The Top 10 Films of the Decade 2000-2009

     A very tough task.  Analyzing the the top films of an entire decade and narrowing the list down to 10.  I looked back on over 500 films released between 2000 and 2009 to determine which would be deemed the “10 Best Films of the Decade”.  The results didn’t surprise me.  While there were a number of great films, this list sets itself apart with a combination of the very best acting, razor sharp dialogue, virtuoso directing, and subject matter that, well, matters. 

     For a film to make this list, there had to be something about it.  Something that inspired me.  Something that shocked me.  Something that haunted me.  Something that exhilarated me.  My decade list contains three Best Picture winners and an additional two which were nominated for the big prize.  In addition, an Oscar winner for Best Documentary made the list, as did one movie from each of my two favorite directors.  Creating a Top 10 meant a lot of deserving films didn’t make the cut, which is why I included an additional 20 films from the decade (in alphabetical order) that were considered and have every right to be on this list as well.  When the Top 10 list was complete; however, there was not a question in my mind as to whether or not I had chosen the very best.  This is THE list.  Ten films which must be in every movie buff’s DVD library.  Ten films that are sure to go down as timeless and classic.  Ten films that mattered the most to me.

10.   Bowling For Columbine  (Directed by Michael Moore - 2002)

     If you’ve read my 2009 Top 10 List, then you already know how I feel about Michael Moore and his films.  Though we all may not agree on everything, this fact simply cannot be denied.  Michael Moore is a very talented filmmaker.  Not one example of his work demonstrates this fact better than the 2002 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary, “Bowling for Columbine.”  A film which  explores what led up to the tragic shooting at Columbine High School, but reaches for so much more as it dares to attack such issues as gun control, media  fear mongering, teen social relationships, and violence in other countries.

     In his film, Moore brings forth a number of segments which are meant to elicit  a reaction from the viewer.  In other words, he wants you to do what he is doing.   Ask questions.  Guns, which have been supposedly deemed as our constitutional  right to possess, is it time we took a look at restrictions on handgun ownership?   The arguments here are compelling enough.  How many more innocent people  have to be killed.  Why are the gun violence statistics in the U.S. so much higher  than those of countries like ourselves, such as England, France, Germany, Canada, and Japan.  Moore points out the children in those countries play  the  same violent video games, wear the same “goth” clothing, and live in cultures  which for centuries have thrived on violence.  Yet, in none of those countries are  they offing each other in record numbers.  In one excellent piece, Moore  interviews a Canadian cop charged with foot patrol in a small town across from  downtown Detroit.  While staring at the “Murder Capital of the U.S.”, the cop  reflects on his career and the one homicide he remembers in his town that took place 20 years prior.  Can our leaders explain that? 

      In another segment, Moore examines the media and their overall tendency to  create fear in the masses.  He demonstrates this by interviewing a college  professor as they walk on foot in South Central Los Angeles.  Yes, that South Central.  With local news highlighting as many as ten violent stories in a half hour  newscast, Moore asks the obvious question.  “Shouldn’t we be being shot at right  now.?”  Of course, it is pointed out  in these news stories, more often than  not,  the suspects are black males, thus creating a nationwide fear of black men.  As if to somehow suggest black men commit all of the crime in the U.S..  Moore  goes on to highlight the TV show most responsible for the fear of the black man,  “Cops.”  Each week, he says, the TV watching public would tune in and watch  police officers chasing down black males and arresting them.  Though this show  is seen as entertainment by the producers, it is argued that it contributes to the  fear in this country.  The fear that if you walk outside at night, you will be robbed  or beaten or murdered by black people.

      Few filmmakers have the guts to speak out the way Michael Moore has during his career and Bowling for Columbine is his most effective film.  Here, all of his  arguments are on full display and I challenge anyone to intelligently answer the  important questions he poses throughout.  Bowling for Columbine will make you  laugh, but it will also make you think and wonder if this country is doing  everything it can for the people.  See the film, and you decide.  GRADE: A+

9.  A Beautiful Mind  (Directed by Ron Howard - 2001)

     In Ron Howard’s defining film, Russell Crowe plays John Nash, a mentally  disturbed mathematics professor, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.  As I looked through the films of the last decade, I looked for performances that were a  cut above.  Not just performances which won accolades, but performances  where I felt like the character I was watching on screen was the guy, not the  actor.  Russell achieves this and then some as I found myself feeling as though  John Nash himself was the man being filmed.  Other performances this decade  which came to mind were Mickey Rourke’s turn in “The Wrestler” or Sean Penn’s     portrayal of Harvey Milk in “Milk”, but Russell Crowe’s performance is just at a  whole other level.

