The Top Ten Movies of the decade

Posted on December 31, 2009 by

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Following on from our Top Ten Video Games of the decade, Spell Checked* now brings you it’s top ten Movies of the decade. It’s been a very good ten years for movies, with Pixar taking 3D animation to new heights, Zack Snyder does the impossible by making the acclaimed graphic Novel Watchmen into a movie, and Christopher Nolan rescues Batman from the horrific mutilation it suffered in the 90’s by the hands of Joel Schumacher, with his 2005 re-boot Batman Begins.

There have of course been some utterly awful movies in the last ten years, including the abhorrent Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever, the diabolical Superbabies 2, and the entirety of the pathetic, hateful Movies franchise. But we’re not here to talk about those. And thank god for that. In coming up with our Top ten (and our runners-up) we tried hard to avoid the obvious choices except for when we felt it was necessary. Enjoy.

The runners-up-

20. Once upon a time in Mexico (2004)
19. Hellboy (2004)
18. Anchorman (2004)
17. Disctrict 9 (2009)
16. Cloverfield (2008)
15. Borat (2006)
14. Avatar (2009)
13. 3.10 to Yuma (2007)
12. Finding Nemo (2003)
11. The lord of the Rings: Return of the king (2003)

So without further ado, Spell Checked* presents our top ten favourite movies of the Noughties.

10. Casino Royale (2006- Martin Campbell, Daniel Craig)

The Bond franchise has been around fora long time, slowly stagnating over the decades as it stubbornly refused to leave the 60’s behind. After the terrible affair that was Die Another Day, it was clear to everyone that the series was in dire need of a swift kick in the pants, or taking out behind the sheds and being quietly put to sleep. The decision to cast Daniel Craig in the much needed reboot Casino Royale was a dividing one; with much of the fanbase crying out that an actual Englishman couldn’t possibly play Bond and that the series was officially ruined forever. When the movie came out and was a much more bare-bones gadget free grown-up action romp, and turned out to be very good, everybody promptly shut up and started muttering that ‘Yeah, I said it would be good, honest’. This was a Bond much closer to his literary roots, and started things off in style with the now iconic parkour chase through the construction site. Craig proved that he could be suave and funny as well as doing the tough action scenes. It was much less Austin Powers, and a lot more Bourne Identity, and saved the ailing franchise. While the sequel, the loquaciously named Quantum of Solace wasn’t received as well, that had more to do with not feeling like a proper movie. Crowning moment of awesome- Bond turning into the terminator, relentlessly chasing down his target in the opening.

Give me back my chunky kit-kat!

9. Iron Man (2008- Jon Favreau, Robert Downy Jr.)

Marvel made some excellent movies in the last ten years. Spider-man (the first two), X-men (the first two), Fantastic four (We’re kidding about that one). Then they decided that if they made their movies in their own studio, they could do fun crossovers! Iron man was their first in-house production, and is one of the best super-hero movies ever made. The casting couldn’t have been better. Who but Robert Downy Jr. could play an alcoholic playboy billionaire? It’s wanted on record that Jeff Bridges (The Dude, international CEO) looks decidedly creepy without hair. The music was excellently used, with the final credits bleeding into Iron Man by Black Sabbath. The movie wasn’t the moody angst-ridden emo-fest of Spider-man 3, and was instead fun and witty, with Paul Bettany providing the deliciously dry English wit of Stark’s AI butler JARVIS, along with Jeff Bridges as the wonderfully hammy villain Obadiah Stane. Oh, and Samuel L. Motherflipping Jackson making an after the credits appearance as Nick Fury. With a sequel due next year, Iron man, (and it’s crossover series, The Avengers) looks to be the beginning of a beautiful franchise. Crowning moment of awesome- Stark testing the control surfaces on his prototype armour.

"Okay, all suited up. Now, to save the world! ...Aw, crap now I have to pee...

8. Watchmen (2009- Zack Snyder, Jackie Earl Haley)

Alan Moore hates this movie. For those of you who don’t know who Alan Moore is, he wrote the Graphic novel it’s based on. He also wrote V for Vendetta and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the film adaptions of which he also hates profusely. Despite them being good films. People have been trying to make a movie of Watchmen since 1986, whereon it spent most of it’s time in development hell until it was finally picked up by Snyder who proceeded to make the film that had been decried by everybody else as ‘unfilmable’. Jackie Earl Haley was given the role of Rorschach after a fan petition, and there couldn’t have been a better choice. While there are those who criticise the film for being too long, and for changing the ending, and for cutting out the side-plots, but those were insignificant problems compared to the fact that the excellent, deep philosophical story had been successfully translated from the page to the screen. Crowning moment of awesome- Every second that Rorschach is on screen.

