This all started in the middle of 2009. As the calendar moved into the second half of the last year of what might awkwardly be termed “the aughts,” I decided I was going to revisit an exercise I’d indulged in about a decade earlier, albeit without a public outlet. As I explained at the time, I previously commemorated the end of the nineties by swapping lists of the top fifty films of that span with my colleague from our bygone days offering up movie reviews on the radio. Now with a swanky digital platform at my disposal, I decided I was going to do it again, dispensing a countdown of the best films of the prior ten years (well, more like nine-and-a-half years when I got underway) at a pace of about two per week. In theory, I allowed myself the indulgence of slipping a couple of latecomers into the mix while the countdown was in progress. In practice, I stuck with the fifty that I tallied up before writing a single word. Were I inclined to revisit the list, I’d probably make room for late 2009 releases Up in the Air and A Serious Man (and the astonishingly bold Spike Lee effort Bamboozled, released in 2000 but unseen by me until well after the full list was shared), but I’m happy with the collection of titles as it stands.
Then I couldn’t stop. Originally finding it irresistible to share a new version of that old list of the best films of the nineties, I found myself slipping back to another patch of years that could be conveniently grouped together according to their shared third digit, launching a new top fifty list shortly after champagne corks were popped to the cliched accompaniment of “Auld Lang Syne.” Now, some six-and-a-half years after I tapped out a introduction to the inaugural iteration to my unexpectedly long-term project, after three hundred and fifty reviews, after a trek that went from Triviatown to Citizen Kane, I am at the end. Much as I’d like the ready excuse to write about Bringing Up Baby, Duck Soup, and Modern Times, there will be no Top Fifty Films of the 30s. I simply feel ill-equipped, and I was severely compromised in my ability to engage in the sort of brushing up that always been part of the lead-up to a new list.
Though the tags at the right (or wherever they might land on a different iteration of the page’s layout on various devices) can provide passage to any of the lists, here are a few direct links, just for the sake of commemoration:
Thanks to anyone and everyone who read even a single word of this. I guess it’ll be time to take a crack at a new list somewhere around July of 2019.