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What we most enjoyed watching during the '00s

With 2010 well underway, we thought it was time to reflect on the last ten years of film in list form. We all went to our respective corners, whittled a decade of movie watching down to a workable list of 15 films, ranked them in order (a nausea-inducing task for some) and submitted them to our inventory office. The folks upstairs then put on the DVD of Donald In Mathmagic Land for inspiration and began their sophisticated tabulation procedures to make order from our madness. This list is a bit messy--some of us put Lord of the Rings as a trilogy and some singled out particular films, while all of us who voted for Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 lumped them together as a single work of art--so that had to be sorted out. We also picked some films that were technically released theatrically somewhere in the world in 1999 but came out on DVD in 2000, so those have been grandfathered in (below we give the year it was released in theaters). Some staffers picked films that would likely end up on others' Worst of the Decade list, but that's what you get in a cinematically diverse workplace staffed by passionate people. We'll continue to debate the results; let us know what you think after you peruse our Top 100 films of the decade: 100) Requiem For A Dream---Darren Aronofsky, 2000 99) Ponyo---Hayao Miyazaki, 2009 98) The Man Without A Past---Aki Kaurismaki, 2002 97) Team America: World Police---Trey Parker, 2004 96) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest---Gore Verbinski, 2006 95) Time Out (Laurent Cantet, 2001)--Perhaps the most suspenseful film I've ever seen. What's it about you ask? Some tool who quits his job and lies about it to his family. That's it. Sounds mundane as hell, until you watch this amazing thing and enter into his world of lies, deceit, and pretending to be someone he's not. Then, you twist and turn and sweat for 134 short, short minutes. Lauren Cantet, who also directed Human Resources and The Class, is making movies like nobody else today. His films regularly show up on year end lists, and thankfully, this one made the decade cutoff so I could include it.--Mark S. 94) 2046---Wong Kar Wai, 2004 93) Machuca---Andres Wood, 2004 92) High Fidelity---Stephen Frears, 2000 91) Redbelt---David Mamet, 2008 90) The Departed---Martin Scorsese, 2006 89) Beau Travail---Claire Denis, 2000 88) Hedwig and the Angry Inch ---John Cameron Mitchell, 2001 87) Man On Wire (James Marsh, 2008)--This movie is incredible. You know from frame one that this man will survive his daring illegal high wire walk between the twin towers, yet you sit in nervous suspense. A great document of an event that still seems too good to be true, it reclaims the memory of the World Trade Center without once mentioning 9/11. - Bryan T. 86) Broken Embraces---Pedro Almodovar, 2009 85) United 93---Paul Greengrass, 2006 84, 83, 82) Tulse Luper Suitcases--Part 1: The Moab Story Part 2: Vaux to the Sea Part 3: From Sark to the Finish (Peter Greenaway, 2003-2004)---Greenaway utilizes a toy chest of digital editing tricks to manipulate screen space and sample and loop images and sounds in what is undoubtedly his most modern-looking film. It would be unbearably pretentious were it not so darkly humorous and fun to watch. With gusto and a touch of meticulous fascism, Greenaway's typical obsessions play-out, sometimes literally in list form, in the tale of a man who can't keep himself out of prison. It is also, ostensibly, about the history of uranium, and part of a much larger project (that may never happen).---Laird 81) The Saddest Music in The World---Guy Maddin, 2003 80) Irreversible---Gaspar Noé, 2002 79) Black Book---Paul Verhoeven, 2006 78) Up---Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, 2009 77) Birth---Jonathan Glazer, 2004 76) Miami Vice--Michael Mann, 2006 75) The Piano Teacher---Michael Haneke, 2001 74) A Prairie Home Companion---Robert Altman, 2006 73) Bad Education---Pedro Almodovar, 2004 72) 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days---Cristian Mungiu, 2007 71) Hunger---Steve McQueen, 2008 70) Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001) & A Prairie Home Companion (#74) – Shortly before he left this world, Robert Altman gave us two wonderful gifts, in some ways the richest films he crafted in his 55 years of filmmaking. Both are stories set in a contained world during a finite amount of time, yet the locales could not be more different. Gosford takes place on an English country estate and Prairie unfolds in a small Minneapolis theatre, yet both contain a depth charge that, when revealed, will resonate in the viewer's mind long after leaving the theater. Also, Altman got some of the finest actors in the world to work on these meditations on love and death and family (Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Eileen Atkins, and Michael Gambon, L. Q. Jones to name a few, and yes let's forget about Miss Lohan please,) and in doing so, added immeasurably to his completely singular blend of improvisation and mini-epic. --Mark S. 69) Mean Girls---Mark Waters, 2004 68) American Psycho---Mary Harron, 2000 67) Best of Youth---Marco Tullio Giordana, 2003 66) Blade 2---Guillermo del Toro, 2002 65) Morvern Callar---Lynne Ramsay, 2002 64) Dirty Pretty Things---Stephen Frears, 2002 63) I Heart Huckabees---David O. Russell, 2004 62) The Lives of Others---Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006 61) The Science of Sleep (Michel Gondry, 2006)--This film wears a Gigantic Heart on its sleeve, a heart hand crafted out of the most amazing material found in a thrift store that contains only the most original and exciting things that you have never seen before but somehow remind