I know the list of number elevens, of also-rans, of honorable mentions, probably already implies my taste in movies. Which many people have called suspect over the years, but which I can never help; I always want to love movies. Sometimes I get my expectations too high and then get disappointed when I’m not blown away.
Admittedly, being blown away shouldn’t be the measure of movies. Lots of great movies don’t blow people away.
But I still think the best do. Personally, I think the best movies are the ones you feel in your gut. I’m not interested in analysis, commentary, and socio-critical context; I don’t really give a flying flip what any particular movie says about society, for the most part. What I care about are movies that fulfill what I believe should be the primary objective of any story: to entertain.
Education is great. Information is awesome. Awareness is admirable, and enlightenment valuable.
But I still believe those things come after entertainment. I was not entertained by There Will Be Blood, nor No Country for Old Man; I thought both interminably slow and, worst of all, boring. Sure, some pretty images. Sure, a weird haircut. But pretty images and weird haircuts do not a movie make.
Everyone’s doing decade-end top-ten lists, and I keep reading them and not seeing anything I thought was awesome, so I decided to do my own, one each for movies, music, and books. I’ve decided to post them in that order, if only because the book one will probably be the most difficult. Always is. Love books, after all.
Rolling Stone named There Will Be Blood as its number-one movie of the first decade of the millennium, which I think disqualifies the rest of the list (which, in addition, ends with the mind-numbingly endless Lord of the Rings trilogy, or, as I like to refer to it, “That Fucking Day I’ll Never Get Back”). It’s filled with the usual suspects, No Country for Old Men and A History of Violence and Mulholland Drive; lots of, you know, arty sort of movies people always mistake the boringness of for things like subtlety and craft.
Gag me with a spork.
This past decade was pretty awesome for movies, though you wouldn’t know it from most top ten lists. There was a lot of stuff blowing up in ways we’d never seen shit blown up before. There was a whole lot of being really, really ridiculously good looking (spoiler spot!). We didn’t just believe a man could fly; we believed a man could build a suit that would enable him to fly.
Which was totally rad.
So I started to think about a top-ten list. I started to make up a top-ten list, in fact. And then it got long, when I realized how many absolutely awesome movies had been made in the last decade, and how many were going to go ignored. So I’m going with two top-ten movies of the past decade list: the absolute top ten, and then the top ten movies that didn’t make the top-ten list itself. I figured I’d start with the latter, all of which you can call number eleven.