My "favorite" films from the young centuryby swalt-1 | created - 10 Sep 2011 | updated - 16 Mar 2012 | Public
I won't think the exact same tomorrow, next month, next year, next decade, but I like this list of films. They make up roughly the top 1/7th of the films I have seen during this nearly twelve-year segment of time/history.
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1. Atonement (2007)
R | 123 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.
Votes: 215,437 | Gross: $50.93M
The most powerful film I have seen from this century. So tense. Such a tragic story. Incredible cinematography and script. Knightly is perfect. There is a reason why lies, love, and war are behind many of the absolute greatest stories. And I won't give away this film's ending.
2. Lost in Translation (2003)
R | 102 min | Drama
A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.
Votes: 355,388 | Gross: $44.59M
Sofia's best film. Non-stop series of spot-on scenes. This is driven by wonderful performances and a well-executed theme.
3. Memento (2000)
R | 113 min | Mystery, Thriller
A man juggles searching for his wife's murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.
Votes: 967,390 | Gross: $25.54M
What a rush. Just enough stylizing. Compelling thriller. Pearce is the man.
4. The Brown Bunny (2003)
Not Rated | 93 min | Drama
Professional motorcycle racer Bud Clay heads from New Hampshire to California to race again. Along the way he meets various needy women who provide him with the cure to his own loneliness, but only a certain woman from his past will truly satisfy him.
Votes: 12,412 | Gross: $0.37M
I am a sucker for its "difference" factor. What minimalism can achieve. Love, beauty, America, how-things-go
5. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.
Votes: 272,952 | Gross: $7.22M
So weird and exciting.
6. Before Sunset (2004)
R | 80 min | Drama, Romance
Nine years after Jesse and Celine first met, they encounter each other again on the French leg of Jesse's book tour.
Votes: 191,946 | Gross: $5.79M
The talking, walking, and song at the end.
7. The Wrestler (2008)
R | 109 min | Drama, Sport
A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.
Votes: 269,573 | Gross: $26.24M
Better than The Black Swan. The locations are more interesting and the situations are capable of tremendous heart-warming. Rourke is brilliant, as is the camera style and grainy look/feel. And my god what incredible female characters!
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
R | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
When their relationship turns sour, a young couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.
Votes: 768,016 | Gross: $34.40M
A life-affirming fantasy.
9. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Votes: 123,729 | Gross: $17.84M
Tense. Funny. Whimsical. Does a lot to reject the film the viewer thinks this would be.
10. L'enfant (2005)
R | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
Bruno and Sonia, a young couple living off her benefit and the thefts committed by his gang, have a new source of money: their newborn son.
Votes: 15,813 | Gross: $0.65M
The film i saw that preceded my decision to spend time making this list. Only the second film I have seen from the Dardenne Bros. To me, they are the epitome of human dramatic artists.
11. There Will Be Blood (2007)
R | 158 min | Drama
A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.
Votes: 433,376 | Gross: $40.22M
A good deal better than No Country for Old Men (I mention because they MIGHT go down as half-cousin films). A bit long and its sinister quality has kept me from wanting to sit through this a third/fourth? time. But this is massive filmmaking.
12. In the Bedroom (2001)
R | 130 min | Crime, Drama
A New England couple's college-aged son dates an older woman who has two small children and an unwelcome ex-husband.
Votes: 34,337 | Gross: $35.93M
A moral tale (read: tragedy) in the classical sense. Pitch-perfect pacing and performances.
13. Adaptation. (2002)
R | 114 min | Comedy, Drama
A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.
Votes: 157,990 | Gross: $22.25M
A trip that has everything.
14. The Pianist (2002)
R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music
A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.
Votes: 587,728 | Gross: $32.57M
Powerful stuff. A refreshing perspective on World War II.
15. Drive (I) (2011)
R | 100 min | Crime, Drama
A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.
Votes: 491,269 | Gross: $35.06M
I need to see more from director Nicolas Winding Refn: the dude clearly knows the arts of contrast and delivering the unexpected. Drive teeters on the right side of stylized. A joy to watch.
16. Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (2010)
Not Rated | 114 min | Drama, Fantasy
Dying of kidney disease, a man spends his last, somber days with family, including the ghost of his wife and a forest spirit who used to be his son, on a rural northern Thailand farm.
Votes: 10,817 | Gross: $0.18M
A wonderous film, somewhere between Rashomon (for place, attention) and Spirit of the Beehive (for mood, pace, and ellipses). Will have to see more from this apparently incredible director.
17. Shame (2011)
NC-17 | 101 min | Drama
A man's carefully cultivated private life is disrupted when his sister arrives for an indefinite stay.
Votes: 163,510 | Gross: $4.00M
Full of vitality. Perfect performances, made more incredible by there being an intensely conflicted protagonist and a perfect-size supporting portrait of his sister. The direction is crisp and patient. The cinematography is gorgeous. The score is powerful but not overdone.
18. Junebug (2005)
R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama
A dealer in "outsider" art travels from Chicago to North Carolina to meet her new in-laws, challenging the equilibrium of this middle class Southern home.
Votes: 20,093 | Gross: $2.68M
Indie films often strive and fail. The trick is to be honest with the script and mise-en-scene. This has many memorable scenes and emotions.
19. Somewhere (2010)
R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama
After withdrawing to the Chateau Marmont, a passionless Hollywood actor reexamines his life when his eleven-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit.
Votes: 38,893 | Gross: $1.77M
Even more beautiful than Lost in Translation.
20. Wendy and Lucy (2008)
R | 80 min | Drama
Over the summer, a series of unfortunate happening triggers a financial crisis for a young woman and she soon finds her life falling apart.
Votes: 13,795 | Gross: $0.86M
Minimal in order to provide time for us to think and feel. Stunning.
21. Paradise Now (2005)
PG-13 | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Two childhood friends are recruited for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.
Votes: 20,857 | Gross: $1.45M
This blew me away. I have been meaning to see this again.
22. Milk (I) (2008)
R | 128 min | Biography, Drama
The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.
Votes: 149,163 | Gross: $31.84M
Kind of a conventional film, but only kind of. Everything works, here. The perfect weight and tone.
23. Superbad (2007)
R | 113 min | Comedy
Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.
Votes: 460,988 | Gross: $121.46M
I have only seen this once, so there is a chance I will like it less on second viewing. But for me, this is the peak of what this genre can offer. Most other offerings in this vein are pretty terrible.
24. Before Night Falls (2000)
R | 133 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
The life of Cuban poet and novelist Reynaldo Arenas.
Votes: 22,108 | Gross: $4.22M
Underrated. Educational and inspiring WITHOUT forcibly trying to be either.
Not Rated | 99 min | Documentary, Biography, Music
Be Here to Love Me - Chronicles the fascinating and often turbulent life of Townes Van Zandt.
Votes: 1,065 | Gross: $0.13M
The guy lived a life, that's for sure.
26. The Hours (2002)
PG-13 | 110 min | Drama, Romance
The story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.
Votes: 111,592 | Gross: $41.68M
This is an engrossing tale featuring an amazing cast.
27. Iklimler (2006)
Unrated | 101 min | Drama
A dowdy university instructor Isa is an inattentive husband to his younger, TV-business wife Bahar. Self-absorbed and selfish, Isa only communicates in the most rudimentary way, while she, similarly, detaches into crying jags and juvenile behavior.
Votes: 9,127 | Gross: $0.12M
Large. Poetically depressive. Reminds me sorta of what I like a lot about Antonioni.
28. Cyrus (I) (2010)
R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
John and Molly, a divorced middle aged man and a single mother meet at a friends party and start up a small relationship, all John has to do now is meet Molly's son... Cyrus
Votes: 31,710 | Gross: $7.46M
I had no real complaints about "what happens" in the film. I dig the camera style a lot. This has heart, no joke.
29. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
PG-13 | 112 min | Biography, Drama
The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed.
Votes: 95,722 | Gross: $5.99M
Definitely gives the viewer new things to DO when watching a film. Good story.
30. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
PG-13 | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A delusional young man strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.
Votes: 125,926 | Gross: $5.97M
I think Gosling is a great actor. This movie is psychologically affecting. And everything is so realistic. Made me cry.
31. Donnie Darko (2001)
R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.
Votes: 660,787 | Gross: $0.19M
There's actually a lot going on here. This movie sits in a place all its own.
32. The Dark Knight (2008)
PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama
When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.
Votes: 1,912,254 | Gross: $534.86M
When I saw this on opening night, I declared that I had just had the most thrilling movie-theatre experience of my life. Upon subsequent viewings, this just feels like a high water mark in the generally trite genres of "action film" and "super-hero movie" that are dominating mainstream cinema offerings and consciousness. Except, I shouldn't forget that Ledger's performance is one of the best ever.
33. Up in the Air (I) (2009)
R | 109 min | Drama, Romance
Ryan Bingham enjoys living out of a suitcase for his job, travelling around the country firing people, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a potential love interest, and a new hire.
Votes: 289,277 | Gross: $83.82M
Close-to conventional, but features a great topic, a better-than-most sense of form, and understated acting. And Clooney is so classic, here.
34. Half Nelson (2006)
R | 106 min | Drama
An inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students after she discovers his secret.
Votes: 77,473 | Gross: $2.69M
Gritty feel and the right type of root-for-them story.
35. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
R | 102 min | Drama
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep.
Votes: 657,685 | Gross: $3.64M
I used to like this a bit more. Nowadays, I still greatly admire it for its acting, intensity, and score.
36. Australia (2008)
PG-13 | 165 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance
Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.
Votes: 110,071 | Gross: $49.55M
Something to marvel at--surprisingly majestic. Good love story. Equally great story about a kid.
37. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
R | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A year after their father's funeral, three brothers travel across India by train in an attempt to bond with each other.
Votes: 155,185 | Gross: $11.90M
This is pretty quirky yet full of pathos. I like this more than many of Anderson's films in part because it LOOKS fantastic.
38. Still Life (2006)
Unrated | 111 min | Drama
A town in Fengjie county is gradually being demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. A man and woman visit the town to locate their estranged spouses, and become witness to the societal changes.
Votes: 4,844 | Gross: $0.07M
Good story and presentation. I felt like I was fly along for the ride.
39. The Departed (2006)
R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.
Votes: 1,001,217 | Gross: $132.38M
Only slightly unsatisfying upon reflection; effin badass while in the moment. Edge of your seat crime drama that is brilliant and raw and "classic rock".
40. Talk to Her (2002)
R | 112 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
Two men share an odd friendship while they care for two women who are both in deep comas.
Votes: 93,580 | Gross: $9.28M
A different kind of story filmed exceedingly well. If I saw it tomorrow, I might consider it to be much better than the 25 films I have ranked above it.
41. George Washington (2000)
Not Rated | 89 min | Drama
A group of children, in a depressed small town, band together to cover up a tragic mistake one summer.
Votes: 6,861 | Gross: $0.24M
Think about how this movie was made by the same dude who made Pineapple Express (another really good movie). ...It feels like a first film, but it hits unusual chords, powerfully.
42. Oldeuboi (2003)
R | 120 min | Action, Drama, Mystery
After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.
Votes: 422,625 | Gross: $0.71M
Captivating thriller that deserves to be as well regarded as it is.
43. Volver (I) (2006)
R | 121 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
After her death, a mother returns to her home town in order to fix the situations she couldn't resolve during her life.
Votes: 84,187 | Gross: $12.90M
A magical realism featuring a stunning lead actress.
44. Capote (2005)
R | 114 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.
Votes: 111,495 | Gross: $28.75M
Philip Seymour Hoffman is a beast. A dramatic investigative movie that's a bit twisted and best-loved for its disturbing qualities.
45. Waking Life (2001)
R | 99 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy
A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.
Votes: 54,594 | Gross: $2.89M
This feels a bit minor to me. But it is certainly a fun ride for the open-minded/existential.
46. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
R | 110 min | Comedy, Drama
The eccentric members of a dysfunctional family reluctantly gather under the same roof for various reasons.
Votes: 232,830 | Gross: $52.36M
This one starts slow for me. In general, its pacing is worse than films like Rushmore and Bottle Rocket. Also, I am not very big on the score this time around. But it is still a pretty great effort with some highly effective scenes. I don't mean to act like I don't like Tenenbaums. Classic
47. Once (2007)
R | 86 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A modern-day musical about a busker and an immigrant and their eventful week in Dublin, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.
Votes: 101,315 | Gross: $9.44M
Really smart/emotional on my first viewing. Still "mostly" convincing on later viewings.
48. The Fountain (2006)
PG-13 | 96 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi.
Votes: 208,596 | Gross: $10.14M
Barely misses being over-the-top with emotion and story. What we have here is a deliberately awe-inspiring mini epic that packs many-a-punch.
49. Elephant (2003)
R | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Several ordinary high school students go through their daily routine as two others prepare for something more malevolent.
Votes: 76,891 | Gross: $1.23M
Frightening. Enjoyable voyeuristic experience.
50. Sideways (2004)
R | 126 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance