And the lists just keep on coming

Posted by · 3:08 pm · November 16th, 2009

Russell Crowe in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldBetween now and December 31, we’re probably going to read more “best ____ of the 2000s” lists than we know what to do with. But we like lists, don’t we? And this only happens once every 10 years. Let’s not get blasé already.

So with the floodgates already open on “films of the decade” talk, there’s plenty more to fuel the discussion. Paste Magazine has a nicely balanced Top 50 that puts “City of God” in pole position, and wins extra cinephile points for putting Claire Denis alongside Peter Jackson in the top 10.

Meanwhile, The Times supplements their own collective with a (impossibly formatted) selection of Top Tens from assorted British industry figures, including Julian Fellowes and Richard Eyre. “An Education” scribe Nick Hornby wins top marks from me for a list that includes “Lantana,” “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” and “I’m Not There.”

But for my money, no list I’ve seen so far is as rich and well thought-out as Telegraph critic Tim Robey’s personal Top 100 — a corrective of sorts to the “films that defined the decade” list he compiled with his Telegraph colleagues, which took some flak on the web, these pages included.

Admittedly, Tim is a friend of mine — but I see no way anyone’s life wouldn’t be bettered by watching these 100 titles, though perhaps not in one sitting. (Needless to say, “Mamma Mia!” and “Saw” are nowhere to be found.) Four 2009 titles make his cut, the highest-ranking of which is “A Prophet” at #15. Others include the female-directed trio of “The Hurt Locker,” “Bright Star” and “White Material” … have you worked out yet why I love this list?

Seriously, like all the best individual lists, it tells you as much about the critic himself as it does about the decade. All in all, it gives me much to chew on (and a few extra titles to see) before I tackle my own list. (All I know right now is that my current #1 isn’t on it.)

For Tim’s full Top 100, click here; his top 10 is listed below.

1. “Mulholland Drive” (David Lynch, 2001)
2. “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (Peter Weir, 2003)
3. “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” (Cristi Puiu, 2005)
4. “There Will Be Blood” (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
5. “The New World” (Terrence Malick, 2005)
6. “demonlover” (Olivier Assayas, 2002)
7. “Yi Yi” (Edward Yang, 2000)
8. “INLAND EMPIRE” (David Lynch, 2006)
9. “Junebug” (Phil Morrison, 2005)
10. “Synecdoche, New York” (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)

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30 responses so far

  • 1 11-16-2009 at 4:07 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    How does “Little Miss Sunshine” keep showing up on these lists?

  • 2 11-16-2009 at 4:19 pm

    James D. said...

    Because it was incredibly moving.

    Juno and Hotel Rwanda disappoint me, though. However, it is a bold list, one that seems like it came from an actual human being.

  • 3 11-16-2009 at 4:20 pm

    Reuben said...

    I have a feeling The Assassination of Jesse James will rank really high on Kris’ list.

  • 4 11-16-2009 at 4:31 pm

    M.Harris said...

    Ten that I saw and picked out.Not in any particular order though.

    “Pan’s Labyarith”
    “City of God”
    “Lord of The Rings -The Return of the King”
    “The 40-Year old Virgin”
    “The Diving Bell And The Butterfly”
    “The Hurt Locker”
    “Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon”
    “The Departed”
    “There will be Blood”

  • 5 11-16-2009 at 4:58 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    James D: Whose list are you referring to? I can’t keep up!

  • 6 11-16-2009 at 4:59 pm

    Marlowe said...

    O/T: The great Edward Woodward is dead. I dunno about you, but I haz a sad.

  • 7 11-16-2009 at 5:01 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Pretty solid list, although I really don’t care for “Junebug” at all. Or the wildly ambitious, interesting, yet ultimately noble failings of “Synecdoche, New York.”

  • 8 11-16-2009 at 5:06 pm

    James D. said...

    Sorry Guy, I was referring to the Paste list.

  • 9 11-16-2009 at 5:16 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Oh, I see. The “actual human being” remark made me think you were talking about another individual’s list that I’d missed, since the Paste one is a collective.

  • 10 11-16-2009 at 5:19 pm

    Peter said...

    New ASM featurette

  • 11 11-16-2009 at 5:34 pm

    Zan said...

    How did Junebug fall into top tens? Alessandro Nivola’s performance is one of the worst I’ve seen in recent memory.

    I am not sure about inclusions like Millions and Whale Rider on Paste’s list, but there are a few highlights there.

    I think any list should include No Country for Old Men if There Will Be Blood is included. The decision that year was clear for me, but it’s at best a toss-up for the large majority of people that I know. I thought there was more nuance and character depth to the former.

  • 12 11-16-2009 at 5:44 pm

    Leona Lewis is Here said...

    Guy, when will you unveil your list? Cant wait to see that coming.

    Will you make it per year like Nathaniel R did? I thought it’d be more interesting because i could know your personal lists every single year.

  • 13 11-16-2009 at 5:45 pm

    Leocdc said...

    In that list is not Wall-e!!
    That’s completly wrong…
    Anyway there are a lot of great movies (but not Wall-e so… so so)

  • 14 11-16-2009 at 5:56 pm

    Jim T said...

