news\ Sep 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Top Films of the Decade (2000-2009): 11-25

December 28, 2009

Top Films of the Decade (2000-2009): 11-25
By Dakota Grabowski

GameZone celebrates the end of an outstanding decade for film

After successfully selecting our Top 25 Games of the Decade, we have formulated our thoughts and selected our Top 25 Films of the Decade. Today we bring to you part one where we detail our picks 11-25.

The process for selecting the best of the best for the last decade include: direction, acting, storyline, dialogue, cinematography, editing, costume design, art design, and much more. In short, this wasn’t about popularity or sales, but the art of film itself.

25. The Squid and the Whale (2005)
Director: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, William Baldwin, Anna Paquin
Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Award Wins:
Best Screenplay – National Board of Review
Best Screenplay – New York Film Critics Circle
Best Screenplay – Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Telling a tale that gives a weeping and honest look at divorce, The Squid and the Whale was a triumphant film that shows an emotional portrait of a family in shambles. Bittersweet, Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney carry this beautifully written film to the moon and back. Observational and showing the ambiguity of life, it hits the right notes right off the bat and soars until the end of the flick.

24. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy
Studio: Studio Canal

Award Wins:
Best Screenplay – British Independent Film Awards
Best Screenplay – Bram Stoker Awards
Best Movie – International Horror Guild

Making the satire genre relevant again, Edgar Wright and his crew of merry men – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – delivered a comedy that was innocently engaging and symbolically delightful. An homage to the brilliant minds of the zombie genre from yesteryear, Shaun of the Dead was cleverly written with enough subtle humor and laugh-out-loud moments that it’s a pure delight for repeat viewings. Don’t let the silly premise distract you; Shaun of the Dead was more complex than cracking the The Da Vinci Code. 

23. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, David Wenham, Kylie Minogue
Studio: Angel Studios

Award Wins:
Best Art Direction – Academy Awards
Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy) – Golden Globes
Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy (Nicole Kidman) – Golden Globes 

Innovative and stylishly extravagant, Moulin Rouge! was a spectacle from beginning to end. Nicole Kidman does more than her normal whispering act and tremendously performs above expectations. Moulin Rouge! was a kaleidoscope of colorful art direction, freaky costumes, and out-of-this-world sets. This was no conventional music or film by any means; it was a film about imagination and stretching Luhrmann’s audacious mind.

22. Lost in Translation (2003)
Sophia Coppola
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, Fumihiro Hayashi
Studio: Focus Features

Award Wins:
Best Writing/Screenplay – Academy Awards
Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical or Comedy (Bill Murray) – Golden Globes
Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy) – Golden Globes

In the role of his career, Bill Murray went above and beyond what was expected from him and garnered praise worldwide. The cinematography and editing was intelligently crafted to provide a relaxing environment for the audiences to sit through. A film all about the raw emotion of mankind, Lost in Translation conveys so many feelings of loneliness that its reflective nature was perfectly expressed. Sophia Coppola proved herself as a visionary for the future of cinema.

21. Downfall (2004)
Oliver Hirschbiegel
Starring: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler
Studio: Constantin Film

Award Wins:
Best Foreign Film – British Independent Film Awards
Best Foreign Language Film – Online Film Critics Society Awards
Actor of the Year (Bruno Ganz) – London Critics Film Circle Awards

Bruno Ganz portrayed a humanized version of Adolf Hitler that shows he was able to find the character and articulate a much different Hitler than the monster history books show off. Not only was Downfall a brave film, but it shed light on the matter of World War II from an entire different perspective. Ganz’s emulation of Hitler is creepy to the point that he could easily be mistaken for the fuhrer of Germany himself. As enlightening as it was melancholy, Downfall was a look into the abyss known as Hitler and, boy, was it ever spine-chilling.

20. Primer (2004)
Shane Carruth
Starring: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden
Studio: ThinkFilm

Award Wins:
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize (Science and Technology) – Sundance Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) – Sundance Film Festival
Best Feature – London International Festival of Science Fiction

Done on a low budget, Primer was an example of how an original science-fiction tale should be done. Never speaking plainly, Primer catered to an audience who wanted their intelligence tested as Shane Carruth created a thought-provoking film about time travel and the repercussions it could have. Primer was truly a transfixing film that spoke about a world of possibilities and their implications.

19. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover
Studio: American Empirical Pictures

Award Wins:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical or Comedy (Gene Hackman) – Golden Globes
Best Actor (Gene Hackman) – National Society of Film Critics Awards
Featured Actor of the Year (Gene Hackman) – AFI Awards

Before there ever was Arrested Development, there was The Royal Tenenbaums – a film about a dysfunctional family that must cope with the upcoming death of their father who is falsely telling his family that he has stomach cancer to win the back the heart of his ex-wife. A dramedy with an ensemble cast, The Royal Tenenbaums had enough laughs to fill 1,000 clown cars. The sorrow and downhearted moments are also equally as touching. This was Wes Anderson’s masterpiece and still is to this day; it’ll be hard for anyone to top the precious care Anderson gave to each and every character.

18. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Keith David
Studio: Artisan Entertainment

Award Wins:
Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn) – Online Film Critics Society Awards
Best Director – Online Film Critics Society Awards
Best Cinematography – Independent Spirit Awards

A stirring tale about addiction and how people cope with them, Requiem for a Dream was an eye-opening experience. It’s an intense film that shows a drastic side of humanity, Darren Aronofsky created a film that leaves viewers walking away disheartened. Requiem for a Dream is a challenging film to sit through as it tests the sympathy of its viewers to the point that they will never want to watch the film again to avoid feeling down in the dumps. On top of all of that, Ellen Burstyn was captivating as a woman addicted to television and, in turn, started taking drugs to lose weight. Requiem for a Dream that shows that reality is always right around the corner; it deserves to be watched by every individual who isn’t subjected to the depressing parts of life.

17. A History of Violence (2005)
David Cronenberg
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Peter MacNeill, Bill McDonald
Studio: New Line Productions

Award Wins:
Best Director – National Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Supporting Actor (William Hurt) – New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Picture – Online Film Critics Society Awards

As the title implies, A History of Violence objectively took a look at violence and its consequences. Viggo Mortensen took a big step away from his performances in The Lord of the Rings (Hidalgo doesn’t count) and made a new career for himself with gritty acting that only began to blossom at the end of the decade. Provocative and daring, David Cronenberg created an intelligent film that shows the savage nature of man.

16. The Assassination of Jesse James by Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Andrew Dominik
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mary-Louise Parker, Sam Rockwell, Casey Affleck, Paul Schneider, Garret Dillahunt
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Award Wins:
Best Supporting Actor (Casey Affleck) – National Board of Review
Best Supporting Actor (Casey Affleck) – National Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Casey Affleck) – Satellite Awards

A coming out party to the mainstream audiences for Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by Coward Robert Ford was an enthralling picture from start to finish. It was a perfect combination of acting from the ensemble cast, gorgeous cinematography, sharp writing on behalf of Andrew Dominik and an enchanting tale of betrayal by Robert Ford on Jesse James. Never falling into the normal conventions of the Western genre, Dominik weaved an excellent spiderweb of deception that first began with a common friendship. Affleck’s disturbing performance as Robert Ford was as absorbing as it was chilling.

15. Children of Men (2006)
Alfonso Cuarn
Starring: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Caine, Danny Huston, Claire-Hope Ashitey
Studio: Universal Pictures

Award Wins:
Best Cinematography – BAFTA Awards
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography – American Society of Cinematographers
Best Science Fiction Film – Saturn Awards 

Beautifully shot, Children of Men was a one-of-a-kind science-fiction tale about doomsday. The future may have been bleak, but the acting was overwhelmingly realistic. Proving that film itself is an art all by its lonesome, Children of Men is going to be studied to the moon and back by film schools for its cinematography and the vision Alfonso Cuarn was able to capture. In addition, Cuarn’s innovative car-chases were jaw-dropping and helped put audiences in awe; they made the film come alive in every instance. 

14. No Country for Old Men (2007)
Ethan & Joel Coen
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt
Studio: Paramount Vantage

Award Wins:
Best Achievement in Directing – Academy Awards
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Javier Bardem) – Academy Awards
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Javier Bardem) – Golden Globes

Looking into the eyes of evil, No Country for Old Men was an instant American classic. Javier Bardem performed amazingly as Anton Chigurh, a psychopathic killer that has a disregard for everything. The Coens’ were able to put together their best film since Fargo and they did it in stunning fashion with an intense thriller. A moody and dark contemporary tale, No Country for Old Men was nothing but the best use of the imagination of the Coens.

13. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
David Lynch
Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, Robert Forster, Melissa George
Studio: Les Films Alain Sarde

Award Wins:
Best Director – Cannes Film Festival
Best Editing – BAFTA Awards
Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress (Naomi Watts) – National Board of Review

Mulholland Dr. was as strange and twisted as its director, David Lynch, is. Lynch created a surreal picture that never let the viewer settle in for far too long before giving them another bizarre sequence. If there’s ever a movie to inspire the use of drugs, it would have been Mulholland Dr. – a trippy and exotic look into Lynch’s far-out imagination. On the plus side, Naomi Watts delivered one of her best performances in her career that she is still, to this day, trying to top.

12. Man on Wire (2008)
James Marsh
Starring: Philippe Petit, Jean Franois Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix
Studio: Discovery Films

Award Wins:
Best Documentary, Features – Academy Awards
World Cinema – Documentary (Grand Jury Prize) – Sundance Film Festival
Best Edited Documentary – American Cinema Editors

A surprising documentary of courage and a daredevil stunt, Man on Wire grasped at the heartstrings of its audience they had to wait to see how the miraculous stunt was pulled off. A film of true beauty, Man on Wire took its viewers to a whole new world of discovery. There was a childlike wonder behind the gripping story of how a man broke the rules and was able to pull off a feat that everyone needs to see.

11. Spirited Away (2001)
Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: (English Version): Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette, Bob Beren
Studio: Studio Ghibli

Award Wins:
Best Animated Feature – Academy Awards
Outstanding Directing in an Animated Feature Production – Annie Awards
Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media – Satellite Awards

A marvelous epic from the genius mind of Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away was a rare animated film that had it all. Miyazaki created a masterpiece that began with bravura scenes and continued to dazzle in each and every one afterward. Spirited Away was a dreamlike state of ecstasy that you never wanted to end. It was a fascinating flick that provided enough moments of grandeur to fill every starving animator and artist in the world.

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Come back tomorrow as we will be revealing out Top 10 Films of the Decade.

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