Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 50 Films of the '00's

OK. This list will surely be rare among everyone. I went through each film that was released during each year and if it had some sort of effect on me I wrote it down, when I was finished I had 53 films. But, to keep it a nice round number I decided to round that down to 50.

This is just my Top 50 films, it has no barring on the actual quality of the film. These are just the Top 50 that I particularly enjoy.

Also, there were many (many) films released during this time period which I have not had the chance to see yet - some of which I have heard are rather good - but I was not able to include those, only those I have seen (and for many of them have seen a multitude of times).

Finally, I also did something that some others have done, yet others do not like, and that is group some films together as part of a series instead of separate films. It's my list and I will group if I want to. So, for the films with an asterisk next to the title I am also including the other films in their franchise.

So, here is my Top 50 Films of the '00's:

50) Blades of Glory (2007)

49) Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

48) Invincible (2006)

47) Watchmen (2009)

46) High Fidelity (2000)

45) Catch Me If You Can (2002)

44) Beerfest (2006)

43) The Replacements (2000)

42) Enchanted (2007)

41) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

40) Reign Over Me (2007)

39) Old School (2003)

38) Adventureland (2009)

37) A Knight’s Tale (2001)

36) School of Rock (2003)

35) We Are Marshall (2006)

34) Moulin Rouge (2001)

33) The Fast and the Furious (2001)

32) 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

31) Life as a House (2001)

30) Garden State (2004)

29) Knocked Up (2007)

28) 8 Mile (2002)

27) American Pie 2 (2001)

26) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)

25) Spider-Man* (2002)

24) Lord of the Rings* (2001)

23) Dodgeball (2004)

22) Stick It (2006)

21) X2: X-Men United (2003)

20) Men with Brooms (2002)

19) Fanboys (2009)

18) Cars (2006)

17) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

16) Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

15) Accepted (2006)

14) Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

13) Wedding Crashers (2005)

12) Finding Nemo (2003)

11) Miracle (2004)

10) Cast Away (2000)

9) Transformers* (2007)

8) Pirates of the Caribbean* (2003)

7) Iron Man (2008)

6) Remember the Titans (2000)

5) Ocean’s Eleven* (2001)

4) Harry Potter* (2001)

3) Shrek* (2001)

2) The Dark Knight* (2008)

1) Star Trek (2009)

Explanations for my Top 10:

10) Cast Away: One of Tom Hanks' greatest performances as he spent 3/4 of the film with no human interaction, but spent that time conversing with a volleyball. Hanks also had to lose an incredible amount of weight and grow his hair and beard out for the part. For a movie without much talking I was still engrossed with what was going on in the film. Plus is made a star out of a Wilson Volleyball.

9) Transformers*: I included both of the films in this selection, but I feel I enjoyed the first film the best. It sort of came out of nowhere, a movie based on an action figure, but it turned out to be a pretty action packed film, which in turn made stars out of Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. A film that's dialogue may be lacking, but the action and CGI certainly kept me entertained.

8) Pirates of the Caribbean*: I am including all three Pirates films, although I feel the first one outranks the lot of them. I have to admit that this one really took me off guard. For some reason leading up to it I had not really heard much about it, but a friend told me I had to see it and I was thoroughly entertained. Captain Jack Sparrow is a character for the ages.

7) Iron Man: Was this going to be another Spider-Man or another Batman? The answer is somewhere in between, and that is perfectly fine. This film had a lot of humor and action, and thanks to the performance of Robert Downey Jr. really blew a lot of people away that really weren't expecting much of anything.

6) Remember the Titans: As you can see from the list I am a sucker for sports films, especially if they are well done. This movie was less about the football and more about the racial struggles of a small town and school, but it was because of the football that so many were able to accept each other no matter their color.

5) Ocean's Eleven*: The first one was a masterpiece. I love heist films and I especially love when they don't show you how it was done until the end. The cast was top-notch, and it even makes it this high with Julia Roberts in the cast (I am not that big a fan). The sequel was a little less superb, but still enjoyable as it gave us the Night Fox. The third was much better than the second, but still couldn't surpass the first.

4) Harry Potter*: This entire decade should have been named the Harry Potter decade. Just two films remain in the series (a combination of the final book), but the first six so far have been visually stunning and rather entertaining as well (even for someone like me who has not read the books). So far, I would have to say that Order of the Phoenix is my favorite of the films, but we still have the final two to go.

3) Shrek*: Yet another film that you weren't really expecting much from. Thank goodness it exists, however, for the sake of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy's careers. The first film in this series is hilarious and heartwarming at the same time. I have been fortunate to see it over-and-over again as my son has become a huge fan. The second two films are both great watches as well, but the first is still the crowning achievement.

2) The Dark Knight*: This one is a combination because without the great reboot that was Batman Begins, this film would have never existed. It is probably the top film on almost everyone's list for the decade, but it gets second on mine. Heath Ledger's Joker is quite possibly the best character in a film the entire decade, and the film was visually stunning as well and kept the story of Batman growing.

1) Star Trek: This is my absolute favorite film of the decade. As much as I loved The Dark Knight, it was Star Trek that was the lone film that when I left the theater I immediately knew I had to see it again. I grew up a fan of the original films, but the combination of humor and even better battles really took this one to another level. Each of the characters were extremely well done and I cannot wait to see the many journey's this crew takes in the future.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quick Shots 6

Title: Four Christmases.

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Reece Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Voight, Jon Favreau, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth.

Brief Synopsis: Brad (Vaughn) and Kate (Witherspoon) do their best to not have to see their families during Christmas time. Each of them are the products of divorced families and so do not believe in marriage or having children. They are all about each other and having a good time. When their flight is canceled due to fog and they are then interviewed on the news, the jig is up and they are forced to spend time with their families - four separate Christmases.

Opinion: Vaughn is starting to become the new Tim Allen when it comes to Christmas movies with his second in as many years. This one, however, doesn't even live up to Fred Claus, although I still felt the film was a good watch. It was rather predictable as most of these romantic comedies tend to be, but the journey to the end had a handful of funny moments worthy of a look.


Title: The Ugly Truth.

Starring: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins, Eric Winter, Bree Turner.

Brief Synopsis: Abby (Heigl) is a producer of a news station that, to spice up ratings, hires Mike (Butler) a loud-mouthed "pig" who hosts "The Ugly Truth". There are obvious quarrels between Mike and Abby at the start, but once Abby starts to fall for Colin (Winter), Mike begins giving her dating advice that actual works.

Opinion: Another romantic comedy that had a pretty predictable outcome, but it was also a lot more raunchy than I was expecting. I have sort of hit my limit with Heigl, which is sad because before she made it big on Grey's Anatomy I actually liked her. This movie, however, had some laugh-out-loud moments worthy of a watch.


Title: The Proposal.

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, Betty White, Malin Akerman.

Brief Synopsis: Margaret (Bullock) is a very successful, yet very bitchy publishing executive. Andrew (Reynolds) is her assistant that has to continually handle her bitchiness so that one day he can be higher up in the company. Margaret, however, has just been told that she will be losing her job because her Visa to work in the U.S. has expired (she is Canadian). In order to stay in the country and remain in her job she gets Andrew to agree to marry her in order for him to move up in the company.

Opinion: Wow, I have been watching too many rom-coms lately. This is yet another one that has that typical ending that you just know is coming. This one, however, was much funnier than the other two. I really enjoy Reynolds' work and Bullock was pretty entertaining in this as well. Betty White was also pretty hysterical as Reynolds' grandmother.


Title: Land of the Lost.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone.

Brief Synopsis: Dr. Rick Marshall (Ferrell) has accidentally sucked himself, his assistant Holly (Friel) and a ride operator named Will (McBride) into a space-vortex. The land proves that Marshall isn't as crazy as everyone thought, but would they be able to survive and get back to prove it?

Opinion: This movie was based off a television show that I never once watch, but I had heard of. The CGI was obviously much better than the original series, but I have to say this was not the greatest of films. A lot of things were very confusing and were just not needed, plus a lot of the jokes fell flat.


Title: Year One.

Starring: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Oliver Platt, David Cross, Christoper Mintz-Plasse, Olivia Wilde.

Brief Synopsis: This takes place a long time ago, a hunter Zed (Black) and gatherer Oh (Cera) are tossed out of their tribe and forced to fend for themselves. Along the way they meet a couple of Biblical brothers Cain and Able (played by David Cross and Paul Rudd). After killing his brother, Cain sells Zed and Oh to the king where it is discovered that the two women they desire have also been sold. It is up to Zed and Oh to rescue them.

Opinion: This sort of fell flat as well. Black and Cera have both done much better work and together it should have just been, well better. Especially with Harold Ramis behind the camera. There were a few good moments and jokes, which is why I don't give it a horrible grade. It was worth a watch, but don't expect too much.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I have been missing for awhile now, but this marks three posts in three consecutive days. I should be back for about a month before heading back to classes, but I will hopefully find the time to update more than I did during my last semester.

Also, it appears that many people are creating their Top movies of the year lists (and some are even doing top movies of the decade). I will do my best to give it a whirl as well in a future post or two.

But, I digress. The real reason for this posting is that I finally watched Up last night with my family. (Spoilers are possible).

Up to me was not truly a children's film, but dove pretty deep in the sentimental drama that many kids don't quite understand yet. I know for a fact that my 3-year old was not quite getting why Carl (Ed Asner) was so sad, although he did know that he was in fact sad.

The movie starts out with a young Carl coming back from watching a news reel featuring his hero Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). As he returns home he runs into another huge Muntz fan in Ellie. This is the start of a great friendship and soon love.

The next part of the film basically shows Carl and Ellie growing up together, getting married, and eventually shows Ellie's death.

Then Carl becomes a pretty large curmudgeon, and the house that he and Ellie had lived in their whole marriage is now in the center of a huge development project.

To save his house, and keep a promise to Ellie that he would make it to Paradise Falls, Carl gets the entire house to fly using balloons. What he doesn't realize, however, is that Russell (Jordan Nagai) is standing on his porch and is forced to take this trip with him.

The rest of the film is Russell and Carl trying to lead the house to the correct spot on Paradise Falls, except they are accompanied by a rare bird and a talking dog named Dug (Bob Peterson).

The dogs are out looking for this rare bird at the instruction of Muntz, who has spent his entire life trying to capture a live one to prove that the bones he found were not fake.

This movie has a lot of heart, and the ending will certainly pull at your heart strings. The movie does have a few laugh-out-loud moments, and Dug is certainly an enjoyable character.

Going in I had heard that this was quite possibly the best Pixar film of the bunch, but I have to say after one viewing that I would rate it somewhere in the middle of the pack. Toy Story to me is still the crowning achievement in Pixar films.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this film a lot, and it still lives up to the Pixar name. But, it isn't the best ever.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (Cast Rumors)

Hey. This blog is about the rumored cast for the upcoming all-star version of Survivor entitled Heroes vs. Villains.

This is information I have found on other websites that I am just passing along to those who are interested. If you are not, then do not read this blog.

Again, these are just rumors so it is possible that some or even none of these people are actually going to be on the upcoming season, but I have read on multiple sites the same names so I figured there must be some truth to them.

Without further adieu:

The Heroes: Rupert, J.T., Tom, Colby, James. Stephenie, Amanda, Sugar, Cirie, Candice.

Villains: Boston Rob, Randy, Tyson, Coach, Russell. Jerri, Parvati, Sandra, Courtney, Danielle.

This seems like a rather amazing cast. I thoroughly enjoyed the other all-star versions of the show, particularly the first all-star version where each person playing had played before. Fans vs. Favorites was good as well, but we had a whole tribe who we knew nothing about.

It appears, however, that I am still going to need to be reintroduced to a pair of players. I am sort of at a loss as to Danielle on Villains and Candice on Heroes. They look somewhat familiar, but I can't really recall them. Which is odd for an all-star cast, shouldn't we remember Danielle for something horrific she did to become a villain? Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

I am also sort of perplexed as to the reason Sandra was selected as a villain. I remember her season that she won and don't really recall her being a villain. Again, perhaps someone could remind me. I would possibly switch her with Stephenie or even Sugar, who despite being so sweet had a hand in a lot of the backstabbing going on.

