The 100 Greatest Movies Of The Last 15 Years
By Tyler Smyth
FAM, in all their infinite wisdom, has asked me to create a list of the best movies of the last 15 years for our readers. The films that will populate this list were not chosen simply because they are my favorites, they were chosen based on their cinematic merits. The fact that they happen to also be my personal favorites should only serve to further bolster my reputation as FAM’s de facto “critico cinematografico esperto”.
Let’s face it, most people have horrible taste in movies, and if you are unsure if you fall into this category, just swing by our message boards and tell me your favorite movies and I’ll tell you how bad they are. I don’t blame you though, it’s really not your fault. It has more to do with the fact that you don’t know about some of the greatest films ever made than it does with you actually thinking the fifth installment of The Avengers is a cinematic masterpiece.
I will countdown five movies at a time until we reach my number one film of the past 15 years. My guess is you’ve never heard of it.
If you need to catch up, you can. Right here:
Now, on to our main event…
40. Talk To Her (2006)
Spa. Director Pedro Almodovar
Two men, Benigno and Marco, devote themselves to women who are in comas, but their stories and how they got there are very different. Believe it or not, neither of them work on oil rigs in the Gulf.
Marco is a freelance journalist who, after seeking out Lydia Gonazlez (a famous female matador ends) up starting a relationship with her. They attend a wedding and she tells him they need to talk about something very important she but wants to wait until after her bullfight. Lydia is gored by the bull in the fight and ends up in a coma that doctors fear she will never wake up from.
Meanwhile, Benigno is the nurse for Alicia, a gorgeous dancer who ends up in a coma after a traffic accident. Benigno lived across from the ballet studio where Alicia trained and had been in love with her from afar before her accident. The two men meet and talk about the women they have devoted themselves to, and become friends. The movie flashes back and forth from past, present, and future and we see how unhealthy that Benigno’s love for Alicia really is. It is up to us to determine what love really is. Almadovar is one of the best story tellers out there and his movies take our feelings in all different directions and this might be his best work.
39. Timbuktu (2014)
Fra. Director Abderrahmane Sissako
Sissako’s film “Timbuktu” is one of the most visually appeasing films you will ever see, it manages to do this without taking away from the meaning of the film, which is exactly what makes this such a spectacular watch.
The film take place in and on the outskirts of the famous city of Timbuktu, a city that seems lost in time despite the modern use of cell phones by everyone there. The city is being taken siege by jihadists who use violence to rule the people and force their version of faith on them. A cattle herder Kidane along with his wife and daughter live in the country away from most of the carnage until one day everything changes with the death of his cow “GPS”. Kidane’s cow is killed by a local fisherman and when he confronts him a fight ensues and results in the death of the fisherman in what might be the most beautifully shot scene in the film.
Sissako shows us a world most don’t realize exists and yet we walk away feeling like we understand, while humanizing everyone not just the victims. It is a film of hopelessness, despair, and hope wrapped together beautifully.
38. A History of Violence (2005)
US Director David Cronenberg
Cronenberg is everything in a director that David Fincher wants to be but just can’t seem to pull off. I’ve been a Cronenberg fan for as long as I can remember, but I truly believe that this is his best and most rounded film to date. It tells the story of Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen), a local family man and diner owner in a one stoplight town whose life changes after he breaks up an attempted robbery at his establishment. Tom becomes a small town celebrity and even makes the national news, catching the attention of gangsters from Philadelphia who come to pay Tom a visit thinking they know him as Joey from another life back east.
Cronenberg delivers his most normal film for himself, showing a fairly average family dynamic between husband-wife and father-son but the suspense and violence builds in true Cronenberg fashion. It comes to a head back in Philadelphia where Tom travels to put an end to it all, finally. It even manages to survive a cringe-worthy acting performance by Ashton Holmes who plays the son in this film. I think that William Hurt’s performance at the end of the movie was so brilliant that it trumps any bad performance by the son. If Cronenberg’s films like “Crash”, “Dead Ringers”, and “Spider” are a little too weird for you, fear not, this film is up everyone’s alley.
37. Shame (2011)
UK Director Steve McQueen
McQueen and Fassbender team up again for the 3rd time on this countdown to bring us the film “Shame”, a story of New Yorker Brandon who’s unable to control his sexual desires. Just like when the two teamed up in “Hunger”, Fassbender’s ability to throw himself into a physically demanding and taxing roll is what allows McQueen to tell such emotionally raw stories.
When the lead’s hot mess of a sister, played by the brilliant Casey Mulligan, shows up at his door unexpectedly, his private world is turned upside down. They both share a horrible secret about their upbringing that has most definitely turned them into who they are today, one that the director correctly never shares with the audience. It is hinted at and I have my theory but I’ll will let you form your own on what it may be. We watch Brandon spiral more out of control as his sexual desires become harder to harness. McQueen in currently the best in the business at bringing us raw, unflinching films and I think this is currently his best work.
36. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Aus Director George Miller
The architect of the Mad Max franchise George Miller did the impossible, he brought back a classic after decades and improved upon it greatly. I’m personally not a huge action film guy, but this film was just an amazing viewing experience in the theater. There is a reason that this film won 6 Oscars for Editing, Costume Design, Makeup, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Production Design; it may be the best action film ever made.
It’s so perfect in what it accomplishes that I am probably doing it disservice ranking 35 movies ahead of it. This film shows all comic book films what they could accomplish if they didn’t push out cookie cutter scripts to make money and actually tried to create art. I have a feeling that when Michael Bay and Christopher Nolan watched this film in the theater they tried to sneak out the back without being noticed, realizing they don’t belong on the same field as Miller. I can only hope that the makers of action films took notice and attempt to build off of what Miller created, instead of taking the easy way out.
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