This decade has seen box office records fall, traditional genres be redefined and film legends come and go, but the greatest impact the past 10 years of film have had is on our lives and culture.
In the good times and the bad, we turn to the movies as a two-hour escape from our everyday lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s comedy or drama, humor or romance, film always has a way of putting us in just the right state of mind.
As we come to the end of another decade, it only seems right to honor the films that have had the greatest impact on us throughout the years.
So, with no further ado, we bring you our list of the top 50 films of the decade, as voted on by the Herald staff and our ArtsEtc. writers.
While not every movie on this list was the most influential or critically acclaimed of the decade, each one has had at least some impact on moviegoers over the years. Although some films didn’t make the cut — we only chose one film per franchise — the people have spoken and this is our 50.
As this is our last paper we wish you the best of holidays and a happy new film year.
Love, Your ArtsEtc. Editors.
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
“The Dark Knight” did more than redefine the comic book film genre; it reminded audiences why we go to the theaters. Beyond the cape and mask, it is a gritty masterpiece and one of the best crime thrillers of all time. Plus, Ledger is just hauntingly brilliant.
2. The Departed (2006)
This Best Picture winner put audiences smack-dab in the middle of Boston’s heated streets, where the only thing more important than your life is your identity. An all-star cast keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way until the explosive end.
3. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
An inspiration for underdogs everywhere, this captivating Mumbai love story swept audiences off their feet with its breathtaking rags-to-riches tale. Throw in an exotic soundtrack and electrifying final dance sequence and you’ve got a jackpot.
4. There Will Be Blood (2007)
Yes, there was blood, but it was Daniel Day-Lewis’ compelling performance as a man who risks everything for wealth that gave this film its dramatic grit. Add in the growing tension between Day-Lewis and Paul Dano’s Sunday, and you’ve got a classic.
5. No Country for Old Men (2007)
The decade’s ultimate cat-and-mouse thriller, “No Country” is a bleak and exhilarating rundown through a dusty West Texas backdrop. Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin are fantastic, but it’s Javier Bardem’s Chigurh that keeps the chills coming.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Charlie Kaufman can write some fucked-up movies. But this one gives romance such a bend for the strange that the film comes out the other side as a refreshing, brutally honest take on the importance of love and what it does to us, both good and bad.
7. WALL-E (2008)
Only Pixar can make a garbage-filled earth look appealing. With breathtaking views of outer space, we all got to know one astounding robot who won our hearts without saying anything aside from his own name. Sometimes silence truly is golden.
8. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Dripping with bloody good battles and stunning special effects, the final journey to Middle Earth was the best yet. Nonetheless, it was Jackson’s tremendous ability to bring Tolkien’s imaginative tale to life that made fantasy cool again.
9. Juno (2007)
With “Juno” we get everything: a pregnant girl, an awkward boy and Jason Bateman. We also got all those things wrapped in a perfectly quirky package with an awesome soundtrack, not to mention all the buzzworthy lingo courtesy of Diablo Cody.
10. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
From the suicidal uncle to the foul-mouthed grandpa to the little girl with aspirations of becoming a child beauty queen, this film is eccentric comedy at its finest. If every road trip was this much, Volkswagen Microbus sales would be out the roof.
11. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
12. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
13. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
14. Wedding Crashers (2005)
15. Memento (2000)
16. Gladiator (2000)
17. Mean Girls (2004)
18. V for Vendetta (2005)
19. Anchorman (2004)
20. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
21. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
22. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
23. The Prestige (2006)
24. Almost Famous (20000)
25. Up (2009)
26. Remember the Titans (2000)
27. Finding Nemo (2003)
28. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
29. Gran Torino (2008)
30. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
31. Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (2004)
32. Casino Royale (2006)
33. Zoolander (2001)
34. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
35. Borat (2006)
36. Chicago (2002)
37. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
38. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
39. Mystic River (2003)
40. Blood Diamond (2006)
41. Knocked Up (2007)
42. Big Fish (2003)
43. Cast Away (2000)
44. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
45. Catch Me if You Can (2002)
46. Training Day (2001)
47. Finding Neverland (2004)
48. Erin Brockovich (2000)
49. Shrek (2001)
50. Master and Commander (2003)