     I recall a scene in particular where John is bathing his infant son, but wanders  off to his office to do work for the imaginary Parcher (Ed Harris).  John’s wife,  Alicia, discovers their son and barely saves him from drowning.  John claims his  friend was watching their son, but when Alicia attempts to call the psychiatric  hospital, Parcher becomes enraged and urges John to kill his wife.  This scene is  very intense and extremely well acted.  Just one of many which earned Crowe  the praise he received for the role.

     Ron Howard, who has made many great films, was born to make “A Beautiful Mind” and his collaboration with Russell Crowe is one for the ages.  As is the  case with all of the films in this Top 10, “A Beautiful Mind” requires many repeat  viewings to truly appreciate the attention to detail that went into bring John Nash  to life.  I feel as though this film is Ron Howard’s “Schindler’s List”, so to speak.  In other words, can he top this?  GRADE: A+

8.  Sideways  (Directed by Alexander Payne - 2004)

     Before “Sideways”, I only knew actor Paul Giamatti as “Pig Vomit” from the  Howard Stern biopic “Private Parts.”  Make no mistake about it, Sideways put   Paul Giamatti on the map with his portrayal of Miles, a man whom all of us can relate.  Along with Jack, played by Thomas Haden Church, Miles seeks to find  himself as the two go on a trip to wine country for a week of wine and women.  Of course, the circumstances are quite different for both men.  Miles is divorced and is not coping well with the fact his  ex-wife is remarrying.  Jack’s time as a     bachelor is quickly coming to an end, as he is scheduled to get married when  they return.  Jack’s morals are certainly not the best, as his plans include living his last single man days to the fullest.  Both men are middle aged and don’t have  much to show for it.

     Before the film’s characters embark on various relationships, we’re treated to a tour of sorts of the beautiful wine country in Northern California through the  eyes of Miles and Jack.  I have no doubt many people who saw Sideways began  drinking wine because of this film.  I also have no doubt that while drinking wine  many have referred back to the many quotable lines from the film that reference  wine, such as “I smell a flutter of nut.”  Ok, its obvious I’m referring to myself here  (wife too!) and Sideways certainly had a major influence in the depth which my  nose descends into a wine glass or the speed at which I swirl the wine in the  glass to release it’s many “flutters”.  Sideways; however, is much more than just  a film about wine.

     Finding yourself is always at the top of the list for most people and the two     characters in Sideways follow two different paths to achieve this.  Miles learns  how to have a relationship again.  He learns how to cope with the past and put it  behind him, something he struggles with for the majority of the film.  How does he do this?  Maybe by observing the free spirited nature of Jack.  Jack by no  means is a grounded individual either.  He clearly does not know what he wants  and is falling into the trap many do where he feels like he is getting older and  should be married, yet he knows he is not with the right person.  As he discovers  this, his friend Miles is going in a different direction and learns through his budding friendship with Maya (Virginia Madsen) he is capable of feelings for  another person.  Ultimately, each man just wants to have some sort of identity.

     Sideways blends comedy, drama, and a unique setting to become a great  film.  A film which is always welcome to repeat viewing and will always be talked about amongst those who admire it.  Sharp snappy dialogue and great  performances led Sideways to a 2004 Best Picture nomination, but I feel    Sideways should be mentioned as one of the best comedies of all time and thus  gets a spot in this prestigious Decade Top 10 List.  GRADE: A+

7.  United 93  (Directed by Paul Greengrass - 2006)

     September 11th, 2001 will always be a date in history we will remember.  Is there any other date in your life where you remember exactly where you were  and what you were doing?  It was only a matter of time before Hollywood began  to memorialize this very tragic event in our nation’s history on film and in this  decade, only one of them stands out.  Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne  Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) accomplishes a true landmark film with his  “United 93”, which is the story of the doomed fourth airplane taken over by     terrorists with the intention of flying the plane directly into the White House.

      The film is based on the many accounts from family members of the  courageous passengers, who were relaying information via cell phone as the  hijacking was occurring.  With terrorists displaying explosives belted around their  upper bodies, the passengers subdued by fear, and the plane being flown off course towards its target, we are immersed into the events which led up to the plane ultimately crashing into an open field in Pennsylvania.  There is something  to be said about true stories and United 93 delivers a film filled with suspense and unbearable tension.

      We see all aspects of the incident.  The Air Traffic Controllers who attempt to clear air space are baffled by the path of United 93.  We learn how the  passengers are able to determine this is not a routine hijacking because United  93 was a delayed flight; therefore, the first three planes had already hit their  targets and information about the tragedy unfolding was being relayed to the  passengers in real time by cell phone.  Both the FAA and the military responses  prove futile and hint at unpreparedness.  The film ends abruptly and concludes  as we think it may have happened, but we will never know.  All we can do is  remember and honor the people on this flight who realized in an instant they were part of something much bigger than themselves.

     In viewing this film, I felt uneasy.  I felt angry.  In fact, I remember telling my  wife immediately after that my next film project would be a movie titled “United  94.”  I told her I would cast the film with the following actors:  Bruce Willis, Steven  Seagal, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jean Claude VanDamme.   The plot would simple.  “Four terrorists have taken over a plane.  They took over the  wrong plane.”  Now that would be a movie!  GRADE: A+

6.  Black Hawk Down  (Directed by Ridley Scott - 2001)

    It certainly seems to me  the top directors are the ones who continue to  produce amazing work decade after decade.  When it comes to Ridley Scott, I  think back to the 70’s and his masterpiece “Alien”.  In the 80’s, I think of his great  film “Blade Runner”.  In the 90’s “Thelma and Louise” comes to mind and this  decade, he started off with a bang with both “Gladiator” and “Hannibal.”  Scott’s  best film of this decade: however, is one of the best war films ever made, “Black  Hawk Down”, the story of a task force of Delta Force and Army Rangers sent into     Somalia to extract senior members of Mohammed Farah Aidid’s regime.  The  mission was only supposed to take one hour, but with what went wrong and the  ensuing rescue attempt, ended up lasting more than 15 hours.

     What makes Black Hawk Down a great war film is what it is not.  There is no  corny dialogue.  No attempts at phony subplots or heroism, just war, presented in a brutal and raw style which brings the viewer directly into the action.  In other  words, this is not sugar coated and is exactly why this film far exceeds the  many  other war films of the decade.  The suffering you see our soldiers go through in this film can be unbearable to watch, but you have to respect the  honesty Scott presents here.

    The performances are top notch with a cast so deep, I was reminded of  Platoon.  Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, and many  others help bring these characters to life as the action unfolds within an Oscar  nominated production design.  Because these characters are U.S. Soldiers, we  care about them and more importantly, we care what happens to them.  The real life nightmares these soldiers faced in this fierce battle will be engrained in my mind forever and anything which lasts forever deserves placement on this Top 10  list.  GRADE: A+

5.  No Country For Old Men  (Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen - 2007)

    Featuring one of the great villainous performances in the history of Cinema,  the Coen Brothers “No Country For Old Men” is a triumph in film with its ultra  suspenseful story line, memorable dialogue, twisted dark humor, and top notch  acting.  As we move into the Top 5 of the decade, you should assume we are  entering the territory of what makes a true classic and this film is no exception.

     The Coens weave a tale of a down on his luck hunter who stumbles upon a  drug deal gone bad.  Many are dead, but one remains alive and is begging for water.  Rather than help the man, the hunter, Llewelyn Moss played by Josh  Brolin, follows the trail of a man who may have escaped the battle.  A short distance away, Moss finds the man dead and in possession of $2 million in cash.   Moss takes the money and heads home to his wife.  For some reason, Moss  begins to feel guilty about not giving the survivor he discovered the water he  desperately needed and then makes a decision he admittedly will regret.  Going back to the scene of the crime, he is spotted by hit men looking into their missing  money and drugs.

     Enter Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem in his Oscar winning role, who’s sent to track down and kill Moss as he goes on the run with the money.   With Sheriff Ed Bell, played by Tommy Lee Jones following behind as the death  toll mounts, Chigurh and Moss play a lethal game of cat and mouse which by  the end of the film leads to perhaps one of the most controversial endings in any  film.  Yes, the Coens know how to get us thinking and how to get us talking.    Their villian, Chigurgh, is literally menacing on screen and the violence he inflicts     is done with controlled emotionless evil and precision.  Anyone who watches this  film will compare this character to the all time most horrific bad guys.  Think  Hannibal Lector, Darth Vader, Michael Myers, but much more believable, much  more real.

     Something I realized after the film, but not during, is there is no musical score  until the end credits.  This means the Coens successfully pull off one of the most  suspenseful films of all time without a pounding score to enhance the experience.   What drives our emotion here is the sheer presence of an unstoppable killer,  working tirelessly to kill a man we may not root for, but certainly would rather not  see his fate.  It’s to frightening to think about what Chigurh will do when he gets  his hands him.

     Not lost at all in this mix is Sheriff Bell.  Let’s just say I can relate to the good  Sheriff.  He never seems to be able to get ahead as these events unfold and he’s  left to feel as though this world is coming to a violent end.  His speech at the end  of the film holds very true.  He has spent an entire career frustrated with society  and the scum who live within it, yet they still find a way to succeed despite his  best efforts.  Perhaps that is the most haunting revelation of all.  GRADE: A+

4.  Mystic River (Directed by Clint Eastwood - 2003)

    Not many films will continually haunt you the way Clint Eastwood’s Mystic  River will.  What you have here is the powerful combination of a tragic story  combined with the skill of a master story teller and the highest level of acting you  will see in any film.  As I write this, I immediately think back to the first time I  watched this film.  Scarier than any horror film, I can only describe the  experience as emotionally gut wrenching.  Films that invoke this kind of   emotional response are rare and Mystic River hits that mark as well as any film  ever has.

     The film begins by introducing us to three young boys, Sean Devine, Jimmy  Markum, and Dave Boyle.  While playing hockey, Dave is stopped by a plain  clothes police officer for vandalism and is driven away in a plain car.  It doesn’t  take long to find out the man who takes Dave was not a police officer.  We then  see Dave in the basement of two pedophiles as he becomes the victim of horrible  crimes, but later escapes.

     As the film moves forward several decades, Dave, played by Tim Robbins in  an Academy Award winning role, is still emotionally scarred by the abduction.  His friend Jimmy, played by Sean Penn in an Academy Award winning role, is  related to Dave by marriage and is an ex-con.  Jimmy’s daughter Katie is  abducted and murdered and various events in the film point to the possibility  Dave may be the killer.

      Sean, played by Kevin Bacon, is now a Police Detective and is charged with   investigating the murder.  Jimmy has launched his own investigation in the  neighborhood and his connections lead him and all of the main characters to a  chilling unforgettable climax.  As I mentioned, both Penn and Robbins won  Oscars for their work here and they make this film truly special.  Clint Eastwood   brings the tension to an unbearable high as the main characters get closer to  solving this puzzle.  The key here is we care about Dave because we know what     happened to him, we know he is disturbed, and we know he needs help.   Complicating matters is Jimmy and the emotion he displays when losing his  daughter.  He isn’t thinking clearly and his rage takes over.  These are all themes  we can relate to and hope we never have to experience first hand.  The worst  case scenario for anyone’s life played out in brutal fashion on screen.  I’m not  sure if I want to see Mystic River ever again.  Once may have been enough     because the impact of that viewing has stuck with me going on 7 years now. GRADE: A+

3.  Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King  (Directed by Peter         Jackson - 2003)

     Peter Jackson’s epic climax to his Lord of the Rings Trilogy stands as the best  of the three films, which is saying something.  All three films boast Academy  Award nominations for Best Picture, but it was Return of the King which took  home the trophy (11 total) and in the process, became an all time classic.  The  film is a measuring stick of epic storytelling and is sure to be a film that will be  rewatched and debated for generations to come.

     What makes the final chapter such a great film is the sheer intensity and urgency of the film.  While Fellowship seemed to concentrate on the set up and  Two Towers depicted key battles, Return of the King puts everything in motion  and ends the trilogy with a solid closure.  By the time we get to the third film, we  know these characters well, but we don’t know their fate and that is exactly what  makes this one great.  The payoffs are not what you may expect, but they are  satisfying to say the least.

     Based on the Tolken books of the same name, Jackson is working here with  already solid and well respected material.  He utilizes that material and creates  his vision with the use of state of the art effects and the results are astounding.  I  don’t know how many people have told me how faithful these films were to the source material and just how close their visions were to Jackson’s final product. 

