Owen Gleiberman's 10 Best Movies of the Decade

I confess, looking back, that I have no great generalizations to make about the movies that came along this decade. Except for this: There were more films of extraordinary and inspiring quality than I can count — or include on this list. Without any trouble at all, I could easily have compiled a Top 100 list. Yet there’s something about that magical arbitrary number 10 that focuses you, disciplines you, forces you to ask yourself what matters. Here, in order of preference, are the movies of the last 10 years that thrilled, moved, delighted, fascinated, and meant the most to this critic. They’re the ones I couldn’t let go of because they wouldn’t let go of me. But don’t stop with my list. What are your favorite films of the decade, and why?

1. Far From Heaven (2002) The movies that have always spoken most to me are the ones that cast a spell, and no film I saw in the last 10 years was as meaningfully mesmerizing as Todd Haynes’s delectable and haunting masterpiece. A voluptuous soap opera that’s also a dizzying hall of cinematic mirrors, it’s about the late 1950s, and it’s also about today — which makes it sound a bit like Mad Men ahead of its time, which it sort of is. Except that Haynes, in re-creating the look and mood of a Douglas Sirk melodrama down to the dialogue beats and purplish noir lighting, goes Mad Men one better by refracting the suburban life of 50 years ago through the pop looking glass of Old Hollywood. In Haynes’ film, the ’50s merges with our image of the ’50s, which merges with our own brave new traditional world. Far From Heaven is really the greatest David Lynch film that Lynch never made — a lusciously dark dream of movie-fed desire and romantic dread. Dennis Quaid, as a closeted gay husband stuck, hypnotically, in the wrong movie era, might be enacting a nervous breakdown in slow motion, and the relationship between Julianne Moore, as a proper housewife just waiting to bloom, and Dennis Haysbert, as the gardener who tends to her affections but can’t remove her racial blinders, has a tender heartsick rapture that echoes tellingly across the decades. For even as their “forbidden” love is portrayed as the relic of a bygone era, Far From Heaven forces us to ask: How often, even today, do we get to see a love like this one reflected in our own Hollywood looking glass?

2. Sideways (2004) The most exquisite comedy of the decade is also the most finely tuned neurotic love story since Annie Hall. Not too long after Alexander Payne’s movie was released, a joke started to make the rounds: that film critics all loved it because all film critics look like Paul Giamatti. (The joke was actually borrowed from an old one about rock critics and Elvis Costello.) My first reaction was to say, “You got me — touché!” But I’ll add that what we critics really cherished about Giamatti’s Miles, with his love of wine, women, and more wine, is that he’s such a recognizably messed-up, completely unglamorous, blessedly real person. That, along with its perfect-pitch writing and directing — I’m tempted to call it a new classicism — is what makes Sideways an achingly funny, timeless, and lived-in tale of an ordinary geek dreamer’s redemptive romance.

3. The Century of the Self (2005) I see great documentaries every year, and the best of them (like Capturing the Friedmans) turn the investigation of reality into an art form. But Adam Curtis’s four-part nonfiction epic is the one documentary I’ve seen in the past decade that literally reshaped the way I look at the world. It’s a vast and searching essay-mosaic, made in a pop-collage style that might be described as Marshall McLuhan meets Natural Born Killers, that explores how the consumer culture recoded the nature of who we are inside. Curtis takes us back to the primal seed of modern marketing: the creation of public relations in the 1920s by Sigmund Freud’s nephew, who drew on his uncle’s theories to envision a new kind of human being — not a rational citizen but an irrational consumer, enslaved by the appetite of unconscious forces. Curtis makes connections — between advertising and psychiatry, the counterculture and the corporate culture — that reveal how “individuality” in our society came to be the ultimate conformist desire.

