Nine years into the century, the decade has ended.
While many of my friends celebrated a new millennium in January 2000, I remained a stickler. You all know the argument - due to the lack of a Year Zero, the 21st century and new millennium didn't begin until 2001. A decade, however, is a different story.
Ten years equals a decade. Any 10 years, really. 1984-1993 is a decade. 1633-1642, a decade. 1702-1711, likewise. We obviously break ours down fairly easily: the '80s, the '90s, the '00s. (Isn't it weird we never really came up with a universal name for this one? How will VH1 cope in 20 years?). So I have no problem calling this list The 50 Best Movies of the Decade.
Now are these the absolute supreme examples of filmmaking from the past 10 years? Maybe, who knows. I just know they're my 50 favorites. There are some titles that'll make you nod, some that'll make you scoff, some that'll make you think I'm kidding. But I'm not - they're simply the films I'm most likely to remember, most likely to revisit.
(And about ten seconds after I hit "post," I'll want to rearrange the entire thing).
1) The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (2007) "I honestly believe I'm destined for great things, Mr. James. I've got qualities that don't come shining through right at the outset, but give me a chance and I'll get the job done."
2) Mulholland Dr. (2001) "Now you will see me one more time, if you do good. You will see me two more times, if you do bad."
3) Children of Men (2006) "As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices."
4) The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) "I don't think you're an asshole, Royal. I just think you're kind of a son of a bitch."
5) Wonder Boys (2000) "Now that is a big trunk. It holds a tuba, a suitcase, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost perfectly."
6) Michael Clayton (2007) "I am Shiva, the god of death."
7) Kill Bill Vol. I (2003) "It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that I'm sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin'. When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I'll be waitin'."
8) Inglourious Basterds (2009) "When you join my command, you take on debit. A debit you owe me personally. Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps."
9) A History of Violence (2005) "I saw you turn into Joey right before my eyes. I saw a killer, the one Fogarty warned me about. You did kill men back in Philly, didn't you? Did you do it for money? Or did you do it because you enjoyed it?"
10) The Departed (2006) "I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me."
11) In Bruges (2008) "Don't know any Belgium jokes, and if I did I think I'd have the good sense not to - hang on. Is Belgium with all those child abuse murders lately? I do know a Belgium joke. What's Belgium famous for? Chocolates and child abuse, and they only invented the chocolates to get to the kids."
12) Rocky Balboa (2006) "The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward."
13) You Can Count On Me (2000) "I just want to get out of this town. And if you've got any sense when you get old enough you'll get out of here too. Your Mom's gonna live in this town for the rest of her life, and you know why? Because she thinks she has to."
14) The Aviator (2004) "I don't want them bribed, Jack. I want this done legal. I want them bought."
15) The Incredibles (2004) "Remember the bad guys on the shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings? Well, these guys aren't like those guys. They won't exercise restraint because you are children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance."
16) Rambo (2008) "You know what you are. What you're made of. War is in your blood. Don't fight it. You didn't kill for your country. You killed for yourself. God's never gonna make that go away. When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing."
17) Signs (2002) "There are a lot of things I can take, and some things I can't. But what I can't take is when my older brother, who's everything that I want to be, starts losing faith in things. I saw that look in your eyes last night. I don't ever want to see that look in your eyes again."
18) Best In Show (2000) "Look at Scott! He is prancing along with the dog! Man, I tell you something, if you live in my neighborhood and you're dressed like that, you'd better be a hotel doorman."
19) Catch Me If You Can (2002) "Your son has been pretending to be a substitute teacher, lecturing the students, uh, giving out homework. Mrs. Glasser has been ill, there was some confusion with the real sub. Your son held a teacher-parent conference yesterday and was planning a class field trip to a French bread factory in Trenton."
20) The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) "All you got to do is use your instincts. How do you think a lion knows to tackle a gazelle? It's written, it's a code written in his DNA, says, 'Tackle the gazelle.' And believe it or not, in every man there's a code written that says, 'Tackle drunk bitches.'"
21) Shattered Glass (2003) "He handed us fiction after fiction, and we printed them all as fact. Just because we found him entertaining."
22) There Will Be Blood (2007) "Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry, I'm so sorry. If, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw - there it is, that's the straw, you see, you watching? My straw reaches across the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I. Drink. Your. Milkshake! I drink it up!"
23) Vanilla Sky (2001) "With all the possible respect I can offer a man wearing a latex mask and spouting conspiracy theories, David, believe me, you've crossed that bridge."
24) Dawn of the Dead (2004) "Not to shit on anyone's riff here, but let me just see if I grasp this concept, ok? You're suggesting that we take some fucking parking shuttles, and reinforce them with some aluminum siding, and then just head on over to the gun store and watch our good friend Andy play some cowboy movie jump-on-the-covered-wagon bullshit. Then, we're gonna drive across a ruined city, through a welcome committee of a few hundred thousand dead cannibals, all so that we can sail off into the sunset on this fucking asshole's boat?"
25) Man on Fire (2004) "A man can be an artist at anything, food or whatever if you’re good enough at it. Creasy's art is death, and he's about to paint his masterpiece."
The next 25 (in alphabetical order): American Psycho, Amores Perros, Apocalypto, Bad Santa, Brokeback Mountain, Collateral, Casino Royale, Cast Away, City of God, Eastern Promises, The Fellowship of the Ring: The Lord of the Rings**, Ghost World, The Host, Identity, The Kingdom, Lord of War, Munich, O Brother Where Art Thou, Once, Open Range, Role Models, Shaun of the Dead, Tropic Thunder, We Own the Night, The Wrestler
** In the comments, I've been informed this title is ordered incorrectly. However, I will not edit it, and view my mistake as a point of pride.