Mike’s Top Tens of the Decade (2000-2009)

Because you know you want to hear them.

Note: These are my favorite films, not the best. My goal here is to list, mostly for myself, but I like to get everyone involved in my narcissism, the films I liked best over the past decade. These are the films I find myself either holding in very high regard over a sustained period of time, or constantly going back to and watching. Which is pretty much the same thing.

Hindsight works well here. The more time that’s passed, the more time I’ve had to reflect on how much I actually like certain films. You watch a movie once, maybe you like it, put it on the top ten because you’re all caught up in it. After five years, you have a much better idea just how much you actually like that movie. Or if the movie’s aged. A lot of movies age very poorly and just don’t carry the appeal five-to-ten years later. Some movies are good, but you’re just not gonna watch them all the time. I wanted a list that captured both the films I watch the most and which ones I liked the best.

This is my list of films that I know, if I had to pick any film from these years to watch, these would be those films. Of course, the further we are from the year in question, the more accurate my list is going to be. More time to reflect.

An exercise like this fascinates me, because seeing somebody’s list of things like this really gives you a sense of what their tastes are (if they’re honest, of course. Some people will leave films on there because they’re “important” and they want to look good. Fuck that. If you don’t like Schindler’s List, whether you respect it or not, say so. Don’t lie because everyone else has it on their lists), or what era they grew up in (I feel only people around my age will share the same affinity for a film like The Sandlot), or, if I know the person, it gives me a better opportunity to turn them onto something I know they’d like. (“You’ve never seen Shakes the Clown? It’s the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.”) Plus, in my own case, I want to be able to go back to these lists every five years or so and see how my tastes change. See which movies have fallen off, which ones came on, etc. Actually that’s pretty much it. I really want to see if I’ll ever get tired of watching Speed Racer for the thirtieth time and finally be like, “Jesus, how have I watched this movie so many times and not been on drugs?” (Note: That won’t happen.)

These lists also only include the films I’ve seen. Obviously. This is why they’re subject to change. People are always discovering new shit. This is why Jurassic Park exists. (Very curious as to how many people just went, “Yeah, that makes sense,” and how many just went, “Uhh…”) Also, the reason for some years (you’ll know which ones) having films in the top ten that probably shouldn’t be, it’s because the years really were that bad. I’ll come out and say it — 2001 was a shitty year for movies. I honestly couldn’t find enough films to make a top ten to rival the other years. Maybe there are indie films or foreign films that I missed. We’ll see if I can find more or if the year really is that bad.

For bookkeeping purposes (three letter pairs in a row. That’s messed up), underneath top ten for each year, I’m going to have an 11-15, just so I can know which ones almost made the cut. Makes it easier to know what to look to for inclusion first when I come back to it. The most recent years will have 11-20, just because I’m not yet objective enough where I can start throwing them off like, “Kill the spare!”

Also, these lists will be compiled in alphabetical order. The only time it’s novel to list a top ten in order is when the year has just past (if then). After the year is up, it should revert to alphabetical order. Which these lists have done. So, here are my top tens of the past decade (which, it’s really 11 years, but, you know, I figure let’s just include it now and I’ll take it off in 9 years):

My Top Ten of 2009


The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Black Dynamite

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds


Up in the Air


Where the Wild Things Are

11-20: The Brothers Bloom, Crazy Heart, (500) Days of Summer, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Informant!, Whip It, World’s Greatest Dad, Zombieland

Tier 2: The Boat That Rocked (aka Pirate Radio), The Cove, An Education, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Invention of Lying, KnowingMe and Orson Welles, The Messenger, Moon, Nine, Observe and Report, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, The Princess and the Frog, A Serious Man, Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek, The Taking of Pelham 123, This Is It, Whatever Works

Tier 3: Angels and Demons, Away We Go, Big Fan, The Blind Side, Coraline, District 9, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, In the Loop, Public Enemies, The Road, A Single Man, Taken, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2012, The Young Victoria

Actually, I just came up with this right now — I’m also gonna list the ten movies I hated the most from the year as well. How could I not, right? Also alphabetical, it’ll be based on which films I have the most hatred for. That’s the main criterion. Not if they’re bad, but rather how much they piss me off. Most of them would obviously make a “worst of” list, but some of them are well-liked films. If I say that it pissed me off and not that it’s one the “worst” of the year, then it’ll keep people from being like, “How was it worse than Marmaduke?” It might be a better-made film, but it didn’t piss me of any less. These films I’m about to list are, one way or another, unforgivable (to me) in some way. (And just so we’re clear, if there’s something on my Terrible Ten that you love, chances are the reason I hate it is because I think it’s just okay, or I don’t like it as much as everyone else does, and everyone else has officially ruined it for me by being obsessed with it. That’s what that’s about. A lot of my dislike of movies comes more from people than it does the actual movies.)

Terrible Ten: All About Steve, Bride Wars, Brüno, Couples Retreat, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Land of the Lost, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, The Pink Panther 2, The Ugly Truth, Year One

My Top Ten of 2008

Burn After Reading

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight

In Bruges

Let the Right One In

Slumdog Millionaire

Speed Racer

Tropic Thunder


The Wrestler

11-20: Doubt, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Gran Torino, Iron Man, Milk, Nothing But the Truth, Quantum of Solace, Role Models, Synecdoche New York, Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Tier 2: Appaloosa, Australia, Bolt, Changeling, Definitely Maybe, The Duchess, Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Ghost Town, The Happening, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Man on Wire, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Ponyo, Rachel Getting Married, The Reader, Revolutionary Road, Son of Rambow, Wanted

Terrible Ten: 27 Dresses, College Road Trip, Disaster Movie/Meet the Spartans (they get one, because together they almost add up to one regular bad movie), The Love Guru, Meet Dave, My Best Friend’s Girl, Semi-Pro, Twilight, Witless Protection You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

My Top Ten of 2007

The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford


The Bourne Ultimatum

Charlie Wilson’s War


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

No Country for Old Men


There Will Be Blood

11-25 (because the year’s so fucking good): Across the Universe, American Gangster, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I Am Legend, Into the Wild, Juno, Michael Clayton, The Mist, Superbad, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 300, Transformers, Waitress, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Zodiac

Tier 2: Away from Her, Breach, The Darjeeling Limited, Eastern Promises, Hairspray, Hot Fuzz, The Hunting Party, I’m Not There, Knocked Up, La Vie en Rose, Lars and the Real Girl, The Lookout, Ocean’s Thirteen, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Ratatouille, Rescue Dawn, Shoot ‘Em Up, The Simpsons Movie, 3:10 to Yuma, Grindhouse

Terrible Ten: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Because I Said So, Blades of Glory, Code Name: The Cleaner, Daddy Day Camp, Epic Movie, Good Luck Chuck, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Kickin’ It Old Skool, License to Wed

The only reason Norbit missed this list is because I can officially until the end of time call it “Academy Award nominee Norbit.”

My Top Ten of 2006

Casino Royale

Children of Men

The Departed

The Fountain

Inside Man

Little Miss Sunshine

Marie Antoinette


Pan’s Labyrinth

The Prestige

11-20: Black Snake Moan, The Fall, Find Me Guilty, A Good Year, The Hoax, Lucky Number Slevin, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, A Prairie Home Companion, Rocky Balboa, Snakes on a Plane

Tier 2: Apocalypto, Babel, Clerks II, Crank, Deja Vu, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls, The Good Shepherd, Happy Feet, Idiocracy, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Children, Miami Vice, Mission: Impossible III, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, A Scanner Darkly, Seraphim Falls, V for Vendetta, The Wicker Man, World Trade Center

Terrible Ten: The Break-Up, Date Movie, Employee of the Month, Failure to Launch, Lady in the Water, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, The Last Kiss, Little Man, Material Girls, The Pink Panther

My Top Ten of 2005

Batman Begins

Good Night, and Good Luck

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Little Manhattan

Lord of War

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

The New World

Sin City

Walk the Line

The World’s Fastest Indian

11-20: Brokeback Mountain, Game 6, A History of Violence, Match Point, Munich, The Proposition, Romance and Cigarettes, Syriana, Thank You For Smoking, The Weather Man

Tier 2: The Aristocrats, Brick, Caché, Capote, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Cinderella Man, Crash, Four Brothers, Hard Candy, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Howl’s Moving Castle, Hustle and Flow, The Ice Harvest, Jarhead, Junebug, King Kong, North Country, Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Waiting…

Terrible Ten: Beauty Shop, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Fever Pitch, The Honeymooners, Kicking & Screaming, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, The Producers, Rumor Has It…, Son of the Mask, Undiscovered

My Top Ten of 2004

The Aviator

The Bourne Supremacy


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I ♥ Huckabees

Kill Bill Vol. 2

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

Shaun of the Dead

11-20: Eurotrip, The Incredibles, Jersey Girl, Man on Fire, Million Dollar Baby, National Treasure, The Passion of the Christ, Ray, Team America: World Police, A Very Long Engagement

