Since Gill decided to post his favourite films of the decade, I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon and post my own list, which I had written at the beginning of the year. Considering how many movies I have watched this decade, it was EXTREMELY difficult to narrow this list down to just 25. A lot of very deserving movies got the shaft by a very narrow margin, but I didn’t want this list to become exorbitantly long. Also keep in mind that this is a list of my 25 “favourite” movies of the decade, not the “best”, which means you’re going to see some titles on here that would never show up on the list of your average movie critic. It’s all based entirely on personal preference and, yes, I gleefully admit that there is some bias on display here.
25. Traffic (2000):
2000 is the year that propelled Steven Soderbergh into the upper echelon of Hollywood directors, as he managed the seemingly impossible task of garnering two “Best Director” and “Best Picture” Oscar nominations in the same year! While his Erin Brockovich was a very solid effort, Traffic displayed the director’s talents at their absolute best. Trying to condense an acclaimed six-hour mini-series into a two-and-a-half hour film is an unenviable task, but this film pulls it off as good as can possibly be expected. It’s an exciting, intelligent thriller, but given that the multiple storylines don’t intersect too much, it almost works as a series of thrillers which each have their own structure and payoff. And even though it covers a very serious and important subject, it never makes the mistake of preaching about it. Great performances all around and a very well-structured screenplay help make this the best ensemble piece to be released this decade.
Highlight: Michael Douglas’ big climactic speech.
24. Minority Report (2002):
This decade produced quite a few stellar science-fiction films, but this Steven Spielberg dazzler is still my personal favourite of them as it works on the level of both an action thriller and a futuristic film noir. Despite its high-tech special effects, the movie has the look of a 1940s noir that just happens to be set in the distant future. This showcases Spielberg’s gift for a manufacturing a very entertaining summer blockbuster that is a feast not only for the eyes, but for the brain as well, as the resourceful screenplay does a very good job at expanding Philip K. Dick’s original short story to feature length while maintaining its intelligent themes and questions about “fate vs. free will”. The film’s action setpieces are often both exciting and clever at the same time, such as the amazing chase sequence where the pursued have to use precognitive powers in order to manufacture an escape. This is one of the most complex yet satisfying achievements of Spielberg’s career, and one of the best pure entertainments of the decade.
Highlight: Spider robots!
23. United 93 (2006):
After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, people wondered if it was untouchable subject that Hollywood shouldn’t try to dramatize on film, but it would only be five years later that Paul Greengrass and Oliver Stone would both make mainstream movies about the subject and both of them would be surprisingly respectful. However, it was Greengrass’ dramatization of the events aboard United Flight 93 that left the most powerful impression, due to its documentary-style realism. The film contains no Hollywood phoniness or fabricated melodrama and works simply because it sticks to the facts and presents the events as they happened. The passengers on the flight are played by mostly unknown actors and many of the actual ground control personnel from that day play themselves, giving this story the credibility it requires and deserves. Some may think this movie is too harrowing or depressing to sit through, but I subscribe to Roger Ebert’s famous philosophy that no good movie is ever truly depressing, only bad ones are.
Highlight: The powerhouse finale where the passengers attempt to take back the plane.
22. Beyond the Mat (2000):
It’s no big secret that I am a lifelong die-hard pro wrestling fan, so I greatly appreciate any effort to educate non-fans about the strange universe of sports entertainment. Barry Blaustein, a screenwriter best known for penning Eddie Murphy movies, obviously felt the same way, so he decided to make a documentary about the subject, and even though this decade delivered a lot of excellent documentaries, this one still remains my favourite. This is a sometimes dark, but always entertaining look at a unique world that requires a lot of sacrifice to be successful in. It focuses primarily on three very fascinating subjects, Mick Foley, Terry Funk and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who haven’t always made the best life choices, but they each help break the stereotype and prove to the skeptics that wrestlers are not just dumb, brainless savages. Highly recommended viewing even for those who aren’t wrestling fans.
Highlight: Vince McMahon genuinely believes that a wrestler who can spontaneously puke is going to be a big cash cow someday!
21. City of God (2003):
A lot of great foreign films were released in North America throughout the decade, but this one is probably the best, mainly because it does such a convincing, realistic job of taking the viewer into a world that (hopefully) most of us will ever have to experience. This has been referred to a Brazilian slums version of Goodfellas, but the best reason to make that analogy is because the film is made with such a headstrong energy that potentially depressing material becomes riveting. There are some pretty shocking scenes involving children committing acts of violence, and the use of real-life street kids and authentic settings lends them a harrowing realism. However, director Fernando Mereilles maintains a fast pace, a hyperkinetic style, and an effective undercurrent of dark humour to keep the film from becoming a downer, and the final result is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Highlight: The amazing “chase the chicken” opening sequence. You go, chicken!
