Friday, March 30, 2012

Final Best of the '00s Round-Up

So I've finally finished my Best Movies of the Decade countdown, but I figured I'd do one last post rounding everything up.  There are links to all the other posts in the series below, as well as the complete list of films in order below the fold.  In particular I wanted to list the Honorable Mentions that didn't make it on the list (because 60 just isn't enough, I guess?), and you can find them down at the bottom of this post, below the fold.  I also just like making lists of random things, and there are so many things you can make a Best of the Decade list about, so I've included two other items here as well, namely Best TV Show and Best Albums of the '00s.  Hope these are at least somewhat interesting.

The Best TV Show of the Decade: LOST (2004-2010)
I really don't watch that much television (in fact I have more and more aesthetic and moral issues about the whole thing) and I don't get HBO, so take this selection for what it's worth.  I watched Lost for years, viewing the first two seasons on DVD but the third through the sixth season on the designated nights on TV, living with the characters and the mysteries as I had never done with a show before.  It's the kind of show that inspires incredible fan devotion as it ranges from pop culture riffing to soap opera relationship drama to complex moral questioning amid a constantly shifting and evolving plot, all anchored to some of the best characters you'll ever see on TV.  Of course, it was a frustrating show as well, one that was constantly withholding things from its viewers, occasionally got mired in contradictory subplots, and ultimately refused to explain some of its core mysteries, eliciting a bit of a backlash.  I understand those who hated the ending, but I disagree with them.  I found the final episodes beautiful and emotionally satisfying, and I think they crystallized what had really been at the center of the series all along.

If there is a unifying theme to Lost, it is the human incapacity to create our own redemption.  Each major character comes from a flawed, broken home, and is consequently flawed and broken him/herself.  They come to the Island and are given a second chance: If they can only put aside their pasts and work together for the future, they could be happy.  But one by one, their pasts come back to haunt them, and they fail to find happiness for more than a few moments.  Desperately, they seek control, they seek complete free will, confident that if they could just have one more chance, with everything out of the way, they could finally make it right.  But it is not to be.  The universe is too big, too complex, and too cruel for them to ever be able to control it; they are lost in a sea of troubles, and the only constants they can find are in each other.  Each of them must learn to give up this search for control and certainty, to accept some things on faith and hope.  Ultimately, redemption can never be forced from within, only bestowed from above.  But grace can only be accepted by letting go.  That is, perhaps, what heaven is: a place to let go of all the hatreds, worries, gnawing insecurities, and tortured regrets that plague our earthly lives, and accept the people around us in love and gladness.  This grace is not earned, it is merely accepted.  That is what the final scenes show.

My Favorite Albums of the Decade
I have far less confidence in my musical opinions than I do in my filmic opinions, but I have them anyway and I think this list is pretty solid, so take it or leave it.  Albums are restricted to same release time span as movies.

1. Illinois (2005) by Sufjan Stevens
Honorable Mention: Everything else he did this decade, but especially Seven Swans (2004)

2. Funeral (2004) by Arcade Fire
HM: Neon Bible (2007)
3. Love and Theft (2001) by Bob Dylan
HM: Modern Times (2006)
4. Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008) by Coldplay
HM: A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
5. How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb (2004) by U2
HM: All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
6. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) by Wilco
7. American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002) by Johnny Cash
HM: American III: Solitary Man (2000) and American V: A Hundred Highways (2006)
8. Fleet Foxes (2008) by Fleet Foxes
9. I and Love and You (2009) by The Avett Brothers
HM: The Second Gleam (2008)

10. Day & Age (2008) by The Killers
HM: Hot Fuss (2004)
*   *   *   *

The rest of the Best of the '00s Posts:  Part 1: Intro and #60-55.  Part 2: #54-40.  Part 3: #39-25.  Part 4: #24-11.  Part 5: #10-2.  Part 6: #1.

The Complete List:

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Jackson, 2001, 2002, 2003)
2. Yi Yi (Yang, 2000)
3. The New World (Malick, 2005)
4. No Country for Old Men (Coen, 2007)
5. Memento (Nolan, 2000)
6. Pan's Labyrinth (del Toro, 2006)
7. In the Mood for Love (Wong, 2000)
8. The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008)
9. Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001)
10. Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009)
11. The Incredibles (Bird, 2004)
12. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Dominik, 2007)
13. The Prestige (Nolan, 2006)
14. O Brother Where Art Thou (Coen, 2000)
15. Mystic River (Eastwood, 2001)
16. Finding Nemo (Stanton, 2003)
17. Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006)
18. The Departed (Scorsese, 2006)
19. The Wrestler (Aronofsky, 2008)
20. The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson, 2001)
21. Let the Right One In (Alfredson, 2008)
22. Hot Fuzz (Wright, 2007)
23. King Kong (Jackson, 2005)
24. The Bourne Ultimatum (Greengrass, 2007)
25. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Spielberg, 2001)
26. A History of Violence (Cronenberg, 2005)
27. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Lee, 2000)
28. Hero (Zhang, 2004)
29. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Weir, 2003)
30. Spider-Man 2 (Raimi, 2004)
31. Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)
32. The Village (Shyamalan, 2006)
33. The Proposition (Hillcoat, 2005)
34. Ratatouille (Bird, 2007)
35. Where the Wild Things Are (Jonze, 2009)
36. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004)
37. Kill Bill Vol.1 & Vol. 2 (Tarantino, 2003, 2004)
38. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Anderson, 2004)
39. Gangs of New York (Scorsese, 2002)
40. Battle Royal (Fukasaku, 2000)
41. Gladiator (Scott, 2000)
42. Stranger Than Fiction (Forster, 2006)
43. Black Hawk Down (Scott, 2002)
44. Gran Torino (Eastwood, 2008)
45. City of God (Meirelles, 2002)
46. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (McKay, 2004)
47. The Hurt Locker (Bigelow, 2009)
48. Letters from Iwo Jima (Eastwood, 2006)
49. Apocalypto (Gibson, 2006)
50. Wall-E (Stanton, 2008)
51. Catch Me if You Can (Spielberg, 2002)
52. Brick (Johnson, 2005)
53. Eastern Promises (Cronenberg, 2007)
54. Open Range (Costner, 2003)
55. Unbreakable (Shyamalan, 2000)
56. Old Joy (Reichardt, 2006)
57. Hotel Rwanda (George, 2005)
58. Zoolander (Stiller, 2001)
59. Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006)
60. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Adamson, 2005)

15 Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): 2046 (2004), The Aviator (2004), Batman Begins (2005), Coraline (2009), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), The Passion of the Christ (2004), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Primer (2005), The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Serenity (2005), A Serious Man (2009), Signs (2002), War of the Worlds (2005), Remember the Titans (2000), Zodiac (2007)

And finally,
Best Documentary of the '00s (because they were ineligible for my original list): Grizzly Man (2005, Werner Herzog)


  1. LOST was quite popular in this house while it ran, and the last episode is still discussion with little by way of certainty. I guess to an extent it is now seen as an event, but it's exceeding popularity can't be denied.

    Great list, and nice choice of GRIZZLY MAN as Best Documentary.

    1. Thanks, Sam. LOST's popularity and messiness may work against its future reputation, but experiencing it while it ran was still a wonderful experience.

      Thinking back, I'm not sure I've seen more than about half a dozen theatrically released documentaries from this decade, so I guess everyone should take my pick with a grain of salt. But Grizzly Man is still great!