     Something I will always remember is Aragon’s line to Frodo before he sets sail  for Grey Havens at the end of the film.  He tells Frodo “You bow to no one.”   Giving credit to Frodo for what he has accomplished, he is not to bow, even to a  King.  During Frodo’s incredible journey, he literally saves Middle Earth.  I am  reminded in this scene of the great things people do everyday that are never  appreciated, just taken for granted.  At least Frodo got his due.  Just a thought.

     Now if only I could get my wife to watch it.  Perhaps this #3 ranking will do the  trick.  GRADE: A+

2.  Avatar (Directed by James Cameron - 2009)

    As my wife will attest, I watched the Avatar Teaser and Trailer on my computer  every day for 3 months until December 18th, 2009 arrived.  Why, you ask?  Since  1986, my favorite film of all time has been “Aliens” and with the writer/director  being James Cameron, Avatar automatically became my most anticipated film of  2009.  Did the film live up to the hype?  As you must’ve guessed by now with  this prestigious #3 decade ranking, Avatar is the film I hoped it would be and  more.

     As the movie drew closer to opening day, I noticed many parallels with  Cameron’s last feature film, Titanic, which had opened 12 years in ago in 1997.  That film, at the time, was the most expensive film ever produced at an estimated  price tag of $200 million.  And so came the naysayers, questioning whether or  not a movie in which we already knew the ending, with no A-list stars, could be  successful or even watchable.  Because of 1991’s Terminator 2, Cameron     already had staked claim to the first ever $100 million production and with a  resume’ of box office hits such as the aforementioned Aliens, plus Terminator 1 &  2, The Abyss, and True Lies, how could one doubt that Cameron would deliver  the goods with Titanic?  Of course, the rest is history.  The self proclaimed “king  of the world” shattered all known box office records as Titanic grossed  $1.8 billion worldwide.  The film also collected 11 Oscars, including Best Picture,  and made a household name of Leonardo DeCaprio.  Not bad.

     Avatar was met with the same prerelease scrutiny, as production costs were     rumored to be well over $300 million.  For months Cameron touted his new film  as a “game changer”, which would change the way we watch movies forever.  As  the story was revealed to the public, people began to question why 20th Century  Fox invested in a love story where the two main characters are CGI blue aliens.   Would the audiences connect enough to actually care about their fate?  More  importantly, would the studio recoup its substantial investments? After 12 years  between features, would Cameron deliver?

      Avatar is not only the best film of 2009, it stands as one of the best of the  decade.  For the first time on a large scale, CGI motion capture characters are  brought to life with raw emotion and completely convincing performances.   James Cameron has literally created a new world from scratch.  From an entire  ecosystem to countless creatures and species, military hardware and vehicles,  alien cultures, and a story pulled from todays headlines, Avatar stands as a  historic and groundbreaking feature, a timeless classic which will stand the test  of time for generations to come.

      I expect Avatar to easily surpass Titanic’s all time worldwide box office gross.    At the time of this writing, Avatar already sits at #2 all time with $1.6 billion in  worldwide receipts and climbing.  The film appears on numerous critics 10 best  lists and has already won several critics awards.  Avatar will be a serious  contender for Best Picture and may approach Titanic’s overall total at the  Academy Awards.  James Cameron has done it again and I love it!  People in my  social circle who never talk about movies are talking about Avatar and  recommending it to their friends. It has become a worldwide hit and deservedly so.  To say I am impressed, is an understatement.  I can’t imagine what my idol  filmmaker will come up with next. GRADE: A+

1.  Kill Bill Volume 1 & 2 (Directed by Quentin Tarantino - 2003-04)

     It’s no secret my two favorite directors are James Cameron and Quentin     Tarantino, in that order.  Cameron will always win out since he made my all time favorite film, “Aliens.” In the last two decades; however, I’ve ranked a Tarantino film #1 over a Cameron film.  In the 90’s, Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” was a runaway top choice over Cameron’s “Titanic” and now on this list “Kill Bill Volume 1 & 2” reigns supreme over “Avatar.”  Perhaps another decade top film win by Tarantino may make me change who my favorite director is, but that’s a debate for 10 years from now.

     Kill Bill is a rapid fire combination of slick visuals, action, fine acting  performances, a rocking soundtrack, and the expected sharp Tarantino dialogue.  Kill Bill is the best film of the decade.  Many look at Avatar and applaud Cameron  for the from scratch creation of Pandora and rightfully so.  We have been  applauding this type of creativity for years in Tarantino films.  He has effectively  created a parallel universe, if you will, with characters, brand names, and     locations appearing in all of his films.  Kill Bill continues that tradition while adding  a unique Japanese flair and it works.  I was so highly impressed with Kill Bill that  I not only named the film to this list, but it stands as the only film from this decade  in my All Time Top 25 List coming in at #10.

