Let's Talk About... The Best Films of the Decade! 2010-2019
Coming to an End.
Wow. To think that a whole decade has gone by already just blows my mind. I mean really think about it. That’s ten years of ups and downs, smiles and frowns, laughs and tears, achievement and tragedy, love and hate, pride and regret, and a whole lot of unpredictability that we now look back upon in amusement and melancholy. At the beginning of the 2010s I was an 18-year-old boy graduating from high school and moving onto art school. Now at the end of the decade, I’m nearly 28 and the whole world is different to me now. Life seems to do that without us realizing it. We go from day to day not catching onto the fact that the smallest of details are evolving our lives into something else, maybe something better or something worse or somewhere in between. Before we know it, it’s 2019 and we aren’t kids anymore; hell, some of us might have kids or even grandkids now. We look in the mirror to find that we aren’t the same person that we once were because we’ve grown into someone else. Relationships amongst certain individuals have come and gone, our current friends were total strangers a decade ago, and our homes have shifted in location from where we once found comfort.
Do me a favor and let that sink in before going into the next decade. Keep in mind all the little things, all the people in your lives, all the ups and down you’ll face, and cherish them. Yes, including the hardships because as odd as it sounds, they’re memories to learn from. Every memory, good or bad, has value. Love as much as you can love, enjoy every single instance possible, be in every moment and don’t let life slip by because it can definitely breeze quite swiftly. Don’t be the one that reaches the year 2029 looking back at all the wasted opportunities. Seize the day, the moments, the people, the world, everything. Not every day will be perfect, not every move made will be the right choice, not every year will work out as according to plan. That all does not matter because this is your life, live it the absolute best way that you can and try not to let anyone take that away from you. Feel every emotion in the book; don’t be afraid to be sad or angry, but also don’t let those emotions rule the person inside either. Be your best you, flaws and all.
And to end this bit of “philosophical mumbo jumbo” off properly… I would like to site the profound teachings of the great Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan.
Be excellent to each other.— Bill S. Preston Esquire
Party on, dudes!— Ted Theodore Logan
We’re Talking Movies Now
For myself, a major part of the memories experienced were witnessing the wonderous sites inside the cinema. Let me say that there were some truly marvelous pictures to see from this particular decade. So much so that I decided to comprise a little list of what I consider to be the best films of the entire decade. Before getting into it, I do need to bring up some of the criteria I personally made for this list to meet in order to not make this article as long as the bible… or as long as my review of A Madea Family Funeral. Both about the same length. A big rule that I made for myself was to only pick ONE movie per year between 2010 and 2019. So I can’t list two or more from any single year, as much as that may kill me, but I have to keep this as concise as I can because I tend to go overboard with talking about movies and if I start listing off multiple flicks from each year then this article will never get finished. Although I have allowed myself to insert an ‘Honorable Mentions’ section for every year listed.
One tidbit for the readers to take note of is that I have not seen everything to come out in the decade. So if there are some great masterpieces that are not listed or mentioned in this article then I simply may not have seen the movie or maybe I did not enjoy it as much as other people may have. For instance; in the last ten years I still haven’t gotten around to viewing The King’s Speech, Winter’s Bone, Eat Pray Love, The Fighter, The Artist, War Horse, Nebraska, The Theory of Everything, Selma, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Room, The Post, Phantom Thread, and probably a bunch more that slipped by me over the years. Although if there are some that someone reading this believes should be included or mentioned, by all means, comment them down below!
Another factor to notice is that there will probably not be any major mainstream comic book adventures or all that many of the obvious Oscar contender types either. So apologies in advanced that Black Panther nor Green Book will be featured on my list. This is strictly what I see as the best or my favorites from each year of the decade. Some might fall under the action genre, others may be dramas or thrillers, could be some sci-fi epics; there’s no specific category for the films on here to meet, if I enjoyed it above most others then it makes it on the list. Simple as that. As much as I do have a blast at the Marvel movies, Star Wars, or what have you, they didn’t make the cut here. Again I say, apologies to anyone who disagrees and please proceed to the comments to explain why I’m wrong. As long as you’re nice about it, don’t be a d*ck!
