine unbiased popular favourite at

Jose Sinclair said...

If you go by IMDB's viewers poll, Shawshank Redemption is #1. If you go by our consensus of all polls, The Godfather is #1, which gets listed near the top of almost every other poll, and is #2 at IMDB.

If you consider something as mundane as box office, which really favors recent films with more inflated ticket prices, then Avatar is #1 though most critics don't even rank that (it's around 80th on the IMDB top 250). For inflation adjustment, most say Gone With the Wind had the most theater attendees, though critics would hardly agree, and it's not even in the top 100 at IMDB.

Robert Osborne said that It's a Wonderful Life was a critical and commercial failure when released, and only gained popularity b/c the studio let the copyright lapse and tv stations could show it for free, which they did ad infinitum, which gained it many tv fans.

At the Criterion film network site THE AUTEURS, Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is #1 of over 100,000 cinephiles there, with A Clockwork Orange 2nd, Godfather 3rd.

Thankfully, Citizen Kane is falling recently as it's not as popular among recent critics as back then.

An interesting attempt, but no one will ever be able to define the most popular film.
.. Jose..

Movielocker said...


Really like your blog. Nice insights and ideas!

Maybe you like to take a look on the one where 
I write some stuff for. We just started, so feel free
 to visit, take a look around and leave a message.
It´s getting a new design & layout pretty soon too 
and I write new entries nearly every day. 
It centers around all different kind of movies, what 
I regulary watch and like- with focus on independent 

Check out

Keep it up

All the best,


Iain Stott said...

I was surprised to see The Cuckoo on your list, Jose. I wouldn't have thought that that would be a favourite of yours. Anyway, good work.

Jose Sinclair said...

Hi Iain..
yes, I loved The Cuckoo - I thought the story was very original and I loved the actress and the representation of her as a strong independent character who could survive in such a harsh (tho beautiful) environment..
I also have it on my "Strong Women in Films" list..

thanks for the comment.. Jose