Monday, November 9

The CDP's Top 30 Movies Of The Decade (30-21).

"This is not an occult science. This is not one of those crazy systems of divination and astrology. That stuff's hooey, and you've got to have a screw loose to go in for that sort of thing. Our beliefs are fairly commonplace and simple to understand: Humankind is simply materialized color operating on the 49th vibration. You would make that conclusion walking down the street or going to the store."

- A Mighty Wind

Welcome to another week of the CDP Decade In Review, and onto another pop culture subject: Film.

I will be completely honest with you; I don't consider myself to be a film junkie whatsoever. I see my share of cinema and possess a ridiculous amount of knowledge on films I've never even seen (which helps me to appear cultured on many different occasions), but I'd probably put Movies way lower than Music, Television, Sports and Sealpoint Felines on my list of Things I Know A Lot About. Just laying it out there for you.

So, why don't I see as many movies as the average consumer? For one, going to the movie theater usually always gives me a panic attack, causing me to argue and subsequently neck-punch the loudest person within my wheelhouse. The mere thought of sitting in a darkened room with rude strangers practically assures me that I will not see any more than five new movies a year. I will not subject myself to such stress to see the latest Jennifer Aniston flick, and pay ten bucks a ticket to boot. Why would I? Why would you?

At home, I stick to the classics, and generally don't buy anything new. Also, as a Television guy, I don't really have an extra three hours a night to take in a new movie. So, due to time constraints, anxiety and the fact that 99% of movies are really, really bad (really), they just get lost in the shuffle for me. I don't take any sort of isolationist pride in my decision; that's just the way it has to be for now.

Nonetheless, I did manage to see at least 30 movies over the last 10 years, and I will be counting them down for you all this week. First, a disclaimer. I tried to keep this list to mainstream, widely-released films that showed up at some point since 01/01/00. No obscure, art house stuff here. Also, I tried to make the list of only films I actually saw in a movie theater (with a couple of exceptions). Let's go.

#30 – Signs

Okay, so the ending was ridiculous, I'll wholeheartedly admit that. But the ratcheted tension built through the movie was expertly crafted; there were seriously some moments of anxiety in this film that I would actually describe as 'unbearable' (in a good way), and I'm really never the kind of guy that feels this way about moments of anticipation. Furthermore, I liked the idea of Mel Gibson's character struggling with his faith, and I also tend to give Shyamalan the benefit of the doubt at times (I think Unbreakable is on par with The Sixth Sense). I'll probably never see Signs again, but I enjoyed it when I did.

#29 – The Simpsons Movie

Any fan of The Simpsons was almost contractually-obligated to see this movie, and as a self-admitted superfan (who casually watches The Simpsons, anyway?), I couldn't wait to finally see the big-screen adaptation of the Greatest Television Show Of All-Time. Most of knew going in that we shouldn't expect too much, and if you truly felt that way, I believe The Simpsons Movie delivered in spades. The family dynamic hadn't been so strongly reinforced (and deconstructed) since the early years of the show; I especially loved Bart's character really doing something interesting and (gasp!) possessing some depth. And can you ever go wrong with Albert Brooks?

#28 – Monster House

Also known as 'The Animated Movie That Nobody Saw,' Monster House was a really unexpected delight. Funny and spooky on a kids level. Humorous and dark on an adult level. Honestly, the climax of this movie in about on par with any episode of The Twilight Zone. If you're ever looking for something in this vein to watch with the family (or just some friends that are into Pixar-esque entertainment), Monster House is truly something special.

#27 – 300

There's nothing inherently wrong with 300: Wall-to-wall violence. Groundbreaking cinematography. A cinematic representation of a (sort of) true conflict. It's just that after a couple of hours, you realize that...yeah, this is going to be the entire movie. And hey, that might be the reason why 300 is the most awesome movie ever to you, right? Can't blame you for that.

#26 – Super Size Me

If it wasn't for Fahrenheit 9/11, Super Size Me would have probably amounted to nothing more than a blip on the radar the year it was released, but Documentary Fever was sweeping the American landscape! In retrospect, there are a lot of debatable and obviously-arguable points to Super Size Me, but Morgan Spurlock makes great company, and his inevitable descent into the absolute worst shape of his life is a highly entertaining journey.

#25 – Frailty

Did anyone else see Frailty? If so, was it as good as I remember it being? Because I remember thinking it was freaking awesome. I even thought it was awesome despite having it star Matthew Freaking McConaughey, for Christ's sake. For about a year after seeing Frailty, I heard nothing more about it, leading me to believe that I dreamed the entire thing during a tough week spent with pneumonia.

#24 – A Mighty Wind

The final film of the Christopher Guest Holy Trinity (Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show being the other two), A Mighty Wind follows the reunited Folksmen (a folkified Spinal Tap) as they prepare for their first nationally-televised gig in years. Featuring the Christopher Guest cast and crew you know and love (essentially the funniest improv actors in America), I remember playing this film for my cast and crew the night before we attempted (and failed) to shoot a mockumentary screenplay that I had written in 2004. It was supposed to be for inspiration. It did not work. Someday I'll go back and film that bitch, you mark my words.

#23 – A Beautiful Mind

Don't give me that look. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning four of them (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress). It was a damn good movie, even though I've since grown to despise Russell Crowe and will probably never watch it again. That Jennifer Connelly still has to be one of the most beautiful women alive, though.

#22 – Unbreakable

After The Sixth Sense, people were expecting huge things from M. Night Shyamalan. What we got was Unbreakable, a Sixth Sense-esque film about a man slowly discovering that he is a real-life Superhero, tracked down by the man who would be his arch-nemesis. I think that in retrospect, this movie becomes better the more you distance it from the hype, anticipation or pretty much any other move that Shyamalan has ever made. It's shot beautifully (storyboarded just like a typical comic book), the story is amazing (this was years before Heroes was created), and the twist is...damn, why did so many people poop on this movie? It's awesome!

#21 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Missus hated this movie, which upset me greatly. One of things that originally brought us together in our teen years was Kung-Fu movies; whenever I would call her house, I would typically interrupt a Jackie Chan movie marathon on TBS. But her distinction is that she likes 'real' Kung-Fu movies: Nobody flying around a forest, landing atop of tree limbs and skipping across rooftops. Raw, intense and well-choreographed violence. How she considers any Jackie Chan movie to be anything even close to 'real' is beyond me, but I'm picking my battles on this one and giving up. I, on the other hand, thought it was beautiful.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. More Decade In Film tomorrow.

I've always thought that Unbreakable was one of Shyamalan's better efforts. I'm glad I've finally found someone else that shares that sentiment. The pacing, the cinematography and even Bruce Willis' acting about a normal guy who may or may not have superpowers is fantastic. Oh, and then there is the twist that no one sees coming. And, in a lot of ways, it was really only the beginning of a fantastic story (while The Sixth Sense was really about an overdue ending).
Ah, A Mighty Wind. Listen to the New Christy Minstrels and the Kingston Trio after watching that and all the cliches start a poppin' out at ya. Eee aaa ooos
Signs is a great movie. I love the fact that you don't really see the aliens that much - I think it makes you more scared of them. My house is surrounded by farm fields, and of course, the year this movie came out was the year of growing corn, so I had to go home at night after seeing it in the theater to a house surrounded by creepy alien corn.
Hilarious blog you have here. I just found it but I'm really digging it. I have a humor site as well. I was wondering if we could exchange links and spread some traffic around.

Let me know.


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