Thursday, June 21, 2007

A breakdown of must-see movies this decade

Some of my responses to this article that I made in response to the flooding of views and negative comments I received today in response to this article being selected to the hitlist can be found here:

I think this would be a great topic to debate so i'd love to have everyone contribute your thoughts and lists:

I think that there are movies that are just must-see films. I think since pop culture is getting so much more scattered these are fewer than before. At the same time, there is no current shortage of production resources, in terms of gifted actors, writers and directors; and studios are so market-saavy that they try to market a greater variety and greater volume of their films as must-see films. I'm gonna throw out a list of films which I feel one has to see to consider themselves culturally literate. I haven't personally seen all of these, but at the same time, my film literacy suffers if I miss any of them. For example, I couldn't figure out why Mark Wahlberg is becoming more of a visible star if I haven't seen Departed, I couldn't understand what people are referring to with their Borat jokes and immitations if I haven't seen them onscreen, I couldn't tell you if all five Oscar nominees deserved their nominations without seeing them, and I couldn't render an opinion on whether Entertainment Weekly Magazine were out of their minds when they listed Children of Men as one of the top 25 sci-fi phenomenons of the last 25 years without having seen the film.

My criteria is based mostly on what drew people to the movie theaters at the time the films were released and not as they pertain to whether people needed to see the films on DVD:
-Films that generate a lot of water cooler buzz (either controvoursey, topics of interest, or good word of mouth
-Films that are nominated for Oscars or get strong consideration for Oscar nominations, or in other words.....
-Films which are considered to be of good quality (an oversimplification of this is very good critical acceptance)
-Films which are considered to have a quality performance (acting, directorial, or in rare cases screenwriting

-Sequels/Prequels and other tent poles
-The hype which precedes Blockbusters and/or their how contagious they can be once they start breaking records

-Adaptations of some big play, book, or movie (can also be a remake)

Babel-Quality, Oscar nominee, Performance (acting: Pitt & directorial: Inarritu)
Queen-Water cooler buzz, Oscar nominee, Quality, Performance (acting: Mirren)
Little Miss Sunshine-Blockbuster, Water cooler buzz, Quality, Oscar Nominee
Flags of Our Fathers-Sequel, Performance (directorial: Eastwood)
Letters from Iwo Jima-Sequel, Water Cooler buzz, Quality, Performance (directorial: Eastwood)
Departed-Oscar nominee, Quality, Blockbuster, Performance (acting: DiCaprio, Wahlberg and Nicholson & directorial: Scorsese)
Dreamgirls-Oscar contender, Quality (acting: Hudson and Murphy), Blockbuster hype, Adaptation
Da Vinci Code-Water cooler, Blockbuster, Adaptation
Pan's Labyrinth-Performance (directing: Guillermo del Toro), Quality, Oscar contender
Children of Men-Performance (directing: Cuaron), Quality, Oscar contender
Borat-Water cooler buzz, Quality
Casino Royale-Sequel, Quality, Performance (a in Daniel Craig), Blockbuster Hype
Last King of Scotland-Performance (a in Forrest Whitaker)
X-Men 3-Blockbuster, Sequel, Water cooler buzz
Superman Returns-Blockbuster, Sequel/Prequel
Devil Wears Prada-Quality, Performance (acting: Meryl Streep), Adaptation, Water cooler buzz
Prairie Home Companion-Performance (directorial: Rob Altman)
Blood Diamond-Water cooler buzz, Oscar contender
United 93-Quality, Water cooler buzz
World Trade Center-Water cooler buzz
Inconvenient Truth-Quality, Water cooler buzz
V for Vendetta-Quality, Performance (directorial: McTigue)

