Reclaiming the millennium
Dictionary.com defines “decade” as “a period of 10 years” and “millennium” as “a period of 1,000 years.” Nowhere is it specified that either have to start on a particular year to attain validity, so to everyone braying that the millennium started in 2001, please keep quiet and let the grown-ups talk. Without further ado, the best American films of each year of this millennium:
2000: Requiem for a Dream: Did anyone start using heroin after seeing Darren Aronofsky’s pitiless masterpiece?
2001: The Man Who Wasn’t There: The fourth and, in my opinion, best Coen Brothers film to make this list.
2002: About Schmidt: Quietly an avatar for the next decade of “awkward comedy,” and the last great Jack Nicholson performance.
2003: Kill Bill, Vol. 1: Despite the compromise of severing his runaway production into two parts, volume one of Tarantino’s epic is 111 minutes of movie candyland.
2004: Team America: World Police: The film that rendered every post-9/11 Hollywood screed that followed moot. Plus: marionette sex!
2005: The Squid and the Whale: Every 10 years, Jeff Daniels gives a performance that reminds us how badly he’s being wasted the rest of the time.
2006: The Prestige: A better year for documentaries (The Devil and Daniel Johnston; Deliver Us From Evil) than features, but Christopher Nolan’s mindfuck is grandly morbid entertainment.
2007: There Will Be Blood: Is the last scene—best known for contributing “I drink your milkshake!” to our lexicon—the single best piece of filmmaking of the decade?
2008: WALL-E: Pixar often gets too much credit from critics salivating to be considered “populist,” but this wise and manic sci-fi didn’t get nearly enough credit.
2009: Coraline: A mainstream animated film that didn’t feel compelled to restrain its artistic ambitions, or shield children from the darkness of their own fantasies.