Not only is 2019 coming to an end in a week or so, but it’s also closing out the decade that is the 2010’s. The 2010’s saw a new job for me, as a movie reviewer. Yep 2010 itself was my first year reviewing movies with The Social Network being my first professional review. My first review was David Fincher’s look at the creation of Facebook and I’m ending the decade (at least for theatrical releases) with the horrifying Cats. If that’s not the perfect allegory for the 2010’s I don’t know what is. For each year of the decade I’ll name my favorite movie (not necessarily best, but personal favorite) and give a list of other movies that are good or went under the mainstream radar. With the 2010’s being the decade of franchises and sequels, some series like Mission: Impossible, The Fast & Furious, Marvel and the like I sort of glanced over them unless specific movies were named. I enjoy most of these movies so I didn’t need to name drop each one, only the ones that really stand out. I also have to show love to the independent film world too because the 2010’s saw the rise of streaming which lead to more films finding an audience outside the cineplex. I’ll also pick an overall Best Movie of the Decade winner and Best Year for Film winner. I’m sure I’m missing some movies on the list because my reviews prior to 2016 are long gone because of now defunct websites and maybe I might have a movie in the wrong year, but you get the gist. So let’s begin!
2010: As previously stated The Social Network was my first professional review and it came close to being my favorite film of 2010, but the film I’ve watched the most from 2010 (and maybe this decade) is The Fighter. From the opening frames of that movie you truly believed Christian Bale was a crackhead. It’s single-handedly my favorite performance of all-time. You’ll see Bale later on as well, but there was no way I wasn’t opening this decade list without him. Honorable Mentions for 2010: Inception, The Town, The Social Network, 127 Hours, Toy Story 3, Shutter Island, The Other Guys, Kick-Ass, Hot Tub Time Machine
2011: If there’s one major breakout male star for the decade it’s Ryan Gosling. With Drive, he launched himself into leading man territory and despite being super good looking, is an actor all guys can enjoy. From the story to the violence to the soundtrack, Drive has stuck with me since its release and it’s been something I’ve watched multiple times at home. Honorable Mentions for 2011: Fast Five, Warrior, Super 8, 50 50, The Guard, Our Idiot Brother, The Descendants, Young Adult, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Bridesmaids, Tucker & Dale Vs Evil, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury
2012: At the time The Avengers was probably my pick for 2012. It’s a tough year because of great films like Argo, The Raid: Redemption, The Cabin in the Woods, but you see that picture right above here? See Mark Wahlberg? See Sam J. Jones holding up a shot glass? See the guy to the right of that shot glass with the brown shirt? That’s me so I’m going fully biased and picking Ted as my favorite of 2012 because look at that glorious bastard in the corner, me! The movie is hysterical and I’ve seen it a dozen times, but come on, it’s my list I’m going with myself! Honorable Mentions for 2012: The Avengers, Wreck-It Ralph, Argo, The Grey, The Cabin in the Woods, The Five-Year Engagement, Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Seven Psychopaths, Dredd, Friends with Kids, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, The Raid: Redemption, Safety Not Guaranteed, Goon, God Bless America, FDR: American Badass
2013: I don’t think there is a movie made that shows the outcast better than The Way Way Back, my pick for 2013. It is hands down one of my favorite movies of the decade having seen it twice at theaters also interviewing writers/directors Jim Rash and Nat Faxon and watching it at home multiple times. If this decade proves anything, you can never go wrong with Sam Rockwell and the film is a timeless piece of Americana showing a time of life that everyone has gone through. I love it. Honorable Mentions for 2013: This is the End, The World’s End, Warm Bodies, American Hustle, Rush, You’re Next, Nebraska, Much Ado About Nothing, The Iceman, Drinking Buddies, Lone Survivor
2014: Without a doubt 2014 is the hardest year to pick from. It’s my clear cut BEST YEAR FOR FILM OF THE 2010’s. At the time Boyhood was my Best Picture of 2014. Then it morphed into Snowpiercer. Now it might be Whiplash, but it might still be Snowpiercer. It’s also the year that gave us the best comic movie of the decade Captain America: The Winter Soldier and launched the John Wick franchise. As of right now my favorite might be Whiplash because of J.K. Simmons, but it could change by the final edit of this article. Honorable Mentions for 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lego Movie, Gone Girl, The Equalizer, Edge of Tomorrow, John Wick, St. Vincent, Chef, Her, The Theory of Everything, Top Five, Boyhood, Snowpiercer, Calvary, The Grand Seduction, The Raid 2, Locke, American Sniper, $50K and a Callgirl, Interstellar, Birdman, Stretch
2015: If 2014 was the best year for film, 2015 was the year of the blockbuster. With Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron, American Sniper continuing its huge run that started at the end of 2014, Inside Out and more, there were some huge movies at the box office. My favorite, if you can’t tell by the picture is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now Star Wars has taken some heat over the past few years (and deservedly so), but The Force Awakens was like being a child again for me. My favorite characters showed up and they introduced new characters. It was the nostalgia trip I didn’t know I wanted/needed. It’s the movie that helped us forget about the prequels. Honorable Mentions for 2015: The Martian, Ant-Man, Straight Outta Compton, Creed, Spotlight, Brooklyn, Ex-Machina, Helen Keller vs Nightwolves, Jurassic World, The Peanuts Movie
2016: Another solid year for films, we got movies like Deadpool, La La Land, The Nice Guys, Sing Street (which is 1A to my overall winner) but as someone who grew up on westerns, Hell or High Water is my pick. I think both Chris Pine and Ben Foster are underrated actors and I loved this film. It has the size and scope of a western with the tension of an action/drama. I really dug it and it just barely tops Sing Street. Honorable Mentions for 2016: Deadpool, The Secret Life of Pets, Sing, The Magnificent 7, Kubo and the 2 Strings, The Nice Guys, La La Land, Triple 9, Hardcore Henry, The Lobster, Everybody Wants Some, Swiss Army Man, Sing Street, Don’t Think Twice, Range 15, Train to Busan, Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, The Neon Demon
2017: Along with westerns I also grew up watching a lot of war movies so without a doubt Dunkirk is my pick for 2017. I saw it twice in theaters, once in IMAX with a loud volume and huge screen, then again in a smaller, more intimate theater on film! The cinematography, the score, the pacing, all of it worked for me. Just a beautiful film. Honorable Mentions for 2017: The Lego Batman Movie, Get Out, Baby Driver, John Wick Chapter 2, Happy Death Day, Atomic Blonde, Wind River, Logan Lucky, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Disaster Artist, I Tonya, Free Fire, The Void, Hostiles, Big Bear, Spiderman: Homecoming, Gifted, Stronger
2018: A pretty quality year as well with films like Black Panther, Cold War, A Star is Born and some of the better comedies of the decade (Tag, Game Night), but my pick from last year still remains, Upgrade. A mix of science fiction with horror violence, Leigh Whannell’s flick has stuck with me since I first saw it. I’ve watched it again on Blu-ray and just completely dig Logan Marshall-Green’s performance as a human upgraded with AI and getting revenge. If you haven’t seen it, make it a double header with 2015’s Ex Machina. Honorable Mentions for 2018: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, Deadpool 2, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, Game Night, Tag, Den of Thieves, Super Troopers 2, Overlord, Chappaquiddick, Early Man, Kin, Anna and the Apocalypse, Cold War, A Star is Born
2019: I started the decade with Christian Bale and I’m closing the decade with him as well. Ford v Ferrari is a ton of fun with great performances and direction. It’s tense and comical and even as a non-fan of auto racing, it’s my #1 movie of the year. I knew a bit about Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) prior, but nothing about British race car driver Ken Miles (Bale). 2019 saw a slew of long movies, but this one didn’t feel as long as its runtime. I can’t wait to see it again. Honorable Mentions for 2019: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Ma, Good Boys, Hobbs & Shaw, Shazam, Yesterday, Rocketman, The Peanut Butter Falcon, Fighting with My Family, The Kid Who Would Be King, Dolemite is My Name, 1917, Richard Jewell, The Two Popes, My Best Friend’s Famous, Shaft
I’m sure I’ve missed a few (especially streaming and straight to video films) and I most likely have one or two in the wrong years. I looked at IMDB and box office totals for each year and a film might have been released end of one year, but made most of its money early the next (American Sniper style). I tried my best to make sure I was right, but with foreign films having different release dates it’s hard to tell at times. 2014 is the clear cut best year of the decade with me flip-flopping my picks while I wrote this article. It really was hard to pick just one.
As for overall Favorite Movie of the Decade, well it should be clearly obvious that it most likely has Christian Bale in it. I’ve watched it more than any other movie this decade and is great in all aspects of film from acting to story to direction to everything in between. My Favorite Movie of the Decade is…