- Sep 20, 2005
Our tastes are probably a little more in alignment, though a couple here I haven't seen. I'd say Arrival is probably my best movie of the decade. I can understand why you like Annihilation so much for the filmmaking, but the story is just too abstract for me appreciate to that level. I think we've discussed Cold in July before. I saw it once but didn't really give it much thought. It's an easy one to overlook, and similar to Hell or High Water, which is also excellent. I know we've discussed Mandy.
I can give 4 off the top of my head-
Hell Or High Water- has become one of my favorite films. No fat in the film, great acting by Pine and Foster, playing the estranged brothers who re-establish a bond, and has a little humor along the way
(funny scene in the small town restaurant where the crusty old waitress tells the Rangers what they’re going to eat).
The Big Short- love the attitude of the film, and Carell is fantastic as the tortured wheeler and dealer. Film still is hard to grasp after multiple viewings, but I really enjoy it.
Spotlight- deserving of its Oscar. Everything done well.
Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri- it is a ferocious and at times a
depressing film, but the Oscars liked the film for the acting (3 nominations, 2 wins). I also loved the writing.
Another top film I thought of is The Social Network. Good everything in it.
Nightcrawler is brilliant. Was thinking of adding that to my last 5 of the list so now will think of another addition.Nightcrawler - This stands up as one of the best, my favorites, of the decade. A truly great film.
The Sisters Brothers - Not what you think it is. Funny in parts but a beautiful film about human beings and our connections. This was a dream project for John C. Reilly. You want some great writing and a Western? Here you go.
Inside Llewyn Davis - I love the Coens, this picture probably marks the end of their being big deal directors. No, they did not vanish and they did make two more pictures, but this one was the last time one of their films was a big deal release in cinemas. Hail Caesar! was kind of ignored in cinemas and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was a Netflix movie. They seem to be working on their own now. It is like what Jean Smart tells Brad Pitt in Babylon, their time is just over. Unique pictures by interesting directors have gone out of fashion. The following year, 2014, is probably where things really shifted in the film industry.
Arrival - There were a couple of filmmakers that arrived in this decade, Denis is one of them, and this picture does something that I think great filmmakers can do, takes a complex idea or ideas and makes it something that works as entertainment for the masses. The key is the emotional hook in the story, about a mother and daughter. I would call the decade, 2010-2020, the decade of women in films, for a bunch of reasons, and Amy Adams is at the center of this. Yes, she plays a cunning linguist.
Annihilation - This film is quite probably the science fiction masterpiece of the decade. It also does the hot thing and features a cast of primarily women but you never really think about that because the story is so damn good. I guess this flopped because it did not have the hook Arrival did, but of the two, this one is the more fascinating film to me. Garland is a joy as a writer and constantly tries to take complex ideas and make them entertaining. The ending in the zone is probably too 2001 for audiences today, but damn what a fantastic film about human beings and how we understand/misunderstand each other and ourselves. This should have been a hit film.
Mandy - Yup, this is pure cinema adrenaline rush. A freak out with Nic Cage but the ultimate Nic Cage freak out. When you get a film like this where explaining any part of the plot is not going to get you anywhere near what you are going to see...well, we have a movie that must be seen to be believed. If you believe that going to the movies should make you feel as if you are having a waking dream/nightmare this is your kind of picture.
Shutter Island - Let me just say Scorsese had an amazing decade pretty much crushing Tarantino's idea that filmmakers decline and can't make great films as they get into their golden years. Scorsese showed he could make big crazed epics like The Wolf of Wall Street, which is one of the best of the decade, but he kicked things off with this little Hitchcockian fever dream. I love this film as pure entertainment and think it is an amazing piece of work.
The Master - Another guy that had a great decade. I love all his work but this film is a classic waiting to be recognized as such. He takes two tremendous actors and has them play off each other and it is mesmerizing.
You Were Never Really Here - Female filmmaker, Ramsay, directs the actor of the decade, Phoenix, in an absolutely brutal and brilliant film. This film hits as hard as the protagonist's hammer. Great picture.
The Grand Budapest Hotel - Anderson delivers confections, cinematic desserts, that really only can come from him. This was a great one that seemed to combine and perfect everything he likes to do. He creates a world to escape into here and isn't this what many people want from pictures?
I'll take this list to eleven with a recommendation of a great film probably few have seen...
Cold in July - A great noir that pulls you in and takes you on a fun ride with a group of great characters. Loved this one and it was way under the radar.
I can keep going but will let those sink in. I also think Tarantino made the best film of his career in this decade with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. We got one of the greatest Bond films in the franchise with Skyfall.
Honestly I don't watch as many films these days as I did when I was younger, so my list is bereft of some films that probably should make the list.
I decided to just name the favorite film from each calendar year as a way of organizing this post.
