Tuesday, September 12, 2006

OFCS Top 100 Films of the Last 10 Years

To commemorate its tenth anniversary, the Online Film Critics Society, of which I am a member, surveyed the membership regarding the best films of the last ten years. The results are:
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Fargo
3. Memento
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
5. L.A. Confidential
6. Brokeback Mountain
7. Being John Malkovich
8. City of God
9. Mulholland Drive
10. Lost in Translation
11. Almost Famous
12. Magnolia
13. Election
14. Fight Club
15. In the Mood for Love
16. The Truman Show
17. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
18. Moulin Rouge
19. Saving Private Ryan
20. Kill Bill, Volume 1
21. Rushmore
22. Million Dollar Baby
23. A History of Violence
24. Kill Bill, Volume 2
25. Downfall
26. Hero
27. Three Kings
28. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
29. Spirited Away
30. The Iron Giant
31. Boogie Nights
32. The Big Lebowski
33. The Sixth Sense
34. Out of Sight
35. Dogville
36. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
37. Punch-Drunk Love
38. Good Night, and Good Luck.
39. Far from Heaven
40. Waiting for Guffman
41. American Beauty
42. The Matrix
43. Lone Star
44. The Sweet Hereafter
45. Donnie Darko
46. Secrets & Lies
47. The Insider
48. Ghost World
49. Toy Story 2
50. Before Sunset
51. Breaking the Waves
52. The Ice Storm
53. The Constant Gardener
54. Sideways
55. The Incredibles
56. The Royal Tenenbaums
57. The Thin Red Line
58. Chungking Express
59. Eyes Wide Shut
60. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
61. Finding Nemo
62. Gosford Park
63. The Pianist
64. Grizzly Man
65. Run Lola Run
66. Requiem for a Dream
67. The Celebration
68. Contact
69. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
70. Spider-Man 2
71. Chicago
72. Gods and Monsters
73. Jerry Maguire
74. Wonder Boys
75. American Splendor
76. Dancer in the Dark
77. Adaptation
78. Shakespeare in Love
79. Best in Show
80. Traffic
81. Crash (2005)
82. Titanic
83. The 25th Hour
84. Bowling for Columbine
85. Amores Perros
86. Elephant
87. The Aviator
88. Y Tu Mama Tambien
89. Hotel Rwanda
90. Jackie Brown
91. The Straight Story
92. Grosse Pointe Blank
93. In the Bedroom
94. Life is Beautiful
95. High Fidelity
96. The Blair Witch Project
97. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
98. Gangs of New York
99. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring
100. Amelie
We were asked to nominate up to twenty films for each year from 1996-2005. Not having kept the best of records, it was a relatively painstaking process, especially when it came to determining years for foreign films whose IMDB release dates are based on first public screening. (If I feel like it, I'll get around to posting my imperfect nomination ballot.) From there the membership was presented with a top 400 and asked to whittle it down to a top 50, with each member ranking their picks. (I confess to going through the arduous weeding process but forgetting to finish in time for the deadline.)

So, first impressions of the list? I don't know that there are many surprises. I wouldn't have figured DOWNFALL would make the cut, let alone place relatively high (#25). While I liked it a lot, I hardly think it's the third best foreign language film of the last ten years, which is how it fits within this list. Lars von Trier fared well as three of his films made the list, including a surprising showing for DOGVILLE (#35).

There aren't any real shockers. I'd wager that all of these films did well in annual polls for their respective years. GROSSE POINTE BLANK at #92 might be the one selection to come out of nowhere. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (#96) had heat at the time, but I wonder if people still think of it as well as they did then.

Sure, the list is heavy on English-language films and the prestige pictures, but in putting together a list like this, it's inevitable that one of the overriding factors is going to be the number of people who have seen the films in question. Hirokazu Kore-eda's AFTER LIFE (WANDÂFURU RAIFU) and David Gordon Green's ALL THE REAL GIRLS--if not GEORGE WASHINGTON as well--would make my list, but I suspect that they've not been as widely seen. (The only film on this list that I haven't seen is CHUNGKING EXPRESS, and there's really no good excuse why I haven't.)

Anyway, here's another bunch of ranked films for our list-obsessed culture to argue over. Have at it.


  1. There are so many best-of lists floating around out there that the only ones I really fuss over are my own. That said, it looks to me like OFCS is missing a Malick-loving contingent, given the absence of both THE THIN RED LINE and THE NEW WORLD, the latter being for my money the best film of the ten years.

    And to be honest I'm kind of surprised LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL is still held in such high esteem. I could've sworn that there was a major backlash around the time Benigni became ubiquitous, and that the film never really re-emerged from that.

  2. The Thin Red Line is at #57.

    It's not a bad list, just an obvious one. I also think some of the fanboy-ish titles fared a little better.

    It can be hard enough trying to rank films from one year, films that have theoretically been seen within reasonable proximity of each other. Trying to compare and rank from a ten year period is nearly impossible.

    I suppose I can't complain too much--actually, I can't complain at all since I didn't get my final weighted vote in--but seven of my ten "year's best" picks made it. Kings and Queen, Gerry, and Big Night missed out. I could have seen Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci's film having enough support, but it's probably too old. Who knows? If I looked at it again, maybe I wouldn't put it there.

    And with all the P.T. Anderson love, where's Hard Eight?

  3. D'oh. How did I miss TTRL at #57?

    And I think the IMDb date for Hard Eight is 1995. If I remember correctly.

  4. Hard Eight is listed as '96, although it didn't get a commercial release until '97. Regardless, it's probably the least seen of his films. I'm glad it looks like next year should bring a new one from him.

  5. Hm... OK. But Chungking Express shouldn't be on this list, seeing as how it's listed as 1994.

    And not that you asked, but here would be my top 10 from that period:

    1. The New World
    2. Waking Life
    3. 8 Women
    4. After Life
    5. Dogville
    6. Audition
    7. 25th Hour
    8. The Son
    9. Drifting Clouds
    10. Kings and Queen

    Exactly two of which are on the OFCS list. I knew I was weird, but yeesh. In retrospect, I'm most surprised that Audition didn't make it, since this is a list of online critics, who tend to be the most receptive to Miike and proliferated the lion's share of the buzz that made AUDITION a cult item.

  6. To be fair, IMDB date was used as a guide, but it wasn't the final determiner on eligibility. (I believe US release was an overriding factor.) While many of us use it, who's to say that their criteria--first public screening, right?--is the most correct.

    For instance, V for Vendetta played the Austin Butt-Numb-A-Thon on December 11, 2005, which technically makes it an '05 release in IMDB terms, but wouldn't you say that it's really a 2006 film? (Granted, it was originally intended to be release last November, but I think you get my point.)

    As for Chungking Express making the list, I'm fine with it, especially because it's one of the few choices off the beaten path.

    For what it's worth, Audition was one of my nominees for 2001.

    For kicks (and aggravation), I'll have to chip my lists down to a top 10 for that period and post it later. We might share three titles (After Life, Waking Life, and Dogville).

  7. Hmm, I know this is a month old now, but I looked through some lists and whittled my own top 10 for 1996-2005 to the following, listed chronologically:

    THE LORD OF THE RINGS (trilogy)

    Compared with Paul, he has two in common with me, three more that I shortlisted (25th HR., WAKING LIFE, AFTER LIFE), two that I didn't see (THE SON, DRIFTING CLOUDS), and three that I actively disliked (8 WOMEN, KINGS AND QUEEN, AUDITION).

    Mark lists one in common, four that I was mixed-pro on, and five that I short-listed.

    Comparing me vs. the list of 100, they listed six of mine, I think. Kinda surprising, but I've seen 96/100 of the movies they list, all except DOWNFALL, THE IRON GIANT, THE CONSTANT GARDENER, and CRASH (2005).