     Kill Bill is the film Tarantino was born to make.  Many would likely argue that  movie was Pulp Fiction, but I would argue Tarantino was working with a small  budget on Pulp and didn’t have all of the resources necessary to reach his true  potential (It should be noted Pulp Fiction is #3 on my All Time list).  With Kill Bill,   Tarantino has made a film of epic proportions.  The root of what makes this  film so special is, of course, Tarantino’s signature ability to write.  The  conversations, the pop culture references, and the street talk all lend to the  realism.  We feel as though, when its all said and done, we know these  characters.  We know their backstories, we know what kind of a person they are. 

     We certainly know The Bride (Uma Thurman) and Bill (the late David Carradine), the two central characters of the film.  Bill commits the most evil and  brutal of crimes when The Bride leaves his team of assassins for a normal life,  crashing her wedding rehearsal and murdering everyone.  The Bride lives.  And  so goes the story as The Bride systematically tracks down each member of her  former team: Bud, Elle, Vernitta, O-Ren, and Bill.  Each team member is given  screen time for their back story and when each one faces off with The Bride, it     means that much more.  As the beginning of the film states, “Revenge is a dish  best served cold.”  It doesn’t get any colder.

     Tarantino proves to be a fine action director in this film.  His grasp, study, and  love of Asian cinema really comes out here.  Many of the fight scenes in this film,  specifically the showdown at The House of Blue Leaves and the fight with Elle  Driver are some of the best fight scenes ever captured on film.  Blood spurts  everywhere and the techniques seen are brutal and effective with very little wire  work.  Uma Thurman proves to be a machine and Tarantino’s touches, such as  the Bruce Lee “Game of Death” suit make her scenes in the first half of the film  eye catching.  I have a 13” statue of The Bride on my desk at home, a true treasure!

     While Kill Bill didn’t get its due during awards season, I give Kill Bill the gold seal for being the decades most complete film.  A film which stands up to  repeated viewing and like Pulp Fiction, is a time capsule of sorts for the time in  which it was made.  20 years from now, a person could view this film and come  away with a complete understanding of what our society’s motivations were, what  our culture was like, and how people interacted, and communicated.  Not a very  positive snapshot for sure, but Tarantino is a realist.  So am I.  GRADE: A+

     So there it is.  My 2000-2009 Decade Top 10 List. As I mentioned in the beginning,  I feel it is necessary to include a list of 20 more which were given consideration and have every right to be on this list as well.  You can’t go wrong with any of these films either.  The list is presented alphabetically:

Batman Begins  (Directed by Christopher Nolan - 2005) Grade: A

The Bourne Identity  (Directed by Doug Liman - 2002) Grade: A

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (Directed by - Mark Herman - 2008) Grade: A

The Dark Knight (Directed by Christopher Nolan - 2008) Grade: A

The Departed  (Directed by Martin Scorsese - 2006) Grade: A+

Finding Nemo (Directed by Andrew Stanton - 2003) Grade: A+

Gladiator (Directed by Ridley Scott - 2000) Grade: A

Gran Torino (Directed by Clint Eastwood - 2008) Grade: A

The Hurt Locker (Directed by Kathryn Bigelow - 2009) Grade: A

Inglourious Basterds (Directed by Quentin Tarantino - 2009) Grade: A+

Juno (Directed by Jason Reitman - 2007) Grade: A

Little Miss Sunshine (Directed by Jonathon Dayton / Valerie Faris - 2006) Grade: A

Memento (Directed by Christopher Nolan - 2000) Grade: A

Monsters Inc. (Directed by Peter Docter / David Silverman - 2001) Grade: A+

Napoleon Dynamite (Directed by Jared Hess - 2004) Grade: A

Spiderman 2 (Directed by Sam Raimi - 2004) Grade: A+

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith  (Directed by George Lucas - 2005) Grade: A

Training Day (Directed by Antoine Fuqua - 2001) Grade: A

Up In The Air (Directed by Jason Reitman - 2009) Grade: A

The Wrestler (Directed by Darren Aronofsky - 2008) Grade: A