Fandango asked you, the fans, to pick your Top 10 favorite flicks of the past 10 years, and wouldn’t you know it -- comic book heroes, emo vamps vs. six-pack werewolves, blue aliens in loincloths, fashionistas, Hobbits, Hogwarts and a Vegas hangover defined the decade for you. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, debate ‘em, these are the choices by the people for the people.
10. Kill Bill
Quentin Tarantino’s epic, two-part love letter to his grindhouse martial arts favorites, Sergio Leone, the Hattori Hanzo samurai code and his Pulp Fiction muse Uma Thurman (he delayed production in order for her to have a child and return to kick-ass shape) delivered the goods for the ultimate bloody revenge saga. Sadly, it also ended up as one of David Carradine’s finest final performances.
9. Iron Man
Hollywood took a major gamble on Elf and Zathura director Jon Favreau and his faith in casting clean-and-sober, Swingers-style star Robert Downey Jr. as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark. But one $98 million opening weekend later, you’d never guess the Paramount brass was sweating bullets helping to underwrite the high-flying saga. Downey’s wit and vulnerability combined with a smart script and whiz-bang effects made for a potent alchemy of intelligence and action. Pop in an Avengers Nick Fury cameo with Samuel L. Jackson at the tail end, and two Marvel franchises are born for the price of one.
8. Sex and the City
Many doubted that Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha could successfully make the transition to the big screen opposite such summer behemoths as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Dark Knight in 2008, but with cosmos in hand and Manolo Blahniks on foot, Carrie’s wedding to Mr. Big proved irresistible at the box office, paving the way for a sequel that upped the ante, Abu Dhabi style.
7. The Hangover
Let this be a cautionary tale: A good old-fashioned bachelor party in Sin City does not mix well with roofies. Results may involve a missing groom, a missing tooth, a small baby, an irate Asian gangster, a hospital bracelet, a stolen police car -- and Mike Tyson’s Bengal tiger in your luxury suite. Zach Galifianakis practically steals the show as the offbeat brother-in-law-to-be who sets the plot in motion, beginning with a blackout and a serious, well, hangover. As the unbelievable events of the previous night unfold, the insanity grows, leading to arguably the most hilarious end credits in the history of cinema. Some guys just can’t handle Vegas.
6. The Twilight Saga
Are you Team Edward, or Team Jacob? Stephenie Meyer’s vamps vs. werewolves/love-triangle saga made Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart overnight celebrities, and their potent emo chemistry has proven to be an even more potent elixir at the box office. With two films under its belt and two more on the way in the quadrilogy, the Twilight machine is poised to recruit even more tweens-to-be and hopeless romantics in its ever-growing fold. Or is it coven? What do you call a family of vampires anyway? A Cullen?
5. The Blind Side
Everyone loves a solid underdog tale, and the true story of Baltimore Ravens behemoth Michael Oher’s rags-to-riches upbringing under the stalwart wing of Leigh Anne Tuohy by way of Sandra Bullock charmed audiences everywhere. Bullock’s fierce-yet-tender Oscar-winning performance combined with Quinton Aaron’s gentle-giant presence and the can-do spirit of the Tuohy clan provided the perfect foundation for the feel-good movie of the year that, well, blindsided the box office.
4. The Dark Knight
Two words: Heath Ledger. Director Chris Nolan’s casting choice initially befuddled many, but once the late Aussie star unleashed his inner Joker, all bets were off. Reveling in unabashed anarchy that actually made sense, Ledger’s Joker proved the perfect foil for Christian Bale’s gruff Batman, presenting the Gotham City protector with a moral dilemma over his vigilante role, and illuminating the greater theme of the motivations behind terrorism itself. The Dark Knight proved to be the rare sequel that one-upped the original, and Ledger’s posthumous Oscar was well-deserved.
3. The Harry Potter Franchise
Fellow muggles, can you believe we’ve watched little Harry Potter and his pals grow up before our very eyes in six feature films over the past decade? From The Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001 to last year’s The Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling’s tales of the boy wizard with a lightning-bolt scar have beguiled audiences with a potent potion of magic, action, intrigue, camaraderie and, most of all, heart. Daniel Radcliffe may have proven his manhood by displaying his magic wand in Broadway’s Equus, but we’re all still willing to buy into the fantasy that Harry is still coming of age as he faces off against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. What will we do once the final Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, set to debut as two movies in November and July 2011, comes and goes? Buy a season pass to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, of course!
Can $2 billion in worldwide box office sales be wrong? Haters may allege that James Cameron took Disney’s Pocahontas treatment and changed the names and locations to create his otherworldly save-the-rainforest saga, but no one can deny the incredible fruits of the ambitious Titanic director’s decade-long labors. With the help of raw, emotionally charged performances by Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington via cutting-edge motion-capture technologies, and photorealistic CGI that puts everything before it to shame, the visionary Cameron created an imaginative new 3D world and action spectacle challenging everyone in Hollywood to bring their A-game.
1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
One trilogy to rule them all, Peter Jackson’s take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth Fellowship pleased even the pickiest Dungeons & Dragons diehards and proved universally appealing with his epic cinematic undertaking involving armies of orcs, elves, humans, trolls, dwarves and a handful of Hobbits. Andy Serkis’s CGI Gollum raised the bar with his precious motion-capture performance (sadly confusing Academy members, who shut him out of Oscar contention), and both Ian McKellan’s Gandalf and Elijah Woods’ Frodo truly anchored the heart of the three-part saga. But in the end, who’d guess we’d owe it all to Sean Astin’s Samwise Gamgee?