Tuesday, February 3, 2015

THE TEN GREATEST MOVIES OF 2009! (And Ten Best of the Decade) Today, I settle all blog business....

Today is the day I settle all blog business. Don't worry, the blog is not gonna wake up tomorrow next to Mr. Ed's head or anything like that, I'm just using this week of blogs to both catch up on stuff we've been putting off, like out TV Viewing 101 blogs, which we've now started placing in it's own tab on the top of the blog, as well as finish off our TOP TEN LISTS of the NAUGHTS. And while we're at it, next year's OYL Awards will separate the Best Casting and Best Ensemble Awards into two separate categories, and there will also be a Best Costume Design category next year, as perhaps a Best Original Song category, we haven't made up our minds entirely on that last one yet.

Oh, and Je Suis Charlie. I know I'm late on that, and that's unfortunate, but the events in France were simply catastrophic and horrendous.

Did I forget anything else? I'm sure I have, but nothing that I don't think are great losses. That said the last bit, is a bit of a loss. For a while, periodically now, we've been going over each year in the naughts, the 2000s, and going over each of the Ten Best Films of that year. This started, over a year ago I think, and only now have we completed this odyssey with out Ten Best of 2009! For those who think this will be a regular thing with me going back even farther in time, don't hold your breath. I was reluctant originally to do it for this decade because, especially for a few of the early years, I didn't think I had seen nearly enough films from se year to do a reasonable Top Ten, and I certainly am no where near that for any previous decade. Maybe one day, deep into the future, but for now, I don't see that happening, and I don't want it to anyway. One of the reasons I want to get through some of the old work like this, is to move onto the new, so I'd rather like the idea of turning the page now. However, for those who want to travel back in time, here's what you missed with all the previous years of this exercise, as well as links to those original blogposts:

2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. The Wrestler
4. The Dark Knight
5. Man on Wire
6. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
7. Synecdoche, New York
8. The Visitor
9. Frost/Nixon
10. The Bank Job

1. Once
2. Juno
3. No Country for Old Men
4. There Will Be Blood
5. Grindhouse
6. Into the Wild
7. 12
8. Persepolis
9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
10. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

2. Children of Men
3. United 93
4. The Departed
5. The Lives of Others
6. The Puffy Chair
7. Babel
8. Sherrybaby
9. Hard Candy
10. An Inconvenient Truth

1. Munich

2. Good Night, and Good Luck.
3. Brokeback Mountain
4. Mysterious Skin
5. Sin City
6. The Upside of Anger
7. The New World
8. Crash
9. Saraband
10. Capote

1. Sideways
2. The Incredibles
3. Before Sunset
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
5. The Aviator
6. Kill Bill: Vol. 2
7. The Five Obstructions
8. A Home at the End of the World
9. Million Dollar Baby
10. Hotel Rwanda

1. Lost in Translation
2. City of God
3. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
4. Love, Actually
5. Monster
6. The Fog of War
7. Dirty Pretty Things
8. The Twilight Samurai
9. The Barbarians Invasions
10. The Shape of Things

1. Adaptation.
2. Minority Report
3. 25th Hour
4. Spirited Away
5. Y Tu Mama Tambien
6. Bowling for Columbine
7. Frida
8. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
9. Lovely & Amazing
10. Far From Heaven

1. Mulholland Dr. 
2. Dinner Rush
3. Waking Life
4. The Royal Tenenbaums
5. Gosford Park
6. Monsters, Inc.
7. Amelie
8. Audition
9. Ghost World
10. Memento

1. Almost Famous
2. Amores Perros
3. Traffic
4. Requiem for a Dream
5. Chocolat
6. Best in Show
7. Wonder Boys
8. High Fidelity
9. 6ixtynin9
10. Cast Away

I don't think there's too many significant changes to these lists that I'd make now. The only film I can think of offhand that if I had made a list later would've been added was "Infernal Affairs" being added to whatever year that came out in America, but these lists are as much a representation of the time they were created, and not something that's, say, made to be an exact perfect representation of a particular year in film, or my complete perception of it. That said though, 2009 was a pretty great year for films. And it seems to keep growing the more I dive into the year. One of my picks on this list, only very recently did I see, but it jumped to my Top Ten. A lot of different kinds of films too. this really seems to be a year where there was something good for everybody; that's probably partly why the Academy used this year to extend the Best Picture category to ten nominations for the first time in decades. I'm still not completely sure they should've done that, but, oh well. This was a year where you can kinda understand it, (All except "The Blind Side") four the ten Best Picture nominees made this list, but there were quite a few others that didn't get that recognition. Let's start as we always do, and count down from ten!



