This list was much harder for me than my television list. Even more than before, this is definitely a list of my favorite movies of the decade, not the best. There are movies not on this list that I know are qualitatively better than some of the ones on it. This line of reasoning affects the order of the list as well. The only real objective sacrifice I made was in leaving Kingdom of Heaven off. I love that movie. It was the first movie I bought on Blu-ray. But I couldn’t bring myself to list it here. I was also hindered by the fact that there are a lot of movies, some of them likely outstanding, that I just never got around to seeing. So really, this list is flawed, but it’s the only list I’m qualified to write. Here goes, my 25 favorite movies of the past decade:
25) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Those of you who read my television list will probably not be shocked to find this on my movie list; I’ve been a big Jason Segel fan since the Nick Andopolis days. I also liked Mila Kunis in this, which is surprising, since she annoys me in pretty much everything else she does. And while I’m concerned that the upcoming spin-off movie Get Him to the Greek will end up being a disappointment, I love Russell Brand as Aldous Snow. He’s perfect as a narcissistic and selfish rock star who turns out to be both charming and mostly warm-hearted. Which I guess shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering that seems to be pretty much who he is in real life.
24) 9/11 (2002)
I love documentaries that, through luck, fate, or circumstance, end up becoming far more interesting than the filmmaker probably initially imagined. Would anyone remember The War Room if Clinton hadn’t ended up winning the election? One of the movies listed in the honorable mentions below, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, morphs from a movie about the making of a record and the inner workings of a band into a movie about the failures of the record industry when Reprise rejects Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Probably the best example of this, though, is 9/11 by Jules and Gedeon Naudet, who set out to make a documentary about the life of a rookie firefighter on the FDNY, and end up right in the middle of the defining event of the past ten years. The movie features one of the few existing shots of the first plane hitting Tower 1, and contains fascinating footage of firefighters attempting to coordinate rescue efforts from inside the lobby of the WTC. Johanna and I seem to get on a kick of watching things about September 11th every three years or so, and when we do, this is the first place we turn.
23) 24 Hour Party People (2002)
I don’t know how I heard about this movie. I don’t know what motivated me to buy it on DVD. I hadn’t even heard of half of the bands depicted in it when I first watched it. It just seemed to appear on my DVD shelf one day, and then quietly, over repeat viewings, become one of my favorite movies. It’s a fast-paced depiction of the music scene in Manchester in the 1980s and 1990s, and it might have been somewhat forgettable if not for the great performance of Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson. Like pretty much everything in this movie other than Joy Division and New Order, I hadn’t heard of either Coogan or Wilson before watching it, but I quickly became fans of both.