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The Top 100 Movies of the Last 20 Years (or Are They?)

Another list for us to get all worked up about!

'Anchorman'

‘Anchorman’

The editorial staff of Yahoo! Movies, in what must be a blatant attempt to spike traffic to their site (take it from me, I know how these things work). have issued not one but two lists titled “100 Movies to See Before You Die.” One of them covers “The All-Time Greats” from throughout cinema history, from all over the world. I’ve seen more than my share of all-time top 100 movie lists, so it’s their second list that intrigues me more.

The second list, labeled “The Modern Classics,” singles out the top 100 films of just the last 20 years. As such, it’s more focused in scope, and by its very existence it asserts that the films of the last 20 years are as praiseworthy as any other era of cinema; I appreciate that since I’ve heard my share of “the best years of cinema are behind us” moans and groans.

Still, taking a look at this list, you can’t help but notice glaring inclusions and omissions. Overall, it’s rather boringly mainstream, not getting to far afield into arthouse or edgy independent fare. I guess that’s to be expected from the likes of Yahoo! Still, it’s worth making grievances; lists like these practically beg for them. But at the same time I’ll point out what I was most delighted to see unexpectedly included. Feel free to leave your reactions in the comments.

Films that should have made it: Close-Up; Underground; Breaking the Waves; The Thin Red Line; Flowers of Shanghai; The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein; Platform; A.I.: Artificial Intelligence; Los Angeles Plays Itself; L’Intrus
Films that shouldn’t have made it: Misery; Run Lola Run; Best in Show; Amelie; City of God
Most delighted by: Dead Man; Eve’s Bayou; Yi Yi; Anchorman; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and Two Days

Feel free to leave your own reactions in the comments.

1990

Goodfellas
DIRECTED BY: Martin Scorsese
STARRING: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci

Misery
DIRECTED BY: Rob Reiner
STARRING: James Caan, Kathy Bates

1991

Beauty and the Beast
DIRECTED BY: Kirk Wise, Gary Trousdale
STARRING: Paige O’Hara, Robbie Benson

The Silence of the Lambs
DIRECTED BY: Jonathan Demme
STARRING: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
DIRECTED BY: James Cameron
STARRING: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick

Thelma & Louise
DIRECTED BY: Ridley Scott
STARRING: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis

1992

Hard Boiled (Lat sau san taam)
DIRECTED BY: John Woo
STARRING: Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung Chiu-wai

Malcolm X
DIRECTED BY: Spike Lee
STARRING: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett

The Player
DIRECTED BY: Robert Altman
STARRING: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi

Raise the Red Lantern (Da hong deng long gao gao gua)
DIRECTED BY: Zhang Yimou
STARRING: Gong Li, Ma Jingwu

Supercop (Ging chat goo si 3: Chiu kup ging chat)
DIRECTED BY: Stanley Tong
STARRING: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung

Unforgiven
DIRECTED BY: Clint Eastwood
STARRING: Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman

1993

Dazed and Confused
DIRECTED BY: Richard Linklater
STARRING: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey

Groundhog Day
DIRECTED BY: Harold Ramis
STARRING: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Stephen Tobolowsky

Schindler’s List
DIRECTED BY: Steven Spielberg
STARRING: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes

1994

Chungking Express (Chung Hing sam lam)
DIRECTED BY: Wong Kar-Wai
STARRING: Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Faye Wong

Ed Wood
DIRECTED BY: Tim Burton
STARRING: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker

Forrest Gump
DIRECTED BY: Robert Zemeckis
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise

Four Weddings and a Funeral
DIRECTED BY: Mike Newell
STARRING: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Simon Callow

Pulp Fiction
DIRECTED BY: Quentin Tarantino
STARRING: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis

The Shawshank Redemption
DIRECTED BY: Frank Darabont
STARRING: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman

Red (Trois couleurs: Rouge)
DIRECTED BY: Krzysztof Kieslowski
STARRING: Irene Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant

1995

Babe
DIRECTED BY: Chris Noonan
STARRING: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski

Before Sunrise
DIRECTED BY: Richard Linklater
STARRING: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Clueless
DIRECTED BY: Amy Heckerling
STARRING: Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy

Heat
DIRECTED BY: Michael Mann
STARRING: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer

Living in Oblivion
DIRECTED BY: Tom DeCillo
STARRING: Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener

Sense and Sensibility
DIRECTED BY: Ang Lee
STARRING: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant

Toy Story
DIRECTED BY: John Lasseter
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

The Usual Suspects
DIRECTED BY: Bryan Singer
STARRING: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri

1996

Big Night
DIRECTED BY: Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci
STARRING: Tony Shaloub, Stanley Tucci, Ian Holm

Dead Man
DIRECTED BY: Jim Jarmusch
STARRING: Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Lance Henriksen

Fargo
DIRECTED BY: Joel Coen
STARRING: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy

Ghost in the Shell (Kokaku kidotai)
DIRECTED BY: Mamoru Oshii
STARRING: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka

Lone Star
DIRECTED BY: John Sayles
STARRING: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Pena, Kris Kristofferson, Matthew McConaughey,

Scream
DIRECTED BY: Wes Craven
STARRING: Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore

Secrets & Lies
DIRECTED BY: Mike Leigh
STARRING: Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Timothy Spall

Sling Blade
DIRECTED BY: Billy Bob Thornton
STARRING: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, Lucas Black

Swingers
DIRECTED BY: Doug Liman
STARRING: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Heather Graham

Trainspotting
DIRECTED BY: Danny Boyle
STARRING: Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle

1997

Boogie Nights
DIRECTED BY: Paul Thomas Anderson
STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore

Eve’s Bayou
DIRECTED BY: Kasi Lemmons
STARRING: Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan

L.A. Confidential
DIRECTED BY: Curtis Hanson
STARRING: Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey

The Sweet Hereafter
DIRECTED BY: Atom Egoyan
STARRING: Ian Holm, Bruce Greenwood, Sarah Polley

Titanic
DIRECTED BY: James Cameron
STARRING: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

1998

The Big Lebowski
DIRECTED BY: Joel Coen
STARRING: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore

Fireworks (Hana-bi)
DIRECTED BY: Takeshi Kitano
STARRING: Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto

Out of Sight
DIRECTED BY: Steven Soderbergh
STARRING: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Keener

Saving Private Ryan
DIRECTED BY: Steven Spielberg
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore

There’s Something About Mary
DIRECTED BY: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
STARRING: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller

1999
All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre)
DIRECTED BY: Pedro Almodovar
STARRING: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Penelope Cruz

American Beauty
DIRECTED BY: Sam Mendes
STARRING: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch

Being John Malkovich
DIRECTED BY: Spike Jonze
STARRING: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich

Election
DIRECTED BY: Alexander Payne
STARRING: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein

Fight Club
DIRECTED BY: David Fincher
STARRING: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton

The Matrix
DIRECTED BY: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime)

DIRECTED BY: Hayao Miyazaki
STARRING: Yoji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida

Run Lola Run (Lola rennt)
DIRECTED BY: Tom Tykwer
STARRING: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu

The Sixth Sense
DIRECTED BY: M. Night Shyamalan
STARRING: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Three Kings
DIRECTED BY: David O. Russell
STARRING: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube

2000

Almost Famous
DIRECTED BY: Cameron Crowe
STARRING: Patrick Fugit, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson

Best in Show
DIRECTED BY: Christopher Guest
STARRING: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo hu cang long)
DIRECTED BY: Ang Lee
STARRING: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang

Yi Yi
DIRECTED BY: Edward Yang
STARRING: Wu Nien-jen, Issey Ogata, Elaine Jin

2001

Amelie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain)
DIRECTED BY: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
STARRING: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz

Donnie Darko
DIRECTED BY: Richard Kelly
STARRING: Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze

In the Mood For Love (Fa yeung nin wa)
DIRECTED BY: Wong Kar-Wai
STARRING: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-wai

The Lord of the Rings
DIRECTED BY: Peter Jackson
STARRING: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

Memento
DIRECTED BY: Christopher Nolan
STARRING: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Mulholland Drive
DIRECTED BY: David Lynch
STARRING: Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring

The Royal Tenenbaums
DIRECTED BY: Wes Anderson
STARRING: Gene Hackman, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow

2002

The Pianist
DIRECTED BY: Roman Polanski
STARRING: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox

Y Tu Mama Tambien
DIRECTED BY: Alfonso Cuaron
STARRING: Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna

2003

City of God (Cidade de Deus)
DIRECTED BY: Fernando Meirelles
STARRING: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino De Hora Phellipe, Seu Jorge

Elephant
DIRECTED BY: Gus Van Sant
STARRING: Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson

Finding Nemo
DIRECTED BY: Andrew Stanton
STARRING: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres

2004

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
DIRECTED BY: Adam McKay
STARRING: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
DIRECTED BY: Michel Gondry
STARRING: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet

Shaun of the Dead
DIRECTED BY: Edgar Wright
STARRING: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield

Sideways
DIRECTED BY: Alexander Payne
STARRING: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen

2005
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
DIRECTED BY: Judd Apatow
STARRING: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Seth Rogen

Brokeback Mountain
DIRECTED BY: Ang Lee
STARRING: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal

A History of Violence
DIRECTED BY: David Cronenberg
STARRING: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris

Oldboy
DIRECTED BY: Park Chan-wook
STARRING: Choi Min-shik, Kang Hye-jeong

2006

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
DIRECTED BY: Larry Charles
STARRING: Sacha Baron Cohen, Kenneth Davitian

Children of Men
DIRECTED BY: Alfonso Cuaron
STARRING: Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Julianne Moore

The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)
DIRECTED BY: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
STARRING: Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Muehe, Sebastian Koch

Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno)
DIRECTED BY: Guillermo del Toro
STARRING: Maribel Verdu, Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones

2007
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile)
DIRECTED BY: Cristian Mungiu
STARRING: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov

The Bourne Ultimatum
DIRECTED BY: Paul Greengrass
STARRING: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Strathairn

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon)
DIRECTED BY: Julian Schnabel
STARRING: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze

Michael Clayton
DIRECTED BY: Tony Gilroy
STARRING: George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton

No Country for Old Men
DIRECTED BY: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
STARRING: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin

There Will Be Blood
DIRECTED BY: Paul Thomas Anderson
STARRING: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano

2008

The Dark Knight
DIRECTED BY: Christopher Nolan
STARRING: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart

Slumdog Millionaire
DIRECTED BY: Danny Boyle
STARRING: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto

WALL-E
DIRECTED BY: Andrew Stanton
STARRING: Fred Willard, Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Garlin

2009
Avatar
DIRECTED BY: James Cameron
STARRING: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

The Hurt Locker
DIRECTED BY: Kathryn Bigelow
STARRING: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty

Inglourious Basterds
DIRECTED BY: Quentin Tarantino
STARRING: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent

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6 Comments »

  • janetbyron says:

    Inclusion of the Royal Tannenbaums and not Rushmore is puzzling to me.

  • alsolikelife says:

    Here here! Rushmore turned me on to Wes Anderson; Royal Tenenbaums feels overwrought in comparison.

  • Jane says:

    Whaat? I loved Royal Tenenbaums! Rushmore was great too, but it seemed like he was still finding his voice.

  • cshobris says:

    Um, hello? Where is the Lion King? That movie should be involved with the 1994 list. I would be happy if you did put it on that list. That movie is awesome. I think it should be a top 100. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this.

  • Chris says:

    The Lion King? F you to the comment suggesting that, like we need to praise another Jesus allegory.

  • Chris says:

    …and how did Snatch not make this list?

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