Films of the 21st Century

Top 25 films of the 21st century:

  1. In Bruges (Martin McDonagh)
  2. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  3. The Social Network (David Fincher)
  4. Inglorious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
  5. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)
  6. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
  7. No Country For Old Men (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
  8. Adventureland (Greg Mottola)
  9. Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton)
  10. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
  11. Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
  12. Lucky Number Slevin (Paul McGuigan)
  13. The Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson)
  14. Inside Out (Pete Docter)
  15. Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott)
  16. Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton)
  17. City of God (Fernando Meirelles)
  18. Memento (Christopher Nolan)
  19. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón)
  20. Superbad (Greg Mottola)
  21. Gladiator (Ridley Scott)
  22. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola)
  23. Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
  24. 3:10 To Yuma (James Mangold)
  25. Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn)

Top films of the 21st century Honorable Mention:

  • Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki)
  • The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
  • The Town (Ben Affleck)
  • The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)
  • Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe)
  • The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan)
  • Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
  • Avatar (James Cameron)
  • The Big Short (Adam McKay)
  • Inside Man (Spike Lee)
  • Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)

 

Top 10 Comedy Films of the 21st century:

  1. Adventureland (Greg Mottola)
  2. Superbad (Greg Mottola)
  3. Knocked Up (Judd Apatow)
  4. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola)
  5. Sideways (Alexander Payne)
  6. Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
  7. Juno (Jason Reitman)
  8. The Wolf of Wallstreet (Martin Scorsese)
  9. Mean Girls (Mark Waters)
  10. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)

Top 10 Horror Films of the 21st century:

  1. Let the Right One in (Tomas Alfredson)
  2. The Witch (Robert Eggers)
  3. The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)
  4. Paranormal Activity 3 (Ariel Schulman)
  5. The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard)
  6. The Others (Alejandro Amenábar)
  7. It Follows (David Robert Mitchell)
  8. The Mist (Frank Darabont)
  9. American Psycho (Mary Harron)
  10. Saw (James Wan)

Top 10 films of the 21st century that I Could Watch Over and Over Again:

  1. The Social Network (David Fincher)
  2. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Brad Bird)
  3. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
  4. Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
  5. Superbad (Greg Mottola)
  6. Chef (Jon Favreau)
  7. Troy (Wolfgang Peterson)
  8. Mean Girls (Mark Waters)
  9. Knocked Up (Judd Apatow)
  10. 8 Mile (Curtis Hanson)

Top 10 Romance Films of the 21st century:

  1. Adventureland (Greg Mottola)
  2. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola)
  3. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russel)
  4. Brooklyn (John Crowley)
  5. Juno (Jason Reitman)
  6. Her (Spike Jonze)
  7. 500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb)
  8. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
  9. The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt)
  10. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee)

Top 10 Sports Films  of the 21st century:

  1. Friday Night Lights (Peter Berg)
  2. The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)
  3. Moneyball (Bennett Miller)
  4. Lords of Dogtown (Catherine Hardwicke)
  5. Warrior (Gavin O’Connor)
  6. Creed (Ryan Coogler)
  7. Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood
  8. Fighter (David O. Russell)
  9. Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
  10. Hardball (Brian Robbins)

Top 10 Animated Films  of the 21st century:

  1. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
  2. Inside out (Pete Docter)
  3. Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton)
  4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki)
  5. Shrek (Vicky Jenson, Andrew Adamson)
  6. Up (Pete Docter, Bob Peterson)
  7. Wall-E (Andrew Stanton)
  8. Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush)
  9. Monsters, Inc. (Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, David Silverman)
  10. The Incredibles (Brad Bird)

Top 10 War Films  of the 21st century:

  1. Inglorious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
  2. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)
  3. Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott)
  4. American Sniper (Clint Eastwood)
  5. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
  6. Enemy at the Gates (Jean-Jacques Annaud)
  7. Troy (Wolfgang Peterson)
  8. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)
  9. The Pianist (Roman Polanski)
  10. Beasts Of No Nation (Cary Fukunaga)

Top 10 Music Films of the 21st century:

  1. Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe)
  2. Inside Llewyn Davis (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
  3. Crazy Heart (Scott Cooper)
  4. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
  5. 8 Mile (Curtis Hanson)
  6. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
  7. Straight Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray)
  8. Walk The Line (James Mangold)
  9. School of Rock (Richard Linklater)
  10. Ray (Taylor Hackford)

Top 10 Science Fiction Films of the 21st century:

  1. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón)
  2. Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
  3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
  4. Avatar (James Cameron)
  5. Minority Report (Steven Spielberg)
  6. The Martian (Ridley Scott)
  7. Source Code (Duncan Jones)
  8. 28 Days later (Danny Boyle)
  9. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
  10. Signs (M. Night Shyamalan)

Top 5 Found Footage films of the 21st century:

  1. End of Watch (David Ayer)
  2. Cloverfield (Matt Reeves)
  3. Paranormal Activity 3 (Ariel Schulman)
  4. Chronicle (Josh Trank)
  5. Paranormal Activity (Ariel Schulman)

Top 10 Hidden Gems of the 21st century:

  1. Adventureland (Greg Mottola)
  2. Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton)
  3. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
  4. Chef (Jon Favreau)
  5. Safety Not Guaranteed (Colin Trevorrow)
  6. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
  7. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (Macon Blair)
  8. Punch Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  9.  The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt)
  10. Stranger than Fiction (Marc Forster)

Top 10 Obscene-Budget-Action-Explosion-Pump-Up Guilty Pleasure films of the 21st century:

  1. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
  2. Apocalypto (Mel Gibson)
  3. Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol (Brad Bird)
  4. Crank (Brian Taylor)
  5. Furious 7 (James Wan)
  6. Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gun)
  7. Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro)
  8. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)
  9. Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino)
  10. John Wick (Chad Stahelski, David Leitch)

Naked and Afraid

While the rest of America pretended to be entertained by the NFL draft, I treated myself to a reality show that’s got entertainment value in spades. The show I am referring to is called Naked and Afraid. If you haven’t seen it, you are most likely under the impression that I am writing about an HBO late-night-soft-core porno or maybe a slasher film, but you are sadly mistaken. If you have seen it, you can go ahead and skip down a paragraph or two, while I explain the plot to these other idiots.

Two survivalists, one man, one woman, (who are either ex-military or that person you tell your kids not to stare at in downtown Los Angeles) are stripped of everything, including their clothes, and dropped into hostile environments. First they are assigned a P.S.R. or a “Primitive Survival Rating”, which takes attributes like mental toughness, experience and probably insanity and assigns them a score out of ten; with a one being the lowest and a ten being a Katniss Everdeen. They are given one survival item each, which usually ends up being a hatchet/machete and a flint….or fire starter…thing…. and then they are sent off into some ridiculous jungle, desert or swamp. The challenge: see if they can survive in the wilderness for 21 days completely naked and completely afraid.

What I really want to do is talk about the last episode which takes place in Bolivia. This is probably the best episode I have seen and it ended in suspense and mystery. But first, some quick background info about Bolivia, it is located in South America and it is pretty much like every other South American Country. Or in other words, It is hot, everyone likes soccer, there is probably a rainforest or two, a couple panthers, and a few dozen old ladies carrying baskets on their heads. Anyways, the reason this episode is so crazy is not because of the environment, but because of the female cast member, Sabrina. With a P.S.R. score of only 6.7, she falls somewhere between Dora the Explorer and a cameraman on Man vs. Wild. She then goes on to do three of the strangest, most memorable things, I have ever seen on reality TV.

1) Sabrina starts by introducing herself as an “American Witch”. If I am her male co-survivor, all i’m thinking is Shit!! Mainly because everyone knows that muggles are better suited for primitive survival because they haven’t been babied by their magical abilities all their lives. Plus, this witch is not a cool witch like Hermione or Selena Gomez, she is one of the bad ones… like the redheaded witch from Hocus Pocus. Throughout the 21 days, she wastes her energy making little witchy sculptures that look like what goth kids draw in their notebooks. Meanwhile, her partner is contracting, and I quote, “three kinds of jungle diseases”, including Malaria! So, either this lady was casting spells on him from day one or he was just off on his own rolling up jungle plants and smoking them. In the end, it says his recovery is on-going. I just want to take a second to truly appreciate the craziness that took place here. What other reality show has witches and people actually getting fatal diseases on the set? That guy is either dead or dying and he had a  P.S.R. score of 8-point-something which only puts him a little bit behind Liam Neeson.

