Happy New Year everyone! This new year as you have probably heard a million times already is a little more interesting in others in that it’s the start of a new decade! Which honestly when you think about it, it’s really not that big of a deal, but hey it’s an excuse to make a list and reflect on the same number we can count up to with our fingers. So yeah, of course I’m going to have my own top ten movies of the year. Now with this list I don’t really have an order. These movies are all really damn amazing in their own right that it is impossible for me to rank them. (Well that might be a lie for the two movies that I go back and forth as my favorite movie period, we’ll get to that don’t worry). Alright let’s get started!
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is the most movie movie I have ever watched. It doesn’t tell you a story, it takes you on a damn ride through one. It’s a stunt masterpiece, a work of art in every frame, and world building at its finest. Did I also mention that it has strong male AND female leads? Oh and a score that you could close your eyes and watch the whole movie in your head? I have never been more gratified watching a movie than this one. It’s a must watch last decade and should be from every decade forward.
Blade Runner: 2049
Blade Runner: 2049 is probably the most expensive “indie” movie ever made. Somehow, someway, the excellent director Denis Villenueve was given a massive budget to make a drama mystery sci-fi movie that was more concerned with it’s central characters identity than huge action set pieces. Make no mistake they are there, but what makes this movie sing is watching Ryan Gosling’s blade runner K try and solve a missing person’s case that shatters his world. It’s haunting and powerful with an ending that punches you in the gut. Oh and just like Mad Max, the movie is a moving painting with a score to match. Seriously, I think I need to get some canvas paintings from scenes in this movie.
There have been a lot of great superhero movies in the last decade, like really great ones, Logan is the best. Figures it would come from the studio that typically can’t figure them out to give us the best. Director James Mangold was given the opportunity to tell the most grounded and human story I have ever seen in a movie about people more than human. It’s less about saving the world, and more about saving your soul from depths of great great pain. This Western tinged movie contains the best performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart along with a stellar bout from up and comer Dafne Keen. It’s the best sendoff story I have seen for a character, and out of all superhero movies, likely one of the very few that will still feel just as powerful for years and years to come.
Drive is a dark dark movie mixed with the colors and sensibilities of an artsy film student. That combination typically doesn’t come out too well, but this getaway heist gone wrong tale of the nameless Driver just works. Make no mistake, it’s very arthouse like. Many scenes lack more than a couple lines of dialogue, the movie is lit with this 80’s neon flair and it has a soundtrack to match. The few driving scenes are a tense ride along, but it’s the absolute brutality that Ryan Gosling’s character unleashes upon his foes that this movie focuses on. It’s not a Fast & Furious movie, it’s quieter story about one man trying to do the right thing for those he cares about, no matter the costs.
If you thought Drive was a messed up movie, do I have a movie for you. Nightcrawler is disturbing. It highlights the type of terrible things many would do to advance their careers and status in life. It does so by showing the rise of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom from nobody to successful crime journalist. Gyllenhaal was robbed for not getting awards for this movie. His performance is chilling and frightening. Yet somehow his energy keeps you watching as the story spirals further and further down the going to hell toilet. It’s that performance that makes this one of my favorites of the last decade.
I had never seen a film by Bong Joon Ho. After seeing Parasite, I’m going to have to correct that mistake. This movie is a masterpiece unlike any other I have seen. The way it dances between black comedy satire, to a dark drama about class inequality is insane. It feels as natural as breathing when watching this movie and it’s damn perfect. It’s script is top notch, performances that keep you glued, and shot in such precise detail. Parasite goes past any language barrier and gives us a movie that leaves you stunned and a loss for words by the end.
A Quiet Place
I’m not going to lie, when I saw the first trailer for this movie, I thought the idea was super dumb. A movie where you can’t make sounds or you’ll get murdered by monsters. How can you possibly live in a world like that? Well A Quiet Place answered. Sure there are points where you could poke fun at the logic, but the movie makes its rules and creates a magical horror movie of tense moments and a real story of normal family issues. Kids acting out, parents doubting they can actually protect and teach their kids to survive in the world. It was excellent stuff and also gave me one of my favorite memories of ever watching a movie in theaters. It was actually quiet! People shushed and told others to shut up even if they were eating food like a loud animal. It was glorious.
1917 is a cinematography marvel. A continuous one shot from start to finish (with a little clever trickery to make it work). It’s amazing, and created an experience I haven’t had in a movie, I felt like I was with those soldiers. A shadow wishing I could give them the strength to keep moving. Couple that with the film having a powerful story that shows the horrors of the first world war and you have a movie I won’t forget.
War for the Planet of the Apes
The 2010’s Planet of the Apes trilogy is the best trilogy I have ever seen. Each movie builds on the last, and tells an extraordinary tale of Caesar’s infancy all the way to a messiah like leader for his people. I chose War specifically because this is where we finally get the full on human versus ape storyline, but because of the masterful performance from Andy Serkis we are clearly rooting for the apes to triumph. These movies are visual stunners that show just how amazing that motion capture technology has come. Yet it won’t be the visuals themselves that will make this movie and it’s two previous entries stand the test of time. It will be the stories of struggle between our dark and light sides in the face of adversity that Caesar’s journey so perfectly captures.
Knives Out is one of the most fun movies I have watched in a long long time. It has a stellar cast, with one of my favorite performances from Daniel Craig. Hell all of them gave great performances. The plot is witty, stratifying, and has plenty of twisty twists that make for a great two hours. The strength of the cast and the well crafted direction of Rian Johnson makes this a movie that even after you have seen it the first time, it’s still just as fun if not more the second, third, and twentieth time.
Wow! Those are some fine ass movies there. Seriously, if you haven’t seen these movies, and like a good one, give them a watch, you’ll get something out of them all I promise. That said, I did want to list some honorable mentions of movies that just missed top ten glory of the 2010’s.
The Cabin in the Woods
Ready or Not
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World