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10. Almost Famous (2000)
Every Cameron Crowe film is, in one way or another, about romance, rock & roll, and his romance with rock & roll. This power ballad of a movie also happens to be Crowe's greatest (and most personal) film thanks to the golden gods of Stillwater and their biggest fan, Kate Hudson's incomparable Penny Lane.
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9. Lost in Translation (2003)
Six years later, we still have no clue what Bill Murray whispered into Scarlett Johansson's ear. And we don't want to. Why spoil a perfect film?
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8. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Raunchy Hollywood comedies — and Steve Carell's chest hair — would never be the same after Judd Apatow's 2005 hit. Who knew you could aim for the heart and below the belt at the same time?
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7. Children of Men (2006)
Alfonso Cuaron's dystopian film reminded us that adrenaline-juicing action sequences can work best when the future looks just as grimy as today.
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6. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Baz Luhrmann's trippy, pop-cultural pastiche is an aesthetically arresting ode to poetry, passion, and Elton John. In fact, it's so good, we'll forgive him for Australia.
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5. WALL-E (2008)
Conventional wisdom crumbled in the face of imagination when Pixar made the decade's unlikeliest megahit out of a melancholy, semi-silent movie about a lonely, music-loving robot.
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4. The Dark Knight (2008)
Every great hero needs a great villain. And Christian Bale's Batman found his in Heath Ledger's demented dervish, the Joker.
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3. Gladiator (2000)
A sword-and-sandaled Russell Crowe duked it out with tigers, blood-thirsty warriors, and a nefarious Roman emperor (Joaquin Phoenix) in this Oscar-winning blockbuster. Were you not entertained?!
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2. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Everyone called it ''The Gay Cowboy Movie.'' Until they saw it. In the end, Ang Lee's love story wasn't gay or straight, just human.
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1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)
Bringing a cherished book to the big screen? No sweat. Peter Jackson's trilogy — or, as we like to call it, our preciousssss — exerted its irresistible pull on advanced Elvish speakers and neophytes alike.
For more Bests of the Decade, see the Dec. 11 issue of Entertainment Weekly.