Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #1

1.  The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

Three Rings for the Elven Kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-Lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

            Well, I guess technically this list is a top 13, but whatev.  These movies are all part of one, singular story…albeit a 10-hour story (13 if you have all of the extended versions, which of course, nerds like me do).  Anyway, like I said in my No Country post, my choice to put this at number one is obvious and somewhat uninspired.  But what are you gonna do?  I mean, LOTR is simply an amazing cinematic feat, and much like my viewpoint of Avatar, even if you didn’t particularly enjoy it, the level of achievement is undeniable (in fact, it was only after James Cameron saw LOTR that he felt it was possible to make Avatar). 

            Let me just say at the outset that the films have their flaws, most notably the wooden acting in some parts by Elijah Wood as Frodo and Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee, although these would have been very difficult and challenging roles for anyone.  Many times when I go back and watch the films I find myself tuning out during the Frodo-Sam-Gollum scenes in The Two Towers and Return of the King (they’re all the same…Gollum tries to get Frodo to do something, Sam gets mad at Gollum and tries to get Frodo to not listen to him, Frodo stands up for Gollum while staring into the camera with a glazed look in his eyes, Sam comes back and saves the day eighty times, etc…).  But I am willing to overlook a few flaws and I’ll tell you why: where in a movie like No Country For Old Men you have something as close to film perfection as there is out there, its aim was not nearly as high as LOTR was.  Picking No Country over LOTR would be like saying that someone who successfully climbed one of the Rocky Mountains unscathed did a better job than someone who successfully climbed Mount Everest with a few cuts and bruises (14K feet to 29K feet by comparison).  Attempting to touch a sacred work such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Rings trilogy took some serious cajones by Peter Jackson, and the fact that he did it justice is almost as amazing as the books themselves.  It’s as majestic, grandiose, spiritual, touching, subtle, mystic, fantastic, human, and downright entertaining as any movie out there.

Welp, that’s my list.  Hope your favorite movie of the decade made the cut.  In case you were interested, here are my top-10 films that almost made the cut, in no particular order:

The Departed
Kill Bill: 1&2
Finding Neverland
Into the Wild
Michael Clayton
Pan’s Labyrinth
In Bruges
4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #2

2.  No Country For Old Men (2007)

 “I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never missed a chance to do so. You can't help but compare yourself against the oldtimers. Can't help but wonder how theyd've operated these times. There was this boy I sent to the 'lectric chair at Huntsville Hill here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn't any passion to it. Told me that he'd been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he'd do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. "Be there in about fifteen minutes". I don't know what to make of that. I surely don't. The crime you see now, it's hard to even take its measure. It's not that I'm afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don't want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don't understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He'd have to say, "O.K., I'll be part of this world."        
                        —Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, “No Country For Old Men.”

            This is going to be my longest review 1) because NCFOM is my personal favorite movie and I could talk about it until I’m blue in the face; 2) because my number 1 isn’t that exciting and doesn’t need as much defense; 3) because many people don’t like, appreciate, understand, or comprehend this movie; 4) because I’d rather pretend I was a movie critic than a law student; and 5) because frankly, it’s my blog.   If you haven’t seen the movie, you should probably not read any further, first because of spoilers galore, and second because this is a challenging movie that requires one to form their own thoughts or opinions about it before reading someone else’s.  But afterwards, come back here and read my persuasive, poignant analysis of the second-greatest cinematic achievement of the decade. 

            People always ask me how this could be my favorite movie.  It’s an understandable skepticism; I mean, the movie is only two years old.  The best way for me to explain it is that I think the movie catered to my exact movie-going needs and desires, both technically and thematically.  Let’s start with the former.  First, you’ve got the book by Cormac McCarthy (of The Road and All the Pretty Horses fame), master of the modern western, as a blueprint for the script.  Then, you’ve got the Coen brothers directing—the perfect directors for capturing McCarthy’s stark realism.  Acting-wise, Javier Bardem effortlessly slaughters every second of his screen time as Anton Chigurh, one of the best villains to ever hit the silver screen (we’ll get back to this character in a minute).  Josh Brolin and Tommy-Lee Jones hold up their end of the bargain as well, playing “mouse” to Chigurh’s “cat” and the Sheriff caught in between the two (see above).  One interesting note: these are the three focal characters of the story, yet none of the three share any screen time with the other.

