9. Food, Inc.
8. United 93
7. Pan's Labyrinth
Foreign films are something I've developed a taste for since I started taking all my film classes at BYU. This was my very first real International Film and I saw it long before coming out to Utah. But out of the many international films I've seen since, this has remained one of my absolute favorites. The directing by Guillermo del Toro is fantastic and the acting was superb. Great script and great cinematography. Everything is premium in this film. And I always cry. Always. I have yet to view it and not at least shed one tear at the end, either from triumph, sadness, or bittersweet happiness. That is all.
6. Paris, Je T'aime
This is another International film, but my purpose on viewing it was not for international film purposes, but because it was a non-linear film. It's a series of vignettes that are directed by many different people (Like the Coen brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, and even Wes Craven) and have many different actors and are all centered on one thing: Paris, France. Some are funny, some sad, some scary, and some are contemplative and make you think. The final vignette, though, might just be my favorite. It was the first one I saw in my film class and what made me want to see the whole thing afterwards. I found it charming and made for all audiences because if you don't like one part, then you're in luck! It'll be over in a minute and you can wait and see if you'll like the next vignette.
This was hard. I knew I was going to choose another Pixar, but it was difficult to choose the second one. There are probably 3 that are tied for 2nd favorite, and so I had to choose which one made the biggest impression on me in the long run, and Wall-E took the cake. The writing is what strikes me as amazing. The entire film centers around two robots that only know how to say their names and yet you have so much story. It goes to show that screen-writing isn't just dialogue. It's so much more, and Pixar nailed it. The main story is so simple and so sweet, whereas the underlying story is much more: it's a political commentary on the American way of life. Much like Food, Inc., this film addresses the need to change our eating habits or else we are waddling down a very self-destructive road that will destroy the planet and the human population. But enough of my food industry soapbox, lets continue with the countdown.
4. The Cove
This is the LAST documentary, I swear! But it's also the best one I've seen so far. But I have many to get through before I can say it is the best overall. Maybe in the 2000's, at the very least. If you think you don't care much about dolphins, just watch this documentary. You'll find that you suddenly have a strong interest in the welfare of these sea mammals and that all the wrong-doings against them in Japan need to end. It's suspenseful, very emotional, and it got me so riled up that I wanted to drive all the way to Sea World and free those poor creatures. Just thinking about the film makes me so angry that people could do something like this to animals as innocent and intelligent as dolphins. Beautifully crafted, this is documentary film at its best.
3. Moulin Rouge!
Baz Luhrmann, my favorite director of all time, created the Red Curtain Series, which consist of the films "Strictly Ballroom" (which would've made the top 20 if it were made in the 2000's), "Romeo+Juliet", and this little piece of extraordinary film-making, titled "Moulin Rouge!" Indeed, Baz's directing style is not for everyone, as he has a particular fantastical way of approaching reality, but at the same time has very real themes that keep the audience from tripping out on his saturated colors and over-exaggerated scenarios. The music in the film is absolutely amazing, though many are just renditions of already-made songs, and the acting was so great that Nicole Kidman received an Oscar nomination (losing to Halle Berry for "Monster's Ball"). This is another film that I never fail to cry at, and I could probably watch this film every day and it wouldn't get old (maybe not every day...but every week).
2. The Hurt Locker
Strange, isn't it, that one of my favorite films EVER is one that passive aggressively shines the military in a bad light? But see, that's the thing about the film: it's not just about how awful the military is. It just so happens that Kathryn Bigelow used the US Military to express that war is destructive in many different ways. As I was watching this film, I never felt offended once and I pride myself in my patriotism, especially since I'm now involved in the ROTC program. I saw this film as a way of identifying yourself as a soldier, because there are many different ways one can approach a war. It was eye-opening and the last five minutes blow your mind away (no pun intended). The score is something that I remember really loving and the cinematography was phenomenal. It's a shame that it didn't walk away with those Oscars, though it did have plenty of others under it's belt (Way to go, Kathryn! Stick it to your ex!) Seriously, very great film. I need to own it.
1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
In true Lambson fashion, the Lord of the Rings trilogy gets the top spot. Not because I'm obligated, no, but because the films truly deserve the spot (but obligation definitely motivates me to keep it there). Peter Jackson successfully took on the task of making 3 different films based on 3 books who's world is as involved and intricate as the one we live in. That is quite an accomplishment, especially since they weren't just made, they were perfected and won awards. It's one thing to do the impossible, but it's a completely different thing to do the impossible and completely own it! The actors ARE the characters they play (which could've easily killed their careers, but hasn't yet, like it will for the Harry Potter actors), the sets and locations are so believable that sometimes I wonder if there aren't places like Rivendell in New Zealand. I can't even begin to describe how perfect these films are (well, I obviously did begin, but you get the gist) and they are definitely the best films of the 2000's. No argument. Don't even try to argue against it. You won't win.
And that's it, folks. I finally finished it. And now it's time to start compiling a list for the next decade. Oh boy.