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Five Films Of The Noughties That You Have To See

by Simon Martin
19 September 2013 40 Comments

As far as films are concerned, the last decade might might not be remembered too fondly. Not only did it give rise to the re-birth of 3D, but Hollywood managed to milk dry every fond childhood memory we had. But it wasn't all bad though, as these classics will prove.

Ohmygod I love Ribena!

1. Sideways – (2004) Alexander Payne. This is Paul Giamatti’s break out role as Miles the jaded teacher failing to cope with rejection as a writer and a split from his wife.  He and old college buddy and sometime successful actor Jack played by Thomas Haden Church are a great double act. It’s funny in parts and horribly depressing in others, particularly when he visits his elderly mother with the sole purpose of stealing  money to spend on their trip. Virginia Madsen looks nothing like her brother Michael you will be pleased to know.

2. Spirited Away – (2001) Hayao Miyazaki.  Legendary Japanese animator Miyazaki says taking a child to the cinema should be a rare treat and when you do it should be a special film. Special this is, it’s almost impossible to synopsise as there are so many themes and all are heavy with Japanese spirituality but it’s stunning both as a piece of art and as a story. I think it shows kids there are great evils in the world but good people will stand up for them if they are in trouble.

3. Dead Man’s Shoes – (2004) Shane Meadows. I don’t know about you but most American horror films are pretty shit.  This doesn’t feel it’s from the same genre but it has all the attributes for a good bum twitcher. Paddy Considine has never been better than in this as Richard the returning soldier.  He oozes malevolence and a painful desire to seek revenge. Only at the end do you feel any sympathy for any of the bad guys, in fact the lines blur significantly during the film. Great support from Toby Kebbell and ex-boxer Gary Stretch. Meadow’s keep’s up his impressive record of raiding Emmerdale Farm for actors, Stuart Wolfenden who played Denis Martin plays one of the junior hoodlums Herbie and who’s demise is probably where we lose sight of right and wrong in the film.

4.Chopper – (2000) – Andrew Dominik. I have gone on record many times stating that comedians make great dramatic actors and this might be a stretch with Eric Bana but he did start his career as a stand up and what a debut this was. Set in the 1980’s Melbourne criminal underworld and Pentridge maximum security prison it’s not a film for the feint hearted. In fact it makes Reservoir Dogs look like The Tweenies. Actually, I’ve seen The Tweenies and Max the folk club paedophile, it’s pretty disturbing. He’s now reformed and has worked to educate the young to avoid prison and he’s also sold half a million books including some for kids would you believe.

5. Milk (2008) – Gus Van Sant. Further proof that Sean Penn has developed into one of the world’s best screen actors, what he was ever doing hooked up with that manipulative hag Madonna is a mystery to many. You know when you just don’t expect a film to end as it does; well this is one of those. I love the message the film delivers, the fact that so much prejudices had to be overcome to let gays thrive in the Castro District of San Francisco is a truly powerful story. I’m not sure I would have fancied living there then as certain scenes reminded me of when I lived on Battersea Rise around Gay Pride time but hey, what do I know I’m a repressed heterosexual Yorkshireman.

Five more which almost made it:

Watchmen (2009) – Zack Snyder. Best of it’s genre so far and Jackie Earl Haley is great in a well put together cast.

Without a Paddle (2004) –  Steve Brill. Likeable twentysomething romp with Seth Green and Matthew Lilliard.

Where the Wild Things Are (2009) – Spike Jonze. Poetic, moving and thought provoking.

The Bourne Trilogy (2002-12) – Various. Out Bonded Bond forever.  Bond should now be a 60’s period piece if it is to survive.

Oh Brother Where Art Thou (2000) – Joel Coen. Mad as hell film with a psychotic John Goodman and Clooney doing funny.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

griff 8:49 am, 26-May-2011

how did Where The Wild Things Are make it into your brilliant list? it was an incredibly confused film, baffling kids (who should have loved it given the epic success of the book) and adults alike. this is hollywood at its worst in my opinion. They've taken a best selling book and assumed it will translate into a movie because of the goodwill that surrounds it. but the book was always about the art rather than the story. that was its charm. the film entirely failed to capture that charm. it was more like muppets on steroids. confirmation that special effects don't ever trump story.

Simon Martin 9:12 am, 26-May-2011

Hi Griff, I suspect Jonze made it to appeal to both kids and adults. All I can testify to is that my kids love it and so do I.

Dave 9:15 am, 26-May-2011

without a paddle? oh dear

Simon Martin 9:20 am, 26-May-2011

Dave, I know, I know. What can I say, it's one of those that I just like for no real reason, maybe it's the getting older and having family responsibilities theme. Granted it's not for everyone.

Simon Martin 9:30 am, 26-May-2011

Also Dave, it didn't make my five so cut me some slack. Ha ha ha ha.

Richard Luck 10:51 am, 26-May-2011

Some great choices there, Simon. If you've seen Milk might I suggest you seek out the Oscar-winning documentary The Times Of Harvey Milk - it might just be me but I think it's even more compelling than Gus Van Sant's feature.

Simon Martin 10:54 am, 26-May-2011

Cheers Richard, appreciate the comments. I will seek it out on't t'internet. Can I once again apologise for "Without a Paddle". Sorry everyone.

David L 10:55 am, 26-May-2011

An awful lot of my film viewing in the noughties was informed by the (now sadly defunct) Hotdog mag, so I'll offer for consideration Gangster No. 1 - not a perfect film, but I tracked it down after it featured extensively in Hotdog's inaugural issue and it still gets projected on my wall every couple of years. There's a couple of scenes in there that still give me the willies (yes, I mean you, POV murder scene), and Paul Bettany plays a blinder. Likewise Battle Royale and Christy Malry's Own Double Entry, two films that would have passed me by if not for Hotdog's recommendation. JCVD: again not a perfect film, but how many opportunities in life are there to reconsider every opinion you've ever held about Jean-Claude Van Damme? Children of Men: I have a rule - never watch a film based on a novel that my wife has read and enjoyed - this was one exception that I didn't regret. Lord of War, to fill the obligatory "message film" slot, Live Forever on the documentary front, Before Sunset for the romantic in me, and switch Without A Paddle for Dodgeball on the big silly comedy front...."If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball".

Russ 1:47 pm, 26-May-2011

appreciate this list is entirely subjective and whole heartedly agree with the inclusion of dead mans shoes but you missed out so much (in my opinion) gold... Anchorman? This is england? City of god? Control? Eagle vs shark? Sexy Beast? also the inclusion of Watchmen in the top 10...did you read the book first? I did and found the film dissapointing. And sorry but have to side with all the people picking you up on without a paddle. Oh dear.

Russ 1:48 pm, 26-May-2011

oh yeah, and UP.

Iss 1:51 pm, 26-May-2011

Watchmen doesn't belong on any must-see list.

Simon Martin 1:53 pm, 26-May-2011

Russ, of course it is subjective and it's also not based on months of research so cut me some slack. I agree Sexy Beast is a great film and worthy of inclusion, Anchorman is great in parts (Tits McGee cracks me up) but I think This is England falls short but it is all opinions and these are just mine at the time. I agree I am being overly generous to Without a Paddle but I did enjoy it. No I didn't read Watchmen, I find graphic novels difficult to read. Film is my preferred artform.

Simon Martin 1:54 pm, 26-May-2011

Russ, UP did almost make it, let's swap it for "Wi'out thi Paddle". If only for the first 10 minutes, it had me sobbing int he cinema. I'm not even joking.

Simon Martin 1:55 pm, 26-May-2011

Iss, it might not appear on YOUR must see list. Jeez!

Kane 1:58 pm, 26-May-2011

Watchmen - best of it's genre? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, I think I just fell off my chair.

Richard Luck 2:13 pm, 26-May-2011

For my money, the one unmissable film of the noughties was David Fincher's Zodiac. But as Simon's ably demonstrated, it's always interesting to see what other people consider essential.

Simon Martin 2:22 pm, 26-May-2011

Kane, I'm not telling you what you should like. I suppose there is a case for 300, V for Vendetta and loosely American Splendor but hey, it's all opinions. No need to fall off your chair pal.

ajones420 2:35 pm, 26-May-2011

Sideways is f star star kunting amazing.

Simon Martin 2:37 pm, 26-May-2011

Mr ajones420, I love your positive outlook and agree with you.