Yeah, screw all you "Shaun of the Dead" people, "Zombieland" is the supreme zombie comedy, by a mile, over that film, but frankly this is more than that actually. This was just a very good comedy, that's absurdly funny. The movie, would eventually become a failed TV pilot for Amazon, but actually, this originated as a TV pilot, and the movie seems like it and I say that in a good way. You don't always want a film to be episodic and aimless, but this is a rare exception where the unpredictability factor means there's endless possibilities where this movie could've gone, and while I would've liked to seen that explored more in the comic setting of a zombie apocalypse (Not to bash "The Walking Dead" fans too, but that show can be a little too intense for it's own good) the way they chose to handle it here was pretty good. The movie follows a gang of seemingly random survivors, including Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) who's gotten so used to living amongst the zombies he's developed a rulebook for survival, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) a redneck who's willing to risk life and limb for possibly, the world's last surviving twinkies, and a pair of sister con artists in Wichita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) as they travel cross the country seeking out some possibly refuge from the zombies, and a return to civilization, or simply just survival by any means necessary. It was the feature directorial debut from Ruben Fleischer but this was just a really well written script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick who were more than willing to take a shot and just have fun with the universe of a zombie apocalypse. It was carefree, unpredictable, didn't just follow dumb characters in a dumb formula, it was differing degrees of smart people finding intelligent ways to think through the situations, and it was just purely funny. I laugh every time I see "Zombieland", and I laugh hard. One of the more entertaining comedies I've seen in recent years that's both funny within it's own rules, and funny within the genre itself. Yeah, it's a pretty funny in-movie as well.


2009 was a great year for animation. Disney/Pixar's "Up" earned only the second ever Academy Award nomination for an animated film, and personally, if I did a list of the Best Animated films from that year, that film would only be fifth on that list. While, "Ponyo", "Mary and Max" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox" have some special places in my thoughts as well, the best of the bunch was Nina Paley independent film, "Sita Sings the Blues". Using a unique style of 2-D animation, Nina's personal film chronicles both the story of Sita from "The Ramayana", which is often debated by the movie's multiple narrators itself, while Sita sings Annette Henshaw blues standards from the beginning of the century, while chronicling Nina's loss of her relationship after her Indian husband goes back home and falls in love with someone else, putting her life through a personal despair, which eventually channels into this film. I reviewed the movie recently, and it's the latest addition to any of these lists of mine, my original review is at the link below:


The movie became big, not through traditional avenues; this film was one of the first big movies to make it's name on the internet, and Paley would make money through self-screening. "Sita Sings the Blues" is really one of the best and most personal visions of a film you can find, especially in animation. It's hypnotic and mesmerizing at the same time, and it's a great kaleidoscope of imagery too. Really unique film.


The best superhero movie of the decade, far and away is "The Dark Knight". The second best however, might surprise some people; it's Zach Snyder's "Watchmen". Based on the legendary Alan Moore graphic novel that was the only comic book that was listed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Novels of all-time, this was the movie that I always wanted "X-Men" to be, and now it's the film I probably wished "The Avengers" would've been. I've never been big on these multiverse superhero sagas, but here, it proves it can work, if you actually take the time to do it, and create it's own universe. The movie takes place in the mid-eighties, during Richard Nixon's 6th term as President, and while there is a group of superheroes out there, some vigilante, some achieving their power through other means, some naturally born with them, others born into it, all of them, morally complicated characters, who get to tell their stories after one of their fellow Watchmen, the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is suddenly found dead. We see, through flashbacks, the evolution of the heroes like Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) who was the one caught in an unfortunate accident, or Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman) the daughter of the first Silk Spectre (Carlo Gugino) who was raped by Comedian. Plus, Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) who suspects something's a miss after Comedian's death, and works alone, and is the renegade of the bunch. There's striking imagery, and the movie does end, with a conflict, but with an ending that's as conflicted as the characters. There isn't simply good vs. evil here, and while there is action and even romance, the movie doesn't force the story to be told through action. A long version of the film is four hours long, and it's four hours deep too, as it dives into these characters the way that I'm told it takes 3-4 of the comics just to do that for the "X-Men". It knows it's story is good, and unlike the action-packed and plot-thin, although great special effect marvel of Snyder's previous film, "300", "Watchmen", isn't afraid of having it's absurd premise and taking it seriously, and giving it the adequate amount of time needed for us to really care about what happens at the end as the Watchmen have to take down one of their own. It does what I complain a lot fantasy and sci-fi fails to do, creates it's own universe, yes, it's loosely based on an alternative timeline, but it creates it, and it sticks to it to the letter, and it's a complete world. It's layered and complicated, filled with the horrors of the past, fighting with the horrors of modern time that it helped create. If you're gonna do it, do it well, and "Watchmen" doesn't get the credit for how well it was done. It's seems simple, trust the material's good, and treat it like it's good when making the movie and it will be, but it's not easy to stick to that, especially in this genre, but Zach Snyder knew it was strong, and kudos to him for the accomplishment.


