Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Best Movies of the Decade...

For those of you who wonder if I do anything other than read, the answer is a resounding, "yes." As many of you know, I also go to the movies a lot, particularly as it gets closer to the end of the year and the films and performances being touted as potential Oscar nominees. Some years I don't see as many movies as I'd like, but some years I've had lots of chances.

Like I did in 2010 for the 2000s, I went through all of the movies I've seen and made a list of my top 50 movies of the 2010s. Boy, it wasn't easy, as there were a lot of movies that still resonate with me, some years after I've seen them.

I'll admit that once I got past the top 25 or so, ranking the movies became even more difficult, so the rankings are fairly arbitrary. I don't know that I necessarily loved movie #37 more than movie #40, but this is what happens when you do a list like this!

So, without further ado, here's my list. Feedback is always welcome (and appreciated). I'm sure I missed something major. For each movie, the title is linked to its IMDB profile in case you've never heard of it.

  1. Fruitvale Station (2013): Tore my heart out, made me angry, and made me think. Still does all these years later. Starring Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, and Octavia Spencer; directed by Ryan Coogler.

  2. Inception (2010): I still can't quite get this wild movie about dream-sharing technology and thought manipulation out of my head. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, and Marion Cotillard; directed by Christopher Nolan.

  3. La La Land (2016): Go ahead, roll your eyes at me all you want. I fell head over heels for this love story between an aspiring actress and a musician, and loved every minute of its classic-musical feel. Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone; directed by Damien Chazelle.

  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012): Terrific movie adaptation of one of my favorite books, this movie hit me right in the feels. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller; directed by Stephen Chbosky (who wrote the book).

  5. Her (2013): A lonely man gets a little too attached to his phone's new operating system. Astute commentary on our ability to connect. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Scarlett Johansson; directed by Spike Jonze.

  6. Hugo (2011): An orphan living in a Paris train station in the 1930s tries to solve a mystery involving his late father and an automaton. A love letter to the movies. Starring Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz; directed by Martin Scorsese.

  7. Call Me by Your Name (2017): Sexy, romantic, and poignant, this is proof positive you never quite get over your first love. Great adaptation of Andre Aciman's terrific book. Starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer; directed by Luca Guadagnino.

  8. Black Panther (2018): The only MCU movie on this list, this movie worked for me at every level and still feels joyful and exciting after many, many viewings. Still think it should've won Best Picture last year. Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong'o; directed by Ryan Coogler.

  9. Moonrise Kingdom (2012): A young boy and girl fall in love and decide to run away from home, which causes their entire town to form a search party and try to find them. Trademark Wes Anderson quirk with so much heart. Starring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, and Bruce Willis; directed by Wes Anderson.

  10. Boyhood (2014): A triumph of filmmaking (the same cast was filmed over 12 years) and a quietly special, memorable film in and of itself. Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, and Ethan Hawke; directed by Richard Linklater.

  11. The Town (2010): A thief is torn between love and loyalty, while an FBI agent tries to bring him down. I think this is Ben Affleck's best-directed movie. Starring Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, and Rebecca Hall; directed by Ben Affleck.

  12. Midnight in Paris (2011): Don't come at me because it's Woody Allen. A screenwriter nostalgic for the good old days finds himself transported back to 1920s Paris at midnight every evening. Starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams; directed by Woody Allen.

  13. Moonlight (2016): Moving and beautifully filmed, this is a terrific movie about identity, sexuality, family, and masculinity. Starring Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Trevante Rhodes; directed by Barry Jenkins.

  14. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017): Powerful, thought-provoking, moving, and perhaps a bit preposterous, this is a story about grief, revenge, forgiveness, and racism in small-town America. Starring Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson; directed by Martin McDonagh.

  15. The Social Network (2010): A look at the early days following Facebook's creation, and all of the drama that surrounded it. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Armie Hammer; directed by David Fincher.

  16. The Fault in Our Stars (2014): A love story about two teenagers with cancer, this movie wrecked me as much as the book did. Starring Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley; directed by Josh Boone.

  17. Drive (2011): A stuntman and getaway driver comes to the rescue of his neighbor and finds himself in trouble. Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Albert Brooks; directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

  18. Whiplash (2014): Moody and intense, your pulse will be pounding and you'll never watch a Farmers Insurance commercial the same way again after this. Starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons; directed by Damien Chazelle.

  19. Short Term 12 (2013): Perhaps one of the best movies you might never have heard of, this is the story of goings-on at a residential treatment facility, as the supervisors deal with residents' problems and their own. Starring Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr.; directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.

  20. A Most Violent Year (2014): In NYC in 1981, a crooked businessman and his equally ruthless wife struggle to protect their business and their family as a determined lawmaker closes in. Starring Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, and David Oyelowo; directed by J.C. Chandor.

  21. 1917 (2019): Two soldiers are sent on a dangerous mission to travel through enemy territory and deliver a message which will prevent more than 1600 men from walking into a deadly trap. Starring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman; directed by Sam Mendes.

  22. Parasite (2019): God, this is just so good. One of the craziest, funniest, most astute commentaries on haves and have-nots I've ever seen. Starring Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, and Yeo-jong Jo; directed by Bong Joon Ho.

  23. Lady Bird (2017): A movingly funny and real look at the life of a high school senior struggling with her relationship with her mother, her friends, and her future. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf; directed by Greta Gerwig.

  24. American Hustle (2013): A movie about cons and double-crosses, this is the story of a con man and his girlfriend forced into working for the FBI. Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Jennifer Lawrence; directed by David O. Russell.

  25. The Adjustment Bureau (2011): Because I'm a total sap. A politician and a dancer are drawn to one another, but mysterious forces are keeping them apart. Starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt; directed by George Nolfi.

  26. BlacKkKlansman (2018): An African-American police officer manages to infiltrate the KKK in Colorado Springs with the help of a Jewish colleague. Starring John David Washington and Adam Driver; directed by Spike Lee.

  27. Moneyball (2011): The true story of former Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, who used computer-generated analysis to identify new players, much to the chagrin of the team's owners and everyone else. Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill; directed by Bennett Miller.

  28. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013): A singer struggles to figure out the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village, while deciding what to do with his life. Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake; directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

  29. Yesterday (2019): A struggling singer wakes up from a car accident to discover he's the only one who's ever heard of the Beatles, so everyone thinks he wrote their songs. What's a guy to do? Starring Himesh Patel and Lily James; directed by Danny Boyle.

  30. Weekend (2011): A one-night stand turns out far more different than planned. Sexy and emotional. Starring Tom Cullen and Chris New; directed by Andrew Haigh.

  31. Seven Psychopaths (2012): A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his friends kidnap a gangster's beloved dog. Hijinks ensue. Starring Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, and Woody Harrelson; directed by Martin McDonagh

  32. Ex Machina (2014): A young programmer is selected to participate in an experiment to evaluate the human qualities of a highly advanced humanoid A.I. Starring Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleason, and Oscar Isaac; directed by Alex Garland.

  33. Arrival (2016): When alien lifeforms appear around the world, a linguist is asked to work with the military to communicate with them. A movie you'll need to think about. Starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner; directed by Denis Villeneuve.

  34. Little Women (2019): An exceptional adaptation of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel. I think this is superior to the 1994 version. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, and Florence Pugh; directed by Greta Gerwig.

  35. Lincoln (2012): Beyond the virtuoso performance, this movie felt surprisingly modern in its dialogue. I was so immersed I almost hoped the ending would be different. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field; directed by Steven Spielberg.

  36. The Way Way Back (2013): A teenager goes on vacation with his mother and her bullying boyfriend, and finds an unexpected friend in the manager of a water park. All the feels. Starring Liam James and Sam Rockwell; directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

  37. Chef (2014): A chef quits his restaurant job and buys a food truck to make the food he wants, while he tries to fix his family. Starring Jon Favreau and John Leguizamo; directed by Jon Favreau.

  38. Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Powerhouse performances lift this movie, the story of Ron Woodroof, who finds a way to work around the system to help AIDS patients get the medicines they need after he is diagnosed with the disease. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Garner; directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.

  39. Pitch Perfect (2012): An all-girls acapella group at Barden University gets a new lease on life when a new member joins and they prepare to take on their male rivals in a competition. Starring Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, and Rebel Wilson; directed by Jason Moore.

  40. A Star is Born (2018): Left me an emotional wreck and I'm still singing the soundtrack. Deserved more love at the Oscars. Starring Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, and Sam Elliott; directed by Bradley Cooper.

  41. Looper (2012): In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Sometimes the mob wants to "close the loop" by sending back the hitman's future self for assassination. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt; directed by Rian Johnson.

  42. Hell or High Water (2016): Two brothers turn to desperate measures in order to save the family ranch, and are hunted by a dogged lawman. Starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges; directed by David Mackenzie.

  43. Take This Waltz (2011): A married woman starts to realize her marriage isn't quite so happy when she meets another man, whom it turns out is her neighbor. Tremendously moving. Starring Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby, and Seth Rogen; directed by Sarah Polley.

  44. Manchester by the Sea (2016): A man returns to the town where his life fell apart to take care of his nephew following his brother's death. So powerful and well-acted. Starring Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, and Michelle Williams; directed by Kenneth Lonergan.

  45. Toy Story 3 (2010): The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home. Starring Tom Hanks and Woody Allen; directed by Lee Unkrich.

  46. Hearts Beat Loud (2018): Adorable and such fun, this is the story of a father and daughter who try to succeed as a musical duo in the summer before she goes to college. Starring Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons; directed by Brett Haley.

  47. The Ides of March (2011): An idealistic staffer learns that there is no such thing as an honest politician after a stint on the presidential campaign trail. Seems remarkably tame given the crazy world we live in now. Starring Ryan Gosling and George Clooney; directed by George Clooney.

  48. Easy A (2010): Burned by the high school rumor mill, an enterprising student decides to turn the whole thing on its head and use it to her advantage. Starring Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, and Amanda Bynes; directed by Will Gluck.

  49. 50/50 (2011): A 27-year-old is diagnosed with cancer, and he turns to his slacker best friend to help him find the strength and support he needs to beat the disease. Based on a true story. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen; directed by Jonathan Levine.

  50. Blue Valentine (2010): The intense, emotional relationship of a married couple, examined over a period of years. Did I say it was intense and emotional? Starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling; directed by Derek Cianfrance.

And Don't Miss...
Les Miserables (2012)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Argo (2012)
Like Crazy (2011)
The Spectacular Now (2013)
The Favourite (2018)
Deadpool (2016)
Baby Driver (2017)

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