Best of 00s: my favorite movies of the decade

January 8th, 2010 at 11:19 am by under Entertainment

My favorite movies of the 2000′s

With this list I hope to accomplish two things:
1 – generate debate amoung movie fans about what I included, overlooked, or how I ranked ‘em… what would you choose?

2 – movie fans can use this list as a rental guide… start at the top and watch your way down!

Most of the movies on this list are award winners, some were box office winners, and some just standout for me from the hundreds of movies released from 2000-2009….

"The Fellowship of the Ring" poster courtesy New Line Cinema"The Two Towers" poster courtesy New Line Cinema"The Return of the King" poster courtesy New Line Cinema 1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
“The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001), “The Two Towers” (2002), “The Return of the King” (2003)

Number 1 is actually 3 movies…. the decade’s most decorated movies: “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  Director Peter Jackson brought to life a story that was once thought impossible to be made into a movie.

Based on the three-volume book “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien… the trilogy immerses audiences from start to finish in the mythology of middle earth… with unforgettable characters, great story, great acting and award winning production.

“The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001) won 4 Oscars (Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup, Best Original Score) and was nominated for 9 other Oscars (Best Picture, nominated for Best Supporting (Ian McKellan), nominated for Best Director (Jackson).

“The Two Towers” (2002) won 2 Oscars (Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects) and was nominated for 4 other Oscars including Best Picture.

“The Return of the King” (2003) swept the Oscars, winning 11 awards in all 11 categories it was nominated including Best Picture and Best Director (Jackson)… only 2 other movies have won 11 Oscars in one year – 1959′s “Ben-Hur” and 1997′s “Titanic”.

Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Miranda Otto
Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee
Rated: PG-13

"The Dark Knight" poster courtesy Warner Bros 2. “The Dark Knight” (2008)

Number 2 is the movie that should have been nominated for best picture…. 2008′s “The Dark Knight”.  Director Christopher Nolan’s second Batman movie (“Batman Begins” – 2005) had the heroes squaring off with the diabolical mastermind “The Joker” … in one of the most memorable performances of the decade, Heath Ledger created one of the most villianous characters ever.

The best superhero movie ever made opened the doors to wider audiences – with a great story… great acting… great cinematography, editing, costumes, and effects – forever legitimized the genre in movie history.

“The Dark Knight” set box office records and was hailed by critics.

Ledger did win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and the movie also won the Oscar for Sound Editing.

It also received 6 additional Oscar nominations including Cinematography, Editing, Makeup, Sound, and Visual Effects.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts
Rated: PG-13

"Gladiator" poster courtesy DreamWorks 3. “Gladiator” (2000)

Number 3 is Ridley Scott’s epic adventure drama “Gladiator” with a gripping story that won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Russell Crowe, and Best Costume Design.

The movie focuses on a Roman general betrayed by a corrupt prince, who comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.

Its a great period piece… but its action and romance, engaging story and stunning visuals is something for men and women to enjoy.

Nominated for another 8 other Oscars…. including Best Supporting Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Director for Scott… “Gladitator” anchored the year 2000… one of the strongest years of the decade for movies.

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, Richard Harris
Rated: R

"Memento" poster courtesy Summit Entertainment 4. “Memento” (2000)

2000 also saw the perfect crime thriller – and its played in reverse – Director Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” with a great performance from Guy Pearce – as Leonard – a man suffering from short-term memory loss, who uses a system of notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

The brillance of this movie is that there’s no dramatic irony… the audience learns everything along with Leonard scene – before – scene… we only know what Leonard knows based on his note system.

Leonard can’t create new memories – which means he forgets things from just minutes ago…. the audience learns with Leonard what happened and who he can actually trust.

“Memento” had just 2 Oscar nominations: Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing …. nominations it deserved to win in both categories.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Guy Pearce,  Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior, Stephen Tobolowsky, Harriet Sansom Harris, Jorja Fox
Rated: R

"Minority Report" poster courtesy 20th Century Fox 5. “Minority Report” (2002)

At number 5 – this decade’s version of “Blade Runner” (1982) … Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” focuses on a controversial program to catch criminals before their crimes.

With amazing sci-fi action with a futuristic spin on crime dramas…. the movie was mostly overlooked by the Oscars in 2002 – with only 1 nomination for Best Sound Editing… its a movie that sci-fi fans should not miss.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Cruise, Max Von Sydow, Colin Farrell, Steve Harris, Neal McDonough, Samantha Morton, Lois Smith, Kathryn Morris, Peter Stormare
Rated: PG-13   

click here for #6-#25:

"The Departed" poster courtesy Warner Bros 6. “The Departed” (2006)

2006 brought us the powerful “The Departed” — the best crime drama/gangster movie since “The Godfather”.

Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the Massachusetts State Police and the Irish mafia…. but their identities can’t stay hidden forever.

Oscar Winner for Best Picture… Best Director… and a nomination for Best Supporting Actor (Mark Wahlberg)…. Martin Scorsese’s riveting story flows with twists and turns and an all-star cast that pulls it all off.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin, Anthony Anderson, James Badge Dale, David O’Hara, Mark Rolston, John Cenatiempo, Armen Garo, Kevin Corrigan, Robert Wahlberg
Rated: R

"Cast Away" poster courtesy 20th Century Fox 7. “Cast Away” (2000)

2000 brought us one of Tom Hanks’ most captivating and demanding roles, carrying most of the 2 hour, 23 minute screen time of “Cast Away”.  It also reunited Hanks with “Forrest Gump” (1994) director Robert Zemeckis.

“Cast Away” takes us through the emotional journey of man who must survive after crash landing on a deserted island – all by himself for 4 years.

Nominated for 2 Oscars: Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Sound.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Semion Sudarikov, Geoffrey Blake, Jenifer Lewis, Chris Noth
Nick Searcy, Lari White, Vince Martin
Rated: PG-13

"Children of Men" poster courtesy Universal Pictures 8. “Children of Men” (2006)

Number 8 is a captivating/intelligent story with a bleak look into a sad future… 2006′s “Children of Men” is set in the year 2027 in a world where humans can no longer reproduce…. one man is enlisted to help an underground movement to save the future of humankind.

Nominated for 3 Oscars: Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay…. its a film that was vastly overlooked by critics and Academy Voters.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Pam Ferris, Danny Huston, Peter Mullan, Michael Caine
Rated: R

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" poster courtesy Walden Media 9. “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (2005)

At number 9 – my favorite family movie of the decade – 2005′s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”

The movie is true to the original classic novel by C.S. Lewis as four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and quickly become part of the battle to free the world from tyranny.

Full of great characters and a solid cast of mostly unknowns at the time, this imaginative and epic fantasy tale has great heart.

Won 1 Oscar for Best Makeup, nominated for 2 other Oscars: Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.

Director: Andrew Adamson
Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Dawn French, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell,
Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone, Rupert Everett, Liam Neeson
Rated: PG

"The Ring" poster courtesy DreamWorks 10. “The Ring” (2002)

Its hard to get me to watch a horror movie, but when this well-made pop culture phenomenon came along in 2002… I had to watch.  At number 10 of the decade… “The Ring” is also my top horror movie of all time.

Naomi Watts plays a journalist investigating a mysterious videotape which apparently kills anyone who watches it.

The premise may be a little far fetched, but its a conceivable story set in the real world … with visuals that get in your head and don’t let go even 8 years later.

This movie is not for the faint of heart, but is often passed over by die hard horror genre fans.
Its well written and well acted with great shooting and editing – all things you don’t find in most of the movies in this genre.

Snubbed by the Oscars – “The Ring” won 2 awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films – the Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and Best Actress for Watts.

Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Naomi Watts, Daveigh Chase, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox
Rated: PG-13


Honorable Mentions:
11. “Mystic River” (2003)
12. Bourne trilogy – “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004), “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007)
13. “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008)
14. “500 Days of Summer” (2009)
15. “Up” (2009)
16. “Finding Nemo” (2003)
17. “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004)
18. “No Country For Old Men” (2007)
19. “Crash” (2005)
20. “Gone Baby Gone” (2007)
21. “Iron Man” (2008)
22. “District 9″ (2009)
23. “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006)
24. “Unknown” (2006)
25. “High Fidelity” (2000)

Movies I haven’t seen, but are on other lists, it would be cheating for me to include, but I felt I needed – in the interest of transparency – to include somewhere – I’m adding them to my rental queue (in chronological order):

Almost Famous (2000)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
25th Hour (2002)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
United 93 (2006)
Zodiac (2007)


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4 Responses to “Best of 00s: my favorite movies of the decade”

  1. DF (SE Mich) says:

    I am really glad to see Memento on your list!!! Great movie!!!

  2. mike says:

    dont bother with The Royal Tenenbaums

  3. Mike – Thanks for the suggestion regarding “The Royal Tenenbaums”, someone else told me a similiar review.

    DF – I really like “Memento” too… it was cool to see that national critic Richard Roeper also had it at #4 on his list!

    :) – Aaron

  4. jay says:

    u had a whole decade to watch movies and youve never seen those on the list at the end??? i guess some doctors dont use rubber gloves either…..

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