20. Baadasssss! (2004):
This little-seen, criminally underrated effort is simply one of the best films ever made about filmmaking. It chronicles the creation of the groundbreaking blaxploitation classic, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, and makes one realize just how much influence that low-budget cult film had on the portrayal of African-Americans in cinema. What really makes this stand out is that was made by a child who was around to witness the experience and now has the chance to portray his own father. Mario Van Peebles is mostly associated with B-grade action pictures, but he makes an amazing directorial debut here and gives a strong performance as his father, Melvin Van Peebles. While the film shows great love and affection for Melvin, Mario does not shy away from his displaying his father’s obsessive and egomaniacal side. The movie is constantly fascinating and also hysterically funny at times, as it showcases a passionate man risking everything and using all sorts of ridiculous guerrilla tactics to deliver a controversial film that winds up changing the course of cinema history.
19. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005):
I am an enormous fan of Shane Black, whose sharp screenplays for action classics like Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight made him the highest-paid screenwriter in Hollywood before he disappeared for nearly a decade. He finally re-surfaced to make his directorial debut with the enormously entertaining Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and succeeded at tearing down a lot of the action movie cliches he helped establish. This movie showcases Black’s sly writing at its best, delivering a very clever tongue-in-cheek film noir with an hilariously self-deprecating sense of humour that helps this rise well above its standard noir plot. This has fun with the conventions of the genre by simultaneously embracing and mocking them, and presents what may be the decade’s most entertaining “odd couple” combination in Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. It’s so rare to find a filmmaker poke fun at himself so entertainingly.
Highlight: The funniest Russian roulette scene ever!
18. Gone Baby Gone (2007):
Ben Affleck appeared in some of the biggest stinkers that were released this decade, but did a lot to redeem himself with his directorial debut, which showed him to have a lot of untapped talent as a filmmaker. Having been raised in Boston, Affleck was obviously the right choice to take on this project as he does a masterful job at capturing the ambiance of the city and its neighbourhoods, and also does a very good job at handling some pretty dark subject matter and holding together a very complicated storyline. This is a plot where the surprise twists are not just used to manipulate the audience, but to further establish the characters and their moral dilemmas. While the first adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel, Mystic River, garnered more acclaim, I’d say this one is slightly superior because I’m always fascinated by stories where the characters are forced to make incredibly difficult choices. The climactic decision that Casey Affleck’s protagonist makes here leads to one of the strongest endings of the decade as it invites long debates from viewers about what they would do in his situation.
Highlight: A morally ambiguous ending where Casey Affleck is forced to face the horrible ramifications of his choice.
17. Wonder Boys (2000):
As someone who’s had to withstand the pretentiousness that pervades creative writing classes and has felt the anxiety of writing a mammoth story that you don’t know how to finish, Wonder Boys really struck the right note with me and I feel it’s one of the more underappreciated films of the decade. This is a very witty, sharply observed coming-of-age tale with a premise that may not seem particularly original, but the entire film feels fresh from beginning to end. Unique, off-the-wall (but believable) characters and sharp dialogue make for a wonderfully quirky balance of comedy and drama, and it provides some very insightful observations about the creative process make this one of the best films ever made about writing. Michael Douglas give one of his career-best performances, Tobey Maguire has never been better, and Robert Downey Jr. steals the movie – and considering the problems he was facing at the time this was released, the film helped provide a much-needed reminder that he was one of Hollywood’s most talented actors.
Highlight: An ending where Douglas discovers the value of the “save” key.
16. The Mist (2007):
Considering the rocky history of adapting Stephen King’s works to the big screen, I didn’t really expect this to be one of the best horror films of the decade. However, this isn’t just a great horror movie, it’s a great MOVIE period! For this, we can thank Frank Darabont, who was known for doing great things with Stephen King’s non-horror works, but also showed himself to be quite adept at delivering a convincing presentation of King’s horror elements as well. This is a story that could very well have descended into camp, but Darabont is able to skirt the line very carefully and prevents things from going too over-the-top. The scenes involving the mist and the creatures inside of it are very well done, but what elevates The Mist above your average skillful horror film is its depiction of how frightening situations can bring out the very worst in humanity, and why the things that people will do to save themselves are often much more disturbing than the actual threat they face. Of course, it all leads to one of the most amazingly shocking endings in cinema history, which is different from the original ending in King’s story, but actually made the author envious for not thinking of it himself!
Highlight: One of the greatest, most ballsy movie endings of the modern era!
15. The Departed (2006):
When I first saw the superior Hong King thriller, Infernal Affairs, several years ago, I thought its premise was so clever that the cynic in me counted down the days until the inevitable Hollywood remake would arrive. I never dreamed that this remake would wind garnering “Best Picture” at the Oscars! This is the rare North American remake of a foreign film that actually manages to top the original, as they went all-out in assembling a top-notch cast and found the absolute right director in Martin Scorsese, who finally won his long-overdue Academy Award. This does what all good remakes should do by remaining faithful to the theme of the original while creating an identity of its own. Infernal Affairs was a good police thriller, but this story has been greatly expanded and is more of an epic police tragedy that delves a lot farther into its characters, and the hardships and difficulties of going deep undercover. It’s also very funny at times, filled with extremely colourful (and profane) dialogue and after many years of presenting the disreputable side of New York City, Scorsese does a masterful job at capturing the atmosphere of the Boston underworld.
Highlight: The bloody, shocking and surprise-filled climax.
14. Shaun of the Dead (2004):
Zombie movies came with a great frequency throughout this decade, but none of them were greater than this one, which is an absolute joy for fans of the “living dead” genre. The films of Edgar Wright And Simon Pegg are known for delivering the best of both worlds, as even though this is one of the best comedies of the decade, it does function pretty well on its own as a horror film. The filmmakers clearly love the genre they are spoofing, but treat it with the appropriate respect instead of just simply mocking it, a lesson that the best horror-comedies always know to follow. There’s a lot of clever satire on display here and plenty of in-jokes for fans of the genre, but the movie has so much good material that it can still be enjoyed by those who aren’t that familiar with zombie mythology. However, even though this is a horror-comedy, it’s also worth noting that Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are extremely underrated as storytellers. There’s hardly a wasted moment to be found here as every little thing they present to the audience has significance to the plot and winds up paying off in some way, proving that even though they’re “only” making a zombie film, they’re still putting more thought into their product than most “serious” filmmakers.
Highlight: Imitating zombies.
13. Casino Royale (2006):
I fully admit to being a hardcore James Bond fan who is easily entertained by almost all of 007’s movies, doesn’t ask for much from them, and has no problem ignoring their weaknesses (I gave Octopussy a ****1/2 rating and I stand by it!). That said, when they decided to re-invent the series to make Casino Royale, I thought the end result was a huge breath of fresh air and the best Bond film since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service hit screens nearly 40 years ago. Even though Casino Royale was the first James Bond novel that Ian Fleming wrote, legal reasons prevented them from ever doing a straight adaptation of it for many years (other than the godawful sixties version that was turned into a comedic spoof), so it was only appropriate that this version bring 007 back to the spirit of Fleming’s original creation. The first hour contains some terrific action sequences to satisfy the core demographic, but once the story arrives in Montenegro, it becomes a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the novel that focuses more on character and building tension than on action. The film provides a psychological exploration into the character of Bond that had almost never been seen in any of the movies before, and allows Daniel Craig to prove himself to be a terrific 007, both from an action and an acting standpoint. This series has been going strong for nearly fifty years now, and I for one hope it never comes to an end, especially if it continues in this direction.
Highlight: The introduction of a new 007 for the 21st century.
12. Almost Famous (2000):
It says a lot about the quality of this film that even though I’m not much of a music buff, I still got sucked into its nostalgia trip and found it to be one of the most purely enjoyable films of the decade. This is a warm, utterly delightful feel-good movie based on Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical boyhood experience of being a “Rolling Stone” correspondent who traveled on the road with a rock band, and even though it did only a fraction of the business that his “Jerry Maguire” did, it represents the high point of Crowe’s career. This is a hardly a film that examines the true dark side of life as a rock star in the 1970s, but it makes up for it with unique likable characters, witty dialogue, great period detail, and a kick-ass soundtrack. The performances are uniformly great as well, especially Kate Hudson, even though she would join the ranks of Cuba Gooding Jr. as an actor who got the role of a lifetime in a Cameron Crowe movie and would never be able to live up to it. Though the original version of this film is still great, the 160-minute “bootleg” DVD cut is even better and worth seeking out.