2010 - Inception - I was already a big fan of Christopher Nolan and this film certainly solidified that opinion. Impeccably staged action sequences, a great cast, temporal manipulation, and the idea at the core of the film all made this a favorite. I've watched it a handful of times since 2010 and it really holds up well.
2011 - Drive - Being a fan of noir and neo-noir this film feels like a natural selection for me. I thought this was a perfect role for Ryan Gosling. Being a neo-noir the overall tone and atmosphere was critical to my enjoyment and director Refn does a fine job establishing the tone of the film during the opening sequence of the film. (As I recently mentioned to Robert Crawford it has been awhile since I've seen this feature. Something I need to correct.)
2012 - Silver Linings Playbook - This was sort of a tough year to decide upon. I'm missing a few highly regarded films from my viewing experience and it was kind of a toss up for those I had seen. I decided on this film on the strength of the cast and the uniformly excellent acting on display in this feature. Another film I haven't seen in a while, but something I do remember really enjoying.
2013 - Prisoners - Director Denis Villeneuve is about as "can't miss" as it is for me these days and this film certainly contributes to that assessment. Some great acting and tension in this feature. Terrific film.
2014 - Nightcrawler - Tough year to choose just one feature as several "favorites" premiered this year, but Nightcrawler might be the most memorable of them. Great, great performance from Gyllenhaal in this film. The cinematography really stands out in this feature and reminds me of the best of Michael Mann's night cinematography (which is a big compliment from me.)
2015 - The Revenant - As I've noted before, I am a big fan of survival films and this certainly fits the bill. Inarritu is another director whose works I almost universally admire and this is one of the better features in his resume. Some great natural settings on display in this film and solid work from DiCaprio and Hardy makes this a favorite of the '10s.
2016 - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - I am sure there are more critically acclaimed films from 2016, but none that I enjoyed more. I have always been a huge fan of the darker, more adult sensibilities of The Empire Strikes Back from the OT and Rogue One was like a gift for those of us who longed for content with that tone. A great entry into the Star Wars canon and a film that holds up remarkably well on repeat viewings, of which I have had a number.
2017 - Phantom Thread - For me, no best of list would be complete without a Paul Thomas Anderson film. This is an impeccably crafted film which is about as close to perfection as it gets. The acting, cinematography, editing, comstuming, production design, etc., etc. are all wonderful. Thematically the film feels like a cross between Hitchcock and Kubrick which is no small achievement. About as close to perfect as a film gets in my estimation.
2018 - The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Probably one of the weaker years of the '10s for me, although once again - there is plenty I have not seen. This was a very enjoyable feature and I sort of felt like the Coens needed some representation. (I have still not seen Inside Llewyn Davis, although I've owned the Blu-Ray for a number of years. (Just sad.))
2019 - Once Upon A Time In Hollywood - Easily the most enjoyable film of the year for me. I admired every aspect of Tarantino's "love letter" to Hollywood. I don't think Pitt has every been cooler and his chemistry with DiCaprio is just terrific. An endlessly entertaining feature that is extremely easy to revisit. Love, love this feature.
Avengers: Infinity War / Avengers: Endgame - A remarkable close to Phase 4 of the MCU, Incredibly well executed films. ( Cap's entrance at the train station in Infinity War remains my choice for the single 'baddest' entry by an action character. )
Interstellar - Definitely a favorite from director Nolan. Great sound design in this feature. Just edged out by Nightcrawler for 2014's entry.
The Martian - This is a film that has grown on me on repeated viewing. It is on FX all the time and like films such as (for me) Jaws, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Fugitive, it is very very easy to just fall into the film wherever the storyline might be depending on when I stumble onto FX. One of those 'background' films.
Dunkirk - Another Nolan film that was edged out by the phenomenal Phantom Thread. Loved the acting in this film and the way the three timelines were staged and edited together. Terrific film.
Blade Runner 2049 - Another 2017 film that just missed the cut. Great followup to the original by Villeneuve.
If the year 2010 counts, then Inception would be on my list. A classic Chris Nolan mindbender that never forgets it’s there to entertain as well.
Whiplash was my favourite film of 2014, and is still one of my favorites for the decade.
Avengers: Endgame was a monumental effort that sought to bring a 20+ film saga to a conclusion, that involved dozens of characters, several stories to be finished, plenty of emotions to be explored, etc. Then the writers threw in a time travel plot (which could easily derail any film) that actually had some thought behind it. And the final product? Nailed it.
La La Land - a wonderful, joyous, bittersweet, heartbreaking throwback to 50s musicals while depicting the emotional rollercoaster of trying to achieve one’s dreams in Los Angeles.
Also concur with Interstellar and Arrival - 2 thought-provoking sci-fi films that blew my mind with some of the scientific implications and revelations.
Inside Out - a fascinating psychiatry study masquerading as animated entertainment.
