Year-End Sub Promo Film Comment Film Society of Lincoln Center

Readers Comments: The Best of the Decade List

By Film Comment

print Print

Readers have feelings too. Herein, we honor their rants and raves about what's supposedely the best of the decade

The Gang of 100 Contributors who combined to reach your uninspiring 50 Best Films of the Decade list reminds one of another Gang of 100: the U.S. Senate. Members of both reflect wildly unrepresentative constituencies and as a group arrive at questionable conclusions.—Charles Guptill, Naples, FL

It occurred to me in reading the results of your critics’ polls that comedies barely even register. This despite the fact that a great comedy may well be the hardest type of film to make. It just seems that there is a major prejudice to simply dismiss comedies. So I tried to populate my two lists with a number of comedies. But in doing so, I also came to the realization that the past decade was not a particularly good one for great comedies. On the other hand, I could have filled-up the entire top 20 list with brilliant comedies from the Nineties. I’m sure that says something about how the world has changed but I’m not sure just what.—Gary Cooper, Albuquerque, NM

The most consistently stimulating directors: Jia Zhangke, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Claire Denis, and Tsai Ming-liang. The most consistently stimulating American director since 1977—perhaps the last half of the 20th Century as well—continues to be Woody Allen. No one else is even close. Ford, Wilder, Hawks, Huston, Welles, Sturges, and Allen. Allen is the Chekhov of our time. Eric Rohmer was his international counterpart.—Amos Perrine, Charleston, WV

Though several of Spike Lee’s films rank among the decade’s best, his work was almost completely absent from your poll. Bamboozled anticipates and critiques “meta-racist” comedy six years before Borat. As a study of America’s uniquely conflicted racism, it has only become more pertinent after the rise and nearly instantaneous fall of President Obama. 25th Hour is one of the best/only explicitly post-9/11 narrative films; When the Levees Broke may stand as the definitive Hurricane Katrina documentary. How Clint Eastwood’s creaky melodramas are superior to these bold, urgent works is beyond me.—Juan-Jose Pichardo, Brooklyn, NY

My #1: Mulholland Drive. Is this one of greatest films ever made? Quite. For my money, it’s David Lynch’s most fully realized film, the culmination of a career-long explication on the dream-life. Naomi Watts is outstanding. The film’s color scheme is overwhelming, as it draws the viewer deeper and deeper into a dream so beautiful one would wish it would never end.—Kris Vitols, Haslett, MI

I just watched Black Book once again and realized that I absolutely must include it in any list I make of best films of the decade, and that I’d failed to do so. (I am quite shocked that none of your critics saw fit to include this excellent film on their lists. But I’ve long ago given up trying to decipher the vagaries of “movie critics”!) I would be dishonest if I did not let you know how strongly I believe Black Book should be given due recognition.—Linda Warren, Garden Plain, KS

The inevitable outgrowth of the immersive social realism of the Taiwanese cinema of the Nineties is the aesthetic sheen and near formal abstraction that the Taiwanese masters developed in the Aughts. Whereas the great master of the Nineties (Hou Hsiao-hsien) has moved onto international productions that are as much example as examination of Asia’s economic change, Tsai Ming-liang was able to wed his nascent concerns with cosmopolitanism with an aesthetic sophistication not contrary to his earlier films.—Matthew Higgins, Montreal, Quebec

Films I Wish Had Played at a Theater Near Me: The Headless Woman, Tokyo Sonata, Still Walking, 35 Shots of Rum, Tetro, Tulpan, Police, Adjective, Night and Day, Three Monkeys, Silent Light, Frontier of Dawn, Liverpool, Beeswax, Me and Orson Welles. Then there are titles like Eureka, Lilya 4-Ever, and Secret Sunshine that do not seem to be available in the U.S. at all. Needless to say, the full depth and breadth of film achievement in the Aughts has not been everywhere felt. And the Critics of the Decade: Kent Jones and Amy Taubin. As long as Film Comment brings us these exceptionally clear and passionate voices, it will continue to be the most enjoyable magazine in America, and a rebuke to the public’s preferred diet of junk food. Someone has to bear witness that good movies are actually fun.—Chris Lester, Oak Ridge, TN

# Close