The best films of the millennium (so far)

Faced with a flurry of excellent celluloid releases, A&E was forced to narrow the category to American films.

PHOTO COURTESY TOUCHSTONE PICTURES

PHOTO COURTESY TOUCHSTONE PICTURES

Tony Libera

10. âÄúAnchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyâÄù (2004) Is âÄúAnchormanâÄù one of the crowning cinematic achievements of the last decade? Not even close, but IâÄôm sick of top 10 lists being devoid of comedy films, and âÄúAnchormanâÄù makes the A&E reporters chortle like schoolgirls at a âÄúTwilightâÄù screening. The overall concept is so ludicrous, the characters so idiotic and the laughs so frequent that âÄúAnchormanâÄù deserves a spot on this list. It is the âÄúCitizen Kane âÄú of stupid man-child movies. âÄúIâÄôm storming your castle on my steed, mâÄôlady.âÄù 9. âÄúKnocked UpâÄù (2007) While itâÄôs ridiculous that a slovenly C.H.U.D. like Seth Rogen could bag a fox like Katherine Heigl, âÄúKnocked Up âÄù is a surprisingly serious film. Judd Apatow has always had a knack for weaving laughs and lamentation into intricate yarns, but âÄúKnocked UpâÄù is saturated with the perfect amount of both elements, making for a hilarious comedy with real substance. And that Paul Rudd is just so darn handsome. âÄúI Googled murder.âÄù 8. âÄúThe Royal TenenbaumsâÄù (2001) Wes AndersonâÄôs homage to J.D. Salinger features bizarre family drama, masterful cinematography and a delicious spoonful of quirk (see trend number five). âÄúRushmoreâÄù will always be his magnum opus, but âÄúThe Royal TenenbaumsâÄù has the distinction of cementing AndersonâÄôs auteur status and making the aviator-sweatband combo fashionable. âÄúGo, Mordecai!âÄù 7. âÄúKill Bill: Vol. 1âÄù (2003) There are few things in this world cooler than samurais and spaghetti westerns, so itâÄôs no surprise that the combination of the two results in mind blowing awesomeness. The âÄúKill BillâÄù script is phenomenal, Quentin TarantinoâÄôs direction is nothing short of genius and The Bride is unquestionably one of the most badass characters, female or otherwise, in film history. [In Japanese] âÄúO-Ren Ishii ! You and I have unfinished business!âÄù 6. âÄúThe DepartedâÄù (2006) Tough call between this one and âÄúGangs of New York ,âÄù but âÄúThe DepartedâÄù wins for making the mole game interesting again. The cast interactions are first-rate (particularly those with Dignam ), the plot, owing its life to Hong KongâÄôs âÄúInfernal Affairs ,âÄù is riveting and the ending comes about so unexpectedly and violently that it made everyone in the theater gasp in unison. âÄúDo you want him to chop me up and feed me to the poor, huh? Is that what you want?âÄù 5. âÄúWALLâÄ¢EâÄù (2008) There are at least five Pixar movies that could have made this list, but âÄúWALLâÄ¢EâÄù ultimately won the battle royale. It is one of the boldest films to ever be labeled a kidâÄôs movie. The opening 40 minutes or so are devoid of dialogue, which is pretty ballsy in these days of short attention spans. But WALLâÄ¢E is so expressive and the filmâÄôs plot is so, well, romantic that itâÄôs hard not to love. âÄúWalll-eee.âÄù 4. âÄúThere Will Be BloodâÄù (2007) Who knew oil politics were so sinister? Daniel Day-Lewis gives yet another terrifying, mustachioed performance, this time as 20th century oil tycoon Daniel Plainview , while director P.T. Anderson provides a fistful of visually stunning and thematically brilliant scenes. âÄúI have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people.âÄù 3. âÄúThe Dark KnightâÄù (2008) Kevin Smith called âÄúThe Dark KnightâÄù âÄúThe Godfather IIâÄù of comic book movies, and thatâÄôs about as apt a description as one can make. Christopher NolanâÄôs rousing epic features Batman at his finest: Super-sleuthing, riding tricked-out motorcycles and crackinâÄô skulls like itâÄôs Whacking Day. Heath LedgerâÄôs chilling Oscar-winning performance is just the icing on the cake. âÄúI believe whatever doesnâÄôt kill you simply makes you stranger.âÄù 2. âÄúNo Country for Old MenâÄù (2007) The Coen brothers have the rare talent of being able to be quirky and horrifying at the same time. They made poor Javier Bardem limp around this entire movie with a Prince Valiant hairdo adorning his head, but somehow the CoensâÄô direction and BardemâÄôs incredible presence combine to make Anton Chigurh one of the most menacing characters in modern film. âÄúWhatâÄôs the most you ever lost on a coin toss?âÄù 1. âÄúCity of GodâÄù (2002) OK, so âÄúCity of GodâÄù is not an American film, but frankly it is so damn good that it could not be left off this list. The viciousness of Brazilian slum life is on full display here, filtered through director Fernando MeirellesâÄô hyper-attentive gaze. âÄúCity of GodâÄù is so stylistically elegant, relentlessly brutal and genuinely heartbreaking that it comes as a shock that the film wasnâÄôt even nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. ItâÄôs an infinitely better version of âÄúSlumdog Millionaire,âÄù and it might be the best film of the decade. âÄúIt was like a message from God: âÄòHonesty doesnâÄôt pay, sucker.âÄô âÄú