I’m Making A List And Checking It Twice: Towards a List of My Favorite Movies of the Decade.

Laiya, Batangas, August 2009.

Is it time for a Best Films of the 2000s list yet? (Because if not, I’ll be reposting this at the end of 2010, and removing the two films below from 2000.)

The list will probably undergo numerous revisions — obviously because the films from the second half of the decade will get short shrift, and I’ve probably forgotten a title or two, plus I can’t make up my mind about Mysterious Object at Noon or Linda Linda Linda just yet, and I’ll probably sneak in a Favorite Horror Movies sub-list — but in any case, here’s my list, in alphabetical order:

Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000)
The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
Evolution of a Filipino Family (Lav Diaz, 2004)
In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
The Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson, 2001-2003)
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005)

I’m a little wary of including anything I haven’t seen at least twice, but Diaz stays up there. (Oh, what I’d do for a second viewing…)

I was also surprised to find that the other movies that immediately came to mind — Goodbye, South, Goodbye; Irma Vep; Magnolia; Dead Man; Satantango; Taste of Cherry; The Matrix; and A Brighter Summer Day (only seen once) — were all from the previous decade! Nuts. (But hey, along with Trust, Life Is Sweet and Reservoir Dogs, that’s a mighty fine Best Films of the Nineties list right there.)

Anyone else out there making lists yet?


The Best Movies I Saw All Year, 2005 Edition.

I didn’t get to go out and see many movies this year, but here are four excellent ones:


Lav Diaz, “Evolution of a Filipino Family” (2004).


Hindi tayo pamilya nang mga baliw (We are not a family of lunatics),” characters keep repeating in Lav Diaz’s raw, transcendent, monumental, extraordinary masterpiece, Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Evolution of a Filipino Family), but if they aren’t, it’s only because the world around them has already gone mad. It’s a genuine epic, not in the grand Hollywood sense, but in terms of sheer scale; efforts to compare it with other media — an Andreas Gursky photograph, a Morton Feldman composition — don’t quite work. It isn’t sweeping in the sense of a John Sayles film either, where every sector of society (or, in his last few films, every stereotype) is represented; Diaz’s film is a closeup shot (though there are no closeups) of a small handful of Filipinos buffeted both directly and indirectly by fifteen years of political turmoil.


Ramona Diaz, “Imelda” (2003).

Saw Ramona Diaz’s Imelda with Barb last night, and my head is still reeling. It is a fine, fine documentary, and I am glad that there will be a theatrical release in the U.S. at some point this year; more people should see it (though a DVD is apparently coming out in 2005).

The film’s chief virtue — and there are many, from Grace Nono’s soundtrack to the careful editing (more about this in a second) — is the fact that Diaz lets Imelda talk on and on. We are treated to what seems like a severely delusional Imelda, completely in denial of reality — or so we are led to think.