Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Fifteen Years in Review: My Favorites

Hello, gang!

I have a couple of things planned for the near future (including an legitimately epic giveaway that was supposed to happen 8 months ago *laughing crying face*), but for my immediate return, I thought I'd make a list. I LOVE LISTS.

I'm not quite prepared to deliver my fifteen faves of 2015 list yet, 'cause there are just a couple of titles I still need to see before I finalize. However, instead, I am going to talk about my fifteen faves of the first fifteen years of the 21st century. (I almost just wrote 22nd century, because I legit don't ever know what year it is. True story: on NYE, I turned to a friend and said, "How can it be 2006?!" I was 100% sober.)

I know. I know. It's getting a little modern around here.

But, what can I say. We're fifteen years into 2000. In five years, things from 2000 can be officially classified as vintage. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN. I started the year 2000 as a bright, happy, unusually smart five-year-old. I start 2016 as a broke[en], persevering, only slightly above average in a couple areas (but hopelessly average in most/completely useless in some areas) twenty-one-year-old. Man.

Anyway. On that cheery note, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

For this list, I will be detailing my favorite film of every year (+ runner-up if applicable). Do note that this is not a greatest list, except perhaps by the criteria Roger Ebert used where great = unable to bear the thought of never seeing again.

Ready? Steady? Goooooooo!

2000: In The Mood For Love dir. Wong Kar-wai

Breathlessly lovely. The noodle-buying song [as I manglishly refer to it] is utterly thrilling, and I listen to it often.

EDIT FROM THE FUTURE AFTER I HAVE FINISHED WRITING THIS POST: Remember that I chose a Wong Kar-wai first, cause it's about to get pretty critically dire for like ten years. Okay, bye! ENJOY THE PRESENT! THE FUTURE IS A NIGHTMARE.

Runner-up: The Emperor's New Groove dir. Mark Dindal

2001: The Princess Diaries dir. Garry Marshall

I was seven, guys. It was also the first film I saw in theatres. ALSO, THIS MOVIE IS THE GREATEST. CAN WE TALK ABOUT THAT FOR A LITTLE BIT. Because it's a cross between a waltz and a tango. It's a wango. Also, hair. Voltaire. I would like to talk about the French revolution.

Runner-up: Moulin Rouge! dir. Baz Luhrmann
I don't know. Ewan McGregor started wailing/cry-singing COME WHAT MAAAAY and I didn't stop to think about it.

P.S. Just so you can fully hate all of my opinions, I want you to know that my second runner-up is Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Objectively a bad movie, yes.

2002: Ice Age dir. Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha

One of the greatest animated films ever made. This thing gets me. I'm also partial, because I recently won a game of Heads-Up by quoting "The lassssssst melon" to successfully get someone to guess dodo bird. Great times.  

Runner-up: Main in Manhattan dir. Wayne Wang
I should be embarrassed, but I'm not, because I love Ralph Fiennes and this is just past peak Fiennes and if loving Ralph Fiennes is wrong THEN I DON'T WANT TO LIVE ANYMORE. 

Also, completely random aside. I just noticed that Tuck Everlasting was released this year, which is insane. I remember watching almost all of it at my neighbor's house when it first came out on DVD, but I had to go home before it was finished and I never saw the end, but it deeply unsettled me and I still have distinct memories of distinct images. But, I've never, ever watched it again or seen the ending. 

2003: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl dir. Gore Verbinski

I will defend this movie to anyone. Although it may have birthed an unholy monster (the fourth film is not as bad as the two first sequels), this first film is an utter delight. I didn't see this in theaters, but I did get to see it on my tenth birthday (2004). I remember the entire thing vividly because my best friend came over for a sleepover, but the the power went out. We ate spaghetti by candlelight and then my dad hooked up the generator so that I could watch this movie. Aside from personal memories, this movie is just gosh darned delightful.

