So doing a Top 10 list covering the last 10 years... I give up.
By which I mean, I'll do it, but I'm probably forgetting about all the best movies, and it's hard to judge comedies, dramas, and documentaries on the same scale. But assuming the movies that haven't come out yet this year--like Brothers (sorry I got busy with your hotter brother while you were dead, honey!) and Nine (Daniel Day-Lewis nails everyone in the whole world, while singing)--aren't going to blow my mind, I'll take a stab at a list.
But first, a bunch of other lists. A lot more of these will come out in the next few weeks, but so far, there's not much consensus on what the best movies of the decade are. A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips from "At the Movies" are doing a countdown of their Top 10 lists week by week, and they've gotten up to #6 so far. Already there's a lot of room for controversy: I've got some picks in common with each critic, but Million Dollar Baby?, 25th Hour? That movie was not that good--I liked it at first, but it doesn't hold up to repeated viewings. Last week, A.O. Scott picked The Best of Youth, which I've never heard of.
A writer from Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt, posted his Top 10 list, which is impressively unconventional. Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon hasn't come out yet, so no comment on that one, but he's got another Haneke movie on there, too, half of his picks are foreign, and he includes Far From Heaven (?) and Letters from Iwo Jima (?!!), a movie I more or less forgot all about 5 minutes after walking out of the theater.
A few other lists: a short one from Cinematical (with a surprise Anchorman in the top comedy spot), Top 50 from Paste Magazine, a list I like a lot except for the top 2 selections (Amelie and City of God--yawn), and a gutsy Top 100 list from the Times of London: in addition to all the usual stuff, they've got Bad Santa, Capturing the Friedmans, Casino Royale, and Grizzly Man.
So here are the movies that would be on my own top movies of the decade list:
Kill Bill, Vol 1 and 2: gorgeous, eye-popping, emotional, wildly stylish, tense, funny, and unstoppable. The coolest movie I've seen in at least 10 years.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: even if you literally get your memory erased, you still can't get over that one who dumped you. A wistfully beautiful and optimistic movie about brains and broken hearts.
No Country For Old Men/A Serious Man: I suspect A Serious Man might be a tiny bit better, but I have to see it again.
Mulholland Drive: like having a really stylish, self-perpetuating anxiety dream after watching too many movies. Naomi Watts is the greatest.
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days: a slow, intense buildup to the most harrowing day ever. Quietly eloquent movie about the abuse of power and all the crap vulnerable people have to deal with.
The Piano Teacher/Caché: Two jaw-dropping movies by Michael Haneke, I can't decide which one is best.
The Descent: a smallish horror movie not a lot of people saw, but it's so amazingly great as both an action/adventure movie and as a standard attack-of-the-cave-monsters movie. Really holds up.
The Bourne Identity: the first one was the best. Has some of the greatest city-based action scenes ever.
Ghost Dog: this movie's tones and styles are all over the place, but it gets them all right. It's smooth, light, cool, dark, touching, cartoonish, funny, and sweet. Makes me feel cool just watching it.
My Winnipeg: I only recently got into Guy Maddin, and this one is the best I've seen so far. Originality isn't everything, but there aren't any other movies out there like this. Surreally nostalgic and really funny.
A few other stand-outs: The Departed, Pan's Labyrinth, Brokeback Mountain, Shaun of the Dead, The Royal Tenenbaums, Almost Famous, and United 93. I was going to say Being John Malkovich, but it came out in 1999.
You know what would be a good idea? Doing a Top Comedies of the Decade list. I'd put Wedding Crashers, Shaun of the Dead, Dude, Where's My Car? (really), Superbad and Dodgeball on there.
A few movies that are gonna keep popping up on other people's lists are Zodiac, Lost in Translation, and The Dark Knight. Eh.
OK, what did I forget and what are your favorites?