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21 April 2010

The TOP 20 BEST Movies of the last Decade (SPOILERS)

- Movies have been…quite unbalanced in the last years for me. I favored videogames rather than movies, and I think that’s a bit unfair. Movies are part of our life as TV series, books and comic books. They are a window to escapism and evasion where we visit the future that’s about to catch us and the planets we will never discover. Movies make us create bonds with characters that spurted from the imagination of writers and creators, and it takes us through a rollercoaster of emotions that few other things in this world do so well. Somebody said once, “An image is worth a thousand words” (or whatever is said in English). Let be these movies proof of that statement. But before that, let’s have some rules.

- Rule 1: Two movies per year.
- Rule 2: The years are from 2000 to 2009.
- Rule 3: Box Office doesn’t make a movie immediately good…but it helps.
- Rule 4: Pokémon movies are out. I love them, but I have to focus on real achievements, not on movies made to cash in from the phenomena. Videogame movies are out as well (sorry Silent Hill).
- Rule 5: Try to keep my personal opinion as tied up as possible made a lot of movies to stay out of this top 20.
- Rule 6: My inner fanboy is a weird fairy. With this I mean I am not a fan of Lord of the Rings or any other big franchise, so don’t expect those movies to be in either.

Okay, is that clear? No? Then read it again you moron, the rest of the class is now reading with me.

20. - Gladiator.

Do you remember those movies back then with Spartans, Gladiators and Charlton Heston not firing weapons and profiting from the second amend in the North American Constitution? Of course not, because those movies, plain and simple, sucked. Let’s be honest here, “Ben Hur” is one of the most overrated movies of all time that cost a whole lot of money and never profited. 11 Academy Awards didn’t make the movie any better; it still was as shallow as an empty pond. The genre needed a shot of adrenaline, and that shot of adrenaline was “Gladiator”. This is, again, the genius of Ridley Scott taking a genre and revolutionizing it. “Gladiator” is everything a movie could ask for: Great acting, breath-taking especial effects, a story of revenge that rivals with those of…other revenge stories that I don’t bother thinking of since there are so many, and perfect rhythm. This is one of the best paced movies ever made, with an explosive start, a calmed development and a third act that keeps you stuck to your seat. If you haven’t watched this yet, you should go give it a look.

19. - Frost / Nixon.

Ron Howard. Just saying that name brings me to one of my favorite movies of all time, “Apollo 13”. I love that movie, and my support to Ron Howard is eternal, but when the guy went off to make “How the Grinch stole Christmas” and “A Beautiful Mind” (which is another overrated piece of bullcrap) I thought he was seriously losing his head. Things only got worse when I saw he was directing “The DaVinci Code”. So, what happened after that? What could bring him the respect and support I had on him? The answer is “Frost/Nixon”, the best movie of 2008 by difference. While the historical accuracy of this movie respect the original interviews is null (don’t forget this is based on the theatrical play, not on the real events) it is the acting that makes this stand out. The pace that Howard gives to this movie is exhilarating, mixing pieces of the interviews with other interviews made to the characters years after, but the acting of every single actor and actress shadows his job. I have never seen actors so immersed in their roles to the point you forget they are actors, making an especial mention to Frank Langella in the role of Richard Nixon. Best Nixon ever: “I’m saying, that when the President does it, it means it’s not illegal”. I still get goose bumps.

18. - Kingdom of Heaven.