2)  Her partner eventually gave up and was probably air-lifted to the best medical facility in Bolivia or in other words, the airport where he was then immediately flown to the U.S. where the doctors wear shoes.  Completely alone, Sabrina decides to pursue what I like to call, “The Wilson Approach“. The Wilson Approach comes from the hit film Castaway. In the movie, although I am sure you have seen it, Tom Hanks is trapped on an island for years all by himself. During his time he befriends a volleyball that washed up on shore with him. He draws a face on the ball, names it Wilson, and then proceeds to talk to it all the way up to the moment when Wilson floats away and breaks everyone’s heart. Well, Sabrina the witch took a very similar approach by drawing a smiley face on a rock and naming him “Mushroom Man”. As lovable as Wilson undoubtedly is, I would like to make some quick comparisons to demonstrate some key differences between Wilson and Mushroom Man. First of all, Tom Hanks is stuck on the island for 5 years (or something like that, I haven’t seen it in awhile) so befriending a volleyball is arguably reasonable behavior. Sabrina is about a week-and-a-half into her journey, is was only alone for like 20 minutes before she starts talking to Mushroom man. Secondly, Tom Hanks names Wilson after its brand of volleyball, a logical thought process even for someone who is friends with an inanimate object. Sabrina on the other hand, names her rock Mushroom Man even though the rock does not resemble a mushroom in any way. Image

3) Sabrina pulls of one of the boldest strategies I have ever seen in a survival situation. After being left alone to fend for herself while her partner selfishly dies in a Bolivian hospital, Sabrina begins to starve. She manages to hike about 30 feet from camp to a lovely little area at the base of a waterfall. The two survivors had been using this area to fish, cool off, and contract jungle diseases through their urethras (not sure if that’s the plural for urethra or not). However, famished from her lack of food, Sabrina is unable to catch any live prey. She has all but given up, when she finds, and I shit you not, a decaying bird head. Yes… a decaying bird head. She picks it up and as gross as it is, the audience takes a small amount of comfort in the fact that she is a survivalist, and no self-respecting survivalist would eat a decaying bird head. But then we remember, this is no ordinary survivor… this is a Rock-naming witch lady. Now, I know I am in no place to give wilderness survival advice. Realistically, I would have a P.S.R. of about 0.7 because I am Jewish and I can’t even tie a fishing knot, but even I know you shouldn’t eat decaying bird heads. However, Sabrina apparently skipped the “what to do when you come across a rancid old bird carcass” lesson at nut-job school, and she ate that bird head like her mamma made it. Soon after, she was rushed to a hospital and treated for Appendicitis, Hepatitises A-Z, and pretty much every other infection known to man kind. Luckily,  she is expected to make a full recovery.

Although, like I said, this is one of the better episodes of Naked and Afraid, there are a few unresolved issues. Did the male survivor, Vincent, ever recover? Is there a massive law suit against Naked and Afraid (probably not because I’m sure they sign about ten waivers)? What house was Sabrina placed in at Hogwarts? Did she get to keep Mushroom Man? If she did, did she divorce her husband (yes she is married) to be with Mushroom Man instead? The world may never know. Anyways, I urge you to tune in Sunday nights at 9PM ET/PT to catch the next thrilling episode of Naked and Afraid…. Unless you have HBO then watch Game of Thrones instead.

Next Year at the Oscars

The last two Academy Awards have been filled to the brim with exceptional films  and actors, but how will Hollywood maintain this standard of excellence without any new original ideas? How will the directors, writers and actors on the B and C list compete? What diversity will the protagonist of the best picture overcome? I invite you to an exclusive sneak preview about some ground breaking films that will be coming soon to a theater near you.

Citizen Kane in 3D. 

Digitally remastered to bring you the same excruciatingly boring plot for twice the price of admission. Now with ninety minutes of bonus footage.  Why not let a classic remain untouched? Because everything is better in 3D.

Finding Nemo 2: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Join Nemo, Dori, Marlin, the and the rest of the gang for a whole new adventure when Nemo’s spring break trip to the Gulf of Mexico takes an unexpected turn.

Mean Girls: The Untold Saga of Glen Coco

In this psychological thriller, Glen Coco, a sure winner of Spring Fling King, has the crown ripped unjustly from him and placed atop the head of his arch-nemesis, Shane Oman. Glen, distraught from the unprecedented loss, begins digging and uncovers a sinister student government conspiracy that stretches from the sexually active band geeks all the way to the plastics. Glen Coco will stop at nothing to restore his good name, but in a school where no one can be trusted and nothing is what it seems, how far is too far?

