My Favorites of the Decade 2000-2009, part 2 of 3 (Movies and Horror Movies)
Go back if you want [READ MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND BOOKS OF THE DECADE]
Continuing my list of favorite things, I move on to movies. The first are non-horror movies (though, depending on your definition of the word, all of them might be considered "genre") and the last group are all horror movies (technically two horror-comedies and four horror movies). Without further ado:
Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Pretty much enough said. Big, epic, heroic. It still stands as nearly the single example of how grand a fantasy movie can be and took sword-and-sorcery (well, you know what I mean) to cinema heights previously reserved for summer SF hits.
Children of Men: Combining post-apocalyptic vibes with a quest, this movie is more than a little carried by Clive Owens manly-but-emotional Theo. It is also carried heavily by some of the best plotting, time, and direction in a long time. As you rewatch it a few times, you notice all the little tricks that carry on in the background.
Memento: More than just an amnesia movie, this is a murder mystery and question of identity made as one. The one downside to it is that any movie from now on with an amnesia plot will have fans posting to its message board with "RIPS OFF MEMENTO!"
The Incredibles: Kind of an odd duck on the list, for sure, but this one is picked for two reasons. One, it shows Pixar at the top of its game. Two, it says all the things about super-heroes that we've wanted to say all along. While movies like Up and Wall-E have probably garnered more acclaim, both of those play out somewhat like a short film with a middle action oriented section squeezed in somewhere. The Incredibles works stronger as a whole and still manages to work in tenderness.
The 40 Year Old Virgin: I had to pick a comedy, because I used to like comedies. Now I am mostly annoyed by them, even the good ones. This one bubbled up while I thought about because it manages to push a few boundaries without going too far, and combined scripted scenes with unscripted scenes. I don't know, probably the only comedy of the decade I can watch through a few times without being annoyed at any given scene.
28 Days Later: It was this movie combined with the Dawn of the Dead remake and the Resident Evil movie that led the rebirth of zombie cinema and introduced the "MTV zombie" (untrue, actually, since some Italian horror had used fast moving zombies since the 80s or so, but these looked like fast dead things instead of fast drama majors in body stockings). Just in this case, they weren't zombies. One of the first horror movies in years to actually try and say something.
Shaun of the Dead: After the above triumvirate got zombies on our brains (pun intended! zing!), this British movie clenched the full effect. Peppered with more puns, inside jokes, character jokes, slapstick, and homages than you can shake a stick at, it played off like a bigger-than-the-original spinoff of Spaced, which I suppose it was.
The Ring: When a fifteen year old comes up to you and talks about how scary some Japanese horror movie remade into American schlock is, this is the one to blame. Still the best Japanese-to-American remake (I'm up for debate about how Star Wars should be handled), it took much of the horror plot of the original and expanded it to include more character background and a new color and sound palette.
Shutter: On the other hand, this Thai original horror movie has a much smaller budget yet still manages to be about three times as scary as The Ring. What seems to be a nod to I Know What You Did Last Summer ends up being about more secrets than originally let on, and involves an almost constant barrage of jump scares and unexpected twists.
Slither: James Gunn's movie has some awesome one-liners, characters you can actually care about, and a bad-guy about as pathetic as he is horrifying. Almost wholly derived from previous plots, it still seems fresh enough to me. A love letter from a horror fan to other horror fans.
The Host: It was hard for me to choose my favorite kaiju movie. Originally I was going to pick Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, but it is largely a repeat of plots we have seen before. I instead with the strangely politically minded The Host because the monster was smaller, the threat was smaller, and the characters were more able to interact with it.
Finally, [READ ABOUT MY FAVORITE MUSIC AND OTHER THINGS]
Si Vales, Valeo
file under (...on Media)
and ...on Myself)