Runner-up: X-Men 2 dir. Bryan Singer 
As a rule, I'm not a big fan of superhero films--but I put mutants as an exception to that rule. This isn't my absolute favorite X-Men film (that would be 2014's Days of Future Past), but it is brilliant. Alan Cumming should just be in every movie ever. He is inwincible!

2nd Runner-up: Shattered Glass dir. Billy Ray
This movie is just awesome. I love the cast. I love the shifting protagonist POV. I love everything.

Important side-note: another Lara Croft movie was released this year and it is almost as excellent as the first. Its only downfall is costarring Gerard Butler instead of Daniel Craig. That's it. 

2004: National Treasure dir. Jon Turteltaub

When I thought of the idea to make this list, I was thinking that I was gonna have some great, unusual choices on here. Nope. It's all little Millie loving life. I can't lie to myself. I WAS TEN.

Runner-up: Ella Enchanted dir. Tommy O'Haver
Still hilarious. Also, my first DVD ever (well, technically, I got it for Christmas the same day that I also received a Bob Hope/Bing Crosby "Road to" collection). Also, I was a Hugh Dancy fan a million years before it was cool.

2005: Batman Begins dir. Christopher Nolan 

Okay. I also make a superhero exception for this movie. I've loved this movie since it first came out, but I've never gotten around to watching/really cared to watch the rest of the trilogy. I'm the worst. Also, this movie has Liam Neeson AND Ken Watanabe. 

Runner-up: The Constant Gardener dir. Fernando Meirelles
ARGGHHH. My feelings about this film are quite complicated. As a movie, I love it. Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz are both stunningly perfect in it. However, this film is also horrifically guilty of using Africa and African people as simply a backdrop for its white, Western protagonists. I love this movie and hate it at the same time.

2006: Casino Royale dir. Martin Cambell

My favorite Bond film of all time. It's a nearly perfect film (in Millie-terms). It was strong on its own, but somehow becomes even stronger when viewed with the next three films in mind. VESPER LYND.

Runner-up: Penelope dir. Mark Palansky
Imaginative and whimsical with offbeat humor and a dark streak running through it. Plus, an insanely talented cast.  

2nd Runner-up: The Fall dir. Tarsem
This is film. 

2007: Enchanted dir. Kevin Lima

Alright. This list is actually out of control, but Amy Adams is the queen of everything, and I don't care.

Runner-up: Eagle vs. Shark dir. Taika Waititi 
I love these crazy New Zealanders. Waititi, in particular, is a formidable talent.

2008: Wall-E dir. Andrew Stanton

WALL-E IS THE FIRST MOVIE I SAW MORE THAN ONCE IN THEATERS. It is devastating and hopeful. That poster tag-line already makes me want to cry. The best onscreen robot since since Hewey, Dewey, and Louie!

Runner-up: Taken dir. Pierre Morel
Ridiculous, yes. Espousing a system of justice that relies on vigilante justice, yes. Reactionary views, yes. Liam Neeson killing everyone, YES. 

2nd Runner-up: In Bruges dir. Martin McDonagh
Horrifying and so very funny. Ralph Fiennes is simply delightful. 

2009: Moon dir. Duncan Jones

 Utterly glorious. This movie is small, yet ambitious. Sam Rockwell is freakishly extraordinary as he carries basically the entire film (with an assist from a Kevin Spacey voiced computer).

Runner-up: Fantastic Mr. Fox dir. Wes Anderson
My absolute favorite Anderson film. I laugh every time. Of course, stop-motion animation was the perfect medium for Anderson's obsessive art detail. 

2nd Runner-up: The Young Victoria dir. Jean-Marc Vallée
At one point, this was my ultimate comfort film. I would fall asleep to it every night. I still adore it. A stacked cast with particularly lovely performances from Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend.

2010: Beginners dir. Mike Mills

Can I cry about the loveliness?! *sigh* The most perfect cast in the whole world. Ewan + Melanie is perfection. Cosmo the dog kills. AND CHRISTOPHER STINKIN' PLUMMER EARNED THAT OSCAR.

