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Extended Readers’ Poll Results: Best of the Decade and 2009

By Film Comment

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Like many decade-gazers, readers were in the mood for David Lynch (Mulholland Drive #1) and Wong Kar Wai (#2). The Oscar-winning surveillance drama The Lives of Others (#15) infiltrated the Top 25, along with Lost in Translation (#14). P.T. Anderson got a second nod (#17), as other early-decade favorites City of God (#18) and the Hobbits (#21, #23) ganged up anew. As for the year freshly put to rest, readers put it in their hurt lockers, but allegorical aliens, wild things, public enemies, and idle teens shuffled the rest of the lineup, and many looked skyward for bittersweet tidings (Up #7, Up in the Air #8, Bright Star #11). Lastly, the presence of much-overlooked late-December release Police, Adjective (#21) suggests that Video On Demand–savvy cinephiles are doin’ it for themselves.

In the March/April issue, we printed the Top 25; here are the Top 50. The numbers in parentheses indicate the films’ rankings in our 2009 Critics’ Poll and Decade Critics' Poll. Check out this year’s selection of readers’ comments, rants, and raves as well as those from the decade.

And congratulations to the winners selected randomly from this year’s poll participants: Linda Warren of Garden Plain, KS (First Prize recipient of DVDs from the Criterion Collection); Courtney Kay Lanz of Madison, WI (Second Prize); George Wu of New York, NY, and Bernard Jones of Hayward, CA (Third and Fourth Prizes). Many thanks to Criterion for its generous donation of prizes.



BEST FILMS OF THE DECADE

1. Mulholland Drive David Lynch, France/U.S., 2001 (1) 796 points
2. In the Mood for Love Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong, 2000 (2) 598
3. There Will Be Blood P.T. Anderson, U.S., 2007 (5) 517
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Michel Gondry, U.S., 2004 (32) 421
5. Talk to Her Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 2002 (25) 357
6. The Royal Tenenbaums Wes Anderson, U.S., 2001 (19) 344
7. A History of Violence David Cronenberg, U.S./Canada, 2005 (7) 315
8. The New World Terrence Malick, U.S., 2005 (10) 310
9. Zodiac David Fincher, U.S., 2007 (12) 302
10. Yi Yi Edward Yang, Taiwan/Japan, 2000 (3) 291
11. No Country for Old MenJoel & Ethan Coen, U.S., 2007 (33) 277
12. Spirited Away Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 2001 (21) 271
13. Caché Michael Haneke, France/Austria/Germany/Italy, 2005 (16) 258
14. Lost in Translation Sofia Coppola, U.S./Japan, 2003 (73) 250
15. The Lives of Others Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany, 2006 (124) 237
16. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Andrew Dominik, U.S., 2007 (92) 216
17. Punch-Drunk Love P.T. Anderson, U.S., 2002 (77) 209
18. City of God Fernando Meirelles, Brazil/France, 2002 (—) 208
19. Memento Christopher Nolan, U.S., 2000 (139) 182
20. Children of Men Alfonso Cuarón, Japan/U.K./U.S., 2006 (59) 181
21. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Peter Jackson, U.S./New Zealand, 2003 (—) 175
22. Grizzly Man Werner Herzog, U.S./Canada, 2005 (35) 173
23. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Peter Jackson, U.S./New Zealand, 2001 (—) 172
24. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Cristian Mungiu, Romania, 2007 (9) 171
25. Pan’s Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro, Mexico/Spain/U.S., 2006 (105) 169
26. Match Point Woody Allen, U.K./U.S., 2005 (—) 168
27. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Peter Jackson, U.S./New Zealand, 2002 (—) 166
28. Before Sunset Richard Linklater, U.S., 2004 (20) 163
29. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Steven Spielberg, U.S., 2001 (30) 161
30. Elephant Gus Van Sant, U.S., 2003 (18) 158
31. Dogville Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/U.K./Germany/Netherlands, 2003 (15) 155
32. Goodbye, Dragon Inn Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan, 2003 (23) 148
33. Mystic River Clint Eastwood, U.S./Australia, 2003 (113) 141
34. Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee, U.S., 2005 (58) 139
35. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Ang Lee, Taiwan/Hong Kong/U.S./China, 2000 (—) 137
36. I’m Not There Todd Haynes, U.S./Germany, 2007 (40) 135
37. Y tu mamá también Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico, 2001 (57) 134
38. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Julian Schnabel, France/U.S., 2007 (—) 129
39. Adaptation Spike Jonze, U.S., 2002 (72) 128
40. Letters from Iwo Jima Clint Eastwood, U.S., 2006 (90) 127
41. 2046 Wong Kar Wai, China/Hong Kong/France, 2005 (41) 125
42. The World Jia Zhangke, China/Japan/France, 2004 (24) 124
43. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 Quentin Tarantino, U.S., 2003 (108) 123
44. Wendy and Lucy Kelly Reichardt, U.S., 2008 (86) 122
45. Russian Ark Alexander Sokurov, Russia/Germany, 2002 (29) 111
46. Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino, U.S., 2009 (—) 110
47. Requiem for a Dream Darren Aronofsky, U.S., 2000 (—) 108
48. The Departed Martin Scorsese, U.S./Hong Kong, 2006 (79) 107
49. Werckmeister Harmonies Béla Tarr, Hungary/Italy/Germany/France, 2000 (34) 106
50. Still Life Jia Zhangke, China/Hong Kong, 2006 (27) 105




BEST FILMS OF 2009

1. The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow, U.S. (1) 1398
2. Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino, U.S./Germany (7) 1230
3. A Serious Man Joel & Ethan Coen, U.S./U.K./France (8) 929
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox Wes Anderson, U.S. (5) 861
5. Summer Hours Olivier Assayas, France (3) 724
6. The White Ribbon Michael Haneke, Austria/Germany/France/Italy (12) 682
7. Up Peter Docter & Bob Peterson, U.S. (23) 664
8. Up in the Air Jason Reitman, U.S. (28) 657
9. The Headless Woman Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Spain/France/Italy (2) 587
10. Where the Wild Things Are Spike Jonze, U.S. (22) 488
11. Bright Star Jane Campion, U.K./Australia/France (15) 484
12. Avatar James Cameron, U.S. (—) 459
13. Hunger Steve McQueen, U.K. (42) 446
14. 35 Shots of Rum Claire Denis, France/Germany (4) 441
15. Coraline Henry Selick, U.S. (19) 440
16. District 9 Neill Blomkamp, U.S./New Zealand (41) 425
17. Public Enemies Michael Mann, U.S. (21) 423
18. An Education Lone Scherfig, U.K. (24) 408
19. Adventureland Greg Mottola, U.S. (32) 385
20. Antichrist Lars von Trier, Denmark/Germany/France/Sweden/Italy/Poland (20) 376
21. Police, Adjective Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania (6) 369
22. In the Loop Armando Iannucci, U.K. (17) 355
23. The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch, U.S./Japan (13) 341
24. (500) Days of Summer Marc Webb, U.S. (—) 340
25. Two Lovers James Gray, U.S. (16) 311
26. Lorna's Silence Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France/Italy/Germany (10) 304
27. Star Trek J.J. Abrams, U.S. (—) 303
28. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Werner Herzog, U.S. (34) 302
29. The Beaches of Agnès Agnès Varda, France (9) 301
30. Drag Me to Hell Sam Raimi, U.S. (45) 293
31. Broken Embraces Pedro Almodóvar, Spain (30) 291
32. Sin Nombre Cary Fukunaga, Mexico/U.S. (—) 286
33. Gomorrah Matteo Garrone, Italy (—) 279
34. A Single Man Tom Ford, U.S. (47) 251
35. The Road John Hillcoat, U.S. (—) 250
36. Goodbye Solo Ramin Bahrani, U.S. (50) 238
37. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Lee Daniels, U.S. (48) 235
38. Sugar Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, U.S. (—) 229
39. The Informant! Steven Soderbergh, U.S. (35) 216
40. Still Walking Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan (26) 204
41. Tokyo Sonata Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan/Netherlands/Hong Kong (44) 201
42. Moon Duncan Jones, U.K. (—) 197
43. Tulpan Sergey Dvortsevoy, Germany/Switzerland/Kazakhstan/Russia/Poland (18) 173
44. You, the Living Roy Andersson, Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark/Norway/Japan (40) 166
45. Crazy Heart Scott Cooper, U.S. (—) 159
46. Thirst Park Chan-wook, South Korea/U.S. (—) 156
47. The Messenger Oren Moverman, U.S. (39) 152
48. Julia Erick Zonca, France/U.S./Mexico/Belgium (—) 148
49. 24 City Jia Zhangke, China/Hong Kong/Japan (11) 145
50. Invictus Clint Eastwood, U.S. (—) 139

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