Keith Simanton's Top 30 Movies of the Last 20 Years

I've had the privilege of being the managing editor at IMDb for the last ten years. Here are my 20+ films of the last 20 years.
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1.
Unforgiven (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man. (131 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
“ Eastwood, Freeman, Hackman and Harris in what is amazingly an homage and a biting commentary on all the Westerns before it. The bar was consequently set so high for future filmmakers that it seemed a fool's errand to even approach the genre itself...so few have until Andrew Dominik (see #10). ” - keithsim
 
2.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. (154 mins.)
“ Possibly the best dialogue in a script ever. ” - keithsim
 
3.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which begin when five criminals meet at a seemingly random police lineup. (106 mins.)
Director: Bryan Singer
“ Bryan Singer's direction of an incredible cast from an Oscar-winning script by Chris McQuarrie. Nary a waste of a frame in the entire thing. ” - keithsim
 
4.
The Matrix (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers. (136 mins.)
“ The Wachowski's did the impossible by making a compelling film out of the "virtual reality" sub-genre while embracing every movie trope from the dawn of cinema. Plus it kicks a lot of ass. ” - keithsim
 
5.
Quiz Show (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A young lawyer, Richard Goodwin, investigates a potentially fixed game show. Charles Van Doren, a big time show winner, is under Goodwin's investigation. (133 mins.)
Director: Robert Redford
“ Robert Redford's treatment of a Paul Attanasio screenplay, based upon the quiz show scandal of the '50s is a insightful glimpse into the heady attraction to fame and wealth and the costs associated with pursuing it. ” - keithsim
 
6.
The Ogre (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester... (118 mins.)
“ Based upon Germanic lore and literature, particularly the legend of the Erl King, a creature that steals children away, this film literally made me gasp when I realized where it was going. This, not The Tin Drum, is Volker Schlondorff's masterpiece. ” - keithsim
 
7.
The Lives of Others (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. (137 mins.)
“ A gentle thriller about the rare decency of men it well deserved its Best Foreign Film Oscar. ” - keithsim
 
8.
The Incredibles (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world. (115 mins.)
Director: Brad Bird
“ It's perfect. Humorous, thrilling, touching, rich and meaningful. Brad Bird's perfectionist stamp is on every scene. ” - keithsim
 
9.
Election (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president. (103 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
“ The underdog in all of us squirms through Alexander Paynes' film as we watch Matthew Broderick act as the agent of his own destruction. And it's funny to boot. ” - keithsim
 
10.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader. (160 mins.)
Director: Andrew Dominik
“ Andrew Dominick's dissection of fame and power and of the kinds of personalities that so desperately seek it, namely the powerless and the unloved. Worth it for the first scene with James stopping a train alone. ” - keithsim
 
11.
Schindler's List (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans. (195 mins.)
“ Achingly painful to watch yet redemptive Spielberg's movie is about the Holocaust but it's also about the unexpected appearance of good. ” - keithsim
 
12.
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An affluent New York couple find their lives touched, intruded upon, and compelled by a mysterious young black man who is never quite who he says he is. (112 mins.)
Director: Fred Schepisi
“ A slick and assured Will Smith plays a hustler who breaks an art dealer and his socialite wife out of their rote existence. Stockard Channing is all kinds of wonderful. ” - keithsim
 
13.
JFK (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story. (189 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
“ Crazed, made-up, brilliant, impassioned. Stone at his second-best (Platoon was outside of our 20 years) but still a Thomas Paine (for good and for ill) railing on the screen. ” - keithsim
 
14.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell. (84 mins.)
“ The culmination of the Ashman/Menken relationship with the revitalized Disney corporation and artists that rekindled, well, almost everything having to do with animation for the last two decades. Rich and lush and heartfelt. ” - keithsim
 
15.
Groundhog Day (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again. (101 mins.)
Director: Harold Ramis
“ A comedy in the vein of It's a Wonderful Life, without knowing it. Too smart, too effortless to be mere happenstance. ” - keithsim
 
