With the 2010s now coming to a close and a new decade about to begin, it’s only natural to take a look back at some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the last decade. In terms of movies, there is definitely a lot to reflect on this last decade. From the biggest of blockbusters to indie darlings, the 2010s offered something for everyone. Film is such a subjective medium that everyone has their own personal favorites and this will surely a major topic of discussion for a long time to come. With that being said, check out the keithlovesmovies team’s picks for the best movies of the 2010s below:
10. A Ghost Story
A Ghost Story is another selection that won’t find its way onto many lists but I have seldom felt the impact of a film’s story, specifically its interpretation of love and death. It doesn’t boast a large budget, production, actors, etc. but its greatest strength is in its method of following a ghost who slowly begins to fade in their former partner’s memory and in the world.
9. La La Land
I admit, La La Land feels “safe” but in my defense this Damien Chazelle film transports the viewer to a time where Hollywood was adored and everything surrounding the world of entertainment was perfect. The film mimicked this vision with its beautiful colors and music that take center stage next to the duo of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone who are perfect.
8. The Revenant
A story focused on the power of revenge as yet another DiCaprio film lands on my list. Leo is at his best as he puts on a clinic mostly isolated in front of the camera. But what escalates The Revenant into something special is its cinematography and beautiful use of music.
Moonlight is an emotional journey of a boy who struggles to truly find himself amidst a sea of chaos within his home life. It’s a story that despite is stark nature, offers hope that if someone truly perseveres they can find happiness when they least expect it.
A true story that is told in a practical and methodical way in order to hammer its point home to the audience. Spotlight is an uncompromising tale that always understand its purpose – to portray an injustice in the straightest way possible. A great example of solid storytelling that deserves its place on this list.
5. Mad Max: Fury Road
I have never experienced a white knuckle ride from the opening scene until the very last until I saw Fury Road. So to make sure, I saw it twice and received the same ride. The world, action sequences, characters and music are absolutely amazing but the editing is the single pillar that catapults this film into the all-decade list.
Whiplash will surely not find its way on many Top Decade Lists, however, I rarely remember a time when I was completely enthralled from start to finish in a theater from the incredible music matched with exceptional acting. Miles Teller and JK Simmons’ chemistry is palpable in every scene leading to one of the best finales in cinema of the past decade.
3. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson is known for a particularly similar-looking type of film, each with their own delightful characters. Moonrise Kingdom marks the epitome of this formula; beautiful locations, quirky characters that recall nostalgic feelings of first love and a perfect cast to bring the story to life.
2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
I admit, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a homer pick (but aren’t they all). One of the best cat and mouse movies surrounding a mole within the British Intelligence at the height of Cold War finger-pointing. Gary Oldman is exceptional and the story continually delivers upon every rewatch.
The best movie of the decade manages to not only stretch your brain but attempt to plant an idea inside it while showing you someone undergo the same thing. Inception is easily Christopher Nolan’s best work that features Leonardo DiCaprio on his A-game with a stellar supporting cast.
10. The Revenant (2015)
If for no other reason, I have to include The Revenant on my list for one of it’s biggest achievements – being the most immersive movie of the decade. This one is without a doubt one of the most valuable theater experiences I’ve ever had in a way that allows the audience to feel like they’re clenching onto their lives in the frigid wilderness. The Revenant is the true definition of film’s transportive quality. It’s likely the best shot film I’ve ever seen, has the best Leonardo DiCaprio performance I’ve seen, and is no doubt Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s masterpiece.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
This one serves as the only major franchise film on my list, and is truly the only franchise property film that feels perfect to me. Guardians of the Galaxy perfectly demonstrates how to do one of these movies with perfect execution. With genuine belly laughs, a script that takes advantage of its silliness rather than sinks into it and emotional beats that hit quite hard, this stands out among the MCU as a true cinematic achievement (I don’t even like the MCU as a whole!).
8. Lady Bird (2017)
What is likely the defining high school film of the decade, Lady Bird is astonishing. Like many of the films on this list, what truly allows it to stand out is it’s authenticity. Nothing feels like it’s blown out of proportion, every single emotion felt by every character is relatable, and after watching the film, it feels like living someone else’s life. With breakout performances from a large amount of the actors and shockingly fantastic direction from Greta Gerwig, this is definitely a film that summed up my teenage years beautifully.
7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
With Three Billboards, Martin McDonagh proves his exceptional talent through the line he treads between tragedy and comedy. Some of his previous work such as Seven Psychopaths and In Bruges showed us that he has an eye for pitch black comedy, but with this film – he crafts one of the most tenderly emotional films of the decade. Equally heartbreaking and hysterical, Three Billboards is one that I won’t forget for a long time – and it might be the most heartbreaking film of the decade for me.
6. Chef (2014)
There’s a lot of heavy films on this list, and the main reason why Chef is here is that it’s my feel good film of the decade. Huge props goes to John Favreau for making a film that’s endlessly cheerful in a non-pandering and authentic way. This was quite significant to me as it allowed me to understand that no matter the rough patch you’re going through, or no matter the time in your life, film is always there to comfort you. Ironically enough considering the subject matter, this is the closest to comfort food I got in cinema this decade.
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
The oldest film on my list, Scott Pilgrim was quite an important one in terms of this decade – it was the last to use a lot of cliches from 2000’s cinema, and shaped the style and humor that come in cinema over the following years. Besides the fact that it’s hilarious, represents Toronto well and has some cool visuals, what really stands out is its insane, off the wall pacing and editing – the way that video game visuals and concepts are incorporated in and the extremely fast paced humor. Although it’s not a perfect film in terms of structure, it’s a hilarious and unique cult classic that is well deserved of that status.
4. Whiplash (2014)
Besides the fact that Whiplash is a masterpiece, it’s quite an important film for me – and was quite significant in shaping my love for cinema. For years, the thriller genre was saturated with villains that were brutally violent in a more direct sense. However, the way that Damien Chazelle flips that notion and makes someone that the human psyche is vulnerable to trusting – our teachers – this terrifying is something especially unique. The way it’s themes of competition and our longing for attention blend together with this heart-pounding of a structure lets it stand out as one of the most enthralling films of the decade.
3. Baby Driver (2017)
Without a moment that passes by feeling insignificant, Baby Driver is a true masterclass in editing. The way the film is paced, written, performed, shot and edited is flawless. Everything that happens feels so natural and so smooth, even considering the insanity of the story. With a revolutionary use of music to boot, it’s hard not to see how Baby Driver has and will change the course of genre film forever.
2. Boyhood (2014)
Prior to it’s release and as the announcement of Boyhood‘s existence, it would be difficult to blame anyone for thinking it was nothing more than a mere experiment. However, the payoff was so high, placing it as one of the best films of the decade. The only way to describe this film and do it justice is that it doesn’t feel like a film, it just feels like life. You get to live through Mason as an audience member and everything feels authentic to a point where reality starts to fade. If you’ve yet to see Boyhood, give it a shot – it’ll change the way you see movies.
1. Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
Now Everybody Wants Some!! is not a film that is really topping any best of the decade lists, but upon countless re-watches, and my fifth rewatch this year, it just clicked with me that this movie is flawless. Funny enough, it’s hard to even list the reasons why this is flawless because it would quickly turn into me talking for a year. Richard Linklater has a way that he works with actors and writing that everything feels real, and nothing feels stage. This film is so immersive in the way that you feel like you are living it – and all the characters can reflect someone in your own life. Upon one watch, you may think this sounds crazy, but try give this another viewing – because on rewatch, this just feels perfect – and no words in the English language can articulate why.
For my picks, rather than talking about all the films that will surely be mentioned on others’ lists, I decided to take a more unconventional approach by focusing on a different criteria, breaking down the films that I can’t stop thinking about, all for very different reasons.
10) Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)
No-one talks about Jim and Andy, and I think its a real shame. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond is one part classic documentary talking head, one part archival footage, and about 3 parts Jim Carrey insanity. It’s raw, its (very literally) real, it’s incredibly meaningful and poetic, and it’s evident the film’s subject matter is highly meaningful to the filmmakers. The film serves as a beautiful exploration of the craft of acting, masculinity and familial love. An honorable mention for this category is Chasing Ice.
9) Sing Street (2016)
One of my favorite aspects of Sing Street is the music. Some of my favorite songs, I first heard in films. There would be genres of music I would have never explored if it weren’t for film – and some of the albums I pull of my shelf most often are soundtracks. However, no film has captured my musical side as much as Sing Street. It’s a gorgeously told love story, not only between two people, but between a boy and his band mates. It captures the comradely of musicians as well as the pain and contempt that can come from the creative process. It’s beautifully balanced and soaringly composed. An honorable mention for this category is Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol 2.
8) Lady Bird (2017)
When it comes to movies that have defined a great deal of my life after seeing them, Lady Bird is the first that comes to mind. Despite the sycophantical praise laden on this movie’s script: “Greta Gerwig LITERALLY wrote MY relationship with MY mom.” Despite being incredibly over the top, it’s also very right. Gerwig didn’t steal our thoughts, rather she managed to perfectly lay them out throughout a completely relatable story that most teenagers and twenty somethings can find a home in. It’s a story about life, family, love and the confusion that comes with the times changing and no-one seeming to care as much as you do. It’s beautiful, and hit home like nothing I’d seen in ages up to and following its release. An honorable mention in this category is Gerwig’s newest film, Little Women.
7) Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)
Plain and simple, Spider-Verse changed the way I look at animation. It’s so unique and so creative in its execution of a tradition as old as time (Spider-Man remakes…also animation I guess), that it immediately captures your attention and doesn’t let it go till the end of its breakneck run time. The color and movement of the film is extraordinary and the talent behind the writing can’t be overstated. It’s complex, full of life and character, and really understands the character of Spider-Man in a way very few films have ever done. It’s easily one of the best superhero films ever made, and its visually striking nature continues to stick with me to this day. An honorable mention in this category is Isle of Dogs.
6) La La Land (2016)
For this category, I wanted to look at what film has inspired me most as a filmmaker. Making movies since I was 4 years old, never in my life has a film inspired me so much as La La Land. Its long takes, the incredible color, the music, the love story, all of which can be traced back to its cinematic predecessors, were combined and remixed so incredibly that I was captivated in moments. The feeling of watching the film for the first time on Boxing Day 2016 was rather indescribable. It’s still a cherished memory now 3 years later, and one I know I will continue to recall for decades to come. It inspires me, it lightens my heart and warms it too. It’s just the perfect feel good movie, that pushes me to want to create every time I see it. An honorable mention in this category is The Grand Budapest Hotel.
5) Climax (2018)
Climax had to be put somewhere, because since I saw it, I haven’t gone a single day without reliving it. I say reliving, not remembering, because the film feels far more like a nightmarish experience I’ve tried and failed to block out than a movie I’ve seen a couple times. The film has a way of getting under your skin, treating your feelings and emotional reactions like a marionette – it takes over your body, and submits you to its ways. If there is passive and active spectatorship in film, Gaspar Noe’s masterpiece falls under a third category of forced submissive viewership, in which you have no control over your response, but you’re absolutely engrossed to the point of mental distress. It’s absolutely incredible. An honorable mention in this category is The House That Jack Built.
4) Moonlight (2016)
In a decade full of strange moments in film, one that has defined a new generation of cinephiles and a new wave of film distribution and watching – one moment sticks out as the most iconic: Moonlight‘s Oscar win. Nothing compares, nothing comes close, especially given the underdog nature of the match-up. A big, old fashioned, establishment praising Hollywood musical v.s. an indie property about a black LGBTQ man. Goliath won, then David punched back, and the moment was indescribable. Moonlight is the most powerful movie of the decade, and one of the most important. It told a story seldom heard, and it told it with such subtlety, such poetry, and with such an individual voice behind the filmmaking that it is nearly impossible to look away from the screen throughout its run time. Its full of incredible potent moments and acting that still haunts me to this day. An honorable mention in this category is Get Out.
3) Marriage Story (2019)
Call me a fan boy, but Marriage Story isn’t just the best film of 2019, it’s the 3rd best film of the decade. It’s the film I think I’ve obsessed about the most, and for good reason. The cinematography was perfect. The acting was impeccable. The direction is stupendous. The writing, the editing, Randy Newman’s score, everything is working at 100%, and there’s just nothing wrong with it. It’s harrowing, and it’s infectious. Like Climax, the film gets under your skin somehow, but rather than settling into the controls of your brain, it sits there and somehow balances you on a fulcrum between these two tipping points of people and location. It’s so wonderfully balanced in so many ways while firing on all cylinders. An honorable mention for this category is The Meyerowitz Stories.
2) Phantom Thread (2017)
Phantom Thread is another film that I can’t get out of my head. I can’t overstate its effect on me, but I can say that for a year since its Blu-ray release, it was my screensaver. Every time my computer was inactive, Johnny Greenwood’s impeccable score and PTA’s perfect cinematography would take over and inspire me all over again. The score here is the best score of all time. It may not be as iconic as others, for which some may disagree, but to me, Phantom Thread features the best soundtrack written for film. The direction is so stunning that you forget occasionally how twisted and dark the story you’re witnessing is, revelling in the sickly gold firelight and stunningly white interiors that seem to glisten as the camera moves. It’s a film that gains an element of darkness with every watch, and one that feels simultaneously like a relic from a bygone age, and incredibly modern. It’s execution is near perfect, and it often goes without recognition in discussions of the decade, but also within PTA’s body of work. An honorable mention for this category is Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
1) Whiplash (2014)
Whiplash is my personal favorite of all time, so of course it had to be here. If Phantom Thread is perfectly executed, Whiplash takes it to the next level. There is nothing like it. The film combines every single element I’ve discussed here. It feels as raw in its emotion as Jim and Andy, its music was captivating and drew me into jazz in a way nothing else could have, it hit home harder than anything, it changed the way I view the medium of film, it inspires me and my work, it controls you while you watch it, like hooking caffeine directly into your veins, it’s stunningly potent, fires on all cylinders, and is executed, once again, nearly perfectly. It takes the boundaries that should be placed around a small budget film from a filmmaker that’s only ever made a 16mm thesis project, destroys them, and pushes so far beyond that Damien Chazelle was able to jump directly from 4th year of an undergraduate documentary film program to having his film nominated for Best Picture. He deserved that award, and Whiplash deserves far more recognition that it received. An honorable mention for this category is The Social Network.
10. Bad Grandpa (2013)
Movies can be experimental, utilizing different styles, forms of direction and even by bringing real unscripted scenarios into a well written comedy. Bad Grandpa manages brings some of the best Jackass has to offer in this crude yet heartfelt comedy about the importance of family, role models and just having fun. Perfect for a popcorn night with some friends.
9. 21 Jump Street (2012)
Adapting a famed TV property can be hit or miss. 21 Jump Street is very self-aware as it offers some of the best comedic dialogue seen this decade. With killer performances from Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill and a unique underlying message, this raunch-filled buddy cop movie is one fans of both genres should watch.
8. Straight Outta Compton (2015)
The best biopics make audiences offer are immersive as if they were watching these real life events occur themselves. With multiple breakthrough performances, an amazing soundtrack, and a harsh but real look at the lives of the members of N.W.A, Straight Outta Compton is bound to leave viewers angry, laughing, and rapping along to F*** The Police.
7. The Disaster Artist (2017)
Do you love yet hate The Room at the same time? Do you even know what The Room is? Regardless of what you may or may not know about Tommy Wiseau’s disasterpiece, The Disaster Artist brings the story of Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero to the big screen, bringing tons of laughs and heart thanks to an extremely well written script and James Franco’s best performance to date as Wiseau.
6. Mid90s (2018)
Do you ever sit and imagine: what was life really like in the 1990’s? Maybe you were even alive for them and just want to feel some nostalgia. For both of these, Mid90s is the perfect choice. Jonah Hill’s directorial debut is an extremely well crafted, well written coming of age story that doesn’t stray away from the harsh realities of growing up. Not only does it look beautiful, its even greater soundtrack will leave 90’s music fans happy as can be. Watch it on Netflix now.
5. Queen and Slim (2019)
Queen and Slim puts its own twist on the very serious issue of police brutality within the United States. For a movie to take such risks and manage to pull it off to a tee, viewers will feel anger, hyped, tense and never at ease, making it such an accomplishment for first time director Melina Matsoukas. Perfectly written, beautifully shot and the powerful performances of Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith make this something that should be talked about more and definitely watched.
4. Kick Ass (2010)
Kick Ass is not your run of the mill superhero flick. It’s in your face, offensive, insanely graphic and extremely hilarious. Putting Chloe Grace Moretz on the map, the over the top profane and ultra-violent Hit-Girl is bound to leave your jaw dropped. With vibrant cinematography and an extremely well crafted story, Kick Ass really…kicks ass.
3. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (2010)
Shot in the great white north of Canada with a star studded cast that brings a heartfelt yet insanely fun story, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is the perfect anytime movie. Whether it be for the comedy, the insanely self aware video game esque fight scenes, or for quite possibly one of the best soundtracks in a film ever, there is no denying Scott Pilgrim has tons of rewatchability and enjoyability.
2. Project X (2012)
The only thing stopping me from putting this at #1 is this wasn’t as much of a concrete film as an insane experience. I was 10 years old when I first saw Project X. Seeing this film at such a young age opened my eyes to a whole world filled with euphoria, excitement, and growing pains I had not yet experienced. The film has by far the most unique concept in film this decade. Combining two of the biggest genres (found footage and comedy) into a total blast of hilarious dialogue, Project X feels like your having the best time of your life even if your just watching it on your couch. Though there is absolutely no message within this movie, no character development, nothing beautifully crafted, this one is an absolute roller coaster of a party one could only imagine.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Scorsese, Leo, Drugs, Sex, Partying, and insanity beyond your wildest thoughts. What more could one ask for? All of these make The Wolf of Wall Street my favorite film of the decade. With a running time of 3 hours, the film flies by faster then the lines of cocaine on Jordan Belfort’s table. Viewers are brought on a twisted, hilarious, greasy, perverted journey on how far money can push someone. All topped off with an extremely well written script, killer narration and Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill’s best performances ever as Belfort and Donnie Azoff, you literally can not go wrong.
10. Dunkirk (2017)
This is always the hardest pick because a lot of films could squeeze their way in as the bottom of the top ten on a list. Regardless, after careful consideration, Dunkirk stayed with me the most. In a decade where war films were few and far between, this was one that rose above the rest to be something that can stand the test of time. Christopher Nolan uses that concept of time throughout this gripping and thought-provoking piece on World War II delivering a brutal look at the traumas of war and the casualties that ensue. From its layered storytelling, amazing set pieces and production design, Dunkirk manages to bring its audience back in time to this historic event in a very beautiful way.
9. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
One of the few films from the Coen Brothers this decade, Inside Llewyn Davis manages to highlight the tone of this sibling duo while being so much more. Its dive into the psyche of struggling musicians, the industry and how it affects the physical and emotional well being of these people is meticulously examined throughout the story. Pair that with phenomenal performances from Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Adam Driver and Justin Timberlake, this film is an instant classic. Please Mr Kennedy is still this decade’s best musical number.
8. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
The film that brought us the greatness which is Taika Waititi, What We Do In the Shadows was ahead of its time. Perfectly fitting into the vampire and mockumentary trends of the early decade, this film took two overly used tropes and made something unique. The subtle improved humor, amateurish atmosphere and tone are all Waititi aesthetics which can be seen in his later works. He managed to do the same on a much smaller budget and with full creative control created this comedy goldmine.
7. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Not many films in recent years were as much of a cultural phenomenon as Mad Max: Fury Road. Applauded for its aesthetic qualities, desolate atmosphere, and strong storytelling this film managed to even outdo itself by being re-released in monochrome. It’s incredible when a genre film can attract such a big general audience and this one did exactly that. And it gave us the grunting Tom Hardy memes for the rest of time.
6. Arrival (2016)
Most science fiction films dabble in hostile aliens and space adventures, but Arrival takes a different route for this high concept genre. Instead, it slows things down in an intelligent look at the behavioral and linguistic side of alien contact. With some stellar snubbed performances and phenomenal direction by Denis Villeneuve, this was a poignant piece at the mid-decade mark.
5. Django Unchained (2012)
While Quentin Tarantino is known for some great iconic and gore-filled crime stories, none this decade compares to Django Unchained. A tale of revenge and retribution, this is the quintessential Western story infused with peak Tarantino. From the unbelievable characters, smart dialog and brutal action, this was an instant classic and one of Tarantino’s best.
4. Hell or High Water (2016)
This film may look odd on a list for the decade’s top 10, but don’t let it fool you because Hell or High Water is a film everyone has been sleeping on. A modern western that follows a string of robberies and the hunt for the robbers that ensues, this story takes everything good about Bonnie and Clyde and sets the perfect tension-building tone throughout. Taylor Sheridan has a knack for writing and this narrative was no different, but its truly the acting at the center of this piece that elevates it with some career-best performances from Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges.
3. Sicario (2015)
Surprise surprise, another Taylor Sheridan-written and Denis Villeneuve-directed film. Sicario was one of those films that came out of nowhere and blew many people away (myself included) with its unbelievably tense crime-centric story. The deep dive into the world of Narcos and the cartels was just starting to emerge around this time and this film hit us like a train going full speed. The atmosphere, the tone, everything just worked.
2. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Not many sequels are on par with the originals, especially if there are decades between the two and yet Blade Runner 2049 manages to even outdo its predecessor. With Denis Villeneuve at the helm and Roger Deakins at his side, this is the most beautifully shot and aesthetically pleasing film of the decade. Pair that with sublime editing, dynamic performances and a subtle, but meticulously crafted atmosphere and tone that both matches the world that was already created, but helps expand and make something uniquely different and this is the perfect product of noir storytelling with a sci-fi twist.
