18 November 2009

The Times Online's 100 Best Movies of the Decade

As someone who is a self-proclaimed film snob, I was a little put off reading The Times Online's list of the hundred best films of the decade. Admittedly, I have not seen a fair number, but there are certainly some glaring omissions and some titles that have no business being included.

100. The Devil Wears Prada
As I have already discussed in this blog, The Devil Wears Prada has the absolute worst film ending I have ever seen. The article calls it satirical and soft-centred, and while I enjoyed the film (mostly due to Meryl Streep) I would definitely not include it in any list a hundred best anything.

98. Crash
The 2005 winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, Crash, was a surprise winner (with many predicting Brokeback Mountain to claim the award--a film I have zero interest in seeing). The highlight of the film is Sandra Bullock's unexpected performance. While the film is worth seeing once, I do not believe that it ranks amongst the best of the 2000s.

95. Amores Perros
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's first feature film is brilliant, and it is fascinating to watch how the stories are linked together. I think that it is absolutely pathetic that his second film, 21 Grams (with a sublime Naomi Watts) is not included much higher on the list.

88. The Royal Tenebaums
Wes Anderson's film The Royal Tenebaums is a brilliant film (and according to my personal list of the best films, the second-best film of the decade). Anderson and his group of actors (including Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston and Owen Wilson) have proven to skilled film makers, and even if his recent films have failed to live up to the promise of The Royal Tenebaums, it is a remarkable film.

72. The Hurt Locker
As only a handful of films released this year that are included on the list, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is deserving of its place. I wish I had been warned that I would suffer from severe motion sickness watching it, and I am eager to see the film again in the comfort of my own home on a smaller screen.

63. There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood may soon be regarded as a cinematic masterpiece. It is a shame that it is ranked so low. Daniel Day Lewis' performance was so compelling that it is a shame that Javier Bardem's performance in No Country For Old Men overshadowed it in 2007.

56. Volver
This is the film that made me fall in love with Penelope Cruz. Pedro Almodovar's 2006 film is a wonderful study of character and family.

52. The Constant Gardener
Fernando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener is a beautifully crafted film with a incredibly moving performance from Rachel Weisz. This film was so close to being included in my top ten, and is a must-see film for everyone.

42. The Incredibles
I think I must be the only person in the world that did not love The Incredibles. I found it to be the weakest and least enjoyable of all Pixar films.

29. Being John Malkovich
Spike Jonze's film Being John Malkovich is a wonderful journey into absurdity (somewhere I would consider living permanently). Charlie Kauffman's screenplay and Spike Jonze's vision combined with amazing performances from John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener make this film incredibly enjoyable to watch over and over.

21. Good Night, and Good Luck
George Clooney's second attempt at directing was so painful to watch that I wish I had never seen it. It has no business in the top one hundred films, or even in the top 200.
While the story itself is not very compelling, it is the excruciatingly slow pacing that ruins the film.

9. The Queen
Sure, Helen Mirren won an Oscar (and every other award) for her role as Elizabeth II, but Penelope Cruz was a revelation in Volver and Kate Winslet was breathtaking in Little Children. I fully believe that The Queen is an overrated film that indulges the film industry's proclivity to honour well-acted and dry period pieces.

6. Slumdog Millionaire
This year's Oscars finally had a film that could be, and was, embraced by everyone. Slumdog Millionaire is well-acted, visually amazing and beautifully directed. We will have to wait a number of years to feel its lasting effect, but it is certainly a film that was well deserving of every single one of its many accolades.

2. The Bourne Supremacy/The Bourne Ultimatum
Is it fair to combine both films? They were both enjoyable action films, but neither showcased Matt Damon's acting ability (but is there a film that can make him look like a real actor?). I love Joan Allen (and why is her film The Contender not on the list?!) and she is reason enough to see both, but neither are worthy of the second spot.

1. Caché
This film was so boring that I could not even finish watching it. Juliette Binoche is a wonderful actress (watch Trois Couleurs: Bleu or The English Patient), but this film was way too slow. After reading through the list of the top one hundred films of the decade and seeing this ranked number one, I felt like it was a joke.

There are some wonderful films that were neglected, and my list for the decade would have to include, in no particular order:
-Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and Match Point (2005)
-Todd Field's Little Children (2006) and In The Bedroom (2001)
-Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man (2009)
-Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby (2004) and to a lesser extent Mystic River (2003)
-Baz Luhrman's Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Rob Marshall's Chicago (2002), which made musicals relevant again
-David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises (2007), arguably his most complete film
-Sarah Polley's Away From Her (2006), which should have won Julie Christie an Academy Award
-Robert Altman's last great masterpiece Gosford Park (2001)

1 comment:

  1. I'm horrified by some of the things on this list. Seriously? I'm glad you pointed it out to me because honestly there is something wrong with the people at the Times.

    The Wedding Crashers?! My god.