Best of the Decade Derby POLL: Best English language film from 2000

I got a lot of great feedback, and a lot of recommendations from my post pondering the merits of English-language cinema from the year 2000, and if there were any worth revisiting as I compile my top ten list of the decade.  Unfortunately as time is tight and I don’t have time to rewatch everything, I think I can only commit to revisiting one or two films.  To decide which ones, I figure I’d put it in the hands of the democratic process. 

So here’s a list of the most likely English language films for me to rewatch from 2000, and some acknowledgements of those who’ve already endorsed some of the titles. Please vote for JUST ONE that you think is most worthy of being on a top ten list of all films from this decade. I’ll make a decision by the end of the week…

Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe)
– endorsed by Marcy Dermansky (

Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier)

George Washington (David Gordon Green)

High Fidelity (Stephen Frears)
– endorsed by Christianne Benedict (

The House of Mirth (Terrence Davies)
-endorsed by Keith Uhlich (The House Next Door) 

Memento (Christopher Nolan)

Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky)

Traffic (Steven Soderbergh)

Wonder Boys (Curtis Hanson)

You Can Count on Me (Kenneth Lonergan)
– endorsed by Matt Parker (


Write-in votes are welcome as well (just list ONE, please)

Author: alsolikelife

This is my pet project

  • Chad

    I don't think it's necessarily the best film of the bunch, but George Washington is the one that lends itself best to new discoveries on repeat viewings.

  • weepingsam

    Of that group, I'd vote for George Washington. But I'd rather write in O Brother Where Art Thou.

  • John

    I'm going to say Traffic. It isn't a personal favorite of mine, but because it is a “hyperlink narrative” a storytelling style has been very prevalent the past ten years, you should focus on it. Also, Soderbergh is the quintessential example of the 'indie' film-maker who became a part of the Hollywood system, and that too has been a notable trend for the past 10-15 years.

  • Stephen

    Well, it's by a French filmmaker, but it is English-language, so I'll write in Desplechin's ESTHER KAHN.

  • Greg

    Bah to all this “not my personal favorite” stuff. BAH I SAY!

    Based on your original write up, I know you hated it, but my “personal favorite” on this list is Requiem for a Dream. But beyond “personal favoritism,” it might be worth returning to after nine years, with two much calmer films now under Aronofsky's belt to compare it to.

  • Yoel Meranda

    Three Times – Hou Hsiao Hsien… obviously!

  • alsolikelife

    3 Times was made in 2000?

  • Gareth

    Though there are occasional moments that make me cringe a little, the one I've enjoyed on repeat viewings is “Almost Famous,” with the performances becoming more and more wonderful with time.

    Not on the list, but well worth of a look (a re-look) is Andrew Dominik's Australian debut “Chopper,” which is very interesting to see in parallel with his (longer in every sense) “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” Both films are deeply concerned with the nature of fame and notoriety, as well as with violent people who want to have a certain degree of social acceptance.

  • c mason wells

    Well, I'll second the vote for ESTHER KAHN, but HOUSE OF MIRTH is far and away the best movie on that list. I've always been taken with Kent Jones's immediate reaction after he saw it: “Wow, what a movie!”

  • chris

    Traffic…since Im only allowed to pick one

  • John

    Talk about another case of over-using scare quotes.

  • Sean

    Absolutely, House of Mirth. Would make my own list of a dozen or so this decade.

  • boudu

    Your mind works in mysterious ways, Kevin: I don't know why you divide the movies by language, such an 'Academic' distinction, in the worse sense of the word (Academic). I've already voted for American Psycho, a movie that has the rare quality of being a great movie based on a great book, and that includes in the title (and his central character is an example of) the concept of Psycho, something formalized by Psychologist David Hare, in what could be one of the greatest discoveries of the twenty century. Besides that, I'm with Mr. Kerpan,: don't forget Barking Dogs Never Bite, a movie that I have put in my top 20 of best movies ever made. But my mind works in mysterious ways, also.

  • John Murdoch


  • alsolikelife

    I didn't realize this was from 2000, and you know what, it's one I've been meaning to revisit, so it gets a slot. That leaves room for just one more…

  • alsolikelife

    well I originally intended this to be just for American films, since I was surprised that there weren't any American films I was crazy about from 2000 (usually there's at least one). But then I cast the gaze further to all films in English and still nothing. (except now I've been reminded of Esther Kahn).

    I love BARKING DOGS as well, though I'm more excited about revisiting MEMORIES OF MURDER. At any rate Bong Joon-ho is the Korean director most likely to make my list.

  • Matt Parker

    Traffic and Requiem are close seconds in my book :-)

  • boudu

    It is Robert Hare, not David

  • Greg

    Curious, as 2000's two big “drug movies,” which do you think was a better take on the subject?

  • alsolikelife

    I won't comment as to their overall quality, but one social lesson that both films hammered home was that drugs are the surest route to white girls having illicit sex with black men.

  • Matt Parker

    Traffic – although truthfully I like both of them in spite of their didacticism.

  • Bob Turnbull

    I'll chip in a vote for “Almost Famous”. In many ways it's comfort food for me – the topic (damn I wanted to be that kid), the music, the flow and pace of the film – but I think Crowe was really hitting on all cylinders in how he presented things. The cut from the young William Miller spinning “Tommy” for the first time to him three years later fully engrossed in the music always gives me some goose bumps (OK, Townsend's music helps in that regard too). The little details (the backstage conversation about loving the little things in music like “Woos” and mistakes) and bits of humour (Russell Hammond nodding Yes to go to a local party while Miller is shaking his head No) are everywhere. Even the music for the band Stillwater was perfect – exactly what you would hear from a “mid-level band”: the couple of FM radio tunes that get replays and the, ahem, deeper cuts from the album.

    And the performances and characters are superb.

    The best of the year? No idea. I love it though.

  • Greg

    That…. is not something I considered before… :/

  • Greg

    I think that the main problem with Traffic is its huge range of interests don't allow it to look at any in-depth. The huge amount of characters don't allow us to get close to any of them. Dennis Quaid gets some top billing, his character gets a floaty head on the poster, but after seeing the film twice I still have no idea what the hell his character was about.

    The relationships between the characters suffer from this. You never get a true sense of the relationship between, say, Wakefield and his wife, Rodriguez and his partner, Caroline and Seth, beyond the artificial (they are fighting/they are friends/he gives her drugs). What we're seeing are types occasionally bumping into each other, and that just doesn't engage me.

    The same lack of focus falls on any kind of theme or message. The nearest we really get to something is in the middle of the film, when Wakefield visits the border and we get a series of lectures that basically amount to “it's kind of a hopeless situation” and leaves it at that. That sums up the movie for me: lecture points. Drugs are bad (though we never really see why drugs are bad), Mexican drug dealers are evil (in the most unspecified ways), and that's about it.

    Requiem is microcosmic compared to Traffic: four characters, three apartments, you could almost turn it into a chamber play if you found a way to make it work without the hip hop montages (more on those in a sec). This sharper focus allows me more interest in the characters' highs (hardy har har)and lows (which is not to say that these characters are super deep, but deeper then Traffic).

    But what really puts the film in the win catagory for me is the point of it all: the symbology we use for drug addiction is inadequate, it's either grossly inaccurate (Reefer Madness) or isn't powerful enough (in Traffic, Caroline basically becomes a hobo-zombie or something and Seth is just a prick). What Aronofsky does is boil drug addiction down to it's strongest symbols and presents them via hip hop montage: pills in hand, pills in mouth, eyes widen, let's watch TV.

    I guess I should boil it down too: Requiem is specific, Traffic is not, and I much rather prefer specific.

  • vadim

    I'm the only person who'd even consider Dancer In The Dark? Wow.

  • alsolikelife

    I've lost enthusiasm for von trier over the decade. Dogville was a top ten of it's year for me but now I have no desire to revisit it. Same goes for haneke. But as always I'm open to persuasion.

  • Matt Noller

    Vadim: My vote is for Dancer in the Dark, as well.

  • vadim

    Mm. I guess I think that to categorize all of Von Trier's work as of one piece is kind of a mistake; I think Dancer in the Dark is fantastic, but find Dogville interesting only kind of abstractly. Dancer In The Dark is Von Trier's most viscerally brutal and effective movie, though in service of what is debatable. I'd take Zooropa (or whatever it's called these days) and The Kingdom over that first, honestly.

  • alsolikelife

    My personal favorite – and perhaps the only Von Trier film I'll stand behind at this point – is Breaking the Waves, for somehow managing to wield an unflinching critical faculty towards its own devastating melodrama even as it unleashes it on the audience. I suppose one could make the same case for Dancer in the Dark, but I mostly I remember the film drowning in a sea of gimmickry. The part where the cop gets bashed in the head with a money box was I guess the tipping point, never mind the 100 cameras (about 99 more than anyone really needs to make a masterpiece).

  • Eric Eiserloh

    Haven't seen House Of Mirth, and while I enjoyed most of the others to some degree or another (though perhaps not as much as Snatch), Dancer In The Dark is by far the most daring and original, and a film every film lover needs to see, and I'm not sure I can say that about the rest.

    For foreign films in 2000, I would say definitely say that about Mood For Love, but was also very impressed by Amores Perros, and Code Unknown, and even Together, among others…. still hoping to to see Werckmeister Harmonies, and Yurika one day soon…..

  • Car Insurance Comparison

    Fantastic is the word, recently watched it and found it really very interesting, I would watch it again!

  • Selene Fierro

    So here’s a list of the most likely English language films for me to
    rewatch from 2000, and some acknowledgements of those who’ve already
    endorsed some of the titles. Please vote for JUST ONE that you think is
    most worthy of being on a top ten list of all films from this decade.
    I’ll make a decision by the end of the week…