1. Prisoners (2013)
The film that put Denis Villeneuve on the map, Prisoners was his first dive into the international market. The story is definitely not for the faint of heart, but for those that can deal with its subject matter it is a truly harrowing experience. It has an all-star cast that delivers some of their best work, but its within the storytelling of the director and the cinematography from Roger Deakins work to create its unforgettable atmosphere. This was the start of the decade of Villeneuve.
10. Climax (2018)
The first of two movies on this list I have the pleasure of being able to see with Mr. Noakes himself! Climax is a truly haunting film, where absolutely batsh*t insane events occur that you will never forget about. Gaspar Noë delivers a theatre-viewing experience here that is truly unlike any other, and it made for the best possible final film I could have seen at TIFF 2018.
9. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stoppin’ (2016)
Genuinely one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Popstar takes the mockumentary approach to comedy filmmaking to a whole new level of satire with its brilliant overly-committed jokes, memorable cameos, and ridiculous yet catchy songs. My ninth grade year wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable if The Lonely Island boys didn’t drop this comedic masterpiece.
8. Uncut Gems (2019)
A newie but definitely a goodie. Gems drops you into a world that feels like has already been established in an entire franchise of films, with characters you feel like you’ve known your whole life. The Safdie’s writing and directing magic is at it’s best ever, and so is Adam Sandler in what is clearly his greatest performance yet. A non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end, in what has to be my favourite cinematic representation of a Jewish culture I’m more than familiar with.
7. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
The argument about a lot of other films higher up on this list I think is showed off the best here in this studio-funded film that gives full creative control to its filmmaker. From the promotional material of this film, it became obvious that was going to be the case here with 2049, and it did not disappoint. Seeing the most expensive arthouse film ever made in a packed IMAX theatre on opening night was an experience unlike any other, and I cannot wait to live through it all again with Villeneuve’s 2020 adaptation of Dune.
6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
A perfect return to this universe in every sense of the word. I did not mind the similarities to A New Hope in the slightest. I thought The Force Awakens made for a marvellous return to form, with updated effects to give it a more modern edge. The way this film balances characters old and new was awesome. I’ll never forget the excitement I felt when reading “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” for the first time on the big screen that year.
5. Booksmart (2019)
I really don’t mean to put myself on a high pedestal here, but do you know how cool it felt to finally have a high school movie made about *the good kids*!? Booksmart is truly lovely within every sense of it. Seeing this film about two grade 12s’ final day of high school a mere month before my own final day of high school was easily one of the coolest cinema-going experiences of my life. Olivia Wilde makes a creatively expressive, original, and raunchy high school film that is probably the most fun 105 minutes one could possibly have within a film. I am in a lifelong friendship very similar to Amy and Molly’s, so seeing that level of friendship portrayed on the big screen was just perfect, and so is this movie.
4. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame (2018, 2019)
Infinity War and Endgame made for such a memorable cultural event this decade. I always envy my dad whenever he talks about hearing Vader say the words “No, I am your father” on the big screen for the first time, and the next generation is sure to feel the same about experiencing Thanos’ snap for the first time. An entirely emotionally satisfying finale to the Infinity Saga. I only cried about 20 times during Endgame.
3. Baby Driver (2017)
We have officially entered what is also my top-3 of all time. Again another perfect use of a high budget and full creative control. With Baby Driver, Edgar Wright completely revolutionizes what it means to use music within the film, and simultaneously crafted one of the funniest, most thrilling, romantic and action-packed films I’ve ever seen. They better not screw up the sequel.
2. Boyhood (2014)
Straight-up, I wouldn’t be typing this list if I hadn’t seen Boyhood when I did back in 2014. I’d say how deeply personal this film is to me, but how could this film not be deeply personal to any person over the age of 6? This film works, because it does such a damn perfect job of portraying life. I love how this film has no story, if it did, it would have ruined it. The way how Linklater essentially wrote each chapter of this film throughout the twelve years it took to shoot it works exceptionally well because it has no real cohesion, and neither does life. After every rewatch, I always take something different away from it because I’d already been at such a drastically different time in my life than I was during my previous watch. Boyhood is by definition, perfect.
1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
The fact that has been at the top of my list for a full decade and hasn’t been topped by anything essentially speaks for itself. I just think Scott Pilgrim is the best movie ever made. Not just because it takes place in the city I live in (although, that doesn’t hurt it), again, Edgar Wright just utilizes a big budget in whatever way he damn-well pleased and it surely paid off in what has to be the coolest movie ever made.