Best Movies of 00’s

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Welcome to the third and final act, the grand finale, the prestige (wink, wink) …  my last chapter of my “Best of” series Back to the 2000’s.

The 2000’s are an interesting time in filmmaking. We saw both a renaissance of  mainstream film (likely due to the successes of the indie movement of the 90’s) and a push for bigger, badder and realer than ever special effects and CGI.

However, as Tim Dirks of FilmSite.org says:

“Although, the new millennium dawned on January 1st 2001, the new decade of films (and film history) began on January 1, 2000. It began with trumped fears over Y2K and major terrorists attacks on 9/11/2001, was marked at its midpoint with the devastating natural disasters of the Asian tsunami of 2004 and of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and ended with the financial meltdown of the economy (the second crash and recession of the decade). The end of the decade was punctuated by James Cameron’s revolutionary and major blockbuster film Avatar (2009), the highest grossing (domestic) film of 2009 – and of the decade. [It became only the fifth film in movie history to exceed $1 billion in worldwide grosses, and did so in less than 3 weeks.] The film soon surpassed the highest-grossing (worldwide) film of all-time – Cameron’s own Titanic (1997).”

This punctuation has heavily impacted and affected the current film climate dominating our summers with comic book super movies, and adaptations of stories we only dreamed adaptable; however, as Dirks said the decade was dominated by events that overshadowed, and ultimately stunted the rate of growth seen in the decades prior paving the way for more story-driven filmmaking.

SO without further ado here are my favorite films of the 2000’s.

 

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Hiayo Misayaki’s tops my 2000’s list with my favorite coming-of-age story Spirited Away. A Japanese spiritual journey laden with eclectic landscapes, charming unforgettable characters and heart by the ounce, Spirited Away instantly reminds us what it means to be independent and longing and loathing the obstacles life places before us all the while teasing the power of true love.

 

“Once you’ve met someone you never really forget them.”

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At number nine, I have Alfonso Cuarón‘s masterpiece Children of Men.

Set in a dystopian future barren of legacy, CoM explores what it truly means to be human. What is our purpose, have we ruined everything, how far will we go for an icon, and (most importantly) how far will we go for the most precious gift of all … life?

“As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices.”

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Winner of the best picture in 2008 Slumdog Millionaire is my number eight.

Shocking both myself and the world with it’s success at the Academy Awards should have been no shock at all when watching this best picture winner. This masterfully crafted love story used both aggressive cinematography and super stylized editing to capture our hearts and imaginations redefining the depths a man will go for the woman he loves.

“I went on, because I knew she’d be watching.”

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Inspiring a generation even if it does not get the credit it deserves, Japanese cult classic BATTLE ROYALE comes in at number seven.

Truth be told I would gladly put this at number two, but that would be a reach and crazy by most standards … I digress. BR is a wonderfully crafted look at life in a fascist government, and while Hunger Games fans do not want to admit it, BR was the inspiration for it all. I will not get into the extreme similarities. Although silly and melodramatic at times, the message is clear, and BR succeeds as one of the perfect examples of the Japanese super gore film genre.

Oh yeah, and it’s cited as being one of the inspirations for Kill Bill … can anybody say GoGo?

“Life is a game. So fight for survival…and find out if you’re worth it.”

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My personal choice for best picture of 2008 is my sixth favorite film of the 2000’s, Benjamin Button.

Filmed and set heavily in my hometown of New Orleans, I must admit I am a little biased, but you’d be a fool to argue it was not as close an Oscar race as we’ve ever seen (competing next to 2008’s winner Slumdog Millionaire)! As one of the most unique love stories crafted, Button shows us that love does not always travel the same wave length, and that it’s our job to make the most of the opportunities we are given. True love is a rare commodity, and although our lives may move us apart, love will always draw us back together.

“Your life is defined by its opportunities … even the ones you miss. “

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A brilliant masterful fairy tale, Pan’s Labyrinth is my fifth favorite film of the 2000’s.

Showing us war and domestic abuse through the eyes of a child, this journey is one we can never forget. A wizard of practical effects, monster makeup, mood and theme, Del Toro orchestrated a new era in fear with his “Pale Man.”

“You’re getting older, and you’ll see that life isn’t like your fairy tales. The world is a cruel place. And you’ll learn that, even if it hurts. “

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What can I say about my number four … this is one of the most personal, relateable, powerful, inspirational, wonderful films ever made.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is everything that we need. We need to forget. We need to let go. We need to move on. BUT. At what cost. Do we need to forget? Should we forget? What happens when our subconscious wins and love prevails? We need you, you need us. We love you, you love us. We forgot you, you forgot us. Then … Montauk.

Eternal Sunshine tackles what it means to be in love and heartbroken. It shows us how vulnerable we all are. It shows us that it is ok to be hurt, because as painful as loss is… love was worth it.

