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Richard Roeper Blog

The 100 best movies of the decade.

The 100 best movies I saw in the 2000s:

1. “The Departed” (2006). A cop goes undercover as a gangster, a gangster goes undercover as a cop, and from that point on we’re dealing with Shakespearean issues of identity and true self while the blood splatters the wall at every turn. Martin Scorsese’s masterful interpretation of the 2002 Hong Kong classic “Infernal Affairs” is an exceedingly violent, profane, grim, darkly funny and thrilling gangster epic, filled with juicy performances from perhaps the best ensemble cast in a crime pic since the “Godfather” movies, including Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin. Great, juicy performances, a brilliant screenplay and enough twists and turns to leave you breathless.

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2. “In America” (2003). In this beautiful, heart-wrenching, fictionalized version of his own story, director Jim Sheridan explores the theme of “aliens” in America while continually referencing another alien: “E.T.” There are at least two scenes in this that will make you cry, unless you’re dead. And maybe even then. “In America” is the equal of Frank Capra’s best work.

3. “Traffic” (2000). Stephen Soderberg’s sprawling masterpiece about the myriad ways in which drugs have invaded our culture is a triumph of style and content. Soderbergh changes filters on his camera as he traverses back and forth between three equally compelling stories about the war on drugs, told from perspectives ranging from the most powerful corridors of Washington to the seediest back alleys. One of the best ensemble casts of the decade (Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benicio del Toro in an Oscar-winning role) in a film that defines the drug culture on a grand scale and on a very personal, family level.

4. “Memento” (2001). Ingeniously inverted puzzle that goes from finish to start, like Hitchcock walking backwards. The only thing better than the first time you see it is the second time you see it.

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5. “House of Flying Daggers” (2004). The most beautiful film of the decade. Set in 9th century China, Zhang Yimou’s martial arts opera stars the achingly beautiful Ziyi Zhang in a gorgeous explosion of action, romance, music and breathtaking action sequences. The plot becomes insanely complicated, but who cares?

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6. “Mystic River” (2003). If Clint Eastwood had never acted in a single frame of film in his life, he’d be an American treasure for his work behind the camera. This is a profound, authentic, devastatingly honest piece of work.

7. “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008). “The Usual Suspects” meets “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with a whole lot of 21st century Charles Dickens as well. Danny Boyle directs with kinetic style as he jumps about chronologically and tells the story of an 18-year-old from the ghettos of Mumbai who somehow knows all the answers on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” At times excruciatingly realistic, at other times venturing into pure fable territory, “Slumdog” survived all the hype and scored all those Oscars, every one of them well deserved. One of the most exhilarating viewing experiences I’ve ever had.

8. “25th Hour” (2002). 8. “25th Hour.” Spike Lee’s overlooked masterpiece stands as the definitive time capsule of New York in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Works as a social commentary, a crime story, a buddy film and a story about the bond between father and son.

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9. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000). Ang Lee’s most accomplished film. Epic, exotic, romantic, gorgeous—and filled with breathtaking fight sequences.

10. “Hotel Rwanda” (2004). One of the most heartbreaking and inspirational movies I’ve ever seen, based on a true story. Don Cheadle deserved an Oscar for his portrayal of a good man catapulted to perform great deeds during a time of horrific genocide.

11. “Minority Report” (2002)

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12. “Gangs of New York” (2002)

13. “Syriana” (2005)

14. “Michael Clayton” (2007)

15. “Zodiac” (2007)

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16. “No Country for Old Men” (2007)

17. “The Dark Knight” (2008)

18. “Brothers” (2009)

19. “Million Dollar Baby” (2004)

20. “Gone Baby Gone” (2007)

21. “21 Grams” (2003).

22. “Up in the Air” (2009)

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23. “The Lookout” (2007)

24. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

25. “Munich” (2005)

26. “In the Bedroom” (2001).

27. “The New World” (2005)

28. “The Queen” (2006)

29. “Love, Actually” (2003)

30. “The Claim” (2000)

31. “The Hurt Locker” (2009)

32. “Babel” (2006)

33. “Lost in Translation” (2003)

34.  “Finding Nemo” (2003)

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35. “The Aviator” (2004)

36. “Crash” (2005)

37. “Y tu Mama Tambien” (2002)

38. “Donnie Darko” (2001)

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39. “Flags of our Fathers”/”Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006)

40. “The Wrestler” (2008)

41.“Vanilla Sky” (2001)

42. “Sideways” (2004)

43. “Eastern Promises” (2007)

44. “The Contender” (2000)

45. “A Beautiful Mind” (2001)

46. “United 93” (2006)

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47. “In Bruges” (2008)

48. “Nine Lives” (2005)

49. “(500) Days of Summer” (2009)

50. “Best in Show” (2000)

51. “Wonder Boys” (2000)

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52. “Adaptation” (2002)

53. “Elephant” (2003)

54. “A History of Violence” (2005)

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55. “I’ve Loved You So Long” (2008)

56. “Brokeback Mountain” (2005)

57. “Almost Famous” (2000)

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58. “Rabbit-Proof Fence” (2002)

59. “Inglourious Basterds” (2009)

60. “One Hour Photo” (2002)

61. “Amores Perros” (2001)

62. “The Barbarian Invasions” (2003)

63.“Mulholland Drive” (2001)

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64. “Finding Forrester” (2000)

65. “Capote” (2005)

66. “The Terminal” (2004)

67. “City of God” (2002)

68. “Notes on a Scandal” (2006)

69. “Gran Torino” (2008)

70. “Kill Bill Vol. 2” (2004)

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71. “Cast Away” (2000)

72. “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” (2003)

73. “Breach” (2007)

74. “You Can Count on Me” (2000)

75.  “The Visitor” (2008)

76. “Monsoon Wedding” (2002)

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77. “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005)

78. “The Lives of Others” (2006)

79. “Up” (2009)

80. “Monster” (2003)

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81. “Avatar” (2009)

82. “The Good Shepherd” (2006)

83. “Milk” (2008)

84. “Juno” (2007)

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85. “Collateral” (2004)

86. “Sunshine” (2000)

87. “Happy Accidents” (2001)

88. “About Schmidt” (2002)

89. “Snow Angels” (2007)

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90. “Whale Rider” (2003)

91. “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006)

92. “Dinner Rush” (2001)

93. “Frozen River” (2008)

94. “Frost/Nixon” (2008)

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95. “The Deep End” (2001)

96. “Walk the Line” (2005)

97. “Blood Diamond” (2006)

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98. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008)

99. “Signs” (2002)

100. “About a Boy” (2002)

 
 
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