The Odyssey continues: Jarv’s best of the decade for America
Yes, I know this is late. It wasn’t my fault- honest. However, I don’t feel bad in the slightest about keeping going.
Anyhow, on with this ultimately pointless attempt to define the top 10 of last decade. Of all the regions I’ve done so far, this has by a country mile been the most difficult. It should have been the easiest, but it was only when going back through the awards for every year that I happened to see what a steaming bucket of shite America has dumped on the world every fucking summer (with one notable exception) for the past decade. I could quite easily have done four films I think are wonderful, then 6 films that are either easy or meh, but I wanted to do 10 films that I actually really like.
Interestingly, going through IMDB’s votes for the decade, I can’t but help notice how much first class animation has been turned out in the last 10 years- arguably the only genre that America has been consistently excellent in.
So with no further ado, here’s the list:
As with the European list, I’m fudging it and including this film as it makes my top 10 of the decade.
I’ve been on the receiving end of a huge amount of piss taking for my original comment about this film, but I stand by it- this was delightful. I was the only person on the planet that didn’t give a red fuck about it, and I made endless rude comments about “another Pixar by numbers” and “short circuit rip off” but in the end I was completely wrong, and it was probably the best film I saw in 2008.
10 ) Almost Famous- 2000
The presence of Kate Hudson almost saw this being bumped from the list altogether, but Mrs. Jarv mentioned that if I didn’t include her favourite American film of all time then it was tantamount to handing in divorce papers.
So, being the brave soul that I am, I rewatched it for the first time in about 5 years and she’s right. It is fucking good. Even Hudson doesn’t manage to annoy me. My only real complaint about it is the ending- if the film had stopped after our main character’s article was rejected then it would have been perfect.
9) Sicko- 2007
Ordinarily I dislike Moore for being a fat, lying, disingenuous cocksucker, but he’s bang on with this. Leaving aside the Cuba section (and hilariously, if you look carefully at his list at the beginning where he loudly trumpets America coming below Slovenia in the Health care league table, you can see Cuba below America) which is ridiculous propaganda nonsense, this is a very serious issue that needed highlighting.
Personally, I don’t understand American attitudes to Public medicine at all- they strike me as completely pig-headed and borderline selfish about it.
8 ) Bad Santa- 2003
A Christmas classic for all the family, and proof positive that you don’t have to feature nauseating amounts of saccharine to make a festive film.
Billy Bob Thornton gives the performance of his life as the titular degenerate scumbag, whatshername from the Gilmore Girls isn’t annoying and there’s a dwarf. Not to mention that it’s endlessly amusing and hugely quotable (“That the Phoenix police department shooting an unarmed Santa was even more fucked up than Rodney King”).
An all round excellent film. Just one question though: where the fuck did they find that kid?
7) Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon- 2006
Wow, this decade has been truly, truly crap for horror. So much so, in fact, that I fear for the genre. Seriously, there’s been nothing but endless fucking dreck in the guise of Torture Porn, useless talentless cocksuckers such as Rob Zombie are raping the classics, and the Saw series has continued to the point of ridicule.
Amidst all this shite, this film stood out as being actually good. I know that sounds a bit unlikely, but I can’t think of another American horror film from this decade as good as this little mockumentary/ slasher pic.
Gleeful, inventive, amusing and damned clever, BTM is a fine debut featuring an amazingly charismatic performance from Nathan Baesel as the eponymous killer, and it’s always nice to see actors like Zelda Rubinstein or Robert Englund being in things that aren’t complete shit.
6) Best in Show- 2000
In all honesty, I’d forgotten how good this was until recently. Billed as Spinal Tap with Dogs, this genius mockumentary highlights the twisted and pathetic lives of losers that show dogs.
Eugene Levy is absolutely superb as the man with (literally) two left feet, but my personal favourite is the neurotic Parker Posey and the dog that needs therapy.
A scabrous satire, Best in Show shone a sad and depressing light on a group of people that deserve little more than pity.
5) Zodiac- 2007
Although arguably a lesser Fincher film, Zodiac is still a fucking top drawer effort. Set in and around the San Fransisco Chronicle during the killings, the film follows those poor bastards that fell into obsession trying to find the killer.
It never reveals who Fincher thinks is the killer (which is a shame) but aside from this minor quibble, this is a simply tremendous effort.
Not even the slightly more effeminate Gylenhall brother (someone that usually makes me avoid films) annoys me about this. It isn’t cheery, but it is sure as fuck effective.
4) In Bruges- 2008
This should make everyone happy. What a fucking film.
I don’t need to rant on about this one, I just need to point out that a racist coke addled midget gets Karate chopped in the neck. That’s enough.
3) Team America: World Police- 2004
Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s hilarious puppet version of Bruckheimer, laced with enough satire to sink any rampant ego.This one is on my longer review list so I’m being brief about it, but really, it’s got everything you could possibly want in a comedy.
Team America is easily the funniest film of the decade- it’s a riotous, hilarious, gleeful explosion of a film that never once bores and is so full of nice little touches that I find it almost impossible to believe that it actually got criticised for not being rude enough about George W Bush.
2) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- 2004
An absolutely wonderful film, ESOTSM is about the only Kate Winslet film that she keeps her clothes on in that I’ve made it all the way through. It’s also, co-incidentally, one of the few quirky films that I like.
This is also on my best of the decade, so will be getting a more full review, however, this is one of my favourite films of all time, and well worth a place on this list.
1) Requiem for a Dream- 2000
Holy fucking shit was I unprepared for this when I first saw it. I know that Avatar was meant to be fucking my eyeballs this year for the first time, but it couldn’t as I saw this in the cinema and my eyes had already been violated.
Ellen Burstyn was scandalously ignored at reward season for this film, which is a disgrace considering that this is one of the best performances by man or woman on film, ever. Jared Leto is solid and Even Marlon Wayans manages (for the only time) not to suck.
Sure, it may be a bit (lot) depressing, but I think this is a staggering achievement and if you haven’t seen it, then do so now.
Pity that it did introduce marketing whores to Lux Aeterna which now seems destined to be used in every fucking trailer released. Still, it’s used much better here.
Erin Brockovich- 2000
2000 was, all things considered, a pretty good year for films. However, this little fucking turd sat there floating unpleasantly on the surface to slightly blot it’s copybook.
I hate this film. I hate its sentiment, I hate its script- I swear to god the TV nearly went out the window the thousandth time Julia Roberts said “I’m an ex-beauty queen” (no you’re not, you’re a fucking haggard sack of spanners)- but above all I hate the central performance from Julia Roberts. How the fuck she got an oscar for this showy, stupid and superficial (watch the bit where she reels off phone numbers- she’s almost clicking her fingers like the most pathetic wannabe ghetto-girl) performance is beyond me.
Actually, no it isn’t. She won for using the word “fuck”. Wow- in that case, where’s my fucking critic’s oscar? Cunts.
Ordinarily, I’d sign off here, but I want to mention 2 films that nearly made the list, but didn’t for different reasons: Avatar and The Dark Knight.
When I first saw The Dark Knight I was genuinely knocked for 6 by it. It still is, to my mind, the best Superhero film ever made. However, it didn’t make the list because as good as it is, it’s still extremely flawed and each flaw becomes more obvious the more I watch it.
Avatar, on the other hand, I’ve only seen once. It’s mind-bogglingly stupid, has a script that frequently veers into hilarity, sports some of the most cack-handed attempts to be topical that I’ve seen in ages, and is full of hippy nonsense and latent racism. However, I just don’t give a fuck. Easily the most entertaining thing I’ve seen in ages, and I haven’t included it as Mrs. Jarv loathed it and I want to see it on the small screen to see if I was merely blindsided by it. If that is the case, then it goes in as the most expensive piece of schlock of all time.
Fucking wonderful stuff and if you haven’t seen it yet, do so.
Next up, it’s the top 10. Starting with Tsotsi.
See you then.