4. Gladiator (2000) When I first saw Ridley Scott’s Roman Hollywood spectacular, I totally dug it, but it just missed making my 10 Best list that year, because I had (foolishly) compartmentalized it in my mind as a Well-Made Genre Film. Then I saw it again, and loved it even more, and then I watched it again and again — and I realized that what happens in this movie, and what I got hooked on, goes deeper than a mere famous-general-turned-anonymous-slave-fights-and-slaughters-the-brutes-of-Rome action film. The majesty of Gladiator is that it’s a myth of masculinity that glints like a slashing broadsword. Russell Crowe’s performance, which I consider up there with the best of Mitchum, Wayne, Bogart, and Douglas, takes off from Maximus’ radically existential attitude: After finding his beloved wife and child murdered, he has no more desire to live and, in fact, never regains it — he just wants to join them in Heaven — and so he’s literally a man without a fear of dying. Crowe, who glowers at his enemies with unabashed homicidal cool, makes every line burn with the heat of delayed-vengeance-as-grace-under-pressure. In Hollywood, they really don’t make ‘em like they used to. Except that this one time, they did.

5. Chuck & Buck (2000) When I chose this as my number-one film of 2000, it provoked more reaction than any other number-one choice I’ve ever made. Granted, it’s not your ordinary movie of the year: a shot-on-video homoerotic arrested-development stalker comedy, starring squishy, pale-lashed Mike White (who also wrote the astounding script) as a shrinking-violet man-child who hunts down the former grade school pal he used to…uh, play games with, all to try and make their fun bloom again. But this portrait of cracked love is really a profound story of how the reveries of childhood can hold us, shape us, and rule us as adults. White’s performance is a revelation, and so is the astonishing intimacy of Miguel Arteta’s direction. Chuck & Buck makes you laugh and squirm at the same time, but it never condescends to anyone on screen. It’s a tribute to the freakishness of humanity, and vice versa.

6. Moulin Rouge! (2001) I’m asked all the time if I ever change my mind about a film. Well, here’s my greatest flip-flop in the 20 years I’ve been at EW. I originally gave Moulin Rouge! a B-minus, and though I did like parts of the film, I found much of it (especially the first 45 minutes) brittle, strange, fractious, and all over the place. A year later, I saw it again and swooned over every minute of it — though I now understand what initially put me off. Baz Luhrmann’s visionary musical obeys a kind of yin-and-yang pleasure principle: Whenever Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman are singing “Your Song” or “Come What May,” we’re carried aloft, but the rest of the film needs to be a little harsh, in order to make us long, almost physically, for those moments when the movie explodes into a pinwheel aria of rapture. In a decade that saw the rebirth of the musical, Moulin Rouge! is the one that recaptured the audacity of what musicals really are: pop passion plays of faith in a world that’s forgotten how to believe.

7. Requiem for a Dream (2000) The lure, and peril, of addiction may be the story of our time, and Darren Aronofsky’s mind-blowing, soul-shattering film is probably the greatest movie ever made about what addiction really is: what it looks like and feels like, its power and terror, the places it drags you to. The virtuosity of Aronofsky’s camera and editing techniques (the rapid-fire shooting-up montages, the wide-angle claustrophobia) would mean little if the director didn’t work with a spiraling ferocity that heightens the emotions of his characters, even as they lose their minds to drug highs so scary-vivid they’re almost tactile. When I emerged, shaken, from the first time that I saw Requiem for a Dream, I knew that the purity of Aronofsky’s intensity reminded me of another filmmaker. In a short while, I realized that it was the young Martin Scorsese.

8. Munich (2005) Steven Spielberg’s engulfing drama about the aftermath of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games is one of his most brilliant and hypnotic films, but it may also be one of his most elusive. The attempt by a team of Mossad agents to hunt down the terrorists who planned the Munich madness starts out as a movie staged with gripping procedural violence. But then the plan of vengeance begins to come apart — and it’s the way (or interlocking ways) that it comes apart that lends the drama its uniquely queasy, inside-the-heart-of-an-assassin suspense. In Munich, the attacking agents, led by a forcefully spooked Eric Bana, do the wrong thing precisely because they do the right thing, and that gives the movie a moral vertigo that sucks you in, and down, like a whirlpool. Spielberg has made a mythological thriller, a tragedy in which action loses its meaning even as it finds its target.

