Punch Drunk Love
It's hard to put the superior Spider-Man 2 on the list and not include the first. It's like Godfather part II without the original. Instead of coasting on the success of Spider-Man, the second movie expanded on the mythology and added further complexity to the characters. The third film tried to do the same, and who knows, without the emo Peter Parker it may have fared better, but ultimately, it suffers in part 2's shadow. One complaint: Did we really need a shirtless Alfred Molina?
Requiem for a Dream
Across the Universe
Anyone who has watched any of director Julie Taymor's other films (Titus, Frida) knows the woman is a true cinematic visionary, and this movie further proves that genius. What superficially looks like a weak premise (stringing together a movie based on Beatle's songs), proves to be a wonderful experience of fantastic visuals, great music and heartwarming storytelling.
A Prairie Home Companion
*originally released in October of 1999. OK, not technically a movie from this decade, but the film missed the mark by 2 1/2 months and has become such a phenomenon that it deserves a place somewhere. (My fairness trigger wouldn't allow me to place this in the top 25 - it would have been closer to top 5, but I feel comfortable with it listed here). This film is not only a kick ass movie, it has become a modern male anthem about apathy, internal disappointment and searching for meaning. This is a case of the perfect director with the perfect material aided by the perfect cast. David Fincher's masterpiece is a lot more playful than Chuck Palahniuk's novel, but doesn't lose any of the edginess of the original story. I'll admit, I wasn't really blown away by the movie when I saw it in the theater, and looking at the box office, no one else was either, but the more times I watched it, the better it became. I've probably seen this movie about 30 times over the past ten years, probably more than any other film on this list.