Ana4ian’s top 5 movies of the decade

To narrow down a decade in which I fell in love with film not as an escape, but as an art form and something to be enjoyed with visceral emotion is not an easy thing to do. Instead of cheap thrills, fighting, blood, explosions and tits, movies instead became something to admire, a spectacle, to be experienced, devoured, voraciously enjoyed. It was a period of awakening in the idea that these films have the ability to ellicit a range of reactions in the viewer, and that to invest oneself wholly in the watching of a movie can be extremely rewarding. So, a difficult decision made, the list awaits, and in no particular order, for I could never place any one above the other:

Let The Right One In (2008)
Twilight has nothing, zero, zilch on a romantic vampire story compared to this. I won’t bash the former, but instead extort the gentleness of this movie. The subtle, slow love story between the two young leads in this movie is achingly genuine and pure. The secrets kept, embarrassment, shyness, adoration, protectiveness and need in the relationship between the vulnerable Eli and lonely Oskar is far more mature than their years. The way they complete one another lends a depth to this flick that is so rare even in movies without the fantastic aspect of vampirism that this movie bears. I really, genuinely have my fingers crossed now for the American remake, that it delivers a similarly deep experience to a wider audience, who deserve to indulge in this tale.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Michel Gondry, how do I love thee? I can really enjoy anything this guy does, but that’s a blanket statement the same as saying I can enjoy any sunny day. The sun does not a great day make, however, it’s just the setup. Eternal Sunshine is the sunny day with a cold beer, pretty company, your favorite song on the radio, and the knowledge that later tonight, you’re only going to be having more fun hanging out with good friends and bullshitting about life in general. It brings everything together, the quirkiness of Gondry’s direction, the off-center melancholy of Kaufman’s script, and great performances from everyone involved. It’s an exploration on the memories that make us human, good, bad or otherwise, and keeping them safe, to put it into an ill-fitting nutshell, and indeed, how precise can a movie about memories be, unique as they are? Well done.

Spirited Away (2001)
Miyazaki…what can I say? The whimsy of Disney’s greatest films with a unique sensibility, mature examinations of right and wrong, and how that is a matter of perspective, where the evil may be misunderstood, or misguided, attempting to do their best without understanding the consequences, and where good requires a sweetness and honesty that we tend to lose in adulthood. The biggest difference between Miyazaki and Disney is that Disney occasionally creates characters a step away from the norm, but Miyazaki builds entire worlds, and doesn’t bother to explain them, but instead takes us by the hand and leads us into them, and like No-Face with his palms cupped full of gold, he offers it to us with his heart on his sleeve and an exuberant eagerness to bring us joy.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
A rom-zom-com, self-proclaimed and lived up to in spades. 28 Days Later brought us the the ‘rage’ zombies, who ran like hell and hated your guts, and really started the push towards the zombie subculture in more recent years (at least in my opinion) but it was Shaun of the Dead that made it cool to watch a zombie flick. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost established one of the better comedy duos in recent memory, and Edgar Wright seems to know how to bounce the pair of them off one another to make the juvenile funny again, and appeal to wide audiences from niche starting points. How many people who were likely neither a fan of zombie flicks or buddy-cop movies not only took the time to watch Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, but enjoyed them, even? This is on the list not for what it is, per se, but for what it has done to movies and audiences.

Brick (2005)
You’re probably sick of hearing me talk about this, if you’ve ever heard/read me talk about movies at all, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the debut film from Rian Johnson just blows me away. The dialogue is so electric the government is trying to regulate it, snapping and popping in some alternate universe dialect from a land where people talk like they’re doing the voice-overs in a 50’s detective comic book. The setting isn’t what you’d expect for it’s noir sensibilities, but where else could it have taken place and worked? The girl, the brick, the hook, the twist, the who-dun-it, everything about this movie just works for me, and the dogged, stubborn determination of the lead character to get the answers he needs, even at the cost to himself physically and emotionally makes me think of a superhero ideal in a dirty, scummy world of schoolyard politics and people in over their head. If there’s an edge on this list for any film, it goes to this one.

Those that juuuuust missed the list:

Battle Royale: Insanity in movie form. If this were top 6, this is number 6.

Oldboy: Also batshit insane, but with some amazing moments.

The Dark Knight: Comic adaptation done right.

Children of Men: Bleak and beautiful, and very rewatchable.

Wall-E: Deserving for the first 30 minutes if nothing else.


  1. Very good list, sir! I have to say that almost all of your picks were on my list, too but inevitably got defeated. I thought Children Of Men would of been higher on your list.

  2. Good list indeed. I can never make up my mind with this sort of stuff, but Children Of Men would have to be up there somewhere.

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