"Defining" Movies of the 2000s ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Defining" Movies of the 2000s

I've been keeping an eye on The Search for awhile, and have linked a couple great culture posts, but now gomezeec has gone and written two in a row that deserve attention. First, he attempts to list the 20 "defining" movies of the '00s so far, and does an interesting, eclectic job. Here are some of his choices that I especially approve:

Lost in Translation (2003) - superbly acted existential drama starring Bill Murray in a serious role.
Children of Men (2006) - the film adaptation of P.D. James' dystopia is life-affirming and brilliantly filmed.
Garden State (2004) - the essential "coming of age" (searching for meaning) film for the current generation, and it features a great soundtrack.

And here are some movies I think should've been present:
Napoleon Dynamite (2004) - small-town eccentricity frames a choppy, quirky search for significance that resonated with a lot of people.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - ultimately, you could say this is a romance film, but with the help of a great script, Jim Carey and Kate Winslet, it takes a swing at the first order question, "Who am I?" (And how do our mistakes define us?)
Adaptation (2002) - Nicolas Cage plays himself and his brother (!) in this innovative, unsettling film that explores the way life and meaning emerge from death and disaster.

What movies do you think should be included? This is a topic that's almost wide open, given that the '00s are home to a bunch of "postmodern" movies that you either love or hate...we're a bunch of postmoderns evaluating postmodern films, so the possibilities for murkiness, nuance and disagreement are endless. :)

And now I've gone and talked about the first post so much that I'll have to merely mention the second one, an excellent review and commentary on the new Bob Dylan movie, I'm Not There. I'm already a Dylan fan, but now I'm even more interested in the film.

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Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R. Sherman said...

Man On Fire with Denzel Washington. I keep meaning to do a review, because the themes of the movie, rocket propelled grenades notwithstanding, are decidedly Christian.


rob said...

I think we've had this convo at the chopper a couple of times but I was just on another blog and it reminded me of a good movie, Beyond the Gates...close to hotel rawanda(sp?) but from a more christian angle...but not sappy stuff. It's really good!

Others (in no particular order):

1. 13 conversations about 1 thing (I think it came out in 2002, but still quite good)
2. Maxed Out (Documentary)
3. See No Evil (Doc. about priest scandal)
4. God Grew Tired of Us (Again a Doc...about African refugees)
5. The Departed
6. The Borne Ultimatum...heck the whole Borne Series is awesome
7. Live Free or Die Hard (if you like the other die hard series)
8. Transformers (good action...no real story)

I've seen way to many movies this year.

Ariel said...

I'll be waiting for your review of Denzel's movie, Randall. I've heard conflicting reports on that one, so I'm curious for your take. Speaking of Denzel, Deja Vu was pretty good..although I wouldn't bump it to "defining" status.

Nice picks, Rob. In particular, Transformers is a pretty gutsy choice... Lindsay would say you're crazy, but I've got your back.

The Bourne movies - absolutely. The action/thriller genre was missing from the original list, but I think they're also indicative of their times.

I thought of another category that's totally missing: the epic story. The LOTR films would definitely make the cut. And Harry Potter and Narnia (soon to be joined by The Golden Compass) should be contenders. The superhero movies need representation too. I argue for Spiderman...

Will Robison said...

While I'm not a huge fan of the film, in terms of defining films, I'd have to add Farenheit 911 to the mix. An entire sub-culture of documentaries has grown up out of this little film since its debut.

I also have to include SAW which promoted violence to the level of porn. Definitely not a film that I would go see, or approve, but definitely a defining movie of the 00's.

Of course, I think an interesting sub-category of defining films are films that are a part of their times and, yet, could never be repeated. Films like Pulp Fiction, which should have been defining, but could never be done again, fit into this sub-category. I mention this because one of the films that should be on the defining list just for its impact on Hollywood and society in general is The Passion of Christ, Mel Gibson's take on the Passion play. It raked in over $350 million and was the number one movie of its year, yet it certainly didn't start a new Christian revolution in film making.

And yes, I would whole heartedly vote for the LOTR trilogy - not only did it redefine film making in the new millenium, but its the only genre film to ever win Best Picture. It told Hollywood that you could have good fantasy films.

John said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Children of Men as a "defining" movie, it was just incredible. The two LONG (6-10 min.) single-take scenes were just jaw-dropping and SO gripping. (Although "Atonement" has an even longer scene which trumped even those two)


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife