The BBC recently posted their Top 10 films of the 21st century (so far), which prompted critics all over the Internet to do the same. And because I like to be like the cool kids, I’m following suit. So here are my top ten films of the first 16 years of the 2000s, and it is actually a lot harder than it seems, I was stressed over this. Enjoy.
10.) Up in the Air (2009)
George Clooney’s best career performance, hands-down, and an amazing script make this one a true gem, and one I feel has been under appreciated.
9.) The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
Half dozen faux endings aside, this is a fantastic conclusion to arguably the best cinematic trilogy of all-time. It amazed me as a youngster and continues to wow me to this day.
8.) Toy Story 3 (2010)
Probably the best animated movie ever, this blew everyone’s expectations away and, like “Return of the King,” proved it is possible not only for the third film of a trilogy to actually be good, but can be the best of the series.
7.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
I went into this as a 7-year-old who had never even heard of Harry Potter, and I sat in awe with a huge smile on my face the whole time. I have had very few movie-going experiences like this, and when nostalgia is factored in there are few movies better and more enjoyable than this one.
6.) Inception (2010)
Nolan’s best film, this is as fun as it is engaging, as smart as it is thrilling. Just a great movie.
5.) The Hurt Locker (2009)
The best war film ever made, Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Picture winning film is incredibly acted and insanely exhilarating. It put Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie on the map, and remains one of my favorite films of all-time.
4.) The Departed (2006)
Arguably simultaneously DiCaprio’s best and most underrated performance, this star-studded cop film is fun and perfectly written. It is also a lot more funny than people give it credit for (Mark Wahlberg’s Dignam is one of the best supporting characters of the century).
3.) Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Tarantino’s best film, this is hilarious and thrilling and just plain fun, and features astounding work for Brad Pitt and the then-unknown Christoph Waltz.
2.) Captain Phillips (2013)
I still may be shaking from this film’s climax, it’s that intense and emotional. But even the hour 45 preceding the ending are insane and powerfully acted, and gave us one of the most quoted lines of the century (“I’m the captain now!”).
1.) The Social Network (2010)
They say nothing is perfect, but damn it this is as close as they come. The script by Aaron Sorkin is astonishing; never has a scene that featured two people simply sitting in a room talking been so exhilarating and amusing. The score by Trent Reznor is memorizing and David Fincher’s (Oscar-snubbed) direction is flawless. I have watched this film dozens of times (no exaggeration) and made it the subject of three projects in college. Words don’t do this film justice; it’s simply amazing.
As with any top films list, there isn’t enough room for everything. So here are some honorable mentions, in no particular order:
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Steve Jobs (2015)
The Revenant (2015)
Pineapple Express (2008)
Batman Begins (2005)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Jurassic World (2015)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
3:10 to Yuma (2007)