Best Films of the 2000s: Scott Von Doviak’s List

The communal Nerve list is linked elsewhere; here’s my personal ballot, plus honorable mentions.

1. Mulholland Drive

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

3. O Brother Where Art Thou?

4. The New World

5. I’m Not There

6. The Departed

7. Ghost World

8. Synecdoche, New York

9. There Will Be Blood

10. No Country for Old Men

11. United 93

12. The Royal Tenenbaums

13. Before Sunset

14. Sideways

15. The Dark Knight

16. Dancer in the Dark

17. Waking Life

18. Shattered Glass

19. Gangs of New York

20. Lost in Translation

21. The King of Kong

22. The Squid and the Whale

23. Amores Perros

24. 24 Hour Party People

25. Los Angeles Plays Itself

Scott Von Doviak’s Honorable Mentions: WAKING LIFE (2001)/BEFORE SUNSET (2004): Two Richard Linklater films fell just short of inclusion in our top 20, but both are worthy of mention in any recap of this decade. With Waking Life, Linklater recaptured the free-form storytelling and gift of gab that made his early films special while adding a striking new visual element in the form of an experimental animation process through which dozens of digital artists put their own stamp on each dreamlike scene. Before Sunset was perhaps the most unlikely sequel of all time, following up on the lives of two people (Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy) who spent a single night together in Linklater’s 1995 Before Sunrise. The result is a mature, philosophical romance as ticking-clock thriller, graced with one of the most sublime of all movie endings. LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF (2003): This one-of-a-kind film is less a documentary than an idiosyncratic personal essay by Cal Arts professor Thom Andersen, comprised of dozens of vintage movie clips (none of them legally cleared, ensuring that screenings remain rare and a DVD release is nowhere on the horizon) accompanied by hard-boiled narration analyzing the ways in which the movie capital of the world is portrayed in its signature product. It may sound like a dry film studies lecture, but Andersen has incorporated history, geography, philosophy and no small amount of sly humor into a dazzling cinematic collage, and a love letter to an often unlovable city.

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