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Favorites of the Decade (2010-2019)

Saturday, January 18, 2020
This is an impossible exercise. I will have regrets. And I will cheat.

First, some movies that need to be mentioned, even if I can't put them in my top lists: Jack Reacher, Dredd, Source Code, Crazy Stupid Love, The Raid, The Ides of March, Gone Girl, Phantom Thread, Inside Llewyn Davis, Moonlight, Moonrise Kingdom, The Drop, The Nice Guys, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, About Time, Sing Street, Lion, Game Night, Annihilation, Black Panther, Mission:Impossible - Fallout, and Little Women.

Deep breath.

Now for my official list runners up (I told you I would cheat):

- The Town
- Drive
- Bridesmaids
- Moneyball
- Skyfall
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
- The Fighter
- Edge of Tomorrow
- Hell or High Water
- Dunkirk
- Blade Runner 2049
- Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood
- Frank

And now, my top 15 favorite movies of the decade:

15. Brooklyn
14. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
13. The Big Short
12. Arrival
11. Ex Machina
10. Looper
9. Lady Bird
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
7. Inside Out
6. Parasite
5. La La Land
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Whiplash
2. The Social Network
1. Inception

I ranked these with pure instinct and adrenaline. A big part of the criteria for what made my list was how these films impacted me the first time I saw them in theaters. Virtually all fifteen moved me in some significant way that first showing.

Inception feels like a controversial pick, but this movie was huge for me when it came out in 2010. I saw it in theaters seven times! I thought about it endlessly that summer and that sticks, even if I haven't watched it a whole lot since then.

The Social Network may be the best movie of the decade, in addition to being one of my favorites. The rare combination of Sorkin and Fincher is magic we may never see the likes of again. I'm ready for the sequel. The parallel film for me here is The Big Short, which I still find eminently rewatchable, so entertaining, and yet eye opening on the subject matter at hand. Pretty easy to draw a line from that to The Wolf of Wall Street - the movie that actually won Leo his Oscar in my head canon. It literally stretches reason that the filmmaker who made this movie, also made Silence (very good, not on my lists).

You could program a lovely Saoirse Ronan double feature with Brooklyn and Lady Bird. Both perfect in their own way. Brooklyn is so beautiful I almost can't handle it.

As far as experiencing pure adrenaline in a theater, it's hard to beat Mad Max: Fury Road, one of the greatest action movies of all time. It feels almost criminal to put Whiplash above it, but however thrilling that car chase is, I don't know if I my heart has ever beat faster than it did during the climactic scene of Whiplash. The final frame hits and I was ready to jump out of my seat and applaud. While music is the key connection, it is incredible to me that Chazelle went from Whiplash to La La Land, as they could not be more tonally different. A pure pleasure to watch, with movie star chemistry that is rare to see.

Looper, Ex Machina, and Arrival make for a sci-fi trifecta that could not be more different from each other. Three outstanding directors. Completely different tones, each going for something truly unique in the genre, while achieving something greater in the process. All three explore larger ideas, while Looper leans into the mystery and action, Ex Machina is very interested in the idea itself, while Arrival seems to be aiming more for the feeling behind the idea.

Finally the two animated entries. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse may be the best comic book movie ever made. While Inside Out just had me crying my way through the whole thing. Both great on their own terms.

I just wrote about Parasite on my favorite movies of 2019, so I won't repeat myself here.

And that's it! See I already regret it.

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