Starting today and continuing through New Year’s Eve, Something Offensive will be unveiling its official TOP 50 MOVIES OF THE DECADE list. (Referring to the 2000s here, McFly.) We’ll provide our brief, individual explanations for each selection as they’re posted. Readers are encouraged to comment on the films, ask questions about why we chose what we did or ask questions about the films themselves, and finally, to offer up their own suggestions for great films released these last 10 years. And once we’ve revealed our five favorite stories of The Oughts, we’ll post the entire list for your perusal.
The list was composed by way of an overly complex voting process not even Taos or I comprehend. All we know for sure is that these are movies we endorse with hooker moneys.
Before we break any cineastes’ hearts, know it skews more toward populist fare. Also: all foreign films require subtitles + the original language audio track. Don’t even bother if you’re unwilling to go this route. We’re linking a trailer with each entry; be forgiving of the non-American ones as their international trailers are often terrible. One final caveat: the list was conceived and completed prior to Avatar. Cameron’s pic is a stunning experience that should be seen by everyone, but it simply couldn’t be included at this time. But fret not. After the holiday cheer begins to subside, there’ll be a subsequent list featuring the 3-D Na’vi and other excellent works that didn’t make this first cut for whichever of a variety of mysterious reasons.
So then, let us begin…
David: I think what makes Assassination so powerful is all that it suggests. Poetry in pictures and song, of menace and tragedy. Grueling suspense wrapped up tightly in the hungry stares of its distressingly rummaging actors. Though its pace and narration may seem double-edged, the presentation nevertheless lingers cautiously, treading through a memory haunted and forgotten.
Taos: A delectable character study. Enhanced significantly by Nick Cave’s enchanting soundtrack. Do I need to mention Casey Affleck and Brad Pitt too???
Taos: Probably more symbolic of a younger psyche. Still, its impact on my quarter-life self is more than enough to receive a nod. One of my favorite non-scored soundtracks.
David: I think Taos and I are in agreement here. While the film has and continues to endure a not fully warranted backlash (I’m guessing thanks to the pandering, middling tide of Searchlight-esque labels arguably setting back the American independent movement), it has its obvious limitations. But placing all the bullshit aside, Garden State spoke to me at just the right moment in my life. It sent me looking for better movies and considering a career making them, too. I am left grateful. Also: Natalie Portman! Natalie Portman, Natalie Portman, Natalie Portman.
David: The discovery of Park Chan-wook, transitioning here from a skilled filmmaker into a full-blown artist. (Does that sound cheap? Forgive me.) The frame is knicked in spots; a regrettable flaw fleetingly mars its end. But Park finds, or more accurately, shares with us for the first time his voice beyond an EP. Shocking to most, the director excavates something primal, both within us and in our classical literary roots. And yet something new protrudes. Old versus new, East/West, comedy/tragedy, right & wrong–therein lies Park’s cunning: the tension of conflicts.
Taos: Just your straight-up revenge fare here. Severely overshadowed by Oldboy, and I find that good.
Taos: This is what Scorsese won on? Aside from Jack’s overacting, it was good, but Aviator was so much more deserving.
David: Scorcese and writer William Monahan make fresh an already exciting concept in redrawing The Departed‘s appreciable if less knowing predecessor (Infernal Affairs; but let’s not distract ourselves with a trite Venn diagram dispute). I do think its irreverence ultimately gets in the way of its staying power, but Scorcese and crew’s execution is formidable. More movies should feature Vera Farmiga.
David: My second Hirokazu (following the delightful After Life), the director approaches his material with honest restraint while still finding wonder in life’s most overlooked of places. Along with the effort of a terrific child cast, more immediately, Nobody Knows conveys a human quality often forgotten in the politics of adulthood, something that will deeply affect those with little ones close to their hearts.
Taos: I too do not know. Have not seen it.
Be sure to come back tomorrow to check out part 2!