            One of the major themes of the movie is the idea of fate, emphasized by the ever-becoming-legendary “gas station scene,”  when an unassuming west Texas gas station owner involuntarily puts his life on the line at the hands of Chigurh’s coin flip.  His hypocrisy is exposed, however, in conversations with his victims as well as his untimely brush with a bit of fate himself.  As cool as this aspect of the movie is, it is eclipsed by the major theme of the movie, the idea that, well…this is truly “no country for old men.”  And that’s where the biggest complaint I hear about the movie comes in, the complaint that makes me turn green and do a Hulk-Smash, the complaint that makes me lose faith in humanity…

(I don’t know if I can say it…)


“The movie was great until the ending, which sucked.”


….ahem.  So.
            When Llewelyn dies, we see a shift in perspective for the rest of the story.  It becomes evident that Sheriff Bell is the focal point of the movie, and the cat and mouse chase is the backdrop to Bell’s inability to understand and catch up to an ever-changing world.  But don’t act like this was some sort of “surprise.”  Look at the quote at the top: this was the beginning of the movie!  Right after he says these words, the title flashes across the screen.  This should have been a huge indication to you about what this movie was trying to say.  Instead, you got up in arms that the resolution wasn’t what you thought it would be, that the good guy died, the bad guy got away, and the sheriff couldn’t catch him or make any sense of what happened.  While you were so preoccupied with being pissed that these things happened, you missed a beautiful, profound ending…one that will make an impression on you if you let it.  See, Bell chalks up his inability to understand the ever-changing world (and thus his inability to catch Chigurh) to the downfall of society…”As soon as sir and ma’am go out the window, the rest is soon to foller.”  What he fails to realize, until his conversation with his uncle near the end, is that the world has always been this way.  People from older generations have always viewed societal change as bad, thinking that our country is “going to hell in a handbasket.”  What his uncle makes clear to him is that his generation felt the same way, and the generation before that, and the generation before that.  Whether or not society actually is getting worse and worse, people have always thought that.   You can’t stop what’s coming.  No one ever has. 
            After some time has passed, and Bell has retired, we see in the last scene both Bell’s acceptance of these things, and ultimately death itself.  The last monologue of the movie is Bell recounting two dreams about his father that metaphorically represent this acceptance of death, and, in my humble opinion, it is some of most brilliant and haunting writing of any movie of this decade.  Read it, think about it, then go watch the movie again, as I am about to do.  You won’t be disappointed.
             Alright then. Two of 'em. Both had my father in 'em . It's peculiar. I'm older now then he ever was by twenty years. So in a sense he's the younger man. Anyway, first one I don't remember too well but it was about meeting him in town somewhere, he's gonna give me some money. I think I lost it. The second one, it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin' through the mountains of a night. Goin' through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin'. Never said nothin' goin' by. He just rode on past... and he had his blanket wrapped around him and his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin' fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. 'Bout the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin' on ahead and he was fixin' to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold, and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there….and then I woke up.
-Oh, and while we're at it, top-5 villains of the 2000's:
1. The Joker  (Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight)
2. Anton Chigurh  (Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men)
3. Bill the Butcher (Daniel-Day Lewis, Gangs of New York)
4. Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington, Training Day)
5. Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator)

I know I probably missed some good ones here so let me know yours!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #3

3.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

          Guess who actually likes romantic comedies?  This guy, that’s who.  Trouble is, Hollywood rarely makes a good one.  That’s because the people that go see romantic comedies don’t see them because they relate to them, or because the acting is good, or because the writing is good, or the plot is believable, or because the characters have more than one dimension.  No.  All they want is to see Matthew McConaughey or Zac Efron shirtless (heck, who doesn’t?).  So when a good rom-com does come around that is actually decent, it makes me happy.  Vicky Christina Barcelona, Knocked Up, About a Boy, these are just a few that come to mind when I think of good romantic comedies from the 00’s (actually, for a great list of rom-coms from this decade, read this article—and look what’s number one!).  I wouldn’t call any of these movies particularly great, but they are evidence that the romantic comedy genre can be done well with a little time and care given to writing characters and exploring real human thoughts and emotions about what love is.     And that’s where we get to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (hereinafter “ESOSM”), everyone’s favorite memory-erasing, hipster-glorifying romantic comedy, epically written by Charlie Kauffman and directed by Michael Gondry.  (By the way, if you’re ever watching a movie and you ask yourself “What kind of weirdo came up with this plot synopsis?”,  the answer is almost always “Charlie Kauffman.”  Thought I’d save you some trouble there).