    I think I am the only one who believes “Kinsey” belongs in the top 50 (at least) of the decade. Wonderful film!

    And why not “V for Vendetta”? Not even in one list? And I sense I will not see it in any future one. Maybe in a top 1000…..

  • 15 11-16-2009 at 6:11 pm

    Chase K. said...

    “Master and Commander” is wonderful. A very transportative sea-bearing action film, beautiful score and the last great Russell Crowe performance.

  • 16 11-16-2009 at 6:40 pm

    geha714 said...

    The worst performance in Junebug is Ben McKenzie. He shouldn’t be allowed to act again after that.

    It’s unbelievable how a mediocre movie like that contains an amazing performance by Amy Adams.

  • 17 11-16-2009 at 6:55 pm

    Daniel said...

    Eww at the thought of Kinsey or V for Vendetta on a top anything list. Maybe top pieces of crap! ;D

  • 18 11-16-2009 at 7:42 pm

    Ryan Griffin said...

    Master and Commander deserves to be towards the top of any list of this sort, at least top 10 I’d think. It’s a criminally overlooked and under appreciated film, I feel, and after many viewings is one of the few films of the last decade that I would say is near perfect throughout.

  • 19 11-16-2009 at 9:23 pm

    Marvin said...

    Fuck yes!! Yi Yi gets the light of the day.

    I like that guy’s personal list. Huckabees, Tropical Malady, Hable con ella and A.I. all feature among my personal favorites.

    Synecdoche, New York, while my #1 of ’08, does not feature among my top 20. I still haven’t figured whether to do my top 3 of each year and compile a list out of those titles or whether to come up with a list arbitrarily in some other way.

  • 20 11-16-2009 at 11:34 pm

    AdamL said...

    Fairly silly that they are foregoing some 2009 releases just so they get their list out first, or has Tim seen Avatar and Nine and Invictus? I doubt it.

  • 21 11-17-2009 at 1:00 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    @Leona Lewis Is Here: I don’t plan to unveil my list until after Christmas, at least. Haven’t yet decided how I’ll format it.

  • 22 11-17-2009 at 5:00 am

    André said...

    as someone born and bred in Rio and who went by City of God almost every day for a year on my way to school, I can’t really complain about having the film at #1.

    having said that, I’d probably put “There Will Be Blood” in the pole position.

    it’s funny, a lot of people complain about “the state of film nowadays”, but compiling these lists is actually pretty hard. if you think about it, there’s been a LOT of wonderful films in the past 10 years!

  • 23 11-17-2009 at 5:54 am

    tim r said...

    Humble thanks for the shout-out, and especially glad to find some fellow Master and Commander devotees on here! I normally expect that one to raise eyebrows.

    @AdamL, you raise a fair point, but I could wait until at least the second half of 2010 before seeing various “official” 2009 films (at least here in the UK). You have to bite the bullet at some point — plus, as you suggest, I was keen to put that Telegraph list in the shade as soon as I could. If I end up liking Nine, Avatar or even Invictus that much, I’ll simply revise the list to include them.

    At present, I wouldn’t imagine Dogville, my #100 pick, is all that vulnerable, but things could change. It’s killing me that I couldn’t get Nolan’s terrific Insomnia in as well as Memento, and Letter from Iwo Jima — easily my favourite Eastwood film of the 00s — was also unlucky to miss the cut.

    @Junebug‘s detractors, agreed that not all of the ensemble are Adams-level wonderful, but I like them all in different scenes and moments, and make no apologies for how much I love the movie generally.

    Dying to know what Guy’s #1 is!

  • 24 11-17-2009 at 5:57 am

    tim r said...

    (sorry, that should have read “Letters from Iwo Jima”)

  • 25 11-17-2009 at 1:21 pm

    Mark Kratina said...

    That’s a nice list but he, um, forgot The Dark Knight.

    Love it or hate it, any top 100 list of the decade is incomplete without it.

  • 26 11-17-2009 at 3:03 pm

    Chris said...

    I like these lists, many of my favourites are on them, actually my four favourite films of the decade are on Paste Magazine’s top 10, which I think is pretty cool.

    Only one thing: am I really the only one to think “Punch-Drunk Love” is a better film than “There Will Be Blood”? I don’t think any of these lists would agree with me… (Mind you, I love them both.)

  • 27 11-17-2009 at 4:17 pm

    Joel said...

    Chris, I love both, but “There Will Be Blood,” for all its ambitions, is flawed, and “Punch-Drunk Love” isn’t. You are not alone.

  • 28 11-17-2009 at 4:31 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “Love it or hate it, any top 100 list of the decade is incomplete without it.”

    I’d like to think a self-titled “personal Top 100” allows room only for “love-it” propositions.

  • 29 11-17-2009 at 7:05 pm

    mark kratina said...

    Touche, Guy.

  • 30 11-18-2009 at 1:08 pm

    jaybee said...

    Junebug’s a great choice. I loved Be McKenzie in that and of course Amy Adams was amazing.