Thursday, June 15, 2017

Top 25 Films of the 21st Century

So this past weekend, the New York Times released a list of the 25 best films of the 21st Century according to their two critics – A.O. Scott and Manhola Dargis. It’s a fine list – I may not agree with all their choices, but I respect their choices, and understand why they choose what they did. Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about my own list. You could go back and find inconsistencies with previous lists in terms of rankings, but I don’t really care – this list makes sense for today.

A couple of things, this is a Ranked List (and there was never a moment of doubt over what my number 1 would be). I did decide to limit it to one film per director – so if any filmmaker made more than one film that would have made the list on their own merits had it not been for the existence of another film by same director that is even better, I noted it as an Alternate. Please note, this doesn’t mean this is the only great films from that director for the 21st Century (for instance, I have no alternates for Martin Scorsese – but I love most of his films from this century – but would any but the film I choose actually crack the top 25 on their own? I don’t think so). Only one director has three alternates – Paul Thomas Anderson – but the Coens and Todd Haynes both have two alternates. And, yes, I know Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter are not the same person, but Pixar is as much the auteur of their films as any one director (for this reason, I almost didn’t include Synecdoche, New York AND Eternal Sunshine in two spots, as Charlie Kaufman is arguably the auteur of both, but I decided against that). I do wish the list wasn’t as American centric as it is, or as male centric (only two female directors are represented) – but what can you do. Anyway, here’s the list.

  1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001) – Alt: Inland Empire (2006)
  2. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007): Alt: Punch-Drunk Love (2002), The Master (2012), Inherent Vice (2014)
  3. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013) – Alt: No Country for Old Men (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2007), A Serious Man (2009)
  4. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007) – Alt: The Social Network (2010)
  5. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
  6. Cache (Michael Haneke, 2005) – Alt: Amour (2012)
  7. Inglorius Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)- Alt: Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino, 2003/04)
  8. The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006)
  9. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – Alt: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  10. The Tree of Life (Terence Malick, 2011)
  11. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michael Gondry, 2004)
  12. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
  13. Munich (Steven Spielberg, 2005) – Alt: A.I. (2001)
  14. Wall E (Andrew Stanton, 2008) – Alt: Inside Out (Pete Docter, 2015)
  15. We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011)
  16. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
  17. 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
  18. Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002): Alt: I’m Not There (2007), Carol (2015)
  19. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2002)
  20. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, 2013)
  21. O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, 2016)
  22. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
  23. Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2003) – Alt: Last Days (2005)
  24. Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang Dong, 2007)
  25. Dancer in the Dark (Lars Von Trier, 2000)

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