If I have to pick an example of how good can a movie get from the theatre cut to the DVD cut, this is the perfect example. Kingdom of Heaven is one of those movies that, the longer they last the better they are. Three hours and seventeen minutes of pure artistry in filmmaking from Ridley Scott himself. Were you wondering why Gladiator was so low on the list? That’s because Kingdom of Heaven is way, way better than that movie. The cast of movie stars starts and never ends: Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, Liam “fuckmothering” Neeson, Edward Norton, Michael Sheen (again), Eva Green, and Orlando Bloom in the lead being (for a change) a really good actor. But the star of the movie is the visuals. Never a battlefield has looked so beautiful, or a dialogue scene so haunting if it’s wrapped in the environments and production design that only Ridley can create. It’s like the city of Jerusalem grows and develops as a character before our very eyes, which makes it all more painful when the siege starts, a siege that should make those in the “Lord of the Rings” movies shame in pity. Okay, this is not Elves against Orcs, but this is one sustained hour of close quarter battle with a fantastic pay off. If you haven’t watch this movie (and odds is, you have not) go watch it. NOW.

17. - Master and Commander.

There’s a feeling I rarely have when watching a movie, and that is the feel of need: Need of more movie, need of more action, need of more character development, need of more Boccherini and need of more boring talky scenes. “Master and Commander” is a movie so entertaining and good, that it leaves you wanting for more, and more, and more. It makes me want to walk to Peter Weir’s desk like Oliver Twist and ask for another ration of movie, it is so bloody good. The story of a, underpowered British Vessel fighting in the middle of nowhere against a behemoth of a French vessel is haunting and chilling, but the real battle is dealt inside the British vessel itself. Russell Crowe and Paul Bethany’s fight/friendship is, lacking of a better word, so natural you don’t even have a second guess to think if it’s real: you instantly believe is real. The authoritarian and blunt Crowe colliding with the liberal yet thoughtful Bettany makes for some memorable dialogues which are more powerful than the sea battles themselves, and those are bone crushingly amazing. That only leaves to the reader, how good those exchanges are between the two. Master and Commander, one hell of a movie about battleships, but also one of the best friendship stories ever told since “Shawsank Redemption”.

16 – John Rambo.

Oh boy, do I like long movies. I am serious, if you check this list you will see the majority of the titles don’t go under the two hours and a half mark. I like long movies because of how much build up they can have, when they deliver at the end. But sometimes long movies aren’t worth the wait, and many times they do disappoint, which is why sometimes I also go for short movies, and John Rambo is the shortest of this list. With only eighty three minutes of length, this movie starts ballsy and brutal and it only gets even ballsier and even more brutal. Being this the last statement to the Rambo series, it is also the best thing Sylvester Stallone has done lately (besides Rocky Balboa, but I like this better). This movie is what action movies have needed ever since “The Matrix” arrived and ruined everything and that is a call back to reality, a demonstration that you don’t need fucking bullet time in every action sequence. “John Rambo” takes that silly idea and gives you what you want. Do you want blood? You get blood. Do you want explosions? It gives you explosions. Do you want head exploding, bodies being mangled to pieces, and the bad guy getting the nastiest death ever? You fucking get it! This is THE Action movie of the decade (I use action as a sole term, since there’s nothing else but action in this movie). It takes away the black leather, the sunglasses, the bullet time and the techno soundtrack and just gives you Stallone, a Big Fucking Machinegun and a battlefield full of evil, bad guys for him to destroy. TO THE RAMBOAT!!!

15. - Minority Report.

Science Fiction movies lack a modern classic. A movie that fans can look back to and say “Yeah, this feels like Blade Runner once more. A movie that critics ignored, Box Office ignored, but that has a bunch of loyal fans that will take it to cult status”. It’s hard to do that with a movie made by Spielberg, produced by FOX and starring Tom Cruise, but that’s the case with this movie. “Minority Report”, adaptation from the Phillip K. Dick short story of the same title, sees a future that’s not so distant from us where crimes are stopped before they are committed. While this is used to rise a lot of questions about how the power of God to see things before they happen is used to the will of men and how the innocent pay for it, it is also applied to make a dissection of humanity as a whole. We all are John Anderton (Cruise’s character). We all are that small, scared human being that escapes when danger comes its way, we all want to survive, we don’t want to lose our freedom and we don’t want to have our privacy violated by a bunch of cops who think are over the law. While this statement is put on second place in favor of the very well orchestrated action sequences, it’s never shoved in your face which is thankful. Nothing is heavily exposed or explained, it’s all there for the audience to catch. This is a very deep Sci-Fi epic, and as a final note just to say that, for me, it’s the best work of Tom Cruise in his movie career.

14. - Million Dollar Baby.

If Clint Eastwood is good at making movies, is at making movies that make you care. Care for what you may ask? What else but the heart of every story, the characters. Who would have thought that the guy who used to be Dirty Harry could have so much heart behind that massive gun? “Million Dollar Baby” is on the surface, another boxing movie. Just like “Rocky” is also another boxing movie I have to say. Every boxing movie, every sports movie that’s made with a bit of brains and a lot of heart is about something more than just the sport they are presenting. The Boxing here is the MacGuffin of the story, what moves the plot, the thing that interests us in the least. “Million Dollar Baby” is a fable about pursuing your dreams, losing them and leaving this world before their memories fade away like the remains of a very good dream. It is about survival, holding there and keep fighting for what you want no matter what everybody else tells you. But really, the best and only way to enjoy this movie is by knowing nothing about it. The less you know about it, the more you will enjoy it. Maybe because explaining how the movie is develop ruins the attachment you might feel for the characters, or because it’s harvested with spoilers from the hour and a half mark, but I will just say you are in for quite another experience. And as a little side note: This movie features the best, most badass, most kick ass performance Morgan Freeman has ever given in his life. I despise Academy Awards, but this one might be the only one I stand by. Wave that Supporting Role Actor flag high, Morgan.

13. - The Dark Knight.

If you please allow me, I will cite Benjamin “Yahtzee” Crosshaw’s intro to his video review of “Batman Arkham Asylum” because his explanation of Batman is way, way better than anything I will ever write in my entire life: “Like everyone else with the social skills required to hang around on the internet, I love Batman! I adore all from his cute pointy ears to his big stompy boots, and I especially love how he is supposed to be taken seriously”. That’s Batman right there guys. The superhero of those who are afraid of everything that’s in the outside, and you know why we are scared of that? BECAUSE THERE’S A MANIAC DRESSED LIKE A CLOWN WHO SLICES PEOPLE WITH A KNIFE, THAT’S WHY!!! What? Not valid? Fuck you! He is Batman, and we need him! Christopher Nolan is the man who was intended to direct the Batman comics. The perfect blend of cheese action heroes mixed with the seriousness of a film noir story, “The Dark Knight” is nothing but perfection in timing and orchestration. It is easily the most memorable film of 2008 and a heavy candidate to best sequel ever made. Many people will look back to this decade and look on Watchmen before going for this one. I say, Nolan has managed to do the unthinkable: He could make a movie that is completely different from its source material and yet done it so faithful to the source material that is mind-blowing. You can mock Batman’s throat-cancer voice, or Alfred’s excessive verbose moral speeches, but I can wipe those from your mind with just one quote: “How about a magic trick?” Enough said.

12. - United 93.

There were many things that marked this first decade of the new millennium. Most of them very bad things, but none of them was as bad as the Terrorist Attack in September 11th of 2001. The World Trade Center going down after two airplanes hit it with the Pentagon also destroyed by a third plane. Those were the ones that got the protagonism. Little did we know that it could have been a lot worse, because there was a fourth airplane going to The White House. This movie is the story about that fourth plane that crashed because the passengers revealed against the terrorists in an attempt to get control of the aircraft. Because of that, the airplane crashed, killing everyone inside it. Now, it sounds like a very cold-hearted, rude movie about an event that shook the entire world, but it’s not. This is the movie Paul Greengrass should have gotten an Academy Award for. The way is fragmented, with the pilots arriving, the plane being set ready, the terrorist preparing themselves with their prayers, the air control center seeing how they lose control of their airplanes, as we move slowly more and more towards the airplane itself, and ready for the inevitable ending. This movie can only be described as a soul crushing journey for the human conscience, and I am sure I haven’t taken that one from anyone. This movie will take your heart, twist it, break it, spit on it and finally destroy it. This is hyper realism people; this is a movie that will have you crying in anger and desperation. I was talking about superheroes before, right? Well, there are none here! We are alone guys, we are alone. The real heroes are those who gave their lives to save the guy who later on threw us into Afghanistan. Those passengers of the United 93 that nobody talked about before this movie got released. You, me, everybody, should be ashamed. And this is why this is one of the best movies of the decade.

11. - Bowling for Columbine.

Oh boy, Michael Moore. There are as many things to say about him as there are about Al Gore. Only difference is that Al Gore takes everything seriously, while Michael Moore takes everything seriously and he still makes you smile, bitterly, but a smile is a smile. He can be one of the most biased Documentary directors of all time (can anyone say Leni Reifenstalh?) with his most infamous project “Fahrenheit 9/11” AKA “How not to do a movie about 9/11” but he did hit the nail right on the head with his previous movie “Bowling for Columbine”. What we see in this movie is definitely what defines the American people better, as well as many modern action videogames: Guns. The way Michael Moore presents the USA as a country founded by psychopaths and built around a so called “Culture of fear” is both hilarious yet terrifying. Seeing neighbors taking assault rifles and AK47’s from their basements, kids taking guns to class and kill their school mates, and ultra religious groups blaming everything for the violence in their country, gives quite a bad, negative and harming image of the American people…which is, apparently, completely true. Nothing from this documentary is invented or exaggerated, with the exception of the little South Park-like cartoon about how America was founded (I don’t quite remember babies carrying Colt revolvers). There are many documentaries out there, and I could have easily put others like “Super Size Me” or the most shocking “Capturing the Friedmans”, but “Bowling for Columbine” is way better than those, for two reasons (one of them quite petty): 1, it is perfectly balanced between the eerie seriousness and the wise cracking parody; and 2, for this quote: “I would like to ask you something. Don’t you consider dangerous gift weapons in a bank?” Did I already used the “enough said” close line? Well anyways, enough said.

10. - Spiderman 2.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. I can already hear the whiny assholes saying things like “But why isn’t the Dark Knight here? You suck you Marvel Zombie sucker”. Well, I don’t. I think “Spiderman 2 is a far more superior movie. First of all, “The Dark Knight” is brilliant, but the screenplay for that movie is so frigging long and dialogue based that it leaves pretty much nothing for the imagination. Everything is analyzed, everything is explained, there’s nothing left for fan boys to talk about. That excess of dialogue is gone in “Spiderman 2. It is hard to explain the movie if you have not watched it, but let’s just say that this is the ultimate and definite dissection of the super hero character. We have a Peter Parker whose life sucks because one day he decided to take the responsibility of saving the world from its destruction. We see him losing his job because he saved two kids. We see him disappointing the girl he loves to stop a bank robbery. We see him losing the support of his friend to stop the obligatory mad scientist. We basically see him torn apart between two lives he can’t avoid nor focus. That, my fellow readers, is a super hero. But the best thing is not the message we are given in the movie, the best thing is that we are never explained that message. There’s only one line Peter Parker utters to himself that gives us the clue, but nothing else! Everything is kept in the inside; everything is suggested, but not explained. You can feel the pain of Peter and how he struggles to keep his identity. Just think about that, in a movie that’s based on a comic about a guy who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and dresses up in blue and red pajamas. And don’t get me started on the action sequences…With this I mean, they are bloody good, you know?

9. - District 9.

You know something I like? Cool movies. You know what else I like? Movies that have substance. “District 9 is exactly that. Just think that this could have been the movie adaptation of “Halo” makes me cringe; thinking all that effort and talent could have gone wasted. But no, thank God no. This is the perfect example of a well planned budget. With a laughing quantity of 30 million dollars, we are given the movie we have always wanted to see since “Alien Nation”. Getting out of the way the fact that the “Apartheid Metaphor” is as metaphoric as a gun is a metaphor for a gun, this is one of the best written movies of recent years, and not only because of the dialogues but because of how it treats the subjects in case: Racism, xenophobia, loyalty, murder, imperialism, militarism, abuse of power, and a very long etc… I also want to take out of the way all the haters of this movie in one single bitch-slap: WE. NEED. THIS. KIND. OF. MOVIE… FUCKERS. I am serious about this, come on, stop ripping off the movie saying that it rips off other movies. It is the most original, most social messaged movie about Alien and Human relationships since “The day the Earth stood still”. Okay it is not subtle, but we live in a world were subtlety is dead. Gone. We passed through dozens of terrorist attacks, we don’t need soft drinks and a cuddle, we need movies like “District 9. We need interspecies sex used as a mediate weapon to cause panic and reject. We need to see arm dealers killing their enemies and eat their flesh because they believe in voodoo bullshit. We need to see the militaries abusing from a dying group of individuals just to use their hyper-advanced weaponry. We need to see laughing humans at the sound of burning alien fetuses. And yes, we need to see humans fucking exploding in a rain of goo and blood just because it makes all the pain worth it. This is “District 9, a movie that ignores every single preconception of the genre and the media and goes beyond everything else. Also, as a final statement on those who went on a rampage and hated the movie, deal with it! You can’t attack something savagely when it’s evidently good and original. That only makes you look like a douche bag. More of this on number 7!

8. - Spirited Away.

Trust me; this is not the last animated movie of the list. Now, let me be honest with you here, but before that, a question: Are you a fan of anime? If you answer is no, then this next statement is for you: You have no idea what happiness and feel of victory is. You don’t. You can’t relate to that indescribable feeling of triumph that makes you punch the air and put your ankles together in a jump. You just can’t. You know why? Because, every single anime fan and otaku alike who was watching the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony punched the air, clacked their ankles and shouted “HOORAY!” when “Spirited Away” won the “Best Animated Motion Picture” Achievement. The feeling of power, triumph and victory we felt that glorious night, overpowered everything else in our brains. For once, a renown (they were back then) group of critics and movie experts took anime seriously and gave it an award for it. The man who fed our childhoods with shows like “Heidi” and “Sherlock Holmes”, and gave us our adulthood imaginations a reboot with “Princess Mononoke” and “Grave of the Fireflies” was now a part of Hollywood’s elite. Miyazaki achieved what Alfred Hitchcock never could: Win an Oscar. This is one of the many reasons why this movie is on the top 20 best movies of the Century, more exactly on the top 10. The other of the many reasons is the mind blowing imagination of Miyazaki, basically orgasming in every frame: Ghosts that materialize once they get out of their boat, little dust specs that carry coil stones, paper birds, moaning bouncing heads, a cannibal spirit who can make gold with a like for people, a kid who can turn himself into a dragon, a monster made out of mud and poop…Should I go on? Because we can stay here until tomorrow and fill two thousand fucking pages if I have to put every idea that Miyazaki had for this movie. You will not be the same after watching this retold story of “Alice in Wonderland” that born inside the head of Miyazaki-san after his eyes met those of his friend’s daughter. That’s what gave us this amazing movie: The look of a child…Can you feel my tears running down my face as I write this?

7. - AVATAR.

What? Don’t you tell me you didn’t see that coming, eh? Twelve years in the making, 230 million dollars in budget, coming from the guy who made “Aliens”, “Terminator”, “True Lies” and “Titanic”. What did we get out of it? Well, right now all we got are people complaining about how the movie is just a rip off of other movies and the lack of originality of the plot, but what we will get in the future is the way movies will be made for the rest of our lives. “AVATAR” has marked the revolution in movies (technical revolution) that the movie industry has needed ever since they invented the Surround system. Wrapped in the classic (and I remark the word “classic”) story of conquerors go invade territory, one of them falls in love with a native girl, giant helicopters and alien dragons blow up, and then they get together forever, is a masterpiece in filmmaking, design and execution. This movie set a finish line for those blurry, confusing and unbearable action flicks like “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “Quantum of solace”. Here the action is static, solid, perfect. You can take any photogram of this movie, frame it and hang it on a wall because it’s a work of art. Any words I can say about this movie won’t make it justice, so before getting in my final thoughts stop and go see it. I went to watch this movie only and just only for the love story between an alien chick and a human guy. I didn’t care for the special effects, the design or the 3D, I just wanted to see the human and the alien, in love with each other. I wasn’t game for this part of the story, up until the final minutes. With my heart pounding on my throat, after all the fighting and all the suffering, the alien chick Ney’tiri and the human guy Jake Sully, meet each other with no more barriers than his breathing mask. That scene is what took my heart, kissed it and made me cry. Those 15, maybe 20 seconds, of a real human being interacting with a CGI creature, and you can feel the chemistry, you can feel the love they profess to each other, you can feel they connect. That is amazing. The whole movie, up to this day I will defend this, is a huge build up for those seconds. So when you watch it, don’t blink, open your heart, suspend your beliefs, and just let yourself go. If not, then get out of the movie theatre and shut the hell up.

6. - .REC.

He, he, he, of course I am going to include Spanish movies in this list. Believe it or not, I would have happily left this one out of the equation. Spanish cinema is well known for giving great actors to the World (Javier Bardem is a douche bag, but he is a good actor) through shitty ass movies. It also baffles me how every other critic out of Spain loves Pedro Almodóvar when here we can’t stand his movies, and this is not a personal opinion, it’s a majority. That is why I am picking “.Rec”, the best horror movie of the decade. You can take any other kind of horror movie that has been done between 2000 and 2009, but “.Rec” is the kind of movie that comes to mind when you hear the expression “Rollercoaster ride of a movie”. Some may argue that it is a rip-off of “The Blair witch Project”, but that’s only in the way is shot, handheld, first person perspective, from the point of view of a camera. “Blair Witch” had nothing, there was nothing going on in it, it was all based around the last 5 seconds of the movie. “.Rec” is honest, blunt and direct. You see blood, you see people dying and what kills them, the sounds and atmosphere surround you like a thick blanket that doesn’t let your body get out of the grip this movie throws you into, and you get freaked out like you just found a window to hell and decided to peek at it. But it’s not only about the spooks and the scares, the characters of this movie carry a lot of the weight. From the news-reporter played masterfully by Manuela Velasco, to the Chinese neighbors and the homosexual hair stylist, this is also a dissection of the modern and current state of the Spanish people, that few other movies have achieved (let alone horror and sci-fi movies). This movie is a full frontal, horror packed, adrenaline fueled, ridiculously short movie experience that is not going to leave you even after the movie has finished.

5. - Munich.

Spielberg at his finest. I think I can end the review for this movie this easily, but no, I have to say more. Nobody is going to remember any other movie from the Spielbergster this decade than the horrible and deplorable “Indiana Jones 4, and that’s a tragic thing. If we think about it, from all the movies he has done in this decade people will just remember what a dreadful film “Indy 4 was. That’s why we have “Munich”. “Saving Private Ryan” next to it is a kinder garden play, this movie is balls to the wall incredible. The movie tells the story of what happened after the terrorist attack in the German Villa during the Olympic games in Germany, were the totality of the Jewish Olympic team was murdered by the Palestinians and the actions that The Mosad (The Jewish Secret Service) took in order to avenge those deaths. The Mature rating is well earned not only because of the action but because of the cold nature with which the film is executed (remember, this is the guy who made “E.T.”). We see how the Mosad team follows one of the executers who just made the shopping to his flat and blast his body full of bullets before collapsing on the bottles of milk he just bought. We see them planting an explosive inside the phone of a house knowing that there’s a girl inside with other target. We see Eric Bana’s character having a conversation with the man he later blows up into chunks in his hotel room. We see them murdering an assassin that killed one of their team mates, while she is in her house, almost fully naked. But if Spielberg took risks, was in the scene where we see the execution of the Jewish Olympic team interloped with the scene where Eric Bana makes love to his wife. This is Spielberg’s, apparent, last attempt at causing controversy of some sort, and he kind of failed on the side of the critics. Me, I consider this my second favorite Spielberg movie ever (only surpassed by the perfect “Jurassic Park”).

4. - Pan’s Labyrinth.

Guillermo del Toro is God. He is! I mean, come on, he has created a lot more cooler things than God did, and this movie is one of those. The obtuse minds of stupid people will not understand the artistry, the harmony and the love that is behind every single creature, set piece and design that comes from his mind. He is the best storyteller in movies in the modern era, and Pan’s Labyrinth is his masterpiece. This is a fairytale told during the Dictatorship of Franco in Spain through the eyes of a young girl called Ofelia. One night she meets with a Faun who lives in a Labyrinth next to where she stays with her mother and step father. This Faun tells her that she is the lost daughter of the King of the Underground Realm, and she has to pass through three tests before achieving the right to return. This is all told in the grimiest, filthiest and realistic way possible. You want to shock your kids and give them a beautiful fairy tale at the same time? THIS. IS. FUCKING. IT. This movie doesn’t mess around, it doesn’t fuck around, it has the biggest balls of the whole list (with the exception of number one maybe). If I will ever feel proud of my country for its movies it will be for this masterpiece of creativity. Watching this movie is not just a refill to your imagination, it revives it. It makes you feel like you are a kid again while keeping you in mind that you are an adult. We see how a man and his son are brutally executed right before we see a fairy taking the girl to the Labyrinth. We see…hang on, I used this before, sorry. But yes! This movie is not just meant to be seen, IT NEEDS TO BE SEEN! This is the evidence we have been looking forward for ages since Tolkien passed away: There’s still imagination in this World…and it comes from Mexico…and he is fat, hairy and extremely friendly. His name is Guillermo del Toro, and he should be giving lessons to everybody else about how to tell a story.

3. - There will be Blood.

I have to be honest with you, once again, but I wasn’t even interested on watching this movie. Even when watching it, I was still wondering what the hell I was watching. All I knew is that Paul Thomas Anderson (the guy who made “Magnolia”, one of the best movies of the 90’s) was directing and that Daniel Day Lewis won an Academy Award for this. But as I watched it, I was getting more interested, and interested, and dragged by the rhythm and pace of the movie. It’s another classic tale, of the common blue collar worker who builds an empire with the sweat of his forehead, told in a very rough and close way close to the first person perspective. Lewis’ character Daniel Plainview is really easy to follow, since there’s only one storyline, his, and it’s shocking to see the things he submits himself to get his empire going. He leaves his best friend to die and has to take care of his son. He then has to send his stepson to an adoptive house-school so he doesn’t interfere with his business. He reduces and humiliates himself before the Church in order to buy their terrains. He kills in cold blood a man who tried to pass for his brother. Overall, he stomps and destroys everything he encounters in his way just to found an Empire that was doomed from the start (that of the Oil Refineries). He destroys individuals, families, cults, towns and even his soul, just to get a couple of bucks and a bunch of land nobody but him cares for. If it wasn’t clear enough, this is just one story of the many that the Great Depression caused during that transition between the 19th century and the 20th century. You know what’s the saddest thing of them all? That all that suffering, all that pain that Daniel goes through, hasn’t changed a bit in the 21st century. That’s what this movie is about.