Spike Lee's career could be looked at as a collection of overlooked masterpieces, especially in America, but this one really is overlooked. It's a performance documentary called "Passing Strange"; it's the second musical after "Sita Sings the Blues" on this list, and it's a filmed production of the Broadway musical by Stew, who is himself the narrator/performer on the autobiographical production. The story is about a L.A. African American youth, who's just known as "The Youth" (Daniel Breaker) who starts out joining the local church choir at the behest of his mother (Eisa Davis), but who, as a teenager, turns to the more psychadelic garage rock'n'roll and then to a more James Baldwin-esque journey that leads him to Amsterdam, and then, to Berlin seeking out a truth and meaning of life, in art and therefore life, in both those cities rebellious and very different art scenes, where he thrives as a miscreant angry African-America, who suffered far less indignity and is far less angry than he claims. When we near the end of the film, and he returns to America, and Stew reflects on how many of us, spend our adult lives based on decisions we made as teenagers, (Stoned ones at that), it takes this journey into art from the philosophically comedic to the profound. The musical numbers are spectacular, and the band even plays it's role as there's some breaking of the 3rd, 4th and 5th walls of the musical. The rest of cast, plays numerous roles with a little costume and acting changes as The Youth meets new people as he comes to different cities. The musical won a Tony and the other reason I rank "Passing Strange" so high, the highest documentary on this list, is that Spike Lee does an amazing job, doing something that's actually quite difficult when you realize it, and that's filming a theatrical production. It's one thing, to transfer this material to film, and it can be done, and it would actually be a pretty good itself if he did that, but it's far more difficult to just shoot the theatrical production itself, material that's made specifically for the theater audience, and that medium, and then using multiple cameras and editing over several nights of the show, and create an effective film, that allows you to also have the equivalent of the theatrical experience. It's also just a great, fun musical, and one that really needed Spike Lee's expert treatment in order to be preserved. It feels like a throwaway project in Lee's filmography, but it really isn't, and those who truly seek out this amazing film, know exactly what the rest of you missed with "Passing Strange". For years I would say "25th Hour" was Lee's most underrated, "Passing Strange" is probably the real most underrated film from Spike Lee. One of his very best.



The ironically-titled "An Education" from director Lone Scherfig seems like the most forgotten Best Picture nominee from this year, and yet, this might be the movie that will have the longest-lasting impact. The movie takes place in 1961, and begins innocently enough with images of activities at a typical women's school, the kind in England that still taught balance and posture by walking across the room with books on top of their heads. Then, our protagonist, Jenny (Carey Mulligan, in her Oscar-nominated, breakthrough role) meets David (Peter Sarsgaard). She's got an Oxford scholarship coming, but soon she's infatuated with David, and he even, despite his age, wins over her parents (Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour) and his friends seems cool too, even though, they know David's unreliable as a friend and a lover, but he's a fun person to be around. This movie takes place in the '60s, and not every teenage girl was as knowledgeable at that time, but you'd be surprise how often this story would be adaptable to modern times. I knew people from high school who dated and even married almost twice their ages and more at certain points, and the fact is, they weren't all stupid teenage girls either. Some were like Jenny, smart, young, and was just as attracted to the possibilities that someone like David could bring, and worlds they hadn't seen before, and maybe that's enough of an education that's worth a virginity or two. There's probably always a romance like that for women, at least most adventurous women probably do, to quote Hanna Horvath. This one was based on the Lynn Barber novel which was based on her own romance, and adapted by the great Nick Hornby, a wonderful novelist and screenwriter himself who's work has led to "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy" among others. This is one of those movies that I feel, will grow better with age than probably even when it first came out. The story itself isn't particularly new, but the way they go about it, is very precise and well-done. Yeah, it was a failed romance but in a way,it was a growing experience, and anybody that takes you to Paris for the first time, probably isn't all that bad, even if you never tell your future husband about the experience. This is the film, you're gonna run into periodically on television and get soaked in and absorbed into the story and performances, and reflect back on your own growing up. Yeah, this is a coming-of-age, or really, it's a coming-to-adulthood film, it was based on a novel by a woman, directed by a woman, and was the best Lead Actress performance of the year; I know Sandra Bullock won the Oscar, and most peoples' second choice was Meryl Streep's for "Julie & Julia", and that is a great performance, despite it being a horrible film, but Mulligan's performance is the one I'm still amazed. Very few actresses that young could've pulled off that performance and that well, playing somebody that young, who's just smart enough to know to get into a romance that's in over her head, but still not quite smart enough to fall in love and confuse the experiences she has, with love with the person who guides her into that world. It's a richer film, than even most of the films I'm putting above it, and the 2nd best romance of the year, and we'll get to that first one, a little later.


