What can I say? I love top ten lists. If you haven't checked out my other top ten lists, give 'em a look, let me know what you think. Without further ado, my top ten movies of the decade.
10. About a Boy (2002): I'm not a big Hugh Grant fan, but he was great in this movie. Grant's character is completely apathetic, his life devoid of any meaning. When he meets an awkward young boy in the park, that all begins to change. The movie is based on Nick Hornby's book, so not surprisingly, it's funny and poignant.
9. Once (2006): This little Irish movie is one of the great surprises of my movie-watching career. In this modern day musical, a street musician and a Czech immigrant are drawn together by their love of music. This is one of the more unconventional love stories I've ever seen, and the music is simply brilliant. Meg and I plan on watching it every St. Patty's.
8. Inception (2010): I had to have a Christopher Nolan movie on the list. The guy makes action movies that challenge his audience to keep up, and I dig that. Memento and The Dark Knight made my initial cut down, but Inception is Nolan's best movie. This is the most recent movie to make the list, but I have a feeling this one will stand the test of time.
7. Finding Nemo (2003): This was my first Pixar movie as a Dad, and the first of two Pixar movies on my list. I've seen this movie more times than I can count, but I love it every time. There are so many memorable characters, but my favorites are the sea turtles, Crush and Squirt. I can literally hear Dory's voice in my head when things get tough: just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
6. Old School (2003): There were a lot of great comedies this decade, most of them starring Will Ferrell, but Old School was the best. The classic lines speak for themselves: ear muffs, you're my boy Blue, we're going streaking in the quad, good times, keep on truckin, maybe a little Bed, Bath and Beyond.
5. No Country for Old Men (2007): I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers (saw True Grit last weekend-awesome). This is certainly a dark film, but its power can't be denied. Anton Chigurh is one of the most memorable characters of the decade, if not all time. The Coens expertly use him as a symbol for the evil that the drug trade has brought to the US.
4. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001): I love all three movies, but I had to go with the first one for this list. The look of this movie is simply amazing, but it's the acting that made this such a great movie. Peter Jackson got his actors to believe that an epic fantasy could be serious art, and you can tell the actors poured their hearts into their roles.
3. Up (2009): This is my favorite Pixar movie - so far. The montage of Carl and Ellie's marriage is some of the best filmmaking of the decade. Up is a rollicking good time for the kids, and an emotional roller coaster for their parents. Every time I watch this movie with my girls we seem to wind up talking about the meaning of life. You have to love a movie that can stimulate minds of all ages.
2. Little Miss Sunshine (2006): The Hoovers are one of the great movie families. When we first meet the Hoovers they're a mess, personal issues threatening to tear the family apart. Turns out all they need is a road trip in their dysfunctional VW bus to come together as a family. I love the closing shot of the VW rolling down the highway. A perfect metaphor to end a great movie.
1. Wonder Boys (2000): Michael Douglas is Grady Tripp, an English professor trying to write a follow up to his bestselling debut novel. Tripp is having an affair with the chancellor's wife, and his agent is in town for the weekend to check on his progress. Over the course of the weekend, Tripp figures things out and in the process helps one of his students. I've been working on my own book for a while now, and I return to this movie often for inspiration.
For now these are my top ten. Ask me next week and I might have a completely different list. I'd love to hear some of your ideas for top movies of the decade. Doesn't have to be a full top ten, could be your top movie, top 3, 5, whatever works.