Lastly, this is all based on my own opinion. Therefore, none of these selections should be perceived as any sort of official list. What I may adore, others may loathe and vice versa. This is a totally subjectively based article for me to look back and have fun reminiscing on some of the great works of art that stuck with me over the last ten years… before I start on my list of what haunted me during those years next. Anyways, without further ado, here is my list of the “Best Films” of the decade. Enjoy!
- Black Swan
- The Town
- Tron Legacy
- Blue Valentine
- True Grit
- Shutter Island
- 127 Hours
- The Social Network
The Plot: A thief (Leonardo DiCaprio) who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is a given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.
My Thoughts: Selecting an official “Best” movie for 2010, I won’t lie, was exceedingly difficult for me and was the reason why this list I’m writing has been in limbo for the basically two weeks at this point. Major reason being that I didn’t want to be totally clichéd in claiming Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi/crime thriller spectacle to be the clear choice when it has been said so many times before. Then after revisiting the picture for the first time in years, I came to the realization that there really isn’t a film that could do much better than Inception. Although I was extremely close to listing Ben Affleck’s The Town in the official spot, Inception took first place from the very moment I hit ‘play’.
Inception; what can I say about it that hasn’t been said already? The premise of a heist movie taking place within peoples’ dreams is simple yet brilliant. The action and visual effects are some of the most breathtaking that have ever been projected onto the big screen. The characters are all memorable and a blast to watch, including Leonardo DiCaprio in one of his many Oscar snub performances and is acting his heart out in some emotionally raw scenes. The editing of the movie is some of the most intelligently thought out for film as well, because even when the audience is fairly certain the events transpiring are taking place in the real world, the editing seems to continuously create the illusion of a dreamlike narrative; subtly keeping the narrative coherent yet strangely vague in certain transitions to allude that maybe the characters are actually still asleep. Leaving room for about a decade’s worth of debate on the matter.
Christopher Nolan crafted what is no short of a masterpiece that represents exactly why we love going to the theater; to see these grand scale ideas that are simplified enough to be fun and complex enough to be thought-provoking. Then of course the ending is possibly one of the most referenced film conclusions in the last 50 years, for good reason as it is a great way to cut to credits having left the audience still on the edge of their seat and somehow totally satisfied. Original, fun, creative, riveting, and clever from start to finish; Inception is my (as well as most everyone’s) best flick of 2010. If you haven’t been privileged to checking this gem out already, do yourselves a favor and find this as soon as you can to celebrate the closing of this decade!
- Drive Angry
- Attack the Block
- Fast Five
- X-Men: First Class
- Super 8
- Kill the Irishman
- Killer Elite
- The Muppets
- Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I Saw the Devil
The Plot: A secret agent (Byung-Hun Lee) exacts revenge on a serial killer (Min-sik Choi) through a series of captures and releases.
My Thoughts: While 2011 was slightly burdensome to decide my favorite movie, admittedly Drive was so freaking close to making the cut, I Saw the Devil was the one movie that thrilled and disturbed me so much with its brutal take on revenge that I still haven’t gone back to see this movie since my one and only viewing all those years ago. Regardless of the fact that it’s been several years since I last saw this movie, I vividly remember every bloody minute. Not only is this a story about one man’s quest for vengeance on a serial killer who butchered his wife, but showing just how far down the rabbit hole one can go when they’ve lost someone they love. As well as the cost of their own soul when forgiveness is no longer an option.
At the beginning of this darkly twisted tale it is extremely easy to sympathize with the husband, played by Byung-Hun Lee, as anyone can connect to that anger and hurt of losing a loved one. However, as this widower becomes more obsessed in his extensive torture of this homicidal monster, the more we see the honorable man he once was slowly lose his humanity. This man’s tragic descent into abandoning his own morals, becoming as evil as the very man he despises, is borderline impossible to watch in parts. Then when it comes to the action and gore, wow! I mean, it is literally heart pounding to witness these terrifying atrocities unfolding before us. Showing exactly how depraved people can be to one another is something that horror delivers best; I Saw the Devil is one of the most pure examples of showing that world is a scary place and this film perfectly highlights just how horrible it can get.
