Mike’s Top Films of the Decade (340-331)
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:
What a weird saga it’s been for this character on the screen. From that insane introduction in that not-so-great Wolverine solo movie to Ryan Reynolds leaking the test footage to show the studio it was a viable concept to now a world where Deadpool is just a thing we understand because he’s gotten multiple movies. The beauty of this first film is the element of surprise. As much as most of us knew the concept would work as long as it was well-written, we still weren’t ready for a superhero movie that was openly hard-R and meta at the same time. So there was a real joy to this one, seeing them go all out with making jokes about Green Lantern and having him tell people to go fuck themselves and then shooting them in the head. I also appreciate the small scale of the film, how the entire first half essentially takes place on the freeway, outside of flashbacks. It’s mostly settling you into the character. And it’s fun as hell. They haven’t yet worn out their welcome (which they may have done with the sequel a bit).
This was a hidden gem when it came out, and now you’ve got almost a decade. I think maybe some people are aware of it, but it’s definitely one of those where even almost I went, “Oh, wow, that one!” It’s really good. Based on a guy’s real life experiences of being diagnosed with cancer in his 20s. It’s real, funny, and brilliantly told by Jonathan Levin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. Definitely one of the stronger films of the decade and one of those people likely overlooked.
338. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Kind of a bold choice after First Class. You reboot the franchise with younger actor, you’d think you would spend some time developing that before going back to the original cast. Make this the third movie. But instead they go do this. Which, admittedly, was a nice thing for me, since I love those original cast movies. So you get a bit of the best of both worlds. Plus the Days of Future Past arc is one of my favorites on that old 90s animated show. And arguably it is one of the best X-Men movies they’ve made. Keeping to the core franchise and not including Wolverine spinoffs, the top four are, in whatever order you’d like, the first two, this one and First Class. That’s the list.
337. The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Love this movie. I’m not typically big on non-Ghibli anime films, but how could I not love this one? The entire film is about a girl going on a bender. That’s it. She goes around getting hammered all night and meeting all sorts of random people and also having this nice little rom com with a boy who has a crush on her along the way. It’s really awesome.
336. Toni Erdmann
One of the absolute best foreign films of the decade. It’s so good. It’s about a guy who just loves practical jokes who is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. So he shows up, pretending to be her life coach, wearing this bad wig and awful false teeth, and through this weird facade and playing up the bit, the two of them get closer again. It’s really fun. There are some incredible moments (the karaoke scene and the finale at the birthday party come to mind) and it’s just a really fun movie with this beautifully offbeat sense of humor.
The forgotten Sean Baker film. He made it before Tangerine, but it’s very much in that mold, of everyday lives of real people using (generally) non-actors or non familiar faces. It’s about a woman living in LA who starts to befriend an older woman after buying a vase at a yard sale and finding a bunch of her dead husband’s money inside. It doesn’t sound like something you might care about, but neither does Tangerine or even The Florida Project. But there’s something utterly captivating about Baker’s style that makes the films rise above their seeming banality. This is as good as his other films and definitely worth seeing.
334. End of Watch
This might be David Ayer’s best film, which is funny, because I generally hate found footage movies. But he makes the gimmick work really well here. It feels like a stretch at the beginning — cop wants to be a filmmaker and films all his bodycam footage to edit into some sort of a documentary, and we follow him and his partner on their day to day lives as cops around LA. It’s really well done.
333. Easy A
The movie that made Emma Stone a star. You just knew she was a movie star from watching this one. She leapt completely off the screen. The film itself is just a basic rom com, but they really nailed it. It’s very well-written. A lot of it is Stone’s innate likability and charm, some of it is Stanley Tucci and his scene-stealing, but honestly, whatever it is — it works. It’s about a student who, to cover for a friend who is gay and not ready to come out, she pretends to have sex with him at a party, which soon spreads around campus and turns her into the class ‘slut’. So, leaning into it (because they’re learning “The Scarlet Letter” in English class), she sews a red letter A to her chest, which of course causes outrage and all that. But it’s fun. The plot doesn’t really matter. It’s all about Stone and Stanley Tucci. It’s really good.
332. Light of My Life
Great post-apocalyptic movie which, I guess the best way to sell it now — if you like The Last of Us, this is kind of in that mold. Just no zombies. It’s written and directed by Casey Affleck, and is about a post-apocalyptic future where women have died out (it was a virus, and women were more susceptible to it). So he travels across the barren countryside with his daughter, one of the few women left, who he’s been masquerading as his son all these years because she’s been young. But she’s on the cusp of puberty and clearly that’s not gonna be feasible for much longer. So he’s trying to keep her safe while also teaching her to care for herself when he can no longer do so. It’s a metaphor for fatherhood. But it’s also really well made. The opening scene is just this unbroken five-to-ten minute scene of just them talking, and it’s riveting. It’s a really well made film, and I feel like the reason it never got released properly is because of outside factors (namely allegations against Casey Affleck and people automatically deciding they’d hate it and it dominating the publicity rounds if they did them on a national level). But if you just view this purely as a film, it’s a really well-made one.
The Anne Hathaway Godzilla movie. It’s so good. Because you go in expecting the gimmick, but you get this completely other movie, about addiction and abusive relationships and learning to just own your shit and stop putting yourself in horrible situations. She plays an alcoholic who gets dumped by her fiancée and goes back to her hometown. She reconnects with Jason Sudeikis, a childhood friend who owns a bar, and pretty soon just goes thee and gets drunk every night. And then, during one of her blackouts, she discovers that if she stands in this one playground where she’d play when she was a kid, a giant monster shows up in Seoul to destroy the city, which is controlled by her movements. So at first it’s fun, but then it becomes, “Oh no, this is hurting people.” And then you start to unpack it all and get to the root of everything. And it’s a really smart and strong film. It’s fun because of the conceit, but it stays with you and will last because of the themes it’s getting at underneath. I highly recommend this one if you haven’t seen it.
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