you of fond memories and better tomorrows. –Phony T 60) All About My Mother---Pedro Almodovar, 1999 59) The Taste of Tea---Katsuhito Ishii, 2004 58) Iron Man---Jon Favreau, 2008 57) Darwin's Nightmare (Hubert Sauper, 2004)--An impending sense of doom quietly permeates every frame of this powerful documentary. Centered mainly around Tanzania's fishing industry, the end sum is more horrific than anything else, fiction or non-fiction, that graced a screen this year. I may have lost faith in humanity. - Laird 56) Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai---Jim Jarmusch, 2000 55) Werckmeister Harmonies---Bela Tarr, 2000 54) Cache---Michael Haneke, 2005 53) Persepolis---Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, 2007 52) Lost in Translation---Sofia Coppola, 2003 51) The Proposition---John Hillcoat, 2005 50) Let The Right One In---Tomas Alfredson, 2008 49) The Wind That Shakes The Barley---Ken Loach, 2006 48) Waking Life---Richard Linklater, 2001 47) Marie Antoinette---Sofia Coppola, 2006 46) Perfume: The Story of a Murderer---Tom Tykwer, 2006 45) Borat---Larry Charles, 2006 44) The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters---Seth Gordon, 2007 43) Grindhouse (Planet Terror & Death Proof)---Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, 2007 42) District 9---Neill Blomkamp, 2009 41) 25th Hour---Spike Lee, 2002 40) Volver---Pedro Almodovar, 2006 39) Eastern Promises---David Cronenberg, 2007 38) Pan's Labyrinth---Guillermo del Toro, 2006 37) The Triplets of Belleville (Sylvain Chomet, 2003)---To date, Sylvain Chomet has made one animated short, one live action short, and one feature, yet I truly believe that in 100 years his work in animation will dwarf all who came before and since. Well, ok, maybe Miyazaki and Brad Bird could sit at the same table, but that's it. Triplets has so much going for it that it stuns me every time I look at the thing. Nearly wordless, yet the lovely score/soundtrack, amazingly rich characters, and most of all, astoundingly detailed, hand-drawn animation make this film a singular experience not only for the decade, but for the century.--Mark S. 36) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000)---Naysayers grumble that Ang Lee's film was a glossy, award-baiting attempt to make a foreign film palatable for US audiences, but I don't understand how people can fail to see beauty in this dazzling film. Part coming of age story, part romance, part action, all epic, delivered with skill and force by Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi, plus incredible fight scenes choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping. You're probably due to watch it again. - Jen 35) Battle Royale---Kinji Fukasaku, 2000 34) The New World---Terrence Malick, 2005 33) A History of Violence---David Cronenberg, 2005 32) The Pianist---Roman Polanski, 2002 31) Synecdoche New York---Charlie Kaufman, 2008 30) Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World (Peter Weir, 2003)---This is a perfect movie. A historical epic about the minor and major events (war and scientific discovery) that shape civilizations. Also, it has boats and explosions.---Travis 29) Old Boy---Chan Wook Park, 2003 28) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind---Michel Gondry, 2004 27) I'm Not There (Todd Haynes, 2007)---I'm Not There is easily my favorite movie of the decade. I could go into all that mumbo jive about how the film is a deconstruction of myth and celebrity, an artsy take on the biopic, a tour-de-force character piece for some of the finest actors working in Hollywood today, a faithful love note to an American folk hero, an imaginative exploration of persona and how we create who we are out of what we know. But I won't. I just love Bob Dylan. --Jason D 26) Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada---Tommy Lee Jones, 2005 25) In The Mood For Love---Wong Kar Wai, 2000 24) Amelie---Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001 23) Wet Hot American Summer (David Wain, 2001)--One of the questions we get asked the most around here is 'Can you recommend a really good comedy that I haven't seen?' Yes, we can. 95% of the time, we're gonna send you upstairs to grab this movie. So, go ahead and grab it. If you don't think it's funny, I suspect you also hate pizza and think kittens are ugly. - Travis 22) The American Astronaut---Cory McAbee, 2001 21) Inland Empire---David Lynch, 2006 20) Punch Drunk Love---Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002 19) Inglourious Basterds---Quentin Tarantino, 2009 18) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King---Peter Jackson, 2003 17) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers---Peter Jackson, 2002 16) Shaun of the Dead---Edgar Wright, 2004 15) The Incredibles---Brad Bird, 2004 14) Mulholland Drive---David Lynch, 2001 13) O Brother Where Art Thou---Joel Coen, 2000 12) There Will Be Blood---Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007 11) Wall-E---Andrew Stanton, 2008 10) Adapatation---Spike Jonze, 2002 9) Zodiac---David Fincher, 2007 8 and 7) Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2---Quentin Tarantino, 2003 & 2004 6) The Dark Knight---Christopher Nolan, 2008 5) Spirited Away---Hayao Miyazaki, 2001 4) Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring---Peter Jackson, 2001 3) No Country For Old Men---Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007 2) The Royal Tenenbaums---Wes Anderson, 2001 1) Children Of Men---Alfonso Cuaron, 2006 You'll find all of these DVDs (except for Broken Embraces, which is currently playing at The Egyptian) in our special rental section at the front of the store (just look for the crow wearing a crown). Again, we invite you to weigh in on these choices and share your own with us here and in the store.