The Best of The Aughts

31Dec09

Finally. It’s over. The 2000s. The 00s. The aughts. Whatever the fuck you want to call it. We’re done. And with the close of the decade, comes the obligatory nostalgic look back. And while we’ve suffered through a lot of bullshit these past ten years, there is also much to be appreciated–especially when it comes to film.

When we sat down to compile the best of the aughts, our initial list was almost 300 strong. We were blown away by the sheer number of dope movies that had come out.

This decade: We were introduced to Rian Johnson and Jason Reitman. Danny Boyle got the props we’ve been saying he deserved for years. Christopher Nolan gave us a superhero movie that didn’t suck. Charlie Kaufman decided to actually direct one of his screenplays. The Oscars officially became a joke. And sexy gypsy was born.

A lot of coffee, cigarettes and Wes Andersen bashing went into making this list. But we’re happy with the way it turned out. Don’t expect to see dumb shit like The Lord of The Rings or Dream Girls here. Instead you’ll see films from The Coen Brothers, Jim Jarmusch and Takashi Miike. The few honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut are at the bottom of the post.

Anyway, without any further rambling, here it is. sexy gypsy’s Best of the Aughts…

(in alphabetical order)

1) Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe, 2000)

I was 15 years old when Almost Famous dropped and changed my life. It was the first time I realized people would pay you to run around, listen to music and talk about it. So in a way, sexy gypsy wouldn’t even be here without this movie. It featured a great cast–Patrick Fugit (who shows up twice on this list), Zooey Deschanel, Anna Paquin, Frances McDormand aka Willem Dafoe (seriously, look that shit up. They look exactly alike. We still maintain they are the same person), Jason Lee, Philip Seymour Hoffman and even Jimmy Fallon. Add that to an immensely personal Cameron Crowe script, perfect music, and Billy Crudup screaming “I AM A GOLDEN GOD!” from atop a roof, and you have one damn fine film. –BIG

2) American Gangster (Ridley Scott, 2008)

3) American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)

4) Anchorman (Adam McKay, 2004)

5) Antichrist (Lars von Trier, 2009)

6) Audition (Takashi Miike, 2001)

7) Away We Go (Sam Mendes, 2009)

8) The Boondock Saints (Troy Duffy, 2000)

9) Brick (Rian Johnson, 2005)

10) The Brothers Bloom (Rian Johnson, 2009)

Last year, Rian Johnson’s Brick showed up on a sexy gypsy list of off-the-radar films, and we basically called it a one hit wonder. We officially apologize to Mr. Johnson. The Brothers Bloom, while very different from Brick, showed a matured sense of direction and style, with the same tone of homage and innovation, and a playful sense of humor. As an elaborate, yet completely character-driven con film, this is moviemaking at it’s finest. –GWG

11) Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2005)

12) Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006)

13) Choke (Clark Gregg, 2008)

14) The Chumscrubber (Arie Posin, 2005)

Teenage suicide is never a good thing. Unless it brings about the complete destruction of idyllic white suburbia. What’s interesting about this film is that it doesn’t show you underlying problems around the neighborhood, and then culminate with a death. The suicide happens at the beginning, and instead of being the breaking point, or even the catalyst, it is the loose thread that unravels everyone’s secrets and facades. It is beautifully written and acted, with a multi-generational, eclectic cast that actually fits very well together. –GWG

15) City of God (Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund, 2002)

16) Coffee and Cigarettes (Jim Jarmusch, 2003)

17) Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004)

18) Crash (Paul Haggis, 2005)

19) Criminal (Gregory Jacobs, 2004)

20) The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

21) The Departed (Martin Scorcese, 2006)

The Departed is the only film on this list I had to fight for. The Great White Gypsy hated it. But he’s crazy, so I had to veto. Granted, I am a confessed Scorsese groupie. The man has never made a film I didn’t love. And I’ve seen them all. Even the obscure ones like Boxcar Bertha. So maybe I was a little biased with this pick. But to me, anytime you can put Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Leonardo DiCaprio in the same movie and not make people want stab themselves in the eye, it’s a fucking win. Bonus points for having Nas and Flogging Molly on the same soundtrack. –BIG

22) The Devil’s Rejects (Rob Zombie, 2005)

Admittedly, Rob Zombie’s first venture, House of 1000 Corpses, was retarded. However, with a little less Horror rip-off, and a lot more disturbing violence, the sequel was a cult classic opening weekend. Zombie knows how to work a camera, but this film is probably the pinnacle of his work with the soundtrack. It starts with The Allman Brothers’ Midnight Rider, swells with a violent sequence to the tune of Terry Reid’s To Be Treated Right, and finishes with the best use of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird to date. All of this is driven home by a sobering message: There is no ice cream in your fucking future. –GWG

23) District 9 (Neill Blomkamp, 2009)

24) Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001)

25) The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003)

26) Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg, 2007)

27) Equilibrium (Kurt Wimmer, 2002)

28) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

29) The Fall (Tarsem Singh, 2008)

This is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. Tarsem Singh makes a huge leap up from his very respectable 2000 debut, The Cell, and tells us an engaging story in ways never before seen. In a time of crazy, overdone CGI and generic plot, The Fall was refreshingly organic. Great acting, directing, cinematography, and everything in between. –BIG

30) (500) Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009)

31) Garden State (Zach Braff, 2004)

32) Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001)

33) Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000)

34) Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, 2006)

35) The Hangover (Todd Phillips, 2009)

36) Havoc (Barbara Kopple, 2005)

37) High Fidelity (Stephen Frears, 2000)

Like Almost Famous, High Fidelity was one of those life defining movies for me. He owned a record store, argued about top five lists with his friends, organized his music collection autobiographically and pined over beautiful women. That was his whole life. How awesome is that? Almost Famous made me realize I could write about music, High Fidelity made me realize I wasn’t alone in obsessing over it. –BIG

HIGH FIDELITY BONUS: TOP 5 SONGS TO PLAY AT MY FUNERAL:

1) Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones

2) Ready To Die – The Notorious BIG

3) Bullet With Butterfly Wings – The Smashing Pumpkins

4) Funeral – The Clipse

5) Angel’s Son – Snot featuring Lajon Witherspoon from Sevendust

38) High Tension (Alexandre Aja, 2005)

39) Humpday (Lynn Shelton, 2009)

One of the things I will always remember about this decade is my discovery of Mumblecore. I started with The Puffy Chair and soon devoured films like Baghead, Mutual Appreciation and Funny Ha Ha. Though not always the best executed films, the genre intrigued me. And with the success of people like Lynn Shelton and Mark Duplass, I hope more people discover it. Humpday is an experience. You’re in the room, a silent observer–not just someone watching a film. Effortlessly hilarious and purposefully awkward, it is one of my favorite films of this year and definitely deserves a spot on the list. –BIG

40) The Hurt Locker (Katherine Bigelow, 2009)

41) Ichi the Killer (Takashi Miike, 2003)

42) Imaginary Heroes (Dan Harris, 2004)

43) In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008)

44) In Search of a Midnight Kiss (Alex Holdridge, 2007)

45) Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)

46) Jarhead (Sam Mendes, 2005)

47) Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)

48) Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 (Quentin Tarantino, 2003, 2004)

49) Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott, 2005)

50) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Shane Black, 2005)

“You look up the ‘idiot’ in the dictionary, know what you’ll find?”

“A picture of me?”

“No, the definition of the word idiot, which you fucking are!!”

This film never gets old. Raymond Chandler meets Abbott and Costello. The mystery itself isn’t anything amazingly unique, but it’s entertaining and solid enough to hold up a great cast, one of the best narrations ever, and almost as many quotable quotes as Anchorman.

“Talking money…”

“A Talking monkey?”

“Talking monkey, yeah, yeah. Came here from the future. Ugly sucker, only says ficus.”

–GWG

51) Knocked Up (Judd Apatow, 2007)

52) Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

53) Little Children (Todd Field, 2006)

54) Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, 2006)

55) Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

56) Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003)

57) The Machinist (Brad Anderson, 2004)

58) Maria Full of Grace (Joshua Marston, 2004)

59) Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)

60) Milk (Gus van Sant, 2008)

61) Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2002)

62) Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

63) 9 Songs (Michael Winterbottom, 2005)

A lot of people are quick to dismiss this film as unnecessarily explicit, self-indulgent, (not so) thinly veiled pornography. I couldn’t disagree more. Michael Winterbottom is a masterful storyteller, communicating an entire relationship with minimum dialogue and nine amazing songs. It’s an ambitious concept that in less capable hands would have failed miserably. But Winterbottom executes it perfectly. It’s on Netflix Watch Instantly right now. So if you haven’t seen it, do so now. –BIG

64) No Country for Old Men (The Coen Brothers, 2008)

65) O Brother Where Art Thou (The Coen Brothers, 2000)

66) Oldboy (Chan-wook Park, 2003)

The second film in Chan-wook Park’s Revenge Trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance), Oldboy features some original camerawork, really cool fight scenes, and an emotional yet disturbing story that would make David Fincher blush. The hallway fight, done in one continuous shot, is a staple of discussion. But there are so many great scenes, so many impressive technical aspects and character moments, that it definitely warrants multiple viewings. We did want to include the entire trilogy on the list, as there is a noticeable arc and underlying theme across all three films. However, they are all separate, unrelated stories, and Oldboy stands out as the strongest link. –GWG

67) Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

68) Purple Violets (Edward Burns, 2007)

69) Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme, 2008)

70) Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)

71) Revolutionary Road (Sam Mendes, 2008)

72) The Road to Perdition (Sam Mendes, 2002)

73) The Salton Sea (D.J. Caruso, 2002)

74) Saw (James Wan, 2004)

75) A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater, 2006)

76) Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)

77) Shopgirl (Anand Tucker, 2005)

78) Sin City (Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, 2005)

79) Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008)

80) Snatch (Guy Ritchie, 2000)

81) The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach, 2005)

82) State and Main (David Mamet, 2000)

83) Sukiyaki Western Django (Takashi Miike, 2008)

What do you get when you mix Yojimbo, Django, and A Fistfull of Dollars? Actually, if you’re anyone but Takashi Miike, your head might explode. Lucky for us, the Japanese maestro of bloodshed helmed this crazy, entertaining, violent film about…Japanese cowboys? In Miike’s first American project, he decides to have Asian actors speaking John Wayne-style English while carrying six shooters and katanas. Oh yeah, and Tarantino has a couple cameos. Fucking great. –GWG

84) Surveillance (Jennifer Lynch, 2009)

85) Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)

86) There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

87) Thirteen (Catherine Hardwicke, 2003)

In 2003, a pre-Twilight Catherine Hardwicke gave us a film that would alter the existence of little sisters forever. I saw Thirteen and wanted nothing more than to lock my sister in a closet until she was 20. That was the only conceivable way to save her from the unbearable plight of the teenage American girl. Most of the credit for this film goes to Nikki Reed, who was 15 when she wrote it. Thirteen is an exceptionally honest and powerful directorial debut from a director that proved to be a one hit wonder. –BIG

88) 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2003)

Not many zombie movies offer much more than cheap thrills and bloody carnage. We’ll be honest, that’s why we love them. With Danny Boyle’s version, though, every aspect of the film is striking. The character development, the landscape, the music, and the balls-to-the-wall tension throughout make this film stand an infected, disembodied head above the rest in the genre. –GWG

89) 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)

90) The United States of Leland (Matthew Ryan Hoge, 2003)

This film makes us miss the early 2000’s, when all-star casts could still deliver a patient, tempered, emotional film. As a whole, this movie exhibits the same complex subtleties as its main character, a simple-minded teenager accused of murder. Themes of perspective, miscommunication, self-examination and accountability underline interesting cinematography and a beautiful story. –GWG

91) The Wackness (Jonathan Levine, 2008)

92) The Way of the Gun (Christopher McQuarrie, 2000)

93) Wicker Park (Paul McGuigan, 2004)

94) The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

95) Wristcutters: A Love Story (Goran Dukic, 2006)

96) Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Kevin Smith, 2008)

Honorable Mentions

Infernal Affairs (Wai-keung Lau, Alan Mak, 2002)

Though infinitely better than The Departed, this film had it’s share of problems, and spawned two unnecessary sequels.

Avatar (James Cameron, 2009)

The story may have been borrowed, and the score unoriginal, but the visuals in this film (as well as the 3-D effects) will revolutionize cinema as we know it.

Life as a House (Irwin Winkler, 2001)

An amazing character study that develops well, with solid acting and a decent soundtrack. The downside: Hayden Christiansen

Irreversible (Gaspar Noe, 2002)

Very similar to Memento, this reverse film is well acted and directed, but without the intense, realistic, extremely long rape sequence, it might not have as much effect.

The Anniversary Party (Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh, 2001)

Very well written and acted, even John C. Reilly tones it down a bit. Possibly a tad self indulgent, but the ecstasy scene is great.

Spartan (David Mamet, 2004)

Mamet’s esoteric uber-realism that doesn’t bother explaining itself to the ordinary viewer is the best and worst part of this film. It never stops moving, and maintains it’s staying power, it just doesn’t wait for anyone to catch up.

Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn, 2004)

Great soundtrack, great acting, great story. Decent dialog, cinematography, cutting this one was hard, but just couldn’t stand up to some of the competition.

Thank You for Smoking (Jason Reitman, 2005)

Jason Reitman can do no wrong. Possibly Eckhart’s best performance. Another tough choice, but Juno kinda kicked it in the pork sword.

Hard Candy (David Slade, 2005)

Few movies can make me cringe. 15-year-old Ellen Page threatening to castrate Patrick Wilson? Really, really uncool. Great acting and writing, but a bit limited in it’s scope.

Renaissance (Christian Volckman, 2006)

Black and white motion capture animation set in Paris, 2054. The story’s a little muddled at times, but it’s just frickin cool to watch cartoon Daniel Craig shoot people in the face.

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2 Responses to “The Best of The Aughts”

  1. 1 Alex King

    Like the thought process and the research you two put into this piece. Subjectively, I would have removed every (yep, this includes Gladiator) Ridley Scott film along with Love Actually, THE DEPARTED(!!), The Way of the Gun, Eastern Promises, Donnie Darko, Broken Flowers, and The Boondock Saints. Movies I would have added include The Fountain, 21 Grams, Lars and the Real Girl, Wedding Crashers (if you are going to include comedies) and Mystic River.

  2. 2 greatwhitegypsy

    What’s up Alex-
    My Top 3 responses to this.
    1) All the films you mentioned were on our initial list (of course, more than 300 were…)
    2) Thank you for hating The Departed…we’re still friends.
    3) The only person to give a worse performance than Sean Penn in Mystic River was the fucking doll in Lars and the Real Girl…we’re not still friends.
    Honorable Mention:
    1)Faulkner is a douche…
    -GWG


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