10. Almost Famous (2000)
Probably the best semi-fictional movie about a seventies band. Everyone loves the “Tiny Dancer” sequence or the “Golden God” scene but they’re way overrated. Best Scene: Anything with Lester Bangs.
9. No Country For Old Men (2008)
Would have been higher but I hated the ending. DON’T MAKE ME THINK! Best scene:
8. Zodiac (2007)
David Fincher is the man. Everything about this movie is so well thought out and shot beautifully. It’s a dark story of obsession and less about the physical murders than the people who become enamored with the psychology behind the killings. Best Scene:
7. Adaptation (2003)
I don’t think I’m fully equipped to analyze Adaptation unless I watch it ten more times. All I know is that it’s very “meta” and every time you watch it the film, a new layer will reveal itself. Reading Susan Orlean’s “The Orchid Thief” is a prerequisite for viewing. The movie will make much more sense if you do, even though the film is not a direct adaptation of the book. Best Scene:
6. 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
One of the only movies in the last ten years that I went to a theatre and laughed out loud at. The first (and best) Apatow film, Virgin has the crude humor but it has heart and enough of a story to pull you through until the end. People were all about Wedding Crashers during the summer of ’05, but I still think this film is a far superior and intelligent comedy. Unfortunately, someone saw the film and thought that Seth Rogen would be better as a leading man rather than a sidekick. We’ve been suffering ever since. Best Scene: “Boner Jams;” Everything except the fucking chest waxing scene.
5. Into The Wild (2008)
You have to have read the book. You’ve got to be a guy and you’ve got to be a recent college grad. If you don’t fit into those three categories, you probably won’t get it. But hopefully you can still watch and appreciate director Sean Penn’s dedication to filming on location across the country at McCandless’ favorite stops. Best Scene(s): Slow motion scenic shots of the coast and Alaska; Killing the moose and failing to preserve it.
4. The Dark Knight (2008)
Christopher Nolan says ‘fuck you’ to the comic book genre movie and creates a masterfully dark film that happens to be based on Batman. Heath Ledger as the Joker is epic blah blah blah. Could have been the best film of the decade, but after repeated viewings, Christian Bale’s laughable whisper-growl Batman cadence is unforgivable. Best Scene(s): All action scenes, specifically the 18-wheeler flip and Joker blowing up the hospital and awkwardly walking away in the nurse’s outfit. But the first time we meet the Joker is compelling, scary, funny and mesmerizing.
3. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2002-2004)
Completely epic. Over twelve hours of story that I couldn’t possibly cover. Peter Jackson’s trilogy was a cinematic achievement like none other in this decade. Best Scene(s): Fellowship–Balrog chase/fight scene; Towers–Helms Deep; Return–Rohan Army battle.
2. The Girl Next Door (2004)
The greatest teen comedy of the decade. It was crude, funny, sexy, and absurd, but it had heart and really captured the emotions of high school. Unlike American Pie, Superbad or Juno, there’s actually a connection to the characters and while the plot is crazy, you never question it. Anything is possible in a teen comedy and The Girl Next Door feels like a new millennium John Hughes film–a movie filled with optimism and substance. A breakout role for Elisha Cuthbert, or so I thought. I’m still baffled why she hasn’t done more mainstream work besides 24. Emile Hirsch, now a star. Best Scene(s): Anything with Eli; Klitz at the end in college; Danielle and Matt in the Hotel Room; Pool scene
1. Casino Royale (2007)
Bond is back. The franchise was drifting towards laughable Roger Moore territory at the end of Pierce Brosnan’s run and it was time for some fresh blood, including a grittier take on the iconic British spy. With Casino Royale we get an origin story set in modern times that finds Bond doing what we love best–traveling the globe, seducing women, escaping insurmountable odds–minus the camp and double entendre [I love that stuff and I still think there’s a place for it]. Casino’s strong plot and casting of Daniel Craig made ever minute totally diesel. Best Scene(s): Bond’s naked interrogation; stairwell fight;