"For god's sake, you ginger freak! Learn to use a proper toilet!"

7. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007- Paul Greengrass, Matt Damon)

Say what you like about the weird shaky cam that Greengrass seems to think is dynamic and exciting, but which distracts us from the brutal fighting scenes, but the Bourne Ultimatum was the best part of one of the best trilogies of the decade. Jason Bourne is a brilliant character. You can’t deny that you were grinning when Bourne called up CIA deputy director Vosen, who had been lured away from the CIA building on a wild goose chase for Bourne, calmly discussing arranging a meeting, and suggesting that Bourne should come to him. Vosen agrees, and says they should meet in Vosen’s office. Bourne smiles. ‘If you were in your office, we’d be having this conversation face to face’. It might just be that Matt Damon really is retarded (See Team America) which is why he can act like an amnesiac so well, though it may just be that he’s secretly a good actor. Who knew? Crowning moment of awesome- ‘Sir, he just drove off the roof.’

all together now- 'Maaaaatt Daaaaamon.'

6. Shaun of the Dead (2005- Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg)

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright were left with a quandary. What to do after finishing the second (and to date final) series of their brilliant hit sitcom Spaced? Then they came up with Shaun. SotD is one of the funniest movies ever made. Period. It’s also one of the best zombie movies ever made. The spiritual sequel to Spaced, SotD follows perennial loser Shaun as he loses his girlfriend, and then has to face the zombie apocalypse in the morning. He decides that now is probably the best time to sort his life out. As a result, nearly everyone he knows ends up dead or zombified. But it’s laugh out loud funny the whole way through. Except for the twenty minutes when half the characters get viciously ripped to shreds, and even then its quite funny, but much darker. The first part in the Blood and Ice cream trilogy, followed by Cop-buddy-action-movie-spoof Hot Fuzz, it’s a perfect example of the British sense of humour. I defy any person not to laugh as Simon Pegg batters the slow, shuffling undead in the face with a bloodpsattered cricket bat. Beautiful comedy at its most note-perfect, SotD epitomises English culture. If you ever hear an American complain that we aren’t funny, ram this down their throat. Crowning moment of awesome- Shaun going through his entire morning routine without noticing that everyone around him is a Zombie.

Making ginger people who work in Dixons cool.

5. Serenity (2005- Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion)

The Space Western. It’s a very under-used genre. When Joss Whedon’s brilliant but relatively unknown TV series Firefly died after only 14 episodes due to executive meddling, it looked like it was over for the quirky crew of Serenity. When the series was released on DVD, the sales were so vast, that Whedon was given the go-ahead to produce a movie. Serenity is a lot darker than the series, as the crew have fallen on hard times. Shepherd Book had left, Inara had left, and work- both straight and crooked- was getting increasingly hard to find. The Alliance, who weren’t ever really evil in the series, decide to send a pyschopath known only as ‘The operative’ after Serenity, to capture the fugitive Doctor Simon Tam, and his little sister River, who is a delightfully insane 90 pound waif-child capable of killing people with her little finger when she got upset. Her killing powers, (and insanity) are the result of experiemtns performed on her by a naughty secret section of the Alliance. Captain Mal Reynolds decides that screw it, the net’s closing in, it’s time to expose the Alliance as the murderous bastards that they really are. And he does. And it’s awesome. Crowning moment of awesome- ‘I am a leaf on the wind… watch how I soar

"Also, I can kill you with my brain."

4. The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008- Kim Ji-woon, Son Kang-ho)

A 2008 remake of the 1966 movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The GBW is set in the wilderness of 1930’s Manchuria. The Bad (a hitman) is hired to acquire a treasure map from a Japanese official traveling on a train, but The Weird (a thief) steals the map from the Japanese official when he robs him on the train. Just after that, The Bad manages to stop the train and a slaughter of Japanese and Manchurian guards ensues. The Good (a Bounty hunter) appears on the scene with his shotgun in hand and tries to kill The Bad. Meanwhile The Weird manages to escape to the Ghost Market, to figure the map out and escape from his pursuers. It presents an unpredictable, escalating battle for the map with the Japanese army, and Manchurian bandits who are also after the map. Subtitled to save us from an awful english dubbing, GBW is hard to find in the UK, most reliably stocked on Amazon, and genius in its own right. Track it down. Crowning moment of awesome- The shootout on the train.

