Top Ten Movies of the Naughts

Selecting a Top 10 of anything is like choosing a favourite kid if you were the Duggars. They’re all special in their own way and any of them could be a part of this list.

With that in mind, there’s going to be some of the “children” that won’t be included but should be mentioned (To Judd Apatow fans…I’d like you to know that plenty of your movies were on the shortlist but just didn’t make it…though I love you just the same.)

So take this list for what you will and compare it to other lists across the board. No one list is 100% correct but if movies keep popping up on other lists…there’s probably a good chance they deserve there.

My main criteria were: -Memorability of characters, Timelessness of the story, and Re-watchability.

Also, I’ve linked the previews of these movies on the right to help you jog your memory.

Let the countdown begin…

…As always, all trays should remain in their upright position during takeoff and landings.

10. 8 MILE (2002) – Eminem, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer

One part allegory of the “Little Engine That Could” (yes, that’s also an allegory), one part grimy gangster flick, one part Rap Battle. This movie makes the list primarily on the skills Eminem brings to the table. He plays himself (cleverly named B. Rabbit) and retells his days before he broke it big. This movie is the 2000’s version of Rocky but with words instead of fists. And for those of you who doubt Eminem’s skills as a freestyle rapper and thinks it’s all hype…check out this

9. ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (2004) – Will Farrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Christina Applegate

I hated this movie when it first came out. I really really did. I made bile rise up in my throat and I thought the only palatable scenes involved Steve Carrell (“I Love Lamp.”) Now: This movie grows on you like a glass of scotchy, scotch, scotch, down to my belly. It’s infinitely quotable like Dumb and Dumber and Office Space in the 90’s. “The only way to bag a classy lady is to give her two tickets to the gun show (kisses biceps) and see if she likes the goods.” Stay classy, World!

8. ALMOST FAMOUS (2000) – Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a teenage journalist for Rolling Stone in the 70s while riding along with an up-and-coming band who think of themselves bigger than they are? This story is loosely based on writer Cameron Crowe’s own experiences as a fledgling journalist and carried the authenticity that you can’t help but appreciate. Filled with amazing performances from Kate Hudson (as Penny Lane) and Patrick Fugit (as teen journalist William Miller), and so many memorable scenes of life on the road, this comedy-drama as a bit of everything. Also, it was a snapshot of future stars of the 2000’s before they got big including Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl), Rainn Wilson (The Office), Anna Paquin (True Blood), Jimmy Fallon (SNL, and Late Night), and Zooey Deschanel (she’s everywhere now). You’ll want to relive the 70’s over and over again…in a good way.

7. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007) – Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin

No other movie has spawned so much range of feelings as this movie has. I’ve heard people describe this Coen Brothers thriller as one of the best movies ever made…and others who think it was a waste of two plus hours of their lives. There has yet to be a person who rests in the middle ground. The polarization, I’ve learned, has come from the ending which takes more than one viewing to understand. The only concensus is the role of serial killer Anton Chighur (pronounced Sugar and played by Bardem) is one of the most terrifying villians in cinematic history. He’s ranked right up there with Hannibal Lecter in pure evil. I wouldn’t want to meet either in real life. And I could never look at a Captive Bolt Pistol without a shiver going down my spine…not that I’ve never seen one before this movie. If you want to be truly terrified, give this flick a try.

6. DONNIE DARKO (2001) – Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze

Time Travel. Alternate Realities. Mind-Altering scenes. Numbers. And a twisting thought that will keep you guessing until the very end. Yes, in 2001, a single movie had encompassed the entire plot of ABC’s “LOST” before JJ Abrams introduced us to that island in ’04. Add to that a giant demonic talking bunny and a depressed teenager trying to decipher it all (Gyllenhall), and you’ve got one of the best movies of the decade. You won’t see the ending coming…but you’ll understand it…mostly. And even on repeated viewings you’ll learn new things you missed before. The depth of this movie is unparalled by few others.