Runner-up: The Trip dir. Michael Winterbottom
Hilarious, and oddly poignant. Also, nothing beats dueling Michael Caine impressions.

2011: The Artist dir Michel Hazanavicius

This movie was not too popular with the classic film community, but I adored it. Perhaps it did not fully mimic the style of the true silents, but it certainly captured the feelings that emanated from a classic Hollywood film; especially that glorious ending. Also, Jean DuJardin is simply the most classic Hollywood type star that exists today. 

Runner-up: Hugo dir. Martin Scorsese 
I got my license just days before seeing this, and I remember thinking a lot about "growing up" and such. And, then, this film perfectly captured the joy of film that perhaps is best captured by a child. LITTLE HUGO IS THE CUTEST KID EVER AND I STILL CAN'T HANDLE IT. 

A million runner-ups: This was a great year for Millie movies. So many. A couple recs: The Adventures of Tintin, Haywire, and X-Men: First Class.

2012: Beasts of the Southern Wild dir. Benh Zeitlin

You might have noticed that I love low-budget, low-effects, but high-concept slightly sci-fiish films. Blame Rod Serling having too much influence on baby Millie. This one is a delight. Quvenzhane Wallis is an extraordinary talent.

Runner-up: Man on a Ledge dir. Asger Leth
The movie responsible for making me into that impossible paradox: A Sam Worthington fan. *shakes fist*

2nd Runner-up: Barbara dir. Christian Petzold
Nina Hoss for everything.

3rd Runner-up: The Sapphires dir. Wayne Blair 

2013: Only Lovers Left Alive dir. Jim Jarmusch

It's pure languid style.

Runner-up: The Wolverine dir. James Mangold

Essentially low-key (aside from the unfortunate climax). A character study of one poor, broken mutant. Also, a Bechdel-test-passing comic book movie!

2nd Runner-up: Pacific Rim dir. Guillermo del Toro

2014: Vi är bäst! (We are the Best!) dir. Lukas Moodyson

One of the most perfect/accurate portrayals of female teenagerdom. Also, I need to join a Swedish punk band in the 1980s now.

Runner-up: Selma dir. Ava DeVernay 
THIS is how you make a biopic. It neither stale, nor on the outside looking in on an untouchable historical figure. Instead, it's living and breathing and dynamic and worthwhile. David Oyelowo's performance is nothing less than brilliant. He manages to play both the captivating public figure and the human private figure of MLK in a fluid, natural, whole fashion.  

Runners-up: 12 to be exact. I have them listed on my Facebook. I think I set out to post it here too, but got tired halfway through the list or something. (I am literally the worst blogger.)

2015: I'm actually gonna wait to post this year! Don't want to ruin the EXCITING surprises. (*tries not to laugh cry*) I'll link back here when I'm done though. (In approx. 3 years).  

I'M ALIVE. I MADE IT. It was touch and go for a while. And. I've def been slowly working on this for three days, but here I am on the other side. Although, I still need to go back and add photos for ALL THE PICS. WHY DID I DO THIS.

P.S. I legitimately have an exciting giveaway that I will post about post-haste!


DKoren said...

Woo! Love this post! I needed to smile this morning, and this did it.

Because it's a cross between a waltz and a tango. It's a wango. Also, hair. Voltaire. I would like to talk about the French revolution.

That made me laugh so hard. I haven't even seen that movie!

But there's a bunch on here that are in my own favorites lists, like Wall-E, Casino Royale, Tomb Raider, TinTin, Ice Age, and Pirates. Many of these I haven't seen yet.

Happy New Year, and looking forward to Many More Posts!! And a giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I got to the Pacific Rim part and everything suddenly made sense - you wrote this whole post just for IDRIS ELBA CANCELS THE APOCOLYPSE, didn't you? ;)

Really excited to see you like In Bruges! I've made watching every Colin Farrell film a life goal and immediately fell in love with this one for the darkness.

I've still not seen The Artist or Tintin...(ducks from the onslaught of rotten fruit). They are on the list though!

Never heard of Beginners - adding that one to the list, too!

Totally second Amy Adams as the queen of everything. If there were ever an Enchanted sing along, I would totally travel 1/2 way around the world to see it with you.

Millie said...

Deb: Awww! Your comment brought me a much-needed smile! :-D

Haha! yes! You should watch it. It really is very funny and charming. Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews have excellent chemistry.

Yup! Yup! Yup! Great faves! ;-D

Casey: Obvi. hahahha

I don't know why I'm surprised by your life goal. So very Casey. Also so very Casey of you to love this violent and insane film. ;-D


Oooh! Beginners is just adorable!

Enchanted sing-a-long. *be still my heart* THAT'S HOW YOU KNOOOOOOWWWWW

Hamlette said...

YOU LOVE DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. I need to hug you. (X2 was my favorite X-Men movie until DOFP, so yes, I agree with you there too. X2 is pretty much perfect, while DOFP is a little messy, but I have to love DOFP more because Wolverine.)

Also, the first Pirates is one of the most perfect adventure movies ever.

And I really like National Treasure.

Casino Royale is beautiful. Another jewelbox of perfection.

I hear good things about The Fall. It's on my to-watch list. Ditto with Enchanted and Penelope. And Moon. And The Artist. You have a huge chunk of my to-watch list on your blog right now.

I want to like The Wolverine better than I do. That unfortunate climax kind of kills it for me. I infinitely prefer X-Men Origins: Wolverine and can't understand why it gets so reviled. It's exactly what it claims to be! Wolvie's origin story. Plus, Liev Schreiber.

So, that was a really cool post!!! Thanks for sharing the love :-)

Millie said...

Hamlette: I seriously love getting comments from you! :-D

DOFP was WONDERFUL. It was in my top ten films of last year. I mean, the trailer for it still can make me cry (true story). "We need you to hope again." and I'm dead. Wolvie was so perfect in it. I'm not prepared for Hugh Jackman to leave. I'm also prepared to be very suspicious of the new film. ;-D THEY BETTER HAVE A CAMEO, OR I WILL BE ANGRY.

Yay for Pirates love! It really is such a classic adventure movie. One of the most quotable for people around my age too. Everyone will get it when someone says a quote.

I will cry a million tears over Casino Royale's perfection! Did you see Spectre (going to immediately check in on your blog after commenting, and if you have a post on it, then disregard this question haha)? What did you think?

The Fall is one of the most visually beautiful films. ALSO, LEE PACE!

Perfect! Enchanted is fun, but really rides on Amy Adam's performance. Without her, the film would fall apart. (Also, it has some classic James Marsden losing the girl to another guy. hahahahaha) Penelope is such an odd gem. Extremely underrated and not marketed well. In theatres, it was marketed as a children's film, but with a PG13 rating (because of a single use of the s-word), because they wanted it to be for adults. So, no business. On DVD, they changed that single word of dialogue and it became popular with children. But, it really has such a brilliant cast and story that it should not be limited by that aura.


Moon is one of my favorite films OF ALL TIME. Perfect from start to finish.

Maybe you'll win the contest so you can see The Artist!

Aww, really? I love The Wolverine. It's probably my most rewatched X-Men movie. I'm more likely to put that on then any other. I couldn't tell you why exactly. But, I love everything, and I love how it's not at all about worlds being destroyed or the destruction of whole cities (aside from the beginning of the film's historical destruction). But, yeah. That ending is THE WORST.

Hmmmm. I definitely have some issues with Origins, but that comes about mainly from shockingly shoddy special effects. haha. Those awful fake looking blades horrify me every time. haha. But, I agree that Liev Schreiber is perf! Definite selling point. And, I really liked Taylor Kitsch as Gambit (disclaimer: I know nothing about the actual comics). I so wish he was coming back instead of Channing Tatum (Wolvie-style look at the sky and scream noooooooooooooooo).

