There’s almost nothing movie fans love more than making lists, and honestly, maybe that’s one of the things I love so much about movies. I’ve always loved to rank things, whether it is movies, favorite baseball players, or memes. So with the decade coming to a close, it is the perfect time to do an annual retrospective on each year in the decade, starting with 2010.
(Throughout this series, I’ll be using the Letterboxd release dates to determine which year’s list to put each film on.)
10. Due Date – Other than the Hangover sequels, this is one of Todd Phillips’ lowest rated movies, but I obviously really love it. It’s scene for scene a shameless knockoff of Planes, Trains & Automobiles, but it’s got enough personality and interplay between Downey Jr. and Galifianakis to be a really fun and rewatchable comedy.
9. The Other Guys – This movie comes right at the end of peak Will Ferrell. It’s a great buddy team up movie with him and Mark Wahlberg that’s just a great time. This is the kind of movie that’s perfect for watching and quoting in college dorms, and I’m speaking from experience.
8. Blue Valentine – Everyone is talking about how Marriage Story is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about divorce, which it is, but I’d argue that Blue Valentine is even better. It’s quietly one of Ryan Gosling’s best performances, and Michelle Williams goes toe to toe with him. This is one movie that I’d like to get more recognition as the decade changes from the 10s to the 20s.
7. Easy A – Back when teen comedies were still viable at the box office, Easy A was one of the best you could find. After Superbad, this is when Emma Stone showed she could really be a true star. It is just one of those movies that is solid from beginning to end.
6. Shutter Island – In a time where Martin Scorsese is accused of making only one kind of movie, Shutter Island is evidence to the contrary. Featuring one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s best performances, this movie provides a lot to think about when it comes to reality and the way we can tend to lie to ourselves. It has the typical Scorsese flair and is criminally underrated among his filmography.
5. How to Train Your Dragon – I typically enjoy fantasy like Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings, so How to Train Your Dragon is right up my alley. This movie (and series) features the hero’s journey, but it doesn’t seem tired. Hiccup and Toothless’ relationship is one of the best things the movie has going for it, and the score is up there with some of the best of the decade.
4. The Town – After Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck showed that not only was he a competent director, but he was an excellent one at that. The Town only cemented that reputation for him. In the perfect marriage of things in life – Boston and thrillers – it’s pretty much a given that I love this movie. It’s tense, fast-paced, and overall entertaining.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – This Harry Potter movie tends to get overlooked as “the camping one,” but it’s so much more than that. It has some of the best and most important character work in the entire series and it starts to wrap up some of the major themes that are present in the entire series. If you want to watch a Potter film that has cool magic action and deep philosophical ideas, this is the perfect choice.
2. The Social Network – Pay attention, because this movie is certainly going to show up on my Best of the Decade top 10. This movie is one of the most gripping movies about a subject that could seem boring or ridiculous – the creation of Facebook. But due to the performances, direction, writing, and themes about hubris and selfishness, this movie becomes an unabashed masterpiece.
1. Inception – This movie is the only reason that The Social Network isn’t the top movie of this year for me. I love all of Christopher Nolan’s movies, and this one is at the very top of the list. Every time I watch it (and I’ve seen it dozens of times), I’m still noticing new things and piecing together its different ideas. This is a movie that will not only make you think about life, but about the absolute wonder of film.
All images retrieved from IMDb