Brokeback Mountain-Quality, Oscar Nominee, Performance (a: Heath Ledger), Water Cooler Buzz
Munich-Quality, Oscar Nominee, Performance (d: Spielberg), Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster
Crash-Quality, Water Cooler buzz, Oscar nominee
Capote-Quality, Performance (a: P.S. Hoffman), Oscar nominee
GN&GL-Performance (a: Strathain and d: Clooney), Oscar nominee, Quality
Squid and the Whale-Quality
Sin City-Water cooler buzz, Performance (d: Rodriguez and Tarantino)
Star Wars III-Sequel, Blockbuster hype
Constant Gardener-Performance (d: Fernando Meirelles), Quality
Match Point-Quality, Performance (d: Woody Allen), Water cooler buzz, Oscar contender
King Kong-Blockbuster, Performance (d: Peter Jackson), Water cooler buzz, Adaptation, Quality, Oscar contender
Syriana-Oscar contender, Water cooler buzz
Chronicles of Narnia-Blockbuster, Water cooler buzz
New World-Performance (d: Terrence Malick)
History of Violence-Quality
40 Year Old Virgin-Quality, Water cooler buzz, Performance (director/writer: Judd Apatow)
Wedding Crashers-Water cooler buzz
Star Wars III-Sequel, Blockbuster
Serenity-Quality, Adaptation
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-Adaptation, Blockbuster
Fantastic Four-Adaptation, Blockbuster
Batman Begins-Quality, Prequel/Sequel, Water Cooler Buzz
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire-Performance (acting: Ralph Fiennes), Sequel/Prequel, Adaptation
Walk the Line-Sequel/Prequel*, Performance (acting: Phoenix and Whitherspoon), Oscar contender
March of the Penguins-Quality, Water cooler buzz
Hustle and Flow-Performance (a: Terrence Howard), Water cooler buzz
*Walk the Line was not a sequel to anything, but it sort of rode the wave of musical biopics originally started by Ray

Sideways-Quality, Oscar nominee, performance (d: Alexander Payne)
Ray-Performance (acting: Ray Charles), Oscar nominee, water cooler buzz
Aviator-Performance (directorial: Scorsese and acting: DiCaprio), Quality, water cooler buzz (over whether it would be Scorsese's year or not), Blockbuster
Finding Neverland-Performance (acting: Depp), Quality, Oscar nominee
Million Dollar Baby-Oscar nominee, Performance (acting: Swank and directing: Eastwood), Quality, Water Cooler buzz
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind-Oscar contender, Quality, Performance (acting: Carrey and Winslet)
Phantom of the Opera-Adaptation
Kill Bill Vol. 2-Sequel, Performance (dir: Tarantino and acting: Uma Thurman), Quality
Hotel Rwanda-Water cooler buzz, Performance (acting: Don Cheadle), Oscar contender
Incredibles-Quality, Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster
Kinsey-Oscar contender, Water cooler buzz, performance (acting: Liam Niesson and Peter Sarsgaard)
Fahrenheit 911-Water cooler buzz, Quality, Blockbuster
Passion of the Christ-Blockbuster, Water cooler buzz, performance (directorial: Gibson)
Terminal-Performance (dir: Spielberg and acting: Tom Hanks)
Spiderman 2-Blockbuster, Sequel, Quality, Water cooler buzz
Shrek 2-Blockbuster, Sequel
Manchurian Candidate-Adaptation, Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster hype
Garden State-Water cooler buzz
Napoleon Dynamite-Water cooler buzz
Dodgeball-Water cooler buzz
Anchorman-Water cooler buzz
Mean Girls-Performance (acting: Lindsay Lohan and writing: Tiny Fey)
Supersize Me-Water cooler buzz
Meet the Fockers-Blockbuster, Sequel, Performance (acting: De Niro and Hoffman)
Bourne Supremacy-Sequel
Closer-Oscar contender, Performance (acting: Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azhkaban-Water cooler buzz, adaptation, sequel, blockbuster

