After telling friends and family members that, for 2010's first issue of the Reader, I'd be compiling a list of my 100 favorite movies from the last 10 years and ranking them in preferential order, a few of them asked me, "So how do you do that?"

It was simple, really. First, I gathered titles from my DVD cabinet, my reviews since January of 2000, and the past nine years' worth of Oscar nominees, and winnowed that list of 130-ish down to 100 movies I could/can happily watch over and over again. Then I broke those 100 titles down into separate lists of 10, starting with the movies I'd ditch if composing a "desert island" list of absolute favorites; the first 10 to be excised would consequently be ranked 91 - 100, the second 10 would be ranked 81 - 90, and so on. Then I broke those down, deciding which title would be the first to go from each individual list of 10, and voilà! Instant Top 100!

Hey, it was the holidays. I had a lot of free time on my hands.

So what did I learn from the experiment?

Well, I apparently don't have much repeat-viewing use for effects-heavy blockbusters once their big-screen thrill has worn off; despite my adoration for them, none of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films made the list, nor did such deserving possibilities as X2: X-Men United or the first two Spider-Mans. (I continue to doff my cap, though, to entries 17, 64, 86, and 97.) And despite outstanding offerings by Nick Park, Hayao Miyazaki, the geniuses at Pixar, and others, fewer animated movies made the cut than I initially expected. (I've only included five here, although all of them cracked the top 50, and two landed in the top 13.)

Mulholland Dr.I obviously continue to be knocked out by first-rate documentaries, with 12 of them making the line-up - 13, if you count the nonfiction/fiction hybrid at #27 - and am deeply embarrassed by the paucity of foreign-language titles, with all of two - ranked at numbers 39 and 89 - on the list. (My sad excuse for their lack of repeat-viewing appeal? Like many, I'll oftentimes re-watch DVDs with only half an eye while paying bills or housecleaning or whatever, activities that don't much allow for the reading of subtitles.)

My favorite filmmakers of the nineties, the Coen brothers, were also my favorite filmmakers of the aughts, with five of their works - including their most recent three - landing on the top 100. Beyond the Coens, directors with multiple titles on the list include Christopher Nolan and Gus Van Sant with three each, and Robert Altman, Wes Anderson, Alfonso Cuarón, Clint Eastwood, Stephen Frears, Christopher Guest, Spike Jonze, David Lynch, Bryan Singer, Andrew Stanton, and Quentin Tarantino with two. (As a lifelong Woody Allen devotee, it was with regret that I didn't find room for any of the prolific auteur's 10 titles from 2000 - 2009. Though, dishearteningly, not much regret.)

I learned - or rather, was reminded - that you should never take critics' first impressions as their final words on a subject; after subsequent DVD viewings, three of the included titles (at rankings 36, 40, and 67) were movies I didn't care for the first time around. I was reminded how some films that you initially like (numbers 23, 31, 45... ) can, over time, morph into films that you love. I was reminded of the unapologetic joy that can sometimes come from a really, really, really bad movie. (Thank you Tommy Wiseau for inclusion #100!)

And I was reminded that no matter how thorough your planning, there's always going to be a title you just plum forgot about. (Damn it!, I thought when scanning my editor Jeff Ignatius' own top-100 list, how did I miss The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada?!?")

I hereby submit my favorites of the last 10 years for your perusal and mockery... with titles and rankings subject to change within minutes of publication.



  1. There Will Be Blood


  2. Mulholland Dr.

  3. Before Sunset

  4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

  5. WALL·E

  6. The Royal Tenenbaums

  7. Zodiac

  8. Gosford Park

  9. Brokeback Mountain

  10. The Squid & the Whale

  11. The Departed

  12. No Country for Old Men

  13. The Incredibles

  14. Moulin Rouge!

  15. Sideways

  16. The Dark Knight

  17. Capturing the Friedmans

  18. You Can Count on Me

  19. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

  20. Murderball

  21. A Mighty Wind

  22. Inglourious Basterds

  23. Shaun of the Dead

  24. Donnie Darko

  25. Michael Clayton

  26. Elephant

  27. American Splendor

  28. A Prairie Home Companion

  29. Adaptation

  30. Lost in Translation

  31. Team America: World Police

  32. Fantastic Mr. Fox

  33. Capote

  34. The Hurt Locker

  35. Children of Men

  36. Shattered Glass

  37. Grizzly Man

  38. 25th Hour

  39. Y tu mamá también

  40. Almost Famous: Untitled

  41. Finding Nemo

  42. The Fog of War

  43. The Station Agent

  44. Memento

  45. The Mothman Prophecies

  46. Spellbound

  47. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

  48. The Good Shepherd

  49. Munich

  50. Erin Brockovich

  51. A Serious Man

  52. Juno

  53. Happy-Go-Lucky

  54. Far from Heaven

  55. Little Children

  56. Gerry

  57. Across the Universe

  58. High Fidelity

  59. Bowling for Columbine

  60. Synecdoche, New York

  61. Knocked Up

  62. O Brother, Where Art Thou?

  63. (500) Days of Summer

  64. X-Men

  65. The Queen


  67. Burn After Reading

  68. Million Dollar Baby

  69. Kill Bill: Volume II

  70. Into the Wild

  71. Adventureland

  72. Good Night, and Good Luck.

  73. The Hours

  74. Inland Empire

  75. The Prestige

  76. Tarnation

  77. The Pianist

  78. Crash

  79. Milk

  80. United 93

  81. Gone Baby Gone

  82. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

  83. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

  84. The Man Who Wasn't There

  85. Shortbus

  86. Superman Returns

  87. Mystic River

  88. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

  89. Talk to Her

  90. Anvil! The Story of Anvil

  91. Best in Show

  92. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

  93. Where the Wild Things Are

  94. The Bridge

  95. Revolutionary Road

  96. Ghost Town

  97. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

  98. Rachel Getting Married

  99. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

  100. The Room

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