Hey, At Least She Didn’t Include 27 Dresses…More Top 10 Faves of the Decade
Inspired by totally weird lists (with no crossovers? How very convenient, boys…) compiled by A.O. (stop calling me “Tony”) Scott and goofy dad Michael Phillips, here are Kimberly’s top ten movies of the decade. Even she doesn’t understand how this all shook out. And hey! She totally cheated and listed more than ten! A cheap metaphor for a holy mess of a decade. In alphabetical order:
*BEFORE SUNSET (2004) – A melancholy revisiting of the characters created by Julie Delpy (her hilarious 2 Days in Paris just missed this list), Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater in 1995′s Before Sunrise, with an ending so achingly perfect…it leaves you thrillingly depressed, hopeful, and crossing your fingers for another installment in 2014.
*BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005) – Well, DUH. If this isn’t in your top ten list you are a monster and don’t deserve love, let alone a timeless, star-crossed love that dare not speak its name.
*CHILDREN OF MEN (2006) – We have discussed that I can never watch this one again—of all the postapocalyptic movies I have been terrorized by, this one struck me as an absolutely realistic portrait of civilization lost to chaos. Last weekend I flipped past Showtime (as per usual) and saw a glimpse of this scene—like something out of a fucking nightmare.
*GRINDHOUSE (2007) – Should have made Rose McGowan a superstar, but terrible plastic surgery under mysterious circumstances and a scandalous affair with her at-the-time-married director Robert Rodriguez distracted from two vulnerable and very different performances in the films that make up this kickass feature. As my cohorts have said earlier (and better), this was the most joy I have ever felt while watching a movie in a theater. And it made me like Eli Roth for a short time! It deserves decades of midnight screenings in struggling art houses, and I am willing to buy a struggling art house to help make this happen.
*GRIZZLY MAN (2005) – Is it exploitative? Maybe. But when I first watched Werner Herzog’s tender documentary about grizzly bear activist Timothy Treadwell’s time in Alaska, nothing that cynical occurred to me. The way Treadwell takes the livelihood of the bears so personally and longs to communicate his fascination and reverence for them to the disinterested—well let’s just say I get it. Herzog obviously cares deeply for his subject and respects his work, so watch this one without reservation and then donate to some of the groups working to save those stinky old bears. [Somewhat related, do check out Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School and report back to us, posthaste. This man is a gem and my personal hero. Be my grampa, Werner!]
*THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE (2002) – Its innovative use of digitally manipulated photos and the fantastic narration by Robert Evans (Do we love this guy’s habit of asking and answering his own questions? You bet your sweet ass, baby) made this documentary about a notoriously shallow Hollywood playboy producer surprisingly riveting and sad. How can you not root for someone who talks like a character in an Elmore Leonard novel? Brett Ratner wishes he could pull this shit off.
*KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005) – This slightly jumbled noir-ish detective story was made supremely enjoyable by the obvious fun the cast had making it. I could watch Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer banter and grin at each other all day. Kilmer in particular hasn’t been this loose since Real Genius. And that’s a long time! I officially forgive him for The Doors. (Ugh, and Wonderland! Can we put this guy on a no-biopics diet? And also a real diet? Type 2 diabetes is just a stone’s throw away). The snappy and gorgeous Michelle Monaghan deserves better than the formulaic romantic comedy crap she’s favored in 2009. Ew.
*MUSIC & LYRICS (2007) – Sometimes you need something to watch when you have the flu, OK? In no way a great movie (Hugh Grant’s singing voice sends me to the mute button every time), but an amusing trifle that teaches us a Lesson: just because something isn’t high art doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it. The normally grating Drew Barrymore is surprisingly endearing—kudos to costume designer Susan Lyell for putting her in lovely clothes that are appropriately quirky but still flattering and enviable. (Fun fact: She also dressed the insufferable drama queens in saris and black cashmere cardis in Rachel Getting Married. I do not blame her.)
*PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006) – Usually children in peril leave me cold (toughen up, whiners!), but the finale of Del Toro’s fantasy left me more choked up than your mama watching the last episode of “Guiding Light.” Can Del Toro make me care for non-Frodo hobbits just the same? (Answer: Not if he casts Tobey Maguire!)
*SERENITY (2005) – A perfect ending for the classic, short-lived television show. Joss Whedon adores and appreciates his work’s fans, and this movie is an ambitious and touching valentine for them. And man, does this guy love women—and not in the creepy Michael Bay way, but in an “owns a This Is What a Feminist Looks Like T-shirt” way.
*SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) – For those of you who like your zombies slow and stupid, a la Romero, and your humor British and absurd. Also check out director Edgar Wright and actor Simon Pegg’s slightly dated TV show Spaced for more time with many of the same actors and goofily endearing jokes.
*ZODIAC (2007) – After the Oscar-pandering success of his rallying cry against Benjamin Button disease, Fincher will probably never make another ambitiously intelligent, mass-audience-alienating film like this, and that is a shame. Extra points for the seamless use of CGI to create entire period neighborhoods—see link and say “Holy shit!”
Honorable Mention: AWAY FROM HER (2006), DONNIE DARKO (2001) (though it has not aged well! Will Richard Kelly ever have another critical success? Does he deserve one?), ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004), HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2001), IDIOCRACY (2006) (See Children of Men), O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? (2000) (“Any of you boys smithees?”), THE PIANIST (2002), STRANGER THAN FICTION (2006), THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (2005), THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2008), YEAR OF THE DOG (2007) (put me out of commission for days, and left my confused pets tear-stained and overfed).