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:
Kill Bill: 1&2
Into the Wild
4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days