Note: This is part three of a look at my favorite films of the past 10 years.
30. Million Dollar Baby
Clint Eastwood’s Best Picture Oscar winner is one of the most love it/hate it films of the decade. I come down on the love it side. The boxing film pulls no punches in terms of emotional heft, and the acting awards bestowed upon Swank and Freeman were well deserved.
29. Lost in Translation
Some days this film is high atop my list. Some days it rests at the bottom. I opted to put it somewhere in the middle to split the difference. No matter what mood I’m in, though, Bill Murray shines, with his karaoke performance being one of my favorite scenes of the past 10 years.
28. Batman Begins
Director Christopher Nolan reboots the movie franchise Joel Schumaker tried his best to destroy. This Batman is unpolished and raw but provided glimpses of better (and darker) filmmaking yet to come.
27. Goodnight and Good Luck
George Clooney is the closest thing we have to a modern Clint Eastwood in terms of acting, directing and just being a Movie Star. Clooney’s look at the bygone days of broadcast journalism lets those of us in the business (and those who simply read/watch the news) realize how much things have changed. News used to have a backbone. Clooney’s film fleshes that out.
I am a fan of whimsy, and Amelie is about as whimsical as it gets. It’s also about as perfect as a film gets. Watch it today and be happy.
25. The Departed
Compared to masterpieces like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, this Scorsese movie comes off a bit weak. That’s the price he pays for being The Master. It doesn’t, however, take too much away from this complex look at loyalty and trust, all of which plays out in violent fashion.
What could have been a total gimmick instead becomes crucial filmmaking as the story unfolds in reverse, letting the viewer experience the same effects as the main character, who suffers from short-term memory loss.
23. Children of Men
A bleak yet far-too-realistic look at a possible future in which the world sees the end of babies being born. Alfonso Cuaron’s dystopian film leaves the viewer wondering “what,” as in “What if this really happens?” and “What can I do to stop it from happening?”
22. The Incredibles
Pixar’s animated tale of a family of superheroes reminds us that underneath the cape and tights, our biggest heroes still answer to the roles and responsibilities of family. Writer/director Brad Bird continued to show why his animated movies are really for adults.
21. About Schmidt
Jack Nicholson avoids the “Jack” mannerisms that often damage his movie roles, choosing instead to play a broken-down man seeking some sort of redemption. Both powerfully funny and heartbreakingly sad, About Schmidt is about as good as it gets.