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Top 100 Films of the Decade: 100-76

Like everyone right now I’ve decided to compile a list of my top 100 films from the decade.  My decisions are based simply on what I enjoyed the most and not necessarily on what’s the better film technically or artistically.  I see no reason why a film has to be emotionally draining, depressing, or have some kind of message in order for it to qualify as a good film.  Movies are meant to entertain and that entertainment comes in a variety of forms.  Hopefully my list will have a nice mix of genres to highlight my range of tastes.

In addition, there’s a great deal of films I haven’t seen yet which could have conceivably made it onto this list so it’s by no means definitive.

Just Missed Out

The Fountain (2006)
Thank You For Smoking (2006)
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Cabin Fever (2003)
Mysterious Skin (2005)
Infernal Affairs (2002)
Step Brothers (2008)
Hard Candy (2006)
Wristcutters: A Love Story (2007)
Waltz With Bashir (2008)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)

100.  American Pie 2 (2001)
The thing I like most about American Pie 2 is not the gross out humour but the realisation by Kevin that high school may be the high point of his life.  I remember when I was a kid and my uncle would always say that I’d look back on my time in school and remember it as the best time of my life.  I’d always laugh at him because who likes school, right.  But looking back now I think he was probably right.  That time spent with close friends on a day to day basis forms bonds that are hard to forget, and even now 13 years removed from high school and living on another continent, I still think I’d do anything for those old friends.

99.  The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2006)
A cowboy film like Brokeback Mountain but centered more on male bonding than true love.  This film seems to have slipped under the radar of a lot of people despite fantastic performances by Tommy Lee Jones as a man who forces the killer of his best friend (played by Barry Pepper) to transport his body across the border to his home town in Mexico.  It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a fantastic story about friendship and redemption.

98.  Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Finally another Sam Raimi horror after a long wait.  He should do far more of these than those God awful Spider-Man flicks.  What starts out as a fairly standard looking horror flick clearly becomes a “Sam Raimi” horror flick with the first fight between Christine and the gypsy lady.  That combination of horror and slapstick is what made Raimi’s Evil Dead series so good and it shines through in Drag Me To Hell.  I loved that after everything Christine went through she still didn’t escape her fate.  Any other horror movie would have the hot chick survive and that’s why I love Drag Me To Hell so much.

97.  District 9 (2009)
In my mind this is obviously a racial drama somewhat disguised as a sci-fi film.  I don’t think that was done to trick people into seeing it, but rather to expand the range of people who would see it.  There are some truly disturbing scenes in the film, most notably when they test the alien technology with Wikkus’ new arm and he’s forced to kill the aliens.  I certainly wasn’t expecting something as unsettling as that.  Then again, there’s also a great payoff when the action kicks in in the third act.  It’s a movie that I really enjoyed but strangely for me one that I’m extremely unlikely to watch again (I’ll watch movies again and again and again).  Plus I hope and pray they don’t make a sequel/prequel.

96.  Catch Me If You Can (2002)
The always likeable Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abernathy, the youngest person to ever appear on the FBI’s most wanted list, and is chased by Tom Hanks’ fraud guy.  It’s a harmless cat and mouse movie with some nice performances.  Christopher Walken is especially good as DiCaprio’s protective father, but the film succeeds mostly due to the effortless charm of DiCaprio.

95.  The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The weakest of the three Bourne films in my opinion but still some of the best action you’ll find.  Whilst I like Julia Stiles I think her inclusion in the film was done more out of seeming obligation than any real need story wise.  Bourne’s fight scenes and his use of every day objects to kill his enemies in brutal fashion continues to be impressive but it just seems like the film was a bit of a cash grab by the studio.

94.  Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Jason Segel finally gets to headline a comedy (which he also wrote) and whilst it at first seemed like a real step down in quality from the Apatow films it’s almost certainly gonna be compared to, on repeat viewings it continues to grow on me rather than grate.  The lovely Kristen Bell playing a kinda selfish bitch is a nice change of pace for her, plus the inclusion of Bill Hader, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Paul Rudd and tiny roles for Kristen Wiig and Jonah Hill make this a cast that I’m completely in love with.  I’m really hoping for more films written by and starring Jason Segel as he’s one my favourite actors to come out of the deadly duo of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared.

