100. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
This sleeper hit-turned-Oscar darling is low on the list I'll admit, but it is a fairly recent film. I did not see this film until after it had won all the major awards, including the Academy Award. I remember reading about this film in Entertainment Weekly while it was still in Art House movie theaters. Of course, I had heard all the raves and in particular the Oscar buzz. When I finally got around to seeing it, about a month after the Oscars, I went in with lower expectations than most. I thought it wouldn't live up to the hype. I thought it was just another one of those films that people say is really good but is actually just average. As the film ended, I was never happier to reveal that my preconceptions were wrong and it was truly amazing. It really was one of the best films of that year. And that is saying something because I enjoyed other films from that year.
The story is truly about the underdog (or slumdog as the case may be), which is a story I can always get behind (you'll notice a lot of the films on this list have an underdog theme to them). And the performances of the fresh-faced newcomers are touching, charming and even brilliant at times. But what really made this film work for me was Danny Boyle's direction. One minute its fast-paced and jarring, then the next its slow and intense. You really feel like you are sitting in the Millionaire hot-seat. If you haven't seen this movie, take a look at it because it is what people were saying about it: an inspiring and amazing movie. Plus it ends with a musical number! That was just a bonus for me. It's a great film and a wonderful way to begin the countdown.
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