1. City of God
Overall it has the beautiful and groundbreaking/endlessly imitated visual style. Emotional story. Great acting by unknowns. Just pure cinema, feels like a movie’s movie.
2. Dark Knight
Almost universally seen as the greatest comic book movies of all time, and was a cultural phenomena when it was released, based in part on the death of Heath Ledger.
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Extremely original, Jim Carry’s greatest performance bar none, great performance by Kate Winslet. Excellent direction, excellent script, it has everything. Even the down trodden ending was perfect.
4. Ghost World
Truly unique movie, unlike almost anything you’ll see. Tremendous performances by Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi. Just has its own skewed voice.
5. There Will Be Blood
The greatest individual performance of the decade, that is all you need to say. Thankfully even the Academy agreed and gave Daniel Day Lewis the Oscar. “I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE, I DRINK IT UP!!”
Probably the greatest low budget movie of the decade. Extreme simplicity, in its only a love story with some good music, but somehow it has incredible resonace.
7. Muholland Drive
One of David Lynch’s greatest movies, and while it makes not as much sense as you’d like, the incredible performance by Naomi Watts makes up for it, and the visual style and all around Lynchness of the thing.
8. Reqiuem for a Dream
Intense and unique visual style. Great acting. Powerful story and characters. While it may be one of the most depressing endings ever, it still is one of the greatest movies of the decade.
9. Children of Men
The best pure science fiction movie of the decade (even though Eternal Sunshine has sci-fi elements, not really a sci-fi movie). It just feels like a perfect movie, in that it never missteps.
10. A History of Violence
Very hard to pick between this and Eastern Promises, but this was a masterpiece of the decade and revitilized David Cronnenburg’s career (at least for a time).
Sunshine: if this had a better ending (one without a crazy sunburned killer), it might have broken the top ten. Still one of the great sci-fi movies of the decade.
Memento: Christopher Nolen just doesn’t make bad movies, but I didn’t want to include two movies in the top ten from the same director, so Dark Knight wins out for its cultural significance
Amelie: love this movie, so imaginative, and emotional too. Might break top ten if I were to redo list
The 40 Year Old Virgin: the best of the Judd Apatow movies, which became the dominant force in comedy in the 00’s, so it should be recognized, even though I know comedy doesn’t get any respect
The Departed: while the best Scorsese film in the last decade, still doesn’t live up to some of his earlier films.
No Country for Old Men: would easily make top ten list if it had ended better. Killing main character off screen just is unforgivable in my book, I don’t care if its artistic or whatever. If you have the main character and villian all set up to clash at the end, you don’t go and have this confrontation happen OFF SCREEN!! come on now!