Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hammervision's 10 Best of the Decade: No. 6


When I first saw There Will Be Blood in the theater, I was impressed but certainly not blown away. But days (and even years) later, the movie has stayed with me and kept me thinking. It truly is a modern American classic. Directed by P.T. Anderson, who made two of the best movies of the '90s (Boogie Nights and Magnolia), There Will Be Blood is his most accomplished and mature film to date, with all of the technical virtuosity that marked his previous films and none of the overt flashiness or gimmicks. Perhaps more importantly, Anderson has written, and given audiences, one of the most interesting, iconic characters in film history, Daniel Plainview, and put that character in the hands of the Oscar-winning Daniel Day-Lewis. DDL just tears into Plainview like a dog chomping down on a fresh steak fallen off the grill. Plainview is front and center for most of the movie, and with good reason. He's fascinating to watch, and DDL infuses the character with an enticing blend of pitch-black humor and ferocious misanthropy. DDL's Oscar and the movie's nomination for Best Picture were richly deserved. It's rare that such an intimate character piece is depicted on screen using such an epic and ornate scale. The cinematography is gorgeous, the music (by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood) is unique and memorable, and the ending is hilariously abrupt, like something right out of a Kubrick movie. There Will Be Blood also earns bonus points for creating one of the great catchphrases of the decade: "I drink your milkshake!"

Here's the running list:

10. Mission: Impossible III
9. The Royal Tenenbaums
8. United 93
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
6. There Will Be Blood

We're halfway there! Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts below, and come back after the holiday for No. 5, as the countdown continues.

- John


At 10:46 AM, Blogger iv said...

I drink it up!

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before you read this post, I did this list in about 20 minutes at home, so I have not had time to think like I am sure you have about it. It includes no moviesfrom 2009 which I might have to after some rethinking. I will agree with what you posted on another part of your site, that choosing just ten is quite hard. However, here are my ten. I don't have the forum to justify my opinions as you do, so take them for what they are. Oh, and they are in no order whatsoever, if I had more time maybe, but whatever, feel free to lambaste me:

1. Gladiator: Intense, well acted, beautiful on the big screen. I wish I could put up Cindarella Man and a beautiful mind, but this has everything you want in a movie.

2. Snatch: Amazing story telling, a wonderful cast, and just an outstanding job of linking together all the stories perfectly.Guy Ritchie at his best. I know it is not going to be a popular choice but I think that a lot of people lose this movie in the shuffle which is sad because it is a real quality movie.

3. 40: Year Old Virgin: If you are going to go comedy, go big or go home. This is the best comedy of the past 10 years for sure and that stands for something.

4. Little Miss Sunshine: The little movie that could. I love the acting, love the story and love the movie. It is funny and never has a dysfunctional family been so enjoyable to watch on the big screen, take that Wes Anderson.

5. Lord of the Rings: okay, like I said these are in no order whatsoever, so this would probably be number one. I can't pull them apart because they are essetially one big movie anyway. And if you can't see them as the best movie of the past ten years then I don't know what to say.

6. The Departed: Just a great movie from a great film maker and a wonderful cast.

7. Shaun of the Dead: this is my wildcard, either you love it or hate it, but to me, it is amazing and is such a unique movie. The idea od a rocom zombie movie has spawned numerous imitations now in the form of books with Jane Austin smashups.

8. Crash: Great performances all around and solid direction. Just a good movie to watch.

9. The Bourne Identity: If you are going to have MI3 up there and not one of the Bourne movies I weep. This movie establishes Matt Damon as a star that can actually carry a movie that isn't Good Will Hunting, plus has one of the sickest car chases since Ronin. Great Movie and I feel supirior to MI3.

10. Batman Begins: I know The Dark Knight gets more love and even though I know Spiderman started the comic craze and Iornman is huge I still think this movie is the better starting point. It is a glimpse into how batman becomes batman and is an amazing story. Yes, it lacks Heath Ledgers amazing performance, spidermans webs and Robert Downey's acting, but it is the start of something wonderful.

movies just missing out: V for Vendetta, Wall-E, Children of Men, History of Violence, no Country for Old Men, District 9, Pirates of the Caribbean, Best in Show, Juno, Supersize Me, Mystic River, Memento, A Beautiful Mind, Seabuiscuit

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Hammer said...

Anonymous - good list. I like all of those movies, and am not really going to put up much of a fight. "Having said that" (per Curb Your Enthusiasm), I still feel comfortable with my picks made so far and those to come. Your list strikes me as more of a personal favorites of the decade and not an objective "best of" list.

I think Gladiator, The Departed, and 40 Year-Old Virgin are all solid picks for the best of the decade. I strongly considered those. It was tough to cut them.

Some other notes:

Snatch - cool movie. A little too pleased with itself though and more-or-less a revised version of Lock Stock.

Little Miss Sunshine - enjoyable and quirky. But Tenenbaums still did dysfunctional family comedy much better.

Shaun of the Dead - really clever and funny. Hard to pick which one's better though - Shaun or Hot Fuzz.

Crash - all the Oscar backlash has kind of soured me on this one.

The Bourne Identity - love the Bourne movies, but I think if you're going to pick the best, you have to choose Ultimatum.

Thanks for sharing your picks!


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