There are a million best of the year and best of the decade lists floating around right now (we could easily do a Best Lists best list). But I like Bird's list. It both reinforces my own biases and mentions films I have not seen in an intriguing way.
1.) Up In The Air. Up until last week I thought my #2 had this in the bag, and then Jason Reitman had to come along and be brilliant and shit. Way to go, Jason Reitman, fucking up my list and making me have to juggle shit around! Anyway, George Clooney (who is undoubtedly the Actor of the Decade, incidentally – there just isn’t any goddamn competition for the title and you have to recognize that fact sooner rather than later) leads off a collection of nigh-perfect performances strung together by a narrative that shouldn’t work but in context seems not only believable but indeed natural. Illuminating and thought-provoking, and underrated by many critics simply because Reitman is comfortable with comedy and most critics have issues with that.
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3.) The Hurt Locker. Winning a shitload of critical acclaim, because Serious Movie Critics, deep down, love to see shit blow up like everybody else, but this is finally the movie they’ve been waiting for all along: a movie that blows shit up but does so to assist the development of complex characters. A limited budget gave Kathryn Bigelow the perverse freedom to avoid name actors and instead hire Jeremy Renner, who delivers a blistering performance as the lead bomb tech/thrill junkie, but it didn’t stop her from blowing shit up real good. Making an Iraq war movie seems like an invitation to disaster with all the terrible ones that have come out in the last few years; this movie is proof that it’s not the setting that’s the flaw.
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19.) The Invention of Lying. Incredibly underrated movie – it’s frequently extremely clever and goes places one wouldn’t expect it to go. (Hint: religious satire of the most vicious variety imaginable, which likely has something to do with its abject box-office failure.) It’s very, very funny, and has a lot of good performances in it, and deserves to be slotted up with Ricky Gervais’ other accomplishments; it stands alongside them very well.