The Five - Phoenix Film Festival

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Written by Kyley Warren


Now that we’ve all had a moment to breathe, recuperate on some lost sleep time – with no regrets though of course, because let’s be honest, those weekend after-parties were poppin’ – and finally return to a diet that isn’t just comprised of movie theater popcorn and candy, it’s only right that we set some time aside to reflect on what a remarkable experience this year’s Phoenix Film Festival truly was. Whether you’re a festival aficionado or a first-timer to our beloved event, all of our attendees were sure to find fun, fascinating films and special comraderies that simply can’t be replicated anywhere else. With that, for the final “The Five” post of this series, we’re highlighting the five best things about this year’s 2019 Phoenix Film Festival.


5.) The Filmmakers

This year’s filmmakers were very introspective and there was a unique level of emotional simplicity that allowed the audience members to truly relate to and resonate with these well-developed characters in a special capacity. The wide array of films, documentaries and shorts that comprised this year’s lineup is a testament to the exciting future that is ahead for the entertainment industry, so as long as we have creative innovators – like those featured in this year’s lineup – at the helm of change within the film industry.

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4.) Geek Day

Comic-Con in the comforts of a friendly, festival environment? We’ll take it. Geek Day delivered that and so much more at this year’s festival. With awesome auction prizes, energetic cosplayers, a photography station, a Bingo raffle and a handful of the geekiest vendors in the state, this year’s Geek Day was truly one for the books.

Whether you just wanted the chance to channel your inner-nerd or you got to bond with some fellow geeks over your favorite comics, films and franchises, Geek Day served as a space to allow you to be free and have fun with your greatest passions.

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3.) Opening & Closing Night Films

We’ll admit, our opening and closing night films are great every single years, but our two films this year were truly something special. The festival opened with the highly-talked-about and critically acclaimed “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” a film by Academy Award-nominated director Joe Berlinger – who was in attendance, by the way – that, chronicled the mysterious and highly-complicated life of Ted Bundy, through the eyes of his longtime girlfriend. The film, which was historically picked up by Netflix, has garnered attention for its vivid storytelling and captivating performances.

“The Farewell,” which was our darling, closing night film told the endearing tale of a family that disguises their grandmother’s diagnosis that she only has a short time to live, so they throw a wedding to gather the family together one last time to honor her. The movie is a glimpse into authentic family dynamics – as complicated as they may be – and how much we would do to comfort and take care of the people we love.

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2.) Our Volunteers

Maybe we’re biased, but we’re convinced that we have the best volunteers in the world. And if you had the privilege of attending this year’s festival, we’re pretty sure you probably feel the exact same way. Every day, there were dozens of helpful folk perusing the festival grounds and working behind the scenes to ensure that each and every little detail was addressed for the sake of a seamless and fun movie-going experience for all of our attendees. Some arrived early in the morning to meet our guests with a smile, while others worked late into the night to cover our lively after-party scene.

The best part about our volunteer staff is that all of them are here for the same reason: an undeniable love for the art of a film and an inherent desire to dedicate their time to ensure that others get the opportunity to enjoy the craft just as much as they do. Our festival is arguably one of the most hospitable and friendly in the nation, and that’s all thanks to our incredible volunteers and festival staff.

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1.) The Festival Attendees

While the list of great things about this year’s festival is a rather long one, we can’t conclude this list without mentioning our incredible festival attendees and their unparalleled passion for quality filmmaking – no matter who made these films, where these stories originate from or what language they are in. Our festival team is able to achieve new goals and raise the bar even higher year by year because of the people who buy tickets, sport our sleek merch and indulge in our eclectic lineup of movies. Thank you for all of your support and passion. We can’t wait to bring you an even better festival next April!







The Five - Pixar Films

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Written by Jose Ignacio Castaneda

Pixar movies deliver extremely relatable stories that are told through extraordinary characters or circumstances alongside strong themes and beautiful animation. No other studio can boast to concurrently be a precedent of the past and a titan of the future. That is why we argued, bickered, fought, bargained and finally compromised on our top five favorite Pixar films of all time.

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5. WALL-E (2008)

This animated feature follows the tracks of Earth’s last trash-compacting robot, WALL-E. The movie is set in a future where the Earth has become unlivable due to an excess of garbage and climate change. When WALL-E is unexpectedly visited by a sleek futuristic robot named EVE, he gives her Earth’s first post-apocalyptic plant. EVE returns to her home ship in order to report the change in Earth’s sustainability and WALL-E follows. This film is one of the few animated children’s films that touch upon some of the most pertinent and scary problems that our world is currently facing. While these themes are viewed through an animated robot lens, they still carry a lot of weight in the movie. Furthermore, themes of love and responsibility intertwine with the beautiful animation of the film. A movie about a robot romance in outer space that resonates with audiences of all ages? Pixar at its finest.  


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4. Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out follows the character of Riley Andersen as she struggles to cope with new emotions during a tumultuous time of change in her life. More importantly, the film follows the emotions in her head as they scramble to cope with the changes. Riley’s five emotions are personified as the characters of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. After Riley’s core emotions start to become infiltrated with sadness, Joy must try to stop all of them from becoming sad. The movie’s originality, characters and ability to discuss strong topics propel it to number four on our list.



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3. Coco (2017)

This film tells the story of Miguel and his struggle to find himself, his family and his passion through a quest across multiple worlds. After his music-hating family reprimands him for hiding his stash of music memorabilia, Miguel tries to fulfill his dreams of becoming a musician by stealing the guitar of a dead icon. Because of this trespass, Miguel is stuck in the land of the dead with no way to get home. Coco beautifully represents Mexican culture through its imagery, music and themes. The film contains beautiful shots of intricate and colorful animation alongside a creative story. The movie uses Pixar’s traditional facets to their maximum potential by pulling on the heart strings with themes of memory, family and death. Coco is a gentle animated reminder that we will always have our families with us, no matter what.   


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2. Up (2009)

This movie tells the story of the elderly Carl Fredricksen and his quest to finally fulfill his late wife’s dream to visit Paradise Falls in South America. In a last-ditch effort to visit the Falls, Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house in order to fly there. To Carl’s displeasure, a young boy scout names Russell tags along with him in order to gain another young explorer badge. Throughout the film, Carl’s relationship as an unwilling mentor to Russell develops as they both try to complete their crusades. As most of our readers know, the first six minutes of this film show a truly heart-wrenching anthology of unexpected love and its ultimate loss. Up is beautiful view of normal human life through a fantastical lens, the ultimate staple of a great Pixar movie.




  1. The Toy Story Franchise (1995- Present)

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This trio of films tells the story of a group of sentient toys and their adventures alongside their owner, Andy. Melancholy topics such as being forgotten and growing up are discussed through this rag-tag team of toys. While the movies focus on all the toys, the true heart lies in the evolution of the relationship between Woody, a veteran cowboy, and Buzz Lightyear, a top-of-the-line astronaut. While they begin as adversaries, Buzz and Woody ultimately work together to get back to Andy. While the first two films in the franchise have emotional undertones, it is not until Toy Story 3 that the films reach their emotive climax. It is during the third installment that audiences must say goodbye to their childhood characters and finally come to terms with growing up themselves. The Toy Story franchise became a staple of quality for Pixar movies while also establishing a celebrated precedent for all animated films.

2019 Phoenix Film Festival Short Screenplay Winners

Thank you to all who submitted their screenplays to the 2019 Phoenix Film Festival Short Screenplay Competition.

We are very excited to announce this year's winners!

 

First Place

TIP: A TRUE IRISH TALE BY MATTHEW C. SIMPSON

"A master of backroom politics discovers that the rules have changed when a charismatic actor is elected president."

Second Place

WALKING ON WHEELS BY JENNIFER KOLOWINSKI

When Mallory meets an elderly man named James, she never expects the magical journey they are about to embark on.

Third Place

EMPATHIC BY JOHN BURDEAUX

A young boy accompanies his physician father on morning rounds on the hospice floor of a hospital... and an innocent game of hide-and-seek leads him to the brink of a disturbing revelation.

Finalists

HOMONCULUS BY WILL BERRY

A lonely, young woman finds friendship in a paper napkin.

I-16 BY MARGINA SISSON 

When Shelly's car breaks down, a nice young man comes to her aid. But, when she discovers this same young man died twenty years earlier in that same spot on the road, she becomes obsessed with the legend that surrounds his death.

ELKHART BY JACYLN PARKER

A young woman loses all her money investing in a woman's company in New York City. She finds herself back home where she grew up, in Elkhart, Indiana, the city she dreads more than anything. But after spending a night in the local bar and interacting with unfamiliar people, she finds herself learning and embracing a new outlook.

THE SUMMONING BY MARION MCDOWELL

Just for a laugh, a Dungeons & Dragons group has a go at summoning a real demon, and gets both more and less than they bargained for.

EXPOSED BY SHERI DAVENPORT

The mysterious circumstance surrounding the suicide of a teenaged girl sends a repressed photographer on a journey into her own past, forcing her to face the abuse she experienced and gain the courage to finally bring her abusers to justice.

ANYONE LISTENING? BY YVONNE ARNETT

A man, Brett, overwhelmed by circumstances in his life, discovers that he is losing himself. He reaches out to each of his friends only to realize, in the end, that his cries for help have fallen on deaf ears.

YOU SLEEP ON THE COUCH BY GEORGE KHOURI

It's 1995 in Compton California, and Keith's Dad walks out on him and his Mom at an early age. Slowly but surely, Keith grows into the role of "man of the house." Years later, Keith's Dad finally comes back to reclaim that title but is met with great resistance.

Contact information for winning screenplays is available for producers by emailing submissions@phxfilm.com.

The Five - Worst Shaq Movies

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Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Phoenix Film Festival’s The Five. This time we are taking a look at the five worst movies that Shaquille O'Neal has been in. We are ranking the movies based on the movie quality itself not necessarily O’Neal’s performance but it was taking into consideration. We are including all movies that O’Neal played a character and not cameos or roles were he played himself. This list is not an attack on O’Neal’s acting talents but, it is more of an observation of the movies as a whole.

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5. Show Dogs (2018)

Coming in at number five on our list is Show Dogs. This movie was supposed to be a family friendly adventure, but unfortunately it missed the mark. The jokes were pretty dry and there was no connection with the characters on screen. While this was just a voice over performance for O’Neal, it just wasn’t a movie that connected with audiences over 10.





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4. Grown Ups 2 (2013)

This was another flop in the Adam Sandler movieverse. Grown Ups 2 was a bit of a cash grab after the box office success of the first movie. There was just one too many fart jokes in this one for our liking. While there is a spectacular cast of comedic talents in this movie, there was nothing funny about this movie. O’Neal played a cop who was kind of a waste of space. The humor was uninspired and they kind of went for cheap laughs instead of good comedy, which is unfortunate because this film could have been so much better.

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3. Blended (2014)

Number three on the list is, Blended, a pretty predictable and bland rom-com film. There could have been so much working for this movie, but the execution is just not there. The laughs felt forced and the romance was not all that believable. The funny parts were foreseeable and Shaq’s character did not really add much in terms of humor. There are some likable parts and good one-liners, but this is definitely a forgettable movie.


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2. Kazaam (1996)

Coming in at number two is the cringe worthy Kazaam. This is the first movie on the list that Shaq has the leading role, but it was a major box office let down. Good special effects were hard to come by, yes I know it was the 90s ,but it didn’t look good at all. The movie did show that an audience existed for O’Neal but, this is just not a good movie on any level. Kazaam is a perfect example of what happens when out of touch adults make a kids movie. .

1. Steel (1997)

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To top of our list is probably the worst superhero movie ever made (yes I said that knowing Batman and Robin came out earlier that year). It bombed at the box office only bringing in $1.7 million with a $16 million dollar budget. There really isn't anything good I can say about this movie. The writing was poor, the acting was sub-par, and the superhero costume (which is supposed to look like a cool futuristic suit) looked like a giant metal trash can. I could see that DC was trying to market a huge star in a superhero movie, but it just fell flat.







The Five - Marvel Cinematic Universe Actors/Actresses in Non-Marvel Roles

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Today we decided to rank the best flicks that feature Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) actors and actresses in non-Marvel roles. Before these Marvel regulars decided to don their suits, wings and ripped up shorts, they gave heroic performances in more grounded and celebrated films. We hope you enjoy our list of Earth’s mightiest heroes in some of Earth’s finest features.

 

Honorable Mentions: Avatar-Zoe Saldana; The Imitation Game-Benedict Cumberbatch; Hotel Rwanda-Don Cheadle; The Goonies-Josh Brolin

 

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5. Zodiac (2007)-Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo

This movie follows the case of the Zodiac killer and his brief and cryptic exchanges with journalists and investigators in the 60’s and 70’s. Both Downey and Gyllenhaal give outstanding performances as journalists at the San Francisco Chronicle. Ruffalo also delivers a good performance as inspector Dave Toschi. Needless to say, this flick will leave you locking your doors as you Google the Zodiac killer conspiracy theories at midnight. As for the Marvel connection, Downey kicked off the MCU and Gyllenhaal will play the Spider-Man adversary Mysterio in the first installment of the next phase of Marvel movies, Spider-Man: Far From Home.

 

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4. Room (2015) – Brie Larson

Room tells the story of Joy Newsome (Brie Larson), a mother held captive for seven years alongside her five-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay). Their escape from the enclosure gives the boy an opportunity to experience the outside world for the first time. Larson’s spectacular and beautiful performance in Room earned her the Oscar for best actress. While Larson has yet to make waves with her portrayal of Captain Marvel, this film gives us ample room for excitement.

 

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3. Pulp Fiction (1994) – Samuel L. Jackson

Long before Samuel L. Jackson slipped the eyepatch over his face for the role of Nick Fury, he slipped a perm wig over his head for his role as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. The non-narrative flick tells the interconnected stories of three different characters who are all tied up with the gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). Pulp Fiction did not only become an instant cult-classic, but it also cemented Jackson as a performer with some serious acting chops. While the movie only won best original screenplay, it was nominated for six other Academy Awards, including best supporting actor for Jackson. So perhaps it was Oscar gold in the briefcase all along?

 

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2. Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) – Michael Keaton

Surprisingly, this beautifully-crafted film starring Michael Keaton, and directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, is not the first or last movie in which Keaton flaps across the screen in giant wings. The film follows Riggan Thomson (Keaton), a burned-out actor who’s trying to overcome his past as the blockbuster-saturated superhero, Birdman. The movie is presented as one long shot of Thomson trying to put on a serious play that will change the narrative of his life. The Academy nominated Keaton for best actor due to his intriguing performance as the struggling playwright. Two years after the release of this film, Keaton went on to play the Vulture, a villain with large mechanical wings, in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Furthermore, Keaton also played a large, flying bird-man in the 1989 film, Batman. Anyways, thank you for indulging in our Keaton/bird-person conspiracy and remember the old saying, “once a Birdman, always a bird-man.”

 

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1.      Spotlight (2015) - Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton

Spotlight represents an amazing movie that features strong performances from all of its actors while also accurately depicting an event that shook the globe (both the Boston one and the world). Coincidentally, the film also showcases a multitude of Marvel actors who delivered amazing performances. This movie tells the true story of the Boston Globe’s investigative team, Spotlight, and their investigation into widespread child abuse by Roman-Catholic priests in the Boston area. The investigation earned the team a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 and an Oscar for Best Picture in 2015 for the adaption of the story. We chose this as our number one primarily for Mark Ruffalo and his stellar portrayal of the tenacious journalist who ruffles a few feathers, Mike Rezendes. Additionally, Rachel McAdams also gave a candid and strong performance. Both McAdams and Ruffalo earned a nomination for best supporting actress and actor. In the MCU Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner/ the Hulk and McAdams plays Christine Palmer, Dr. Strange’s love interest/friend. Surprisingly, the Vulture and Howard Stark also make an appearance in the film as Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) and Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery).

The Five - College Movies

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Written by Okechukwu Apakama

Compiled by Okechukwu Apakama, Kyley Warren, and Jose Castaneda


Hello again and welcome to another edition of the Phoenix Film Festival’s daily “The Five”. Today’s list takes us straight to campus with the top five college movies. For this list we focused on college oriented movies that took place mostly on a college campus. There were many movies up for consideration but only five can make our list so here are a few honorable mentions: Drumline (2002), The House Bunny (2008), Pitch Perfect (2012), Neighbors (2014).

 

 

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5. 22 Jump Street (2014)

Starting of the list is the fan favorite, 22 Jump Street. This movie is the only sequel on the list but it’s spot is justified. This movie is just loads of fun with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill killing it once aging in roles as undercover cops. They did a great job of creating fresh original comedy, and Ice Cube helped take this movie to the next level. The movie had one of the funniest laugh out loud moments that I can remember in a long time, when Tatum’s character finally figured out that Schmidt (Hill’s Character) had slept with the Captain’s (Ice Cube) daughter. This movie is a rocking good time, and it’s one of the best sequels to a comedy ever.

 

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4. Legally Blonde (2001)

Legally Blonde was an immediate cultural phenomenon after it’s debut on the big screen in the early 2000s. It was a movie that doesn’t look good at first, but Resse Witherspoon’s performance as Elle Woods is exceptional. She has a eloquent and endearing charm to her character. The movie has a good message in terms of being confident in the fact that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. There are some questionable goals for Elle in the movie, but overall it’s a fun film and well deserving in making our list.

 

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3. Whiplash (2014)

This movie might be one of the lesser known films on the list, but it’s definitely a must see on our list. The acting in this movie is spectacular from J.K Simmons Oscar winning performance as Terence Fletcher, and Myles Teller as Andrew Neiman. It’s a very intense movie with electrifying scenes and moments that take your breath away!

 

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2. The Social Network (2010)

This movie is an exaggerated retelling of the creation of the most dominate social media outlet. In this movie there is much to admire from the dialogue, acting, and the cinematography. Jesse Eisenberg does a fabulous job portraying the computer genius Mark Zuckerberg. The Social Network is a very captivating tale of Zuckerberg’s college life and his founding of Facebook. The fact that it’s not a true story does not take away from the greatness of this movie, which is why it’s #2 on our Top Five.

 

1. Good Will Hunting  (1997)

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There was really no debate when it came to our #1 spot on the list as we top list with this heartwarming movie. Good Will Hunting is one of those once in a generation features that moves anyone who watches it. Robin Willams and Matt Damon shine as the leading characters and there really is no question as to why it came away with nine Oscar nominations and two winners. I would advise anyone who hasn’t seen this movie to check it out.

The Five - Non-Disney Animated Movies

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Written by Amy Cable


When deciding on the movies for this list we decided to research animated movies from many companies, such as Universal and Dreamworks, we decided that Disney and Pixar deserved their own lists. When choosing the films we looked into how popular the films are, whether they received follow up movies and their overall composition. We grouped movie franchises of the same title and storyline together. However, we agreed that not all of the movies within a movie series was as good as the other ones, but we rated them alongside the rest of the franchise. The honorable mentions for this list are Ice Age (2002-2016), Shark Tale (2004), Happy Feet (2006) and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009-2013.



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5. Robots (2005)

Robots follows inspirational Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) as he fights for cheaper body parts for robots. We believe that Robots deserved a place on this list because it can often be forgotten due to how long ago it premiered. Despite this, it is a fantastic film that makes the audience fall in love with scrap metal robots and root for their cause. Ewan McGregor features along an all star cast, such as the legendary Robin Williams, Halle Berry and Mel Brooks. We would be thrilled to see this movie come out with a sequel some time in the future.



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4. Kung Fu Panda (2008-2016)

The Kung Fu Panda franchise has inspired so many young audiences to pursue their dreams, even when other people push you down. The narrative follows Po (Jack Black) as a Panda who longs to perform Kung Fu to save China, alongside Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman. These films taught younger generations world wide about a culture and an art form that they may have not been as exposed to prior to the release of the original film.



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3. Madagascar (2005-2012)

The three incredible films in this franchise taught us to look on the positive side of any situation that life throws at you. The Madagascar films follow four zoo animals, who have been in captivity all their lives, in their adventures exploring new environments. This trilogy is another example of how movies can show audience another environment or culture that typically lacks media exposure. The storyline creates tension and challenges, as well as excitement and amusement.



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2. Despicable Me (2010-2018)

Within this franchise we are including the minions movie as they have brought joy to all ages and we hope to see more of them. The main narrative follows Gru (Steve Carell) on his evil deeds whilst having his heart melted by three sweet orphan girls. These movies have excellent sound tracks and heartfelt stories, as well as hilarious minion side plots.







1. Shrek (2001-2010)

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The Shrek franchise follows Shrek (Mike Myers) in his quest for a peaceful life at his swamp which brings him on many treacherous adventures of love and friendship that he unwillingly is dragged on. We believe that this franchise deserves the top spot on this list for its amazing efforts in attracting a wide audience of all ages. These films continuously fill the dialogue with conspicuous jokes for younger ages, alongside witty puns hidden within the script that only older audience members will understand.







The Five - Movies of the 2000s

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Written by Emma Mayeux

Compiled by Emma Mayeux and Cameron Galvin

Top Five Movies of the 2000s

This decade was met with groundbreaking films that defined 2000-2009. Directors broke through the mainstream with innovative films that experimented with structure, genre, and found new ways to tell a story. Honorable mentions go to Almost Famous (2000), Children of Men (2006), Inglorious Basterds (2009), The Dark Knight (2008), and the Royal Tenenbaums (2001).

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5. Memento (2001)

Christopher Nolan gained notoriety with his captivating film with a concept that had never been given light before. Memento follows a man named Leonard who has amnesia from an accident that left his wife raped and murdered. This film is unconventional because it is told entirely in reverse, leaving the audience to decipher who killed Leonard’s wife and why, along with him. The structure of memento imitates Leonard’s state of mind and his inability to remember crucial details from his past. Nolan presents the film in two storylines, one in black and white and one in color, having them meet at the end to form one cohesive story. Nolan provides the audience with clues, allowing them to discover the mystery on their own. This film is not just a story, but a presentation of what amnesia feels like, giving the audience the ability to relate to Leonard. Physicians even praised the film for its realistic depiction of retrograde amnesia. Nolan started the decade with one of the most innovative films ever made, making it a lifelong classic.

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4. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Darren Aronofsky also had his big start in the early 2000s with his drug filled epic. Requiem for a Dream chronicles the tales of four people, all suffering from some sort of addiction. The characters let their addictions control them as they resort to inhumane acts to keep their addictions alive. Aronofsky does not just explore drug addiction, however, but weight loss addiction. The most disturbing character to watch is Sara Goldfarb, an elderly woman whose dream is to be on television while wearing her favorite dress from her youth. Her appearance and her beauty are all that matter to her and she is will to starve herself to regain her image. This film is not about drug addiction, but the consequences of addiction, and giving into hedonistic desires. The ending is designed to shock and scare the audience, in order to show the horrors addiction leads to, making it a more effective anti-drug PSA than an egg and a frying pan.


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3. There Will Be Blood (2007)

Paul Thomas Anderson is incapable of making a bad film. There Will Be Blood is his masterpiece. Anderson’s historical drama is about an oil tycoon named Daniel Plainview who intends to profit off of the California oil boom in the early 20th century. Anderson took inspiration from Upton Sinclair’s novel, Oil!. This film is dedicated to showing Plainview’s degradation from a humble, working man to a greedy, capitalistic businessman. Anderson  really looks at how competition and money can drive a man to create an empire from nothing, but also drive away the people who love him. Plainview is determined to eliminate everyone who stands in the way of his fortune, resorting to vile acts. There Will Be Blood is a grand tale with a powerful score, epic sets, and thrilling action sequences, as the audience watches a man’s downfall.


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2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a perfect marriage between scifi and romance. It’s about Joel and Clementine who fall in love with each other, but when they break up, Clementine is so distraught that she decides to participate in an experimental study to erase all memories of Joel. Like Memento, this film explores the memories of the main characters by telling its story in a nonlinear fashion. This film pushes the boundaries of the romantic comedy genre, creating realistic characters and a smart story, while retaining humor and the turmoil of romance. The two leads struggle with heartbreak and regret, as they have to decide if sorrow is worth repressing.


1. No Country for Old Men (2007)

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The Coen Brothers demonstrated exception filmmaker with their adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s modern western, No Country for Old Men. This film follows an epic chase between a rancher named Llewelyn Moss and a hitman named Anton Chigurh, as the local sheriff tracks the pair. The story is very simple, Llewelyn finds a suitcase full of drug money and Chigurh must hunt him down and retrieve the money. Immediately upon watch, you notice something off about this film; there is no score. Tense scenes are played out in complete silence, putting the audience on edge. This film presents two characters driven solely by greed and themselves. Llewelyn wants the money, and Chigurh wants the thrill of catching him. The Coens faithfully adapt McCarthy’s work, making this film feel like a novel unfolding on screen.