2. - Black Hawk Down.

War movies need to be mentioned in every decade, because they were one of the foundations of the modern cinema. They introduced things like the soundtrack and the special practical effects, but war movies have sucked pretty much during this decade, either for their absence or for their lack of quality. When you have Michael Bay making a movie about a terrible event like the attack on Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck and a dodgy love story, you can’t have anything good in your hands. It’s depressing trying to think on good war movies, and all that comes to my mind are good war videogames. There’s only one exception to this, and that is “Black Hawk Down”, probably one of the most overlooked war movies of all time. It tells the pretty much unknown events that occurred in Mogadiscio (Somalia) in 1993, when a squadron of American Troops infiltrated the city to kidnap a series of warlords from their hides. What started like a 30 minute operation, turned into a 12 hour battle for survival where the platoon of around 50 US Soldiers fought against an armed mob of around 5000 people. Then, how does this look in a movie format? Well, incredibly entertaining and gruesome as fuck. Do you remember the D-Day landing on “Saving Private Ryan”? That was 30 minutes. Imagine the same thing during two hours and a half. Shootings, explosions, bodies blowing up into bloody chunks, blood everywhere, dead bodies, more explosions, destruction, massacre, desecration, and death…just to resume into a word: WAR. This movie is WAR, with capital letters. Never before, nor after, has war being depicted so well in a movie. I have seen soldiers, looking, watching this movie, and breaking up to it, unable to finish it. This comes as no surprise from Ridley Scott, to make something so serious yet so entertaining, but it is a surprise when the money for this comes from the same guy who produced “Pearl Harbor” and “CSI”. I guess every producer has their good moments, right?

So, wow, that was a mouthful of a list, with major names. But which movie can be number one of the decade? Well, wait no further.

1. – Every single movie made by Pixar between 2000 and 2009.

If there’s something we must take from this decade, it’s this: Pixar movies in general. This has been the best decade in animation since Disney first opened their doors to the world with their creativity. In this case, it has been the best ten years for Animation since then. We have had almost a movie per year with Pixar: Monsters Inc. in 2001, Finding Nemo in 2003, The Incredibles in 2004, Cars in 2006, Ratatouille in 2007, Wall·E in 2008, and Up in 2009. Any of those movies could have catch number 1 position, and it’s hard for me to speak about every single amazing achievement that Pixar got with every movie, so I will just focus on commenting a movie from them, and the awarded movie with my writing will be Finding Nemo, the movie that represents them all, and not only because it’s one of my Personal Five Favorite Movies of all Time. It is, by a good 200 millions of bucks, the biggest Box Office hit Pixar has ever had, surpassing every single animated hit ever since “The Lion King” and it has the highest note in almost every other movie website that’s worth noting (nothing particularly especial since it’s the case with every Pixar movie). The biggest reason why “Finding Nemo” is number one here it’s the characters: From the forgetful Dory to the badass Gill, every single character in Finding Nemo is unique, incredibly complex and infinitely more interesting than any other character any other movie of this decade has ever had. The level of engagement you can build with these characters, which I have to remind you are all fish (or marine reptiles), is mind blowing. Aside from that, I could mention the haunting music composed by Thomas Newman; the eerie sound effects design by legendary Gary Rydstrom (he is the T-Rex roar guy); the fantasy landscapes we find in a sunken submarine surrounded by mines or a forest of deadly jellyfish; the thrilling scenes in the Turtle way or with the seagulls; or the perfectly simplistic way that the dialogue is developed in this movie, never forced, never artificial, all as natural as a Discovery Channel Documentary. But it doesn’t matter what I say, because Spanish critic Sergi Sanchez said it better than any other critic in the world did: “Finding Nemo is not a movie. It’s a miracle.” That’s the perfect definition for every Pixar movie. They are all small miracles and not just of animation but of filmmaking in general, the perfect definition of what this entire decade is all about.

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