Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Few Projects for the '00s

It's been awhile, but I came to a realization this weekend that I think warrants a discussion or two. About a month and a half ago, we went through each decade and tried to set aside the five 'most essential' films for that period. I thought that process went really well, but I think we missed a pretty interesting conversation: this year is 2009, technically the last year of the '00s, and we haven't talked about what this decade's 'essential films' are. So, my suggestion is that we do that. I think all the contributors/readers here should try to put together a list of at least 5 and no more than 10 movies from this decade that they deem 'essential,' and then we'll duke it out in the comments.

I'm also interested in having a conversation about what films are looming on the horizon this year that might be worth getting excited about (and might make these lists). Let me know if you think that's a good idea, and I'll start a new thread.

Okay, I'll get to work on at least the first project and have a list up some time tomorrow.

8 comments:

T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

My picks for the ten best films of the '00s, in no particular order:

THERE WILL BE BLOOD
UNITED 93
MUNICH
THE NEW WORLD
KILL BILL (VOLS 1 & 2)
THE LORD OF THE RINGS (TRILOGY)
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
TRAFFIC
MULHOLLAND DRIVE
A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Joseph Wyatt said...

I'll go with alphabetical

Catch Men if You Can
Children of Men
Kill Bill (vol 1 & 2)
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Memento
Minority Report
No Country for Old Men
The Pianist
There Will Be Blood
United 93

Man it hurt to leave some damn fine movies out. Though I'm pretty content with this list.

Kenny, I also find it pretty awesome we have the same amount of Spielberg films on our list, but no overlap.

T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

Some nice picks in there, Joe. I'm kind of surprised CHILDREN OF MEN didn't make my list...but even now, I'm not sure what I would knock off...and I like the MEMENTO pick, too. We agree on 4 of 10, which is a pretty good start (while we wait on Jonathan's list). And I also agree about the oddness of our Spielberg dilemma; I would be willing to trade A.I. (even though I personally love it, I get that people don't) for MINORITY REPORT, which I think is a pretty damn awesome neo noir film. That means you trade CATCH ME for MUNICH--a painful move, but one I think you might be able to get behind. I'm surprised you're not on the TRAFFIC bandwagon, btw; I'll push for that movie to stay on the final list, I'm sure. But I can see room for swapping with NEW WORLD and REQUIEM, which I think are comparable director-based nods to your selections of NO COUNTRY and THE PIANIST. Anyway, I'm excited to see where the debate takes us on these flicks.

Gaston Monescu said...

A.I.
Amores Perros
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Ghost World
Kill Bill 2
Mulholland Drive
The New World
No Country for Old Men
Royal Tennenbaums
Traffic

T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

I like the A.I. selection, and I'm down with AMORES PERROS--that's exchangeable on my list with a film like MUNICH. The next two I don't get as much: ETERNAL SUNSHINE is a fine film, but it's a bit too hip for its own good, and I think it's indulgent at times in ways that hurt it. I would say it's a comparable film to something like REQUIEM, but I think REQUIEM is tighter, more focused and more impactful. And GHOST WORLD? Maybe we need to talk about this, because everyone raved with GW came out, and I didn't get it then, and I watched again awhile back, and I didn't get it then, either. It's fine, sure, but what in the hell makes it so 'great'? Is it really that impressive on any of the main fronts (acting/directing/emotional impact/script/etc.)? SCHIZOPOLIS is better than GHOST WORLD. We agree on NEW WORLD, MULHOLLAND, KILL BILL and TRAFFIC, so no disputes there...the last selection you have is ROYAL TENENBAUMS, which I'll admit is a sentimental favorite. It was on my list until the last cut, but for me, I have to make room for LOTR (non-negotiable) and UNITED 93 (also non-negotiable), so it gets the axe. I could see swapping it for MULHOLLAND on my list, but I like having Lynch in the final cut because he's had a such a good decade...and part of me thinks Anderson may have an even greater film in him somewhere (although RT is pretty amazing). I think RT also takes a hit from me because I love RUSHMORE so much...although I'll acknowledge RT is better. Anyway, it's not a bad pick. The only thing I'm flabbergasted by here is GHOST WORLD.

My revised list:
UNITED 93
LORD OF THE RINGS
KILL BILL
TRAFFIC
MULHOLLAND DRIVE
THE NEW WORLD
A.I.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
AMORES PERROS


The ball's in your court.

Gaston Monescu said...

Ugh. I don't like There Will Be Blood on the list. I think it should go. It's a performance for the ages, and a film for the year. That's it. It doesn't even feel close to Paul Anderson's best work. It's gestures are large and sweeping, crazed allegorical swipes at men and power in America. I just don't see it ever resonating like Magnolia or Boogie Nights for me. BN is a much more telling and nuanced take on these same issues. DD Lewis swallows the movie whole.

Okay. Let's cover our bases.

The commerical attempt at an art film? Mulholland Drive, AI, or New World? I don't think you get to have all three (even though I did, just to spite LOTR lovers). You pick one and go with it.

Indie work? We've got I Heart Huckabees, Lost in Translation, Royal Tennebaums, Ghost World...I think RT is the best out of that lot.

You have to have LOTR on there. Kill Bill? I'm not sure about. Traffic? Okay, but you get one Sodorburgh.

Things that bother me? No other foreign films. That's it? Amores Perros?

No docs?

No animated films?

Joseph Wyatt said...

Kenny

You have to give in to Children of Men or Memento. You have to.

The New World? Come on. One of the best films of the decade. Seriously? Or do we just want to have Terrence Malick on the list.

Do the right thing Kenny.

T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

Good points all around...

Gaston, per your first point, I don't think we only get one of those 3 films--but I'll accept cutting them down to 1. Yes, they're all commercial attempts at art films, but that's basically this decade in a nutshell, isn't it? Wouldn't that be like faulting the '40s for having too many noirs? Anyway, I'll take MULHOLLAND and A.I., and, per Joe's request, I'll retire THE NEW WORLD. I love that movie, but even I would admit it's Malick's 3rd best film and not a top 100 contender. So, in place of NEW WORLD, I'll take...hmm...CHILDREN OF MEN, maybe? That movie is fan-freaking-tastic, but I'm not sure it's better than some of the other options at this point. Let's hold off for a moment. So, thus far:

A.I.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE

Like I said before, LOTR is a must have, and I think we're all in at least some agreement about TRAFFIC (best ensemble film of the decade, for sure, and a great representative for Soderbergh, who has had a pretty awesome decade). Now, per your next point, I'll take ROYAL TENENBAUMS. I thought about it today, and there's honestly not a flawed moment in that film, beginning to end. It's awesome. SO, the 5 locks thus far:

A.I.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS
TRAFFIC
THE LORD OF THE RINGS

I'm also holding on to AMORES PERROS and KILL BILL (maybe Tarantino's most representative and accomplished work, once the dust settles on him). I'm also keeping UNITED 93. So, two spots left, and you raise some good points: more foreign films and/or docs. Starting with doc's, I'm honestly not sure what the best documentary of the decade is. My gut says MAN ON WIRE, but I'm not sure about it. What other docs have been fantastic this decade? Errol Morris has been self-serving lately, Ken Burns won't get off PBS, Michael Moore is more and more of a sham...any other big names out there? Let's talk about this. For now, I'll take MAN ON WIRE as the best of the decade, but I'm not sure it goes on this list.

As for other foreign films, I'm not sure--TALK TO HER is awesome, PAN'S LABYRINTH is awesome, CROUCHING TIGER was great at the time, but I think it's faded a bit...anything good from France in the last decade? Germany? CITY OF GOD, maybe? That film seems the tiniest bit overrated to me, but I think this is a good conversation to have.

Lastly, THERE WILL BE BLOOD. It's P.T.A.'s best film, and I think in the top 5 for the decade. It's amazing, amazing. But I'll defer on this one, since it's meeting enough opposition to make me think it might be personal preference. I'll drop it, pick up CHILDREN OF MEN and keep REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, which is the best indie film of the decade.

My picks for our collaborative list, thus far, with the acknowledgment that we need to work through foreign and doc's:

A.I.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE
TRAFFIC
THE LORD OF THE RINGS
KILL BILL
UNITED 93
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
CHILDREN OF MEN
AMORES PERROS
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS