Note: This is part two of a look at my favorite films of the past 10 years.
40. Master and Commander
Epic in scope and storytelling, this unjustly failed at the box office, thus ruining any chance for us to see any of the other books be turned into movies.
39. Love Actually
This might not be a technically “great” movie, but I’ll never grow tired of watching it. I love the way the stories unfold, I love the acting and, well, actually, I love everything about it. The interaction between Liam Neeson and his stepson are phenomenal, and the emotional payoffs are huge.
When this near-silent, odd little love story debuted in 2008, I thought for certain it would be Pixar’s first box office failure. Fortunately, I was wrong. Both a look at love and a social commentary on preserving the planet, Wall-E shows that even animated robots can have heart.
37. Y Tu Mama Tambien
In America, director Alfonso Cuaron’s movie would have been combined the Road Trip and Teen Sex Comedy genres with predictably disastrous results. Instead, we get a gorgeous look (and I mean that in the literal sense, too – the cinematography is amazing) look at two boys growing up and into themselves.
36. Gangs of New York
It might be a bit too long, and it could use some of Martin Scorsese’s usual frenetic energy in spots, but Gangs deserves mention if only for Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of Bill the Butcher.
35. Into the Wild
Director Sean Penn took an emotionally complex book and turned into an equally emotionally complex film, made deeper with excellent music from Eddie Vedder. This is a harrowing look at being alone and finding yourself and meaning in the greater world.
34. King Kong
Peter Jackson took on the king of movie monsters and did so with charm and care, making the gigantic gorilla a sympathetic character surrounded by eye-boggling special effects.
33. Punch-Drunk Love
Dressed in a blue suit, Adam Sandler shows acting depth in Paul Thomas Anderson’s love story/comedy. Sandler’s usual funny-boy persona gets a minor facelift, as the violence that often bubbles over in his blockbuster comedies gets spread out and investigated by a masterful director.
32. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
If Steven Spielberg had ended this one with the boy robot at the bottom of the ocean, praying to the Blue Fairy, this would have easily been in the Top 10, possibly the Top 5. Instead, the ending drags it farther down list, as the alien-looking robots completely ruined the emotional resonance previously found in the film.
31. Pan’s Labyrinth
Guillermo Del Toro often bypasses story for design, but when the two come together, the results are thing of wonder. Pan’s Labyrinth creates a world inhabited by characters created to haunt our dreams. The Pale Man still frightens me. The sadistic military leader/stepfather frightens me more.