Based on a poll of 177 film critics, BBC.com has posted a roster of the 100 greatest films of the 21st Century. Because the BBC polled only scholastically correct, impressively credentialed dweeb types (and didn’t reach out to any unconventional clear-light samurai jazzmen like myself), their top 10 reflects a certain ivory-tower dweeb aesthetic. Here they are along with my comments:
1. David Lynch‘s Mulholland Drive (HE comment: trippy, striking, noteworthy but calm down); 2. Wong Kar Wai‘s In the Mood for Love (HE comment: The praise is almost entirely about Chris Doyle‘s cinematography); 3. Paul Thomas Anderson‘s There Will Be Blood (HE comment: Deserved); 4. Hayao Miyazaki‘s Spirited Away (HE comment: Not my cup but if you say so); 5. Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood (HE comment: Respectable, somewhat moving time-passage stunt film — overpraised during Oscar campaign). 6. Michel Gondry‘s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (HE comment: The older it gets, the less it seems to be — you don’t have to be a Gondry loyalist to be in love with this film, but it helps); 7. Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life (HE comment: Lubezki-captured dream-trip aesthetic totally devalued in hindsight by To The Wonder and Knight of Cups — Malick has eaten his own tail); 8. Edward Yang‘s Yi Yi: A One and a Two (HE comment: Never saw it); 9. Asghar Farhadi‘s A Separation (HE comment: Brilliant); 10. Joel and Ethan Coen‘s No Country for Old Men (HE comment: Ditto).
I posted a similar thing last April — a rundown of the best films of the second decade of the 21st Century along with a summary of the best of the first decade.
I hate doing this but here are HE’s Top 25 of the 21st Century, or of the last 16 1/2 years (and in this order):
Zodiac, Zero Dark Thirty, Manchester By The Sea, Leviathan, The Wolf of Wall Street, A Separation, The Social Network, No Country For Old Men, Memento, Traffic, Amores perros, United 93, Children of Men, Adaptation, The Lives of Others, Michael Clayton, Almost Famous (the “Untitled” DVD director’s cut), 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Collateral, Love & Mercy, Dancer in the Dark, A Serious Man, Girlfight, The Departed, In the Bedroom.
I prefer to highlight the top 96 from this same period.
A well-credentialed colleague comments on the BBC.com poll: “I’ve just quickly glanced at the BBC list, and it strikes me that the list of critics is really eccentric, with a lot of younger, fringey stringer and web types, some local trade guys (including THR‘s Scott Feinberg and Variety‘s Steve Gaydos) who aren’t even critics at all, and missing some obvious heavyweights, like anyone from the N.Y. Times or veterans like David Ansen, Kenny Turan, David Thomson, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Joe Morgenstern and some of the older Brits, but does include Richard Brody, which should tell you something. It definitely favors the crowd that thinks Wong Kar-wai and Apichatpong Weerasethakul are the last word in modern filmmaking.”