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Top 20 Films of the 21st Century (so far)

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1 hour ago, ColinBollocks said:

With next day eyes I definitely ranked Rocketman too high. However, it's still one great movie. The scene in the Troubadour where he starts floating during Crocodile Rock is just perfect cinema.

I can’t say my list is in order because I change my mind all the time, and there’s already films I left out because I only thought of the last 10 years. That said, Rocketman is definitely one of best films of the last 10 years and worthy of a place in a top 20 for sure

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This is bloody hard, so this is in no particular order.

1. Donnie Darko - I was young when I saw this film and it probably doesn’t hold up, but it was the first film I saw that gave me the feeling that I’d seen something special so I have to include it for that reason.

2. Avengers: Infinity War - aside from the fact I‚Äôm from Scotland and it‚Äôs nice to see Edinburgh on the big screen, this film created one of the most iconic film moments in recent history with the ‚Äėfinger snap‚Äô. Plus it was fantastic.

3. Up - The opening montage in this film is one of the most effective and emotional pieces of storytelling I’ve ever seen. Incredible stuff.

4. Blackkklansman - Probably the most powerful ending I’ve ever seen in a film. You could hear a pin drop in the cinema as it played out.

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - I hadn’t fully appreciated how brilliant Jim Carrey is in serious roles until I saw this movie. He’s seriously underrated, and perhaps under-utilised too.

6. Kickass - the sequel is abysmal to the point it takes away from how good this film is...but overlooking that, this is one of the best superhero films of the 21st century so far, and Nicholas Cage is just great in it.

7. Anchorman - Probably my favourite comedy of the 21st century. 

8. Garden State - I kind of feel like this movie has been forgotten about, but it’s one of my favourite indie films and the soundtrack is great.

9. The Dark Knight - I still love this film, even if I grew up more of a Spider-Man guy. Speaking of which...

10. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse - What can I say, it was brilliant!

11. Joker - Might as well continue with my barrage of comic book movies...

12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Packed with nostalgia and arguably very few new ideas but fuck it, I loved it.

13. Million Dollar Baby - Possibly my favourite Oscar winner of the 21st Century.

14. Ex Machina - Gripping and disturbing, this is about as haunting a film as I’ve seen this century.

15. Shrek - My favourite kids’ film of the century so far. 

 16. Blade Runner 2049 - Deserved to do far better than it did at the box office.

17. Trainspotting 2 - Really did the book justice.

18. Casino Royale - this redefined who and what James Bond was for me. And what a performance from Mads Mikkelsen.

19. Adaptation - another brilliant Nicholas Cage performance. A great film too, obviously.

20. Memento - I cant believe this is almost 20 years old...

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19 minutes ago, HarmonicGenerator said:

I was really into Garden State at the time, but I can imagine it’s aged terribly.

I’ve been scared to rewatch it for that reason, but it’s one of the first indie movies I truly loved and it generally shaped my viewing habits. For that reason I had to include it. I might give it another watch over the Christmas period though.

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9 minutes ago, Devon Malcolm said:

Never seen it but with it being Zach Braff I always assumed it was horrible.

At the time, certainly, it was excellent. It’s a film I’ve not watched in over a decade because I’m worried I’ll ruin my very positive memories of it. The same could be said for Donnie Darko, which absolutely blew me away at the time, though I can’t bring myself to rewatch it just in case.

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I can confirm that while 17 year old me loved it at the time, watching it today you realise how awful and cringe it is.
I still have the soundtrack though which is enjoyable in a nostalgic way. 

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Garden State - I kind of feel like this movie has been forgotten about, but it’s one of my favourite indie films and the soundtrack is great.

As RedLetterMedia said, if Cancer was a movie.


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Gone with order of release, and it was tough to choose. 

1. Battle Royale - 2000

Along with Princess Mononoke (which I'm not listing as it was 1997, even though I loved the dub), the film that got me into foreign films. It was just unlike anything I'd seen before - it's stylish and dark, but with utterly surreal touches.

2. The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - 2001

This was just such an achievement. I knew so many people who loved the books, but the idea that there could be a version made that would make all of us nod and go 'yep, that's Gandalf, that's Aragorn, that's the Shire...' seemed ludicrous. But it all came together, and did so in a way that redefined event cinema.

3. Secretary - 2002

While you could go in assuming that it's going to be a dark kinky sex film, it's actually a surprisingly sweet, old-fashioned romantic comedy. Along with Shortbus in 2006 (which is another 'bubbling under' one), it also used sex to talk about mental health, depression and loneliness. The two leads are fantastic, and it's funny and sexy. 

4. Casino Royale - 2006

Daniel Craig is a fucking fantastic Bond and it's a shame that most of the films haven't lived up to his portrayal. But Casino Royale - holy shit, it was just the coolest film of the decade. Stripped everything back perfectly.

5. The Prestige - 2006

A silly film, but one with enough style and confidence to carry it off. 

6. Zodiac - 2007

I love true crime, Fincher and slow-building-tension, so what wasn't to love about this? Absolutely absorbing and great cast from top-to-bottom.

7. Hot Fuzz - 2007

As @Hannibal Scorch said, it's so close between this and Shaun of the Dead. But Hot Fuzz went and did something harder than Shaun - the tropes weren't as obvious, and it still managed to be utterly satisfying. And it's funnier.

8. The Wrestler - 2008

I don't know anyone that hasn't loved this film. I don't know if it'd still be on the list if it wasn't this place - but it'd be bubbling under. In terms of 'films that feel like they were made for me personally', this is right up there. It's just beautiful. Any film that can have so much going on in it that Marisa Tomei naked isn't the first thing I think about is doing something astonishing.

9. Anvil: The Story of Anvil - 2008

Halfway through watching this, my girlfriend and I were briefly convinced it was fake. It's just SO Spinal Tap. But it's also funny as hell and touching. I showed it to my parents, and my mum was aggressively disinterested in the idea, but got into it - by the end, she was watching with her hand over her mouth, ready to burst into tears if the final gig didn't get a good turn-out. 

10. Four Lions - 2010

This is here as much for Chris Morris's previous work, but Riz Ahmed is brilliant in it as well. Genuinely funny, but doing that Morris thing of taking something complex and important and exploring it under the guise of silliness. Rubber Dinghy Rapids, Brother.

11. The Artist - 2011

It's a love-letter to cinema. Just beautiful, funny, sexy, smart... I remember my girlfriend and I went in after a bad day, a bad journey and a long wait at the ticket-booth, five minutes late, and annoyed when we sat down. And within five minutes, we were swept away.

12. Whiplash - 2014

Fuck, fuck, fuck. I've seen horror films that were less tense than this thing. JK Simmons is just incredible in it, and the final scene is just pure film - music and visuals and storytelling. 

13. The Babadook - 2014

My film of the decade and Essie Davis being overlooked for even an oscar nomination is just further proof of how much horror is despised by mainstream critics. An astonishing performance in the middle of utterly beautiful horror.

14. Spotlight - 2015

Partly, this just hit home so much about how much power the church held over Catholic communities. I'd been doing a month sober when I went to see this, and it was the last day, and I needed a drink afterwards. 

15. Get Out - 2017

I liked Us a lot, but Get Out just hit so many things perfectly for me. It's funny, it's nasty, it's genuinely unsettling... seeing it become such a success was lovely. I saw a preview of it with an audience that happened to be almost exactly half white and non-white. It was fascinating watching how each part of the audience reacted differently to some parts.

16. I, Tonya - 2017

Margot Robbie is just incredible in this. It also does a great job of taking a big, complicated story and telling it well. One of the best-written films in terms of that.

17. IT - 2017

A shame the follow-up sucked, but I'm a huge Stephen King fan and this was a better adaptation than I expected. 

18. One Cut of the Dead - 2017

Probably the least-seen film on the list, but it's just so much fun. Utterly bonkers and keeps building and building in terms of comedy. Also, utterly unlike anything else.

19. BlaKkKlansman - 2018

Totally echo what @RedRooster said.

20. Avengers: Infinity War - 2018

Man, this was a tough one. The criteria I sort-of went with was 'did any other film do what it did better?' - which was why Four Lions beats out Death of Stalin, and Hot Fuzz and One Cut took out Shaun of the Dead. But I was wavering between this, Winter Soldier, Dark Knight and Iron Man. But I've never been in a cinema that reacted the way it did on the opening night at the end of Infinity War. There was genuine shock and reactions, and it's one of the best audience reactions I've EVER seen. So for that, it finishes off the list.


Man, 2017 ended up being a hell of a year. Also, I've somehow ended up not including any Miyazaki or Pixar. A bunch of very good stuff bubbling under too.

Film of the 2000s: Zodiac. 

Film of the 2010s: The Babadook

Edited by Chris B

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