2020 has arrived, meaning a new decade for new movies to make our lives better or worse. The 2010s had everything to deliver beyond imagination. To celebrate those past ten years, these are the best films for every year.
If it were up for awards, I would probably choose something else. But most of these choices come down to enjoyment along with the overall quality. Prepare to fight me on some of these picks.
2010: Let Me In (Sept. 23)
Matt Reeves never disappoints, especially with his take on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s excellent novel Let the Right One In. Reeves makes it his own while paying respect to the Swedish author. The haunting and emotional narrative thrives, especially with its two leads, Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
2011: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dec. 20)
I was worried at first to watch Fincher’s take on the first novel in the Millennium series. I recently watched it the other day out of curiosity and my love for not only these books, but Lisbeth Salander, who is wonderfully portrayed by Rooney Mara.
It may have its issues with accents, but it takes on almost everything necessary from the source material while standing on its own two feet. Nobody can adapt like Fincher, I wish he could adapt the second and third books. Maybe one day.
2012: End of Watch (Sept. 21)
What makes End of Watch excellent comes down to the chemistry between the characters. Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal do seem like lifelong friends, while the relationship with their significant others played by Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez are equally endearing. Caring for these memorable personalities becomes dangerous as the investigation on a local gang catches the attention of the Mexican cartel.
2013: Prisoners (Sept. 20)
Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners is a slow burn that will ruin your night in the best way possible. Two daughters are kidnapped, and Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) must find who did it before one father, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), goes too far on his own investigation.
The hopeless, moody atmosphere is emotionally draining every second. While it is brilliant and easily the best to release in 2013, I don’t think I could stomach watching it again.
2014: Gone Girl (Oct. 3)
Only David Fincher could adapt from an already phenomenal book and make something that meets the bar that was set by Gillian Flynn.
Gone Girl is psychologically abusive to the viewer with every twist, turn, and foul thing to come from the despicable protagonists, Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). This one role alone proves Pike is one of the best actresses in the industry today, while Affleck feels like he is playing himself, in a disturbingly good way.
2015: Sicario (Oct. 2)
Intensity injects itself with this deep dive into the Mexican cartels. Sicario knows when to sit down and when to shed some blood. Once the credits roll, it will be hard to utter a word after watching the events unfold.
If only its sequel was as intelligent as its predecessor.
2016: 10 Cloverfield Lane (March 8)
The most intense theatrical experience I have ever experienced. The second Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds herself in Howard’s (John Goodman) basement; it is relentless tension. I felt I hot like I was ready to sweat the entire time as I never knew what would happen in this claustrophobic sequel to the already excellent Cloverfield.
2017: Logan (March 3)
Going above the usual standards set for the superhero genre, Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine is equal parts a magnificent comic book movie and drama. It has the brutal action that it deserves while telling a story that will obliterate anyone watching by its somber ending.
2018: Avengers: Infinity War (April 27)
The first part to the end of the epic Infinity Saga goes all out. Thanos (Josh Brolin) finally gets his time to shine after so much playing in the dark. It manages to wrap it all up with a satisfying conclusion with enough of a gap for Endgame.
Building a universe for ten years takes trial and error along with patience to tell the stories needed to lead up to one of the most threatening characters to appear on the big screen.
2019: Jojo Rabbit (Oct. 18)
One of the funniest and most moving movies of 2019 comes from Taika Waititi. Jojo is bold, smart, hilarious, and heart-wrenching. Hollywood has plenty of fresh ideas, even if the generic remakes and sequels float to the top, and this is an example of how creativity still lives on.
World War 2 movies, especially ones centered on the holocaust, can feel redundant as everything has been said with other films’ messages. The New Zealand filmmaker has more nuance to his satirical twist on history’s worst event than most in the field of putting this war to the big screen. He adds to the conversation in a meaningful way that mixes entertainment, humor, and seriousness that could be dangerous to one’s career.
What are your picks for the best films in the 2010s? Let me know in the comments.
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Header image via 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing