Mike’s Favorite Movie Trailers of the Decade (80-71)

While I call movie posters a lost art, trailers are a different beast altogether. They’ve definitely evolved over the years, and in a way, they’re getting better the more time goes on. Trailers 40 years ago were so much different than they are now. The way people sell a film is different now. Posters are just about imagery, but trailers have to show you what you’re in store for without giving away everything. Though, there is some artistry to that as well, since I think we can all agree that a lot of times, you can understand what the entire plot of a movie is gonna be just from a trailer. But once in a while, you get something really nice, where it’s cut real well and it makes you excited for the film without giving too many secrets away.

I track my favorite trailers each year, so now I’m gonna look back over the past decade and see which ones have held up best for me.

Here are my favorite film trailers of the past decade:

80. Django Unchained

The thing about a Quentin trailer is — it’s basically just showing you the awesomeness you’re in for with the film. Here, he uses the anachronistic music, from Johnny Cash to James Brown to hints of the great Tupac mashup with the James Brown. On its own, it’s just a pretty standard trailer, but because it’s Quentin — the more you can see of a Quentin movie beforehand (and you never want too much, but you can also never get enough) just makes you even more excited for it. So while he’s on a different curve than other filmmakers, this is one of the better trailers of the decade.

79. The Irishman

I wasn’t thrilled about this trailer when I first saw it, but the more I watched it, the more I realized it’s an incredibly well-put-together trailer. Like all Scorsese trailers, the editing is great. The music choices are fantastic and really build a mood incredibly well. I was really only able to appreciate this one after I saw the film, but even so… it does do a great job of selling what the film is ultimately going to be.

78. Drive

This trailer is all about elevation. This could have been a forgettable action movie, but this trailer makes you go, “Oh, there’s more to this than I’d have thought otherwise.” The editing and music choices really help elevate this from ‘trailer that gives away the entire plot’ to ‘trailer that makes the movie look really exciting’. Maybe it’s the opera choice at the end, but I love this.

77. Joy

The forgotten David O. Russell movie. They all remember Silver Linings and The Fighter and American Hustle, but this one is just like all those, stylistically, and people ignore it for whatever reason. But this trailer is great. He uses the Scorsese ‘wall of sound’ method for music. And that ‘Walking in the Rain’ cue is just incredible, as is the ‘To Love Somebody’ one. Most of it is the music, but hey, whatever works. It’s just one of those trailers I really love. I’m not gonna think about that all too much.

76. The Revenant

This one’s all about mood. Showing you the visuals and the insane epic you’re about to witness. The steady drum beats and rhythmic breathing, mixed with all the wilderness and survival elements — this one’s either just gonna work for you completely or it isn’t. For me, this is exactly the kind of trailer I want to see, and only makes me even more excited for the rest of the film.

75. Tully

I love this one. It’s trying to be your standard trailer, and that’s why it’s so good. Because there’s more to it there, and it’s because you have Reitman and Cody and Theron back together again. And I’ve always said Reitman is incredible at marketing his films. The music choice, mixed with the perfect splicing together of scenes and moments to really give you an idea of this woman’s situation and what the point of the movie is (beyond the plot). It’s kind of a masterstroke, since this is not a mainstream movie, but it’s selling it to the people who go for mainstream movies. And it works.

74. Mandy

This one’s all about selling the insanity of the film and the level of ‘Cageness’ you’re about to see. For people like me — Cage films are appointment viewing, and we just hope they’re gonna be worth it in the end. And most of them aren’t. So imagine when this one comes around and it looks really batshit and wonderful. That’s the most exciting feeling. It doesn’t get better than him forging that giant axe and the giant chainsaw fight at the end.

73. The Red Turtle

Pure beauty. That’s what this trailer is. It’s hard not to get swept up in the emotion of this one, even without dialogue. The strength of this film is that you don’t need dialogue and can understand it purely on visuals. So add Laurent Perez Del Mar’s incredible score to that, and you have a trailer that almost has to be on a consensus list of best trailers of the decade

72. Sorry to Bother You

In terms of trailers that all made us insanely excited about a film we’d previously known nothing about, this has to be in the top 20 of the decade, if not top ten. None of us had this film on our radars until we saw this, and in the end it became a bit of a runaway hit, both financially and in terms of how it landed within the culture. Which is hilarious, considering the film is about dismantling capitalism. But still — it’s hard to say this isn’t one of the most memorable trailers you saw this decade. Between Armie Hammer snorting a line of coke from one end of the frame all the way to the other to introducing us to the ‘white’ voice and all the fun visuals of the film. It’s hard to say this doesn’t make you really interested in seeing the film. Because all of us went out to see this from this trailer.

71. Army of One

There’s my Cage again. I had zero idea this movie existed until this trailer dropped. And then I immediately went, “Holy shit.” Because it’s based on a real guy and this is Cage giving a proper performance. But also — it’s just so insane a trailer. Watch it. Tell me this isn’t one of the funniest and most memorable trailers you’ve seen this decade. The voice just makes it perfect, plus the humor (‘taking care of business’) and the real kicker — Bin Laden on MTV’s Cribs. It’s just so hilarious. This is how you sell a weird ass comedy like this.

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