Top Ten Movies of the Past Ten Years

There Will be Blood 2007 | Photo Courtesy of Reel Movie News

There Will be Blood 2007 | Photo Courtesy of Reel Movie News


Ian Phillips ’10
A&E Editor


There Will be Blood 2007 | Photo Courtesy of Reel Movie News

1 ) There Will Be Blood (2007): Epic films come and go, but this is one that truly stays. What’s often best remembered about the film is Daniel Day–Lewis’ towering performance that emanates the loneliness and devilish insanity of his character. One can’t forget Paul Thomas Anderson’s direction, which made two and a half hours feel like one, and the past feel just like the present. Here’s a film that shows the moral as immoral, and the immoral as evil beyond any form imaginable. Here is a film that provides 18 dialogue-free minutes and still manages to be exciting. Most importantly, here is a film that deserves to be called a work of genius, the absolute best film of the decade, and a model of good filmmaking for years to follow.


2 ) Kill Bill Vol. 1&2 (2003/04): After years off the job, Quentin Tarantino returned to the big screen with this brilliant love letter to B–movie cinema. This two-part film is one-part over-the-top violence, one-part philosophical conversation. Mainly, “Kill Bill” is a perfect piece of Tarantino’s fantasy world, a uniting of the cultures of the east and west. It is an imagined land where samurais wander the west and cowboys are trained by kung fu masters. Moviegoers are lucky Tarantino opened this piece of his world to us.

3 ) Children of Men (2006): Rarely has the future seemed so present. Alfonso Cuaron brings to life the story of a hopeless future that finds hope in the world’s last pregnant woman. Despite a tepid response upon its original release, “Children of Men” is a cult classic in the making. Its meaning goes beyond the surface, and its shocking violence and daring use of long shots are nothing short of groundbreaking. Simply put, it deserves to be ranked with “A Clockwork Orange” and “Blade Runner” as one of the bleakest, most convincing dystopias ever created.

4 ) No Country for Old Men (2007): The Coen Brothers’ dead serious, existential look at fate and old age is a crime thriller like few have ever made. Despite the fact that the script is taken nearly verbatim from Cormac McCarthy’s novel, the always reliable Coen Brothers still managed to incorporate their own trademark style into every single frame, from their quirky characters to their dry wit. For long, intense silences, and the audacity to leave the viewer with no easy answers, “No Country” simply can’t be beat.

Th Royal Tenenbaums 2001 | Photo Courtesy of Starz

5 ) The Royal Tenenbaums (2001): This very dark comedy about the rise and fall of a dysfunctional family manages to be funny and sad at the same time. It incites the kind of laughter that stays with you for days through witty dialogue and quirky characters. “Tenenbaums” shows off director Wes Anderson’s brilliant mind, who was able to not let the overshadowing set pieces distract from the story and instead use them, in every tiny, precise detail, to show a family too obsessed with material items and the past to move forward and forgive themselves.

6 ) American Psycho (2000): This twisted, brilliant film about a seemingly flawless 1980s Wall Street banker (Christian Bale) who moonlights as a serial killer is a Kubrickian outlook on man’s dark side. Its ironic glorification of violence turns it into a wicked parody of the glorification of violence in American pop culture.There are scenes that are downright creepy, while others make you laugh when you probably shouldn’t be. This film established Bale as one of the best actors working today, and his utterly convincing performance has already put the name Patrick Bateman in the ranks of great movie psychos like Norman Bates and Travis Bickle.

7 ) Inglourious Basterds (2009): Only someone as well-respected as Quentin Tarantino would be allowed to revise the history of World War II by way of a man named the Bear Jew. This unorthodox war flick feels more like a Spaghetti Western than “Saving Private Ryan,” guided more by Mexican standoffs and revenge stories than meditations on the horrors of war. “Basterds” not only represents Tarantino’s love of movies, but also his ability to make long stretches of dialogue seem just as tense and exciting as any action sequence.

City of God 2003 | Photo Courtesy of EW

8 ) City of God (2002): Call it the original “Slumdog Millionaire,” minus the uplifting endnote. This brutally realistic look at gang life in a slum of Rio de Janeiro rightfully earns its place as one of the greatest crime films. “City of God” isn’t just remembered for its bleak social commentary, but rather its unforgettable imagery. Whether it is a gunfight or a chicken running through the streets, each frame is teeming with heart–racing energy. Even in a world constantly shattered by violence, life goes on.

9 ) Almost Famous (2000): Cameron Crowe’s semi–autobiographical coming of age story about an aspiring rock journalist following an up–and–coming rock band is just one of those rare films that hits no false notes. Its characters are complex, emotional human beings, and the film perfectly replicates both the sights and sounds of the 1970s. Only someone who knows this much about music could make a film like this. In the process, Crowe truly reminds the viewer of the amazing effect just a little bit of music can have.

10 ) Superbad (2007): This decade, the Apatow gang would change comedy forever. While Judd Apatow himself doesn’t direct here, that doesn’t matter. “Superbad” defines this teen generation like no other film before it, creating a coming–of–age story that is sometimes too funny to handle and at other times uncomfortably realistic. It wasn’t raunchy for the sake of being raunchy, but rather raunchy for the sake of being real. Plus, its dialogue is free of Hollywood conventions and is rather smart and free flowing, like everyday conversation.

Honorable Mentions

Pan’s Labyrinth

The Departed

Slumdog Millionaire

The Lord of the Rings

Mulholland Dr.

Donnie Darko

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Knocked Up