Lord of the Rings III: Quality, Performance (directorial: Peter Jackson), Oscar nominee, Blockbuster, Sequel, Adaptation
Mystic River: Quality, Performance (acting: Laura Linney, Sean Penn, Marcia Gay Harden and directing: Eastwood), Oscar Nominee
Seabiscuit: Oscar nominee, Quality, Blockbuster
Master and Commander: Performance (acting: Russell Crowe), Quality, Oscar nominee, Adaptation
Lost in Translation: Performance (dir/writer: Coppola and acting: Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson), Oscar Nominee, Quality, Water cooler buzz
X-Men 2: Blockbuster, Sequel
Matrix Reloaded: Blockbuster, Water cooler buzz, Sequel
Bend it Like Beckham: Quality
Kill Bill I: Performance (directorial: Tarantino), Water cooler buzz, Quality
In America: Quality
21 Grams: Quality, Performance (acting: Sean Penn), Oscar contender
Last Samurai: Performance (acting: Tom Cruise), Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster hype
Cold Mountain: Oscar contender, Blockbuster hype, Adaptation
Big Fish: Quality, Blockbuster hype
Elf: Performance (acting: Will Ferrell)
School of Rock: Performance (acting: Jack Black)
Finding Nemo: Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster hype
Thirteen: Quality, Water cooler buzz
Pirates of the Caribbean: Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster, Performance (acting: Johnny Depp)
American Splendor: Performance (acting: Paul Giamatti)
House of Sand and Fog: Performance (acting: Ben Kingsley), Oscar contender
Love Actually-Water cooler buzz
Monster-Performance (acting: Charlize Theron)

Chicago: Oscar Nominee, Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster, Performance (acting: Gere, Zellweger and Zeta-Jones)
Gangs of New York: Oscar nominee, Performance (directing: Martin Scorsese and acting: Daniel Day-Lewis), Water cooler buzz
The Hours: Oscar nominee, Quality, Adaptation
Pianist: Oscar nominee, Performance (directing: Roman Polanski), Water cooler buzz, quality
Lord of the Rings: Two Towers: Oscar nominee, Blockbuster, Sequel, Performance (directing: Jackson), Water cooler buzz, Adaptation
About Schmidt: Performance (writer/director: Alexander Payne and actor: Jack Nicholson), Oscar contender, Quality
Adaptation: Water cooler buzz, Performance (Writer: Charlie Kaufman and actor: Nicholas Cage), Quality
My Big Fat Greek Wedding: Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster
Catch Me If You Can: Blockbuster
Road to Perdition: Quality, Performance (Acting: Tom Hanks), Water cooler buzz
Far From Heaven: Oscar contender, Performance (Acting: Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore)
Austin Powers in Goldmember: Sequel
Minority Report: Performance (Dir: Spielberg), Water cooler buzz
Signs: Performance (Dir: M Night Shamylan)
Bowling for Columbine: Water cooler buzz
Die Another Day: Sequel, Blockbuster, Water cooler buzz
8 Mile: Blockbuster, Water cooler buzz
About a Boy: Quality, Performance (Acting: Hugh Grant), Adaptation
Insomnia: Quality, Performance (Acting: Robin Williams), Water cooler buzz
City of God: Quality
Y tu Mama Tambien: Quality
Talk to Her: Quality
Sweet Home Alabama: Water cooler buzz
Unfaithful: Performance (Acting: Dianne Lane)
Bourne Identity: Water cooler buzz
Punch Drunk Love: Water cooler buzz, Performance (acting: Emily Watson and Adam Sandler)
Harry Potter II: Sequel, Adaptation, Blockbuster
Star Wars II: Blockbuster, Water cooler buzz, Sequel, Performance (dir. George Lucas)
Spiderman: Blockbuster, Water cooler buzz, Sequel/Prequel, Adaptation

