Did you see the BBC’s new list of the 100 best movies of the 21st century, chosen by film critics from around the world? Like any movie list, scores of film geeks are tripping over themselves to declare it all wrong. David Lynch’s 2001 Hollywood fever dream Mulholland Drive took the number one spot. But honestly, the selection of movies didn’t bother me so much. The dumbest thing about this list was the fact that they included the year 2000 as being part of the 21st century. It’s shit like this that truly gets my Comic Book Guy voice cracking. Because the 21st century didn’t start until the year 2001.
When the calendar flipped from 1999 to the year 2000, people around the world were excited to proclaim that a new century was upon us—a new millennium even. But it wasn’t the case. How do I know this? Outside of Nine Inch Nails albums and the French Revolution, there was no year Zero. Thus, the first year of the 21st century was not the year 2000. It was the year two-thousand-and-one.
To be fair, people at the turn of the 20th century went through a similar fight about when that century officially began. But at least they came to the correct conclusion. Newspapers around the world debated when to declare that the 19th century was over and the 20th century had begun. And reason won out. It was agreed upon that there was no year zero, and that the 20th century would logically begin in 1901. They saved up all their celebrations for the beginning of a new century until then. But as anyone who remembers New Year’s Eve 2000 can attest, our generation was impatient.
We love big round numbers. And the year 2000 loomed in our minds for so long as this symbol of the future. Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999, and no one was going to take that away from us. Even if the year 2000 was the last year of the 20th century, not the beginning of the 21st.
Frankly, disqualifying movies from 2000 would help purge the BBC’s list of at least one movie that doesn’t deserve to even crack the top 100 (in this not-so-humble blogger’s opinion). Somehow Memento, Christopher Nolan’s year 2000 amnesiac thriller, made the list at the 25 spot.
That’s right, Memento is dumb and the 21st century didn’t start until 2001. Fight me, movie nerds.