My goodness this was difficult. Putting together a list of my 100 favorite movies since 2010 was by far the most challenging movie-post I’ve attempted so far (because this is just so hard am I right?); there have just been so many great movies the last few years, and I’ve seen a lot of them. I’m honestly quite proud of this list, there’s a lot of diversity to it, I just wish I had seen more documentaries and foreign films, but what can you do. Without further ado, strap yourself down and prepare for quite the long post.
100. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Matthew McConaughey solidified his place as one of the hardest working and most versatile actors today. Alright alright alright.
99. Looper (2012)
Rian Johnson proved himself to be on of the most unique voices in sci-fi with this very thought provoking take on time travel. The future of the Star Wars franchise is in great hands.
98. Friends with Benefits (2011)
No, this movie doesn’t break new ground in the romantic comedy genre, but Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are so fun to watch that you can’t help but smile watching them fall in love.
97. The Skeleton Twins (2014)
Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader have terrific chemistry in a movie that might make you all teary eyed if you have a sibling. Even if you don’t, this is a powerful, warm story about two people reconnecting and moving past darkness.
96. The Drop (2014)
James Gandolfini in his last performance is a slow burn of a crime thriller. And you get to see Tom Hardy hold an adorable puppy throughout. Nuff said.
95. Begin Again (2014)
Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo star in quite the feel good movie. And Adam Levine is a surprisingly good actor, plus Lost Stars is one of last year’s best songs.
94. The Ides of March (2011)
One of George Clooney’s more impressive directorial outings. A little bit like House of Cards before House of Cards was a thing.
93. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Quite possibly my favorite Edgar Wright film. This is one of the most visually exciting, fun movies on tis list.
92. Predestination (2015)
If you guess the twist, you are a psychic.
91. Tangled (2010)
One of Disney’s best modern films in its new Golden Age. The animation is simply gorgeous.
90. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
The first in what is absolutely DreamWorks’ best franchise yet. Unlike many of the studio’s efforts, this is an earnest film focused on heart above all else.
89. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
One of the best examples of why a reboot isn’t always a bad thing. Andy Serkis’ Caesar is one of cinema’s greatest characters.
88. Neighbors (2014)
My god this made me laugh.
87. The Master (2012)
I’m still not entirely sure if I understand this, but I do know it contains two of the best performances I’ve ever seen in Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
86. Don Jon (2013)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s very impressive directorial debut is the most honest romantic comedy in quite some time.
85. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
The only massive franchise to deserve a split managed to stay great through all eight installments. The Harry and Hermione dancing sequence is one of the best in the series.
84. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
The tear-jerker of two people who refuse to let their disease define their existence. Okay? Okay.
83. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Bryan Singer had the impossible task of reinventing the X-Men franchise, and he succeeded spectacularly. Let’s see if Joss Whedon can top this version of Quicksilver.
82. War Horse (2011)
No, this doesn’t stand up to Steven Spielberg’s best, but it is an emotional journey that made me want a horse. And my goodness, it’s beautiful.
81. John Wick (2014)
Keanu Reeves gives possibly his best performance since The Matrix, in one of the best modern action films around. Probably more deserving of a sequel than almost any movie out today.
80. Men, Women and Children (2014)
I truly don’t understand the hate this movie received. It hit my heart hard and it has a lot to say about the modern digital age.
79. Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
It’s probably a little too long, but it’s funny and surprisingly emotional. Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling made for a terrific duo.
78. The Raid 2 (2014)
The Raid: Redemption was further proof of why American action films are lacking today, and it’s sequel was even more elaborate, and more exciting. That last fight sequence is perfection.
77. Nightcrawler (2014)
Jake Gyllenhaal is giving great performance after great performance and Lou Bloom is probably his most interesting, and disturbing character to date. If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy the ticket.
76. Contagion (2011)
If you don’t freak out when you hear coughing after watching this, you’re a stronger person than I am.
75. Rush (2013)
Ron Howard’s best movie in quite sometime, and Chris Hemsworth proved his has what it takes to be a movie star beyond the Marvel universe.
74. Moneyball (2011)
How can you not be romantic about baseball?
73. The Hunt (2013)
My goodness is this movie an emotional tornado. Mads Mikkelsen is unbelievably good here.
72. Shutter Island (2010)
I first saw this movie on a date with a girl I had just started seeing. She wanted to make out, I wanted to watch the movie. Her and I broke up, but I still vividly remember the first time I saw this. I made the right choice.
71. The Grey (2012)
This is more than just another Liam Neeson action film. This is a brutal meditation on how fiercely we hold onto life when we think we no longer want it.
70. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Jennifer Lawrence as one of the best modern heroes leads one of the best franchises in sometime. This is a sequel that improves upon the already very good first movie in every way.
69. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
I don’t think anyone would have guessed that last years’ most memorable characters would be a talking raccoon and a tree, but Marvel continues to dominate the blockbuster landscape with the most fun superhero movie maybe ever.
68. The Conjuring (2013)
This may very well be the best horror film in over a decade. James Wan understood that great horror doesn’t rely on jump scares, and instead uses atmosphere and great pacing to create dread.
67. 21 Jump Street (2012)
Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are two of the best voices in comedy working today, taking a concept that shouldn’t have worked and turning it into a buddy cop movie classic. And who knew Channing Tatum could be so hilarious?
66. Stories We Tell (2013)
A documentary that challenges what it means to be a documentary.
65. Frozen (2013)
In an era where Disney is creating nothing but great movies, Frozen stands on top as a modern animated classic. And with Frozen 2 just announced, it looks like they won’t be letting it go anytime soon.
64. About Time (2013)
What could have been a generic romance film turned out to be one of the best father/son stories I’ve ever seen. And Rachel McAdams is such a sweetheart.
63. Skyfall (2013)
This is probably the most beautiful, well shot action film in quite sometime. Daniel Craig as James Bond is perfection and I cannot wait for Spectre.
62. Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol (2011)
Tom Cruise is simply the greatest action star working today. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such an adrenaline rush watching a movie before.
61. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Wes Anderson at his most Wes Anderson-y.
60. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Marvel’s best standalone movie yet, and absolutely the best part of Phase Two so far. More than just a superhero movie, this is an intense spy thriller with some of the most exciting action sequences in quite a while.
59. 127 Hours (2010)
So much more than “the movie where the guy cuts off his arm.” Although that is something to see.
58. Locke (2014)
Tom Hardy carries a movie that has no right to be as compelling as it is.
57. Argo (2012)
Ben Affleck is simply one of the greatest directors working today, and even though this is his weakest film in my opinion, it is still a heart pounding experience.
56. True Grit (2010)
The Coen brothers made the best Western of the modern age, and it is the superior version.
55. Buried (2010)
Anyone who debates Ryan Reynolds’ acting abilities hasn’t seen this.
54. Let Me In (2010)
Another reason why not all remakes are bad. This is just as great as the terrific Swedish version. Forget Twilight, this is a great vampire film.
53. Source Code (2011)
Who knew repeating the same scene over and over could be so interesting.
52. Zero Dark Thirty (2013)
Kathryn Bigelow refuses to coddle her audience, creating war movies that actual delve deep into character and display America’s mistakes. Jessica Chastain gives an incredible performance.
51. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Last year’s biggest surprise. It’s Groundhog Day meets Aliens meets Saving Private Ryan and it’s awesome.
50. A Most Violent Year (2014)
Oscar Isaac channels a young Al Pacino in a very atypical gangster film.
49. Trust (2011)
I feel like I’m the only person in the world that loves this movie, but it’s so much more than just a Lifetime special like some of its critics say. Liana Liberato leads a very emotional, powerful story about how terrible people take advantage of someone who just wants understanding and love.
48. Ted (2012)
This might be my favorite straight comedy in years.
47. The Descendants (2011)
Alexander Payne gave us one of George Clooney’s best performances and introduced me to Shailene Woodley. This is a great family drama.
46. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
So much more than a romantic comedy. It deals with mental illness in a mature way and started the David O. Russell/Jennifer Lawrence/Bradley Cooper team.
45. Captain Phillips (2013)
Paul Greengrass is probably the only director capable of using shaky-cam effectively, and Tom Hanks reminds us why he’s such a legend.
44. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Forget all the behind the scenes controversy, this is a heartbreaking look at two lovers growing apart from each other. And Adele Exarchopoulos is everything.
43. Cloud Atlas (2012)
Possibly the most ambitious undertaking on this list. Somehow the Wachowski’s and Tom Tykwer made six interweaving stories in different parts of history meld together in quite the extraordinary experience.
42. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Even though the Swedish version is great, David Fincher’s take on the material is more styish and more compelling. Rooney Mara gives my second favorite performance of the decade so far (you’ll see number one later).
41. End of Watch (2012)
David Ayer’s cop film is one of the most emotional expereinces on this list.
40. Les Miserables (2012)
Tom Hooper’s epic musical. The “Can You Hear the People Sing” sequence is one of the greatest scenes of any movie on this list.
39. Midnight in Paris (2011)
I haven’t seen nearly as much Woody Allen as I would like to (which also sounds like a terrible Woody Allen joke), but this is such a charming, funny, unique film. I love it.
38. Hugo (2011)
Martin Scorsese’s love letter to cinema.
37. This Is the End (2013)
I lied, this is my favorite comedy of the last couple years. Jonah Hill getting raped by Satan is the funniest thing you’ll ever see.
36. Gravity (2013)
Alfono Cuaron’s revolutionary space-thriller is an experience that will leave you breathless.
35. Before Midnight (2013)
Richard Linklater is the master of taking normal life and making it into something as compelling as any blockbuster. This is the conclusion as one of the greatest and least likely trilogies in film history. I hope we get one every nine years.
34. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
My goodness, this is one of the most emotionally draining, but necessary films I’ve ever seen.
33. 50/50 (2011)
I never would have guessed a cancer-comedy would work so well, but this is a funny and ultimately a film that devastates the heart.
32. What If (2014)
This movie just makes me so so happy. It also made me cry. This charming, sweet romantic comedy is my life in so many ways.
31. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Matt Reeves wisely put the focus on the apes in one of the greatest sequels I’ve ever seen.
30. Foxcatcher (2014)
This is a slow, cold, brooding film with three of the best performances in any movie I’ve ever seen. Anyone who argues Channing Tatum isn’t a great actor at this point is just being foolish.
29. The Spectacular Now (2013)
James Ponsoldt has such a great understanding of what it’s like to be in high school, not knowing what the future holds. John Hughes would be proud.
28. The Town (2010)
Ben Affleck’s Heat is a terrific crime thriller with some incredibly tense moments.
27. The Fighter (2010)
This is so much more than a boxing movie. This is a story about two brothers who above all else in their life, love each other.
26. Shame (2011)
Steve McQueen’s study of sex addiction is the most powerful addiction story since Requiem for a Dream. Michael Fassbender is god here.
25. Selma (2014)
This is not a biopic that paints someone’s entire life in a Lifetime sheen, but instead explores Martin Luther King Jr.’s frustrations, fears, and hopes in vivid detail.
24. Blue Valentine (2010)
The most devastatingly honest story about love and the loss of love I’ve ever seen.
23. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
If The Conjuring is the best straight horror film in a while, this is by far the most enjoyable. Deconstructing horror tropes even better than Scream did in the 90′s, this is a brilliant, fun look at a genre that has been weighed down by constant cliche.
22. The Avengers (2012)
This is the movie every comic book nerd like myself has dreamed about, I just couldn’t have imagined it would be this great. The culmination of years of setup, this was cinematic ecstasy.
21. Django Unchained (2012)
Quentin Tarantino’s bloody “Southern” is brutal, hilarious, dramatic, and gave us some terrific performances.
20. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
One of the best high school films of all time. A great soundtrack, great characters, and an author who directed his own terrific book.
19. Gone Girl (2014)
David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s great novel (and her equally great script) satirizes the media, Nancy Grace, marriage, and a host of other issues in this very effective mystery. Rosamund Pike is unbelievably good.
18. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
DreamWorks’ best film yet is an ambitious, beautifully animated, shocking film about taking on more responsibility than we think we can handle. Toothless is one of the greatest animated creatures of all time.
17. Black Swan (2010)
Natalie Portman gives one of my favorite performances on this list in Darren Aronofsky’s fable about the horrors of the quest for perfection. And Mila Kunis isn’t a bad addition either.
16. Warrior (2011)
What could have easily been just a predictable sports film turned into one of the most emotional stories I can remember. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are terrific in this brother vs. brother story.
15. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
One of the Coen brother’s best films is a depressing look into how success doesn’t find everyone. Oscar Isaac is amazing and the music is great. And that cat is so cute.
14. The Place Beyond the Pines (2014)
Derek Cianfrance explores the cause and effect fathers have on their sons in a family drama where the word epic can be appropriately used. This hit me hard.
13. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
I don’t understand the disappointment some felt while watching this masterpiece. Christopher Nolan ended one of the greatest trilogies of all time on a somber, meditative note, and the last 10 minutes are some of the greatest I can remember.
12. Life of Pi (2012)
Ang Lee’s mind-blowingly gorgeous film will leave you awestruck. This is the most beautifully shot film on the list. This is a technical achievement like no other.
11. Boyhood (2014)
Rarely is a filmmaker able to do something that has literally never been done before, but Richard Linklater’s 12 year project is one of simple perfection. He shows us the small moments are what add up and make life worth living.
10. Short Term 12 (2013)
This movie will break your heart, rebuild it, break it again, tape it back together, and leave it up to you to pick up the pieces. Maybe this hit me harder than it will most people because this is what I want to do with my career, but if you’re able to sit through the “octopus story” scene and not have a little something in your eye, you’re cold.
9. Drive (2011)
Nicolas Winding Refn’s neo-noir is the coolest movie I’ve ever seen. Ryan Gosling is perfectly cast in this very different crime movie, where the neon lights shine brightly, the people are brutal, and all the driver needs is five minutes.
8. Whiplash (2014)
My goodness this movie grabs you from the first scene and doesn’t let go. With one of the best final scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie, this film is non-stop excitement. J.K. Simmons is operating on a whole other level here.
7. Interstellar (2014)
Christopher Nolan shot for the stars with his space epic, and in my mind, he flew beyond them. This is one of the most ambitious and emotional movie going experiences I’ve ever had. Beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, incredibly directed, this is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
A perfect conclusion to one of the greatest franchises in film history. I can’t imagine Harry, Hermione, and Ron’s story ending in a better way. The Battle of Hogwarts is one of the most satisfying action sequences I’ve ever seen, and the “Snape memory” sequence is heartbreaking beyond compare. My favorite Harry Potter film.
5. The Social Network (2010)
In 50 years, if there is one movie that defines this generation it’s this one. Mark Zuckerberg changed the way we communicate forever, and David Fincher’s version of this story is one that made “the Facebook movie” so much more than that.
4. Her (2013)
The great romance of the modern era. Spike Jonze’s vision of the future is full of warm, light colors and a lot of loneliness. You believe in the romance between Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. You believe they love each other and you believe Theodore can grow past his inability to truly, selflessly care for someone.
3. Toy Story 3 (2010)
The greatest animated film so far this decade is also the conclusion of one of cinema’s great trilogies. Pixar hit all the right notes in its sendoff to childhood and what it means to let go of the things you love the most. Toy Story 4 needs to be perfect. It just needs to be.
2. Inception (2010)
Christopher Nolan is unlike no other filmmaker working today. He’s able to craft intimate character studies in the backdrop of larger than life action sequences. This mix of The Matrix and James Bond is one of the most unique, bold sci-fi films I’ve witnessed. I left the theater euphoric.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The moment I saw this movie I knew it would be one of my favorites for a long time to come. Leonardo DiCaprio gives my favorite performance so far this decade and maybe one of my favorites of all time. Martin Scorsese made this drug-fueled-3-hour-party into the most exciting, hilarious, wild film experience I can imagine. This is a heroin shot to movie theaters while never losing its social importance and condemnation of what people like Jordan Belfort represent.
Well, there it is guys. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I would love to heart your favorite films of the decade so far, because nothing brings us together quite like the power of the movies.
Today in Book News: Joan Didion is getting the Kickstarter treatment. Her nephew, Griffin Dunne, has turned to the crowd-funding site in order to put the iconic writer’s life on film, in a proposed documentary that borrows one of Didion’s lines for its title: We Tell Ourselves Stories To Live.
The documentary, which will be made in collaboration with director Susanne Rostock, aims to cobble together a vision of Didion’s life and career from old footage, the assembled memories of the writer herself and more than a dozen interviews with other artists such as Patti Smith and Vanessa Redgrave.
Also today, a dictionary hubbub, the Bronx loses its last full-service bookstore, and the house that inspired Peter Pan gets a restoration.
CONTINUUM is a feature length documentary telling the story of where we came from, who we are, and the possiblities of our future. The film features interviews with poets and astronauts, physicists and storytellers, anthropologists and Tibetan lamas, and stunning cinematography from around the world. The many voices of the film share a unified vision: we must start acting as a planetary civilization.