Here we go… Starting with Number ten and moving to number one… this might take a day or so… But… NUMBER 10: ZOOLANDER. Why? Because, in a decade of good comedies, and a shift in comedy from the trad rom-com to the bromance, ZOOLANDER reigns supreme in its loonyness. Rarely has a studio movie been sooooo wacko. And there are two monumental highlights: the petrol-fight scene and the “day after the orgy” discussion. PLUS the models’ videos – and Will Ferrell going nuts before he went huge. ZOOLANDER is a classic – the comedy of the decade.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN… Why? Because in a decade that ultimately succumbed to Vampire movies, this one was, simply and utterly, the best. And it wasn’t even a Vampire movie. It was a love story – between a young boy and a young girl. Not only did it have the most satisfying ending of any movie of the decade, it also had the best line: HE: “I’m twelve.” SHE: “I’m twelve too. I’ve just been twelve for two hundred years.”
LE FABLEAUX DESTIN D’AMELIE POULAIN, also known in English, simply, as AMELIE. WHY? Because not only was this charming, slightly “magic-realism” film delightful in a million ways; not only is it THE ultimate date movie; not only did it re-define “feel-good movie” without making you want to throw up; it also launched one of the TRUE stars of cinema, being the incredible Audrey Tatou. She picks her films carefully, but even if she retired to a desert island tomorrow, she will always be Amelie, and we will always love her for it. A true joy; a film to be watched again and again and again.
George Cloony’s film GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK is not only a masterly recreation of an amazing era in broadcasting; it is also a highly political film that will continue to resonate for years. By looking to the past – specifically, the McCarthy witchhunts – and by locking onto Edward Murrow as a hero, Cloony not only reminds us to be vigilant, but heroic. David Strathern’s performance is possibly the performance of the decade. This incredible film is smart, sophisticated, and full of ideas. Probably like Clooney himself.
BORAT was freakin’ funny. Sascha Baron Cohen didn’t invent a new style of comedy, but he took his alchemy to a whole new level. Not only was the film side-splittingly hilarious from start to finish, it also exposed a whole lot about not just America, but “Everyman”. Baron-Cohen is a truly brave comedian, and while he’s probably too famous now for his shtick ever to work again properly, BORAT will remain his masterpiece. Many can try. He actually DID it.
IN BRUGES was everything you might want in a filmic experience – it was smart, witty, suspenseful, funny, and ultimately moving. It’s also a great example of a film that can be sustained mainly through dialogue, and mainly between two incredibly well-written, well-drawn, well-acted characters. Colin Farrell finally proved his chops and Colm Meany cemented his. One might say that the film was derivative – and indeed, it probably couldn’t have existed had Mr. Tarentino never been born – but it was a thrilling, wonderful ride from start to finish, and deserves multiple viewings. Ralph Fiennes was astonishing in the last third, and the film includes the “moment of the decade” – the “blank-shot to the head”.
What more can be said of INGLORIOUS BASTERDS? You want humour? Check. You want suspense? CHECK. You want great actors at the top of their game? Check. You want seriously entertaining story-telling? Check. Mr. Tarantino is – in this writer’s opinion – quite simply the most exciting filmmaker in the world, and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, while not his masterpiece (which is PULP FICTION), is still a rip-roaring salute to good old movie magic, and is easily the best of his offerings this decade. Brad Pitt has never been better, but Tarantino’s casting goes soooo far beyond that – his females are incredible, and in Christophe Waltz, he has found the best villain since Goldfinger. This film, simply, rocks.
Michael Moore is one of the most important filmmakers on the planet, and FAHRENHEIT 911 (2004) is his masterpiece. Although it did not achieve its desired aim of averting the re-election of George Bush, it was seen by a huge amount of people, and, most importantly, a huge amount of Americans. No-one since the days of the great novelists have brought politics to the people in the way that Moore has, and FAHRENHEIT 911 opened a lot of eyes. If you were already a fan – or a “liberal” (in the American sense), it was one thing; the great achievement of Moore’s was that conservatives in America saw his film and questioned their own philosophies. And it was also hysterically funny – the unique brilliance of Moore. He is a superb essayist, and this is his finest essay.
With the casting of Daniel Craig, and going back to the old-school hand of director Martin Campbell, CASINO ROYALE didn’t just re-invigorate the Bond franchise, it re-invented it. Easily the best Bond film ever made, CASINO ROYALE is a superb film in every way. Suspenseful, dangerous, sexy and true, it goes back to Ian Fleming’s Bond for all he’s worth. Craig’s Bond drinks (watch the scene where he sucks down a scotch in the bathroom to steady his hand!), kills, and only makes love because he needs he thinks he’s in it. By the end, this Bond trusts nobody. He is a deeply damaged human being, a monster created by the very system he loves – but does he love it too much? There have been very few spy movies that have dealt this ruthlessly with the actual mechanics of serving country before oneself. And, in the foot-chase ten minutes in, this Bond film achieved instant iconographic status. This film is a true classic and, quite possibly, the most purely entertaining film of the decade.
And Film Mafia’s BEST FILM OF THE DECADE:
Al Gore’s film AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH stands alone as, quite literally, the most important movie ever made. While there have been films in the past that have exposed the past (HEARTS AND MINDS, THE BATTLE FOR ALGIERS et al), AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH exposed the future, and alerted a very large audience to the savage implications of our very nature. The entire climate-change movement – whether it’s going well or badly – has been spurred by this film, and if this film had not existed, the movement would not exist in its current form. Ostensibly, and quite simply, a filmed document of Mr. Gore’s globe-trotting lectures on climate change, the film utilised the simple facts, and the brilliance of Mr. Gore’s own charisma and dogged learning, to present the scientific proof of climate change to a mass audience. Prior to this filmed record of his research, Mr. Gore had spent three decades following what he, early on, recognised as a looming disaster to mankind, and he has devoted the rest of his life to waking the rest of the word up to his dire discoveries. Copenhagen may have been a schemozzle, but at least it happened, and there is now a President of the United States who insists on science, rather than religion, leading the way ahead. AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH may just be the most imprtant movie ever made.