5. JUNO (2007) – Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman

Halifax-born Ellen Page stars as the title character in one of the smartest teen comedy-drama…no strike that…one of the smartest comedy-drama’s period…of any genre. The wit and pace of this movie about teenage pregnancy is unlike anything else besides Warner Bros’s Gilmore Girls. Don’t expect the typical teenage girl lost and downtrodden when she learns she’s pregnant and underage. Juno is a girl that tackles her issues head on with poise and humour. This movie is not only thoughtful but funny (at times hilarious). Nominated for 3 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actress for Page, and Best Original Screen Play) and won for Best Original Screen Play. I can never get tired of this movie.

4. WALL-E (2008) – Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Fred Willard

Animation has improved leaps and bounds in the past twenty years. And computer animation has always pushed the envellope in what we see on the screen. WALL-E became a perfect storm of brilliant computer animation, one of the most original scripts in history, and slapstick comedy. Not since Johnny-5 from the Short Circuit movies have I cared so much for a little robot. WALL-E often times was more human than the humans he was programmed to clean up after. A morality tale about how messed up our planet can become if we don’t fix things ourselves. There’s enough here for both children and adults alike. And when the first third of the movie has no dialogue to speak of…yet, still keep kids in their seats, you know you have something special. And when Disney creates this, it just ups it’s coolness.

3. AVATAR (2009) – Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Who would’ve thunk that James Cameron would’ve produced one of the greatest movies of the decade that is released a short two weeks before the end of it? There were so many red flags when the previews started coming out. The most expensive movie in history (Cameron claimed this title when he directed Titanic in ’97), he created special cameras from scratch just for the movie, the great majority was CGI coupled with live action. Usually when this much is spent on special effects, the story suffers (see 2012 released in 2009). Not so with Avatar. Not only is the story amazing (a fable of how everything on this strange distant planet is interconnected by spirit…or is this such a strange notion?), not only does it flip the script and make humanity the alien invaders, you walk out of this 3D experience as if you just watched something about 5-10 years ahead of it’s time. All movies will be filmed this way by 2020. Don’t worry if you don’t like sci-fi movies, don’t worry that there might be nothing for you…there will be…I promise.

2. LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003) – Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

In more ways than one, this movie (and it’s 2 equally worthy prequels) paved the way for movies like Avatar to be created. I could’ve easily used up three spots of the top 10 for this trilogy but I opted to only have this one represented because it is the best of the bunch and it won Best Picture for that year. In the early ‘oos, this Trilogy was all that people could talk about and it has eclipsed the original Star Wars trilogy as the best of all-time (sorry hardcore Star Warriors). Breathtaking scenery, epic plotlines, and memorable characters. It is so easy to get lost in this series. For those Lord of the Ringers out there (I’m so bad with pet-names for groups), yes, Peter Jackson IS doing a live action movie to Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” (the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy). And he’s split it into two parts to be released around Christmas 2011 and 2012. I’ll be in line.

1. THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) – Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Another sequel? As your top 2 movies of the decade? Are you insane? Marginally…but if you look back, the Naughts could be remembered as the “Decade of the Sequels (and Remakes)”. No other decade has produced so many “easy money” scripts from sure thing commodities like video games (Doom), successful franchises (Shrek, Harry Potter, Saw), or tried and true  remakes (The Departed, I Am Legend, King Kong). It’s no surprise that one of them was bound to be the cream of the crop.

The Dark Knight is the highly overachieving sequel to the revamped darker and grittier Batman series which began with Batman Begins (2005). The first movie was an alright affair but nothing to write home about. But the second movie is all about Heath Ledger’s Joker. Rarely does a movie elevate to an upper echelon because of one supporting role. This is/was Ledger’s greatest role and every other Joker will be compared to his genius portrayal. He pulls you in with every scene until the point where you start to root for the villain over the hero. He makes the Joker sadistic, disturbed and fun. I couldn’t help but think about the famous A Clockwork Orange “Singing in the Rain” scene.

The greatest villain of all time? I think so. Sadly, we won’t see him again. RIP Heath Ledger.

Here take a look and see if you agree:

I’m sure most you will think I’ve made some glaring omissions but this is only my opinion. What’s yours?

Alright Judd Apatow fans…go at it!


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