We've done books. We've done this year's movies. Here's a challenge: the best movies of the decade. Or... my favorites, at least.
In no particular order:
V for Vendetta: We'll start off the list with the Wachowski brothers. This film is smart, has great acting, great cinematography, and great source material. It's absolutely compelling, and you manage to still root for even the ambiguous characters. A great achievement.
Pirates of the Caribbean-- The Curse of the Black Pearl: This is the definition of summer blockbuster, as given to us with Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp. The portrayal of Jack Sparrow is endlessly inventive and funny, the story is smart enough to stand out, and this movie revived the long-dead pirate genre of films. That's saying something.
The Phantom of the Opera: A feast for the eyes and ears. Who would have thought the same Gerard Butler who screamed his head off in 300 could deliver a performance as the Phantom-- and a good one? Another surprise is Joel Shumacher, who was responsible for Batman and Robin before this. This is hands down my favorite musical of the decade-- and yes, I've seen Chicago and Sweeney Todd.
STAR WARS Episode III-- Revenge of the Sith: The triumphant return of STAR WARS after two exciting, but ultimately disappointing prequels. George Lucas handles the tragedy with broad strokes, and it works in his favor. The standout performance is Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine, a slimy, manipulative monster whose appearance finally changes to match his true character. The saga ends on a high note.
Harry Potter (Whole Series): Adapted faithfully, this is one of the longest and most profitable film series ever made. You can tell the love everyone involved has for the source material, and although some of the films aren't perfect (I'm looking at YOU, Order of the Phoenix), the heart of the story has never been lost to the callous world of Hollywood.
Avatar: James Cameron's only film of the decade deserves its spot. It's an epic spectacle that wows you every minute, keeping your eyes glued to the screen. This is the third time I've talked about it this month, so I won't bore you all with more of the same, but it's truly great.
The Dark Knight: What every comic book turned movie aspires to be. Real-world grittiness mixed with acts of selflessness and heroism, action mixed with chilling dialogue, suspense, tragedy, and humor all thrown in. Heath Ledger's last full role is perhaps his finest, and it's one that makes us truly miss the talented young star.
The Lord of the Rings (Whole Trilogy): An epic which has yet to be equalled in my eyes. A book adaptation that goes above and beyond the call of duty. The passion for Tolkien's words is evident in the first five minutes, and it deserved every penny it made, along with the 11 Oscars Return of the King got. And the Extended Editions are-- gasp!-- even better. Absolutely wonderful.
Serenity: I'm a bit of a closet browncoat. Let's just get that out of the way. I missed the series on television, and the movie when it was in theaters, but shortly after I got hooked. Why? Because it's pure gold. Perhaps some of the best sci-fi ever made. There is nothing that should keep you from watching this. I mean, really.
Stardust: This is the closest thing this generation has to The Princess Bride. It's a great fairy tale, well told, adapted nicely from the Neil Gaiman book. It's smart, funny, and magical to watch, and everyone I've shown it to has liked it. It's one of those movies that makes you feel truly warm inside. I cannot praise it enough.
That's the best 00's (in my humble opinion). The new decade has plenty of promising movies on the horizon, and I'm sure there will be more than a few surprises to come. I, for one, can't wait.
Coming Soon: The best books of 2009.