Mike’s Top Films of the Decade (450-441)
And here we are. The big list. Theoretically the one we’ve been building toward. But really anticlimactic when you get down to it. You think the list of my ‘favorite’ films of an entire decade would be the thing you want. But really it’s just me going back over a lot of the stuff I covered on the other lists and a broad regurgitation of my top ten lists from the ten years. So, rather than treat this like some big holy set of rankings, I’m just gonna do what I did with all the other lists – try to get you to see some of these you haven’t seen before and maybe introduce you to some cool movies.
It’s important to note, as it’s important to note with all my lists – the rankings don’t really matter. The number is only a function of the day I put it together. The only way to truly get a real ranking of my favorite films of the decade is for me to take the pool of films I used and make up this list from scratch at least ten different times and then use some sort of formula to figure out the average position of each movie and then create a ranking. And that’s not the goal here. I don’t care about the numbers. I care about talking up the films I like and trying to get people to see some of them.
So, if you feel like you want to get upset about where something is ranked, know that it’s a broad ranking. For the most part, films are in the general range of the 25-50 where I’d generally rate them next to everything else. Things will change as I revisit stuff and as time goes on. Like I said, this is really just about telling you what I enjoyed most in the hopes that it gets you to check out some of the stuff you either didn’t know about before or never bothered to see (or maybe saw and didn’t fully appreciate at the time). That’s it. It’s really just about celebrating movies. Don’t get so hung up on the numbers.
So, here are my 500 favorite films of 2010-2019:
450. See You Yesterday
Incredible Netflix film from a young black filmmaker with a great vision, great style, staring black actors and with a great social message behind it. It’s about two science nerds who are building a time machine together in their garage. And surprisingly, it works. They’re able to go back in time a day. Only, right as they do it, the girl’s brother ends up getting murdered by police officers. So now, rather than enjoy the time machine aspect, she’s trying to go back in time and undo what happened. Which of course brings about all sorts of time machine paradoxes. It’s a really smart film and has a lot to say. It’s one of the best Netflix movies they’ve got. You need to see this one.
449. Mary and the Witch’s Flower
I am admittedly not a big anime watcher, unless it’s very much of the Studio Ghibli style. It’s rare for me to truly like something that isn’t made by them. However, the filmmaker of this one worked for Ghibli, directing Arrietty and When Marnie Was There, so there’s very much a bleeding over of that style into this one. Even the plot feels reminiscent of one of those films, even if it is a little more action heavy. It’s about a lonely girl who moves to her aunt’s estate. She’s bored and has no friends. And then one day she finds a magical flower that is said to be something witch’s use for their magic. And then she finds a magical broomstick, and is suddenly whisked away onto a magical adventure. It’s a lot of fun. Gorgeously animated and, while it’s not 100% Ghibli, there’s only a handful of Ghibli films out there. So even 75% Ghibli is more than enough to satisfy those who love their style of films.
448. Henry’s Crime
A lovely film with a great premise, featuring a perfectly cast Keanu Reeves. Keanu’s character in this one is kind of a Candide — he’s got no real personality, hopes, dreams… just kind of ambling through life. One day, his friend asks him to come drive him and some other guys to a baseball game. Keanu agrees. The guy says, “Hold on, I just need to stop at an ATM.” So they stop at a bank. Pretty soon, we and Keanu slowly find out that the guys had robbed that bank. He’s the only one arrested as their getaway driver, despite having absolutely no idea this was happening. He refuses to give up the names of the robbers and goes to prison. There, he meets James Caan, an institutionalized con man who likes being in prison. And there, Keanu makes the first decision he’s ever seemingly made in his life — he’s gonna, when he gets out, go back and rob that bank he was arrested for robbing. Because hey, might as well get your money’s worth of the prison time. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a really charming little heist movie that practically no one knows about. I really enjoyed it quite a bit and think a lot of people who see it will too.
447. Blood Father
If you grew up as I did, watching these generic ‘dude’ action movies (mostly because that was the stuff my father would watch when he was home during the day (he worked nights) and we were children playing with our toys in the living room. So I have an affinity for stuff like this. I also have an affinity (on the screen. The rest is a different discussion entirely) for Mel Gibson. I’ve always enjoyed his screen persona and the way he carries films. He pretty much disappeared from movies after Signs, and only briefly came back around 2010, and even then only had a small handful of on-screen performances. There are two in particular I always shout out because they’re really fun, down and dirty little action movies. This one is about him as an ex-con living in the desert, giving out tattoos for a living. He gets a call from his daughter, who is underage and had run away to date an older drug dealer. Only, she watched him commit a murder and now wants to get out of there. So he, knowing she’s now a target for them, comes and gets her and spends the rest of the movie protecting her and killing all the drug dealers who are after her. It’s fun. It’s 90 minutes, you know exactly what you’re getting, and it’s completely entertaining for what it is. You can’t put a price on movies like this.
446. Get the Gringo
The other Mel Gibson film of the decade I love. This one was really his first of the return to the ‘proper’ Mel Gibson type of movie. This happened early on in the decade, before Hacksaw Ridge and when he started dipping his toes back into movies (like Edge of Darkness and The Beaver). It starts with him, in a getaway car, dressed as a clown, just having robbed a Texas bank, with money flying everywhere and his partner bleeding out in the back seat as they cross the Mexican border (the hard way). Of course he gets arrested by Mexican cops who see the money and decide to take it for themselves and get rid of him. So they dump him in prison and leave him there to rot. Only he’s got other things in mind. So we watch as he slowly learns the ins and outs of the place and starts plotting his revenge/route to getting that money back. It’s fun as hell. Definitely the perfect kinda movie if you like these sorts of things and are looking to kill 90 minutes in a good way.
Richard Gere is the king of great little hidden gems and delivering fantastic performances for absolutely no audience. It’s sad that there’s no audience, but it’s nice that he consistently has these cool movies to turn people onto. He had a bunch last decade (The Hoax, The Hunting Party) and returned with quite a few this decade as well. This one, with the amazing subtitle “The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” is about him as a wheeler-dealer type. The guy who shows up and chats your ear off the minute he thinks you’re someone who can help him and has some pull — the one who knows a guy who knows a guy who can get a thing and can really do this thing that’ll help you out and change your life. Just trust him. That guy. He’s always looking for something. And then, once day… it happens. He meets a guy by chance and helps him out when he really needs it, and the guy remains friendly to him. And, it just so happens not long after that… the guy becomes Prime Minister of Israel. So now Gere thinks he’s got it big. He’s finally got a friend in a high place and can use that to maneuver all sorts fo deals! And, as the subtitle suggests… it doesn’t quite work out that way. It’s a really nice drama with a great performance by Gere and is just one of those really solid movies for adults. It’s not a genre people talk about all that much, but there’s always some really good stuff in there.
444. Free Fire
A movie with an amazing premise — a bunch of criminals show up to a warehouse to complete a deal, and pretty soon the entire thing turns into a giant gunfight. That’s it. People in a warehouse shooting at each other. It’s fun as hell and there are a lot of cool people in it.
443. Fighting with My Family
This was one of those movies I saw getting advertised a lot (usually I see tons of trailers for movies that come out in January/February/March because I’m usually in theaters most during awards season, and those tend to be the majority of what’s getting advertised alongside the awards movies I’m going to see) and was really nervous about. Because… February release date… it’s about wrestling… is clearly produced by the WWE, who generally have questionable taste when it comes to movies… there were a lot of red flags here. Plus, I grew up with the WWE. I got into it, as a lot of people did, in the mid-90s right as it started popping huge into the mainstream. But the product that’s out there now is not remotely the one I recognize and I generally leave it to the kids it’s for. And that’s cool. But it also meant I didn’t have any hope for this movie. And even when it got good reviews, my response was more, “Okay, sure, let’s see.” And I’ll admit — really charming movie. Florence Pugh is (as always) terrific, the tone is spot on, they focus a lot on the family and the characters of these people, and it becomes a regular sports movie. You don’t really get into the WWE of it all until the very end. She only has one professional match in the film. It’s not that kind of movie. And I really like that about it. It’s one of those movies that I’d even go so far as to recommend to people who don’t like wrestling (parents, etc), just because I can go, “No, no, it’s not about that. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.” The charm overcomes the potential question marks you have about the subject matter.
442. The Bad Batch
Ana Lily Amirpour’s followup to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. This one never really had a chance, as it went from festivals to that dreaded land of having no distributor for a while to eventually just being dumped on VOD. But it’s an interesting movie in a lot of ways. It’s about a future where, when criminals are deemed beyond rehabilitation, they are sent to a fenced off area (implied to be between the U.S.-Mexico border) where laws don’t apply. Basically — ‘you can’t get your act together, so here. Live here’. And so it’s just a bunch of criminals in a lawless land where they’re all stuck, and whatever happens, happens. And pretty quickly, she runs into cannibals, and then ends up traveling the desert with one of them, then she runs into Keanu Reeves as a cult leader, and then there’s Jim Carrey as an unrecognizable mute homeless man who just collects garbage — it’s a real weird movie, but it’s fun. There’s a lot here to like. I think it’s much more successful than not, though it’s not gonna be for everyone. Not that A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is for everyone either. But I think the reason this never got its proper due is because this film is not for the same people that film was for. So rather than having people fight for it as a product of an auteur director, it got dismissed as not being the type of hipster bait the hipsters were looking for. Which sucks, because it’s worthy of being seen.
441. Queen & Slim
Somehow I thought this would have a higher profile than it did based on its release date. But it came and got some notice but ultimately got forgotten about pretty quickly. And it shouldn’t be, because it’s a good movie, really well made with a timely message. It’s black Bonnie and Clyde, only here, they kill a racist cop who pulled them over on a bullshit traffic stop and was clearly escalating the situation. So they’re on the run for a legitimate crime, but it’s a completely understandable crime, and it becomes a referendum on the current social and racial climate of the country and on police brutality. It’s a really strong piece of work with great central performances from Jodi Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, as well as a great supporting turn from Bokeem Woodbine, and interesting cameos from Flea and Chloe Sevigny. It’s a really strong film and something I would tell all film fans to check out. It’s worth seeing a film made by black voices with real talent behind it. It’s a very good movie, and just the kind of film that should be championed nowadays.
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