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 5th installment of the Avengers is a cinematic masterpiece.
I will countdown 5 movies at a time until we reach my number 1 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…
75. Children of Men (2006)
US. Director Alfonso Cuaron.
The movie “Children of Men” takes place in Britain in 2027, the last nation in a world of complete chaos. That isn’t to say that Britain is a safe place either, there is violence everywhere, they have officially cut off their borders to immigrants and are now ruled by a sort of police state. The movie starts in a coffee shop where Theo (Clive Owen) watches a television report that the world’s youngest person was stabbed to death at the age of 18. There has not been a child born in the world in 18 years, we don’t know what has caused the world’s infertility, and honestly the why isn’t that important to the story. Theo meets up with Julian (Julianne Moore), the leader of a militant group fighting for immigrant rights. Eventually Theo meets the aptly named Key and eventually it is revealed that Key is pregnant, the one problem is that she is an immigrant and they need to protect her. The future is startling believable, and the long action shots created by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, show us once again why he is the best in the business. I loved the ending personally and I won’t ruin it for you here, but this film changed the game for action films going forward.
74.Let the Right One In (2008)
US. Director Alfonso Cuaron.
This film by Thomas Alfredson proves once again not to judge a book by its cover, it took me a couple years to watch this film for no other reason than it was a vampire movie and I typically don’t like movies about vampires. Alfredson and screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist give us a new and just as dark spin on a very old story. Oskar is an unpopular 12 year old boy of divorced parents who don’t seem to want anything to do with him. He is picked on viciously at school by his classmates, which is why he was out in the snow in the middle of the night stabbing a tree with a knife, no doubt imagining it was one of his antagonists from school. His actions catch the attention of Eli, who on appearance seems to be a pale girl around the same age as Oskar. Eli and Oskar share the same plight of loneliness, which helps them form their bond. This is sort of a love story but not the kind you might suspect. This movie is beautifully shot but certainly doesn’t skip on the gore, and it surprisingly has some very funny moments as well. This film will appeal to both people like me who don’t really enjoy your classic vampire movie as well as your horror film traditionalist.
73.Lost in Translation (2003)
US. Director Sophia Coppola.
This filmed that was written and directed by Sophia Coppola and it ensured that finally Sophia would no longer be best remembered for giving us the absolute worst acting performance of the her father’s “Godfather Trilogy” movies. She actually wrote the lead specifically for Bill Murray, and said she wasn’t even positive he was going to show up for the film, as they only had a verbal confirmation. It wasn’t until the first day of filming that Murray actually showed up. I love Bill Murray, and this movie is the best he’s ever been as an actor, he could have easily turned his character Bob Harris into Bill Murray and he did the right thing by staying in character. Scarlet Johansson was only 17 years old at the time of filming, which makes her performance as a 20 something newlywed that much more impressive. I re-watched this movie recently and it reminded me of the type of actress Johansson was in this film and in an even earlier film “Ghost World”, and it made me wonder if she would ever take on the roles that show the type of actress she can be ever again, I certainly hope so. I wouldn’t call “Lost in Translation” a love story, in fact the bond they create is the type of bond you can only really create with someone you just met, and that’s what’s so lovely about it. It is also one of my favorite subtle endings in recent movie history.
72. Primer (2004)
US. Director Shane Carruth.
Shane Carruth writes, directs, and stars in this complicated, original, Sci-Fi thriller. This is one of those movies that you almost have to watch twice to appreciate what it is exactly you are seeing, you have to be patient especially early in the film, the movie almost lost me completely in the first 10 minutes. The story really evolves around the two main characters, Aaron and Abe, who working in their garage think they may have accidentally created a time altering device. Carruth doesn’t dumb things down, and the technical components of the story are certainly beyond the average viewer’s scope, but it’s not necessary to understand the technical stuff in order to follow the story. I think what I like so much about this story (outside of the originality that Carruth’s script brings to the screen) is that the two main characters seem as unsure of what is happening at times as the viewer does. If you are in the mood to not have to think and are looking for some mind numbing action film, do not watch this film, this film is a puzzle that both the characters and the viewer attempt to piece together at the same time.
71.The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Arg. Director Walter Salles.
This film is a biopic of a 5,000 mile road trip taken by two young men in 1952, traveled mostly on a beat up motorcycle from Argentina to a leper colony in Peru. The two travel companions are 23 year old Ernesto “Fuser” Guevara de la Serna who is a year away from completing his medical degree and his older, more gregarious friend Alberto Granado a biochemist. If the first name sounds familiar it’s because he is the same man that went on to become the internationally famous Marxist guerrilla commander and revolutionary Che Guevara. At the very least you have seen his likeness on a t-shirt I’m sure. This story shows how Ernesto was first exposed to some of the injustices of the people they come across in their travels that no doubt started to shape some of the ideals of what he becomes later in life. This story isn’t, however, about Che, it’s more about South America and the journey both physically and philosophically of two young men seeing the continent they love, really for the first time. If this is your first exposure to the actor Gael Garcia Bernal, who plays Ernesto, you are in for a real treat, he is one of the more talented performers in the world.
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