9. Lilya 4-Ever (2003) In the past decade, the greatest filmmaker to come to prominence outside these shores is Sweden’s Lukas Moodysson, but his films are so shaggy and low-key, so free of hooky pretensions, that he has never attained much visibility in America. Still, you have to wonder how the art-house audience could have ignored Moodysson’s great, transporting, agonizing drama about one of the reigning worldwide evils of our time: the sexual slavery that thrives just blocks from anyone who lives in, say, a major U.S. city. Moodysson follows a teenage girl (Oksana Akinshina), living in the post-Communist ruins of Eastern Europe, as she’s drawn to a human Venus Flytrap in the form of a pimp — then flown to Sweden, where, like thousands of other girls, she is caged and terrorized into a life of prostitution. The subject may be brutal, but Moodysson treats it with the humanity of Jean Renoir. His filmmaking is lyrical, open-eyed, devastating, and Lilya herself, even when her soul and body have been crushed, is never just a number. Lilya 4-Ever is a call to arms from a quietly wrenching artist who, mark my words, will speak far louder in the coming decade.

10. Casino Royale (2006) Another movie that provoked a bit of shock and awe, if not outright head-scratching, when I chose it as the best film of the year. I mean, the oddity of it all — a critic actually singling out for the highest praise… a movie that was intended to be entertaining. But who says that great entertainment can’t, or shouldn’t, be as artful as this? The James Bond movies — the great early ones, with Sean Connery — weren’t just based on the novels of Ian Fleming. They also took off from a movie that, in its action extravagance and globe-trotting man-pursues-man excitement, became the formal template for the entire Bond series: Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. And this glorious stab at re-launching the series harkens right back to the merry dark existential playfulness of Hitchcock’s mastery. As Daniel Craig’s brutally sharp, ruthlessly charming, sandpaper-rough Bond maneuvers through a sensationally plotted labyrinth of high-flying action, elaborate double-crosses, the greatest poker game in movie history, and the most dangerous game of all — namely, love — we’re plugged into the moment only because we know that so much more than the moment is at stake. Will Craig, as Bond, ever be this good again? It would be a shame if they let the character’s complexity drop, because in Casino Royale he’s magic: a spy discovering who he is, which is why he can be all of us.


Comments (598 total) Add your comment
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  • Liz

    Crap absolute crap. Good work EW.

    • Paul

      LOL Liz, so what would you have chosen?

      My choices in no order:
      Mulholland Drive
      Requiem For A Dream
      Amelie
      Amores Perros
      Ghost World
      Lost In Translation
      District 9
      Memento
      Milk
      28 Days Later

      • Lara

        Mulholland Dr is one of my favorite movies of all time! Definitely agree with the top 3.

      • MeMyself&I

        I’m using the list to watch a few that I haven’t and yeah Paul, Liz’s comment wasn’t very enlightening

      • bobbiejo

        No Dark Knight? And I really hated Moulin Rouge, but I too only saw it once so maybe I should give it another whirl…..
        And you should make a list, Owen, of movies you could watch over and over again from this decade. Like Tropic Thunder which never gets old and is always hilarious, Love Actually/Bridget Jones, etc etc.

      • Coconutty

        wow, great list! definitely agree w/Amelie and 28 Days Later. I just saw District 9. LOVED it.

      • Brendon

        I wanted to like _District 9_ SO much, and I did…until about two-thirds of the way in, when it became a cliche action movie. What a great premise, in the PERFECT location…squandered. So close to being a great movie.

      • Michael Andrews

        I much as i liked Gladiator, and dont get me wrong….its a great action/period film, i think it was an awkward choice for Best Picture winner of 2000. Kinda overrated in that regard.

        My personal 10 best of the decade:

        The Dark Knight

        The Lord Of The Rings trilogy (any one of them)

        Traffic

        Batman Begins

        Sideways

        Juno

        The Descent

        The Departed

        The Aviator

        Tropic Thunder

        Very honorable mentions: King Kong, Spiderman, Spiderman 2, X-Men 2, Hangover, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Cast Away, Chicago, Ironman, Star Wars Episode 3, Michael Clayton, Syriana, Brokeback Mountain, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Star Trek’09, Minority Report, Thirteen Ghosts, Good Night And Good Luck, Capote, Casino Royale.