History repeated itself, as history was being set at the Academy Awards in '09. Back in '77, "Star Wars" became the highest-grossing film of all-time, while the Academy Award for Best Picture went to the lowest-grossing film of all-time, "Annie Hall". Well, the year of "Avatar" becoming the highest-grossing film of all-time, ended with "Annie Hall"'s record being beaten by Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker". Now, I wasn't particularly surprised when Bigelow became the first female to win the Best Director Oscar, because if there's ever a female director who's core underlying subject was masculinity it's her, and here's the last time a war movie won Best Picture. The movie takes place in Iraq and follows an EOD unit in Iraq shortly after the invasion; there job is to go and difuse IEDs (Improvised explosive Devices) before they blow up, a job that unexpectedly went from an occasion position, to a regular, and often daily job. I've met people who've done this in the Iraq War, and the conflicts were pretty real, like the differences between those who are more by-the-book in their process, and those like Sgt. James (Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner) who, while surgical in their actual defusing of bombs, were more renegade and a bit more wild when it comes to the standard operating procedures. He's a machine built for war and he thrives in that setting. The script was by former war correspondent Mark Boal, and the movie does two things, present the Iraq War in a way and from the perspective of somebody who was actually fighting it regularly, and in the middle of it, and it also showed the mindset of those soldiers who have become so well-trained and expert at the art of war, that they've become addicted. The movie begins with Chris Hedges quote, "War is a drug", and in many reveals Sgt. James's addiction. It's amazing how many soldiers from my generation volunteered, for their 3rd or 4th trips tours of duty, and "The Hurt Locker" puts us into a mindset of the kind of soldier, who sadly aren't out for patriotic duty anymore, but are simply more at home on the front lines of the battlefield than they are at home. I don't know how "The Hurt Locker" will be looked upon years from now, but in the moment, and I think you can take "The Hurt Locker" and put it on a double-bill, with a movie that missed that missed this top ten list, Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story", and get a good construct of both sides of the decade, and the failures of President Bush, one, failed economic policies that lead to the recession, and the other, the fail military policies that not only led to two wars, and created the conditions that made modern-day soldiers like Sgt. James necessary. It's a war movie, unlike any other, we hope.


