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By Anna

1. The Social Network

Fittingly fast-paced, The Social Network brings clever dialogue, great direction, editing, and a pithy soundtrack making it the best film of the year. Aaron Sorkin’s a Shakespearean master in this film, and the cinematography takes itself seriously in a film that might not otherwise be concerned with perfect camera angles—everything fits.

2. 127 Hours

Speed-induced. From beginning to end, director Danny Boyle doesn’t take us out of the action, but makes each thought and action real. Because of James Franco’s apparent propensity to his character, the film needs few others. 127 Hours shows us what film is capable of by giving us a story of a man whose most heroic actions cause him to disparage the title of hero and become selfless—sacrificing part of himself to do so. Boyle trusts his audience to get what he puts in front of them and satisfies every feeling he evokes.

3. Toy Story 3

As anyone who has gone off to college may know, the transition from being well fed and taken care of to being on your own is easier said than done. This is just what the gang finds out in Toy Story 3, but they grow closer to each other and the audience than ever before. It’s hilarious and heart wrenching with enervating suspense to boot.

4. The Kids Are All Right

Taking its audience through all the emotions of a lifetime, it’s no wonder I couldn’t pull myself together for a couple days after I saw this film. It is so well executed and acted (by all) that you feel a part of their family—understanding the fun, pain and anxiety of what can happen to any family.

5. Inception

When I first saw Inception, I thought it was the best movie I’d seen in years. Then I started to think about it more and more and realized it was a great movie, but couldn’t be the best, because it lacked that old fashioned storytelling rule: show, don’t tell. However, it’s in my top films of the year list because it’s an amazing idea, executed to the fullest extent of filmmaking possibilities, and leaves you just plain awestruck.

6. The Town

My initial review of The Town stays the same: it uses the emotional scenes not only to develop characters but to also build suspense to the next action scene. The audience wants action, and director Ben Affleck delivers without letting go of his mission of declaring war on the system.

7. Greenberg

Though this is the last on my list and the most likely to drop behind the following unseen picks, it’s still noteworthy because Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig, under Noah Baumbach’s direction, are infelicitous and ingenuous. Rhys Ifans role should also be noted in this quirky, lovable film.

Films I haven’t seen yet, but could very likely take a top spot (in no particular order):

  1. True Grit: If it’s better than the original film (for which John Wayne won his only Oscar), then damn if it won’t near the top of my favorites for the year. I only expect the best from Joel and Ethan Coen.
  2. The Fighter: We know what Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale are capable of alone, but their being together can only mean greatness.
  3. Winter’s Bone: Nature v. nurture. This film by Debra Granik looks beautiful and thought provoking.
  4. The King’s Speech: A stuttering royal who is going to be king under the direction of Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter? I’m in. Did I mention the royal was Colin Firth?
  5. Exit Through the Gift Shop: Banksy, Banksy, Banksy. You’ve got me more than intrigued.
  6. Somewhere: Each of Sofia Coppola’s films are more than magnificent, I expect nothing less from Somewhere.
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By Erin

These are the episodes that embrace everything television can be as an art form.  Whether television as social satire, television as a substitute for film, television as shared experience, or television as small budget with big results.  These are the episodes that stand out to me over the last 10 years that I’ve been watching television shows.

1. “Two Cathedrals”—The West Wing, Season 2, Episode 22, Aired May 16, 2001. This was a no-brainer for me.  First you have a very talented actor, Martin Sheen, playing a president who loses a female friend and mentor shortly before he must announce whether or not he will run for a second term.  During this time of need, he must make a decision without her straight-shooting common sense.  The effective use of flashbacks develops his character, while a brilliantly shot scene in The National Cathedral proves both Sheen’s acting chops and Aaron Sorkin’s writing ones.  Watch President Bartlett argue with God in Latin then snuff his cigarette at the altar and tell me you don’t get goosebumps.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Cathedrals.

2. “Training”—The Office (UK), Season 1, Episode 4, Aired July 30, 2001. Why the U.S. version didn’t just copy this episode word-for-word I’ll never know (I realize it’s probably some type of copyright issue, but seriously, it’s that good).  The scene in which David Brent, played by a brilliantly awkward Ricky Gervais, gets his guitar out to sing his own original “Freelove Freeway” during a training that he isn’t supposed to be interfering in is fantastic in so many ways, not the least of which is when Gareth joins in at the end.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episode_Four_(The_Office,_Series_One).