      • Alicia

        What about “Up” or “The Hangover”? Why do these “Best of,…” lists always have to be dramas? The Hangover was brilliant; in it’s story line and acting. I can’t believe those guys didn’t get nominated for acting awards. It gets better everytime I watch it :)

    • C

      Thank you for those kind words of encouragement, Liz.

    • SB

      No, i actually agree. with the exception of Munich, none of these movies were of the “best movies of the decade” caliber.

      • trent

        How many of them have you actually seen?

      • movieloversmatch

        Munich was okay, seemed kinda fakey

    • Nick T

      Who cares? It’s HIS list. All list are irrelevant anyway. He should put what he wants on it.

    • UncleWalty

      seriously. The ten best films of the decade? Not even close. I’m just glad none of that LOTR crap was on there. Yawn…

      • Jill

        AMEN on that LOTRs crap. For god’s sake, how many epically long and epically boring fantasy battles do we have to endure before someone just yells “okay, I get it already!” Ugh.

    • rob

      top ten.. no particular order..

      Memento
      Almost Famous
      A Beautiful Mind
      Inglorious Basterds
      The Departed
      Donnie Darko
      Requiem For A Dream
      Mulholland Drive
      The Dark Knight
      Snatch

      worth mentioning: The Wrestler, Gone Baby Gone, Gran Torino, Body of Lies and the Kingdom (2 movies with best depiction of the war on terror), LOTR: ROTK and one of my personal favorites.. Juno.

    • HMH

      Yeesh. This kind of list is why viewers don’t take movie critics seriously.

    • rob

      the remake of halloween should be there,
      the remake of my bloody valentine should be there
      wrong turn
      the descent
      brokeback mountain
      pineapple express
      moulin rouge
      chicago
      the departed
      girls will be girls(you tube only)

    • Lee

      Owen, if those were the top ten films that you saw from the past decade, then it’s not saying much for the quality of films that came out during that time.

    • Celia

      Wow…this list kind of sucks. I just saw Sideways…that movie is great, but it would not be in my Top 10.

    • Hill

      It’s sad how the last decade of movie making was dominated by stellar Pixar animated films but none of those film are on these critics best of the decade list.

      • JTHusky

        rob, if that’s seriously your list of the best films from the 00s, you need to check your head.

        Some of my favorites (not a concrete list):

        Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
        The Royal Tenenbaums
        WALL-E
        Children of Men
        There Will Be Blood
        Into the Wild
        Capote
        Pan’s Labyrinth

        Best part is, my list is still growing. I’ve got Memento, The Life Aquatic and A History of Violence on my docket, and I need to get around to my copy of Zodiac I bought.

    • Guy

      It has to be american? I loved City of God!

  • DW

    Gladiator, really?

    • Heidi

      That movie gets better every time I see it.

    • scarlett

      Gladiator is one of THE best movies of all TIME so yeah, def of the decade

    • nicole

      Gadiator was overated, how good is a movie that you can guess the whole plot in the first 10 minutes.

      • Dave

        Many knew the ending to Titanic and still thought that was an amazing film…

      • lol

        of course a chick would say that

    • paige

      I thought Gladiator was garbage. I didnt care about the characters. I thought the acting was ok but not Oscar worthy- Joaquin Phoenix just overracted.. the cinematography was lame and the Visual effects were awful even for its time… The Best thing I can say about that movie is, Hans Zimmer wrote an awesome score. So yea, I pretty much hated Gladiator.. and Ive seen it 3 times just to make sure…

    • rob

      instead of gladiator.. what about A Beautiful Mind!!! i thought that was russell crowes best film.. i havnt seen that movie on any lists which suprises the heck out of me. easily a top ten of decade.

      • paige

        A Beautiful Mind was great the first hour and then the following 4 hours were boring. But Russell Crowe was excellent and if he didnt win Gladiator, he wouldve surely won for Beautiful Mind (who lost to Denzel for Training Day but deserved it for Malcolm X who lost to Al Pacino for Scent of a woman but deserved it for a number of movies prior to that)

    • brody

      Agreed here. Many of the performances (esp Joaquin Phoenix) were impressive, but the movie itself seemed to drag on endlessly.

