16. Punch-Drunk Love
In the process of making this list, I’ve re-watched all of these movies, often adjusting their place up or down a few as a more recent viewing affects my opinion of the film. “Punch-Drunk Love” jumped from somewhere in the 50s to this spot, primarily because, while re-watching it, I could not find a single scene that didn’t feel like it was fraught with energy, jumping off the screen in its own odd but terribly captivating way. There aren’t many movies that feel as full of creative energy and emotion as this one does.
Sure, it’s an odd love story (involving pudding snacks, plungers and stolen calliopes) about a violent man with seven abusive sisters who finally finds a productive way to channel his fury. It takes a special woman to love Adam Sandler, and perhaps the most hopeful message of “Punch-Drunk Love” – a movie suffused through and through with hope and optimism – is that there’s someone for everyone. Of course this is Adam Sandler’s finest performance; what else could even come close? But it’s also P.T. Anderson’s finest movie, and my favorite romantic comedy of the decade.