Another decade has come and gone. This one seemed to last forever. When I was working on this Top Ten List, I couldn’t believe some of the movies that came out this decade. I thought they were at least fifteen years old. I don’t know if that makes me senile, or if there just happened to be a diverse array of films in the last ten years (probably both). This list is mine, not yours, so if you disagree—good for you! You should disagree, because if you had the same list like me, I would start to worry that you were somehow hacking my computer as I’m typing this right now. Without further adieu …
Honorable Mentions: IT, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, Get Out
The first movie on my list is a film I have only seen once, yet I think about it daily. Silence is a hard watch, sort of in the vein as Passion of the Christ and Saving Private Ryan. It’s a story Martin Scorsese has been wanting to put on the screen for decades. Three hours of torture and doubt and debate is hardly a popcorn night at the movies, but after watching the film, you can’t shake the impact it has on you. Required viewing for any person of faith.
9. Insert Marvel Movie Here
There were a LOT of Marvel movies, so it was hard to gauge where (and if) they would fall on this list. To this day, my favorite Marvel film is Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two. I love the jokes, the themes, the color palette even. Time will tell where I put the last two Avengers films. I will say that watching Endgame in the theater was one of the best moviegoing experiences of the decade. Because of how all the movies connect, it was hard to decide on what movie would fall on this list.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in Nightcrawler might be my favorite of the decade. It’s not overly showy (sans for a few moments), and it perfectly captures the millennial mantra of doing everything you can to achieve your dreams. For Louis Bloom, that means stealing and lying and even killing your way to the top. The movie is designed to make you feel like you are inside Louis’s head. The way the camera moves, the over-the-top happy music—we almost start to believe that Louis is a good person. Almost.
War is Hell, and in Fury, that is on the screen in full force. Fury doesn’t glorify the actions of soldiers. More often than not, we are repulsed by their motivations and values. Like Don says in the film, “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.” A lot of people knock the cliche ending, but what comes before is a gripping look at the brotherhood of five different individuals doing everything they can to survive.
6. The Social Network
Yes, this movie actually did come out this decade. On paper, the idea for The Social Network is kind of boring. Two friends start a company, get rich, and then hate each other. But between David Fincher’s directing and Aaron Sorkin’s razor-sharp script, they prove that you can make an exciting movie out of anything. The King’s Speech won best picture over The Social Network (does anyone have any recollection watching that movie?), and I always felt like the movie got snubbed.
A movie that is all style and better for it. Ryan Gosling might breathe only 3-5 times the entire movie. Blink—two at the most. It’s a movie where a neon-soaked Los Angeles feels like it was ripped straight out of the latest GTA game. The soundtrack KILLS in this movie, and I think as the years go by, it might creep further up this list.
4. Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049 proves that you can make an excellent sequel 35 after the original without tarnishing its legacy, In fact, I would argue that Blade Runner 2049 enhances the legacy of the original. Harrison Ford doesn’t show up until almost two hours into the movie, but by that point, you’ve been fully immersed in Roger Deakins’s phenomenal cinematography and the intricate plot.
*I just realized that two Los Angles based Gosling movies made my list. Weird.
3. Mad Max Fury Road
George Miller is a madman. Need I say more. The movie has the best action of any film this decade, most of which was shot for real in the desert. The movie also won six Oscars which is crazy for a film like this.
2. Inside Out
Inside Out might be Pixar’s best movie (that’s saying something). We not only feel as though we are in Riley’s head, we understand fully why the emotions in her head are acting the way they are. The movie is complex, yet also simple enough for a child to understand. And was there a bigger tearjerker moment this decade than when Bing Bong faded away into nothing?Inception
Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece (one of them at least). With Inception, Nolan perfectly balances blockbuster aesthetic with mind-bending ideas. Not since the Matrix has there been a better action movie that also has something to say. And with Hans Zimmer’s bombastic score, it’s hard not to crank the volume up every time that dizzying hallway fight scene comes on.