Best of the 2010s: 50 – 26
Get Out (2017)
50. Get Out (Jordan Peele)
Peele, a comedian-turned-director, revolutionized horror once and for all. Get Out is undoubtedly his masterpiece. It’s a witty, satirical pitch-black comedy about racism served in horror or thriller mantle. The plot sneaks behind and takes you by surprise at every possible turn. To call it one of the most noteworthy films of the year isn’t exaggerating at all. It’s that kind of movie that makes you wish you could watch it for the first time over and over again.
Your Name (2016)
49. Your Name (Makoto Shinkai)
What started as a sweet, quirky gender-swapping drama gradually turns into a heart-throbbing, splendid story of distant love. So distant it almost gets untouchable, but in the end, it shows its true nature: it’s mysterious, enormous, and most importantly, majestic. As the credit rolls, as much sentimental we can be, let’s agree that Makoto Shinkai is truly one of the best animation filmmakers in this era. And if Your Name is your first encounter with Shinkai’s works, you’re up for a good show.
True Grit (2010)
48. True Grit (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
Hathaway’s True Grit has earned John Wayne an Oscar and is considered one of the best Revisionist Western ever made. And yet, that doesn’t make Coen Brothers’ version pale in comparison. In fact, the remake brings out the prowess Hathaway’s version lacked while sticking more faithfully to Charles Portis’ novel. The 2010 version takes a more nuanced approach with more gravitas by revolving around the vengeful teenage girl, Mattie (young Hailee Steinfeld). Even when it lost big at Oscars, it’s truly an instant classic.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
47. What We Do in the Shadows (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi)
This improv-laden mockumentary is definitely the finest comedy mockumentary since This is Spinal Tap. Clement and Waititi explore the Kiwi vampire scene with precisely crafted humor and loads of absurdity. While its fangs bite deep with great humor and clever direction, What We Do in the Shadows is establishing itself among the best comedy of the decade and, simply, among the best vampire movies in the few years. Who would have thought that being a vampire can be this sweet and hilarious at once?
The Disaster Artist (2017)
46. The Disaster Artist (James Franco)
The book—written by the patient zero of the most celebrated bad movie ever—was a sensation. Through ‘The Disaster Artist’, we are guided to see Wiseau’s The Room from a new perspective, a new light, and with a completely new awareness which is sensitively captured by James Franco in both directing and acting attempt; and that’s quite an experience. It doesn’t make The Room any better (in fact, it stays as it is, hideous at worst, baffling at best), but it successfully captures a story of dreams and determination in the most unorthodox idiosyncrasy.
45. Incendies (Denis Villeneuve)
Villeneuve opened the decade with a taut thriller full of breadcrumbs and harrowing twists. The rest of the decade is possibly the most wonderful time in his career. Incendies offers a stunning, heart-wrenching tale of twins seeking for their brother and father to complete their mother’s death will. It’s a 2-hour tour de Middle East with tons of puzzle and emotion with a clever twist, possibly one of the cleverest in the decade.
Django Unchained (2012)
44. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
“I like the way you die, boy!” is probably the coolest quote from Quentin Tarantino’s movies of the recent decades. Django Unchained is controversial and blatantly offensive; but, it certainly is the director’s celebratory confetti. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz make the most iconic cahoot since Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta back in Pulp Fiction. Weighed in with a subversive story and character’s motivation, this modern Western offers spectacles by spectacles to further extend Tarantino’s hyper-stylized, ultra-violent penchant after Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds.
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
43. Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)
Guadagnino’s adaptation of André Aciman’s novel of the same name is sexy and charming in its every vision. It will take you high to the memories of summer fling idylls and bring you down to the harrowing vision of broken hearts. The romance is seductive but never manipulative; it rather stays in the moment, indulges every single of it, and complete the cycle with reflections guided by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet’s sympathetic performance. It’s hard to resist the seduction to indulge in this kind of romance over and over again.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
42. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)
2049 comes as a genre-bending late follow-up to Blade Runner, which appears as a slow-burning detective story to reveal answers to both philosophical and ‘physical’ mystery presented in the premise. Villeneuve’s cyberpunk sequel deliberately yet subtly mirrors Ridley Scott’s original in terms of plot and general elements, but confidently delves into new territory at the same time. All of those are wrapped exquisitely in one of the most stunning 164 minutes in the history of life.
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
41. Inside Llewyn Davis (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
“If it was never new and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song,” Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac in one of his most compelling performances in the decade) exclaims. The very same notion goes to the story of the titular character. Llewyn Davis is a Coen Brothers’ typical character through and through—one who always deals with misery, self-loathe, and a cleverly coined nickname as “Midas’ little brother.” He is most possibly the most Coen-esque character since the “Dude” Lebowski; that’s why the directors put a lot of passion into making his story alive.
40. Bridesmaids (Paul Feig)
Written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids also marks one of the finest Paul Feig works exec-produced by modern comedy godfather, Judd Apatow. The bridesmaid’s duty fiasco dramedy is among the finest and cleverest female-driven comedy without having to go degrading or condescending. The ensemble harmonizes in precisely timed and crafted comedic moments that are genuine and surprisingly fabulous even at its raunchiest. Feig’s career gets an upgrade after this; meanwhile, the casts (Wiig, Rudolph, McCarthy, Byrne, Kemper) cements their roles as pivotal figures in the finest comedic movies and shows of the recent.
The Wailing (2016)
39. The Wailing (Na Hong-jin)
This South Korean hybrid horror injects audiences with relentless anxieties and ceaseless question marks from beginning to end. From a murder investigation, The Wailing keeps deceiving the audiences for 150 minutes before delivering the sucker-punch which will make you feel sick. It’s, by any standards, faith-collapsing.
The Spectacular Now (2013)
38. The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt)
Adapted from Tim Tharp’s novel of the same title, The Spectacular Now uniquely forges the conventional boy-meets-girl relationship with their typical angst of future and sexual curiosity into a beautiful summer contemplation. No romantic coming-of-age chemistry in recent history is as natural and sincere as Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in this drama.
37. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (Alejandro González Iñárritu )
Michael Keaton guides audiences through this complex character study of people among fame and ambition. What makes it great is, it enhances itself with all the exotic cinematic bravura—including the fuzzy illusion of single take through jingles and jangles as well as the unique musical scores using only a set of drums. More to it, it’s the juxtaposition of the on-screen character with Keaton’s career is what makes it enormously incredible.
36. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-Eda)
Kore-Eda breaks down the concept of family in this Japanese urban drama which points out the elephant in the room within Japan’s socio-economy—poverty. A master in domestic drama, Kore-Eda crafts a disconcerting portrayal of an unideal family, which reconstructs the principles of a family in an uplifting yet moving story. It’s raw and honest even at its most creatively engineered narrative drive.
35. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
When it comes to Nolan’s filmography, the inventively challenging narrative is what always comes in mind. Inception appears to be one of the most riveting, imaginative, intriguing, and ground-breaking ones. Comprising a stellar ensemble of casts with blockbustery production scale, Nolan conceives a story that might as well unravel from his own dream. Leonardo DiCaprio leads the casts spectacularly and helps to make one of the most iconic endings in recent history.
34. Hereditary (Ari Aster)
Aster and his A24 comrades (that should also include Robert Eggers, Trey Edward Shults, and David Robert Mitchell) prove that wit is the new face of horror. His debut, Hereditary, reflects that credo. It’s not a mere jump-scare-laden horror; but it’s a mindfuck, disturbing mental challenge led by Toni Collette’s terrific performance. Aster’s bone-chilling direction makes sure it’s a mentally disturbing chef–d‘oeuvre.
33. Mommy (Xavier Dolan)
For whatever it is, Dolan had crafted a mesmerizing tale of constriction and release. In only 139 minutes, the versatile filmmaker puts the ferocious side of a mother’s love and anger in a literal square; he caged them in an emotionally draining story within a 1:1 frame ratio. Outpoured with visions to the emotion in a visually mesmerizing piece of work, the idiosyncratic visuals of Mommy works as a cinematic vehicle; and, that’s wonderful.
The Irishman (2019)
32. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)
It is undoubtedly a Martin Scorsese cinema through and through. Clocking in at 209 minutes, this twilight piece de resistance funnels the director’s trademarks and signature theme—making a league with Mean Streets, Goodfellas, and Casino. Extracted by Steven Zaillian from Charles Brandt’s book, ‘I Heard You Painted Houses’, the film reunites Scorsese with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci while gives the director the chance to collaborate with Al Pacino for the first time.
31. Room (Lenny Abrahamson)
Impossible not to love Room for what it delivers: a profoundly heart-wrenching mother-and-son drama and a showcase of heart-throbbing performances by Oscar nominee, Brie Larson, and Jacob Tremblay. Room, although depicts depressive tragedy, is never been a cheap tear-jerking drama; it’s instead evolving from an optimistic survival drama into escalating self-acceptance and trauma-healing drama, which once again, is very optimistic. It has never been easy to watch Room, but when it finishes, it’s hard to let it go.
Black Swan (2010)
30. Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)
Natalie Portman leaps in as a struggling ballerina in Aronofsky’s character study which often cuts the edge. It’s a story about the quest of perfection that the director never has the guts to tone down. The metaphor of Swan Lake is only making it more insightful to fall into the character’s waning sanity.
Once upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
29. Once upon a Time… in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
Midway through the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Rick Dalton, would tell his co-star the synopsis of a pulp Western novel he reads. As he goes on, he would unconsciously self-refer the story to his career, before he finally breaks down in tears. That kind of parable is something that will happen quite often in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, a self-referential love letter from the industry’s wunderkind to the late 60s cinema. While featuring almost all director’s trademark, the film observes the director’s substantial growth to a more mature creative force—that tends more to discourse and contemplation.
The Artist (2011)
28. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
Undoubtedly, The Artist is Hazanavicius’ most (or only) compelling work so far. The ecstatic ambition to retell the fall of the silent movie is cleverly presented with aesthetics borrowed from the silent era and the afterward era. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo seal the cahoot with a very pleasant performance, which helps audiences to understand the struggle of actors in the bygone era.
Gone Girl (2014)
27. Gone Girl (David Fincher)
Fincher manifests the haunting, insecure feeling from Gillian Flynn’s book into a visual sickness that haunts so terrible it becomes a pitch-black comedy of “reality”. Gone Girl nails it with powerful story-telling, one of the finest ensemble of casts including the iconic roles by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, and perfect manifestation of modern-day satire about modern marriage as well as media’s influence in creating sensations.
26. Skyfall (Sam Mendes)
Following up on the serious, grounded, less campy 007 reboots initiated by Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall is, by far, the best and most serious James Bond movie. The somber theme and riveting narrative are made perfect with Daniel Craig’s religious performance. The action scenes are still blockbuster-worthy, the cinematography is top of the class, and the real complexity rarely found in the franchise has made the bar high, even, for the franchise itself.