1. Donnie Darko
3. Revolutionary Road
4. The Machinist
5. Mean Creek
6. Synecdoche, New York
7. There Will Be Blood
8. Requiem For A Dream
10. Lost In Translation
KILL BILL, VOL. 1 (2003)
my favourite. Impressive.
The Edge of Heaven by Fatih Akin
My favourites of the last decade
2. Lord Of The Rings
3. Let The Right One In
4. Shaun Of The Dead
7. This Is England
8. Pan’s Labyrinth
10. Donnie Darko
I forgot Dark Knight and Children Of Men
I’d say Sopranos maybe, though it’s not a movie.
I reexamined my top 10 recently and I say this distinction goes to- Downfall.
GIE,PASIR BERBISIK,Eternal sunshine of a spotlessmind,Departed,Spirited away
2. The royal tenenbaums
3. This is england
Trip Out (dir: James Hausler) is one of the best movies of the 2000s.
I’d rank it way up there
It’s all about Miami Vice.
First damn thing that popped up in this thread is “Gladiator” lol….
So, this clearly just turned into a “what are your favorite movies from the 2000s” topic, which is cool. But the original question was “What is the ONE film from the Double Aughts that could go down as one of THE greatest of all time?” Now obviously this is kind of a ridiculous question because there isn’t a single greatest movie ever, but I can see what this guy’s getting at, he’s curious as to which film from the past decade will join the ranks of cinema history and be remembered alongside classics, etc.
This is still an incredibly difficult question to answer. It looks like Mulholland Drive and There Will Be Blood are the popular choices here. I can’t quite get behind the former as the greatest film of the decade, nor do I think it’ll be remembered as such (although it is great) and as much as I love There Will Be Blood, I think No Country for Old Men and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford were more interesting films from the same year, but again, There Will Be Blood is more popular/revered/etc. by cinephiles (from what I’ve seen) so I think for that reason, and for DDL’s performance, it might be remembered over the others.
Personally, however, my pick would be Synecdoche, New York or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. When I think of the “aughts” my mind I guess goes to Kaufman and I think these are by far his best scripts and films (I realize Gondry directed the latter). I think Eternal Sunshine is more successful in a marriage of originality, creativity, style and content – but Synecdoche is wildly ambitious and no other film I’ve seen has tried to capture so much about life, and for me it was extremely successful. It’s wholly unique and probably my pick for the decade.
my top ten in no particular order:
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
The Royal Tenenbaums
A Bittersweet Life
Children of Men
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Gone Baby Gone
1. Mulholland Drive
2. INLAND EMPIRE
3. Talk to Her
5. Rachel Getting Married
6. 25th Hour
7. Vera Drake
8. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
9. My Winnipeg
10. The Royal Tenenbaums
Fwiw, I think there is a difference between a film that can stand alongside the greatest films ever made and a film that is the best of a decade. The former would necessarily qualify as the latter, but latter wouldn’t necessarily qualify as the former (at least in the way I think of the two).
In any event, I’m interested in the reasons you chose the films you did (e.g., Mulholland Drive, Eternal Sunshine, Synechdoche, Dogville, etc.)—specifically what separates these films from just good films? I’m also wondering if you distinguish a film that you really live versus a film you think is really great.
Why do you look to Kaufman as an important filmmaker for the 2000s?
I’ll speak briefly to Eternal Sunshine and Synecdoche, because I feel those are fantastic films (in my upper echelon of favorites), but I do mean briefly otherwise I’ll ramble and start being inchorenet. Both films deal with universal themes (which is why I think they will endure). For Eternal Sunshine – relationships, memory, love/loss, sadness, nostalgia, insecurity, bliss, etc. The list really could go on forever; it takes what I think is an ingenious premise and actually uses it to accurately capture and explore these themes. And Kaufman’s style/content finds the perfect marriage in Michel Gondry’s beautifully surreal and unique camerawork/editing. There are of course, more personal reasons why this resonates with me too. I’ve blocked out gigantic portions of my life in order to move on (maybe not the healthiest means of moving on but that’s another matter) and in going on the journey Joel does in the film, I can feel parts of me I’d forgotten existed, stirring. I recall memories I thought were lost. I’m forced to think about things I’d rather not and I have some sort of catharsis. Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve watched it (I can only watch it so often), but someday I’ll write a full piece on why I think it’s so great. I hope this sheds some light on why I value it though. Give me Eternal Sunshine and Annie Hall and I don’t need any other film about male/female relationships. Everything else is secondary.
