Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Movies

The Best Films of the Years 2000 – 2009

I’ve gone back to the year 2000 and attempted to highlight the Best Films of the Decade, with the decade starting in 2000. [This means, of course, that I’m one year short of 10 years of films, since 2010 has just begun.]

The criterion, for me, in listing my Best Films was whether I enjoyed them the most at the theater. Sometimes, the most heavily promoted films are not really that enjoyable. There are some “Best Picture of the Year” nominees that leave you completely cold after you have spent time watching them, so much so that you wonder, “How did THAT get nominated as Best ________________?” (Fill in the blank here). You may appreciate the achievement of a film like, for instance, “The Queen,” but did you really enjoy it that much, acting expertise aside?

Also, will this film hold up over the years? There are some films that were “hot” movies of that year, but the year was so weak that to name them as the “best” is simply to acknowledge that they were the best of a not-so-banner year.

I am not a huge fan of animated films, but some made my list. I like humor, but it should be somewhat witty, avoid formulaic situations, and not be so lowbrow that every vehicle in the parking lot is a truck with a gun rack, a rebel flag and a NASCAR sticker on view.

While acknowledging that Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy represented a huge achievement, the films were not as faithful to the books as purists would have liked, and, quite frankly, I was pretty bored throughout. (I looked down the row and my sister-in-law was asleep, although she later denied this.) The same is true of all the Harry Potter movies, for me. And, more recently, the “Twilight” films, representing, as they do, a teen phenomenon, are going to fall into the same category.

Some years were, of course, better than others, and that is why many Honorable Mention(s) follow some of the Ten Best lists. Other years have no Honorable Mentions at all. I’m not trying to suggest that your list of the Ten Best Movies of the Decade (to date) will match mine, but at least you’ll have a referent point for (maybe) picking a few from the past 9 years that you night have missed.  I should also note that the films are listed in no particular order.


Best Films of 2000:

“High Fidelity”



“Almost Famous”

“Cast Away”

“Erin Brockovich”


“Wonder Boys”


“Meet the Parents”/”Galaxy Quest”

Best Films of 2001:

“A Beautiful Mind”

“Lord of the Rings”

“Mulholland Drive”

“Black Hawk Down”


“Training Day”

“Monster’s Ball”

“In the Bedroom”


“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Best Films of 2002:

“About A Boy”

“About Schmidt”


“Bourne Identity”

“Bowling for Columbine”

“Minority Report”

“The Pianist”


“Rabbit-proof Fence”

“Spider-Man 2”

Best Films of 2003:

“The Fog of War” (documentary)

“Mystic River”

“Cold Mountain”

“In America”


“City of God”


“House of Sand and Fog”

“Under the Tuscan Sun”

“Pieces of April”

(*Honorable mention to “Finding Nemo,” “Master & Commander,” “Thirteen,” “The Cooler,” “Bad Santa,” “Lost in Translation,” “The Last Samurai,” “Calendar Girls,” “Love, Actually.”)

Best Films of 2004:

“The Aviator”

“Hotel Rwanda”

“Million Dollar Baby”



“Fahrenheit 9/11”



“The Sea inside”


(*Honorable mention to “The Manchurian Candidate,” “The Notebook,” “Mean Girls,” “Super Size Me”)

Best Films of 2005:


“Brokeback Mountain”

“A History of Violence”



“Batman Begins”

“Cinderella Man”

“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”

“Good Night, and Good Luck”

“Walk the Line”

(*Honorable mention to “King Kong,” “Jarhead,” “Match Point,” “Transamerica,” “North Country,” “March of the Penguins” and “Munich.”)

Best Films of 2006:

“Last King of Scotland”

“The Departed”

“Little Miss Sunshine”

“Pan’s Labyrinth”

“United 93”

“Flags of Our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima”

“Casino Royale”



“Thank You for Smoking”

(*Honorable mention to “V for Vendetta,” “Blood Diamond,”  “Cars,” “Monster House,” “An Inconvenient Truth” (documentary), “The Queen,” “Babel,”
”Hollywoodland,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing” (documentary), “Who Killed the Electric Car” (documentary), “Children of Men,” “Little Children,” “A Scanner Darkly”)

Best Films of 2007:

“Michael Clayton”

“No Country for Old Men”

“Away from Her”


“In the Valley of Elah”

“Eastern Promises”

“American Gangster’

“Knocked Up”

“Charlie Wilson’s War”

“The Bourne Ultimatum”

(*Honorable Mention:  “The Savages,” “Gone Baby Gone,” “Waitress,” “Atonement,” “La Vie En Rose,” “The Diving Bell & the Butterfly,” “Elizabeth, the Golden Age.”)

Best Films of 2008:

“The Reader”

“Batman: The Dark Knight”

“Iron Man”

“Gran Torino”

“Slumdog Millionaire”


“The Wrestler”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”



(*Honorable Mention:  “Burn After Reading,” “In Bruges,” “Frozen River,” “The Visitor,” “Tropic Thunder,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “Bourne Ultimatum,” “The Bucket List.”

Best Films of 2009:

“Up in the Air”

“The Hurt Locker”

“The Informant”


“500 Days of Summer”


“Red Cliff”



“The Messenger”

(*Honorable Mention to “Star Trek,” “The Hangover,” “2012,” “Public Enemies,” “I Love You, Man,” and “Jennifer’s Body”)

Movie Quote Quiz Answers

      There are so many great movie quotes that echo in my mind and have special meaning for me.

     Like nearly everyone in America, Clark Gable’s famous pronouncement “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” as he exited Tara in “Gone with the Wind” seemed the very essence of manly disdain. His complete contempt for the manipulative Vivien Leigh’s cries of “What shall I do? Where shall I go?” show that he has reached the limits of human endurance with Scarlett O”Hara’s perpetual scheming. Men everywhere applauded his sheer bravado in telling Scarlett O’Hara where to get off.

      Another film that resonates with nearly every American is “The Wizard of Oz” and I think we all share Judy Garland’s sentiment  “There’s no place like home.” It reminds of that other famous literary quote that says, “Home is the place where, when you have nowhere else to go, they have to take you in.”

     Because I grew up only 60 miles away from the movie set of “Field of Dreams” I have always held dear “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa,” and, as a fledgling entrepreneur in 1986, I often muttered to myself, “If you build it, they will come.” The W.P. Kinsella novel on which the movie was based was a hymn of praise to Iowa, my birth state, and Kinsella was a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Implausibly, the film about a son coming to terms with his dead father worked on so many levels, showcasing stars like Kevin Costner, Burt Lancaster, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta.

     Most of us have internalized the Italian family saga that is and was “The Godfather” and the saying, “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse,” Marlon Brando’s veiled threat, has certainly made its way into the pantheon of contemporary American sayings. Brando also uttered one of the best and most famous lines in American cinema when he told his brother Charlie (Rod Steiger) that he “shoulda looked out for him” and added, “I coulda’ been a contender, instead of a bum. Which is what I am.” This famous exchange, set in the back of a car in “On the Waterfront,” earned Marlon Brando’s Terry Malloy an Oscar and takes us back immediately to the Elia Kazan film, co-starring Eva Marie Saint.

     In “Taxi Driver,” Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro) grows more and more paranoid and delusional until we see him practicing saying, in a mirror, “You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me?” This glimpse of a tormented soul losing his grip on sanity seems very true-to-life as we read today’s headlines about violent shooting rampages.

     On a happier note, Humphrey Bogart tells Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa in “Casablanca,” “We’ll always have Paris,” as he urges her to leave with her husband on the plane. The film was and is widely considered one of the best ever shot, and the line lives on as a tribute to romantics everywhere.

     More recently, Cuba Gooding snagged an Academy Award for screaming, “Show me the money!” into the phone to Tom Cruise, his sports agent, in “Jerry Maguire.” It was a tour-de-force performance by Gooding, one that he has yet to match.

     “Psycho” with Anthony Perkins as the young motel clerk with the mommy hang-ups gave us, “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” This Hitchcock film was among the most terrifying ever filmed, and, even today, the shower scene is unparalleled. At no time is the knife shown penetrating flesh, but, through successive quick cuts, the master gave us a totally terrifying murder scene in a motel bathroom shower.

     Another film of the sixties that gave us both the one-word “Plastics” and the line, “Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?” was “The Graduate,” a vehicle that launched Dustin Hoffman and Katharine Ross, with an able assist from Anne Bancroft. Mike Nichols directed and the iconic images still influence filmmakers today.

    At the end of “Some Like It Hot,” Joe E. Brown tells Jack Lemmon (in drag), “Nobody’s perfect,” as they speed across the water in a speedboat. Lemmon has been trying to tell the persistent suitor that he is not a woman, but a man, and rips off his wig to reveal his secret, finally, only to find that Brown cannot be deterred. It gave obsession a whole new dimension.

     These ten-plus lines are known to serious film-goers everywhere, but, just to round out the list, the one word “Rosebud” from “Citizen Kane,” which, we now know, was the name of Orson Welles’ sled and represented his lost childhood is classic, as is “I’ll have what she’s having” from “When Harry Met Sally,” uttered by Rob Reiner’s real-life mother in a bit part in a restaurant, as Sally (Meg Ryan) faked an orgasm for Billy Crystal’s benefit.

   See if you can name the films from which these lines sprang: “I’m King of the World!” (spoken by Leonardo deCaprio).

    “Hey! I’m walkin’ here” as uttered by Dustin Hoffman. (It was improvised, as the budget for the film was so small that traffic could not be shut down and Hoffman, walking with co-star Jon Voigt, really did bang on the hood of the New York City cab.

    “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.” Gloria Swanson said it, and William Holden’s body was found, floating facedown of the pool, at the very beginning of the film.

    And in what movie did Jack Nicholson say, “You make me want to be a better man” to Helen Hunt’s waitress. Or, Robert Duvall spoke “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” in what Francis Ford Coppola vehicle?

    If you don’t know the answer(s) to the questions posed in the last 3 paragraphs, visit http://www.weeklywilson.com/ for the answers.

ANSWERS: “I’m King of the world” is Leonardo deCaprio’s famous line from “Titanic,” spoken with Rose from the prow of the ship before it famously sinks.

     “Hey! I’m walkin’ here!” was uttered by Dustin Hoffman in “Midnight Cowboy,” as the character Ratso Rizzo navigates downtown New York City with  male hustler Jon Voigt.

     “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille,” was faded star Gloria Swanson’s line, as the police close in to arrest her for the murder of William Holden, (seen floating in the pool as the film opens) in “Sunset Boulevard.”

     “You make me want to be a better man,” was Jack Nicholson’s Obsessive-compulsive writer’s plea to waitress Helen Hunt in “As Good As It Gets.”

     “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” was Robert Duvall’s wacko comment to his men in Vietnam in “Apocalypse Now,” as he also suggested they surf the waves in this Francis Ford Coppola-directed Vietnam War epic.

    If you liked these, write me a line and I’ll share others with you to solve in future articles on www.weeklywilson.com.

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