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Avitable’s Top 10 Movies of the Aughts

I saw this post over at a blog I read, SwanShadow Thinks Out Loud. After reading the lists that two film critics for the San Francisco Chronicle compiled of the best films of this decade so far, he decided to do his own. And I think my taste is wildly disparate from his, so I decided to make my own list of the top 10 movies since 2000.

After a few hours going through the movies that have come out over the last eight and a half years, I narrowed it down to fifty movies. It was so difficult to take those fifty movies and eliminate 80% of them for this list. In the end, I chose movies for what I call their Compulsory Rewatchability. This just means that if it’s on TV or HBO or something when I’m flipping through channels, I can’t stop watching, and I get sucked into it all over again, no matter how many times it might be on.

So, in no particular order, here’s my list.

1. Unbreakable – What can I say about this movie? It blew my mind. I want M. Night Shyamalan to stop making shitty movies and make two more. One called “Broken”, and then a final one, “Fixed” and make this into the best superhero trilogy ever.

2. Juno – Very few movies can make me tear up. This one does. It’s an absolutely perfect movie. Every line, every scene, every word, every actor.

3. Donnie Darko – Maybe it’s an emo movie or pretentious or over-the-top. I just know that when I saw it on HBO on late night, I was transfixed. And I can still watch it over and over again and see things I didn’t notice or appreciate the first time.

4. Punch-Drunk Love – I don’t know a single woman who loves this movie, but I know several men who do, including myself. Something about it speaks to me.

5. The Sweetest Thing – It’s Porky’s with women. And absolutely hilarious. Every line hits home and every joke lands squarely. See Jason Bateman post-Teen Wolf 2 but pre-Arrested Development. And Selma Blair. Oh sweet Selma.

6. Sarah Silverman – Jesus is Magic – She’s the perfect woman. And this totally counts as a movie because it was out in theaters. I know, because I saw it in a completely empty theaters where I laughed until I cried and almost peed myself. And I laugh that hard every single time I see it.

7. Serenity – Joss Whedon finally gets a theatrical movie that’s all his own, and the result is magical. An excellent swan song to a series that should have lasted for 10 years.

8. Casino Royale – Daniel Craig’s other film, Layer Cake, was also on my list, but this is superior in the sense that it turns the Bond franchise on its head. Gritty and raw, this is a new Bond for a new generation, and it worked tremendously well. Eva Green was beautiful as Vesper Lynd, and the story was gripping and took some interesting, unexpected turns. Great action and a great film.

9. The Dark Knight – I had most major superhero films on my top 50 list – Spider-man 2, X2, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Batman Begins. This one stands out (just eking out Iron Man) as being cinematic as a movie, not just a superhero movie. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker was unique and disturbing and amazing and something that I relish the opportunity to witness every time I see it.

10. Shaun of the Dead – Comedy, horror, and drama, rolled up into a tasty little movie that is surprisingly densely packed. The best thing to come from the UK since The Office.

(and for a bonus, my number 11 was Clerks II and number 12 was Forgetting Sarah Marshall).

What would be in your top 10 list?

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41 Replies to “Avitable’s Top 10 Movies of the Aughts”

  1. gemini

    Shawn of the Dead was soo funny…. what did you think of Hot fuzz?

    My Brown Coat friend! I loved the series and the movie! “I’m a Leaf on the wind…” I cried…

    I loved Donnie Darko…

  2. NYCWD

    I can actually agree with the majority of this list, surprisingly.

    I think if anything I would have taken swapped out The Sweetest Thing for Clerks II and Punch-Drunk Love for Super Bad.

    I’m all about McLovin.

  3. Ashleigh

    Ah. I like most of yours.
    Mine would go like this:
    Clerks II
    Bang Bang, You’re Dead
    Donnie Darko
    Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
    Christopher Titus – Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding (I used to watch this everyday. I love Chris Titus.)
    The Nightmare Before Christmas
    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
    annnd Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  4. Greg

    A-fucking-men on #4.

    The sex scene in #5 in the changing room at the department store… with the guy still half-wearing his costume… maybe the hottest fucking scene ever put on film.

    My list is a little more pretentious. The Departed, Adaptation, American Psycho, 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Aristocrats, Anchorman, Team America, Punch-Drunk Love, Mulholland Dr, and… much to the disappointment of many people I know… I Heart Huckabees.

  5. Avitable

    Gemini, Hot Fuzz is great. Not top 10 material, but great.

    Beth, but I’m such a great person that you should have named him Adam! Or Gorilla!

    NYCWD, those two were movies that had a definite spot, but I almost switched Clerks II out for Shaun of the Dead.

    Ashleigh, well, this was just a list of movies from 2000 on. The last half of your list is older than that, and Ferris Bueller is one of my favorites of all time!

    Faiqa, you need to watch Sarah Silverman – Jesus is Magic. And while I’d hope that you’d like the other ones, I’m not sure, but you should have a movie night so I can bring them over and we can watch them.

    Poppy, I just watched it again the other night. So awesome!

    Dory, I’ve never even heard of it, which is unusual for me.

    Britt, movies are so much better than actual people!

    Greg, I had The Departed, Adaptation, 40-Year Old Virgin and Team America on my top 50 list, actually. They were hard ones to eliminate. American Psycho missed the mark compared to the book, and I didn’t even think of The Aristocrats, but that should have been on there, too. I don’t like Anchorman, but Mulholland Dr. was good. I’m ashamed of you for the last one.

    Stacey, now you know someone who adores it!

  6. Grant

    I bought Million Dollar Baby on iTunes because it’s one I can rewatch frequently and pick up some new details each time. There is little profanity, but when they play it (often) on AMC whoever dubs over the few words does a lousy job and loses the tone of the original actor, so I felt it necessary to get an untouched copy.

    Donnie Darko is also great, but I prefer the original release to the director’s cut. More explanation doesn’t improve the story, it just bogs it down in needless details.

    But I was underwhelmed by Juno. I liked it, but it struck me as too light and inconsequential to have any real emotional impact, you crybaby.

    Check out Hulk vs. if you want to see a couple of animated short Hulk films. It won’t make your top ten list, but I think you’ll like them (there’s a short scene after the credits finish on Hulk vs. Wolverine).

  7. Sybil Law

    What is Unbreakable? (Guess I should click on the link.) Donnie Darko – apparently, I need to rewatch that movie. I saw it years ago, and didn’t like it. But everything else on your list, are generally movies I watch again and again, but especially Sarah Silverman Jesus is Magic and The Sweetest Thing. Oh – and Juno. And Shaun of the Dead. Okay, everything, but the one I’ve never heard of and DD, but I heard such bad things about Punch Drunk Love that I never saw that, either. I always watch the classics, like The Godfather movies and Caddyshack, etc, too.

    Please note I am sooo tired and so therefore my rambling, incoherent paragraph is not representative of me – with sleep, anyway.
    Next time I’ll stick with smilies. :clap:

  8. SwanShadow

    Dude, when you say “wildly disparate,” you’re not just mumbling into your corn flakes. There’s only one movie on your list that I really enjoyed (Casino Royale) and only one other that I liked much at all (Serenity).

    But I love you anyway, man.

    Side note to Little Miss Sunshine State: Unfaithful was #11 on my list.

  9. B.E. Earl

    I agree with a bunch of those. You know Serenity is right at the top of my list. Unbreakable too.

    For some reason I just can’t get into Donnie Darko. I’ve started to watch it a bunch of times, but it just loses me. I know a bunch of people who love it as much as you and they are positive that I will love it one day. But I haven’t been interested enough to make it through the first half-hour.

    My biggest criteria for including a film on this list is how often I have watched them again or how much I want to watch them again. Enjoyable multiple viewings is important to me. That’s why Juno isn’t on my list. I loved it the first time I saw it but she annoyed me the second time.