Godsford Park: Oscar nominee, Performance (Acting: Robert Altman), Quality
Moulan Rouge: Oscar nominee, Performance (Acting: Nicole Kidman, Dir: Baz Luhrmann), Water cooler buzz
A Beautiful Mind: Oscar nominee, Performance (Acting: Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe), Water cooler buzz, Blockbuster
In the Bedroom: Oscar nominee, Performance (Acting: Sissy Spacek), Quality
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: Prequel/Sequel, Adaptation, Quality, Oscar nominee, Water cooler buzz
Mullholland Drive: Performance (Directing: David Lynch), Water cooler buzz
Amilie: Oscar contender, Performance (Acting: Audrey Tatou), Water cooler buzz, Quality
Black Hawk Down: Oscar contender, Water cooler buzz
Momento: Water cooler buzz, Quality
Shrek: Blockbuster
Ali: Performance (Acting: Will Smith), Water cooler buzz
Artificial Intelligence: Blockbuster hype, Performance (dir. Stephen Spielberg, writer: Kubrick), Water cooler buzz
Royal Tannenbaums: Quality, Performance (dir. Wes Anderson)
Training Day: Performance (acting: Denzel Washington)
Zoolander: Water cooler buzz
Hannibal: Sequel/Prequel
Legally Blonde: Water cooler buzz
Man Who Wasn't There: Performance (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen, acting: Billy Bob Thornton), Oscar contender
Monster's Ball: Performance (acting: Halle Berry), Quality
Shallow Hal: Performance (acting: Jack Black), Water cooler buzz
Rush Hour 2: Sequel
I Am Sam: Performance (acting: Sean Penn)
Ocean's 11: Quality

Gladiator: Oscar nominee, Quality, Water cooler buzz, Performance (acting: Russell Crowe, directing: Ridley Scott), Blockbuster
Traffic: Oscar nominee, Quality, Performance (director: Stephen Soderbergh)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Water cooler buzz, Oscar nominee, Quality, Performance (dir: Ang Lee)
Chocolat: Oscar nominee
Erin Brockovich: Oscar nominee, Performance (acting: Julia Roberts)
Almost Famous: Quality, Water cooler buzz, Performance (acting: Kate Hudson and dir/writer: Cameron Crowe), Oscar contender
Wonderboys: Performance (acting: Michael Douglas), Quality, Adaptation
You Can Count on Me: Performance (acting: Laura Linney), Quality
Oh Brother Where Art Thou: Performance (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)
Contender: Performance (acting: Jeff Bridges and Joan Allen), Oscar contender
X-Men: Prequel/Sequel, Adaptation, Performance (acting: Hugh Jackman), Blockbuster
Requiem for a Dream: Performance (acting: Ellyn Burstyn and directing: Daron Aronofsky)
Cast Away: Quality, Water cooler buzz, Performance (acting: Tom Hanks), Blockbuster
Mission Impossible II: Sequel, Blockbuster
Remember the Titans: Quality, Water cooler buzz
Quills: Oscar contender
Best in Show: Quasi-Sequel, Water cooler buzz
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: Adaptation, Blockbuster
Amorres Perros: Quality
High Fidelity: Water cooler buzz, Adaptation
What Lies Beneath-Water cooler buzz


Anonymous said...

This is the worst list of so-called must-see movies of the decade. Just because a studio spent a ton of money on a movie and really wanted everyone to go see it does not make it a must-see. There was no reason that anyone should have wasted their money last summer on movies like Superman Returns or The Da Vinci Code. And yet you left off the second-highest grossing movie of the decade, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which was one of the better movies of the year! You have listed like 30 movies from each of the past 7 years when in fact only a handful from each year really belong on list of movies that "must be seen."

Anonymous said...

V For Vendetta wasn't directed by the Wachowski's - they just adapted the screenplay. The (awesome) direction was James McTeigue's handiwork.

(Although thanks for leaving off Dead Man's Chest - it sucked so bad)

Anonymous said...

Also Batman Begins was neither a sequel nor a prequel. It was a re-start.

Anonymous said...

One has to see all these movies to be culturally literate? You've got to be kidding me. Not every movie that gets an Oscar nomination needs to be seen. This list needs to be trimmed down to like 5 movies each year, and not just the best picture noms.

Ping Pong said...

A decade starts at 01 and goes to 00, so "this decade" would start with 2001, not 2000

This is the sort of logic that infuriated people when everyone said the new millenium started with Jan 1, 2000

Go To A Movie? Sure! said...

Good grief, chill out people--it's a list of movies not a revision to the Bill of Rights. If you saw most of these movies, you'd probably have something to talk about with the person sitting next to you on the airplane, and that's hardly a bad thing.

Mr. Spellcheck said...

Props for taking the time to draw up a list like this, but there are dozens of spelling errors throughout. I think you'll have a little more credibility if you correct those errors starting with "Pan's LABYRINTH"

Daniel said...

Whoever linked this on the imdb front page needs to be fired. Not a good list.

OKonheim said...

To the third comment: Actually, my review of Batman Begins noted that I felt a restart was a weak cop-out, but that's a whole other story. Your divulging into technicalities here. I'm not a comic book aficionado and it was irrelevant to me whether Batman Begins is technically before or after Batman on the official Batman timeline. It's appeal is that of a prequel or sequel for blockbuster purposes. That's all a box office analyst at Warner Brother's is going to consider. Also, i would classify it as prequel, because it parrallels the appeal of Star Wars I-III, it explains the origins of a cinametic character who we have only seen on a cinematic level later in his story.

To the first comment: I wasn't passing judgement, I was just stating what some might consider a sad truth: a studio spending lots of money on promotion does make the event more must-see. I did distinguish these movies, by adding the category Blockbuster hype. If a film had blockbuster hype and nothing else, than you might be left to think it might not have been that good. I also note that the only category that really means its worth seeing is "quality." Last King of Scotland was marketed solely on the good performance, and not because the film as a whole is named "quality." Yes, there are probably less than 30 movies worth seeing. Perhaps, i should have two levels for each year. Must see and "should seE"

Pirates of the Carribean Dead Man's Chest being left out was an error. I should've added it on. I personally liked Da Vinci Code so much more than Dead Man's Chest. You'd have to see my reviews under the tag Movies 2006

To the second comment:
V for Vendetta was not the Wachowskis? Ok, good to know

To the fourth comment:
I find that one of the least relevant threads

To the fifth comment:
Technically, you have to see none of these to be culturally literate. But your cultural literacy is increased by seeing these films. There are a ton of films on these lists I haven't seen. I explained that in my intro. I think in order to comment on the Oscar race, you sort of have to see all five, although since I haven't seen Lord of the Rings II or III or Letters from Iwo Jima or Munich or Brokeback Mountain, I'm somewhat deficient on my numbers. Some films like Capote are certianly not anything worth seeing, but i was duped into seeing it because it was an oscar nominee. I also think I am in a better position to comment on how much of a failure of a film it is because i saw it.

To the sixth comment:

To the seventh comment:
I ran it through spell check, sorry for dissapointing you. I'll try to correct Pan's Labrynth for you

Anonymous said...


No 'Donnie Darko' for (2001)

I was with you up until then. That's a must ADD in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

CRASH for QUALITY?...uhh no thanks.

I thought this list might be somewhat entertaining since it was linked from IMDb but it's boring and not even a good list with unique choices...while I've seen 95% of what's listed, I don't feel my film knowledge would suffer without having seen several of those.

Anonymous said...

It looks as if you just took a list of Academy Award nominated films and added in summer blockbusters to make a horrible must-see list. Also, before, and hopefully there won't be one, a revised edition of this "list" is published, learn to spell actors and actresses and directors names. It is so annoying when someone spells Speilberg wrong. By the way, I just lost a twenty dollar bet because I never thought I would see Shallow Hal on a "must-see list."

Anonymous said...

So "Spirited Away" is not on the list, even though it won an oscar, was the first film to make $200 million dollars outside of the US before even coming here, and is currently #55 on the IMDB top movies of all time, yet Zoolander is there...

Dan said...

This is one of the most dull things IMDB has linked to.

Anonymous said...

