Combustible Celluloid

My Tenth Anniversary List

The Top 50 Movies of the Past Ten Years (1997-2006)

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

As of the spring of 2007, I've been a film critic for ten years. I first started writing reviews for a homemade 'zine, but I count my official start as the first time I published a review for someone else. It was a review of the movie Bliss, for a local magazine called MODA, with slick, glossy, full-color pages. Those great-looking clips helped me get jobs elsewhere. Over the years I've seen something close to 3000 movies, and since I'm a fanatic for keeping lists, I decided to compile my top 50. I chose to start with any movie made in 1997, and kept the list to one film per director. That was a tough decision when it came to directors like Sokurov, who gave us both Mother and Son and Russian Ark. (Needless to say, it's worth looking into other films by almost all the directors on this list.) If you haven't seen some of these, I hope the list inspires you to take a look. If you disagree, I don't mind because no two lists are alike. Enjoy.

  1. Eyes Wide Shut (1999, Stanley Kubrick)
  2. Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)
  3. Lost in Translation (2003, Sofia Coppola)
  4. The Wind Will Carry Us (1999, Abbas Kiarostami)
  5. Mother and Son (1997, Alexander Sokurov)
  6. Spider (2002, David Cronenberg)
  7. The New World (2005, Terrence Malick)
  8. Ghost World (2001, Terry Zwigoff)
  9. Inland Empire (2006, David Lynch)
  10. Goodbye Dragon Inn (2004, Tsai Ming-liang)
  11. Café Lumière (2003, Hou Hsiao-hsien)
  12. Saraband (2005, Ingmar Bergman)
  13. 25th Hour (2002, Spike Lee)
  14. Beau Travail (1999, Claire Denis)
  15. Million Dollar Baby (2004, Clint Eastwood)
  16. Gohatto/Taboo (1999, Nagisa Oshima)
  17. Memento (2001, Christopher Nolan)
  18. The World (2005, Jia Zhang-ke)
  19. Mysterious Object at Noon (2000, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  20. The Company (2003, Robert Altman)
  21. Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)
  22. The Story of Marie and Julien (2003, Jacques Rivette)
  23. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, Bela Tarr)
  24. Kundun (1997, Martin Scorsese)
  25. I'm Going Home (2002, Manoel de Oliveira)
  26. Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997, Errol Morris)
  27. In the Mood for Love (2001, Wong Kar-wai)
  28. Rushmore (1998, Wes Anderson)
  29. The Big Lebowski (1998, Joel Coen)
  30. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998, Terry Gilliam)
  31. Autumn Tale (1999, Eric Rohmer)
  32. Fight Club (1999, David Fincher)
  33. Punch-Drunk Love (2002, Paul Thomas Anderson)
  34. The Apple (1998, Samira Makhmalbaf)
  35. Broken Flowers (2005, Jim Jarmusch)
  36. Hana-bi/Fireworks (1998, Takeshi Kitano)
  37. The Circle (2001, Jafar Panahi)
  38. The Gleaners and I (2000, Agnes Varda)
  39. Before Sunset (2004, Richard Linklater)
  40. Spirited Away (2002, Hayao Miyazaki)
  41. George Washington (2000, David Gordon Green)
  42. Ratcatcher (1999, Lynne Ramsay)
  43. The Bridesmaid (2006, Claude Chabrol)
  44. Spider-Man 2 (2004, Sam Raimi)
  45. The White Diamond (2005, Werner Herzog)
  46. Land of the Dead (2005, George A. Romero)
  47. Femme Fatale (2002, Brian De Palma)
  48. Kippur (2001, Amos Gitai)
  49. Springtime in a Small Town (2002, Tian Zhaungzhuang)
  50. Babe: Pig in the City (1998, George Miller)

And ten runners-up I just couldn't leave out: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001, Steven Spielberg), After Life (1999, Hirokazu Kore-eda), Battle Royale (2000, Kinji Fukasaku), Children of Men (2006, Alfonso Cuaron), Donnie Darko (2001, Richard Kelly), Eureka (2001, Shinji Aoyama), Gerry (2003, Gus Van Sant), Infernal Affairs (2002, Andrew Lau/Alan Mak), Notre Musique (2004, Jean-Luc Godard), Pan's Labyrinth (2006, Guillermo Del Toro)

February 17, 2007

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