Highlight: Hold me closer, tiny dancer…
11. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005):
This turned out to be one of the most surprisingly well-received comedies of the last several years as director Judd Apatow took what could have been a thin, one-joke premise and did amazing things with it, and pretty much helped launch a style of comedy that would define the genre for the last half of the decade. In fact, you could almost say it helped a create a sub-genre called the “romantic comedy for guys”, films that are basically sweet good-natured love stories at heart, but contain a lot of hilarious raunchy humour to make them enjoyable for the male demographic. That’s exactly what The 40-Year Old Virgin is because even though it’s rude, crude and more than earns its “R” rating, it’s not mean-spirited and contains genuinely likable characters whom you care about. Of course, it also contains more big laughs than pretty much any comedy this decade and watching the DVD special features for this film shows how letting a talented cast improvise good material instead of rigidly sticking to a script can sometimes lead to comic gold. When watching the DVDs for this film and many of its similar follow-ups, it’s amazing to see how much genuinely funny material doesn’t even make the final cut!
Highlight: I’m sure anyone who reads this blog will identify with this clip ;-).
10. Slumdog Millionaire (2008):
Deep down, Slumdog Millionaire is your traditional rags-to-riches story that functions on the level of a fairy tale, but it works so well because it does what all great films should do: leaves you with a feeling of pure exhilaration and an upbeat perspective on life in general that stays with you long after it has ended. The character of Jamal Malik is one the most likable, sympathetic protagonists ever seen in a film this decade and it’s utterly impossible not to root for him to succeed. The portrayal of his early days in the slums are reminiscent of City of God, but since the narrative is constantly cutting back and forth between the past and Jamal’s present run on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the darker material doesn’t overshadow the basic feel-good nature of the story since you know Jamal will somehow eventually find a way out of his predicament. The screenplay utilizes the flashback structure brilliantly by gradually revealing the explanations for why this uneducated kid is able to answer a difficult question on the show, and the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire scenes often have just as much tension and suspense as most thrillers! This heavily hyped film became a monster sensation, but this one of those times when I can gladly use the words “deservedly so”.
Highlight: Nothing will cause you to leave the theatre in a better mood than a Bollywood dance number!
9. Memento (2001):
Before Batman turned him into a household name, this fascinating film helped put Christopher Nolan on the map as one of the top directors around, and Memento is a pure delight for viewers who like their movies to be a jigsaw puzzle and enjoy the task putting all the pieces together. Despite its non-linear approach of playing the entire story in reverse, the movie is still remarkably easy to follow and shouldn’t cause the viewer to grow confused. It uses the clever device of a second story thread involving a character named “Sammy Jankis” (which gradually grows in importance as the film goes on) as a buffer between each segment of the main narrative, so that the audience always knows where they are in the story and when it’s going to be moving backwards. It may seem surprising that a story that reveals its conclusion in the first five minutes could maintain suspense and viewer interest, but this movie pulls it off and builds up to a revelation that forces one to look at the story’s “conclusion” in a totally different light. Even though the DVD of this film allows the viewer to watch the whole thing in chronological order, that renders the entire experience pointless, as the purpose of its structure is to get you into the mindset of its main character. Should you get frustrated watching a movie in reverse order, then I guess it has perfectly captured the experience of being a person with the inability to create new memories.
Highlight: Being involved in a chase scene and then suddenly forgetting why.
8. Adaptation (2002):
No screenwriter of the last ten years has been more unique and original than Charlie Kaufman, but he really managed to outdo himself with Adaptation which breaks the fourth wall in ways that almost make one’s head explode. After taking an assignment to adapt a novel called “The Orchid Thief” into a screenplay, Kaufman found himself struggling with the material, so decided to write himself into the script and turn it into a story about his own troubles and anxiety with writing that very script! He even created a completely fictitious twin brother for himself and gave him co-screenplay credit, which wound up garnering a completely imaginary person an Oscar nomination! Needless to say, the movie’s one-of-a-kind blending of fantasy and reality is an acquired taste, but anyone who’s ever made any attempt to write a screenplay before will find the whole thing brilliant. No film has ever taken a better look at the creative process of screenwriting and while there are moments here that only a screenwriter could truly appreciate, the film still entertains on many levels. And just when you think you have everything figured out, the film goes in another unexpected direction for a truly ballsy final act, which actually dares to provide a demonstration of the things NOT to write into a script!
Highlight: Robert McKee’s outburst at his screenplay seminar, where he sums up screenwriting in a nutshell.