“Come back and make up a good-bye at least. Let’s pretend we had one.”

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The perfect balance of comic book movie and a psychological thriller, Christopher Nolan may have created the best comic book adaptation ever. Anchored by the Academy Award winning performance of Heath Leger as the Joker, The Dark Knight showed the world that it is ok to make a serious comic book movie, and that it is okay to take this film genre seriously.

“Why so serious? Why sooooo seriooooouuuussssss?”

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The most stylized, sexy, funky homage to Japanese cinema ever Kill Bill Vol 1 comes in as my second favorite film of the 2000’s.

While successfully crossing Americana, Japanese super gore (Remember Battle Royale?), and the Rza’s Iconic Score, Tarantino succeeds with flying colors at crafting a path of revenge.  Most notably is the development of the Bride as she kills her way to justice hunting down the people who tried to murder her and her unborn child.

“That woman deserves her revenge…and we deserve to die.”

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My favorite film of the 2000’s is also my personal favorite film of all time … Lost in Translation.

This movie speaks to me on a level no other film does. This is my life. This is me. This was my childhood … traveling to cities, making short term friends, sharing something special, living for that moment. We all want to be found, but are we all lost? If this movie does not stop you, and make you feel something, then I want your formula for happiness.

Also a big thank you to Lance Acord for some of the most inspiring cinematography that I’ve experienced.

“The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

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Honorable Mention:  Big Fish, Donnie Darko, The Prestige, No Country for Old Men, Gladiator, In Search of the Midnight Kiss. BeFunky Collage2222.jpg

I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading these lists as much as I’ve LOVED compiling, writing and re-watching these movies! Let me know what movies you would include in your list of the 2000s. Thank you!
-Zach

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17 Comments

    1. All great choices! This was a tough decade! Another classic is “In the Mood for Love” if you haven’t check t out some time!

      Thank you for reading!

  1. Wonderful round up of movies here, you have great taste 😀 Always nice to see posts like these. Not only are they awesome to read, but they are a great way to take a trip down memorylane 😀😀

    1. Thank you! If you haven’t seen my 80’s and 90’s posts feel free to check them out!

      They are extremely fun to make! I’m open to suggestions for other topics!

  2. Great work. Lost in Translation is high on my list as well, and I agree In Search of the Midnight Kiss is an indie gem.
    Other films in my top 10 of the 00s: Sideways, I’m Not There (the Bob Dylan biopic), Match Point, Collatoral, The Hours

    1. All great choices! The fact that you’re bringing up “In Search of” makes me so happy! As far as your other additions… all were wonderful films. I’m quite fond of Match Point! It’s in my Woldy Allen top 5 for sure!

  3. Awesome list! Eternal sunshine is one of my favourite films and really believe it’s one of the greatest films of all time, yet it’s never been that popular. All great picks here.

    1. While I want everyone to experience the magic… it’s message would be lost on most so i think it’s for the best that the movie was never a “blockbuster success.”

      Thanks for the read and kind words!

  4. I love every single movie on this list except Benjamin Button. I hated that film so much. I know I’m in the minority with that though.

    1. That gif/shot/scene has made more of an impact on me as an artist than any other moment in cinema. Lance Acord, Sofia and Bill were on fire that scene!

      1. At the time I was still in film school, and attempting to become a DoP, but now I kinda mix it all up… I’m currently heavily into comic book collage art. I like to take moments, themes, characters etc and represent them in a comic book style panel but of my design. Afterwards I layer different media’s or styles to enhance my message. I️ like to compare it to a very physical and unforgiving form of photoshop. Most recently in the film media I hosted and produced a travel based series called “the Bartender’s Guide to New Orleans.”

        What about you? Anything fun in your free time?

      2. Wow! That makes me very curious. Did you publish some of these works?

        I have just watched one of the episodes of the “Bartender’s…”. It’s well-shot and entertaining. Unfortunately, I know very little about New Orleans as I live in Europe 😏

        Well, in first place I spend a lot of time on the sci-fi blog, mostly covering independent or relatively low-budget sci-fi…

        I love street photography and with time tried to concentrate on colour surreal street photography, it’s something that makes me see the world’s new layers… I publish them slowly here https://indiescifi451.com/category/augmented-reality/

        Then in last months I studied film editing which was fascinating. I did it firstly because I was preparing some trailers for old movies (I did a Top 10 Soviet Sci-Fi movies) and none of them had any decent trailers… But then it grew into something bigger so I started to read more about it, finally I made a short creepy movie – https://indiescifi451.com/2017/10/07/black-melt-short-horror-movie/

        Then there’s other stuff like wine and squash (the sport 😉). Then I have to work 😃

        P. S. As for the list, my sci-fi two cents would be Moon & District 9 too 😊

        So are you from New Orleans? What are your next projects?

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