Listen, I know that making a list of the best movies for an entire decade can be difficult. Hell, making a list of the best anything, be it boxes of cereal or sexual partners, can be really hard. That's why I'm going to cut Paste Magazine some slack for some really obvious and troubling omissions from their list of the Best 50 Movies from 2000 - 2010. That being said, I had initially planned on putting together a list of my favorite movies of the past decade, but since Paste captured so many movies I love (from High Fidelity at #49 to City of God at the top spot), I'm going to focus on the ones they missed. So here is my list of the 15 Best Movies from 2000-2010 that aren't included in Paste Magazine's Best Movies of the Decade list.
#15. The Prestige - In 2006, Christopher Nolan took a break from Batman and Inception to direct this picture starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. The story navigates an intense rivalry between two magicians and was written by Nolan and his brother, Jonathan, was based on the Christopher Priest novel and also stars Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie (as Nikola Tesla) and Michael Caine, who seems to be in all of Nolan's films.
#14. Million Dollar Baby - It didn't clean up at the 2004 Academy Awards for no reason, winning Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Actress (Hilary Swank) and Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman). Paul Haggis put his special touch on the script and the film perfectly displays a young woman's quest to become the best female boxer in the world alongside a man's quest to embrace a fatherly role.
#13. The Hangover - Possibly the best funny movie of the decade not simply on laughs, but because the cast wasn't led by over-paid stars who made their names known in the '90s (unless you count Mike Tyson). Instead, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms made this one of the most successful comedies of all time with nearly $280 million in domestic receipts. The sequel slated for May 2011 can't possibly live up to the original..or can it?
#12. Avatar - Yeah, it raked in most of it's money in 2010, but it came out during the Holiday season in 2009 and amazingly surpassed James Cameron's other epic, not to be named here, in box office grosses around the world. The biggest accomplishment for this film, however, is beyond the billions...it's the 3-D. Story aside, watching this film was a superior movie-going experience.
#11. Fade to Black - Whether you're a Jay-Z fan or not, this documentary - spanning the making of The Black Album and his sellout show at Madison Square Garden in 2004 - is one for the hip-hop ages.
#10. Closer - Mike Nichols directed one sensational movie when he did this one in '04 starring Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Jude Law and Natalie Portman (my favorite). The story follows two London-based couples who become intertwined in the other's relationships. Natalie Portman plays a stripper.
#9. Ray - Possibly the single-best acting job of the decade with Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles (winning the Oscar for best actor). Taylor Hackford did the music legend a public service with this one in '04.
#8. American Psycho - Christian Bale again and this may be his best acting job yet albeit at the start of the decade. Sure, he's making tons more money as Bruce Wayne, but this is where he turns the Bret Easton Ellis novel into something we can all consume and digest in a couple of hours as Patrick Bateman.
#7. Wall-E - Wall-E (2008) is a gem of a movie. Sure, Up is better because it features (animated) humans and a talking dog and a touching love story, but this one made us all realize that Pixar can produce a best picture contender without relying on a Disney creation.
#6. Children of Men - Clive Owen is on the list again because this 2006 film made us think about the end of the world in a whole new light. Writer/Director Alfonso Cuaron has put his hands on some good scripts, but this is his best work for an American audience in my opinion.
#5. Crash - This is probably the biggest snub from the Paste list, even though it's not #1 on my list, because of its award creds (Best Picture), cast (Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, etc.) and because it was written and directed by Paul Haggis who's name you should know by now.
#4. Requiem for a Dream - Sure, it gives me nightmares if I watch it after 9pm, but it almost never stops me from watching. With Pi, The Fountain and The Wrestler, director Darren Aronofsky has proven himself full of range and the ability to delve into characters intensely and this one is his masterpiece. It's no surprise Angelina Jolie is anxious to work with him on his next film. Let's hope it's not about how drugs can ruin your life like Requiem though...I already learned how to say "NO!"
#3. Michael Clayton - Jamie Foxx has the decade's best Oscar-winning acting job, but George Clooney has the best runner up with this 2007 flick written and directed by Tony Gilroy (best known for his penmanship on the Bourne series), having lost out to Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood. This film has extremely high replay value...like J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, only better acting and less special effects.
#2. Garden State - A lot of good movies came out in 2004 if you can't tell by this list, but my personal favorite from that year and the entire decade for that matter is this one about a guy trying to find himself after years away from family and close to waking-comatose thanks to prescription drugs. I can't tell you how many times I've watched this movie. Sure, part of the reason is because I love Natalie Portman. But mostly it's because Zach Braff's work as the writer, producer, director, soundtrack maestro and star of this movie is stuff for the ages in the off-the-beaten paths of filmmaking.
#1. I Heart Huckabees - I speak to dozens if not hundreds of students every month about my life and what I've come to believe and this movie gets a lot of it. Everything is connected and nothing matters once something else matters more. Gets extra points because it is one of the best casting jobs of the decade known for casting jobs to the extreme (think: Ocean's 13). Sure, David O. Russell is a tough director to deal with by the looks of this clip, but it's still the top movies of the last 10 years of my life.