Friday, December 18, 2009

what?! a decade already?

is that what happens as we get older, the days, weeks, months and years merge into a singular mass of time so that what seems like recent history happened maybe 20 years ago and what is a distant memory, or no memory at all, occured yesterday.

i recall watching tv news anchor peter jennings on for 24 hrs straight as we ushered in the year 2000. yep, seems like only yesterday. the worries over y2k are a dim memory, if that. the world got smaller with the spread of digital life but it also got meaner and here in the u.s. more aggressive, self-serving and maybe even a bit more sour.

still, we have the movies. films are better than drugs and sometimes even better than sex. the cinema can be mind-bending, jaw-dropping, argument-inducing, slack-jawed and dim, and sometimes all of the above in a single film. i'm not too keen on rating movies into minor and major categories. life doesn't necessarily always work in such binaries as that and my own liking for movies is as subjective as your liking of films.

nevertheless it is instructive to come up with a list of some of the movies of this past decade that some are now calling the naughty aughties. i'll post a few films at a time until the new year. none will be ranked but all on my list are films that have obsessed me and/or blown my mind in one way or another.

so without further ado here are a few of my favorite things.

ghost world [2001]
in a word, awesome. director terry zwigoff's adaptation of daniel clowes' graphic novel deftly mines the layers of complexity of this story of two girls and a sadsack collector of vintage jazz lps. what might seem a gold mine of cliched hipsterdom tropes instead is a beautiful rendition of discovering the necessity and futility of life. instead of all poses and horrid behavior the characters develop a deeper sense of their world. the ending is lovely and haunting and thora birch is a marvel to watch.

spirited away [2001]
strange, haunting, beautiful, hayao miyazaki's story of a little girl trapped in the spirit world is enough to make the strongest person weep with joy. this film is a visual feast and has been on constant rotation here at casa del lopez/bronson since we bought the dvd way back when. it's become a favorite of nicholas too.

28 days later [2002]
danny boyle's revisionist zombie feature is both a thrill ride and a caustic example of our own hubris. the rage virus is jump started when three well-meaning, it is assumed, animal-rights activists break into a research lab that uses chimps. the rest is all down-hill from there. the brilliance of boyle is to cast london as a deserted wasteland in every detail from the billboard of fliers appealing to lost loved ones to the videos of actual atrocities that we humans do to each other that kicks off the film. brilliant, scary and utterly depressing, at least with the original ending, in a good way.

well, that above does it for the list tonight. remember this is a highly subjective grouping and in no way do i say one movie is better or worse than any other film on the list. these are just a few movies of the past 10 years that have blown my mind.

stay tuned


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