The 100 Best Movies of the 2000s: 80-71

72. Melancholia (Lars Von Trier, 2011)

Melancholia

Melancholia is a sad, strange film.  Divided into two very different halves (the first about a manic-depressive bride at her wedding, which almost feels like a farce, and the second about that same bride and her sister facing the impending end of the world), it is a gorgeously shot and brilliantly acted mediation on sadness, loneliness, and death.  It even manages to get a brilliant performances out of Kristen Dunst, which isn’t something I previously thought possible.  The only thing that ever took me out of the movie was Kiefer Sutherland, who managed to do so simply by being Kiefer Sutherland.

71. Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrman, 2001)

Moulin Rouge

Musicals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but director Baz Luhrman, with his giddy, colorful, totally insane masterpiece Moulin Rouge managed to create one that has something for everybody.  It’s got David Bowie music, Nicole Kidman as a prostitute, a narcoleptic Argentinian, an elephant-house, and plenty of Fatboy Slim.  Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, Moulin Rouge feels like a movie out of time, pieced together with odds and ends from every decade.  Most importantly, though, it’s tons of damn fun.

74. The Woman (Lucky McKee, 2011)

The Woman

Last year at Sundance, The Woman caused one angry gentlemen to go on a long rant in the theater, decrying it as sick and perverted.  You may have seen the viral video.  While certainly not easy to watch, The Woman is a masterpiece of horror, because it never feels like it is going out of its way to be scary.  It is simply presenting you with horrific events.

The story of a family man and lawyer who finds a wild, savage cannibal woman in the woods and decides to lock her up in his cellar and civilize her, The Woman shocks because it is not easy, and because it has things to say, and is going to say them whether you want to hear them or not.  Not for the faint of heart, this movie is a real treat for fans of horror.

73. Adventurelan​d (Greg Mottola, 2009)

Adventureland

When advertisements for Adventureland first appeared, everyone assumed that it was going to be in the same crude-but-hilarious vein as director Greg Mottola’s previous film, Superbad.  What it turned out to be instead was a warmly funny, extremely touching coming-of-age love story.  Fully embracing it’s 80’s setting, Adventureland never feels like it’s taking the easy way out, instead letting it’s characters make poor decisions, and as a result feeling shockingly true-to-life.  This is perhaps because of the film’s autobiographical nature, but result is a film that feels unflinchingly honest.

76. Thirst (Park Chan-Wook, 2009)

thirst 2009

Vampries are everywhere these days, and it seems like most of them are sparkling.  There are those of us, however, who know that vampires are supposed to be scary.  Thirst is about a priest who finds himself, suddenly, a bloodsucker, and now has to reconcile that fact (and his thirst for blood) with the beliefs he has previously held dear.  The movie takes some crazy turns, and it all leads to the most tense, suspenseful final fifteen minutes I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. Featuring an amazing lead performance by Song Kang-Ho (Or, as I like to call him, Korean Gary Oldman), and shot beautifully by Park Chan-Wook, Thirst is vampires as they should be.

75. The Trip (Mich​ael Winterbottom, 2011)

The Trip

There’s a decent chance you’ve seen a clip of this movie, the one where bitter, depressed comedian Steve Coogan (playing himself) and his jolly, obnoxious friend Rob Bryden (also playing himself) compete in dueling Michael Caine impressions, lecturing each other (as the famous actor) on how to do the perfect Michael Caine.  This scene perfectly sums of the comedic brilliance of Michael Winterbottoms melancholy, hilarious road-trip comedy.  Striking just the right balance between humor and sadness, The Trip feels just like tagging along on a road-trip with two friends.

78. Wet Hot American Summer (David Wain, 2001)

Wet Hot

Featuring a cast full of future superstars (Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper), Wet Hot American Summer is the strangest, dirtiest, and funniest movie about a Jewish summer camp that you’ve ever seen.  Many of the bits in it completely defy explanation, but that’s why it works, because it creates its own comedic rhythm, defying the viewer’s comedy expectations at every turn.  I challenge anyone not to laugh at Gene, the mentally unstable cook played by Chris Meloni, whose best friend is a can of food voiced by H. Jon Benjamin (Archer, from Archer).  Exactly, it’s not possible.

77. Mean ​Creek (Jacob Aaron Estes, 2004)

mean creek

Mean Creek is like a sadder, more messed up version of Stand by Me, a coming-of-age tale that takes a sharp, sudden turn.  The story of a group of friends that decide to play a prank on a bully that goes horribly wrong, Mean Creek loses a bit of traction in it’s last third, but the rest of it is glorious.  Smartly placing the emphasis on the group dynamic between the kids and the bully, who they decide too late that they actually kind of like, Mean Creek feels totally and utterly real.  It will, however, depress you.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And the movie-train keeps rolling.  For those just now jumping in, I’m chronicling what are, in my opinion, the 100 best films of the 2000’s, ten at a time.

Get caught up:

80. 40 Year Old Virgin (Judd Apatow, 2005)

40 year old virgin

While 40 Year Old Virgin is now known mostly as the movie that ushered in the Apatow-era, it’s easy to forgot how moving and hilarious it is in its own right.  Featuring a star-making turn by Steve Carrell, it was one of the first films in recent years to strike that perfect balance between crudeness and heart.

Buoyed by several great supporting performances, including those by future comedy rockstars Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, 40 Year Old Virgin was a comedy that wasn’t afraid to really take a look at love and sex, while simultaneously providing us with phrases like ‘you put the pussy on a pedestal.’  

79. Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg, 2007)

Eastern promises

The second team up between director David Cronenberg and star Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises had a lot to live up to.  The story of a Russian Mobster named Nikolai, Eastern Promises is a glorious, violent, totally original gangster film.  Featuring tons of great performances, some shocking third-act twists, and a brutal fight scene where Viggo takes on two guys while totally bare-ass naked, Eastern Promises never lets you get comfortable.  Although, maybe that’s got more to do with naked Viggo than anything else.

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Eric Zipper is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. When he’s not making you laugh, playing video games, or watching movies, he’s probably sleeping. Follow him on Twitter @erzip