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Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Overrated and Jaded: Top Fives

What better way to get acquainted with your newly appointed movie columnists than through our respective top five movies of the millennium? The rules: five movies, five honorable mentions, only movies released on or after January 1, 2000 and only movies we’ve actually seen. After much debate and consideration, we came up with the following:


1. “Lost in Translation” (2003) – Bill Murray (in an uncharacteristically touching tour de force performance) and Scarlett Johansson’s misadventures through Tokyo are laced with moments of platonic intimacy so poignant, they eclipse all the clichéd depictions of passion that haunt Hollywood. Breathtaking and heartbreaking, Sofia Coppola’s work is a vulnerable, masterful must-see.

2. The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy (2001-2003) – These films stand together as a cohesive piece of brilliant movie making; a genuine beacon of what movies can be among the horde of soulless, big-budget blockbusters. From the swelling score to the delicate balance between state-of-the-art computer effects and practical models, costumes and make-up, audiences are whisked away to a world that captures the imagination and has become part of our mythology.

3. The “Kill Bill” saga (2003-2004) – You would be hard-pressed to find a director more sincerely in love with his craft; every scene brims with hyper-stylized homages and dialogue that is both witty and poignant. This saga celebrates Quentin Tarantino at his most contagiously gleeful, giving us a revenge epic that dances the fine line between melodrama and poetry to the tune of Ennio Morricone.

4. “Shame” (2011) – Beyond the groundbreaking performances and masterful craftsmanship behind each cinematic element, “Shame” confronts audiences with a man who became entangled in the World Wide Web’s instant gratification. “Shame” renegotiates how society forms relationships in a world where everything is a few clicks away, transcending the pornographic and approaching the poetic.

5. “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) – “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a somber fable about a child reconciling reality’s brutality with an imagination that refuses to be compromised. Both majestic and macabre, grim and whimsical, this R-rated fairy tale weaves gorgeous visual effects and art design with a haunting score into an immersive story about hope’s resilience.

Honorable Mentions

“Spirited Away” (2001)

“The Hurt Locker” (2008)

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

“Children of Men” (2006)

“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (2007)


1. “Michael Clayton” (2007) – George Clooney turns in a masterful performance as the legal “fixer” of the title, conveying a complacency and weariness that extends deep into his bones. The result is his best performance to date. The movie is flawless, both following and undermining the form of the corporate thriller, atmospheric and tense through the final climax.

2. “No Country for Old Men” (2007) – The Coen brothers make taut, moody work of Cormac McCarthy’s western-thriller. Javier Bardem chills as independent bounty-man Anton Chigurh, a harbinger of fate playing by his own brutal code of honor. The terrifying starkness of the cinematography, the ease of violence inflicted on others and the impending sense of doom and inevitability all meld to create this rich portrait of evil’s banality.

3. “Once” (2006) – An impossibly small story of impossible beauty, with performances so human that many filmgoers mistook the movie for a documentary. And the music, from the opening strums of solo guitar to the bittersweet end chords of piano, simplicity infused with such yearning and hurt, is nothing short of magic.

4. “Memento” (2000) – One of Christopher Nolan’s earliest films, “Memento” has the twists of “Inception” with a setting in the recognizable present. Guy Pearce plays the ultimate unreliable narrator: a man with short-term memory loss on the search for the culprit who killed his wife. The result is a tensely crafted labyrinth that upends all expectations through the last frame.

5. “High Fidelity” (2000) – The ultimate ode to the top five, “High Fidelity” is a romantic comedy, yes, but an impressive character study with music at the core of its soul—a movie not afraid of being wry and charming. John Cusack is the quintessential everyman, reminding us of our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues and ourselves.

Honorable Mentions

“Zero Dark Thirty” (2012)

“Before Sunset” (2004)

“The Visitor” (2007)

“Moneyball” (2011)

“Mud” (2012)

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