With 2019 coming to an end, everyone is starting to look back at the decade that was and that includes looking back at the last ten years of movies that we’ve had. Many people have been working on top ten favorite or top ten best movies of the decade, so I decided to make my own list. This is a top ten “favorite” movies of the decade for me, not top ten “best” movies of the decade. These are all movies that I liked the most, so not necessarily the best released ones and some of you may not agree but hopefully you enjoy the list.
Two movies that I would like to point some attention to that didn’t make the list are Nightcrawler (2014), and Lawless (2012). Nightcrawler was a movie I remember watching the trailers for and being so excited for about a guy that video tapes incidents like car wrecks and shootings or burglary and then sells the footage to a local news company for payment. It’s the creepy and dark performance by Jake Gyllenhaal that sticks with me the most, but this is easily one of the best movies I’ve seen of the decade, but it just didn’t crack the top ten. The other movie, Lawless, is one of my favorites, but for more personal reasons. While I enjoy the movie as a whole because it was when Tom Hardy was really picking up speed as a top working actor and it also had great performances by Jessica Chastain, Shia LaBeouf, Dane Dehaan, Jason Clarke, and Guy Pearce. Why this movie sticks with me the most is that my Dad only ever watches a handful of movies more than once. His most rewatched one for as long as I can remember has been Remember the Titans, but Lawless took over as soon as he watched it for the first time. Now I look back and remember all the times I asked him what he wanted to watch and him seemingly always suggesting to watch that movie. I love looking back and remembering times when movies make me think of a personal moment like that movie does. With that, let’s get to the top ten.
While I’m not the biggest fan of war movies or Brad Pitt, this tank focused movie really hit every point for me. Fury is about a crew on a tank that fights through Germany in World War II. The biggest takeaway was the chemistry and brotherhood you could see develop from nothing into something as you reach the climactic and sad ending. The movie is full of great moments and surprises from those involved including the great performances by Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Jon Bernthal. All of them were outshined by the crazy method actor, Shia LaBeouf, who seemed to be taking everything to a different level and gave one of his best performances. If not for the acting, I would say the movie holds up as one of my favorites because of the awesome tanks fights. When trying to explain the excitement of it, it may come off as ridiculous and boring watching two tanks fight, but it’s the suspense and strategy of a tank vs tank that really had me hooked and on the edge of my seat. I’ve easily watched this multiple times a year since its release.
While Interstellar may not be Christopher Nolan’s best movie of his career and not the average viewers favorite, it is easily one of my favorite movies I’ve seen in the last ten years. I’m instantly a sucker for anything in space and when you add in one of my favorite directors than you’ve already got me in the theatre incredibly excited. The biggest thing I remember about this movie was that it was actually the first movie I ever saw in IMAX. I remember that distinctly because it was one of the most awesome experiences I’ve ever had in a theatre. I remember when the sound is at its peak with the roar of the shuttle engines and then as it detaches when reaching space, the sound completely stops and instantly I felt as if I was floating with the shuttle. That’s a memory I will never forget. For the film as a whole, I enjoyed the performances, but I ate up all of the visuals and incredible interpretation of some heavy space concepts like black holes, but what had me the most was the way out there and crazy ending that it provided. If you like space movies than definitely give this one a shot.
8. Hacksaw Ridge
Mel Gibson is a gifted actor and director who just happened to be stupid at some point in his life like a lot of people in our world. Unfortunately for him, without getting into it, he did something stupid enough to have him in “movie jail” for the longest time. It was Hacksaw Ridge that came out with him directing that brought him back to the mind of being one of the best directors out there. It was to a point where some people were looking at him and his movie being nominated for all of the awards and possibly winning if not for the fact that he has a lot of controversy with what he did in the past. Regardless, this was easily one of the best films of that year and easily one of my favorite. This a story about a soldier who does not believe in violence or shooting a gun. He wants to serve his country and go into battle with a single weapon in hand and by only being a medic to save lives. It’s a touching and emotional story with excellent scenes of war, but led to the top for most people because of the heartfelt acting by Andrew Garfield. It’s not an easy movie to watch if you’re sensitive to war, but it’s one of my favorites and easily one of the best of the decade.
7. Rogue One
I’m a Star Wars fan first before anything else when it comes to movies, except for Jaws, so it was very hard for me not to put some of the other Star Wars movies on this list. Instead I decided to go with the one that I find being the most underrated of all of the new Star Wars movies, Rogue One. This movie had a lot of skepticism and worry going into it whether it be the fact that it was the first non-episode movie to come out in the new Disney regime, or the fact that it was taking place right in-between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy. To me this movie lived up to the expectations of giving us a great Star Wars movie with a more grounded and boots to the ground feel of this universe we are familiar with. It has a lot of suspense from start to finish and some of the absolute best visuals of any of the Star Wars movies. The three key points that stay in my mind: Jedha after being blasted by the Death Star, The final moments of the main characters, and the Vader scene. This movie is often overlooked for not being one of the main episode movies, but I feel that as a whole, Rogue One is easily one of the best crafted and executed movies of the entire series.
6. Baby Driver
Easily one of the best and most memorable movies of the decade. With its fast paced action set to some great music and with a fantastic cast to give you memorable moments from start to finish, Baby Driver manages to give us the very best of its director, Edgar Wright. He brings with him an up and coming actor, Ansel Elgort, as his lead who plays a young man that suffers from tinnitus due to an accident he had when he was a kid. He gets involved with a group that commit heists and wants out but has to finish one last job. This a story that feels familiar but all too different with its concept of matching action to the music that’s playing. Everything flows perfectly to give a movie that is impossible to forget and almost equally as impossible to not love. This is a movie that I’ve found myself watching several times when I can’t find anything else to watch just because of how much fun it is, but it’s also a movie that I’ve recommended to many people with outstanding feedback every time.
James Bond and Daniel Craig at their best. Skyfall by many is considered one of the best Bond movies in the whole series. I argue that it’s a tie for first place between this and Craig’s first outing as Bond in Casino Royale. This movie boasts some of the best writing and actual character depth to the Bond character that we’ve ever had. It delves into his backstory and goes back to his past to bring us one iconic moment with a classic car. It takes modern day terrorism and mixes it with some actual layered setup to where the villain came from and why he’s doing the things he does also played excellently by Javier Bardem. While I do like Casino Royale as much as I like this one, I will say that I find Skyfall being much more rewatchable than the other. If that isn’t enough to get you, it also boast the best outing at the box office for a Bond film, so the general audience definitely loved it for the most part and went back more than once to watch it again. Either way, this is easily one of my favorite movies of the decade and tops the series as a whole in quality. A must watch for any Bond or action movie fan.
4. Get Out
A first time directing performance by one half of the Key & Peele duo, Jordan Peele manages to subvert our expectations of what he was capable of doing. Known for his comedic acting and writing, I was caught off guard when I found out he was directing a psychological horror. This movie takes a simple concept of what it’s like for a black man to be brought to his white girlfriends family to meet them for the first time and turns it upside down when it delves into hypnosis and the secret truth behind her family. This was such a good outing for a first time director that it was actually nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Directing, and Best Picture. This is an instant classic and is a memorable moment overall for this past decade in movies. I find the most interesting and fun part for me is every time I watch it, I tend to find something else that may connect with something later or some kind of symbolism that has a deeper meaning once you are able to connect it with the social commentary behind it. Ultimately this was a fan favorite for many people I knew that year and it won’t be forgotten about anytime soon.
3. The Social Network
My first introduction to both Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield as Facebook creators Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin left me with a great impression being this high on my list and being the oldest of all the other movies on my list having been released in 2010. Directed by David Fincher, a master in directing and writing comes a story about the creation of Facebook. This was a big deal for me being part of the generation that grew up with Facebook, so it already had a bit of an edge to get me hooked into the story. I remember watching for the first time and instantly liking it, but it wasn’t until a few years later when I finally picked it up on blu-ray and gave it another watch. It was from that point that I couldn’t get the movie out of my head. It jumps between the past, telling the story from the beginning, to the two different lawsuits that Zuckerberg is involved with. It tells a great story of a friendship that started off so strong only to fall apart due to ignorance with dramatic moments executed perfectly by Eisenberg who plays Zuckerberg in such a way that makes you worry about the guy on a social level and Garfield who steals the whole movie with one scene towards the end when betrayal finally hits him hard. This movie is also aided by a stellar performance by Armie Hammer who plays both of the Winklevoss twins. I go back to this movie every time loving it just as much and always am eager to recommend it to someone that hasn’t seen it yet.
In a decade where we started with Iron Man 2, and finished with Avengers: Endgame or Joker…We have been spoiled with increasing quality in the superhero genre. While there are some rotten eggs out there still, for the most part we have been lucky enough to be in the golden age of the superhero movie. For the longest time I remember everyone saying that The Dark Knight was the best superhero movie of all time because of how much it was able to ascend the superhero genre. In 2017, we were given the one movie that completely subverted expectations for what could be done with a character played by the same actor for seventeen years. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was always one of the best actors for the character they’re playing, but it was always in the X-Men films as a more comic book less serious performance and rightfully so, but what the director, James Mangold and Hugh Jackman did was far better than what we could’ve expected. They took the character and did a character study in the setting of a futuristic western that is very much a movie about a character that a lot of us have grown up with since the first X-Men movies, but so much more a western drama. It was easily the best performance by Hugh Jackman and easily the best X-Men movie of the series. It took a character with feelings and pain we already knew and put him in an unlikely situation to give us a deeper understanding and insight into who he was and what he’s become. This is truly an emotional movie with emotional performances across the board with and ending that if you’re any kind of fan of these movies and this character is surely to pull on your heartstrings. A true mastery in not only the superhero genre but in all movies.
Finally I’ve come to the final movie on my list. It’s surely a movie most people probably haven’t even heard of, but definitely a movie that everyone should check out. Of all of the non-franchise movies I’ve seen in the last decade, Whiplash is by far my most re-watched movie I’ve seen since its release. The director, Damien Chazelle gives us a punch in the mouth for a feature film directorial debut in this intense drama about a jazz drummer in college, Andrew Neimann played by Miles Teller, just trying to get noticed and to have his chance at the spotlight. He’s finally given a chance by Instructor Fletcher played by J.K. Simmons. Not only is this just in general a great story about perseverance and one guys absolute drive to do what he truly has a passion for but it also gives us my favorite supporting performance of the decade. J.K. Simmons as Fletcher plays a role so intense and in your face that you, like me, probably got caught off guard by. It was a performance that made him an absolute lock for winning the Academy Award and he did just that. Mostly though I love that I’ve never been much of a jazz music fan, but something about this movie and the directing and cinematography during the playing of the music that just gets me so invested every time. A lot of these movies I recommend to people I meet, but the one that starts of my recommendations is always Whiplash. It without question is my favorite movie of the decade.
This is a list that isn’t going to be agreed upon by everyone reading it, but it’s a list to make people aware of some movies that they might have missed and to give them an insight into my personal feelings of the decade in the movie industry. Even if you don’t agree with any of these movies, I do hope that some of them catch your attention if you’re unfamiliar or unaware of them. If you do check any of these movies out for the first time, let me know what you think!