7. The Wrestler (2008):
As a wrestling fan, I waited a long, long time to see a fiction film that finally did justice to the “sport” I loved so much, but The Wrestler achieved that and so much more. It worked so well because it was a powerful, heart-wrenching character study that just happened to have pro wrestling as its backdrop. Mickey Rourke’s turn as Randy “The Ram” Robinson may be favourite performance of the decade as he has to be on-screen in every single scene and somehow manages to make the character likable and sympathetic, even though he’s a very flawed figure who’s made a lot of mistakes in his life. The performance is so impressive because not only did Rourke’s acting have to be stellar, but he had to train to be a convincing professional wrestler from scratch and learn how to perform difficult maneuvers on his own, which makes his work a stunning achievement from both an emotional and physical perspective. The film’s depiction of the life of a wrestler and its portrayal of the industry in general is completely accurate and spot-on, making this is essential viewing even for non-wrestling fans, who may gain a better appreciation for a business that’s predetermined, but is not as “fake” as people believe.
Highlight: Randy the Ram makes a conscious decision to go out on his own terms.
6. Hot Fuzz (2007):
Shaun of the Dead may have been a great film, but I believe the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg duo actually managed to top themselves with Hot Fuzz, another spectacularly funny comedy that is a pure delight for action movie aficionados. It does the same thing for action movies that “Shaun of the Dead” did for zombie movies, as it gleefully milks the cliches of the genre before tearing them apart in genuinely unexpected ways. Hot Fuzz contains many of the same elements that made Shaun of the Dead so good: it respects the genre that it’s spoofing, and displays some very strong storytelling as even the smallest details in the plot wind up having some purpose or payoff. It also contains a lot of clever in-jokes for action buffs, but is still funny enough to appeal to viewers who aren’t big fans of the genre. However, what really propels Hot Fuzz into the stratosphere is its finale, which has to be seen to be believed. After lulling the audience into thinking that the movie’s going to follow a standard action movie formula, the filmmakers decide to take the plot in a completely wacky, unexpected direction, which leads to a delightfully over-the-top action climax that’s one of the most entertaining and hilarious sequences to be seen in a film this decade.
Highlight: Undoubtedly the greatest action sequence I’ve ever seen involving senior citizens!
5. The Dark Knight (2008):
This was the most financially successful and heavily anticipated film of the decade and was the rare case of a movie that managed to manage to live up to all the massive hype surrounding it as it became the most beloved comic book/superhero movie of all time. Despite its comic book origins, it worked amazingly well as a standalone crime drama, which meant it was able to appeal to those weren’t even fans of comic book or superhero films. The movie contains so much great material that it must have been a daunting task to condense it all into two-and-a-half hours, but Christopher Nolan does a pretty amazing job at pulling it off, though it probably takes multiple viewings to fully absorb and appreciate everything. The casting choice of Heath Ledger as the Joker left a lot of people scratching their heads when it was first announced, but his sudden tragic death created a lot of extra buzz for his performance. In the end, however, his Oscar-winning performance was truly phenomenal, as he made the wise choice to not make the Joker into a cartoon, but instead turned him into a genuinely frightening individual who would wind up being the second-greatest screen villain of the decade (sorry, Heath Ledger fans, but my choice for greatest villain will be mentioned shortly). This film may have been the darkest summer blockbuster that Hollywood ever produced and has raised the bar very high for blockbusters from this point on, but in the long run, that can probably only be a good thing.
Highlight: The Joker’s disappearing pencil trick.
4. Million Dollar Baby (2004):
This is an amazingly powerful drama that seems like it’s going to be a formula boxing movie, but constantly goes in directions that you do not anticipate and winds up packing a huge emotional wallop by the end. It does some pretty daring things that leave an audience debating the decisions of its characters long after the film is over. Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman won well-deserved Oscars for their outstanding performances, but people tend to forget that Clint Eastwood also turned in what is probably his career-best performance as well. Together, they wind up creating three of the most interesting and memorable characters seen in a film this decade, who take the viewer on quite a journey and keep us truly invested in their ultimate fates. I may not consider Clint Eastwood my all-time favourite director, but I can’t think of many filmmakers that I flat-out respect more than him. After establishing himself as one of the biggest movie stars of all time, Eastwood did not choose to spend his golden years coasting on his fame, instead making the decision to take on a second career as a director who constantly takes chances and seeks out unique and challenging projects. He has built up a very impressive body of work that have only added to his legacy, but this one is probably his career masterpiece.
