My favorite films of the 2000s


Niki Tehranchi
by Niki Tehranchi

The 2000s decade is coming to an end in a couple of weeks and I wanted to celebrate by putting together a list of my favorite movies of the 00s. Notice I didn’t say the best. “Best of” lists are pretty arrogant since art, especially movies, are so subjective. So these are just my personal faves, for varying reasons. I would love to hear from you about your favorite films of the decade as well.

Without further ado, my top ten favorite movies of the 00s (in no particular order):

Marmoulak aka The Lizard (2004)

One of the best Iranian movies I have seen in a long time. It was so refreshing to see a comedy that worked so well, with such a talented cast. (One of the best parts was when the religion student would ask inane questions such as how would an astronaut know which way to turn to when doing his prayer in space). And through the laughter, there was of course a sharp social and political commentary. Too bad there aren’t enough people out there who read and live by the Little Prince!

Borat (2006)

By far, the best comedy of the 00s. I think I have watched it twenty times at least. As I wrote in an earlier review on this site, Borat is a character that not only provides us with laughs but his heart and soul resonate with all of us, the ever optimistic immigrant persevering in the face of rejection and hardships in a strange land. What I most loved about his character is that, as Sosa tells Tony Montana, there is “no lying” in him. Borat may be a naïve but at least he is not a hypocrite, like so many of the real individuals he lampooned on his journey of cultural learnings in America to make benefit of glorious nation of Kazakhstan.

I think I love my wife (2007)

Of course I had to include a chick flick on this list. And while there were many good ones to choose from (Sex and the City, He’s just not that into you), I had to pick this Chris Rock film as my all time favorite of the past decade, for two reasons: 1) A brilliant script by Rock and Louis C.K., and 2) it is one of those rare instances when a “relationship” story is told so honestly from the point of view of the man. When I found out this is a remake of a French film, I had my A-Ha moment. I don’t think any American film could deal so honestly and maturely with the ups and downs of marriage. Most chick flicks are just escapist fantasies with unreal, unattainable men. And while I can enjoy those as well, this is the film that stood out for me.

Le pacte des loups (2001)

A return to the swashbuckling movies of Errol Flynn with a dash of Kung Fu and a sprinkle of the supernatural. All that and you get Monica Belluci, Vincent Cassel and Emilie Dequenne, perhaps the most photogenic and talented European stars of today, and some fantastic cinematography. Bring on the popcorn, this is going to be a wild ride.

Va ankaboot amad aka And along came a spider (2002)

There were many amazing documentaries this past decade, from Michael Moore’s fiery Fahrenheit 9/11, to James Toback’s heartbreaking, lyrical Tyson, and Al Gore’s Oscar winning An Inconvenient Truth. But I chose a little known and unfortunately little seen, fascinating, disturbing, documentary by Maziar Bahari about the serial killings of prostitutes in the holy city of Mashad. There is really shocking footage here, of the convicted killer and his family being candidly and chillingly interviewed about his crimes, of the victims’ family members including two little girls with child’s bodies but old people’s souls, and the community members who take sides between the killer as martyr and hero and the killer as evil and monstrous.

The Wrestler (2008)

Here is when I become judgmental. Because, if you are not moved by this film, I can truly say that you are heartless!!! You can read my blog about this here.

Gardens of the Night (2008)

You know that recent news story in the United States about Jaycee Dugard, the little girl who was kidnapped as a child and kept in captivity through her adult life, even bearing her tormentor’s children. If you want to truly understand how something so incomprehensible can happen, this movie has the answer for you. A totally non-melodramatic and very realistic portrait of child abuse and the child sex trade in the United States, the likes of which I am certain you have never seen before. And Tom Arnold is so exceptional in it as the kidnapper who does not LOOK like a monster but acts and talks more like Uncle Roger. If you are like me, you won’t be able to watch this film again after the first viewing, but it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

28 days later (2002)

Well, I had to include at least one horror movie, didn’t I? And while vampires, sorcerers and werewolves are the ones getting all the publicity right now, I really think this was the decade of the zombies! The one great innovation we had in the 2000s was how they were reinvented from the laughably slow, drooling pieces of rotting corpses we were used to, into really terrifying, rabid, fast predators with superhuman powers. In films from Dawn of the Dead (the remake) and Resident Evil, we were confronted by a totally new breed of zombies. The best of those zombie movies for me was 28 days later, with the delicious Cillian Murphy as the hero, Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) as the director, and Alex Garland (The Beach) as the writer, this was an all-star team that delivered the goods.

Lost in Translation (2003)

Every once in a while, a movie comes out that kind of speaks for its generation. Rebel without a cause, Breathless, Easy Riders, Clerks, come to mind. This film redeemed my opinion of Sofia Coppola which had been totally shattered by her terrible performance in her father’s film Godfather III. Who knew she was going to get out from under the shadow of her famous father and come into her own? Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen are one of the most unlikely romantic couples in film history but somehow it is totally believable. The background of the luminous city of Tokyo, beautifully photographed by Lance Acord, lends a fairy tale quality to this unforgettable movie.

Dogville (2003)

You can say that Lars Von Trier (Breaking the waves, Dancer in the dark) is a pioneer, a great artist, a visionary, fearless. Yes, he is all that. But I would add that he is also a misogynist. I ‘m sorry, but after seeing his female heroines battered and humiliated with a cruelty that I had never seen before in cinema, I wonder when the social commentary ends and the director’s jollies begin? Nevertheless, his movies are different, interesting, and worth seeing, whether you end up hating them or not. With probably the most high caliber cast you would ever find on screen these days (Lauren Bacall, Nicole Kidman, James Caan, Patricia Clarkson, Philipp Baker Hall, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard, etc).

Honorable Mentions: Blue Car, Birth, The Departed, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Hangover, Kill Bill, Match Point, Passion of Mind, Persepolis, Sex and the City, He’s just not that into you, Fahrenheit 9/11, Tyson.

Stay tuned for my list of the movies I hated in the 00s…


Recently by Niki TehranchiCommentsDate
First day of school
Aug 15, 2012
What would you say?
Jan 31, 2012
Rebound girlfriend
May 11, 2011
more from Niki Tehranchi

I'd put Thirteen in my top 5. And about 8 Miles

by Anonymouse on

Thirteen (2003)

I liked Crash because it brought up a new way of thinking and reflecting on who we are and where we are in terms of our contemporary history.  Marmoulak was good because of the same reason.  It was the first chance for the new generation to reflect on what has become of them.

Now about 8 miles, I don't think it was in the same group as Hustle & Flow.  I'd put 8 miles more in the Glitter and Body Parts of celebrities with one hit wonder, although they were not a wonder, just one hit :-) 

I understand many people like M&M ;-) and am ok with it but him making a movie I don't see it as anything different than Howard Stern or Mariah making movies. 

BTW I saw Precisous and Mariah was ok, nothing great, just ok.  Precious is a good movie too and tells a story of where we are again like I mentioned above.  Although, if it was about Iranians we'd be up in arms about it, but not blacks, they understand it.  We should too with movies about us.  

Everything is sacred.

Louie Louie

This is what happened to me watching Curious case of

by Louie Louie on


28 Months Later

by anonymous111.2 on

"no comment" on "in development" projects  :-))))))

Big "no no" for people on the low end of the totem pole! 

Niki Tehranchi

Oh man, what about Mann?

by Niki Tehranchi on

Can't believe I left out Michael Mann. He made an AMAZING film this past decade: Collateral (2004) with Tom Cruise as the silver fox hitman and Jamie Foxx as the cab driver who is at the wrong place, wrong time. It's when you watch a film like that when you realize, if given the proper chance, and especially when he is cast against type, Tom Cruise can be an amazing actor.  Like he was as the misogynist motivational speaker in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (which doesn't make it as it is a 1999 movie).  And I am one of the few people who liked Miami Vice too, although I wouldn't put it in any "favorites" list.  Not when you have so many good ones to choose from.  Mann is the man!


I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

my favorites

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

1. bowling for columbine

2. harry potter

3. the ladykillers 

Niki Tehranchi


by Niki Tehranchi on

Eastern Promises: It's totally a matter of opinion.  it did not drag for me.  I relished every minute, especially the tension between Viggo and Naomi.  OMG, that moment where he touches her hand as she is passing him the diary gives me an electric charge every time I think about it.  And the bathhouse scene was amazingly choreographed and directed.  Viggo was such a sexy badass in that movie.  I can watch it again any time.

Sequel to 28 days: Yes, I actually saw it and it has 2 very beloved actors in it, Robert Carlyle (who is good in everything he does) and Rose Byrne.  It certainly was very entertaining and a good sequel.  Seems like there is going to be a "28 months later" too and I will probably watch that too!

Niki Tehranchi

Loved them

by Niki Tehranchi on

Hey Monda, I loved Amelie and her fabulous destiny, as well as Fargo (though that was a 1996 movie, not in the 2000s).

Mona, Finding Nemo was the best!!!


Niki, here's a few of mine

by Monda on

Amelie.  Napoleon Dynamite. Bread and Tulip.  Chocolat. Fargo. Million Dollar Baby. Illusionist. Food Inc.  Who Killed The Electric Cars? The Wrestler. The Beaches of Agnes. Dude Where's My Country? March of the Penguins. Ma Vie En Rose.

P.S. I sure hope you caught some of my favorites. If not, there's always Netflix.

P.S.S. I have many more but I'll read your hated movies first :o) 


I also forgot to mention

by anonymous111.2 on

"Up", the animated film from 2009.  The first 15 minutes of that film has such strong character development, and is so gripping that it makes you wonder if you're  actually watching a cartoon.  I built such a bond with the main character that the rest of the movie pretty much became irrelevant.  I just found myself rooting for the guy, just wanting to see him "succeed".  It is an amazing film.  



by anonymous111.2 on

is a genius.  I have to say though, that I thought that Eastern Promises "dragged" a bit in the middle.  I would attribute that to a "slow" script...but then again, I blame everything on scripts.  It's a subtle form of self

mutilation. :-)

BTW, I was somewhat involved with the making of 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later. Did you like the sequel?  

Niki Tehranchi


by Niki Tehranchi on

Man, Cronenberg sure makes a helluva good film!  It's so weird how different his movies today are than in the past.  Even though they are really painful to watch, I think Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and Crash are true masterpieces.  But in the recent past, I have to say I enjoyed Eastern Promises more than a History of Violence.  It may not have been my favorite favorite film but the performance by Viggo Mortensen made it one of my favorite characters of the 2000s, along with No Country for Old Men's Javier Bardem.

Niki Tehranchi

Swords and Sandals

by Niki Tehranchi on

Man I used to love all the sword and sandals epic when i was a kid: Quo Vadis, Cleopatra, Spartacus, Ben-Hur etc.  Gladiator was great.  It was definitely a new, serious take on an old genre.  No more campiness, a lot more dramatic and realistic.  But do you know what? It was Joaquin Phoenix's performance in that film that had me riveted!!! 

Fouzul Bashi

I vote for

by Fouzul Bashi on


The best film of 2000's

Darius Kadivar

Gladiator By Far ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

The Movie that Re invented the Sword and Sandals Genre ...


The Epic Is Back :



Only two make the cut for me

by anonymous111.2 on

A History of Violence and Mulholland Drive are THE best ones.  Josh Olson and David Lynch,who wrote A History of Violence and Mulholland Drive respectively are both gifted screenplay writers--especially Josh Olson--and both films really reflect their artistic abilities.      

Mola Nasredeen

A few movies that come to my mind

by Mola Nasredeen on

1. The Taste of Cherry, directed by Abbas KiaRostami

2. Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood

3. Marmoulak, directed by Kamal Tabrizi

4. The Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott

5. The Goodfellas, Directed by Martin Scorsese


Niki Tehranchi

My take

by Niki Tehranchi on

Crash: Some characters were hopelessly miscast (Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser), too many cliches (the racist cop who comes through as the savior in the end), and it just was not too successful in its genre.  Traffic was an example of intermingling characters and storylines that meshed together quite well.

Hustle & Flow: Just okay.  I like 8 Mile more in the genre of the struggling musician.  Again, just my humble opinion.  The cast, especially Terrence Howard, were incredible though.

I haven't seen Ray.

I didn't like A Beautiful Mind though hubby loved it (one of his favorite movies of all time).  Can't put my finger on it.  Just not my cup of tea.

yeah, I know I missed a hell of a lot (The Ring, Scoop, Traffic, 8 Mile, House of Sand and Fog, Monster's Ball, Amelie, L'Auberge Espagnole, and so many more...)  I haven't seen everything and even from what I have seen and loved, I had to condense it into 10 just not to make the article too long (It's already long as it is).  If you can recommend good Iranian movies, I would love to hear it because I definitely have not seen too many Iranian movies this past decade, i sadly realized.


What about Crash, Hustle & Flow, Beautiful mind, Ray & more?

by Anonymouse on

There are just too many.  Maybe if we go through the lists of oscar nominees.

Marmoulak is definately #1 for Iranian movie but there are more.  I just can't remember them now.  Maybe later. 

Everything is sacred.


Crimson Gold

by Omid B on

I would add Crimson Gold, directed by Jafar Panahi.