Mike’s Favorite Movie Trailers of the Decade (10-1)

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:

10. Ford v Ferrari

I loved this trailer from the moment I saw it and it only grew on me since then. That ‘perfect lap’ beginning just shows you the aspiration and the love these people have for what they do. And then the ‘Gimme Shelter’ drop, while overused, somehow fits this film perfectly. Because it’s a throwback kinda movie. Treading similar ground but doing it really well. It’s the epitome of a classical trailer that’s just amazing. This is the epitome of a ‘studio’ picture, that’s just great all around. And the trailer reflects that.

9. I, Tonya

This trailer sells the film perfectly. All the great music choices, the crazy story, the differing viewpoints, everything Allison Janney is doing, Paul Walter Hauser — it’s an incredible trailer. Not much more to say.

8. La La Land

Sure, this works for me more than most, but for me, this was magical. An unabashed musical, with all the colors and the singing and dancing… this taps into that movie magic you don’t really feel much of anymore. The music and the visuals (him on the pier, the sunrise dance, the planetarium) — this trailer made me more excited than almost anything I’ve ever seen.

7. If Beale Street Could Talk

This trailer exudes love. The music, the mood — Barry Jenkins is a master filmmaker, and this trailer (not even the film) proved that Moonlight wasn’t a one-off situation. I love that the trailer doesn’t dwell on a plot per se (even if it’s present) but rather than the feeling and the relationships between the characters. It’s pure, transcendent beauty.

6. Lady Bird

Everything about this film’s spirit is captured in this trailer. I don’t even have a whole lot to say about it. It’s just all there. This film is almost impossible to explain. The magic is in the moments. And you feel that from this trailer.

5. Straight Outta Compton

This trailer is so fucking good. From those opening beats to that incredible ‘cruisin’ down the street in my 64′ scene, to them blowing up — it gives the fun while also dealing with the serious aspect of the story. Mostly what I love is that section where the score gets ‘serious’, building toward that incredible moment of ‘I got something to say’ and ending with them saying the title as it smashes on screen — oh, just so great. The music is what carries this one, but it’s pretty much just all around wonderful.

4. Inside Llewyn Davis

This captures the spirit of the film. And for the Coen brothers, that’s what their trailers are meant to do. It’s a perfect entity for me. The great folk music, their particular humor — the whole feel of it is just there. It makes me feel warm and happy. And I love how they end it with him about to play during the big audition. I don’t know what to say — it’s just all there for me, and I love it.

3. Godzilla

Okay, so everything before this point was fungible. The rankings didn’t really matter that much. These top three — these are the three. These are the best trailers of this decade. It is unassailable, these are the ones, and I will be taking no questions or discussion at this time.

This trailer — oh my god, what a perfect teaser. It’s just one scene (that almost isn’t even really in the movie, if I remember. Not like this). You don’t even know what movie it is. Men jumping from a plane. And then the insane visuals of the red smoke, which is one of the more memorable visuals of the decade. Plus that operatic music underneath. You don’t even know what’s going on for a full 70 seconds until you get the glimpse of Godzilla. And then, if you care at all about Godzilla, then you go, “Oh shit.” Because this looks amazing. Even me, who appreciates those films but never had a particular love for them — this made me really want to see the film. And then they just show you clips (and I’ll be honest, I don’t even remember the second half of the trailer, because to me, it’s all about the first). But ending with him in the smoke and then the roar — how much better could you ever sell a film? If you didn’t care one iota about Godzilla, chances are you do now because this trailer is so amazing.

2. Logan

The Johnny Cash cover of ‘Hurt’ captures everything about the spirit of this film. Old man Logan, run down and in pain — it really shifts the tone of the franchise and character in those first ten seconds. And it’s perfect. It doesn’t even really get into plot. Logan caring for old Charles, and then a little girl shows up and people are after her. This is our second James Mangold trailer in this top ten, and I’ll tell you — the man knows how to market his films. It’s the music choice that puts it over the top (yet again). But this is a really incredible song and a really tough one to make work in a trailer. But this does it. This is one of the most emotional trailers I’ve seen this decade and one that just tells you immediately the film is going to be great. I cannot get enough of this as a trailer.

1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I cried at this trailer. I cried a little at the Toy Story 3 trailer, but that’s about the extent of trailers making me cry. This trailer made me weep. Everything about the magic of Mr. Rogers, and everything you feel about that man and the pure beauty that was him as a human — it’s all there. You almost don’t even need to see the documentary after this. It’s just so perfect and gives you everything you’re gonna get from the full doc. It’s really one of the most beautiful trailers I’ve ever seen, and there was really no other choice for #1 for me.

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