When you look back on it, the past decade of movies stands up better than you might expect. It's easy to develop a low opinion of the movies that pass through our theaters since, admittedly, most of them are just not very good.
But the aughts have produced more than just cheap horror movies, terribly written dramas and stupid comedies. In fact, I had trouble narrowing this list down to 25. If I didn't include your favorite movie of the past decade, take heart in knowing that many of my own favorites didn't even make it. And I could re-write this list a month from now and it might look very different. So without further ado, here is my list Best Movies of the Aughts. Let the debate begin!
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
By turns hilarious, cerebral, tragic and uplifting. It's a love story combined with an inventive visualization of the human mind. The most original yet enjoyable film experience of the decade.
"No Country for Old Men"
Who knew a meditation on violence and evil could be so fun to watch? Many were unsatisfied with the anticlimactic last scene, but the film brilliantly explores fate versus chance in a society wracked by increasingly random violence.
"There Will Be Blood"
Paul Thomas Anderson's epic film is not always easy, but masterpieces rarely are. Captures the essence of two defining elements of American culture -big oil and big religion -in one stunning image after another. "I drink your milkshake!"
"The Lives of Others"
A sprawling, superbly written and acted drama. It's set in communist East Germany, but it captures this decade's obsession with spying and privacy better than any other.
Essentially a modern film noir, but it tells its story in a way we had never seen. A genuine viewing experience that lends insight into the nature of memory and justice.
"Shaun of the Dead"
This brilliant zombie-comedy takes parody to a new level and is simply the funniest thing I've seen in 10 years. Introduced the trio of director Edgar Wright and comedians Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to the movie world.
Jason Bourne trilogy
I'm cheating by not picking just one, but I can't choose. Possibly the three best action movies of the aughts, all in one trilogy.
This might be Pixar's best, which automatically qualifies it for this list. Perhaps the only time I've actually wanted a sequel.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Raised the bar for Hollywood blockbusters, fantasy movies and special effects that serve the story. Have you noticed
that the other epic franchises of the decade keep falling short of this one?
"The Dark Knight"
Not the artful film some fans say it is, but it's still better than any other comic book movie.
Rounding out the list:
11. "In Bruges"
12. "The Royal Tenenbaums"
13. "Food, Inc./ No End in Sight"
14. "Lost in Translation"
15. "Mulholland Drive"
16. "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance"
18. Harry Potter series
19. "Waltz With Bashir"
23. "American Splendor"
24. "Kill Bill, Volume 1"
25. "Let the Right One In"