Hamlette said...

I forgot to say that your MST3K pic made me giggle.

DOFP is so beautiful. I saw it 4 or 5 times in the theater because I just adored it so much. Every time I'd get a bar of dark chocolate and a coffee to savor while I also savored the pure joy of that movie. It makes me cry, it makes me cheer.

I'm really suspicious of the new film. And I'm heartbroken by, if understanding of, Hugh Jackman's decision. I didn't originally like the idea of him as Wolvie, but now I can't bring myself to imagine anyone else in the role.

I did see Spectre. Once. And that was enough. I liked the first half or so, but then it just kind of turned into a retread. Another bad guy in his isolated lair full of computers, taunting Bond? We Just Did That In Skyfall. Dude. I was annoyed. I mean, it was better than Quantum of Solace, but that's really not saying much, is it?

I have The Fall on my Amazon Prime watchlist. One of these days! (Lee Pace!)

I have, no lie, watched The Wolverine several times and just stopped before the finale, and skipped to the very end. It works WAY better that way for me.

Have to admit the FX in Origins have never bothered me. Also, you're the first person who's named that as why they don't like it! Most people complain about the story line, which I happen to love. I really dug Taylor Kitsch as Gambit -- he matched my ideas of him from the comics WAY better than Channing Tatum (too top-heavy, sorry dude). I'm bummed he won't be back.

Liev Schreiber is always a good idea.

Hamlette said...

PS I seriously love getting comments from you too! You are one of my favorite bloggers. Ever.

Millie said...

Haha! I love TV's Frank trying to relate to humanity.

DOFP. I love this description of your viewing experience! I felt much the same way. I actually saw it opening night and then took my little brother to see it the next day. Nothing quite like that ending scene and its definitely earned cameos!

I feel like TOO many new characters have been added. Not really sure about that. I do love Oscar Isaac, so I'm interested to see his villain. I liked First Class a lot, but it was partially the setting/style. I'm not sure how the '80s will hold up.

Interesting! I totally get the negative feelings about Spectre and the retread feelings. I've actually seen it three times so far though, and enjoyed it each time. It doesn't come close to the heights of Casino Royale, but I enjoyed it more than Skyfall (blasphemy! I know!). It's not objectively better than Skyfall, but there's just something about it that I really liked. There were definite missteps (HYPING MONICA BELLUCI AND THEN ONLY USING HER FOR FIVE MINUTES IS A CRIME I TELL YOU), but I liked the final product: especially when viewed as the end of Craig's saga (he might be back, but this was a perfect ending for his version of Bond). I'm also a sucker for the repeated Vesper mentions (even if it did underwhelm Dr. Swan's relationship with him haha). And, oh man. I laughed so hard at the fact that they just kept straight up forgetting about Quantum of Solace in their villain line-ups/mentions. hahahahaha

Perfect way to watch it. Cut from him getting downed by the ninjas (I oddly love that scene), rescued, and then AIRPLANE GOODBYE! OFF TO HAVE ADVENTURES WITH ME NEW AWESOME BODYGUARD!

Glad to hear of another Kitsch fan. He's one of those actors who is always in flops, but I'm just sitting her rooting for! haa

Always a good idea. Liev + Naomi Watts is the stealth Hollywood power couple.

Hamlette said...

I loved Jubilee in the comics back in the '90s, so I'm really excited to see her onscreen at last, but she's about the only new character I'm excited about. Oscar Isaac could be fun, though.

Yes, the omission of QOS was quite funny :-) Spectre wasn't horrible, it just felt flat and kind of tired to me, I guess. That opening chase scene was good enough I'll see it again at some point, though.

I root for Kitsch too. It's not his fault he had a couple of back-to-back clunkers -- it could happen to anyone.


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