My Decade at the Movies
// January 3rd, 2010 // Making Arab
At the end of each year most people put together a “Top 10” films of the year list. I do have a 2009 best of list of my own. But I thought, instead of the best film of one year, it would be interesting to try and narrow down the best ten films of the past decade.
This decade was filled with years of learning and growing. I finished both high school and college. Saw loved ones pass on. Moved away from home. Fallen in love. Had my heart broken. Wrote and produced an award-winning short film. Travelled to Europe. Chose my career path, and tried to fulfill my dreams of becoming a writer and filmmaker. And through it all I have experienced great works of art in the film genre.
Here is a list of my favorite films of the past decade. The ones that have moved me, inspired me, and made me love movies even more than I thought possible.
10. The Pianist (2002) I saw this movie in high school and it broke my heart. I only saw it again six years later and remembered everything about it. It’s a hard movie to watch emotionally but beautiful at the same time.
9. Almost Famous (2000) Cameron Crowe’s best film and Kate Hudson’s best performance. I loved this coming of age story set in a place and time I have only heard about. Anyone who has loved someone only realized you can never have them can relate to this story of unrequited first love.
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) An amazing ride though the mind of a man who is trying to keep the pieces of a love he once had. An outstanding script and great performances. I love to watch this movie over and over again and it feels like I’m experiencing it for the first time.
7. The Dark Knight (2008) An all-around amazing film. One of the best detective movies I have seen in a long time. Christopher Nolan took the film-noir hard-boiled detective movie and turned it into a superhero film, with completely fleshed out characters and societal parallels. How can one man deal with such grief? We see the different paths people take when their journey of life has unexpected turns.
6. WALL-E (2008) This melancholy tale of a lonely little robot longing for someone (or something) to love. He lives his daily life cleaning the same garbage everyday, seemingly until he shuts off. I fell in love with Wall-E the moment I saw him, and I felt his solitude and his longing. And when he met Eve I knew he would do anything for her. Even give his life.
5. Atonement (2007) This was my favorite film of ‘07. Everything seemed to work for me. I fell in love with the characters. I wanted James McAvoy and Keira Knightly to be together so badly. I felt the guilt of what Briony had done. How being a jealous little teenager lead to the death of two people. But more importantly, she took away the love that these two people were meant to have shared. It’s the story of lovers who you know need to be together, but the world just wont allow them.
4. The Lives of Others (2006) This amazing film won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 2006 and absolutely deserved it. This heartbreaking story is of a solitary man who is ordered to surveil a young writer and his lover. But by doing so, he falls in love with the lives they lead and with the people themselves.
3. Amelie (2001) I love this movie. I love the way it is shot. I love the characters. And I love the stories Amelie tells. She is our guide though her small town in France. Lonely and shy, she takes it upon herself to better the lives of the people around her. Amelie has the confidence to help others, but not the confidence to help break out of her shell and allow herself to love and be loved.
2. The Fountain (2006) This film touched me in a way only few films have. The three parallel story-lines that intersect to play out one grand story-line blew me away. It’s a stirring love story about a mans quest to save the woman he loves from her inevitable death. It’s also his journey to save himself. His own life. While struggling to to find the cure to his wife’s cancer, he blinds himself to the fact that she is slipping away from him. He cannot cope with the helplessness that has befallen him. He can not accept her death because it will mean the death of himself. He is scared of her death and his own, but soon realizes that he can not die. Their love will live on even if his body is gone. His love for her is his eternal life. The journey Hugh Jackman takes in this film filled me with sorrow and happiness at the same time.
1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003) I consider this trilogy to be one grand movie, told in three parts. What makes this movie the best of the decade for me, is the characters and themes portrayed. Every character is flawed and heroic all at the same time. Even though it takes place in a fantasy world, the themes and mythos of this film is grounded in the world we all live in. The search for acceptance of ones father, friends or countrymen. The struggle we all go through everyday to keep ourselves on the right path. Realizing that you can never go home again, after everything horrible or great you have seen. Even when you get back to the one place you have been longing for, the place you fought to protect is lost to you forever. Because you are no longer the person you were when you once lived there. And the acceptance of death. Death as not the end of things, but as just another journey. A journey everyone must take. These are the reasons I love this film. The reasons this film is not only one of the best films of the decade but one of the best of all time.