Why? Because it’s never too early to make a pointless list of some of your favorite movies.
1. Mulholland Drive
Like all of Lynch’s films, Mulholland Drive is rich, beautiful and atmospheric. What makes this movie his best is a rigorous and stunningly innovative structure. Instead of a linear narrative, this movie is shaped like an infinity symbol. It curves around, goes through a small hole and comes out the other side into a mirror-image world. And hey, a really hot lesbian scene doesn’t hurt either.
2. Talk to Her
As he often does, Almodovar takes some rather outrageous behavior and turns it into a parable of the human heart. His control over the filmmaking elements is total. Like Mulholland Drive, this is the greatest work of a true master.
3. Almost Famous
Cameron Crowe’s movie speaks of his experiences as a rock critic prodigy for Rolling Stone. His love of the music world is palpable. The performances he gets from his cast are luminous.
4. School of Rock
Like Big was to the 80s and Groundhog Day was to the 90s, this is the great concept comedy of this decade. Jack Black is great fun and brings home a winning message about the rewards of mentorship.
5. Before Night Falls
Javier Bardem is brilliant as Reinaldo Arenas in Julian Schnabel’s moving true-to-life story of a gay writer in Castro’s Cuba.
6. Monsters, Inc.
I’m an animator, and you have to give the greatest animation studio in the world its props. (I could just as easily put Finding Nemo here too.) What makes Pixar better than the other 3D studios is not technique, although theirs is as good as any. It is that they tell perfectly crafted stories of humanistic import.
7. The Departed
Scorsese returns to his favorite turf and his best form. What an ensemble!
There were intelligent character comedies with fewer flaws around – Little Miss Sunshine for one – but none had as much heart as this ruthless but compassionate view of one of life’s losers.
You have to have a documentary on the list, and no other doc was as charming or thought-provoking as this one.
10. Lost in Translation
A beautiful, minimalist tale (so I’ll make my blurb minimalist too.)
Honorable mention: 28 Days Later, About A Boy, Amelie, Cast Away, Chicken Run, Cinderella Man, The Dreamers, Finding Nemo, High Fidelity, Little Miss Sunshine, Maria Full of Grace, Minority Report, Punch-Drunk Love, Sexy Beast, Spanglish, Spirited Away, The Fast Runner, Y Tu Mama Tambien, You Can Count on Me.