NYT's rankings of the best movies of the 21st century are both satisfying and surprising (especially #25).
Today, the New York Times ranked the 25 best movies of the 21st century. The results are as eclectic as they are satisfying.
New York Times Chief Film Critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott led the effort, with input from Facebook users and various filmmakers and actors, including Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, Richard Linklater, Robert Pattinson, and Michelle Williams.
"We decided to rank, with some help from cinema savants on Facebook, the top 25 movies that are destined to be the classics of the future," wrote Dargis and Scott.
Although the list features a majority of American directors—Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson, Clint Eastwood, the Coen brothers, and Kelly Reichardt, to name a few—the top 10 films represent a more global perspective, with entries from Hayao Miyazaki (Japan), Cristi Puiu (Romania), Jia Zhangke (China), and Olivier Assayas (France).
The list's most surprising selection is Judd Apatow's 40-Year-Old Virgin, at #25, lauded by both critics for bringing a feminist perspective to the blockbuster comedy.
Dargis responded: "That’s one of criticism’s essential questions, isn’t it: how do directors make characters—with their interior lives, their specificity and universality—come alive on screen?....You want to sweep [Chiron] into your arms. Part of the movie’s genius is how it folds its argument into its actual narrative structure."
The critics selected Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood for the coveted #1 spot, calling it a "21st-century masterpiece."
Below, we've listed the full rankings, along with pertinent quotes from the top three choices.
1. There Will Be Blood (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
Dargis: "Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is a 21st-century masterpiece about love, death, faith, greed and all the oil and blood gushing through the American 20th century.... He embodies the best of the United States only to become the very worst of it. The film offers a profound and deeply unsettling vision of the country, but it’s also a testament to one of this nation’s sublime achievements: the movies."
Scott: "It is stranger than any of its themes, mightier than its influence and bigger than any of the genres it explores… That opening sequence lasts almost 15 minutes before the first line of dialogue is uttered, and it sets the table (or stirs the milkshake) for the many bravura set pieces that follow, like the explosion of the drilling rig midway through. I never tire of thinking about There Will Be Blood. But every time I watch it, I find it outruns all my thoughts. Not many films do that."
Dargis: "It’s still fascinating to see how Mr. Anderson drew from two traditions to make the film: classical Hollywood cinema and European art film."
2. Spirited Away (Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 2002)
Del Toro: "As a young adult, I saw My Neighbor Totoro and it moved me to tears. I mean, I basically couldn’t stop crying at the beauty and the enormous feat of capturing the innocence of being a child. I immediately chased down everything he had done."
3. Million Dollar Baby (Dir. Clint Eastwood, 2004)
Scott: "You sometimes hear that that they don’t make them the way they used to, but Mr. Eastwood–almost uniquely in 21st-century Hollywood–most assuredly does."
The rest of the rankings are as follows: