Over on The Busybody Loren Rosson gives us a list of the Top 40 Films of the Decade.
Now, I enjoy Loren's posts on movies. His tastes are somewhat eclectic, his insights are great, and his enthusiasm for Ellen Page is the right and appropriate response to such talent.
But his list is. . .well, wrong. If I can lapse into my more primitive Counter-Strike persona, it is truly epic fail. He's in good company. Ebert's best of the decade is wrong too.
So here is the one, true authoritative top 40 list. We'll do them ten at a time, because I'm kinda busy over the next few days, and these type of posts can take awhile, if only for the link editting.
1) Un Prophéte (2009)
This didn't win the Palme d'Or because the panel was on drugs. It's the only explanation I can come up with. Not that The White Ribbon wasn't a brilliant film, but seriously. This is probably my new top movie of all time. If you only watch one foreign film this year, make it this one.
2) Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2002)
Raw. Visceral. Brilliant cinematography. I couldn't possibly say enough so it might be better that I don't say anything at all. Before this year it would have been number 1.
3) 4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) (2007)
Probably the last great film of the brief Romanian Invasion, and handily the best. While the broad outline is almost a cliché (A story about X in Soviet era Y), it's nonetheless one of the most powerful films you'll ever see. Long takes shot from one angle give the narrative a more "real" feel, moving the story along fluidly in a sense many dramas seem to lack these days.
4) Oldboy (2003)
Gripping screenplay. The excessive violence moves it solidly into exploitation flick territory, and the story requires perhaps a little too much suspension of disbelief. The frenetic pace and absolutely brilliant cinematography more than compensate for those shortcomings, however. Brilliant. That Spielberg is making an American Oldboy starring Will Smith is an affront to humanity.
5) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001) (2002) (2003)
I'm not sure that there's much to say about this that hasn't been said already. First American film(s) on the list come in at #5. If that doesn't make me a film snob, I'm not sure what does.
6) The Dark Knight (2008)
"Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
The only film Loren, Ebert and I all agree belongs in the top ten, though they both place it higher. The dialogue was fresh, the soundtrack quirky and as appropriate as anything Tarantino has ever had, and Ellen Page is--as always--brilliant. The one catch is that I wonder if Michael Cera will ever play anything that isn't a variant of "awkward kid from Arrested Development."
8) El laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) (2006)
Fairy tales as they were meant to be: grim, sordid, terrifying. But the real horror exists outside the dream.
9) Brick (2005)
Film Noir meets The OC with a smattering of old radio shows for good measure. The quirky dialogue seems more at home in a 1940's reading of Dragnet than a contemporary mystery set in a high school. This entirely bizarre combination. . .works. In a sense you'd never think it would. "Fun" in the sense that "wow, that was oddly genius."
10 Capturing the Friedmans (2003)
As we'll see in spots 11 and 12, my top Documentary was a tight, tight race. This one takes the spot for being a gripping narrative in a sense the next two aren't. You're obviously only getting half the story (a point made even clearer when watching the special features), but what a story it is.