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The Top 20 Films of the Decade -- Naysayer's Edition

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | December 21, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | December 21, 2009 |

“Best of” lists are strange birds, particularly when you’re trying to cover an entire decade. I’ve seen several best of the decade list on other sites, and I can’t say I completely agree with any of them. I don’t even completely agree with our own, and there’s not a critic on staff who does. When we put our Top 20 together, we did so by taking the average score of each of our individual top 15 lists, in addition to the readership’s Top 15; of those individual lists, several films on each didn’t end up making the final Top 20. In the end, though, as I wrote in the introduction, I do think that - overall - it reflects the sensibilities and the personality of this site as best as well as any other list could. I think any one of the individual lists would’ve inspired as much - and probably even more - disagreement, and you can look no further than our individual genre lists to prove that point.

That said, ultimately, I really did like the debate and the general bitchery in the comments section (mostly, anyway); that, too, in general reflects the personality of this site, and the passion some felt about their favorite films. There was some great discussion both in defense of the list and in defense of the right to bitch about it. I should also add that we did exclude foreign language films, which was a call on my part (and I probably should’ve noted that foreign-language films weren’t included). My feeling was that foreign-language films aren’t as widely seen, and in a list-by-committee approach, they’d likely have been squeezed out to the margins; there were a lot of amazing foreign-language films in the Aughts, but I suspect that each of us would’ve made different foreign-language selections, and in order to make the top 20, a film really had to appear at least on three or more individual lists. (For the record, I think the same thing happened with Pixar films: we each seemed to choose one or two Pixar flicks, and the only one that gained enough consensus to make it into the Top 20 was The Incredibles, though both Up and Wall-E appeared on a couple of lists, at least.

Anyway, for giggly shits and, perhaps, to demonstrate a point about the nature of these “Best of” lists, I went through the comments on our Best of the Decade list and put together a Naysayer’s Edition. That is to say, if I’d asked these particular people to give me one or two movies that they’d put on their top 20 list, and put that list together, an alternative version of the Top 20 Films of the Decade might look something like this.

So, how many of these films do you think shouldn’t have been included on the Top 20 List? Do you like this Top 20 better than the site version?



Corpse Bride

The Departed


Donnie Darko

Finding Nemo



In the Bedroom


Kill Bill

Moulin Rouge

The Lord of the Rings


V for Vendetta

Vera Drake

The Village



Pajiba Love 12/21/09 | 2009 TV Year in Review

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.