The villains cast is amazing. I cannot wait to see Boston Rob, Coach and Russell go head-to-head. Not to mention some of the catty women they have like Courtney, Jerri and Parvati. I am also extremely interested in the reasons Jerri would want to subject herself to this again. Isn't she the one who wanted to redeem herself as a nice person, then cried when she got booed and left the stage? Why would she agree to come back again, and be flat out called a villain? I guess some people just crave the fame.

The heroes are very strong in the male department, but also seem to be a bit too nice. Rupert, J.T. and James may not have the ability to play the social game like Tom and Colby can. I don't see Cirie lasting too long on this tribe, she has shown twice already how she can manipulate the game, her tribemates won't stand for that. Be interesting to see if Amanda can get her third straight second place finish though.

I love the cast, I would have replaced possibly three or four of them with someone better, but it is possible that they declined. It is obvious they went through all of the seasons with the additions of Jerri and Colby - weird that they couldn't find people better than Candice and Danielle, but perhaps they are a good pick and I am just not remembering them.

What do you think of this present cast? Like I said, this is all just rumor.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Survivor: Samoa

Another season of Survivor ended last night and, as usual, I have a few choice words to say about the finale and the season in general.

Survivor: Samoa had two things going for it that worked well this season, Russell and the fact that the Foa Foa Four were able to rip apart the Galu Eight.

It was these two reasons alone that made the season so much fun to watch. What was Russell going to do next? Can the Galu tribe really be letting this happen?

I have to admit I was sort of against Russell from the start. He is a multi-millionaire, who destroyed his own tribe from within and made an alliance with everyone. But, the man really understood how to play the game of Survivor. It was truly amazing that as large of a target that had to be on his back (I mean this guy found three hidden immunity idols, two without clues) that not a single person tried to get rid of him after he saved himself from being voted out once.

At the end, however, I sort of started getting sick of his arrogance. Not enough to where I felt he shouldn't win, but he was so confident and snarky with his own 'friends' at the end that it was pretty harsh to even watch.

That being said, I have always felt that the person who played the best overall game and was still able to make it to the finals (lets face it, usually if you are playing a great game you find yourself a target and voted out) should win the title of overall Survivor.

This season was pretty good overall, definitely in the Top 10 of Survivor seasons, but the finale vote really ruined the season for me.

Natalie was voted the overall Survivor last night as the season came to a close. Her only strategy besides riding Russell's coattails was the ability to get inside Galu's heads to oust Erik. That was a great move, but alone does not make her the sole Survivor.

Russell was the most deserving, but it was obvious that the jury was filled with people that don't quite understand the overall concept of the game of Survivor and voted with their feelings instead of their heads.

A couple odds & ends:

  • I feel that if the overall competition for the Foa Foa is going to be Brett, then it would have been best to actually show the guy during the first two-thirds of the show. A couple of times I found myself asking, "Who the hell is that?" Even if he isn't interesting, the guy was money down the stretch and it would have been nice to know who he was before then.
  • Nice to see the "Family" portion of Survivor was missing this season. I never really enjoyed the family letters or family visits. The show is Survivor and you are supposed to be alienated for the time that you are on the show. Kudos on removing it and I hope it is not coming back.
  • Please, for the love of God, get rid of the promotions inside the show. I don't care if a tribe wins the Charmin Bowl, that is just advertising, but the over blown commercial that Jeff put on for Sprint was downright embarrassing.
  • Also, continue to give the contestants bathing suits of your choosing. It was a definite bonus.
  • Finally, and most important, get rid of the 3-person final tribal council. The show is way better when it is just two (I mean Mick had no reason to be even close to that stage). Plus, it gives the added bonus of having the person who wins the last immunity challenge have to pick who he wants to sit next to. It is added excitement.

Overall, a good season that was knocked down a few notches because of a terrible jury who just were too bitter to understand who really was the ultimate survivor.