- The Grey
- The Cabin in the Woods
- The Avengers
- The Raid: Redemption
- Seven Psychopaths
- Killer Joe
- Django Unchained
The Plot: In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop named Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) teams with his trainee (Olivia Thirlby) to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO. Locked inside what is known as a Mega-block, a city within one building, Dredd and Anderson have only one way out; that way is through this crazed gang run by the ever sadistic Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).
My Thoughts: As great as some of the other movies are in my honorable mentions, Dredd quite effortlessly tops them all. With the exception of The Raid, Dredd is one of the only picks from 2012 to be hands down one of the greatest action movies ever made. Dredd is a hundred stories of a blood-soaked good time with Karl Urban completely owning the role of the titular character and providing several inventive new ways of shooting people in the face! Visually speaking, the film is stunning in its carnage and creative use of slow motion via this futuristic drug used throughout the narrative. The story could not be simpler inside this post-apocalyptic world where criminals run ramped, locking our two heroes inside a giant skyscraper and the only way out is going through the dozens of this psychotic gang trying to kill them. The gang’s only problem, they chose to f*ck with the wrong cop; Judge Dredd gives no leniency to anyone breaking the law he holds so dear. Ergo, they are all screwed. Although the intense villain of Ma-Ma, played by Lena Headey, does definitely give Dredd a run for his money as she’s not to be trifled with either.
The action is awesome, the special effects are awesome, Karl Urban is awesome, Lena Headey is awesome, Olivia Thirlby as Anderson (Dredd’s psychic partner) is awesome, the gore is awesome. The whole damn movie is awesome! If anyone reading this article hasn’t already checked out Dredd and loves action movies, stop reading this and go watch Dredd! There is no excuse to ignore this movie; find it, buy it, rent it, whatever you have to do in order to see this badassery! Remember kids, you are not the law… Karl Urban is!
- Welcome to the Punch
- Pain & Gain
- The Conjuring
- Pacific Rim
- Fruitvale Station
- Don Jon
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
- 12 Years a Slave
- Dallas Buyers Club
- American Hustle
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Plot: When Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.
My Thoughts: Breaking 2013 down was obnoxiously hard to single out one certain movie to take the top spot. Lovelace, Fruitvale Station, 12 Years a Slave, and Wolf of Wall Street were all hardcore contenders for making the list. Then I remembered just how heartbreakingly suspenseful Prisoners was in its story about parents having their own children vanish without a trace. A fear that most anyone can relate to, even if someone doesn’t have a child I’m pretty sure their imagination can fill in the blanks. It was easily one of the bleakest and Earth shattering movies I had seen that year and still haunts me to this day.
Director Denis Villeneuve is a modern master when it comes to slow burning suspense, tightening the strings ever so slightly until the very end when everything seems to snap all at once and the intensity overwhelms a scene in the best way. Honestly, Villeneuve is like the second coming of Stanley Kubrick in a way with how meticulously crafted every second of screen time is displayed. Hugh Jackman steals the film as a father desperately trying to retrieve his missing daughter and the depths that this character sinks to are so emotional that thinking back on certain scenes again have me in a state of discomfort. There aren’t many films that shed a light onto such a heavy topic, at least not in such a realistic manner as this, but Prisoners depicts every detail perfectly. Be sure to emotionally prepare yourself before entering inside this true blue, gritty film on what a man is willing to do to get his daughter back.
- The Raid 2
- The Lego Movie
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Gone Girl
- The Babadook
- The Guest
- John Wick
- Cold in July
- Edge of Tomorrow
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- A Walk Among the Tombstones
- Top Five
- The Imitation Game
The Plot: In a future where a failed climate-change experiment has killed all life except for the lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, a new class system emerges. When the lower class has had enough of their oppressors abusing them, revolution becomes the only answer as the people fight their way to the front of the train to take over.
My Thoughts: If I had to pick a single year for what I considered to be the greatest example of film for the 2010s, 2014 would likely take the cake. There were too many great movies to choose from in that specific year between Predestination, Nightcrawler, Interstellar, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Guest, John Wick, Birdman, Whiplash, Raid 2, and so many others; it killed me to only pick one. Then again, if it has to be one movie that someone should see from 2014 then I believe it to be Snowpiercer. Seriously, did anyone ask for a Bioshock movie adaptation? Snowpiercer is probably the closest that we’re going to get for quite some time.
Every minute is filled with grimy, suspense driven chaos. Chris Evans absolutely kills it as this reluctant leader of a rebellion fighting their way to the front of this impressive train. One would think going into this movie that the tightly claustrophobic environment would eventually become tedious or boring, but as these lower class passengers make their way through to reveal the visually creative and unique crafting of this extraordinarily condensed world. No train car is like the other as there is one dedicated to the processing of foods made with… questionable ingredients. There’s also a botany car, a sauna car, a party car, a school car, a bar car, it has everything! Once we’ve finally reached the end of this train, it is just remarkable to look at these cool and grand spectacles along with truly bone breaking action all within such a claustrophobic setting. Buy a ticket to board the Snowpiercer as soon as possible! Although don’t ask about the protein bars… just don’t.
- The Gift
- Kingsman: The Secret Service
- Ex Machina
- It Follows
- The Revenant
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Plot: In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) rebels against a tyrannical ruler named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) in search for her homeland and attempting to free his personal “breeders” from his oppression as well. With the help of a drifter named Max (Tom Hardy), they hope to live another day in freedom rather than shackles.
My Thoughts: I just… I love this movie. I’m not going to dance around that, this is one of favorite movies from the entire decade for a good reason. Mad Max: Fury Road kicks so much ass! The action is some of the best I’ve ever seen, Tom Hardy takes on the mantle as Max with ease, Charlize Theron is one of the greatest female action stars ever put on the big screen, the colors are mesmerizing in its vibrancy, and the insane world our protagonists inhabit is a blast to live in for this two hour adrenaline rush. Somehow the action refuses to stop and ceases to amaze, one would assume it would eventually become exhausting. Not even close. Every second is exciting, including the very brief moments that the pacing slows down, there is still always something to draw in the eyes.
When I saw Fury Road in the theater, I was smiling ear to ear long after the credits rolled. I waited in anticipation for months until the action epic finally made its way to Blu Ray so I could watch it practically on an endless loop. If there is a movie that I love most and have watched the most out of this soon to be over decade, it’s right here. The re-watchability factor for most of the Mad Max flicks are through the roof, but Fury Road I’ve still probably seen the most out of those too. Which for me is nuts because I love the first Mad Max and Road Warrior, yet Fury Road is maybe my favorite on top of those two. Beyond Thunderdome isn’t much my cup of tea, but Fury Road more than makes up for that. George Miller has presented his magnum opus to the world, oh what a lovely day!
- The Neon Demon
- La La Land
- Manchester by the Sea
- The Nice Guys
- Nocturnal Animals
- Green Room
Hell or High Water
The Plot: Two brothers, a divorced father (Chris Pine) and an ex-con (Ben Foster) start a spree of bank robberies in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas. Not far behind on their tail is a duo of Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges & Gil Birmingham) bound to put an end to their dangerous racket.
My Thoughts: Holy hell, I must say that Taylor Sheridan is one of the most talented screenwriters working in Hollywood today. Knocking it out of the park practically every time in his filmography with a strong start under his writing introduction of Sicario, then afterwards not slowing down in such attentively detailed stories in Hell or High Water, Wind River, and Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Every time Sheridan comes out with another movie I am immediately first in line to see what he has to offer. Frankly, it’s so tough figuring out exactly which of his work I find to be Sheridan’s best, but a solid argument can certainly be made for his 2016 effort right here.
Hell or High Water is a beautiful example of how to craft a modern Western; blurring the lines between right and wrong in a story about redemption in the middle of a nail-biting crime thriller. The entire cast is beyond excellent, although I have to admit that my eyes were always fixated on Ben Foster’s electric performance as the crazy yet likable southern convict who isn’t bad for the sake of being bad. What’s really great about this film is how much delving into the characters we are allowed to witness. Seeing these two sibling bank robbers as people rather than two-dimensional villains, as well as being charmed by their brotherly charisma. Same goes for the two Texas Rangers as it makes it extremely difficult to pick which side to root for in this hectic situation; the bank robbers or the rangers. When we grow so close with all these characters, realizing all of their faults and how life led them to where they are now, we want both sides of the law to succeed yet we know that is literally impossible for both to accomplish their goals simultaneously in this cat and mouse chase between the rivals. The southern landscapes are gorgeous, the chemistry between every actor is captivating, and the intensity entangles the audience faster than lightning. Please be sure to check this one out now! Like right now. Seriously, go do it, I’m not waiting here all day. You listen to this random stranger on the internet and go watch Hell or High Water!
- Blade Runner 2049
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
- War for the Planet of the Apes
- Good Time
- I, Tonya
- All the Money in the World
- Get Out
- Brigsby Bear
- The Big Sick
The Lost City of Z
The Plot: Real-life British explorer, Major Percival Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) becomes obsessed with his discovery of a lost city located deep within the Amazon. This is the story of what led the man down a path of no return.
My Thoughts: When I think of the greatest films ever made, I mean the absolute best of them all in terms of unbelievable storytelling and technical achievement, there are certain titles that immediately come to mind; The Godfather Part 1 and 2, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Pulp Fiction, [The Good, the Bad and the Ugly], Apocalypse Now, Papillon, A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, Once Upon a Time in America, Citizen Kane, and The Lost City of Z are the brightest shining cinematic works of art ever projected onto the big screen. Like a spiritual successor of Papillon, Lost City of Z centers on one man’s desire that consumes his whole life over the several years in his quests to accomplish his mission. In the case of Papillon, it focused on a man and his personal journey for freedom from life imprisonment. For Lost City of Z, it is Fawcett’s obsession over his attempts to discover a mysterious city deep inside the jungles.
From the inspirational world-building of the 1920s to the jaw-dropping cinematography, the ever commanding screen presence of Charlie Hunnam’s performance, and the deviously engrossing themes of how far a man is willing to go so he can find what may not even exist. An idea that a man believes in so deeply that there is no moving on without truly reaching the end of his quest in finding what no one else ever has. When someone has gotten a taste of making a mark in history, it’s damn near impossible to let that go. No matter how hard they may try, accomplishing something for the betterment of his fellow man and proving his peers wrong on a subject of the Amazon natives being far more advanced technologically than they have given credit was something Percival could not simply turn away from. Because of his unrelenting hunger for greatness, it took hold of him and he had no choice but to continue his expedition until he was literally lost to it.
The Lost City of Z is no short of an incredible experience that I miraculously had the amazing privilege to see on the big screen, let me say that it was definitely one of the most unforgettable theatrical screenings I have ever had. Astonished and speachless as I sat with both eyes wide open for two and a half hours straight. As though I were witnessing a masterpiece in the making right in front of me. Loving every frame and riveted by every line of dialog spoken, there may not be a better film made in the next fifty years. If there is a true lover of film out there reading this, then Lost City of Z should undoubtedly be on your watchlist. Even though it won’t be remotely close to the same experience on the small screen, it is still worth seeing at least once in your life. Let this be your eternal mission, although try not to get lost please.
- Paddington 2
- A Star is Born
- Creed II
- The Favourite
- First Man
- American Animals
- Boy Erased
The Plot: Taking place in a near-future setting, Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) and his wife are brutally attacked, rendering Grey a quadriplegic and his wife killed on scene. After an old colleague provides Grey the ability to walk again with the help of an implanted microchip called Stem, which soon reveals that it is able to speak. From there, Stem begins to help Grey solve the murder of his wife and exact his revenge on the gang that committed the crime.
My Thoughts: From the very second the ending credits rolled, I knew I wasn’t going to watch another movie I loved more than Upgrade in 2018. What can I say about Upgrade? I was blown away by the awesome action sequences with kinetic camera work and fantastic practical effects. I was emotionally moved as well as ecstatically impressed by Logan Marshall-Green’s performance, especially with what he does physically is just cool. I laughed beyond my own control with the dark humor presented in its violence. I was always curious as to where the story was going and thought the ending was incredibly risky, but challenging. One of the most provocative movie endings of the decade. The themes of humanity and how it delves into reality versus escapism I found to be intriguing, particularly with how the story ends which supplies a strong debate for both sides of the argument.
Upgrade is the RoboCop remake that we never got, while being entirely original. Leigh Whannell has been an amazing writer for these last sixteen years of his career, now with his second directorial efforts, he proves to be an equally talented director. Ambitious, intelligent and a fun thrill ride from beginning to end. This was one of the best times I had watching a movie last year and I am glad that most who see Upgrade share the same love for it as I do. It is a shame that it did not do better in the box office, although it still made a profit, so I do hope that is enough to warrant a sequel. Even though the story does not necessarily need further extension, the places that it could go I find to be rather exciting and would be overjoyed to see what Whannell could do with another go at this world and these characters.
If anyone who is reading this has seen my ‘Best of 2018‘ film list then they already know how much I adore Upgrade as I placed it as my number one favorite of the year. From the advertising and the movie itself, Upgrade came across as the far superior version of last year’s Venom. Everyone was pretty much on the same page in that opinion, but while Upgrade fed on the scraps of its own release, Venom somehow earned over 855 million dollars worldwide. Even though everyone on the internet was on the hate train with Venom and seemingly beyond ecstatic for Upgrade, everyone went to see Venom instead and still hated it. I for one didn’t hate Venom, I found it relatively fun, but that doesn’t take away that Upgrade still remains the superior version of this story. Smarter, funnier, more ambitious action, and has a far more bold ending; Upgrade shines in every way that Venom seems to lack in. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like the world is way more willing to pay for something they want to hate rather than something that deserves their money. So do yourselves a favor and see Upgrade at your earliest convenience, I promise you that it is worth the watch!
Alright, so here’s the thing… I still haven’t seen everything out of the year 2019 and don’t quite feel comfortable in putting in an official selection in this particular year. Not until I have at least caught up on select features released with solid word of mouth and after some real time has passed to let the movies truly resonate. That being said, I will be comprising a ‘Best of 2019’ list sometime in January or February of 2020, depending on how my schedule goes. Once that is complete, there should be a link to the article down below that will render my ‘Best of the Decade’ finished. Until then, this will have to suffice for now! Thank you for your patience.
- Best Films of 2019
There was a lot of films from 2019 that deserve massive love, so here's me doing exactly that. Maybe slightly later than the rest of the world, but here it is now. Better late than never!
Stay tuned… I am planning on posting my list of the worst films of the decade very soon. And if I remember to do so, as soon as it is finished, there should be a link to it right down below!
- Let's Talk About... The Worst Films of the Decade! 2010-2019
The 2010s are coming to a close, why not take a look at the worst movies this decade had to offer and have a good cry!
The Decade's Best (2010 - 2018)
Which movie that I listed was your favorite out of the decade?
That’s All Folks!
We’ve made it! Another decade down, another decade or two to go! We hope… what did you think of the 2010s in terms of film? Like or dislike? Agree or disagree? Wonder why in the hell I didn’t include Infinity War, The Force Awakens, or The Shape of Water on the list? Because it’s my list and I’ll do what I damn well please! However, what do you believe should be known as the absolute best that this decade had to offer? Comment down below and let me know! Also, if you so happened to have enjoyed my list then please do me a favor and share this article around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a fantastic new decade!
© 2019 John Plocar