93.  American Gangster (2007)
I love gangster films and I love New York, so of course I’m gonna enjoy this film.  Denzel and Russell are great as always but the guy I enjoy the most in the film is Josh Brolin as the slick haired dirty New York cop.  Between this and No Country For Old Men he had a great 2007.

92.  Cloverfield (2008)
The backlash against Cloverfield seems like it was almost instantaneous after all the hype surrounding it’s viral marketing but I was a little late seeing it and really enjoyed it.  For the most part I avoided all the hype and marketing and went in only knowing who was involved with the project.  Sure you can find problems all over the place (who carries a handycam when you’re fighting for your life?) but I’m really not the type of person who does that with films.  I’m along for the ride and for me this was one hell of a ride.

91.  Extract (2009)
As a big fan of Office Space, Idiocracy, Kristen Wiig, Mila Kunis and Jason Bateman there was no doubt that I’d really enjoy this film.  It’s hard to boil it down to why I like it so much, but it just has that “feel” that certain movies have.  Everything works and connects and you’re left with a fun experience.  David Koechner as Nathan is the annoying suburban version of Gary Cole’s Bill Lumbergh from Office Space.  I was laughing my ass of when Kristen Wiig finally let him have it.  Kudos should also go to Ben Affleck for his great supporting role.

90.  The Go-Getter (2007)
I saw this as part of a Zooey Deschanel splurge and it sucked me in right from the beginning.  To me there are definite similarities to Into The Wild but it’s different enough to stand on it’s own.  Filled with a great cast (Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel, Jena Malone and Nick Offerman) it tells the story of a young guy (Pucci) who steals a car from a car wash which belongs to a lonely girl (Deschanel), heads to his old town to find a girl he thinks he loves (Malone) all whilst trying to find his half-brother to tell him their mother has died.  On his journey he talks to the owner of the car on a mobile phone and they start to develop a relationship built on shared confidences.  All in all it’s a beautiful film with a talented cast and an outstanding indie soundtrack.

89.  Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man had the misfortune of coming out the same year as The Dark Knight and it suffered somewhat because of that.  Any other year it would have been the summer standout but it kind of faded in the eyes of most people when Christopher Nolan unleashed his monster hit.  Robert Downey Jnr couldn’t have been a more perfect choice for Tony Stark and the film served as a pretty decent origin story too.  I expect Iron Man 2 to absolutely blow me away come April.

88.  Scream 3 (2000)
I know Scream 3 is a clear step down from the original but the franchise helped reinvigorate the horror genre in the mid to late 90′s and my fondness of the characters alone helps the film make my list.  The new cast isn’t too crash hot but I really liked Parker Posey and the wonderful Patrick Warburton.  The Carrie Fisher and Jay and Silent Bob cameos were fun too.

87.  Borat (2006)
Part scripted and part hidden camera, Sacha Baron Cohen’s creation became a cult phenomenon overnight and spawned about a million lawsuits from the dumb and ignorant people he encountered along the way.  Much better than both Ali G and Bruno mostly because of the naivety of Borat.

86.  Taken (2009)
Oscar Schindler throat punching his way through Paris is one of the best pure action films in years and it’s made all the better by the fact that he shows no mercy to the Sheik at the end.  I really didn’t think that Liam Neeson had it in him to be this badass but when he shot that French cop’s wife I was totally sold on him.  A great all around action flick.

85.  Michael Clayton (2007)
I don’t have the grades to be able to go to work for the type of massive powerful law firm depicted in the film, but if I did I’d love to have Michael Clayton’s job.  That kind of fixer who solves problems that are outside the law is almost certainly breaking ethical codes of conduct but it’s fun to imagine that this type of job might actually exist.  Seeing this flick actually reinvigorated me for my last two years of studying.

84.  The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
This is the type of quality flick that Rob Zombie is capable of when he’s not absolutely butchering horror classics (Halloween and Halloween 2).  I remember when Zombie interviewed Zack Snyder about his remake of Dawn of the Dead and he basically asked why he thought his remake should exist and why it’s better than the original.  Zombie should have thought of this when he embarked on his own remake agenda.  After House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects there’s no doubt that he has the talent to make good horror/slasher movies.  He should stick to coming up with new ideas rather than turning every horror classic into a mediocre white trash tale.

