Picks of the Decade

I know it’s been 2010 for awhile, but I’ve been going over and over in my mind again which films from this past decade stand on their own. While there are some fantastic ones out there and I struggled, I decided to stick with a formula. Each year only gets one film, representing the range of the aughts. In my mind, these are some of the most enjoyable films of the decade, they are also some of the more overlooked. The list is as follows;

2000- Wonder Boys
This coming-of-age tale showcases excellent performances from Michael Douglas and a still newcomer Tobey Maguire. The film feels like a good book; totally satisfying and yet you’re sad to see the characters go when it’s over.
2001- Sexy Beast
This heist film is more of a character piece on a retired criminal who’s dragged back into the game. Sir Ben Kingsley performance alone makes this film worth watching, but all performers in this film are phenomenal.
2002- Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
George Clooney’s directorial debut didn’t receive much fanfare at the time, but this darkly comedic “biopic” of game show host Chuck Barris hosts a star-studded cast and plenty of laughs and intrigue along the way.
2003- Love Me if You Dare
This French film, starring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, tells the story of a boy and a girl and the games they play with each other’s hearts. This film may sound like a cliché but the surreal style bats it out of the park.
2004- House of Flying Daggers
This martial arts epic boasts exceptional visual style. The color and the camera work make it an unforgettable experience. Problem is, most people thought they’d seen it all after seeing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
2005- Brick
The 2000s were kind to the neo-noir. Brick is one of the more “art-house” examples of this, following the classic noir story arc of good cop discovering the seedy underbelly of his existence. Joseph Gordon-Levitt carries this movie with ease and with class.
2006- Lucky Number Slevin
Josh Hartnett headed the star-studded cast of yet another neo-noir revival of an average Joe being pulled in to a plot way over his head. This film’s twist and turns make it engrossing, but the quirky and charismatic Lucy Liu brings the charisma.
2007- The Orphanage
This Spanish psychological thriller is an impressive addition to the horror genre. Sure it has your run-of-the-mill ghost story, but more importantly, it’s got heart. It somehow manages to be terrifying and tear-jerking until the very end.
2008- Rachel Getting Married
While this film got attention for Anne Hathaway’s performance, the buzz almost deafened the rest of the cast. The entire cast shines but Oscar buzz got the best of this movie and most people seemed to write it off.
2009- Away We Go
Sam Mendes broke out of his Oscar-winning “dark side of suburbia” formula with this film on a 30-something couple expecting a child and looking for a home. While this film easily could’ve been schmaltzy or melodramatic, it infuses humor and drama beautifully. John Krasinski and Maya Rudoulph show they can bring a whole lot more to the screen than just the funny.

Although it seems hard to believe that the first 10 years of the 2000s have already come and gone, I believe that these are the cream of the crop. For one reason or another, these films may have been overlooked, but definitely worth a second glance or something more than a cursory glance.


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