Archive for November, 2019

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Pic of the Day: “Cody Jarrett…” “He finally got to the top of the world… and it blew right up in his face.” (70th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2010

The original 2010 Top Ten List was the very first article I posted on this site. So it’ll always be a special year for me. It was the year I really started taking movies (and watching new movies) seriously, and was the first time I really was prepared to pick my favorites for a given year because I watched the majority of stuff that came out.

Looking at the list for 2010 as it stands now… most of it’s the same. Which I like. I like knowing that my favorite films then are largely still my favorite films now. And the changes that were made were either minor or were things that were always gonna happen when time passed. Also, looking at this year, I’m fairly confident 90% of this list will remain as top ten films in perpetuity. It’s a real strong year at the top, and most of those top films are indisputable. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “I see dead people.” (20th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2000-2009

The 2000s is really the prime film decade of my life. The 90s is me growing up, and the 2010s is me seeing everything. But the 2000s is when I was just getting into film and my tastes were starting to solidify, and it’s all the stuff that came out when I was at my most impressionable. And as such, there’s a lot of stuff that’s all-time for me, favorites-wise. And I’ll warn you now, which should be obvious if you’ve read anything on my lists… it’s all very specific to me. It’s not gonna be exactly what most other people would have on their list.

As a decade, the 2000s always struck me as the time when independent cinema folded into the mainstream (just like in the 80s when all the 70s directors all went into the system and those independent auteur films died down in favor of the blockbusters) and when special effects basically took over cinema. It’s a gestation period for what cinema would become in the following decade, culminating in the rise of Marvel at the end of the decade.

Picking this list was pretty easy for me. Really it just came down to logistics, since certain films were broken up into parts and I had thread that needle of picking my absolute favorites while also not splitting films that felt like they needed to go together. Honestly, I think the only real issue I had was figuring out what was gonna be the tenth and final film on the list and which were gonna just be in the 11-20. This one was pretty easy for me, because it’s just the films I truly, truly love the most.

For methodology purposes, the way I compile these Top Tens of the Decade lists: I take my top ten for each year of the decade, throw them all together, and simply whittle it down until I find what I feel are my ten favorites from that decade. Not the best, my favorite. That’s really all it is. I feel like if I can figure out what my favorite films of all time are, then I can figure it out by specific decades. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “What’s my baby want?” “I want to be white, like I look.” (85th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2009

Out with a bang. The 2000s ends with some real great stuff. What I love most about this year is that, back then if you asked me what my top ten was, I’d have given you a very reasonable set of movies, with a very reasonable choice at #1 and things generally in the places you’d expect them to be based on some populist idea of what the best films were. Though deep down in my heart, I knew what would happen over the next few years. I knew which movies were gonna be my actual favorites and wind up becoming the real top choices. And lo and behold, a decade later, that’s what happened.

I feel like my list is very specific to me and my tastes, and while most people could agree that the majority of it is made up of good movies, I’m not sure most people would have this specific set of ten films. Though maybe I’m wrong. Honestly, all I care about is the fact that #1 is one of the most underrated films of the past 25 years, and I cannot stress how emphatically I have chosen it as my #1 film of this year. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “I got a job for you.” “Uh, well, if the pay’s right, and it’s legal, I’ll do it.” “It’s not strictly legal.” “Well, if the pay’s right, I’ll do it.” (35th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2008

The years only get better as this decade starts winding up. This year was so good it managed to get the Oscar voting procedure changed so it could include more than five films in the Best Picture category. (Most people assume The Dark Knight is the main reason for that change, but you also forget films like The Wrestler and Doubt and even Wall-E that probably would have made it if they had the spots for them.) It’s an incredible year. Plus there are some straight awesome movies here too. Some of them we all agree on… others are my own personal missions (that I think people might eventually be coming around on).

The tough thing for me about 2008 is, despite having a top ten list that’s top to bottom amazing… I really had trouble picking #1. It was easy to find the ten that I considered my favorite, but past that, actually ranking certain ones over others was incredibly difficult, which is not what I was expecting. And I’ll be honest… #1 did not go the way I’d have expected if you gave past me this list of ten and said, “Which did you put at #1?” (more…)


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Pic of the Day (115th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2007

2007 is in the running for strongest film of the 2000s. Even in the old days of the site when I put up rudimentary versions of these lists, this was the year that always had the most stuff contending at the top. This is a year that I could legitimately create two separate Top Ten lists that each hold up. Even going down into tier two, there’s stuff that would go much higher in other years. Every decade has that year or two where it seems that all the greatest stuff comes out, and this is definitely one of those for this decade.

Though I will say, despite the amazing stuff that’s come out this year, this list in particular is a healthy dose of ‘me’. I’d say about half of it is stuff that would appear on most people’s lists near the top. And the other half is decidedly stuff that only I would ever put on my top ten list among the other ones there. One movie for sure is one that I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only people in the world who truly loves it as much as I do. The other stuff is just stuff I really adore. It’s all really personal to my tastes, and that’s what I love about this year — that I could have a list that’s so specific to me and yet have the leeway to have like thirty other movies that are all incredible around it.

But also, let me reiterate — this year is so strong. Like half of my tier three would be tier two and even have an outside shot at 11-20 in other years. If you wanted to pick randomly from this decade for some hidden gems to see, this is the year you want to look at. It goes about 60 deep on great movies. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “Matt Damon.” (15th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2006

Love me some 2006. This is a year that sort of falls out near the top of films that I love, but it does feature a return to form of having a lot of lower tier stuff I like a lot. Which is a stark contrast to 2005, which is solid at the top, but has almost nothing near the bottom to speak of. But that’s the beauty of the ebbs and flows of a decade.

This year in particular features three of my all-time absolute favorite films. Past that, it’s all really solid, but the thing that holds it up is those top three. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “Spock, you haven’t changed a bit. You’re just as warm and sociable as ever.” “Nor have you, doctor, as your continued predilection for irrelevancy demonstrates.” (40th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2005

Every time I think about 2005, it feels like the “dark” year of this decade. Don’t know why (though I have guesses), but that’s what it’s always felt like.

It’s a solid year. There are a bunch of movies in this top ten that I love. Though admittedly the lower tiers are not as strong as some of the other years.

This is one of those years that feels most like a good indicator of people’s tastes. If I wanted to gauge the kind of stuff someone likes, this feels like a year to look at. Because there’s only a small handful of consensus movies this year, and a lot of the generally “liked” stuff feels like it could vary wildly from person to person. Which leaves open spots for people to put the films that matter to them. I know that I’ve got at least one movie on this list that would appear on very few top tens for this year and very much indicates who I am as a movie person. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “Which side are you with?” “Me? I’m with me, Terry.” (65th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2004

2004. Quietly amazing year. I mean, yes, I’m partial to most of the years of the 2000s just because they were my teenage years and that’s when I was most impressionable. So I made the strongest connections to movies during these years. That said, there are some really awesome movies this year.

Part of the top ten list is a very consensus set of movies. But I guarantee there’s at least one almost no one’s heard of or would think to put on their list, one that is very specific to me that most people probably won’t agree with, and a third that I don’t think enough people get that most people wouldn’t have anywhere near their list. But that’s what makes my lists unique. You get my favorites, and not what everyone else would put.

Wouldn’t it be crazy, though, if my #1 movie was Welcome to Mooseport? Don’t laugh, I considered it. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “Leon, what exactly do you do for a living?” “Cleaner.” “You mean you’re a hit man?” “Yeah.” “Cool.” (25th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2003

Love me some 2003. This is the 2000s sweet spot for me, where I was really all in on movies and really understood everything I was watching, who was making them, and really felt fully aware for the first time.

This is an interesting list in that it’s got not one, not two, but three Christmas movies on it. It’s got one franchise that ends, one that begins, and part of a two-parter in it. It’s a very outlier kind of list. It’s hard enough to get a single Christmas movie, but three? In the same year? That’s nuts.

There’s also some really cool stuff in the lower tiers as well. A lot of hidden gems that I feel like not enough people go back to or never saw in the first place. It’s a good year. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “You were born to be murdered.” (70th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2002

This is one of my favorite years of this decade. This is quite possibly my strongest top ten list of the 2000s. I’m not gonna go so far as the proclaim it the strongest year of the decade (that’s probably 2007), but I think this is arguably the strongest of the top ten lists. Every movie on it is great.

What’s great to me about it is that almost all of it (save one) is something I saw right as it came out and loved from the jump. I always appreciate those lists, because it means I’ve lived with the films more and have a certain closeness to them that I don’t necessarily have with something I only came to later on.

What’s also great about this list — here are the directors in the top ten: Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, Doug Liman, Steven Spielberg (twice), Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson, Roman Polanski, Paul Thomas Anderson and Sam Mendes. Not bad company, right? That’s why I think this might be the strongest list of the decade. (more…)


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Pic of the Day (115th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2001

2001 is the turning point in my life when it comes to movies. It was the year I stopped regularly going to the movies and instead started branching out on my film education, and watching all those big early movies that every film person watches in the early days. It’s also the year I got into the Oscars in full. So for me, that stuff will always be the big takeaway from this year over any of the films.

Though I will say, there’s some great stuff that happened this year. What’s interesting to me is how the list is bisected between stuff I saw that year and loved immediately versus stuff I saw years later that became my favorites. What’s also interesting is that there are the starts of three franchises on this list, plus another that’s a kind of institution in its own right.

This is also one of the final years with what I call the ‘films of my childhood’, which is a lot of stuff that I remember very well from that age that defines my taste as a kid before I truly got into movies. So for that, I’ll always have an affinity for this year. (more…)


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Pic of the Day: “Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.” (50th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2000

2000 is probably the height of my pre-teen movie-going years. I would say that I was probably at a movie theater with my friends almost every single week that year. I can go back and look at the release calendar and go, “Saw that, saw that, saw that, saw that.” And anything I didn’t see in a theater, I probably saw from my family’s wonderful “hot box” (which, for those young folks reading this, is slang term for illegal cable hookup that got you all the Pay Per View channels. Which… for you young folks reading this, is basically what would become On Demand on cable, only there were like five Pay Per View movie channels and they all played the same movie on a loop every single day for a few weeks until a new movie showed up).

I saw so many things from this year at age 11/12 that I probably shouldn’t have. But because of that, there’s a lot of stuff that has since stuck with me and become some of my favorite movies because of it. I can’t really gauge just how strong or weak a year this is for cinema, because there’s that whole “I was in middle school and almost all of it is now permanently engrained in my head as being a great time” thing.

But there is not a single movie in this Top Ten that I don’t love, and there’s a lot great stuff below too. So I think this is one of the stronger years of this decade. (more…)