Guess which one is which.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003- Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp)

Uncompromisingly, unashamedly based on a theme park ride, POTC was the swashbuckling live action Disney movie that returned pirates to the big screen after a lengthy hiatus. An old fashioned film in many respects, Pirates told the story of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) who get swept up in the attempts of a crew of evil undead pirates to lift the curse they inflicted on themselves after stealing Aztec gold. Thrown into the mix is their ex-captain, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp, giving the most memorable performance of his entire career) who plays everybody against everybody else into order to get his ship, The Black Pearl, back. While Pirates didn’t do anything particularly new or original, it did polish up a near-forgotten genre, and told it’s story with wit, style and clever action set-pieces. Followed by two lacklustre sequels, a fourth film is in the works, entitled ‘On Stranger Tides‘ Starring Depp and Geoffrey Rush, minus Bloom and Knightley. Only time will tell if removing the original main characters and finally elevating the beloved dark horse character to main lead status. Crowning moment of awesome- ‘Gentlemen, M’lady, this is the day that you will always remember, as the day you almost caught, Captain Jack Sparrow!’

There is nothing I can say that will make this funnier than it already is.

2. The Dark Knight (2008- Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale)

After the highly praised Batman Begins, Nolan knew he had to move on to bigger things. The Dark Knight is darker, grittier, and infinitely superior to the original in almost every way conceivable. Except Bale’s Batman voice. What, does he need a strepsil? A lozenge? No matter. Bigger and better than Bale as Batman, the real star of the film was the Joker. Many said that no one could do the Joker better than Jack Nicholson did, and when it was announced that Heath Ledger would be taking on the mantle, the internet exploded. What could a gay cowboy know of the dark complex psychoses of the Joker? As it turns out, a lot. Ledger’s joker was something no other had been before, (With the exception of Mark Hamill’s Joker in the Animated Series) which was to be both genuinely terrifying, and hilariously funny. (His magic trick with the pencil, anyone?) Ledgers Joker was so good that the comics quickly adapted the traditional joker to be more like him in appearance and action. The sheer massive number of awards won by TDK alone would make it many peoples movie of the decade, but not quite for us. Crowning moment of awesome- ‘You do realise that a drop from this height wont kill me?’ – ‘I’m counting on it.’

...Peekaboo

1. 28 Days Later (2002- Danny Boyle, Cillian Murphy)

Danny Boyle was not doing well in 2001. His big budget hollywood film The Beach had Bombed spectacularly, and a lot of people were wondering if cult drugs flick Trainspotting would be his only big hit. Then. Boyle came out of nowhere with 28 Days later. 28DL was a guerilla film, produced on a shoestring budget with the minimum of effects, and only a handful of handheld cameras, it was grassroots filmmaking at it’s best. Cillian Murphy plays a bike messenger who gets knocked down by a car and falls into a coma. Meanwhile, animal rights activists release a bunch of monkeys from a vivisection clinic who have been infected with a disease called RAGE. It’s aptly named, because that’s what it causes. Uncontrollable rage. You thought the old, slow zombies were scary? These new ‘infected’ (they weren’t technically dead) were screaming, feral, psychotic creatures. Who could run. Very fast. Murphy wakes up 28 days later, and finds London totally deserted. The shot of him wandering across westminster bridge (filmed at 4am in the middle of summer) is now one of the iconic images of the decade. 28DL was the first of the big ‘fear of infection’ movies that soon replaced the traditional Zombie flick, and really re-booted the public interest in the undead. While the sequel wasn’t received as well, a third film, 28 Months later will be going into production sometime in the near future. Crowning moment of awesome- Jim’s pyscho rampage through the military compound at the end.

London after the sales.

Well, that’s that. Our top ten. I feel it should be pointed out that 28 Days later was our number one because it proved that while, yes, films produced on a massive budget in hollywood like The Dark Knight can be amazing, little british films made on a tiny budget could be just as powerful. What would you pick?

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Posted in: Movies