One Decade. One Hundred Films. Countless memories and life lessons. That’s what this series of articles is about.
To me the last great decade of films was 2000 to 2010. Okay that’s obviously a lie us pretentious film geeks tell ourselves. Every decade is a great decade. Every year is a great year. We just need to shovel past the bullshit to find the beautiful diamonds of cinema. But to me this decade of cinema is what shaped me into the person I am today and the filmmaker I am and hope to be.
I’ve always loved certain eras of cinema. The Golden Age of Hollywood produced amazing works of art but they are just not films for me. I tried my hardest to watch Citizen Kane and somehow fell asleep. Yes there are great films from that era that I love to watch for inspiration such as High Noon or The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Sans a few diamonds in the rough it’s just not the era of cinema I am in love with. The New Hollywood Era would definitely be a formidable time for me if I were a boomer but sadly my parents didn’t meet until the 70s so I was left in the dust. I would have loved to have been able to watch films like The Deer Hunter for the first time or experience the Star Wars hypemachine before we even knew anything about a Galaxy Far, Far, Away. Needless to say I do love films from that Era and even have a few in my Film Collection…and yes that includes Heaven’s Gate.
The Independent Cinema Boom of the late 80s and early 90s has definitely shaped me in some way or the other. Robert Rodriguez has always been my idol with what he did with El Mariachi. When I was in film school all I wanted was to be the next Double R. I wanted to make a dope action film on less than $10,000. Sadly all I got was Zombie Amazon Women From Mars on a budget of $2500 and laughed out of the industry before I even found myself there. For story sake that didn’t happen, getting laughed out of the industry, not me making a horrible B-Movie that nobody ever saw. Actually I’m proud of that film.
This time period in Cinema up until 1999 saw the best of the best in filmmakers come through. However these men and women did not find true success until the decade that was…The New Millennium.
Those that did find success Pre-2000 could not truly achieve the same moving into the new millennium. Kevin Smith had hit after hit with Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Dogma but fell short in the coming years. Robert Rodriguez, who I idolize, last had a hit with Sin City. Don’t get me wrong I loved Planet Terror but it didn’t have the same cultural impact as Sin City did.
Nevertheless this era of cinema truly opened us up to the full force of these Indie Darlings. Steven Soderbergh demonstrated to us what we can do with digital cinema and digital editing. His use of color on Traffic was a thing of beauty. Quentin Tarantino arguably had one of the best Post 90’s careers with films like Kill Bill and Inglorious Bastards. Danny Boyle was just waiting to show us what can be achieved with a cheap digital camera that any idiot with money could buy at their local camera store. Karyn Kusama was taking the term “Girl Power” made famous by The Spice Girls to another level with the gritty Drama Girlfight and the misunderstood body horror film Jennifer’s Body. I’m sure Jennifer’s Body will turn up in 2009 when I compile that list together.
Since we’re on the topic of lists why not get to what this article, and subsequent articles, is all about. One Hundred films that made me who I am today. For any therapists that end up reading this list please let me know if there’s anything wrong with me. You aren’t going to find any pretentious cinephile garbage. Sure I might have Requiem for a Dream on here. But for every Drug Fuelled Thought Provoking film on my list you’re also going to find a Drug Fuelled Slapstick Parody film like Scary Movie.
I said these are the films that shaped me and in some way shaped how we look at the world today. How Pop Culture and the Zeitgeist has formed to become one and the same. This decade of Cinema shaped our current world, for better or for worse, and how we consume content today. But it’s also the last great decade of cinema. Before we found our theaters jam packed with Big Budget Comic Book Films, Sequels, and Reboots. We still held on to original content for as long as we could. Sure we had Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Wars but we also had Monster, Mystic River, and Lost in Translation. We didn’t neglect these low budget beauties, no we embraced them. I don’t know how many weird scene kids had posters of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on their walls but I’m positive it was enough to keep the poster business running.
As we all know however with every new beginning there must be an end. That end came in 2010 with the much anticipated sequel to the hit film Iron Man. From then on it was all down hill from there — is what I’d say if I were a pretentious film nerd. I mean I probably am but I love all types of cinema. Nonetheless we were all in for a big change in the industry. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was just beginning to take shape. Streaming was on the horizon and the amount of content coming out would bog us down. We were in for an influx of movies, tv shows, and podcasts. We didn’t truly have all the time in the world to watch and listen.
Nevertheless with change on the horizon we held onto our values and love of cinema. We still ran to the movie theaters or the local video store. We still rented our movies like damn cavemen of the 90s.
Now enough rambling from me although I’ll be rambling for a while. Time to explore the last great decade of cinema. Stay tuned for more —