    Here are my top 10 of the Aughts, in no order:

    1. Unbreakable – natch.
    2. Serenity – natch again.
    3. Watchmen – as much as I loved Iron Man and The Dark Knight, this one just worked for me on a deeper level. And I was going to mention V for Vendetta. That is right in the mix, but if I had to pick one it would be Watchmen.
    4. The Fellowship of the Ring – but really it is all of ’em.
    5. Pineapple Express – funniest movie I have seen in a tremendously long time.
    6. Almost Famous – One of my favorite films of all-time. Period.
    7. The Royal Tenenbaums – I find Wes Anderson to be annoying at times. Not with this film though. I can watch it over and over and still find things that make me smile.
    8. Kill Bill Vol. I – I enjoy both films as a whole and the second volume is awesome. But this first part blew me away when I first saw it. I’ve tried figuring out why, but the only thing I can come up is the better choice of music. I guess.
    9. The Departed – Holy crap! I’ve seen this movie over a dozen times and I would watch it right now if it was on somewhere. It’s not perfect, but it is awesome.
    10. Snatch – Guy Ritchie’s finest. Just an absolute joy all around.

    Honorable Mention: V for Vendetta, Iron Man, Michael Clayton, The Dark Knight, the rest of the LotR trilogy, Kill Bill Vol. II, Grindhouse, The Prestige, Sin City, Superbad, No Country for Old Men, Amores perros, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Lookout, Brick, In the Valley of Elah, Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead (remake), etc, etc, etc…

  10. Avitable

    Sheila, yeah, it was funny as hell, too.

    Grant, Million Dollar Baby is one I really don’t have any interest in watching. I have seen the Hulk Vs. films. The Wolverine one was much better than the Thor one, but they were both fun.

    Sybil, it’s one of Shyamalan’s movies, with Bruce Willis.

    Dr Zibbs, it’s just one of those films that fit together so well.

    Amanda, you’d choose Hot Fuzz over Shaun of the Dead?

    Whall, The Sweetest Thing is definitely a movie for adults only, though, so beware.

    LMSS, I’ve seen it. It was okay, I thought.

    Jennifer, I didn’t really like that movie very much. Simon Pegg was good in it, but it felt so cliched.

    Swan Shadow, Memento and Ocean’s Eleven made my top 50, but none of your other ones even came close! You didn’t like Juno? Or Punch-Drunk Love?

    BE Earl, I’ve seen Juno 4 or 5 times and get sucked into it every time. I use that same criteria. With your list, V for Vendetta was #13 on my list. It was hard to move it. I thought it was superior to Watchmen, though. The Royal Tenenbaums, Kill Bill, The Departed – all on my top 50, along with Grindhouse, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Brick. Brick was almost in my top 10 – such a great, overlooked movie.

    Dawn, awesome! Finally, I’ve found a woman who liked it!

  11. SingleParentDad

    I love Superbad.

    Batman has been awesome too.

    Any Simon Pegg/Nick Frost combo gets a thumbs up from moi.

    I like the Darjeeling Limited too, didn’t make much sense, and no great meaning, bit like Juno on that score.

    Jason Bourne might squeeze his way in somewhere.

  12. Leanne

    I would be hard to narrow down to a top ten, but Shaun of the Dead is definitely up there along with Hot Fuzz and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Simon Pegg can do no wrong. Run Fat Boy Run wasn’t bad either, not quite top ten material though.

    • ken

      @Leanne, Per the recomendations here, i will rent Fuzz and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. My kids brought home Donnie Darko and i watched it with them. i thought i would hate it but was drawn in and really enjoyed it. My godson wrote a 150 graduate page paper on Shaun of the Dead, so i really should see that one also.
      so to say, i get a kick out of Groundhog day. ken
      do not forget Being John Malkovich.

  13. HoosierGirl

    I’ve only seen a few of those, but I really thought “Shawn of the Dead” and “The Dark Knight” were good. You have inspired me to make my own list of comedies/chick flicks/guy movies I was forced to watch and liked anyway.
    Look for it one day this week, if you have time.

    Happy Easter to you and Amy!

  14. Kevin Spencer

    Juno and Shaun Of The Dead were amazing. Oh and “An excellent swan song to a series that should have lasted for 10 years.” is so on the money. Hard to believe they canceled that good of a show after one season.

  15. stef

    punch drunk love is one of the most beautiful love stories between two fucked-up people that i’ve ever seen. i thought adam sandler and emily watson were both perfect in their roles, and i’m not a big adam sandler fan.

    firefly was incredible, but it kind of made me sadder that the show didn’t last longer.

    i loved simon pegg and nick frost in ‘spaced’, so of course i loved shaun of the dead. if you haven’t seen ‘spaced’, you should watch it. it’s pretty amazing.

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