Spiderman Again

Same plot. Same Arachnid. Same drama. Totally different cast. Because coming up with new ideas is super hard.

Explosions

From visionary director, Michael Bay, comes a blockbuster hit about Dwayne ‘the rock’ Johnson and his fight to save a densely populated North American city from a bunch of enormous robots/aliens. Recovering from the initial attack and completely out of ideas, the U.S. government turns to an ex-convict/survivalist/NASCAR driver and his smokin’ hot girlfriend for help. Will bazookas and huge muscles be enough to stop the robot/alien menace?        Yeah, probably.

Affluenza 

The story of that rich dick-bag kid, Ethan Couch, who ran over those people with his car, and the lawyer that came up with the Affluenza (spoiled rotten) defense that got him off the hook. Starring Joffrey from Game of Thrones as Ethan Couch.

The Longest Ride

Another Nicholas Sparks book turned into a Valentine’s day date. Its going to be romantic. Its going to be depressing. Your girlfriend is going to want to see it.

Oscar

Named after the best picture nomination it will undoubtedly receive, this fictional bio-pic tells the story of Oscar, a Gay-Jewish-Black-HIV positive- Slave/Holocaust survivor, who despite aging in reverse and having a terrible stutter, eventually grows up to be a victim in the 9/11 attacks. Starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Her, Directed by Spike Jonze

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Spike Jonze’s new film, Her, covers the strange and unlikely romantic relationship between Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) and his operating system. It has been a critical success and aside from a few extremely uncomfortable scenes, was one of the better movies I have seen this year.

Although the film is essentially about a man being in love with his computer, I did not find the plot unbelievable at all. In fact, the only part I was skeptical of was that Joaquin Phoenix would ever have a chance to go home with Olivia Wilde when he’s rockin’ a pedophile mustache that would give Jerry Sandusky the creeps. But the idea of someone falling in love with their operating system is not entirely far-fetched. I mean, personally, I think SIRI is a total B-word, but give her the ability to feel, learn, joke, love, and Scarlett Johansson’s voice… we’ve got ourselves a whole different kind of situation.

Even  if you could never see yourself having phone sex with Scarlett’s bodiless voice,  I am sure you can at least buy one of the underlining metaphors of the film. The film basically reflects the increasing disengagement that us humans have with our physical surroundings and the way we are dependent on technology.  How many times have you seen multiple people sitting next to each other but  all fully immersed in their iPhones? And how often have you been to a concert where, instead of watching the show, everyone is snapchatting it to someone else? We get so caught up in the thousands of conversations we have online or via text message, that we forget about our actual lives. In fact, this metaphor becomes even more apparent when the operating system herself isn’t even satisfied with one conversation.

SPOILER ALERT: The operating system ends up maintaining some astronomical amount of simultaneous conversations and even falling in love with a number of them, which she confesses to Theodore Twombly towards the end of the film. Her does a good job of subtly explaining how we are rapidly losing our interpersonal skills and in a not-so-distant-future might be able to get by without any real human contact whatsoever.

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Phoenix does a great job of getting the audience to generally feel his emotions and pain and you find yourself rooting for the success of his unusual relationship. The operating system, Samantha, breaks your heart with her Pinocchio-esque need to be a real human. She feels that the only difference between her and a human is her body, or lack thereof and she wants so badly to be able to touch and feel Theodore, but sadly she cannot.

It may seem ridiculous, but  midway through the film I actually started to see the operating system as a human and it really got me thinking. If an artificial intelligence has the capacity to learn, and feel and even have original thoughts, why couldn’t you consider it a human? It was Descartes, one of the most famous philosophers of all time, who said, “Cogito Ergo Sum,” which translates to “I think, therefore I am.”  Can Samantha, the operating system not think? Is she not self-aware? Did she not name herself Samantha!? You may argue that the difference between her and a human is the five senses. Well Samantha can’t taste, smell or touch but she can hear and see through the microphone and camera lens of Theodore’s cellphone. Would you say that a person born without a sense of taste or smell is any less human?

Now, I am not here to say that the operating system is a human or not, but I was certainly impressed with the way Her made me question what it is to be human. Despite me ruining a solid portion of the plot, if you have not seen it already, I highly recommend the film. If not for the poetic dialogue, the exceptional acting, or seeing Amy Adams in an almost unrecognizable role, then see it for some information about an innovative new use for dead cats.