I'll be honest, 4-6 on this list, I think are pretty much interchangeable to me. I've mixed the order five or six times at this point, but I do suspect that "Up in the Air", is probably the richest of the three. Jason Reitman's first time as a feature-length screenwriter along with Sheldon Turner, his follow up to "Juno", seems like it's gimmicky if you look back on it from a distance, but from up close, there's a touching tale of modern times and the struggling job market. Reitman did a few things wisely here, like hiring non-actors who were recently laid off of work for many of the interview segments, as the son of Ivan Reitman, he's probably grown up on more privilege than most. The main character is Ryan Bingham (Oscar-nominee George Clooney) who doesn't have a regular home or address, and spends his days on airplanes, travelling from town-to-town, hired to do the dirty work of laying off people for mass firings. He's even got a sidejob as a motivational speaker of sorts, known for helping people compartmentalize their life, using a metaphor of a backpack, and that's good 'cause that mass firings job, is possibly being replaced by Natalie Keener (Oscar-nominee Anna Kendrick) who he's now got to train the old-fashioned way, while she's working on using new media like video conferencing to fire people, without having to pay the extra fees of having people travel from town-to-town. The other woman in his world is another road warrior, Alex (Vera Farmiga) who he occasionally has flings with when they happen to be layovered in the same town together. It's through these two females that Ryan has to begin sorting through the rest of his life, right as he's approaching a milestone of ten million miles traveled in the air, and is considered a premium frequent flyer, complete with a extremely rare American Airlines Concierge Key, amazing even Alex, allowing him instant accesses through airports, which are essentially his home.The movie, coming out during the time of the recession was timely, and as Bingham instructs some of those now ex-employees to seek out their true careers and dreams, he himself has to begin sorting through his life. "Up in the Air" is a solid tragic-comedy that takes greater resonance, both in the script, which is masterful in the ways it's unpredictable and continues to surprise us, and in all three main performers, each perform very specific functions to the script. Clooney's performance is one of his very best, in a role that Cary Grant would've breezed through fifty years ago, he finds subtlety. Farmiga is sultry and loving, and Kendrick's performance, maybe the best of the three, still holding out for both love and career, and her demeanor goes from emotionless young professional to crushed little girl, as both those paths go out the window for her, showing just how difficult it is, to have it all, in a world where more and more and losing it all. The nuances in the script and performances are special, and Reitman takes a movie, that, in the wrong hands could've been more comedic and screwball than it is, and finds that rare line of reality, where we smile or laugh so that we don't cry.


Quentin Tarantino's "Ingourious Basterds", truly personifies pure, unadulterated free will, maybe in it's truest form. Tarantino's had a few themes in his work over the years, over-the-top stylized chew-the-scenery pulp characters, movies, a bizarre fascination with women's feet and shoes, and incredibly fun dialogue, and the true freedom of a use of free form storytelling in film. That's the part that Tarantino doesn't get credit; he has a belief that structurally movies should have the same freedoms as books, and begin and end, wherever in the story they want, while film is often more rigid to the 3-act structure and he's always looking for ways of circumventing and really, in a movie like this, the best way to do that is to introduce really get characters in really great scenes, and when they eventually come together, it'll seem natural. Borrowing the title from a 1978 B-movie, the three stories first involves the Basterds themselves, a rogue group of Nazi killing American soldiers who have run roughshot through the Nazis like an irresistible force, led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). There's the Jew, Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent) who escaped the grasp of Col. Hans Landa (Oscar-winner Cristoph Waltz in his breakthrough film) and now runs a movie theater that's opening a major Nazi war propaganda film, where Hitler will be in attendance. Famously, Tarantino rewrites the ending to World War II, to something a little more satisfactory than what the history books read and it's a brilliant example of freedom of expression, how to pull and take from all these numerous other sources that Tarantino does, and creates something utterly original and incredibly memorable, and a helluva lot of fun. My mother loved "Inglourious Basterds" and she hates WWII films, and Tarantino films, but took it together and you create something special.



There weren't that many great romantic-comedies in the previous decade (Or since), I only had three on any of these lists, but this might be the best of the bunch. Marc Webb's debut feature uses the same kind of backwards and forwards through time structure of "Annie Hall", but chronicles the entire relationship between Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) an architect who's currently working as a greeting card writer and Summer (Zooey Deschanel), who he falls in love with and they have a heartstring-tugging romance, but it's one where unfortunately, he's more in love with her, than she is with him. The reason I tend to rank "(500) Days of Summer" higher than the rest is that the film achieves something really special, in that really knows how to create the exact right moods and tones at the right time. Not just on the 500 day conceit timeline, it's a confident enough to know, when to do a Hall & Oates dance number, and powerful enough to know when and how to use split screen,- it's a journey into a character's mind. That's the subtle trick to this movie, is that it is one person's perception; if the movie was "(500) Days of Tom" and from Summer's perspective, we might get a completely different movie, but it's a movie that trusts it's perspective and vision really. That's why it's so memorable, as well as distinctive; it's not a normal by-the-numbers rom-com, this is one that constantly looks at the real peaks and valleys of a relationship, the emotional strains involved, and how we learn, grow and eventually get over those failed deceptions of the heart. It just happens to be funny and romantic as well, and incredibly well-done. This is a movie, you can put on, anytime, be entertained, and still feel like, you've gone through a truly real and heartfelt experience and too few romantic-comedies do that, and here's a rare, really, really special one.


