December 26, 2009
On At the Movies for the past ten weeks, Michael Phillips and A. O. Scott have been revealing their favorite films of the past decade one by one. The next marathon I plan to do to begin the new year is to watch the films on their lists that I either haven't seen or haven't seen in a long time.
One of the many things I love about these two brilliant critics is the fact that they're willing to go against the grain and pick films that spoke to them personally more than trying to separate themselves in order to come up with some kind of arch list that judges an inconclusive idea of "greatness" apart from subjective response. The best films of a decade (or of any individual year) must pass the test of informed critical analysis. It's unacceptable to put a film that's not truly "great" on lists like these; however, when dealing with "great" films, ranking them involves forming an argument as to the extent of a film's merit, and as long as valid arguments can be made, then perhaps almost any "great" film within established parameters might appropriately top a countdown of the best.
Therefore, I'm thrilled to see films like Once, Where the Wild Things Are and Ratatouille as among the best films of the last ten years. I almost guarantee that you won't find these three movies on many other decade lists, and because I agree that all three are great films, I have no problem with these choices whatsoever.
Here are their lists:
Michael Phillips' Best of the Decade
1. There Will Be Blood
5. Y tu Mama Tambien
7. United 93
8. Mulholland Dr.
9. Gosford Park
10. Minority Report
A. O. Scott's Best of the Decade
2. A. I.: Artificial Intelligence
3. Brokeback Mountain
4. The Pianist
5. Where the Wild Things Are
6. The Best of Youth
7. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
9. 25th Hour
10. Million Dollar Baby
Here are the films that will be part of my At the Movies Decade Marathon: (Note: I've seen Minority Report, Gosford Park and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but it's been over five years since I've seen all three, and I don't remember any of them that well, so I look forward to watching them again.)
1. Minority Report (2002)
2. Gosford Park (2001)
3. 25th Hour (2002)
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
5. The Best of Youth (2005)
6. Y tu Mama Tambien (2002)
7. Climates (2006)