Wait a second-- you haven't seen the second or third LOTR films, Brokeback Mountain, or Letters from Iwo Jima? Given that those are four of the most relevant films of the decade so far in terms of artistic achievement or box office sucess or both, you might want to catch those before you begin telling people what they should see.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is this guy? Just a random 24 years old dude from the wonderful world of internet.
This list is total BS, and it got posted to imdb... holy batman!

Anonymous said...

Please check the spelling. You're insulting many of these great films and artists by not spelling their names correctly.

Anonymous said...

Sin City was Directed by Robert Rodrigues and Frank Miller, Tarintino did one scene, and shouldn'y receive recognition in place of Miller.

OKonheim said...

In response to this person:
"Who the hell is this guy? Just a random 24 years old dude from the wonderful world of internet.
This list is total BS, and it got posted to imdb... holy batman!"
Ummm, and who are you? I'm curious as to whether you're older or younger than 24. I'm a person who articulated some thoughts he had and attached his name to them.

You're an anonymous person who used his time to just knock down someone else's thoughts. Somehow I feel that I used my time better. Ever heard the phrase "those who can't do, critique, and those who can't critique, critique the critics?"

I was aware that Frank Miller is one of the three co-directors of Sin City and that by giving more than one other director credit, that Rodriguez risked losing this membership to the DAG. I was under the impression that Miller's directorial credit was largely in the form of consulting and that Rodriguez was greatful enough to Miller for the inspiration that he gave him a director's credit. But, hey, you spelt the name "Rodriguez" wrong, so let's call it even. Why is everyone on the internet who isn't a self-proclaimed critic a self-proclaimed copy editor?

Ask 9 out of 10 college students if they've heard of Spirited Away vs Zoolander. Once again, the term "must-see" is being misinterpreted. Spirited Away might have been an Oscar winner, but it grossed only 10 million dollars domestically, and kids' movies usually have an extreme advantage at the box office. It grossed far less than the other best animated film nominees and it had a positive change in the box office for just one single weekend after winning the Oscar. That to me, is a small small bump on the cultural radar. My perception, and we all have our own perceptions, are that Spirited Away was a film that appealled to a small niche. Also, Oscar winners that gain appreciation in retrospect don't count towards this analysis since we talk about when they hit theaters.

jack.bell said...

ok so you've basically just listed every film that got a big release for the last 6 years. nice one, how useful/interesting :|

Rendy said...

How is Memento not on here?

This list is crap, I can't believe they posted this on IMDb.

OKonheim said...

Momento is on my list, Rendy.

I also don't care about the person who objected to Crash being called a quality film. It's well-known that there is a debate among whether Crash was worthy of the accolades it received, but don't just shut out one side of the debate. The country's most visible film critic Roger Ebert declared it #1 for 2005 and Richard Roeper placed at 3, to give you some food for thought. According to Movie city news, 7 other critics listed as the #1 film of the year. Read some of those reviews. They were very very highly rated in comparison to other movies this decade.

And I don't have to see a movie to objectively analyze how the film is marketed and what appeal it has.

James Gatson said...

I have no problem with using box office results to put together an utterly useless and contrived list. However, you made a must-see movie list, yet you said that there are movies on your list you haven’t seen. Do you not see how idiotic that is? Don’t ever put a movie on a list if you haven’t seen it.

You, also, made this comment “I also think I am in a better position to comment on how much of a failure of a film it is because i saw it.”

So what is the point of commenting on movies you’ve never seen? Since you mentioned Roger Ebert, do you think he reviews movies without ever seeing them?

black said...

bridal online shop bridal gowns wholesale wedding dresses high quality bridal gowns wholesale custom wedding dresses wedding apparel wedding dresses top sellers wedding dresses2010 new arrivals 2010 new arrivals wedding dresses beach wedding dresses Luxury Wedding Dresses plus size wedding dresses wedding party dresses bridesmaid dresses junior bridesmaid dresses flower girl dresses mother of bride dresses wedding shoes wedding bags wedding accessories evening dresses prom dresses cocktail dresses quinceanera dresses little black dresses