The one film from 2009 that I have already added to the Canon of Film, and the number one of the year, might just be the one that surprises most of you, until you really consider just how balls-to-the-walls the film actually is. Take a story and a main character that, basically is written in such a way that you can literally do anything to this character and it would make sense, and get the craziest and most talented actor alive capable of doing the anything and everything, and to top that off, get the only director alive who will tell that actor, "Go right ahead, do whatever you want," It's an experience alright, number one of 2009 is Werner Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans". Herzog's been making great movies for decades, and amazingly I think you can put this one right up there with the likes of "Aguirre..." "Fitzcarraldo", "Strozsek", and all his other great works. It's actually a remake of the great Abel Ferrera film, with Harvey Keitel; that film is also a masterpiece, but Herzog doesn't just take inspiration from that story of a morally corrupt Little Italy cop, doomed to die from his own excesses; he turns that tragedy into a very dark, twisted, comedy taking place in Post-Katrina New Orleans. Nicholas Cage gives one of his all-time greatest performances as Terence McDonaugh, a cop who's so zoned out on drugs, women, gambling, and whatever other excesses he's on, it's impossible to tell half the time, whether he's hallucinating, whether he's deep undercover, or whether he's just a druggie covering up his own addictions and crimes. The scene alone in which he argues with fellow a fellow policeman, Val Kilmer, over whether there's an iguana on his coffeetable or not, has to be seen to be believed, and that's one of about seven or eight scenes like that. Basically, you gotta love a movie, that goes for it all everybody else, including other filmmakers be damned, and Herzog and Cage, pull no punches with "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans"; it's actually one of the rare remakes that even outshines a great original film. You can read more about it from at my Canon of Film post below, but you gotta admire and love a movie that goes that far out onto the line. You're either gonna embrace it for going with it as far as it does, or it's just gonna antagonize you, but you gotta admire the sheer audacity of a film like this, even in the year of "Inglourious Basterds", it stands out as going out there, and you gotta give a film like this props. Number one, with a bullet and a lucky crackpipe, "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans".


Well, there we go. Done with, this- project I guess is the word. Took long enough, and frankly, I'm glad to be done with it. It was fun and interesting in the beginning, but honestly, after enough time travelling, you really just want to move forward after awhile, and we'll do that in a minute. I promised a Top Ten of the decade , this time, no long explanations though, you've gone through a 100 of those, so I'm just gonna make a list, and like all these lists, they're pretty much only relevant to the exact second I'm making them, but if you're interested.... real quick, the Top Ten Best Films of the 2000's!


10. Minority Report

Steven Spielberg's best movie of the decade, the sci-fi/film noir action thriller based off of the Philip K. Dick short story; it's the movie "Blade Runner" should've been.

9. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

It might not be the most out there for the mad German, Werner Herzog, in terms of subject matter or even the way it's shot, but as an experience, it is.

8. Sideways

Alexander Payne's comedy that prefers the dark, about a road trip through California Wine Country and the women they meet  as well; it flows perfectly like a fine pour of wine should.


Who knew the best sci-fi film of the decade would be an animated film about a robot who manages to save humanity. Gotta hand it to Disney/PIXAR, in a decade of great accomplishments, this was their greatest.


This is a change from my Top 100 of all-time list, and while "Mulholland Dr." might be the more popular choice, the more I think about it David Lynch "INLAND EMPIRE", a three hour odyssey between the connection between films, the actors in them, the characters they play, and the audience's experiencing of them, is actually the better of his two landmark masterpieces this decade.

5. Once

The independent musical that could, John Carney's "Once". The poetic musical brief encounter between an Irish guitarist and a Czech pianist, would win at Oscar, and eventually at the Tonys.

4. Adaptation.

Spike Jonze's "Adaptation." of Charlie Kaufman's "Adaptation" of Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Theif", the film where the screenwriter writes himself into his own screenplay, and has to write his way out of the script and his life.

3. City of God

Fernando Meirelles's "City of God" the groundbreaking epic about the slums of Rio de Janiero and the ever-evolving and circulating drug wars that perpetuate the city.

2. Almost Famous

Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical "Almost Famous" his coming-of-age tale of life on the road covering an up-and-coming rock band as a teenage reporter for Rolling Stone.

1. Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola's study of two strangers in a strange land, finding each other to share their mutual loneliness together, the number one film of the decade, "Lost in Translation".

Well, I hope you enjoyed this series of blogs, but, time to move on.

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