Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): What are the Best Films of the 21st century?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What are the Best Films of the 21st century?


This introduction to the Examiner list was published on Wonders in the Dark, where you can find a whole lot of additional comments.

Over on the Examiner, I've initiated a series to explore recent cinema. It's called "Best of the 21st Century?" (emphasis on the question mark).

There are good reasons for this, both critical and personal. Critically, the motivation is obvious. We are approaching 2010; the first decade of our young millennium has come to pass, and as our own digits predispose us to think in tens, it's a time to take stock of things. Personally, my inspiration for this exercise is even stronger: I just haven't seen many movies from the 00s. That's why I am only writing about the movies I haven't seen on the guide list - a number that still encompasses just over half of the titles. (That list, compiled from various critics' lists, is a fairly "objective" analysis of the most acclaimed films. This still leaves room for dreck like King Kong which, thankfully having suffered through once, I won't have to review here. Sorry, Dennis.) The list will be updated in January 2010, and I may update my approach to reflect the new list. I'll be posting every couple days until we've caught up with what I've already reviewed on the Examiner, and after Christmas we'll probably take a one-a-week approach, which means this list could theoretically go into 2012 (on second thought, we may have to speed up my approach here...). In the mean time, it will serve as preparation for Allan's own 2000s, a full-on canonical approach, to be initiated after his massive "100 best films of the silent era" is completed. All my pieces will be on the Examiner, which is where the series originated, but if you follow the embedded links on my posts here, the site will not be difficult to reach.

Follow the jump and you can read my introduction to the series, as well as a full list of all the titles, seen and unseen by me (an asterisk indicates the films I have not seen, and thus will be reviewing...as long as they are available on Netflix). Some of the films' titles are linked to reviews I've already written, either for one of my blogs or for the Examiner prior to this series beginning. Feel free to share your own thoughts on recent cinema below - but save your top 25/50 lists for Allan's countdown, which will begin in the springtime.

The original list is no longer active, and is out-of-date to boot. An updated list and intro to the series will be coming up on Wonders in the Dark soon, and will be linked here when it's ready. (Update: Here it is.)

The following comments are from The Sun's Not Yellow, where the list was originally linked.

6 comments:

The Mad Hatter said...

Interesting list. Part of me wants to put him into the same playpen as the guy who chose CACHÉ as number one (the guy who sparked my whole snobbery post)...but I'm not as sure with this writer.

For starters, the rest of his ten seems more honest than the other dude's.

What to do, what to do...

MovieMan0283 said...

What is the other list you're speaking of (I missed that post; I'll have to check it out)? This list is actually a conglomeration of all the different critics' top-ten and all-time lists (the site also has a 1000 All-Time list based on the same criterion). "By committee" doesn't necessarily mean "better" but it does give you a sense of which films are most acclaimed at a given point, which I find pretty interesting.

The Mad Hatter said...

Damn - I coulda swore you got your two cents in, but now that I look through the comments again, I realize you're right! Sorry 'bout that.

Here's the original article:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6902642.ece

And here's the post I wrote in reaction to it:

http://mcneilmatinee.blogspot.com/2009/11/somewhere-only-we-know.html

Sam Juliano said...

Well Joel, I haven't even officially embarked on this venture yet, as we have the silent film coming up at WitD that will preceed the 2000's so that some people will have afew months to catch up with films they haven't seen. I do know that FAR FROM HEAVEN and THE FOUNTAIN will most likely head up my own list, though many here on the Examiner's list will certainly rank high up on mine....i.e. TALK TO HER, ETERNAL SUNSHINE, WALL-E, etc. Of course, as you note Joel, we wtill have six weeks left to 2009, and a few chestnuts may still place. I will certainly take a look at Hatter's post today, and I do look forward to sharing lists very soon.

Troy Olson said...

Hmm, that's quite an interesting look on the general consensus (and a good starting point on what I need to get to watching to put together my own list).

However, I'm a tad confused on the criteria TSPDT uses to put these in this particular order. They say that these are culled from individual year end lists and yet they show them ranked as a conglomerate. That seems to be equating each year's crop of films as being equal, which is obviously never the case (say I think the 10 best films of the decade all come from 2007, how would that be reflected here?). Does any of this make sense?

MovieMan0283 said...

Yes. As mitigation, they also rank films according to their listing on all-time best lists, though obviously that's still a pretty limited quantity at this point.