Highlight: Morgan Freeman knocks out a young punk.
3. Grindhouse (2007):
It saddens me that a movie that placed so high on my list can’t even be watched on DVD in its original version. This was an experiment that obviously didn’t connect with everyone, which is why the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino double feature of Planet Terror and Death Proof was released as two separate movies on DVD. However, watching it theatrically was one of the most fun moviegoing experiences of my life, so I believe that both movies should always be watched back-to-back for the full Grindhouse experience. On the big screen, the full three-hour version of Grindhouse didn’t just feel like a movie. It felt like an event, and reinforced the importance of actually going to the theater to watch movies instead of just renting or downloading them. I’m a huge fan of grindhouse cinema, and I can tell you that Tarantino and Rodriguez captured the essence of it perfectly, and that making an intentionally cheesy movie is an art that’s very difficult to pull off. The theatrical experience provided two tremendously fun B-movies for the price of one, highlighted by a hilarious selection of fake grindhouse movie trailers in between them, which unfortunately, have yet to see the light of day on DVD. Out of all the films released this decade, Grindhouse probably gave its audience their money’s worth better than any other!
Highlight: The fake grindhouse trailer for Machete, which was so well-received that it actually became a real movie!
2. Inglourious Basterds (2009):
This film was yet another project that Quentin Tarantino had been working on for many years, making people wonder if he was losing his touch, but once again, the final result more than satisfied his fans and turned out to be one of the most entertaining films of the decade. This is filled with brilliant moments of Tarantino’s trademark dark humor and sudden graphic violence, and is a great example of the director’s genius for blending genres, delivering a movie that resembles a spaghetti western that happens to take place during World War II. Per usual for a Tarantino film, there are quite a few long, deliberately paced dialogue scenes, but they’re so masterfully written and succeed so well at building tension that they don’t create impatience within the audience, and the eventual payoffs are well worth it. This film is not afraid to throw historical accuracy out the window and confound audience expectations at every turn, and also provides what is probably the greatest screen villain of recent memory in Nazi Colonel Hans Landa, “The Jew Hunter”, played brilliantly by Austrian actor Christoph Waltz. It says a lot about the overall quality of Inglourious Basterds that it is able to succeed even though there are long stretches of the film when the Basterds aren’t even on-screen!
Highlight: Ooh, that’s a bingo!
1. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 (2003-2004):
Yes, I’m aware that it’s probably cheating to put two separate movies as my #1 pick! And I know it’s going to look like I’m suffering from a severe case of Tarantino fanboyism by putting so many of his films at the top of this list… but it’s my list, dammit! However, I can’t deny the fact that Kill Bill was originally written as one long screenplay, and after finally getting the chance to watch Volume 1 and Volume 2 back-to-back on the big screen last month, I feel justified in ranking them as one, and believe that when viewed as a single four-hour-plus movie, Kill Bill beats out every other film this decade. However, I cannot deny that when viewed as two standalone movies, both volumes are still amazing. Vol. 1 is a violent, energetic, blood-soaked dream for martial arts lovers, while Vol. 2 is a more deliberately paced, thoughtful and introspective spaghetti western, where action often takes a back seat to character and dialogue, but there are still plenty of memorable setpieces to be had. Both volumes are distinctively different, but they are still a joy to behold. Quentin Tarantino had not directed a film for six years before delivering this epic story, and he was able to silence the cynics and remind the world how awesome he truly was. The ultimate Kill Bill extended version may never see the light of day on DVD, but that would be a huge shame, because the entire story as a whole is a masterpiece!
Highlight: Bill is killed!
Okay, since you’ve read this far, I might as well reveal the film from this decade that I hated the most, which almost drove me into a violent rage when I saw it…
1. Gerry (2003):
You wouldn’t think a film that combined the talents of Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon and Casey Affleck would be my pick as the worst film of the decade, but you’d be dead wrong! Chances are most of you haven’t seen this one, but that only means there’s a 103-minute patch of your life that you’ve made a better use of than me. All I say is that Randall’s rant about Lord of the Rings in Clerks II perfectly applies to this film! It’s about two guys who go on a hike through the desert and they walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and get lost… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… ooh, wait they find a rock! And they climb it… and they get down… and they walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… and walk… but then get exhausted. So they crawl… and crawl… and crawl… and crawl… and crawl… and crawl… AARGH! I’m getting angry just thinking about it!
Proof that I’m not exaggerating: