Numerous critics have named their top 10 films of the decade. Unsurprisingly, there’s little consensus.
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24 Dec 2009 - 2:05 PM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2012 - 3:30 PM

What were the best and most memorable movies of the decade, an era which witnessed the re-emergence of animation as a critical and commercial phenomenon, the dominance of superheroes and Harry Potter, and, finally, digital 3D delivering wondrous, immersive experiences.

Numerous critics have released their top 10 lists, and there are some curious choices in my view. For all their merits, I doubt that cult films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Inland Empire, or crass comedies such as Borat and Team America will be cited by film historians in 10 or 20 years time as standard-bearers of the Noughties.

There's little consensus among the pundits. However, collating the votes of more than 25 reviewers, the top scorer was Paul Thomas Anderson's superb drama There Will Be Blood, followed by a tie between Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Then came No Country For Old Men, Momento, Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight, Almost Famous, Catch Me If You Can, Pan's Labyrinth and Wall-E.

Also featured strongly were City of God, The Departed, The Incredibles, Cache, Gladiator, Kill Bill, The Lives of Others, Lost in Translation and The Royal Tenenbaums.

The most highly-rated pure comedies were The 40-Year-Old Virgin and, inexplicably, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Only one critic nominated the Harry Potter movies, which I think reveals a snobbish elitism among many reviewers.
The New Yorker's David Denby selected several movies which would be on my top 10 list: Julian Schnabel's moving The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Judd Apatow's Knocked Up.

One interesting gauge of the decade's most admired films is Metacritic's rating of the best reviewed movies of that period. By that measurement, the top scorer was Guillermo del Toro's gothic fairytale Pan's Labyrinth, ahead of Romanian drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, Ratatouille, Spirited Away, The Hurt Locker, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Sideways, Wall-E, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and 35 Shots of Rum.

Whatever your preferences, the decade delivered many terrific blockbusters, ground-breaking documentaries by Michael Moore, Morgan Spurlock and others, and numerous art-house gems.

As for the worst films of the era, well, take your pick. Metacritic's worst reviewed list includes The Singing Forest (evidently a romance about two lovers who were killed during the Holocaust and are reincarnated), Chaos, Strippers, Vulgar, National Lampoon's Gold Diggers, The Hottie and the Nottie, and Screwed. I'm glad to see I missed them all.