83.  Road Trip (2000)
This came out a year before American Pie 2 and at the time I had no idea whether or not there would ever be a sequel to American PieRoad Trip acted as a sort of sequel to American Pie in my mind because of the college setting and the presence of Seann William Scott.  It wasn’t that much of a stretch of the imagination to think of E.L. (Scott) as Stifler and the film as an extension of his story.  Of course, we ended up getting American Pie 2 and Road Trip now stands on it’s own as a great comedy.

82.  Bad Santa (2003)
A drunken anal sex loving social misfit works as a mall Santa in order to steal from a department store.  That doesn’t sound like a sweet and charming holiday movie but that’s exactly what Bad Santa ends up being almost entirely because of Billy Bob Thornton.  I can understand why the studio may have been a little hesitant to greenlight the film but I think the courage they showed in the project should be applauded.  It’s not too often that studios will take this kind of risk.  I wish they would though, that way we all might be spared from the endless barrage of remakes we’ve been seeing lately.

81.  Saved! (2004)
I’m a massive fan of Home Alone so it goes without saying that I like Macaulay Culkin.  Unfortunately he’s pretty much disappeared from Hollywood for good, but back in 2004 he re-emerged to appear in this great teen satire on religion and sexuality.  The cast is rounded out with a bunch of other young and talented actors (Jena Malone, Eva Amurri, Mandy Moore and Patrick Fugit) plus the supremely sexy Mary-Louise Parker.  Just a very good but highly underappreciated film.

80.  Jennifer’s Body (2009)
I know a lot of people hate Megan Fox and Diablo Cody.  I really like both of them and everyone else cast in Jennifer’s Body.  In a nutshell, the film follows the aftermath of a ritual sacrifice which goes wrong and turns Jennifer (Megan Fox) into some kind of succubus who feeds on the boys in her school in order to have a nice healthy glow whilst her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) tries to stop her.  Chances are I’m not gonna convince anyone to watch Jennifer’s Body if they don’t like Fox or Cody so I’m not even gonna try.  I’ll just say that I really enjoyed the film for the great young cast and some more of Cody’s inventive/weird dialogue.

79.  Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
Finally a film where Nic Cage’s manic performance actually fits with what’s happening.  I guess the film is a crime drama but the solving of the crime never seems to be the main thrust of the film.  Rather it’s the increasingly complex situations that Terence (Cage) gets himself into either to score drugs or pay off gangsters he’s crossed.  If anything, the film should be watched for the awesome scene where Terence pulls a MASSIVE gun on an old lady in a nursing home and her nurse.

78.  Inside Man (2006)
A fantastic heist flick with a bit of politics thrown in for good measure.  The film’s not so much a who dunnit or an are they gonna get away with it flick, but more of a mood building heist flick.  Director Spike Lee does a great job of setting the mood and feel of the film early on and the scene with Washington and Owen in the bank is pretty damn cool.  I haven’t seen many of Spike Lee’s films (only this, 25th Hour and He Got Game), but if they’re all as good as the ones I’ve seen then I’ll have to check them out real soon.

77.  Man on Fire (2004)
Back to back Denzel flicks with Man on Fire being a very strong abduction/revenge actioner that has Washington playing an alcoholic bodyguard to Dakota Fanning who’s abducted and killed.  Having nothing to lose after she’s taken he sets about fucking up anyone who had anything to do with it.  Kinda like Taken but with less throat punching and another persons daughter.

76.  Zoolander (2001)
I remember going to see Zoolander near opening day and being extremely disappointed in it because it was nothing like I expected it to be.  It was only a few years ago that I decided to give it another watch and I was amazed how much I enjoyed it.  Just a great satire with some fantastic actors (Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich, Christine Taylor) and some cool cameos (David Bowie, Billy Zane, Christian Slater, Natalie Portman, David Duchovny, Lenny Kravitz plus many more).  This is a comedy that I can watch on just about an endless loop and never get tired of.  And to think I could of been watching it for those six or so years between my initial viewing and when I gave it another shot.

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