            Anyway, ESOSM movie defines an element of relationships that is completely overlooked by the majority of filmdom, which is the element of “we have no idea what the heck we are doing.”  Many movies would have us believe that if it “feels right” then everything will work out in the end.  Does anyone even know what feeling right feels like?  I don’t feel like I know what feeling right feels like.  Whatever.  The point with ESOSM is almost the opposite—it may not feel right, it may feel close to right, or it may feel completely wrong—but underneath all of the BS fighting and bickering that tends to happen in any relationship (not mine though, duh), there may be something beautiful, something worth cultivating, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot if we don’t give it a chance.  Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet do a superb job of harnessing this conflicted mindset.  Enough cannot be said about their acting and on-screen chemistry in this movie. 

             When Joel sees Clementine on the train to Montauk at the beginning of the movie, he asks himself, “Why do I fall in love with every girl who gives me the slightest bit of attention?”  (Although, if Kate Winslet gave me some attention, I’d probably fall in love too).  The cool part of that scene is that it can only be really understood on a second watching, because at that point in the story we didn’t know that they had a relationship before they erased each other out of their memories.  So when he makes that statement, it wasn’t that he fell in love with her because she showed him attention; rather, it was because his subconscious was painfully aware of her—his immediate affection for her was something far deeper than he could explain or understand.  (Side note—guys, when your significant other asks you why you love her—as an alternative to your usual BS-ing, I recommend saying, “Honey, my love for you is so much deeper than I can explain or fully understand.”  It works.) 

            I’m realizing while writing this review just how hard being a *real* writer would be.  There is so much more I would love to say about this movie and I can’t seem to fit it in an appropriate length.  It speaks to me on so many levels, and its honesty and charm are second to none. 

Plus, Kate Winslet is hot, even with orange, blue, or bright red hair. 

-I’ve already mentioned some of my favorite romantic comedies from this decade, so this time I’ll let you guys list your top-5.  Ready. Go. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Comments & Note

Some of you guys have mentioned problems with commenting--I think I fixed the issue so let me know via facebook if you are still having trouble.  You are now free to argue with me to your heart's content.  

Also, I plan on finishing up the countdown by this weekend at the latest.  I will save you the suspense right now: Avatar didn't make the list.  

Monday, January 18, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #4

4.  The Dark Knight (2008)

              If you haven’t heard, or if you’re not completely obsessed with the film award season like I am (as well as a couple of my movie-freak friends), then you may not know that the Oscar category for Best Picture has been expanded to 10 films (formerly 5) for the 2010 awards.  First off, let me just say that I’m not even sure there were 5 movies in 2009 that are quality BP nominees, let alone 10.  Let me also say, that if James Cameron wins Best Director again for Avatar, then I might seriously quit watching movies.  But I will save my whining about this for a Mega-Oscar Preview before the awards in March.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, so in 2008 there were 4 movies that were favorites to be BP nominees: Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  The final spot was up for grabs, and there were two critical darlings that had an outside chance at claiming it, since no other prototypical Oscar movies seemed good enough (although I would argue The Wrestler should have been considered); and those two were Wall-E, and The Dark Knight.  So when the Oscar nominations were released, and we all found out that The Reader had claimed the fifth spot, the nerd-community just about exploded. 
             The outrage over The Dark Knight (and Wall-E) not being given a nomination was so immense that it pushed the Academy to make the decision to expand the BP category (nominating the films that were actually good enough would have been fine, but of course they had to take the difficult route).  So, I’m forever dubbing The Dark Knight “The Oscar Conundrum.” The reason I write all of this before going into my discussion of why I personally have it #4 for the decade is to point out what an impact it had on the movie business in general.  For the Academy to throw out 70-something years of tradition, they must have gotten completely trashed by people displeased with their choices last year.

Aren’t you glad you got that little history lesson?  Now, I will lay out why it’s #4, and leave it at that.  (Warning!! Extreme use of hyperbole follows!!)

1. Directed by “Neo” (see #5, Memento).  When it’s all said and done, Neo has a good chance of being as successful (both artistically and financially) as any American director ever, and I don’t care if you think I’m up my butt with that statement.  Every one of his movies is as deep as it is entertaining. 
2. Unequivocally the best superhero movie ever. 

3. Will stand the test of time—and even be more well thought-of in the future, a la Citizen Kane (no, I’m not comparing Knight to Citizen Kane).  When people look back on the 00’s, this is one of the first movies people will think of.  Mark my words.

4. Perhaps better so than any other film of the 2000’s, captures the feel of post 9/11 fear in America in a poignant way. 

5. Some of the most powerful, moving dialogue of any film in the 2000’s. 

6. Heath *bleep*ing Ledger.  Enough said.

-Oh, and while we’re at it, my top-5 personal favorite superhero movies of the decade:

1. The Dark Knight
2. The Incredibles
3. Spiderman 2
4. Batman Begins
5. Tie: Iron Man/X-Men
857.  Spiderman 3

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #5

5. Memento (2000)

            If you call yourself a film buff but haven’t seen Memento, go ahead and strangle yourself with your computer’s power chord.  If you’re not a film buff, here’s all you need to know about this movie for me to persuade you to watch it: it’s about a guy who is looking for his wife’s murderer.  The catch?  During the same event in which his wife was murdered, he suffered a blow to the head that disabled him from developing any new short-term memories, so he relies on writing down (and tattooing on himself) every thought or piece of evidence that could potentially help lead him to the killer.  And um, oh yeah—the scenes are shown in reverse-sequence. 
             Why is it #5 on this prestigious list?  Throw out the fact that it was directed by Christopher Nolan (aka "Neo"…and don’t worry, we’re not through with him yet).   Throw out the great acting trio of Guy Pierce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano.  Throw out the sheer entertainment of watching a movie where you already know the ending but are more interested in how we got there.  Throw all of that out, and what’s left is a film that still shines because of the original way of conveying its theme: reality vs. perception.  You see, because Leonard (the main character) can’t form new memories, all he has to work with is the information he records as he goes along.  He has to trust himself.  For him, reality only exists to the extent that he writes it down—otherwise it’s like it never happened to him.  Because Leonard’s acquaintances know this about him, they manipulate his reality to their own selfish advantage.  But that’s not it: Leonard also manipulates his own reality to his advantage, which is the genius aspect of this movie.  
           I don’t want to dig too deep into this discussion, first because it’s not a literature class, and second, because I’m too dumb.  But I will say this: unlike Leonard, we don’t have trouble forming new memories, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t manipulate our own realities to our advantage.  Have you ever told a lie to yourself and others so often that you actually forgot what the truth was?  Do you have a tendency to hear only what you want to hear?  We love to agree with “facts” that support our viewpoint, no matter whether they are true or false, and we love to disagree with “facts” that don’t support our viewpoint, whether true or false.  Sometimes, our reality is only what we want it to be.

In a way, like Leonard, we all have short-term memory loss. 

-Oh, and while we’re at it, the 5 most mind-bending movies of the decade:

1. Mulholland Drive
2. Primer (I implore anyone to figure this movie out after 1 viewing)
3. Synechdoche, New York
4. Memento
5. Donnie Darko
435. Identity

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #6

6. City of God (2002)

             City of God, or as I like to call it, “The better version of Slumdog Millionaire”, is my obligatory foreign language film for this list, although my naming it #6 is anything but obligatory.  The movie takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in a ghetto referred to as the “City of God” by its residents.  It spans the 70’s-80’s and follows the life of two young boys from the City of God, one who wants to get out of the lifestyle of drugs/guns/violence in the ghetto, and the other who seeks to become the most powerful crime-lord within it. 