Steve Zissou 3:34 pm, 26-May-2011

No "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" ? The only true Auteur film of the decade.

Ryan H 3:43 pm, 26-May-2011

Dead Man's Shoes. Good call.

Simon Martin 4:05 pm, 26-May-2011

I thought This Life Aquatic was OK. I want a pair of Zissou Adidas.

terry 4:22 pm, 26-May-2011

Forget the overated Batman, these 2 by nolan are way better:Insomnia -The Prestige

terry 4:26 pm, 26-May-2011

oh yeah forgot about Narc -Ray Liotta and Jason Patric

Russ 4:55 pm, 26-May-2011

No worries Simon...everyone has different opinions, thats what makes pieces like this great. Always opens up a healthy discussion.

Simon Martin 5:03 pm, 26-May-2011

Cheers Russ, I always get great recommendation for films to watch from the comments. You get some people who just slag off your choices and some who voice their own which is great and what its all about.

Andrew 7:40 pm, 26-May-2011

Don't get the recent Sean Penn hype, think he's terrible, an over-actor if ever I saw one. He looks totally uncomfortable with the gayness in the more intimate scenes with James Franco who blows him off the screen, maybe I could word that better...

Nigel 8:33 pm, 26-May-2011

Nice list. Good call on O Brother. May I also suggest Little Miss Sunshine, Being John Malkovich, Pan's Labyrinth, and Donnie Darko as worth a mention? Oh yeah, and Memento, Gladiator and the Kill Bills. Damn. I know one loses the jaunty alliteration, but could you make it Ten Films next time? :)

Peter Foyle 9:09 pm, 26-May-2011

Happiness directed by Todd Solondz. Ok, released in America in 1998, but released in in the UK in 1999, however, came out on DVD in 2000. Okay?

David L 11:39 pm, 26-May-2011

Infernal Affairs. The only fault I can find with that entire film is that Eric Tsang, the actor who plays the triad boss, always reminds me of Sinbad from Brookside.

racecar is racecarbackwards 12:57 am, 27-May-2011

Oldboy has to be in there somewhere, greatest thriller of the decade hands down. No other film can blend humour, extreme violence and compelling plot so uniquely. Absolute classic.

Nick 2:13 am, 27-May-2011

Did get a laugh out of Chopper being 'reformed'. Guy lives about 3 blocks from me and is still on the game on a daily basis. Actually went up some blokes head with an iron bar a few months back over an argument in a milkbar after hitting the pipe a bit to long.

Simon Martin 9:00 am, 27-May-2011

Nick, I bow to local knowledge. It seems "old chop chop" is still up to his old tricks.

ajones420 4:22 pm, 27-May-2011

in the loop is brilliant. its from 2009. and has the f star star kunt line.

Mr Patrick 7:13 pm, 27-May-2011

Most of my faves from the last decade have come from overseas... Tha Baader Meinhof Komplex, The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Very Long Engagement,Waltz With Bashir. I enjoyed these more than any Hollywood crapola.

Simon Martin 6:27 am, 28-May-2011

I have seen half of Waltz With Bashir and it was mind-blowing. I need to set some time aside to do it justice in one go, it looks too good to dip into and watch in chunks.

neil 6:16 pm, 12-Oct-2011

Rare Exports/The Good,The Bad,The Weird/Kickass/Scott Pilgrim vs The World/OLDBOY. Each to their own, these are my five favourite films from the the last ten years

neil 2:23 pm, 14-Oct-2011

Damn! Forgot Death Note 1 and 2, Host,Girl With Dragon Tattoo,Boat That Rocked,Shaun Of The Dead.....

RichardM 5:55 pm, 13-Jan-2013

Hotdog mag was great - how it survived at Emap for more than 2 issues I'll never know. So not Emap. My 'lesser-known' rec's all subtitled: Bombon El Perro, Elling, Tokyo Godfathers, C.R.A.Z.Y. and The Man Without A Past. Have you done the Nineties yet?

anon 8:48 pm, 21-Sep-2013

Genuinely essential films of the 00s that may have slipped under the radar: there will be blood, uncle boonmee who can recall his past lives, 28 days later, synecdoche new york, the man who wasn't there, about schmidt, in bruge, memento, senna, y tu mama tambien.

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