Now that 2010 has arrived, it's only fitting to list some of my favorite films over the past ten years. Here are my top 20 movies of the last decade:
#20) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
A World War II drama revolving around a young boy named Bruno. Bruno has a wealthy lifestyle in prewar Germany with a prosperous soldier for a father. However, when Bruno's father forces the family to relocate because of a new command position at a Jewish prison camp, the naive boy begins to see the darker side of the Nazi army.
#19) The Last Samurai (2003)
In this Edward Zwick directed film, Tom Cruise portrays Nathan Algren a distinguished civil war general. When Japan wishes to progress its nation's armed services by abandoning the Samurai, they need the help and guidance of Nathan Algren (Cruise). After a disastrous attempt at thwarting the Samurai, Algren is captured, held hostage, but most importantly learns the Samurai way. One of Tom Cruise's finest roles.
#18) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Jason Segel wrote and starred in this fun tale. With a cast filled with many first timers, the movie is guaranteed to keep you laughing and entertained. When Peter (Segel) is dumped by his longtime Actress, Girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), how can he come to terms with this rejection? How about a trip to Hawaii?!?! What seems like a perfect getaway turns into a disaster when Peter runs into Sarah and her new beau.
#17) Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Steven Spielberg shows he's still got it with this film, depicting a classic game of cat and mouse with Agent Hanratty (Tom Hanks) and Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio). Frank is a young kid with a knack for forging checks. He uses his unusual skill to travel the globe and learn about love and life. Can this game go on forever? Not if Hanratty has his say. A must watch good time.
#16) 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
With this Western Remake, Russell Crowe portrays the outlaw Ben Wade. When Wade is finally captured in a small town, a poor local Dan Evans (Christian Bale) will do whatever it takes to transport Wade to the 3:10 train to Yuma and collect his reward. But Wade's gang has other plans on their minds. This film has great character development and it's hands down the best Western since Unforgiven.
#15) The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
Judd Apatow really made a name for himself with this instant classic starring Steve Carrell. Andy Stitzer (Carrell) is a bit of a loner. He works at an electronics store and still collects toys. Perhaps it's no surprise he's a virgin. However, when a friendly game of poker with his co-workers reveals his long time secret, everyone tries to help Andy have sex. Amidst this crazy free for all Andy finds something even better than a one time fling, the woman for him.
#14) Precious (2009)
Lee Daniels directs this powerful film about the life and struggles of Precious (Gabby Sidibe). Precious experiences an unfathomable amount of emotional and physical abuse, but her only goal is to take care of her children and make a life for herself. A sad story that changes the way you will view the world.
#13) Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman give glaring performances as a pair of men trying to end the Cold War. Congressman Charlie Wilson (Hanks) visits Afghanistan during the invasion by Russia. While there he sees a country desperate to fight back and defeat Russia. With the help of Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman) and a few others, Charlie Wilson sees to it that Russia will not prevail, thus ending the Cold War.
#12) Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Ben Affleck directs this film with an all star cast and an even better story. When a little girl goes missing in the poor section of Boston, a Private Investigator (Casey Affleck) may be the only one capable of getting people in the neighborhood to spill the beans. Are some things better off left alone? You decide.
#11) Memento (2000)
Christopher Nolan's masterpiece will blow you away. Guy Pearce stars as a man with a rare condition. He has no short term memory. Only having his tattoos, photographs, and notes to self, can he find out who killed his wife? This backward moving film will leave you guessing until the very end.
#10) Blood Diamond (2006)
A fisherman and a smuggler must team up to help each other out. The fisherman possesses the knowledge of a very large and priceless diamond, yet the smuggler knows how to reconnect the fisherman's family. Their quest to help one another throughout Sierra Leone is an adventure to say the least.
#9) Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
This movie cleaned up at the Oscar's and rightfully so. Danny Boyle paints a wonderful picture of family, greed, and fate. The story follows two brother's in India as they try to make it on their own. Until one day a young Jamal meets Latika, and his life is changed forever. The obstacles Jamal spends his life overcoming just to be with Latika are nothing short of remarkable.
#8) Cinderella Man (2005)
James J Braddock was an up and coming boxer just before the Great Depression. However, a few bad fights and a struggling economy sends his life in a tailspin to bankruptcy. Living on the bare essentials, Braddock (Russell Crowe) must find a way to keep his family together. Given a second chance, Braddock finds resolution in a climb back to the top of the boxing world.
#7) Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
This movie was the perfect combination of right place, right time. Gore Verbinski's view of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his quest to retake command of his ship The Black Pearl is a classic adventure. Depp was amazing and the story was fun and exciting. A great family film too!
#6) Remember The Titans (2000)
High School Football is the backbone of many southern towns. When redistricting forces a predominantly black and a predominantly white school to integrate amidst the early 70s, who can help the community and football team gel together? Denzel Washington stars as Herman Boone, the crusader who unites a community and propels a team to glory. This is more than a sports movie.
#5) No Country For Old Men (2007)
A lowly Texas man finds a satchel filled with money and the only downside is the man looking for it. The Coen Brothers struck gold with this chase film that pits one of the greatest villains in cinema history, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) against Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin). Which one will prevail?
#4) Gran Torino (2008)
Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is a Korean War Vet who sets out to reform his young neighbor, Thao. In this Michigan city, however, young teens can only survive with the help of a gang. Walt's attempt to save Thao's future comes at the displeasure of a gang who isn't so quick to forget. Clint Eastwood truly portrayed a masterpiece as the Director and star of this film.
#3) Blow (2001)
One of the most difficult tasks for a Director is to make a movie that leaves the audience rooting for a guy who's breaking all the rules. Blow accomplishes that, and more. Johnny Depp stars as George Jung. A small town kid who moves to California and sells marijuana to make ends meet. Well as his business escalates so does the risk. When George goes to jail for trafficking he finds himself in a strange predicament. "I went to jail with a bachelors in marijuana and came out with a phd in cocaine". While attempting to reconcile with his young daughter, George promises a lot. Can he overcome his past and keep his promises to his little girl?
#2) The Dark Knight (2008)
This movie came with so much hype. After Heath Ledger's untimely death, the hype just grew. Now many people may try to claim Ledger won an Oscar b/c of his death, but I say no Oscar may have ever been so deserved. This is an action-packed film with such a dark side to it. The clever scenarios the Joker creates make this movie revolutionary. Sorry Christopher Nolan, but I don't think you can top this movie with your next installment of the Batman Saga.
#1) The Departed (2006)
Martin Scorcese has made many wonderful films. This one truly resonates above all others. In inner city Boston a crime boss, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), raises a young boy to become a cop and informant for him. On the other side, the cops take a new recruit with a troubled past, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), and have him go undercover in Costello's gang. With both sides trying to figure out each other's "rat", this game of cat and mouse spirals out of control. A great crime film that tops the list.
Feel free to suggest movies you may have felt I missed. I'm always interesting in hearing feedback.