My love/appreciation for Synecdoche, New York is even more difficult to articulate, but I’ll give it a shot – it’s somehow even more idiosyncratic for Kaufman and yet simultaneously universal, after all its most prominent theme is mortality, explored through a character, an artist, who doesn’t know how to live. The concept of death is something I’ve devoted a lot, possibly too much, time thinking about so naturally I’ve sought out many films that deal with death and mortality; Synecdoche nails it for me the same way Eternal Sunshine nails memory/relationships. It illustrates the passage of time in a very interesting way, how one can live their entire life tunnel-visioned, stifling their own personal and artistic potential, unaware that “there are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose…” The film shows how we are so fixated on ourselves, to a fault, yet we are so very dependent on other people. It shows that our lives are unique, independent experiences and yet somehow all the same. I know it sounds trite. It also tackles art and what it means to be an artist. About trying to achieve perfection in art, or such a level of honesty that it hinders your ability to create in the first place. Synecdoche examines ego and lack thereof, gender roles, narcissism, hypochondria, and isolation. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It also sheds light on the beauty in life, however fleeting, and is surprisingly and very darkly funny. Anyway, this ended up being very rambly and potentially incoherent (what I try to avoid!) and for that I apologize. It’s what happens when I try to sum up my feelings/thoughts on this film. It’s a tough one. But cathartic as well. Every frame or exchange of dialogue has layers of meaning (for me anyway) and they present questions (about the narrative of the film and questions you should ask yourself). It provides answers sporadically, when their honest, and when there are no answers it doesn’t attempt to create them. I’m just gonna end this here. Hope you got something out of that though. Have you seen the film?
And finally, why do I think Kaufman’s an important filmmaker of the aughts? A few reasons, I suppose.
1)He is one of the only screenwriter-as-auteurs I can think of, and he carved out a position for himself as a screenwriter that no one else has in my opinion. Not to mention he capped off the decade with his directorial debut, which was his most personal and polarizing work, something that ups his status.
2) He has a wholly unique style – of course he has noticeable influences (Kafka, Lynch, Philip K. Dick, etc.) but I think he kind of started the whole “metaphysical” (a term I don’t think Kaufman likes) trend as of late in cinema, right? At least, he seems to be the only person who can do it the way he does it. He blends surrealism, humor, and honesty like no other in my opinion.
Anyway, I don’t think he’s the most important filmmaker of the decade, definitely not, but his is certainly one of the names that came to mind when I thought about it.
Oh, and the scores for both films by Jon Brion are amazing :)
Thanks for the response!
For Eternal Sunshine – relationships, memory, love/loss, sadness, nostalgia, insecurity, bliss, etc.
First let me say that I do think the film is a worthy candidate for one of the better films of the decade. Having said that, I’ve thought a little about what the film is about, and my conclusion so far is that it’s basically a love story. At first I thought it might be an interesting examination into the nature of memory and its relationship to love, and some of the other things you mention. However, I don’t think the film offers any insights into these issues—but I also don’t think it’s meant to. I’d be more interested in hearing the insights you think the film offers about these issues.
As for Synechdoche, NY, I have seen it, but I can barely remember it. To be honest, I’m not sure if the film is a good one or not, as I haven’t really “dug too deeply.” To me, it’s a kind of puzzle movie that needs to be figured out though, and I haven’t really done that.
Fwiw, I agree with what you said about Kaufman. (The fact that he’s an screenwriter who is also an auteur is not that big a deal to me—although I do think he is an auteur—but I do think he’s one of the more creative and clever post-modern filmmakers; and in Eternal Sunshine and possibly Synechodoche, he’s used this cleverness effectively, making a fully unified movie, one that is not clever just for clever’s sake.)
For the most aesthetic genius, The New World or Mulholland Dr.
For sheer formal perfection and virtuosity of craft, No Country For Old Men.