            The fact that this is based on a true story just makes me shake my head: How could people live like this?  How could a society be so destructive?  The movie does not answer these questions in a way that comforts me.  We as viewers want reasons for why bad people do things in movies, no matter how stupid that reason is.  Take for instance the movie The Ring.  "So you’re telling me, that the reason you kill people after 7 days is because they didn’t make a copy of your retarded home video?  REALLY?"   But isn’t that a better answer than say, “She was a freaking deranged little undead girl and just felt like screwing with people.”  If the second answer had been the case, I would have walked out of the theatre and probably not slept that night, but since there was a reason, it didn’t bother me that a bunch of innocent people died.  And that’s the thing that makes City of God a great movie—it gives us no answers—just chills you to the bone.   Yes, a lot of the killing was related to drug wars, or money, and things like that, but the simple fact is that much of the violence and destruction in this movie had no rhyme or reason at all, and that’s scary.  Once scene in particular floored me—a 10 year-old is handed a gun and, at gunpoint, forced to shoot his 6 or 7-year old friend.  And that brings me to my next point…
           This definitely isn’t a film that makes us reflect inwardly.  It’s a commentary on society.  Yes, this movie takes place on a different continent two decades ago, but to pretend that senseless violence isn’t going on in our own backyard is would be intentionally closing our eyes to the truth.  I’m not trying to get all Michael Moore on you guys or anything (I would need a few extra pounds, a dirty t-shirt, a megaphone, and a few factual errors).  I’m not a politician, and I don’t have the answers.  But for me especially, to sit in my downtown Houston apartment and watch this movie while acting like I’m completely removed from it’s message would just be ignorant. 

(Steps off soapbox). 

Oh, and while we’re at it, top 7 Foreign Language films of the decade (going with 7 instead of 5 for this particular list)

1.  City of God
2.  4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
3.  Pan’s Labyrinth
4.  Amelie
5.  The Lives of Others
6.  Letters from Iwo Jima
7.  Let the Right One In
958.  New Moon (Okay, don’t really have a humorous foreign film to make fun of here, so I just went with the stupidest movie I could think of.  Although, 13-year-old girl language is kind of like a foreign language, so maybe this actually works?)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #7

7.  In the Bedroom (2001)

            I must warn you, my list takes a divergence here—numbers 10-8, while great movies, are fairly transparent thematically and were more concerned with surface-level entertainment value than inducing any real reflection from their viewers.  This little film, directed by Todd Field (—genius), does just that.  Of all the films on my top 10 ½, this one will probably cause the most controversy, and I can’t make any guarantees about whether you will like it.  All I can guarantee is that if you don’t go through some sort of moral self-reflection after watching this movie then there’s something wrong with you.  It’s very difficult to talk about this movie without giving too much away, but suffice it to say that the plot concerns a middle-aged couple from Maine who suffers a tragedy and tries desperately to cope, while they and the audience begin to question how far they are willing to go to ease the pain.  There, Ebert couldn’t have said it better himself.  Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek are just downright awesome as the leads, but the real star here is Field.  No other director would have made such seemingly boring scenes so intense and dramatic—scenes like watching characters mow the lawn, watch TV, smoke a cigarette, or wait to cross a bridge.  There is something about the quietness and subtlety of scenes like this that appeal to me as a moviewatcher.    Maybe it’s because I’m a creep and I’d rather watch people than actually have a conversation with them. 
           Watch these scenes with an open mind and study the expression of the characters as they go about coping.  Think about how you would react—how would you move on?  Would you move on at all?  Some of ya’ll will probably get bored while watching this movie, but trust me that there’s a payoff for paying attention to details.  Some movies make you think, some movies make you feel (good or bad), and some movies exist to entertain.  This movie crawls under your skin and lives inside your soul for a week, and defies you to consider your perception of who’s “good” and “bad” in society…just let it in.  The final 20 minutes will leave you speechless. 

