The ultimate movie list junkie site, They Shoot Pictures Don't They? has recently updated their list of the 250 greatest films of the 21st century, based on a whole slew of critics' lists of the best films of 2009 and of the decade. Nitpickers insist that the century began in 2001 and not 2000, but this list goes back to January of 2000. The weirdest twist is that, after David Lynch's Mulholland Drive repeatedly won numerous polls and looked like a unanimous choice for the best film of the decade, it comes in at #2, behind Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love. Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, which placed at #2 on my personal list, but did not do well in polls, came in at #5.
The rest of the top ten now consists of: Yi Yi, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Spirited Away, There Will Be Blood, Talk to Her, A History of Violence and Y tu mamá también. Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker -- far and away the most acclaimed film of 2009 -- made its debut on the list at #13. The next highest-ranked 2009 film is Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, at #65. Of course, looking further down the list reveals some oddball choices, like Billy Elliot, King Kong, Kung Fu Hustle, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, and Crash.
While the site collects dozens upon dozens of lists and uses weighted mathematical formulas to come up with the rankings, the catch is that many of these lists were year-end top tens, drawn up before many films had time to settle in the consciousness. Almost every year I miss at least one movie on my ten best list that I later regret, and I usually include one that ends up fading from my memory. So, while it's fun to look at the rankings of the movies, it's ultimately an ever-changing list. The best thing about a list like this is that, if you're looking for something to watch tonight, you'll probably find something good here.