The Best Movies of the 2010s
A lot can change in a decade. Ten years ago, Blockbuster still had 6,500 stores in operation all over the world. Ten years ago, Netflix was still two years away from releasing their first original series. Ten years ago, hot off the success of Avatar, 3D was supposedly the future of theatrical movies. Ten years ago, the biggest movie of the summer was Toy Story 3.
Times change. Today there is exactly one (1) Blockbuster left on the entire planet, and last year Netflix spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $13 billion just on original content. 3D is almost as unimportant as it was ten years before Avatar, and the second biggest movie of the summer was Toy Story 4.
Okay, so not everything changes with time. Still, it is astonishing to look back just ten years ago to see how different the landscape of movies were at that time. Not only are video stores almost entirely extinct, but some movie theaters are struggling with declining ticket sales as well — even here in New York City, where one of the most recent theaters to close is now being resurrected ... by Netflix. Nonetheless, as the world around them has gone haywire, the films themselves have remained the world’s most reliable source of entertainment, escape, enlightenment, empathy, and overpriced popcorn.
Somehow, I have been doing this job in one shape or form for all of the last ten years. A lot has changed for me in that time too; I went from a newlywed who mostly worked as a TV host at film festivals to a father of two and online writer who barely travels outside of his home office. I’ve been working at this gig for so long that several of the websites that originally published my top ten lists for some of the years of the 2010s no longer exist.
In other words, who knows if there will even be movies as we understand them — or places to talk about them professionally — in another ten years. But as we prepare for the coming of 2020, they are still here; beautiful, thrilling, terrifying, and illuminating. And I’m still here, too. So I decided to pick my 20 favorite films of the last yen years, along with 20 more honorable mentions. (And yes, before you ask: I do still have a few late 2019 releases to see; I reserve the right to update this list to include Cats.) In ascending order, my picks are...
Honorable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order): Annihilation (2018, Alex Garland), Anomalisa (2015, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson), The Cabin in the Woods (2012, Drew Goddard), Certified Copy (2010, Abbas Kiarostami), A Ghost Story (2017, David Lowery), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, Wes Anderson), Her (2013, Spike Jonze), The Interrupters (2011, Steve James), I Saw the Devil (2010, Kim Jee-woon), Mission: Impossible — Fallout (2018, Christopher McQuarrie), Moonlight (2016, Barry Jenkins), Mother (2010, Bong Joon-ho), Phantom Thread (2017, Paul Thomas Anderson), Private Life (2018, Tamara Jenkins), Roma (2018, Alfonso Cuarón), A Separation (2011, Asghar Farhadi), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017, Martin McDonagh), Toni Erdmann (2016, Maren Ade), Under the Skin (2013, Jonathan Glazer), Zero Dark Thirty (2012, Kathryn Bigelow).
Gallery — The Best Movie Taglines of the 2010s: