Everyone likes a top ten list, especially when the paragraph which precedes the list is an earnest disclaimer like this one: I didn’t go to enough movies this decade. I’ve missed intriguing films by Angelopoulos, Godard, Spike Lee, Wim Wenders and Abbas Kiarostami (among others). Additionally, this list is biased in favour of the English-speaking world, specifically the United States, in a decade when many interesting and hard to find movies seem to have been made in other places.
Great films, like big fish with teeth, have a disturbing tendency to obliterate lesser films. You don’t see too many newspaper mogul movies made after 1941. After seeing Inglourious Basterds, I’m not sure I can ever watch another World War II movie. The early films of Quentin Tarantino, which often depicted obliteration, sucked much of mid-1990s cinema into their orbit. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were so influential, and so good, that it seemed for a period that there could be no other way to make a gangster movie, and one result was the series of lesser imitations which followed. Those days now make for poignant recollection; Pulp Fiction was arguably the last time a movie caused such widespread excitement simply for being good and the fact that its influence has now faded, while its goodness has not, demonstrates that it is better to be good than influential. I think Quentin Tarantino knows this.