16.
Whale Rider (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize. (101 mins.)
Director: Niki Caro
“ A modern-day fable that does what the best films can do. It leads us to a place that completely surprises us yet, at the same time, we knew it was heading there all along. ” - keithsim
 
17.
Amores Perros (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love. (154 mins.)
“ Watching this film makes one get a sliver of glimpse into the view God must have of our broken, limping lives. A dog fighter, a self-absorbed model and an assassin turn out to be no better and no worse than any of the rest of us as Inarritu's film converges on a traffic accident that will affect them all. ” - keithsim
 
18.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets. (127 mins.)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
“ If you know someone who doesn't like it, lightly stomp on their toes. ” - keithsim
 
19.
A History of Violence (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core. (96 mins.)
“ What do we want of our protectors? We want them to do horrible things and then to sit down and shut up so we don't have to know about it. Cronenberg's masterpiece. ” - keithsim
 
20.
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet. (129 mins.)
Director: Terry Gilliam
“ Gilliam wants to save the world and he wants to release a toxin that will destroy it. Based upon the short by Chris Marker, Le Jetee and showing that Bruce Willis is a great actor, as is Brad Pitt. ” - keithsim
 
21.
Inception (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
“ So dense you lose your place trying to recollect it, like Kane or the Godfather or Jackie Brown. ” - keithsim
 
22.
High Fidelity (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress. (113 mins.)
Director: Stephen Frears
“ The same drive that causes people to make lists, to rearrange their stacks, to show their erudition, to show off, is explored in Frear's great film. Love, however, ends up being something that can't be quantified and shelved easily, which is a problem. Makes fun of Stevie Wonder (remember Jack Black's character telling off the father that thinks his daughter wants "I Just Called to Say I Love You?") and yet ends the film on a Wonder tune. ” - keithsim
 
23.
Thelma & Louise (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An Arkansas waitress and a housewife shoot a rapist and take off in a '66 Thunderbird. (130 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
“ Ridley Scott's film transforms a road trip movie into a film about deep and abiding companionship with two incredible performances by Sarandon and Davis. ” - keithsim
 
24.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An adaptation of the cult memoir of game show impresario Chuck Barris, in which he purports to have been a CIA hitman. (113 mins.)
Director: George Clooney
“ Clooney's direction pulls in the unbelievable and the pathetic in this tale of Chuck Barry, who may or may not be completely off his rocker. ” - keithsim
 
25.
Into the Wild (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. (148 mins.)
Director: Sean Penn
“ Sean Penn's take on wanderlust and the need to be your own person with an overlooked, excellent performance by Emil Hirsch. ” - keithsim
 
26.
Red Rock West (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
When a promised job for Texan Michael fails to materialise in Wyoming, Mike is mistaken by Wayne to be the hitman he hired to kill his unfaithful wife... (98 mins.)
Director: John Dahl
“ "Adios Red Rock," is a quote that should be so well known that it's on Jeopardy! John Dahl's direction and Nic Cage and Dennis Hopper. You can almost taste the Miller Genuine Draft. ” - keithsim
 
27.
Speed (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph. (116 mins.)
Director: Jan de Bont
“ "Pop quiz hotshot." ” - keithsim
 
28.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera. (111 mins.)
Director: Mike Figgis
“ A love triangle that includes a suicidal writer, a prostitute and alcohol. Nic Cage's performance deservedly won him an Oscar. ” - keithsim
 
29.
Michael Clayton (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit. (119 mins.)
Director: Tony Gilroy
“ Tony Gilroy's tale of a lawyer who sees the effects of his own handiwork contains what may be George Clooney's best performance. A smart film that throws one back to the days of Sydney Pollack. ” - keithsim
 
30.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. (159 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ Kubrick dissects marriage and fidelity like a bulldozer with a razor-sharp scoop. ” - keithsim