My Favorite Movies of the Decade

There are dozens of movies in the past decade that could make this list, but here are the ones that will stay with me the longest.

  • Finding Nemo
    Finding Nemo is probably my favorite animated movie of all time. It is perfect, and watching it first day in downtown Chicago in a theater packed with kids was special.
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
    To understand the joy of Kill Bill, take in this quote from the man himself, Quentin Tarantino:

    ‘Remember when you were nine years old and that favorite TV show of yours and all your friends just began to not be as good as it once was? How it used to be this thing you worshipped, but now the formula has gone a tad tepid and like 3 of your friends are over for a sleepover and you’re all hopped up on too much sugar talking about what the coolest episode ever would be? You’re vibrating from the energy of just unleashed possibilities and your Mom is telling you to get to sleep, but that Nine Year Old creative force is just shaking… running a thousand words a minute, spilling everything you ever dreamt of to your buddies and it feels like the greatest thing any of you have ever heard? Well that’s where you have to write from. You have to write with that energy and that fire. It is all about that magic 9 year old unleashed.’

    This describes precisely how I feel about this movie.

  • Inglorious Basterds
    The last line of the film sums it all up: I believe this might just be [Tarantino’]s masterpiece.
  • Ghost World
    This movie introduced me to the excellent graphic novels of Daniel Clowes, the manic genius of director Terry Zwigoff (who would later give us the deliciously disturbed <em>Bad Santa</em>), and  Scarlett Johansson. This is probably my favorite Steve Buscemi role, and at the time I thought Thora Birch would be a star. Where’d she go?
  • Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
    This was the best book and the best film of the series. Fellowship had a lot of build up to take care of and Return of the King had many farewells. But Two Towers could concentrate on the meat of the story, and let’s face it, the Battle of Helm’s Deep is one of the greatest set pieces in the history of film and literature.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet star in this movie about memories. Would you really want to erase all the painful ones? If you do, what remains?
  • Star Wars: Episode III The Revenge of the Sith
    What I said 4 years ago still holds true:

    This was the best time I had at the movies last year. It is difficult to describe the impact of these films on me and I will not attempt it here. I love them dearly and loved this film like none other. The final scene on Tatooine was one of my most emotional. Are we prepared for life after Star Wars?

  • United 93
    This is as close to a documentary as you can get without being a documentary. But Paul Greengrass makes it exciting, devastating, like you’re living through 9/11 again. There are no overt heroes, just many understated ones in the few hours that morning that changed everything.

And now for Hindi movies.

  • Dil Chahta Hai
    This movie hit very close to home. I had finished college and moved across the globe that year. The first half of the movie was my life in the first half of 2001, and the second half was what I was getting in to. Real life.
  • Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
    This was the first (and only) Hindi movie that felt like it was of the next generation. Not mine. It’s fresh, funny, characters talk the way people talk and it is immaculately crafted. Also, Imran Khan is a star.
  • Saawariya
    This movie is magic. It is set in a parallel, mythical universe where all Hindi movies live, where all Bollywood mythology is true and exists solely to tell the great stories of our time. Also, Ranbir Kapoor owns it.
  • Black
    The second Bhansali movie on my list. What I said 4 years ago:

    Black is not your traditional Bollywood movie, however. Hindi cinema’s former angry young man, Amitabh Bachchan, who for 30 years has been a super star, the likes of which have never been seen in Hollywood, stars as a man who teaches the deaf/blind/mute/beautiful Rani Mukherjee to live her life. Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who previously has given in to the excesses of Bollywood cinema, creates a sparse and subdued drama like none other.

  • Hera Pheri
    Hands down the funniest movie of the decade. If you could edit out the songs and Tabu, it might have been the funniest movie of all time.
  • Hey! Ram
    A brutal Hindi film, maybe the most harrowing ever made. And while it does give in to excesses at times (as does every film on this list barring the first two), performances by Hassan and Shah Rukh Khan elevate this to a class of its own.

As an honorable mention, the most fun I had in a movie theater (after Episode III) was probably Grindhouse. Those 4 hours in a movie theater packed with hooting, shrieking, whistling schlock fans were special.

Another honorable mention to watching Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with an auditorium room full of fans at Celebration II in Indianapolis. People were screaming, shouting out dialogue with the movie, cheering the heroes on (“The first transport is away!” hooray, went the crowd).

And here is the complete list of movies I rated 5 stars from the last decade. As you can see, I am quite liberal with ratings (and the list is not complete for 2009 and for Hindi movies). The honorable mentions, runners-up are in bold:

Almost Famous
Man on the Moon
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Hey! Ram
Hera Pheri
Amores Perros
The Emperor’s New Groove
Requiem for a Dream
Gosford Park
Sexy Beast
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Black Hawk Down
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Waking Life
Spirited Away
Ghost World
Vanilla Sky
Dil Chahta Hai
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Moulin Rouge
The Royal Tenenbaums
Ocean’s Eleven
Mulholland Dr.
Winged Migration
Monsters, Inc.
Monster’s Ball
Monsoon Wedding
The Man Who Wasn’t There
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
No Man’s Land
Panic Room
Star Wars: Episode II
The Pianist
Rabbit-Proof Fence
Minority Report
Road to Perdition
Punch-Drunk Love
The Rookie
LOTR: The Two Towers
Lilo and Stitch
Joint Security Area
Igby Goes Down
Ice Age
The Hours
The Quiet American
Far from Heaven
The Bourne Identity
City of God
Austin Powers 3
Changing Lanes
24 Hour Party People
Bowling for Columbine
Catch Me If You Can
About a Boy
Love Actually
Monsieur Ibrahim
Jhankaar Beats
LOTR: The Return of the King
Whale Rider
Matchstick Men
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Bubba Ho-Tep
The School of Rock
Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon
The Matrix Revolutions
Shattered Glass
Peter Pan
The Dreamers
Big Fish
American Splendor
Tokyo Godfathers
Darna Mana Hai
The Fog of War
3 Walls
The Matrix: Reloaded
Finding Nemo
The Motorcycle Diaries
The Bourne Supremacy
National Treasure
Born Into Brothels
Kill Bill: Vol. 2
The Notebook
Before Sunset
The Aviator
The Passion of the Christ
A Very Long Engagement
The Incredibles
Star Wars: Clone Wars: Vol. 1
Star Wars: Clone Wars: Vol. 2
Control Room
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Howl’s Moving Castle
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Finding Neverland
Garden State
Fahrenheit 9/11
Shaun of the Dead
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Pride and Prejudice
Turtles Can Fly
Good Night, and Good Luck
Thank You for Smoking
Batman Begins
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
V for Vendetta
Hotel Rwanda
Brokeback Mountain
War of the Worlds
Match Point
Walk the Line
Last Days
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Star Wars: Episode III
Chicken Little
The Constant Gardener
Nine Lives
Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
A Scanner Darkly
When the Levees Broke
United 93
The Pursuit of Happyness
An Inconvenient Truth
Grind House
The Fall
Lage Raho Munna Bhai
The Departed
Rang De Basanti
Miami Vice
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan’s Labyrinth
Akeelah and the Bee
Grindhouse: Death Proof
There Will Be Blood
Gone Baby Gone
Chak De! India
Encounters at the End of the World
Eastern Promises
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The War: A Ken Burns Film
The Bourne Ultimatum
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Like Stars on Earth
Letters from Iwo Jima
The King of Kong
The Simpsons Movie
No Country for Old Men
A Christmas Tale
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
In Bruges
Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
Slumdog Millionaire
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Sita Sings the Blues
The Wrestler
(500) Days of Summer
Inglourious Basterds


2 thoughts on “My Favorite Movies of the Decade

  1. nemo, gets my stars too!
    Yes, I am that generation for whom its not easy to say the word….Basterds! But will be seeing the movie again to get the feel.
    Hey Raam, Black are in My list.
    Saw ‘Sita sings the Blues’ and everyone should see it. Persepolis??
    Did I miss it in your list? I have that in mine.


  2. Persepolis was a 4 star movie for me. Maybe 5 star if I had seen it on another day. Most of these ratings are spontaneous on Netflix when I saw them.

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