  • Jymmymack

    THANK YOU OWEN! Far From Heaven is a masterpiece.

    • mishka

      And what about SLUMDOG MILLIONNAIRE? Hello!

      • Ridiculous

        Slumdog Millionaire? YAWN!

    • Tania

      Would’ve liked to see “Crash” in there.

      • Kate Schmate

        Crash is awful to an almost impressive degree. I have no idea how Paul Haggis managed to make a film both preachy and devoid of a discernible meaning. If you want to see a good film about race relations, rent Do The Right Thing.

      • Mary Q. Contrary

        What’s funny is that when I saw someone had put Slumdog Millionaire right above, I thought, “No way.”, then my next thought was, “At least no one has said anything about Crash.” And then I read this. Yuck. That movie reeked of “Oscar vehicle”, and the cast was mediocre at best.

      • Myth

        Crash is stunningly polarizing. America’s lowest common denominator loved it, while anyone with half a brain detests it.

      • Mimi

        Crash was crap.

      • Jill

        Crash was awful. Beat me over the head with a redundant, elementary school-obvious morality lesson. Soooo sad that the “Academy” wasn’t brave enough to award the best picture Oscar to “Brokeback Mountain” which was far superior.

      • TamaraNW

        I’d toss Crash and add Traffic.

  • Gregoire

    There are only two flims on this list that even made by top 100 movies of the decade. Casino Royale? Gladiator? CHUCK AND BUCK?

  • Dwight Schrute

    You are a true weirdo, Owen. This is the list of a crazy person.

    • tiebaojin

      Totally agree!!

      • Mike in Moncton

        Yup.

      • junierizzle

        I think this list proves that people shouldn’t listen to critics. Just watch a movie because you want to, not because some crititc says its good.Make your own conclusion.
        At first glance this list is all over the place. But they mean something to OWEN.
        So make your own list.

    • amj

      I am extremely confused by this list. In a decade of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Devil Wears Prada, the new Batman movies and Big Fish (just to name a few)..where is this list coming from? Clearly it is the list of a fan of art films not special effect extravaganzas. But, I still say there were some artisticly brilliant films better than these..but that is just my opinion. Most of these films I either hated or wouldn’t even watch.

      • mkk

        uh devil wears prada?….big fish??? um…..NO….just…..NO

      • Rush

        The thing is, just about everyone has seen those films. Don’t you think that Owen may have saved some spots for films that he as a critic had the opportunity, but you may not and is suggesting you go find them.

      • Kevin

        Devil Wears Prada…that’s priceless! You’re hilarious!

      • amj

        Well Devil Wears Prada is someting I would prefer to a James Bond anyday. It’s a movie that you can watch several times and still enjoy. Maybe the difference between our genders. Plus, any movie with the great Meryl Streep is worth its weight in gold.

      • Mary Q. Contrary

        amj, your preoccupation with insisting The Devil Wears Prada is something it’s not, and use of the term “the great Meryl Streep” automatically disqualify you from commenting anymore. Buh-bye!

      • Celia

        Okay, I agree with you (amj), but Devil Wears Prada is not a top film of the 2000s. I honestly don’t know where I would begin if I made my own list. There have been so many films in the 2000s that I’ve loved.

  • Aaron

    Love your list, Owen. Love that you never feel pressured to make “definitive” lists, always personal lists. That’s far more interesting to me.

    My Personal Top 10 of the Decade:
    1. The Lives of Others
    2. Children of Men
    3. The Incredibles
    4. The Class
    5. There Will Be Blood
    6. Almost Famous
    7. Wall-E
    8. Shattered Glass
    9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    10. Junebug

    • Omar

      Good picks. The Lives of Others is easily my favorite film of the decade also. And nice call on Shattered Glass. LOVE that movie.