-Oh, and while we’re at it, top 5 directorial debuts of the decade:

1. Todd Field, In the Bedroom
2. Martin McDonagh, In Bruges
3. Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
4. Fernando Meirelles, City of God
5. Judd Apatow, The 40 Year-Old Virgin

Friday, January 8, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #8

8.  Sideways (2004)

           “I like to think about the life of wine. How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive.  And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your '61.  And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline.”           --Maya, “Sideways”      

            This is one of those movies that everyone pretty much loves or hates.  And the people who hate it really hate it.  I, of course, love it, but I can totally understand those who hate it.  I mean, the two main characters are 1) a drunken wine snob with self-confidence issues that rival most 12 year old girls, and 2) a failed TV star and overly confident, self-proclaimed playboy who is intent to cheat on his fiancĂ© before getting married.  Not exactly the most inspiring cinematic duo ever.  I think guys generally like this movie more than girls, and I think that’s because the two characters I mentioned are really exaggerated versions of ourselves and friends that we’ve had/have.  No, I don’t have any friends that want to cheat on their spouse/fiancĂ© (that I know of).  But it seems like a lot of times with best-bud relationships that there’s always some version of the self-loathing/overly-confident dynamic; like I said, just less exaggerated than depicted in the movie.  Honestly though, there is some serious heart in this movie, and several scenes really strike an emotional chord with me, no matter how many times I see it (probably in the 10-12 range by now).  Some people, including my wife, dislike this movie because of the constant symbolism between wine and the characters in the film, like in the quote at the top.  To them it comes off cheap, but for me and others who like this movie, it really works.  I can’t do it justice by explaining it, and I’m not going to apologize for it.  Just watch it and see if it works for you. 
           Now that we have all of that out of the way, let me just add that beyond whether or not you like the story and characters, this is an extremely well-made film.  Alexander Payne is an absolute wizard from behind the camera, even throwing in some great split-screen sequences.  Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church both give the performances of their career.  Rolfe Kent adds to it with a great musical score.  Raise your glass and give a toast to #8 on the top 10 ½. 

-Oh, and while we’re at it, top-5 breakout acting performances of the decade:

1.   Adrien Brody, The Pianist
2.   Audrey Tatou, Amelie (She was already really famous in France, but this movie made her a household name in the U.S.,  so I’m counting it.)
3.  Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator
4. Paul Giamatti, Sideways
5.  Josh Brolin, No Country for Old Men (effectively moved him from the C-list to the A-list)
845.  Robert Pattinson, Twilight

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top-10 1/2 of the Decade: #9

9.  Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) & Ocean's Eleven (2001) 


           So sue me for having two number nines.  I simply could not separate these movies and like I said before, I almost passed out trying to cut one more movie off my list and I just couldn’t do it.  Plus, these two movies share a lot in common with each other and deserve to be neck-and-neck on the list.  These two movies don’t necessarily carry the clout with the critics as much as other movies on my list will, but in the “Adam’s Rear Window patented formula for determining how good movies really are,” rewatchability is a MAJOR plus.  Have you ever turned on TBS when Ocean’s Eleven was on and not watched at least 15 minutes of it before saying to yourself “holy crap, I’ve seen this at least 18 times and I own it on DVD why am I watching this?!” (If you’re like me, you watch 20 more minutes after asking yourself this question).  Or with Pirates, have you ever turned on the TV right as your about to leave the house and you’re like, “I know I’m running late for such and such but it’s about to be the part where Jack and Will go to Tortuga!” and then your wife looks at you like she regrets ever meeting you (once again, maybe just me)?  Anyway, these two movies top the list of rewatchability for me for this decade.  Johnny Depp gets better every time (despite Orlando Bloom getting worse every time) and garnered a best-actor nomination, and he’s the only person in Hollywood who could have made that happen.  Ocean’s Eleven has one of the most ridiculous casts ever, which could have been a bad thing except that you felt like they were really enjoying making the movie together, which just makes it more fun to watch.  Credit that to always-outstanding director Steven Soderbergh.

-Oh, and while we’re at it, the top-5 Brad Pitt Performances Ever (As opposed to top-5 movies starring Brad Pitt, huge difference):

1.  Fight Club (duh)
2.  Snatch
3.  The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
4.  Se7en
5.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
943.  Troy