1. 2005 — This year demonstrated its commitment to the decade’s center. It was clear by March that it was no longer 2004. Audiences became aware that they were now living in a decade that was no longer the 1990s, and there was something special and poignant about that. Critics have been discussing this overlooked year for the past four, and with good reason. Few recent years seemed as driven by pure, organic intuition.
2. 2007 — Set amidst a backdrop somewhere between 2006 and 2008, this was a year that didn’t quite live up to 2005. Initially, 2007 was overlooked by the critics, until J. Hoberman’s 4,000 word essay on 2007 set the matter straight. Other tastemakers followed Hoberman’s lead and the year became strongly appreciated.
3. 2006 — Armond White’s infamous takedown caused many of the year’s boosters to reconsider it, largely because they were skeptical of White’s tendency to hate what people liked. Its reputation was momentarily diminished, until 2006 experienced renewed interest upon its DVD release.
4. 2009 — The decade’s last year was a gritty, low-budget offering that came saddled with a different director. But it was helped by a special pullout section that appeared in The New York Times. Voted Best Year to Lose Your Job by Time Out New York, 2009 proved to be nowhere nearly as bad as it should have been. It is presently being distributed in IMAX.
5. 2000 — Ten years later, nobody really remembers this neglected year, although there was something about dot coms. This was the year Before Everything Changed. Criterion is scheduled to issue a special DVD set.
6. 2008 — Produced by Bono, 2008 proved to be an underperforming point in the decade. Widely derided upon its release, 2008 has earned a quiet cult following and is still talked about by record store clerks. What is especially surprising is that there are pro-2008 record store clerks who still have jobs and that there are a few record stores that still exist.
7. 2003 — This poignant year touched the hearts of audiences while garnering the wrath of critics. It was, in many ways, a populist year, marked by a sense that there were still six years left to go. But this dreamy tapestry of misery, regret, and joy stands as a flawed reinvention of 2002 that isn’t without its moments.
8. 2002 — Despite being a palindrome, this year was largely overpraised by the population. There was a sense that this year could prove to be an underperformer like 1991. Pitchfork continues to shit on this year, but we think it’s worth a second look.
9. 2004 — The more often you revisit it, the better this year looks. 2004, the directorial debut of 2003, attempted to take years to a new artistic level. But it was sullied by the November story arc in the third act.
10. 2001 — There was no space odyssey and certainly no flying car. It was one of the decade’s most troublesome years, marred by planes colliding into buildings. But 2001 proved to be an unusual milestone, a year that helped you find some context within a difficult decade. Cautiously recommended.
© 2009, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.