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The 10 Most Influential Movies Of The Last 10 Years


This week, I put my thinking cap on and thought I’d give my thoughts on the 10 most influential films of the past 10 years. I’m not talking deep and meaningful stuff here. Rather, I’m talking about those films which have shaped the direction of the industry. Those films which have changed the ideas of filmmakers. Those films which have everyone stealing from their ideas.


In no particular order, I feel those films are:


1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Didn’t this film set some trends. It had violence, course language, a hip soundtrack, and was told in a crazy round-a-bout way. It couldn’t have been more adventurous and it was rising director Quentin Tarantino who crafted it all. Winner of the Palm D’or at Cannes, it resurrected and launched several careers. Future films shaped by Pulp Fiction would have to be Jackie Brown, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Usual Suspects, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrells, Run Lola Run and our own Two Hands.


2. The Matrix (1999)

This film took special effects to a new level and introduced us to slow motion martial arts and cool new action sequence. Sometimes, speed isn’t always better. Not only did the film spawn too sequels, it inspired other directors to make films such as Cradle 2 The Grave and just about any kung-fu / action film made subsequent.


3. She’s All That (1999)

It was the teen film which started it all. A small budget Miramax release starring Freddie Prinze Jr, Rachel Leigh Cook and Paul Walker brought teens to the cinemas in their droves. Suddenly, everyone released there was a huge teen market out there that wasn’t being exploited. It sure has been now! There’s been Can’t Hardly Wait, Whatever It Takes, Down To You, 10 Things I Hate About You, Varsity Blues, Cruel Intentions, etc, etc. There’s been so many that there’s also been a spoof – Not Another Teen Movie.


4. Scream (1996)

We had the teen films but let’s not forget the teen horror films. Horror was a dead genre (literally). Somehow, it all came back to life with a low budget film called Scream. Drew Barrymore was killed off in the opening scene and nothing was the same again. Unfortunately, most of what followed belonged in the garbage heap. I speak of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Halloween H20, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, Scream 2, Scream 3, Urban Legend, Urban Legend 2, Disturbing Behaviour. And yep, there’s been spoofs here too – Scary Movie 1, 2 and 3. A lot of studio profit has come from these cheap, easy to make, easy to cast films.


5. Trainspotting (1996)

Once upon a time, English films were either fluffy romantic comedies or serious period pieces. One film blew that fallacy out the window – Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. Based on the Irvine Welsh novel, we saw several English copycats like Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrells and Twin Town. The film also had an influence outside of English. In Australia we tried Two Hands (as I’ve already mentioned above). In America we had the Basketball Diaries and even Requiem For A Dream. English filmmaking was back on the map.


6. Toy Story (1994)

You should be able to pick why this one is on the list. Toy Story was the first computer animated film ever. Disney had control of the market with their quality animation but Pixar had arrived to change things for ever. Nowadays, the majority of animated films largely come from computers. This year’s box-office smash Finding Nemo is proof of that. Others include A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Ice Age, Shrek and Monsters, Inc.


7. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Toilet humour had been around long before this film but it was Mary who brought it into the spotlight and encouraged other filmmakers to try ever grosser humour. So many individual scenes from this movie will be remembered for ever. Since Mary, we’ve been further grossed out by three American Pie movies, Road Trip, Me Myself & Irene, Say It Isn’t So and Shallow Hal.


8. The Castle (1997)

It was Australia’s most successful film since Crocodile Dundee. The Castle was a sheepish Aussie flick which told it like it is and beautifully poked fun at our own culture. Australian filmmaking was in the doldrums but resurged following its release, the film industry realized their was much talent in our own country which wasn’t being explored. One subsequent highlight was The Dish which was also directed by Rob Sitch. These days, there’s more Australian films that ever in our cinemas.


9. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

The public took some convincing but finally they released that foreign language films are often better that English language films. Life Is Beautiful swept away everyone who saw it and the bubby personality of director/star Roberto Benigni ensured it would win 3 Oscars. Since its release, more and more foreign language pictures are being shown in major theatres and more and more are finding critical acclaim. These include Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Talk To Her, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Amelie and No Man’s Land.


10. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)

Not only is the epic back in town, the idea of producing more than one movie in a shoot has blossomed. To save money, the producers made all three Rings film over the space of a year. Since then, The Matrix has copied the idea and Tarantino has done the same for Kill Bill. I suspect this trend will only grow in future years as studios look for new ways to save costs and increase profits.