As per usual with lists, they are all subject to slight change or altering. These are the movies from 2000-2009 that I think are the best, that are my personal favorite, that I was most moved by, etc. To avoid being redundant, I limited myself to only one film per director, even causing me to be surprised by some selections. But hear you go.
1.) Mulholland Dr.
It’s definitely not perfection (cough Billy Ray Cyrus cameo cough). But when it’s good, it’s the kind of film that makes you reevaluate your thoughts on all of modern cinema. The film’s dream logic is the stuff screenwriters are still kicking themselves for not coming up with first, and even individual scenes (the Winkie’s nightmare, Betty’s audition, the first lovemaking) stand on their own as magnificent pieces of filmmaking, only to be even more enriching when placed in the context of the whole thing. Just absolutely electric.
2.) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The most original and dazzling romantic comedy of all time? Michel Gondry’s visual inventiveness, Charlie Kaufman’s moving/quirky script and Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet’s best performances all coalesce into a masterpiece.
3.) Lost in Translation
A movie so tender and simple, it could have just dissolved if placed in another director’s hands. Yet Sofia Coppola makes this tender, simple moment of a movie something to behold. Bill Murray’s finest hour.
4.) No Country For Old Men
Every moment of the Coen’s tour-de-force feels pregnant with some hidden, mysterious subtext. Everything that is excellent about the filmmaking duo falls into the right place. It’s scary, thrilling and funny. Anton Chigurh is a shocking manifestation of modern evil. If it’s disarmingly quiet on the surface, the Coen’s are really showing us how calmly wicked we’ve become. Apocalypse now.
5.) Regular Lovers
Garrel’s exquisite three-hour elegy to youthful idealism found and lost (and found again?) has a crushing sense of finality, and not just in the suicide in the final minutes. This really may well be cinema’s last word on May ’68. Yet what a bitterly beautiful note to go out on.
6.) I’m Not There.
Exactly the kaleidoscopic, referential mish-mash we needed to have this decade. The Richard Gere segment is trash, and there are several moments (particularly in the Cate Blanchett parts) that verge on camp territory. Yet, watching I’m Not There, I felt every inch of Haynes’ love for Bob Dylan, for cinema, for artistic expression.
Often cruel, tasteless and boring, Lars Von Trier dares you not to admire his brilliance. Ballsy in its aesthetics (3 hours on a bare stage?) and casting (torturing the biggest movie star in Hollywood?), it takes its heroine through the moral ringer until its ridiculously cathartic climax. It may seem like all fun and games, until you realize how you’re responding to the displays of violence. Are we that much different than Dogville?