The Lord of the Rings and Christopher Nolan lead the ten best films of the decade

Posted by: Nathan Swank

Creating a top ten list of any sorts is no easy task when you take it as seriously as I do.  So trying to think of the top films from the last decade 2001-2010, cutting films that I adore was excruciatingly painful.  I was able to knock it down to 30 quite easily.  So if you don’t see your film, remember there are about 20 others hovering around the border.  Because I truly love all 30 films, to help with the narrowing process, I gave myself some guidelines.  I tried to spread the love somewhat and only allowed directors and Pixar to be represented once, usually allowing emotions to override technical aspects.

10. 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN (2005) – I definitely have films that I personally love more but straight up comedies rarely get attention from critics and this choice represents the return of great comedy.  Judd Apatow has brought a team of funny people and consistently brings the comedy genre in the forefront of one of the best films for each year.  Whether it be writing, directing or producing, he has had his hand in ANCHORMAN, KNOCKED UP, SUPERBAD and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL.  40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN is what kicked that off by being absolutely hilarious while keeping its heart.

Steve Carrell in the 40-Year Old Virgin

9.  MOULIN ROUGE! (2001) – I’m sure this will be a controversial one because for as many people that love this film there seems to be just as many that hates it.  One thing is certain Baz Lurman’s MOULIN ROUGE! brought back the musical genre in a fresh and exciting way that paved the way for the likes of CHICAGO, MAMA MIA and GLEE.  So you have to thank him for that.

8.  BEFORE SUNSET (2004)– The follow up to BEFORE SUNRISE finds the one-night lovers older and more complacent in their separate lives.  Far superior, this film is able to stand alone following two people that once knew each other is a refreshing take than the obvious origins of a relationship.  They run into one another again this time spending the day reconnecting walking through beautiful Paris.  The dialogue and acting is some of the best ever put on film.

7.  ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004)– Writer Charlie Kaufman takes us on another one of his mind tripping journeys.  This time in a world where people can hire a company to erase specific memories that may be too painful.  Watching one’s subconscious attempt to hang on to those memories is funny, sad, strange and uniquely creative.


6.  AMELIE (2001)– A wonderfully quirky film about doing good and finding love with a silly uplifting romantic narrative.  The cinematography and editing is gorgeous.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Audrey Tautou is absolutely adorable.

5.   INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)– Quentin Tarantino knows how to make movies fun.  KILL BILL VOL 1 & 2 (2003 & 2004) are prime examples of pure colorful violent entertainment.  They would be on this list if it weren’t for my previous rule.  INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS was highly impressive with great dialogue, tension, humor and wit all with the help from some fantastic ensemble acting.

Inglourious Basterds

4.  THE DEPARTED (2006)– Martin Scorsese finally wins his Oscar and I’m someone that actually believes it was given to him appropriately for this title.  A clever script combined with amazing performances, THE DEPARTED was highly entertaining full of extreme tension due to great directing.

3.  WALL-E (2008)– I could name every single Pixar movie because they undoubtedly are consistently one of the best films for every year.  MONSTERS INC., FINDING NEMO, THE INCREDIBLES, UP and TOY STORY 3 are all tops.  But for me WALL-E is the one that reached another world even for Pixar standards. With hardly any dialogue, combing humor with serious themes while being visually stimulating, I felt more love for two animated robots, the planet and a cockroach than I ever have for real people in any other picture. Bravo Pixar

2.  MEMENTO (2001), THE DARK KNIGHT (2008),INCEPTION (2010) – Yes I cheated by putting three movie titles rather than just one.  But do you really want me using up my entire list with Christopher Nolan movies?  …Because I’ll do it.  Even BATMAN BEGINS and THE PRESTIGE were awesome!  So yes the one common denominator is director and writer Christopher Nolan.  MEMENTO reversed what we thought about story telling.  DARK KNIGHT proves a super hero film can be smart and sophisticated.  INCEPTION gave us another original idea in a world of sequels, remakes and bio pics.  Nolan continues to turn story telling and film making up on its head and spins it.

The Lord of the Rings

1.  LORD OF THE RINGS:  THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001)– How can I not choose the film (films) that might possibly have taken the reign from STAR WARS as the greatest epic of all time.  Yeah I said it.  THE TWO TOWERS and THE RETURN OF THE KING are fantastic as well but the feeling I had watching Fellowship is unmatched.  I quickly knew I was witnessing one of the greatest films in history and counted myself lucky that I would get to experience two more.

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