3. “The Car Pool Lane”—Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 4, Episode 6, Aired February 8, 2004. It’s almost impossible to choose a favorite episode of Curb.  I haven’t watched a single episode and not laughed out loud.  In this episode, Larry buys pot, hires a hooker to get to the Dodgers game on time and gets high with her and his dad.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Curb_Your_Enthusiasm_episodes.  Also check out how this episode cleared a man accused of murder:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curb_Your_Enthusiasm#Juan_Catalan_incident.

4. “Hardball”—30 Rock, Season 1, Episode 15, Aired February 22, 2007. This episode stands a head above other fantastic 30 Rock episodes because of the way it highlights the hilarious brilliance of the top characters in the show.  Not only does Jack teach Liz how to be a better business woman with his “negotiation set” of furniture, but Jenna gets misquoted as hating the troops and then later says she actually supports Osama bin Laden for president and Kenneth has to be the only member of Tracy’s entourage until Grizz and Dot Com save him ala The Bodyguardhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Ball.

5. “Walkabout”—Lost, Season 1, Episode 4, Aired October 13, 2004. This is the episode of Lost where we learn the flashbacks are going to be vital not only to develop the show’s characters but its plot and artistic merit as well.  Not only do we develop sympathy for John Locke, but we develop a healthy sense of fear of him as well.  We didn’t even realize how much we would need both.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkabout_(Lost).

6. “From Pole to Pole”—Planet Earth, Episode 1, Aired March 5, 2006. This whole series is so amazing to watch that it’s hard to pick a favorite episode, but this first one had a few things going for it:  1) It’s like broad survey course on the Earth, so if you’re only going to watch one, this is the one to watch; 2) It genuinely makes you want to do your part to stop global warming and help save the polar bears; and 3) Its sweeping shots of the Arctic, Antarctica, and Africa are so breathtaking that it makes the cost of buying it on Blue Ray worth every penny.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Earth_(TV_series)#Episodes.

7. “The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby”—It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season 3, Episode 1, Aired September 13, 2007. This is another comedy that is excellent because all three subplots are funny on their own.  While Dennis tries to get revenge on environmentalists for calling him a poser, Dee and Dennis attempt to put a baby in a tanning booth to make him look more Hispanic in order to get him into acting, and Charlie and Frank discover treasures through dumpster diving.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_It’s_Always_Sunny_in_Philadelphia_episodes.

8. “Both Sides Now”—House, Season 5, Episode 24, Aired May 11, 2009. Honestly, most episodes of House are good simply because of Hugh Laurie’s acting skills and their parallel to Sherlock Holmes.  This episode stands out in my mind because Laurie steps it up a notch due to Dr. House’s being so addicted to Vicodin that he starts having hallucinations.  When House realizes he imagined an entire 24 hour period, it’s hard not to feel his terror.  Only Hugh Laurie could make you sympathize with such a despicable character.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Both_Sides_Now_(House).

9. “Good Grief”—Arrested Development, Season 2, Episode 4, Aired December 5, 2004. Any television show that alludes to Peanuts is top notch in my book, but when this fantastic ensemble cast and writing staff does it, well it’s a top episode of the decade.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Grief.

10. “We’ve Got Spirit”—Freaks and Geeks, Episode 9, Aired January 24, 2000. Like most episodes of this cult classic, this one epitomizes the high school experience but to a better soundtrack.  This episode is reminiscent of pep rallies and rivalries as well as awkward first relationships.  It’s also full of young acting talent including Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, Martin Starr, James Franco, and even a young Shia LeBeouf.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Freaks_and_Geeks_episodes.

11. “The Godmother”—Weeds, Season 1, Episode 10, Aired October 10, 2005. Weeds was a great idea for a lampoon of suburban living and the American Dream.  For my money, this is the episode that takes full advantage of great satire without letting overly dramatic scenes get in the way. The conversation between Andy, played by Justin Kirk, and Doug, played by a riotous Kevin Nealon, regarding Andy’s impending deployment demonstrated the show’s potential for biting comedy.  Also, any show smart enough to cast Mary-Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins deserves a spot on this list.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Weeds_episodes.

12. “Hunting Trip”—Parks and Recreation, Season 2, Episode 10, Aired November 19, 2009. I love Amy Poehler.  I know, I know, who doesn’t?  But seriously, the scene in this episode where she lists all the female stereotypes she can think of to explain why she accidentally shot Ron Swanson to cover up for Tom had me laughing nonstop.  It’s nice to have some hilarious ladies leading some hilarious sitcoms.  We also get a funny subplot with Andy and April.  This show is only going to get better, but they got this episode in before the end of the decade.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunting_Trip.

13. “Slap Bet”—How I Met Your Mother, Season 2, Episode 9, Aired November 20, 2006. Despite the fact that this show is just the upper-class version of Friends and uses a laugh track (a laugh track!), it has some standout episodes.  This is one of them.  Jason Segel (Marshall) and Neil Patrick Harris (Barney) steal the episode from a pretty dull Ted (I don’t even care who plays this guy, he just brings the show down) by placing a “slap bet” on why Robin is scared of malls.  The winner gets to slap the loser as hard as he can, and due to trickery on Barney’s part, Marshall ends up getting to slap him five times whenever he chooses in the future.  The writers give something for their viewers to look forward to and reward loyalty every time Marshall slaps Barney (I think he still has one slap left).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slap_Bet.

14. “Endless Shrimp, Endless Night”—The New Adventures of Old Christine, Season 2, Episode 26, Aired January 15, 2007. When I tried to describe this episode to my mom, I started laughing so hard that I couldn’t get the words out.  I dare you to watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus substitute the word “lobster” for “lost her” due to her obsession with Red Lobster and not laugh.  Not to mention Hamish Linklater, who plays her brother Matthew, makes an excellent straight man to her crazy woman (she also makes a great straight woman when he’s playing the crazy man).    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_New_Adventures_of_Old_Christine_episodes.

15. “A Tale of Poes and Fire”—Gilmore Girls, Season 3, Episode 18, Aired April 15, 2003. The fictional town of Stars Hollow had a lot of quirky and entertaining characters due to the imagination of Amy Sherman-Palladino.  This episode showcases these characters as well as Lauren Graham’s quick tongue and classic Gilmore Girls obscure references.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gilmore_Girls_episodes.

Honorable Mentions:

“Made in America”—The Sopranos, Season 6, Episode 21, Aired June 10, 2007. I haven’t seen one episode of The Sopranos, this one included.  However, the writers did such a great job ending the series that even those of us who weren’t fans know about the ending.  Did Tony die or live?  We’ll never know, and that is television as shared experience like very few others have accomplished.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Made_in_America_(The_Sopranos).

“Seinfeld”—Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 7, Episode 10, Aired November 22, 2009. I haven’t been lucky enough to see this yet (I think I’m getting the season for Christmas).  I assume it will become one of the top episodes of the decade, but for now, I’ll give it an honorable mention.  Even my grandparents were wondering when the Seinfeld reunion was airing.  Only Larry David could give us a reunion without actually giving us one (and almost get my grandparents to watch a HBO original series).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seinfeld_(Curb_Your_Enthusiasm).

By Ryan S.

Like Ryan wrote, this is a list of my favorite albums of the decade, not the best of the decade (obviously).

25. Of Montreal- Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

My vote for the most purely fun record of the decade.  I feel like David Bowie would be proud of them.

24. Caribou- Andorra

I don’t think it would be possible for any fan of the Sgt Pepper/Magical Mystery-era Beatles to listen to “Eli” and say they didn’t like it.  Hence, I like this record.

23. Beck- Sea Change

I am pretty sure it has been said, but this ranks up there with Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks as one of the greatest breakup records ever.  “Guess I’m Doing Fine,” found on Sea Change and “For No One” by the Beatles are the truest break up songs I have ever heard.  Does Sea Change deserve to be mentioned alongside Bob Dylan and the Beatles?  Yes.

22. M83- Saturdays=Youth

The perfect mix of 80s pop and shoegaze.  The album cover is among my favorite of the decade and “We Own the Sky” is probably in my favorite 25 tracks.

21. Iron & Wine- Our Endless Numbered Days

Our Endless Numbered Days is the perfect soundtrack for a Sunday afternoon in July.

20. Jimmy Eat World- Futures

As you will see at #12, Jimmy Eat World has had a big impact on my life as far as music goes.  Well, Futures got me back into music after a time in which I got tired of the emo scene.

19. The Format- Interventions and Lullabies

From July 2006-March 2007, this album probably took up about 60% of the time I spent listening to music.  One of my favorite college memories is of driving through the Twin Cities with my friends as we all sang along to “The First Single” and tried to clap at the correct times during the chorus.  A great road trip album.

18. The Flaming Lips- Embryonic

Although Embryonic got good reviews, I cannot believe that it didn’t get amazing reviews.  As someone at my local record shop said, “it’s like going to the future via the past.”  In my opinion, this record is genius.

17. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion

MWPP could have not been released at a better time.  Its lyrics focus on the important things in life in the midst of one of the most difficult years the world has faced in a long time.  The nearly 3 minute section from 2:27 into the end of “In the Flowers” is my absolute favorite section of music released in 2009.

16. Radiohead- In Rainbows

While the 90s established Radiohead as a great band, the 00s established them as one of the greatest of all time.  While not their best release, if I had to introduce an average music fan to Radiohead with one album I would probably pick In Rainbows, because it is more versatile than The Bends, more accessible than OK Computer, less electronic than Kid A, more varied than Amnesiac, and simply better than Hail to the Thief.  It is also great enough for me to pay for it not only on CD but then again on vinyl.  Perhaps the worst part about In Rainbows is that it was somewhat overshadowed by its pay anything you want scheme.

15. Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary

Is there a more interesting tandem in music than Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner?  I dare anyone to listen to this without at least bobbing their head.  Another great road trip record.  “I’ll Believe in Anything” is only second to the Hold Steady’s “Stuck Between Stations” as my favorite track of the decade.

14. Grizzly Bear- Yellow House

Yellow House is a great example of a band that is developing their sound.  It is almost a blend mix of the lo-fi Horn of Plenty and the meticulous Veckatimest.  While I love their newest release, I miss some of the experimentation and randomness found on Yellow House.

13. David Bazan- Curse Your Branches

I have to be honest, I did not think I was going to like this record.  I had heard some of Bazan’s other solo records was for the most part unimpressed.  This record details the loss of David Bazan’s faith and the challenge that comes with changing how you identify yourself, especially when it comes to one’s religion.  “Curse Your Branches” is an interesting look into a man who is not necessarily glad he has lost his faith, but sees too many holes in the religion he was taught to believe to make it fit together anymore.  You get the feeling that he has not given it up completely yet, but has come to the conclusion that he will never truly know any answers.  I am glad he is back to asking questions.

12. Jimmy Eat World- Bleed American

Without this record, I probably would not love music as much as I do today.  This record immediately brings me back to the carefree days of the summer after my senior year of high school, in which it was the soundtrack to the pranks and road trips of the most enjoyable three months of my life.

11. Arcade Fire- Funeral

As soon as I hear the first note of “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” I still get goose bumps.  You know this record is great when over-the-hill rock stars started name dropping it to feel like they had relevance again and when Coldplay changed themselves in an attempt to mimic the band who made it.

10. Deerhunter- Microcastle

I have become a huge fan of Bradford Cox, and not just because he helped me learn about Marfan Syndrome.  Deerhunter’s blend of shoegaze and 50’s pop is infectious.

9. Brand New- Deja Entendu

It’s arrogant, raw, too honest, immature, and a great one to sing along to in the car- emo at its best.

8. Sufjan Stevens- Illinois

The best record from my overall favorite artist of the decade, Illinois is the perfect blend of Steven’s unique instrumentation, pop sensibility, and take on Americana.  “John Wayne Gacy Jr,” a haunting song about the serial killer who would dress up as a clown for the kids at his local hospital, is easily one of the best songs I heard this decade.

7. Pedro The Lion- Control

This is a record tells a story about an affair and it finds David Bazan at his best and most depressing.  Within  Control, Bazan takes on cheating spouses, corporate America, political spin, Global Warming detractors, and Christian arrogance.  Instead of offering hope, at the end he sings “Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if everything were meaningless?  But everything is so meaningful and most everything turns to shit.”  For some reason I love his honesty.

6. The National- Boxer

“Slow Show” and “Mistaken For Strangers” by themselves are probably good enough to get this record in my top 25.  When you add the perfect lyrics for my middle 20-something life and their amazing melodies and hooks you get one of my favorite records.

5. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest

Veckatimest had the mixed blessing of hype before it came out.  When music sites such as Stereogum are saying that it is a “game changer and a cause for celebration” two and a half months before its release, there is really no way that any album will live up to the hype.  I admit that Veckatimest is not a perfect album, but it is a masterpiece.  Veckatimest is an album about the space between relationships, as Stereogum pointed out.  Neither melancholy nor celebratory, it is about the space that we all feel between us in all of our relationships, from perfect strangers to our closest loved ones.  This became brutally clear to me as I stood next to my ex-girlfriend as of one week as Chris Taylor performed “I Live With You” a mere five feet or so in front of us.  Needless to say it was one of the most powerful musical moments of my life and I enjoyed every measure of it.

4. Destroyer- Destroyer’s Rubies

There are very few albums I have heard on which I would not change one note.  This is one of them.

3. Sunset Rubdown- Random Spirit Lover

Random Spirit Lover literally took me two years to like, but once I got it, RSL quickly became one of my favorite records.  This is Sunset Rubdown’s weirdest record, and is full of gems.  “Winged/Wicked Things” is among the best non-religious songs on religion I have ever heard.  “Colt Stands Up, Grows Horns” and “Stallion” are my favorite songs that appear in succession on an album of the decade.

2. Radiohead- Amnesiac

I admit that my main initial draw to Amnesiac was my background in jazz music and I know that having listing this as my favorite Radiohead album of the decade may not sit well with many people, but it is honestly my favorite of theirs since OK Computer.  Due to the fact that it was recorded at the same time, I think Amnesiac unfortunately suffered from a preconceived notion that it was a record of B-sides from the Kid A sessions.  Why is it my favorite?  I am not quite sure, but it contains my favorite Radiohead song, “I Might Be Wrong” and “Pyramid Song,” “You and Whose Army?,” Knives Out,” and Hunting Bears” are all simply beautiful tracks.

1. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago

I agree with a Yahoo music critic, who wrote that For Emma…”sounds like a record that’s always existed. It was simply waiting for the right moment, and the right person, to pull it out of the nether.”  Thanks to the year that was 2008, I felt a connection to this record that I had never felt to music before.

By Alex

This is a list of the top 11 movie scenes I can think of from the past decade. I often watch movies simply for their aesthetic charm, and a number of these scenes make the cut for that reason alone. Others feature phenomenal acting and directing. I’m sure I missed a number of excellent scenes, so let me know what you think.

1. Atonement – Dunkirk Beach scene

I’m a sucker for uncut tracking scenes, and though this 5 ½ minute scene might have jumped away from the filming style of the rest of the film, it was definitely the scene that struck me most in the Aughts. The constant turmoil taking place throughout the intricate set was awe-inspiring and technically impressive. Furthermore, the graphic results of war were evident and compelling, augmenting the strong sense of despair the film seeks to provide.

2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – Prologue

This film is probably the most beautifully photographed movie I’ve ever seen, but the opening narrated scene sets the tone by humanizing the 17-time murderer and serial robber allowing the viewer to empathize with the criminal that leaves said viewer feeling slightly uncomfortable. The musical score is excellent and somehow the strange tunneling lens distortions seem right.

3. No Country For Old Men – Coin Toss at Gas Station

Video here

This scene probably made me feel more uncomfortable than any other scene in recent memory. Chigurh’s dialog with the gas station clerk is chilling, pushed to the limit, and hard to watch, which is exactly why I love so much to watch it.

4. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – Petty Theives and Rubes/Blue Cut Robbery

Originally I had five or six scenes from this movie on this list, but I decided I shouldn’t include more than two. This scene, makes it in for exactly the same reasons the Prologue Portrait does, beautiful cinematography and a fantastic musical score (honorable mention for Imagining Himself/April 3, 1882 near the end of the film).

5. There Will Be Blood – Final Scene

Video here

Daniel Day-Lewis is such a fantastic actor, he had to make this list somewhere… There are probably a number of scenes in this movie or Gangs of New York that deserve consideration. But it is this scene’s successful culmination of the undoing of both Day-Lewis’ and Paul Dano’s characters in a disturbingly brilliant movie that place it here.

6. V for Vendetta – V’s Turn/Gift of Love/All of Us

First of all, the matrix-style fight scene is great, but when Torentino-esque graphic blood is introduced it makes it all the more exciting. Then, the parliament detonation is set to music; it’s like the ultimate firework display, and who doesn’t like fireworks?

7. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – The Belafonte

Exposing the fourth wall, this short scene gives us a tour of the boat by panning from room to room in the large set. It is fun and strikingly Wes Anderson-esque, and who doesn’t love Wes Anderson?