Tier 1 ½: Closer, The Day After Tomorrow, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Girl Next Door, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, House of Flying Daggers, Kinsey, The Machinist, Miracle, Ocean’s Twelve

Terrible Ten: Barbershop 2: Back in Business, The Big Bounce, Christmas with the Kranks, Envy, Garden State, Meet the Fockers My Baby’s Daddy, Napoleon Dynamite, White Chicks, Taxi

My Top Ten of 2003

Bad Santa


Finding Nemo

Intolerable Cruelty

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Lost in Translation

Love Actually


Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

11-20: The Last Samurai, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Matchstick Men, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Old School, The Return, The Room (oh, you knew Tommy was getting on here), Seabiscuit, X2: X-Men United

Tier 2: 11:14, American Splendor, Basic, Big Fish, Confidence, The Cooler, House of Sand and Fog, The Hunted, The Italian Job, Monster, Mystic River, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Open Range, Poolhall Junkies, The Recruit, Runaway Jury, The Rundown, S.W.A.T., School of Rock, Tears of the Sun

Terrible Ten: Boat Trip, Bringing Down the House, Daddy Day Care, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Just Married, Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde, Malibu’s Most Wanted, Marci X, My Boss’s Daughter, National Security

My Top Ten of 2002

25th Hour


The Bourne Identity

Catch Me If You Can

Gangs of New York

In America

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Minority Report

Punch-Drunk Love


11-20: About Schmidt, Changing Lanes, Chicago, Death to Smoochy, Far from Heaven, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Infernal Affairs, Insomnia, Road to Perdition, 28 Days Later

Tier 2: Bowling for Columbine, City of God, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, 8 Mile, Equilibrium, Hero, The Hours, John Q, Lilo & Stitch, One Hour Photo, Panic Room, Phone Booth, The Pianist, Red Dragon, The Rules of Attraction, Solaris, Spider-Man, Treasure Planet, The Transporter, Welcome to Collinwood, xXx

Terrible Ten: Barbershop, Crossroads, The Country Bears, The Hot Chick, I Spy, The Master of Disguise, Serving Sara, Snow Dogs, Sorority Boys, The Tuxedo

My Top Ten of 2001


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I Am Sam

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Mulholland Drive

Ocean’s Eleven

The Score

Spirited Away

Training Day

11-20: A Beautiful Mind, Black Hawk Down, Enemy at the Gates, Monsters Inc., Moulin Rouge!, The Mummy Returns, The Pledge, Spy Game, Super Troopers, The Royal Tenenbaums

Tier 2: A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Bandits, Behind Enemy Lines, Blow, Corky Romano, Exit Wounds, The Fast and the Furious, Formula 51, Hannibal, Heist, In the Bedoom, Iris, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jurassic Park III, Kate & Leopold, Knockaround Guys, The Mexican, Monster’s Ball, Swordfish

Terrible Ten: The Animal, Bubble Boy, Freddy Got Fingered, Glitter, Head Over Heels, Joe Somebody, Monkeybone, On the Line (In case you didn’t know, it’s a romantic comedy, starring Lance Bass. With a woman. No, I don’t know why you’re not watching this right now, either.), Say It Isn’t So, Zoolander

My Top Ten of 2000

Almost Famous

Battle Royale

Cast Away


Keeping the Faith


O Brother Where Art Thou?

The Patriot

Sexy Beast


11-20: Frequency, In the Mood for Love, Quills, The Replacements, Shadow of the Vampire, Small Time Crooks, Traffic, Vertical Limit, Wonder Boys, X-Men

Tier 2: American Psycho, Boiler Room, Chocolat, The Contender, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Emperor’s New Groove, Erin Brockovich, Finding Forrester, Gone In 60 Seconds, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Meet the Parents, Men of Honor, Mission: Impossible II, Next Friday, Pay It Forward, Pitch Black, Remember the Titans, Requiem for a Dream, The 6th Day, The Whole Nine Yards

+ Honorable Mention to: Bring It On (It had to be broughten.)

Terrible Ten: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, Big Momma’s House, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, The Ladies Man, Little Nicky, The Next Big Thing, The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps, Reindeer Games, The Skulls


2 responses

  1. Mike, you’re really not gonna be happy to hear about this, but they’re apparently making a sequel to Zoolander.

    December 13, 2014 at 11:52 am

  2. By the way, I noticed quite a few family movies made the Unforgivable films lists for the decade. Why don’t you still do that?

    January 10, 2016 at 5:47 pm

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