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The Best Discoveries of 2018: The 2000s

As I mentioned in my last post, the 1990s and 2000s tend to get the short shrift in my movie-watching schedules, so this list will be even shorter than my 1990s post. In almost every case, these were films recommended to me by others and the one that wasn’t came as a total impulse buy at the used bookstore. So even though I don’t go out of my way to seek out movies from these years, I’m pleased when folks are nice enough to fill in the discrepancies in my film education. Here we go…


(Yes, I’m breaking my own rules by picking a movie that came out in 2010, but they’re my rules to break, so there.) Many thanks go out to Cole and Ericca at The Magic Lantern podcast for introducing me to Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010). I’d actually been aware of this movie for a few years, saw that it was streaming, and just never got around to watching it until I listened to their discussion of the film. Wow… This is a film to revisit and get lost in.

I can’t remember exactly who it was, but it was probably Eddie Muller who recommended Infernal Affairs (2002) to the Twitterverse, but regardless, I’m glad I found it. This is not the 1990 film starring Richard Gere and Andy Garcia (which may be a fine film; I haven’t seen it), but a Hong Kong crime thriller which follows a young police cadet (Tony Leung) as he goes undercover to infiltrate the criminal Triad organization. At the same time, new Triad recruit Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau) infiltrates the police department as a mole. If you’re into crime films, you won’t want to miss this one.

I always enjoy movie-watching projects with my co-worker Beckie, and I was surprised how much her pick I Love You, Man (2009) resonated with me. You can read more about it here.

I also must thank Mr. Leonard Maltin for mentioning Me and Orson Welles (2008) on his podcast Maltin on Movies earlier this year (although I can’t recall the episode). I’m finding this is a film very few people have seen, which is a real shame. I hope you’ll read my review of the film and decide to see it.

Mean Creek (2004) was a total blind buy at my local used book/DVD store. I don’t know why I picked it up, but I’m glad I did. Here’s why.

Mostly quiet and understated, Drifters (2003) is the story of a Chinese man who loses custody of his son and wants to get him back. I’ve actually seen relatively few Chinese films and this one is both a fascinating look at that culture and a compelling story. This DVD from Film Movement (a company I’m strongly considering supporting) was given to me by a co-worker whose daughter had given it to her. In a manner of speaking, I’m now giving it to you.

Spirited Away (2001), a fascinating movie from Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki, begins with a family of four discovering an abandoned amusement park, which is the most normal thing in a film literally overflowing with wonder. I’ll need to discover more about Japanese culture to better enjoy the film, but even if you have no knowledge of the culture, this is a must-see film with gorgeous animation.

The next Best Discoveries list will be sometime in January. I actually have no discoveries from 2010 to 2016 (thus the inclusion of Uncle Boonmee in today’s list), so my next list will include only films from 2017 and 2018. In the meantime, I’ll probably post my overall Top 10 Discoveries from the 1920s to 2018, which potentially could include some 2018 films. Stay tuned!

Photos: Roger Ebert, NY Times

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