Guess what, folks, I’m not dead!
It’s been slow goings here the past while. And by while I mean like, two years. Oscar season is always busy, of course. But the rest of the year, the March through November part, that’s been hit and miss for me.
But, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally gotten all those Top Ten lists done, and that was a priority for me, just because they’re meant to be on here forever and not just be something I did for immediate content. I’m planning to actually update them as I see new things and/or change my opinions on stuff, so I wanted to make sure I did those right, first and foremost. And those last twenty years or so have upwards of 80 movies per year. Writing all that up took time. Plus, shit happened. Life and what not. So I didn’t have time to focus on new content.
BUT… that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left. Actually, now that the Top Ten lists are done, it means things are looking up. I can’t get into what exactly I mean just yet, partially because I don’t want to spoil the surprise (and I’m giving myself the out in case for some reason it doesn’t actually happen) and also because Oscar season is upon us and that’ll be the focus of the site for the next three months, so why waste a good surprise now when we have to wait for it anyway. But trust me — next year’s a big year. Next year’s gonna feel a lot like the early days of the site. I’ve got a lot of stuff planned. In fact, starting tomorrow, there’s a really good chance that something will be posted on this site every day through Oscar night 2021.
Mostly I just wanted you all to know (all… eight of you that read this thing)… I haven’t been sitting idly. Stuff has been happening behind the scenes, in the lab, behind the curtain, whatever metaphor you wanna make for it. It’s all gonna pay off next year, and I’m really excited for it. But before all that — it’s Oscar season, folks. And that kicks off starting tomorrow.
So we now have all of the Top Ten lists finished. As of this moment, there are 90 of them (1930-2019). They will be here now, forever, for posterity. I’ll keep updating them as I watch new stuff, rewatch stuff I’ve seen and my opinions change over time. Of course, as I must always do when I finish something of this magnitude, I gotta analyze everything and look for cool trends and things. That was always the best part of doing science fair projects, analyzing all the data, and I’m still just trying to chase that high.
This data will only be for how the lists appear at this moment in time. I’m not planning to go back and alter it for every little change I make. Maybe in like five years I’ll do a bulk update, but let’s just assume I’m never gonna go back to this and treat it just as something cool to look at for right now. (Though I may update this in like, six weeks, once 2019’s list gets posted, giving us an even 90 years of lists.)
Also, yes, I wrote up 90 years of Top Ten lists (all of which contain at least 20 films apiece, most of which contain 40 apiece and some up to 80 apiece) and then went back and broke each one of them down in various ways. How could you expect anything less of me? (more…)
As of the original postings of these lists, this is the most recent year. We’re under a year since my initial list has been posted, so not a whole lot of time has gone by for me to have changed my opinion from what it was then. Though I will say, enough time has gone by for me to call myself out on my bullshit and cut the pretense.
Though admittedly, I find that most of the time when things change on the lists, it’s not because I was forcing something on that shouldn’t have been there, it’s usually because I’m under the gun when I choose the list. I often have just finished watching mostly everything from the year (sometimes I don’t even get to do that) and some of the choices I have to decide on based on a single watch. I’m usually cramming second watches for things (if I even can) within a two day period, and usually I’m somewhere else, around friends or family and I have to do it all on the fly. So things end up on that are just easy choices that I don’t have to stress over. And most of the time they turn out to be the right choices over time. But sometimes I do admittedly need that extra space of a year or more to really know what my true feelings are. So as such, while you won’t see too many changes from the list you saw in December, some things will shuffle around a bit and what I kind of figured to be true at the time has held out to be true now. So really, the moral of this is — time wins out. The truth always gets revealed over time.
As for 2018 as a whole… I didn’t like it at the time. I thought it was an incredibly weak year without too much memorable stuff in it. Now, of course, having a year to let this movies sit, it feels like a really respectable top ten list that’ll hold up just fine. The lower tier stuff, it’s just gonna take time to figure out where that shakes out in terms of a strong or weak year. Ultimately, I’m pretty pleased with how these ones are holding up for me so far. (more…)
This is one of the strongest years of the decade. I wouldn’t have immediately pegged it as one of those, but it is. It’s deep. There’s a lot of great stuff here, and this top ten could easily have been swapped out for a bunch of the 11-20.
At the time of the initial posting of this list, we’re not that far removed from these films coming out, but it does feel like some of the choices on it are undisputed great movies. Some are films that people generally like, even if they won’t appear on everyone’s lists, and there’s maybe one or two that I know are gonna go down as the films of the decade over time even though they weren’t as universally well-received.
I will also say that this the only year of this decade that has, at this point, managed a film that has found its way to my list of all-time favorite films. It’s a good year. (more…)
I didn’t know what to write for 2016 for the longest time. But as I started writing up all the films, I realized what it is — this is a sneaky strong year. The top ten didn’t immediately strike me the way something like 2015 does as being the obviously strong year from an entire decade. But when I look at it… there are movies here that I love beyond words that, to me, are gonna stay among my absolute favorites. And the more I look at the lower tier stuff the more I realize there are some really amazing gems to be found here that deserve to be seen.
The year will always be remembered for the top two films, which will be forever linked in people’s minds, but really when you look at it… if you’re trying to find an amazing movie that might be slightly off the beaten path, 2016 is the place to look. There’s stuff up and down this list that’s just tremendous that it feels like almost no one knows about or bothered to see when it came out. This is my ‘drum beating’ year, with stuff that I’m trying to help get noticed and become a movie people either later realize is great or just get seen by more people.
Also what I love about this top ten list in specific is that it has a nice mix of obvious stuff that everyone loves, stuff that is slightly off the beaten path that makes you think ‘oh, that’s good, but top ten? Wow’, plus stuff that almost no one knows about and then stuff where you go, “You know what? That is a really great movie and I never considered it that way.” It’s a really eclectic list, and it’s another year that has an 11-20 (and even a tier two!) full of stuff that could also be in the top ten. I’m a huge fan of this year and it took me going back to reconsider it all to realize that. This is one of the strongest years of this decade. (more…)
2015 is one of the strongest years of this decade, if not the strongest year. I’ve got at least two separate legitimate top ten lists with the films of this year. If I took my 11-20 and presented it to you as if it were the list of another year, it would look totally fine and no one would even question it. That’s how strong this year is.
Though the one thing that has remained constant for me after all this time, despite how many amazing films there are and how easy it is for stuff to be swapped out for something else, is my #1. I don’t think anyone else would have it close to their #1 film of the year, and I was steadfast about it from the jump. I knew it was my #1 movie and nothing was able to change that. No matter what great other stuff there is and no matter how highly the rest of the films from this year are regarded over time, my #1 is gonna be my #1. And I take great comfort in that.
I should also mention how much other fantastic stuff there is this year in the lower tiers as well. This is a good place to find some great hidden gems to check out. Some years there’s only a handful. Here, you can throw a dart and pretty much whatever you hit is worth seeing. That’s a strong year. (more…)
2014 is kind of a patchwork year. There’s a small handful of films a lot of people will agree on, but past that it gets uneven. Though I think the great stuff does tend to rise to the top and the year does get weaker as it goes along. Which, I guess is kind of what one would hope for with any year.
Looking at my list for this year, every film in my top ten is by a director who has already had a top ten movie before (save one, which is by a director who would have later top ten movies, since this was his first major feature). Which, to me, marks it as one of the weaker years of the decade, with me going to the well of ‘old reliables’, knowing that the people who tend to make good films helped bail it out. Otherwise, it does tend to get thinner earlier than most other years do. (more…)
Pic of the Day: “It never seems to occur to you gentlemen that there might possibly be some men who would enjoy being my husband, even if I were not a Queen. My face isn’t actually painful to look at. My complexion’s quite good. And in case your too serious-minded to notice such things, let me inform you my legs are perfect!” (90th Anniversary)
I don’t particularly remember 2013 in terms of my top ten list. I remember the year feeling like it was weak. Which I must say about almost every single year initially, which has to be because I’m forced to assess as year as a whole just as its coming to a close rather than having had the proper time to let stuff settle as it ought to.
This year in particular I know has a major change to it, which is that it’s the second time ever alongside the first list I ever posted on this site that a surefire top ten film didn’t get seen before the year was out. The first year, technically the list got posted after the year was over and I wasn’t as efficient in seeing things as I became over the course of the decade. Which is what makes it even more stunning to me. Even by 2013, I knew that if anything felt like it had a chance at the top ten, I made sure to see it. And yet, I posted 2013’s list and literally the next day I saw the movie. It’s the most significant top ten moment for me out of all the lists. It won’t seem so major on paper, since I quickly went in and made it my #11 for the year at the time, but that’s the biggest alteration in the history of the lists.
Aside from that, most of the list is basically the same as I had it. My “#11” and #12 moved up and other stuff moved down, which is par for the course. It feels like a generally pretty solid list of ten, and there’s some cool stuff down below. Overall this feels like one of the more average years for the decade. (more…)
2012 is the first (and perhaps only) year from this decade where the top ten list I posted at the time exactly matches my top ten now. I knew immediately what my ten favorite movies were that year, and that hasn’t changed. And, in all likelihood, that won’t change. These ten are pretty much my ten. My goal in writing up the list each year is to try to best guess what films are not only my favorite films at the moment, but also which ones are going to continue being my favorite films over time. Some years turn out better than others. And as it stands, this might be the only one of the decade where I ended up being completely right all the way through.
Which is impressive to me, because there are two choices on this list that are not mainstream choices for top ten films. I don’t think you’ll see those on most people’s lists. And if you do, chances are they won’t be around a lot of the other stuff I’ve also chosen. But I love them, and would 100% call them two of the top movies of the year.
I’m a big fan of this list. (more…)
Love me some 2011. I moved to LA midway through this year, so a lot of the movies in the top ten were ones I saw right as I got to LA, which gives them an extra sense of specialness to me.
As a year… I forget how strong it is at the top. It feels like just another year to me when I think about it in the abstract, but here, I could legitimately almost make two separate top ten lists with the movies in the top 20.
This was my first official top ten list created after this site was in existence. So in a way this was the one where my knowing it was gonna go on here affected the decision-making. For better or for worse, I guess. Mostly I’m just happy that a lot of my choices are still ones I would put on the list. But it’s also a strong enough year to where anything that got swapped out is basically a toss-up situation anyway. So it’s hard for me to be disappointed with anything that made it on. (more…)
The original 2010 Top Ten List was the very first article I posted on this site. So it’ll always be a special year for me. It was the year I really started taking movies (and watching new movies) seriously, and was the first time I really was prepared to pick my favorites for a given year because I watched the majority of stuff that came out.
Looking at the list for 2010 as it stands now… most of it’s the same. Which I like. I like knowing that my favorite films then are largely still my favorite films now. And the changes that were made were either minor or were things that were always gonna happen when time passed. Also, looking at this year, I’m fairly confident 90% of this list will remain as top ten films in perpetuity. It’s a real strong year at the top, and most of those top films are indisputable. (more…)
The 2000s is really the prime film decade of my life. The 90s is me growing up, and the 2010s is me seeing everything. But the 2000s is when I was just getting into film and my tastes were starting to solidify, and it’s all the stuff that came out when I was at my most impressionable. And as such, there’s a lot of stuff that’s all-time for me, favorites-wise. And I’ll warn you now, which should be obvious if you’ve read anything on my lists… it’s all very specific to me. It’s not gonna be exactly what most other people would have on their list.
As a decade, the 2000s always struck me as the time when independent cinema folded into the mainstream (just like in the 80s when all the 70s directors all went into the system and those independent auteur films died down in favor of the blockbusters) and when special effects basically took over cinema. It’s a gestation period for what cinema would become in the following decade, culminating in the rise of Marvel at the end of the decade.
Picking this list was pretty easy for me. Really it just came down to logistics, since certain films were broken up into parts and I had thread that needle of picking my absolute favorites while also not splitting films that felt like they needed to go together. Honestly, I think the only real issue I had was figuring out what was gonna be the tenth and final film on the list and which were gonna just be in the 11-20. This one was pretty easy for me, because it’s just the films I truly, truly love the most.
For methodology purposes, the way I compile these Top Tens of the Decade lists: I take my top ten for each year of the decade, throw them all together, and simply whittle it down until I find what I feel are my ten favorites from that decade. Not the best, my favorite. That’s really all it is. I feel like if I can figure out what my favorite films of all time are, then I can figure it out by specific decades. (more…)