10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
Baz Luhrmann's vibrant film about doomed lovers in 19th century Paris is nothing less than a thrilling, daring reinvention the Opera for the 21st century.
9. Juno (2007)
Not since "Pulp Fiction" has a writer emerged with such a unique, moment-capturing voice. Regardless of the future of Diablo Cody - and Ellen Page, for that matter - there's no denying the joy of discovering this breakout indie hit.
8. Up in the Air (2009)
The end of the aughts gave us this wicked indictment of disaffected 21st century culture. Sharply written, well-acted, and featuring the performance we always knew George Clooney had in him: smart, smug and deeply, unforgettably sad.
7. Letters from Iwo Jima / Flags of our Fathers (2006)
"The Hurt Locker" may be the decade's best single film about war in the 21st century, but Clint Eastwood's one-two punch - an epic meditation on war from both sides of the battle lines - is a duo for the ages.
6. Crash (2005)
Love him or hate him, writer Paul Haggis had quite a decade ("Million Dollar Baby", "In the Valley of Elah", "Flags of our Fathers"), but it was this intricate tale of fractured lives in a racially charged Los Angeles (his feature directorial debut) that stands out as a watermark for this controversial filmmaker.
5. The Incredibles (2004)
In a decade when animation not only came into its own but, in many cases, surpassed live action, "Iron Giant" creator Brad Bird somehow managed to raise the bar yet again with his story of a retired superhero brought back into action with his equally super family. Stunning production design, pitch-perfect writing and the by-now-requisite jaw-dropping animation make this one of the best animated films of all time.
4. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Filmmaking wunderkind Darren Aronofsky doesn't make a movie often, but when he does it's best to pay attention. "Requiem", his second film, remains his best, an operatic story of four drug-addicts and their slow disintegration, which the director all but dares you to sit through. One of the most difficult and challenging films ever made.
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
"Adaptation" is a close second, but this head-spinning tale of love and loss is writer Charlie Kaufman's best of the decade. A twisty combination of "Groundhog Day" and "Memento", it also gives us Jim Carrey's best performance to date.
2. Memento (2001)
Writer-director extraordinaire Christopher Nolan may have brought us "The Dark Knight" during the aughts, but this brilliantly crafted thriller - which follows (in reverse) a vengeful man with no short-term memory - is his masterwork. Ironically, unforgettable.
1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)
It was the decade when Peter Jackson did the impossible, adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's much-revered novels into a perfect movie trilogy. With apologies to James Cameron's "Avatar", Peter Jackson created nothing less than this generation's "Star Wars". Even viewed in their gluteus-maximizing 12-hour extended editions, there's nary a wasted minute in this tale of good versus evil which proves once and for all that old Hobbits die hard.