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Consensus? Mulholland Dr. is LA Film Critics' movie of the decade, too

Critical polls conducted by Film Comment, indieWIRE, the Village Voice/LA Weekly, Cahiers du Cinéma and now the Los Angeles Film Critics Association have all chosen David Lynch's 2001 "Mulholland Dr." as the best movie of the decade.

UPDATE 2/12/10: The Muriels and Slant Magazine also choose "Mulholland Dr." as best of the Aughts.

Full list below...

Justin Chang writes at

Call us provincial -- David Lynch's psychoerotic noir is one of the essential L.A. movies -- but the more significant reason for the film's enduring critical favor may be its deconstruction of the toxic allure of the Dream Factory. "Mulholland Dr." projects an ambivalence toward Hollywood with which almost any critic can identify: Moving images have the power to seduce and move us, but many of them are the products of a system that routinely turns dreams into nightmares and artists into meat. Famously salvaged from a rejected TV pilot, Lynch's film stands as both a cautionary tale and a mascot for the triumph of art and personal vision in an industry that, from where we sit, often seems actively devoted to the suppression of both. [...]

[One] of the quirks of our poll (and hopefully, one of its weird ancillary pleasures) is that it offers a snapshot of how well, or how badly, our award winners have held up over time. It also conveys something that frequently gets lost in the yearly awards-season quest for consensus and compromise: the unique taste of the individual critic. This taste often finds expression in a fierce passion for movies that, unlike "There Will Be Blood" (No. 2) or "Brokeback Mountain" (No. 4), are not always widely hailed (or even widely seen). Inclusion can be as startling as exclusion: Surely ours is the only group survey that found room for "In Vanda's Room" (No. 29), "Jackass Number Two" (No. 49), "The Silence Before Bach" (No. 52) and "Team America: World Police" (No. 47), but not a single film by David Cronenberg, one of the decade's most critically esteemed filmmakers (and the director of our runner-up for best picture of 2005, "A History of Violence"). What can we say? Ten has never been an easy number to work with.

Art may be unquantifiable, but then, anyone familiar with the peculiar mathematics of list-making knows it to be a highly unscientific practice, governed less by the forces of logic and reason than by the whimsies of instinct, temperament and personal feeling. If that's meant to be a disclaimer, it's also one more reason why "Mulholland Dr.," as strong an argument as any for the art of the irrational, makes a fitting champion for a great decade of cinema. Here's to another.

LAFCA best of the '00s results:

1. "Mulholland Dr." (David Lynch) 2. "There Will Be Blood" (Paul Thomas Anderson) 3. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (Michel Gondry) 4. "Brokeback Mountain" (Ang Lee) 5. "No Country for Old Men" (Joel & Ethan Coen) 5. "Zodiac" (David Fincher) 6. "Yi Yi" (Edward Yang) 7. "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" (Cristian Mungiu) 7. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Peter Jackson) 8. "Spirited Away" (Hayao Miyazaki) 9. "United 93" (Paul Greengrass) 9. "Y Tu Mamá También" (Alfonso Cuarón) 10. "Sideways" (Alexander Payne)

UPDATE: Well, that's not to say it's unanimous. I just remembered this poll of "over sixty film curators, historians, archivists and programmers from festivals, cinematheques and similar organizations around the world" conducted by the Cinemateque Ontario in Toronto. Here's the top part of that list:

1. "Syndromes and a Century" (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand) 2. "Platform" (Jia Zhang-ke, China) 3. "Still Life" (Jia Zhang-ke, China) 4. "Beau Travail" (Claire Denis, France) 5. "In the Mood for Love" (Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong, China) 6. "Tropical Malady" (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand) 7. "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" (Cristi Puiu, Romania); and "Werckmeister Harmonies" (Béla Tarr, Hungary). 8. "Éloge de l'amour"/"In Praise of Love" (Jean-Luc Godard, France) 9. "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days" (Cristian Mungiu) 10. "Silent Light" (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico)

"Mulholland Dr." came in at #17, in a tie with Michael Haneke's "Caché" and David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence."

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