    • Eddie

      1.the fast and the furious
      2.Revenge of the sith
      3.Casino Royale
      4.I am Legend
      5.Transformers
      6.The Ring
      7.28 Days Later
      8.Fired Up
      9.Disturbia
      10.What Lies Beneath

      • …I…

        are you demented?

      • Jaime

        @…I…

        I believe Eddie mistook the list. He wasn’t listing the Top 10 of the Noughties… But the Top 10 “Notties” — as in, which 10 movies should NOT appear on the list.

      • amj

        I enjoyed most of these films (not I am Legend..way too lame) but I wouldn’t put any in the top 10 of the decade. Even if I watch a few of them repeatedly.

      • Kyle

        Fired Up made your top 10 of the decade? Really? I didn’t even mind that film but it wouldn’t even make my top 10 of the year.

      • Robert

        Ok, so most of these are action movies. But is your view that narrow minded, c’mon, give all of us a break. Broaden your self and see more films, and pay attention.

      • jackie

        I laughed, but the then a thought crossed my mind… what if you’re not joking?

      • Tania

        Really? Um…really?

      • alex

        My top 10 of the decade
        10. Letters from Iwo Jima
        9. The Wrestler
        8. There will be blood
        7. Children of men
        6. The hurt locker
        5. No country for old men
        4. United 93
        3. A history of violence
        2. Pan’s Labyrinth
        1. Fight Club

      • tony

        actually alex fight club was released in ’99. i really like all the others on your list though

      • A

        Stop being such snobs!

      • Heilige Bimbam

        He might be 8years old, not demented.

    • amj

      love your addition of The Incredibles…
      Add…Big Fish, Devil Wears Prada, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter movies, and The Dark Knight. Just to name a few.

      • themoviesnob

        amj, I truly feel sorry for any significant other that has to share a dvd player with you

      • J

        Ok enough with the Big Fish and the Devil Wears Prada!

    • Ron

      Hey Aaron. You have outstanding taste in film. Six of your films are in my list as well for Top Ten of the decade!

      • Breeze

        Agreed Great list. Eternal Sunshine is my favourite film of all time and Wall-E is a masterpiece.

    • mkk

      wall e for sure transcends its genre…what a beautiful movie…and shattered glass is the only movie in which that snot nosed anikan kid actually performed….well.

      • Chris

        Well I don’t know – he was pretty good in Life as a House

      • Molly

        ooh, life as a house, I’d forgotten all about that movie. he and kevin kline were both great in that one.

    • Tarc

      I’d go so far as to say *any* Top 10 of the Decade list without The Incredibles is faulty.

    • Luddite

      Aaron, awesome choices. Children of Men, The Incredibles, There Will Be Blood, Eternal Sunshine, and Junebug are all in my tops list – though I can’t for the life of me narrow it down to 10! (I haven’t seen the others – but I’ll add them to my must-watch list.)

    • Jenny

      Nice to see someone mention Shattered Glass. I never get tired of that movie!

    • LOL

      Almost Famous. Yes!

    • MSD

      There Will Be Blood was the best movie of the decade by far. I know it may sound crazy, but the acting along with the story and cinematography make it amazing. Children of Men and Almost Famous are up there too.

    • Tim

      This list makes more sense overall than the one Owen posted. But I have to say that Shattered Glass is one giant piece of overrated.

    • shelbycheri

      Eternal Sunshine & Almost Famous are 2 of my all time favorites!

    • amah

      I LOVED Children of Men- awesome movie. After I saw it in the theater my legs were stiff from clenching my muscles out of anxiety for what was going to happen next to the characters- that’s how I knew it was a great film. Junebug is also another film that isn’t even about anything specific, but is so amazing with its characters that I was completely wrapped up in it.

    • alex

      I just saw Shattered Glass today and I agree that was a great movie

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  • Santi

    Glad to see Munich and Casino Royale in the list. Those are two of my favorite movies

    • Kristal

      Love that Moulin Rouge is on here too! One of my favorite movies, period. And I also had the same reaction – initially not getting it and then falling in love with it on the second viewing. I think it just helps to know what you’re getting in to.

      http://toointerestingfortwitter.blogspot.com

      • Tarc

        Moulin Rouge was brilliant, as was last decade’s other Red Velvet Curtain entry, Strictly Ballroom. If you haven’t seen it, just save the time and buy it.

      • Heilige Bimbam

        Moulin Rouge, an otherwise really good film was ruined by Kidman’s and McGregor’s awful, awful vocals. Cringeworthy singing.

  • Chris Price

    My Top 10 of the Decade:

    1. City Of God
    2. Requiem For A Dream
    3. Lord Of The Rings
    4. The Dark Knight
    5. There Will Be Blood
    6. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
    7. Children Of Men
    8. Memento
    9. Talk To Her
    10. Waking Life

    • Brian

      Which Lord of the rings film?

      • amj

        All of them..they are really just like one long film.

      • Chris Price

        Yeah to clarify, that spot is reserved for the entire trilogy as a whole. They were shot at the same time, and actually are more powerful when digested as a whole, like The Best Of Youth (which just missed my 10).

      • wanda

        who cares,all 3 suck

    • Luddite

      More great choices…how anyone can pick just 10 is beyond me.

    • osemaforo

      great list, chris.

  • Jennie

    I love that you march to the beat of your own drum Owen. Love your list ;)

    • Jennie

      Oh, and my favorite films of the decade were:

      Eternal Sunshine
      Gosford Park
      Children of Men
      Amelie
      Pan’s Labyrinth
      Lost in Translation
      Thank You For Smoking
      The Royal Tenenbaums
      Memento
      Hard Candy

      • amj

        Pan’s Labyrinth was pretty awesome!

      • Nihilistic

        Thank you. I don’t know how anyone could NOT include Gosford Park and Royal Tenenbaums on a film list of the best of the decade.

      • wanda

        god,remind me never to date you

      • Tarc

        All excellent choices – though perhaps not top 10, definitely top 100.

      • Kevin

        I like your list better than Owen’s. I personally disliked Lost in Translation but I do understand why some people love it. Love that Royal Tennenbaums, Amelie, and Gosford Park made your list.

      • Mickey Z.

        Loved, loved, loved The Royal tannebaums.. So quirky and delightful. Of course, I am the only one of my friends who believes this. Plus, how can one person’s “personal” top 10 list of the decade be wrong? I don’t get it.

  • couchgrouch

    Sideways?! Gladiator?! Casino Royale? Moulin frakkin ROUGE?!!! dude, the Buffy musical was better than that pretentious crap. there are episodes of Friday Night Lights better than Sideways. get a job.

    • john

      he has a job as one of the most respected critics in the bussiness. Strangely I usually agree with many of his reviews yet I do not agree with ONE top 10. Gladiator and Munich were both good films…classics? Casino Royale? After he railed on Avatars mind blowing graphics and visuals overriding a numbing plot. Requiem for a Dream was one of hte most overrated pieces of garbage i have ever seen. Sideways was a fine film and the only one on this list that I understand its inclusion (though i do not agree). For the most part I thought this decade had a vast palate of different and wonderful films, definitely enough to compose a list of 10 contemporary classics. But looking at this I see a reflection of a decade of people who have forgot how to think and only watch movies with their eyes. Agree? I’m disapointed with Owen but i’ll still love his smmart and accurate reviews

      • bootsycolumbia

        I guarantee you that Owen is going to go back and re-grade Avatar in a couple of years.

      • You Suck

        He definitely ain’t one of the most respected critics. I get that taste is taste, and that a magazine like EW isn’t aimed at the hyper-cinephiles out there (none of whom are me), but he often rates solid movies as stunning achievements.

        Sideways, for example, is a movie that doesn’t really do anything that other movies don’t do better, except cast Giamatti and Thomas Hadyn Church. The dialogue isn’t sooo funny, nor is it particularly revealing. It’s shot well, but not stunningly, the story is tight, but not especially new.

        And come on, you pretty much have to put up one Kaufman or Coen brothers movie. Eternal Sunshine is both one of the most inventively directed and brilliantly plotted movies ever made, and it’s so universal that every audience can enjoy it.

    • Amber J

      In defense of Owen, the Buffy musical ep is far better than most movie musicals. It was pure genius, and anything in comparison will always be lacking.