8. The Dark Knight – Pencil Trick/Opening Robbery

Video here

The opening scene of this film gives us an early glimpse of the Joker’s diabolical genius and sets the tone for an excellent movie, but then the pencil trick is just great—funny and surprising while forcing the viewer to cringe at the same time—and it exposes the acting genius of the late Heath Ledger.

9. Punch  Drunk Love – 99 Cent Store

Video here

I just love the reference to the Andreas Gursky photo, and the film as a whole is very well shot too.

10. Children of Men – Last Battle

There are a number of technologically innovative scenes in Children of Men, but I was most impressed by the long tracking scene near the end in which the camera follows the protagonist through the war-torn city, in and out of buildings while gunshots blaze by and blood splatters everything including the camera.

11. Kill Bill Vol. 1 – The Bride vs the Crazy 88

One of my flaws is that I’ve only seen the first installment of the Kill Bill movies, and wasn’t even paying attention for most of it. However, this fight scene still sticks out to me as one of the more impressive fights I’ve seen in my lifetime. Though borderline gimmicky, Tarantino’s token over-the-top gore and excellent choreography were impressive enough to stick out when I started this list.

Honorable mention: Fantastic Mr. Fox – battle scene, American Psycho – exchanging business cards, Up – opening montage

By Alex

This list is based simply on my own personal taste in films and only includes movies I have seen. I offer little or no apologies if you disagree, and only minimal explanations about why I love them.

1. No Country for Old Men – The Coen Brothers’ finest film—chilling and somehow satisfying without resolving anything.

2. The Royal Tenenbaums – I wish Rushmore was made in this decade so I could put it ahead of this movie. Wes Anderson is one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation.

3. Atonement – I just realized I’m in love with this movie.

4. There Will Be Blood – Delightfully disturbing if there is such a thing.

5. Adaptation – I wish Being John Malkovich was made in this decade so I could put it ahead of this movie. Charlie Kaufman is one of the best screenwriters of his generation.

6. Synecdoche, New York – Roger Ebert says “See it twice.” I say “See it nine times.”

7. Capote – I love Philip Seymour Hoffman and this might be his best film.

8. Punch-Drunk Love – Hard to go wrong with Paul Thomas Anderson. The cinematography is excellent.

9. I Heart Huckabees – An existential exploration in nonsense. Probably Mark Wahlberg’s best film.  I love it.

10. Man on Wire – This documentary is more suspenseful than most movies even though I already know how it ends. It has received a perfect score on Rotten Tomatos. Plus Michael Nyman’s musical score is excellent.

11. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – A fantastical love story that reveals how hard it can be sometimes.

12. Lost In Translation – Best movie that is almost too slow to watch.

13. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – Aesthetically speaking, this is the best movie I’ve ever seen. The cinematography is excellent, the music is just right, and the way it makes me empathize with the criminal continues to fascinate me.

14. American Psycho – Probably the most disturbing movie I’ve seen, but I’m a sucker for twists, and this one really twists, plus the glimpse into 1980s yuppie lifestyle is fascinating.

15. Catch Me If You Can – One of the few Spielberg films that was any good in the Aughts, and my favorite con-man movie of the decade.

16. Howl’s Moving Castle – My favorite animated film of the decade. An intriguing portrayal of fantasy, war, and individual self-worth. A children’s movie with subtle layers of symbolism.

17. Amélie – Possibly the best foreign film of the decade (excluding animation). Cute and lovely.

18. Little Miss Sunshine – Delightful, charming, and funny.

19. The Dark Knight – Heath Ledger’s best performance. Best superhero movie ever.

20. Moulin Rouge – Not sure about the story line but I’m a sucker for musicals and this one is slightly more interesting than Across the Universe (though Across the Universe has a better soundtrack).

21. City of God – I love movies about photography. This one is a lot more than that.

22. The Illusionist – Everyone thinks The Prestige was better. I don’t.

23. Memento – The Backwards-Forwards story-telling is intriguing and keeps me interested.

24. The Fantastic Mr. Fox – Very surprised by how well Wes Anderson adapted stop-motion to portray his style rather than vice versa.

25. Millions – One of the more visually interesting films of the decade, and Danny Boyle’s best.

Honorable Mention: The Departed, Almost Famous, Spirited Away, Pan’s Labyrinth, Donnie Darko, The Squid and the Whale, Hotel Rwanda, Brick, This is England, About Schmidt, Milk, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire