A friend of mine contacted me a couple of weeks ago. He told me he's begun composing his best films of the decade list.
That can't be possible. Has it really been a decade since Erin Brockovich got everybody buzzed about Julia Roberts and Oscars and Hollywood discovered a great new screenwriter Mike Rich whose first film was the exceptional Finding Forrester. Can nine years have passed since the first The Lord of the Rings flick?
Just thinking a few minutes about it and there are three contenders for my best-of list. By the way, I hate compiling them. People are always asking me to name my favorite movie. You might as well ask me to name my favorite child. I like so many of them and hate so many more. I'm still required by some hidden, never-explained-to-me-law to give rating points to movies. It used to be bags of hot-buttered popcorn. That evolved into grades A through F. Now it's stars one through five.
I'm to blame for the popcorn rating, which I borrowed from a generous friend who used to use it to review videos for a mid-Willamette Valley video store chain in the mid-1980s. After the novelty of the popcorn grew stale, so did my enthusiasm for rating. But I'm a good sport and we kept it up.
I rather liked Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel's system. Thumbs up or thumbs down. So simple. So easy to understand, but they'd already taken it so I grabbed the bag of popcorn. Really, I like a movie or I don't. Rating them is painful. Those I don't like I wish I could just say, "I don't like," and be done with it. Those I do can get rated.
But this is a topic for another day and between me and the Tri-City Herald editors. Our subject is the best films of the decade: Jan. 1, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2009.
Cynics -- and those who are picky -- are instantly pointing fingers and saying, "We're not at December 31 yet, so how can you choose?" My guess is that aside from Avatar nothing I'm going to see between now and the end of the year has a remote chance of finding its way to that list.
I'm also thinking 20 movies instead of the usual top-10. It's a decade and deserves more. The critic in me says we also need a worst of list. That could top 100 and I'll leave that one be. You can do one if you want and share it with me.
And that's the point of this. What movies make your top 10 list? Post them and let's have the discussion of the decade.
If you don't respond, keep it in mind. I'm going to post this -- or something like it -- several times in the next month and a half.