Those are the ones off the top of my head… perhaps more later…
I threw in Cold in July because to me it feels like an overlooked film. I actually never saw it when it came out, if it even played in cinemas near me, I blind bought the Blu-ray and just thoroughly loved the film when I watched it. The actors are all great and it keeps you on the edge of wondering where it is going. It was just so much fun for me to watch and I feel like it should have a bigger audience or at least get some love from folks who enjoy noir.
8) The Ghost Writer (2010) Roman Polanski at his best. This movie had a $45,000,000 budget and it shows. The photography is beautiful with a lot of the movie shot on location. A fantastic political thriller that deals with the paranoia and big money shenanigans which follows ghost writer Ewan McGregor who has been offered the chance to clean up the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Pierce Brosnan. The Ghost Writer visits the former PM currently in America and perhaps on his visit has a little too much curiosity for his own good and manages to find a few things he shouldn't have which may have serious potential consequences. The music really contributes to the story here and really evokes the mood and paranoia masterfully without the usual emotional cliche ridden pieces usually adopted by Hollywood. A very dark story that is engrossing from start to finish. A must watch.
I saw that you had Sicario in your list. I saw it once a while back, and liked it. Will have to watch it again soon. That was written by Taylor Sheridan- he also wrote Hell Or High Water. Another good film written by Sheridan is Wind River.Seen 3 of those 4 and all 3 could easily have gone onto my list. Was very impressed with "Hell or High Water". Like Whiplash the ending leaves it open but still neatly completed the story.
Will have to check out Spotlight. Never heard of it so this thread is already serving its purpose.
It won the Oscar and then, oddly, was quickly forgotten. I thought it was excellent though.Will have to check out Spotlight. Never heard of it so this thread is already serving its purpose.
Sheridan had a heckuva run with those movies a few years back. I haven't seen anyone of the Yellowstone shows but I'm sure you've heard about them all being good too.I saw that you had Sicario in your list. I saw it once a while back, and liked it. Will have to watch it again soon. That was written by Taylor Sheridan- he also wrote Hell Or High Water. Another good film written by Sheridan is Wind River.
Agreed that it could have been shorter but Peter Jackson clearly loved the world of Middle Earth and didn't want to leave and I think that love beats out the problems with his overindulgence.The Hobbit (trilogy - 2012/2013/2015) - Yes, it's bloated and should have been only 2 films, but it's still mostly enjoyable and I like the world Tolkien created. While a trilogy, I consider it to be a single film and always watch it that way.
I won't put these in any real order, except my personal favorite. I haven't given it sufficient thought.
Lincoln - my personal favorite. Spectacular performances and one of the best scripts ever. Deftly and amusingly directed by Spielberg, this film is just a masterpiece across the board.
Mad Max: Fury Road - perfect "popcorn" entertainment. A decade of requels, reboots, and "years later" sequels...this one (and Creed) really, really shined. A kinetic and beautiful action film.
Gravity - I haven't seen this since my last theatrical viewing. Just a wonderful theater experience, an absolute master filmmaker at work.
The Martian - its qualities have already been discussed more intelligently than I could. One of the Sir Ridley's best films, with humor, heart, intelligence, and adventure.
Arrival - DV is going to get two films on this list (with an honorable mention 3rd). I saw this one with a great friend after a challenging period (individually) in our lives. Felt cathartic; exceptionally thoughtful, honest, and emotional.
Sicario - One of those films that just crept into my head and stayed. Absolutely mesmerizing, top to bottom, start to finish. Clearly the work of a visionary. I still need to see Prisoners.
Free Solo/Senna - two documentaries that I loved equally. One about the first free climb of El Capitan. Fascinating, terrifying, and quite human. The second was about a world-class athlete and his life, told through his words and eyes. Both were well outside of my comfort zone, and brilliantly made.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri - I love the McDonagh brothers. From In Bruges to Calvary to Banshees, their work is funny, dark, and typically quite tough. This film is no exception. A showcase for Frances McDormand, an actress that doesn't ever even need the help, this is a challenging film.
Coco - Disney and Pixar took a lot of swings in this decade. Coco was the best of them. Having Coco be as wonderful as it was made up for having to sit through Olaf's Frozen Adventure in the theater, which ran 22 minutes, but felt three times longer.
Dunkirk - I struggled between this one and Inception (which I liked more in theaters). Ultimately, I went with Dunkirk because it was an amazing accomplishment, with outstanding performances, and the scene of the rescue fleet headed to Dunkirk is up there with the best sequences in movie history. It also never hurts to end with that beautiful Churchill speech.
Honorable Mentions (ten more):
Blade Runner 2049
Manchester by the Sea
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
They Shall Not Grow Old
How To Train Your Dragon
Beasts of the Southern Wild
It won the Oscar and then, oddly, was quickly forgotten. I thought it was excellent though.
Sheridan had a heckuva run with those movies a few years back. I haven't seen anyone of the Yellowstone shows but I'm sure you've heard about them all being good too.