      • Menchy

        You obviously haven’t seen The Nightman Cometh (aka, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Season 4 ender) Easily the best musical episode of any show in recent memory

  • nick

    1. Mulholland Drive
    2. City of God
    3. Talk to Her
    4. Munich
    5. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
    6. Swimming Pool
    7. The Royal Tenenbaums
    8. Zodiac
    9. Y Tu Mama Tambien
    10. Before Sunset

    • Rod

      Good but I like before sunrise better

  • Mozz

    10. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    9. Requiem for a Dream
    8. The Departed
    7. The Dark Knight
    6. The Hours
    5. Love, Actually
    4. Monster’s Ball
    3. Children of Men
    2. Star Trek
    1. Pan’s Labyrinth

    • molly

      This list is a little more realisitc, with just a few duds.

    • Mickey Z.

      Yes, The Departed, definitely one of my top ten (but I can never settle for just 10 of a decade) probably of all time. Maybe… Pretty great flick.

  • Ryan

    Interesting list. However, I still don’t get the love for Sideways. Really don’t like Paul Giamatti and still haven’t forgiven him for Lady in the Water. I only liked, not loved, Far From Heaven, Munich and Moulin Rouge. Maybe I should watch them again.

    At least this list won’t be like many others.

    • Laurence

      Yeah, I preferred About Schmidt to Sideways. And I preferred Master and Commander to Gladiator, in both Crowes performance and Weir’s direction over Scott’s.
      Where is No Country for Old Men? Or Volver?

      • Ryan

        Volver! No Country for Old Men! Thank you.

      • Jack

        Thanks for mentioning Master and commander. Would you believe that I saw this first on television (cable) – I had completely missed it when it was in theaters (Promotion gaffes?), and it NEEDED to be seen on the big screen.

      • Heidi

        I disliked Sideways almost as much as everyone else seemed to love it!

    • amj

      Agree with your assessment of Sideways..I never understood the love for that movie at all.

      • brad

        I think people liked sideways so much because you get to see a naked fat man run down the street with his small dong flapping too and fro…

      • Julberg

        I hated Sideways as well. I couldn’t buy Sandra Oh as the hot love interest and I couldn’t buy that someone as hot as Virginia Madsen would ever fall for Paul Giamatti

      • vrask

        Good list for stimulating discussion, but that’s about all.

        Far From Heaven: Great performance from Julianne Moore as usual, but a stilted melodrama at best.
        Sideways: The male equivalent of a chick flick. Completely unbelievable that either of those women would go for those two losers.
        Gladiator: Agree with Owen up to a point; great film but not one of the best of the decade.
        Chuck and Buck: Not worth commenting on.
        Moulin Rouge: Owen’s first impression of the movie was correct.
        Requiem For A Dream: Most tedious movie of the decade.
        Casino Royale: Probably the best ever Bond movie, but that’s as far as it goes.

        Will have to check out the others on his list to see if they are as far off the mark.

        Agree with suggestions from other posters here: No Country for Old Men, Mulholland Drive, Y Tu Mama Tambien.

        Have to comment on The Departed mentioned above though – it’s practically a frame-for-frame remake of the original! Still don’t understand why Scorcese didn’t even ackowledge that when he won his ill-deserved Oscar.

  • jackie

    Thank you for making Far From Heaven # 1. Amazing film and performances.

    • Luddite

      Couldn’t agree more. Stunning, stunning film (the colors and costumes and camera angles are delicious) and genius performances from Julianne Moore, Dennis Haysbert, Dennis Quaid, and Patricia Clarkson. Also, the movie that introduced me to Joan Miro, one of my all-time favorite artists.

  • Noah

    I can’t tell you how happy seeing Moulin Rouge made me. Severely misunderstood movie.

    I’d definitely put Eternal Sunshine, Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and either Ratatouille or The Incredibles on my list. And probably The Hurt Locker honestly.

    Still, loved seeing Casino Royale and Far From Heaven on the list.

    • K2

      I LOVE Diving Bell and the Butterfly!

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