And so begins my picks for the best films of the decade. These aren't so much the films that I feel best represent the last ten years. Nor are they the ones I think are the best all around. These are personal favorites. Movies that have reached me on some level and have remained with me. I'm sure a few will make you scratch your head while others will hopefully inspire you to see or rewatch.
I opted to go with 25 picks. I was going to do only 10 but there were enough movies that I feel deserve notice. While I don't think this was a great decade for movies there is no doubt we had some great ones and I wanted to acknowledge them.
These will be divided into three posts. First up are numbers 25 through 16.
25. POULTRYGEIST - Lloyd Kaufman and Troma have delivered what may in fact be Troma's best film (or at least on par with their best) but also one of the best social satires in the last ten years. It's also a horror film, a musical, a romance, and ... well, it has everything. A shining example of true independent filmmaking. This film just goes for broke and comes out a winner.
24. BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON - Horror comedy is hard to do. Especially when you run the chance of one outdoing the other. It tends to be more comedy than not. This film finds the right balance and is such an undiscovered gem of the last ten years. A documentary crew follows a serial killer around in a world where movie killers, and the tricks they play, really happen. The film is clever but doesn't end there. It is also very entertaining and one of the big surprises for me in the last ten years.
23. BUBBA HO-TEP - To say Bruce Campbell is amazing as Elvis is an understatement. This film is such an offbeat whimsical tale that it deserves to be seen to be believed. Director Don Coscarelli made an outstanding film and let Bruce Campbell give one of the best performances of his career as an aging Elvis in a home where the residents are being killed by a mummy. So he must stop him with the help of Ozzie Davis as John F. Kennedy. Yes. You read that right. Now go out and see it.
22. MIAMI VICE - Ok. Let the head scratching begin. Here is a film I feel got a bad rap. During the midst of the time when film versions of old TV shows was all the rage this one got included in the bunch when it shouldn't have. This was made by the original TV show's creator Michael Mann. He also happens to be one of the best filmmakers around. He made the film it's own thing and while people shrugged it off I think it deserves a second look as a good cop thriller. I've watched it several times and I love it more each time.
21. GANGS OF NEW YORK - I seem to be on the opposite side of the fence with this decade's Martin Scorsese. A lot of people sort of shot down this film but praised his later work especially 'The Departed'. I thought 'The Departed' was a mess of a film but absolutely love this one. Not sure if I'm missing something or other people are but I'm more than happy to say this is my favorite Scorsese film of the last decade.
20. REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA - A horror rock opera that has changed my life a bit. I love the film and the music to it. This film spawned shadowcasts all over the country (where people perform the film as it plays on screen) and yours truly is part of the Chicago group 90 Day Delinquents. I do Luigi Largo. In the process I have made several new friends and have an absolute blast doing it. To not have a film like this on my list would be a travesty. A film that makes me smile, created a hobby, and introduced me to new friends? Better believe it's one of my favorites of the decade.
19. GINGER SNAPS - Using horror as metaphor is one of the reasons the genre is so special. You can't really do that much with other types of films. This is a perfect example. Using the werewolf transformation of a young girl as parable for her becoming a woman. Turning in incredible performances from Katherine Isabelle and the always amazing Emily Perkins this film is one that really got to me. I may not be a young woman but those formative years of 15 and 16 any of us can relate to. And changing into a werewolf is probably the best metaphor around for those years.
18. SUNSHINE - Here's a film that sort of came under the radar. A science fiction tale from Danny Boyle that is a thrilling film as it is visually stunning. Our sun is dying so a ship is sent to deliver a bomb that will hopefully reignite the sun. Kind of odd because most people I know have had the same reaction. The first time you see it you think it's ok. Then it grows on you. You see it again and you like it more. The third time is usually the time when you feel like you love it. And I do.
17. BATTLE ROYALE - This film still hasn't been released here in the States. Some people claim it's because no one here wants to release it because of the content but I think it's because of rights issues. Either way it's worth seeking out. Every year a high school class is sent to an island and must not only survive but kill everyone around them. Only one student is to be alive at the end or everyone will be killed. The film is pretty ballsy and one that you don't forget. It has a dark sense of humor to it as well but also the fact that there is a Lord Of The Flies element to it where sometimes it doesn't take much for us to become blood thirsty savages. Although it does offer a glimmer of hope too.
16. BATMAN BEGINS - Talk about rebooting a franchise. Christopher Nolan not only gave Batman new legs but he redefined the genre is some ways. Giving the film a harder more realistic bent but still delivering on the hero front. How Bruce Wayne becomes Batman is told with such perfect storytelling that this just completely blew me away. This transcends the comic book film and is just a great film.
Onto picks 15 through 6 which you can find here.