This was by far the hardest list for me to create because not only have we had a great decade in cinema so far, but it is also hard to judge the influence of films that are still babies in relation to the history of cinema. After putting in the most work on any list I have posted, I have finally finished. Here are my top movies from the first half of this current decade:
10. Toy Story 3- As dark as you could possibly get for an animated Pixar film, this third installment in the near perfect trilogy shows us a different and more mature side to the classic Toy Story characters we all know and love, while pulling at our heartstrings in such a way that only Pixar knows how to do.
9. Inception- One of the most original live action films we’ve seen in a while, this sci-fi action thriller is as a perfect example of what happens when you combine a perfect cast, a brilliant director, a wonder composer in Hans Zimmer, original storytelling and great editing/effects. No wonder this film was one of the great box office hits of 2010; it restored my faith in the concept that a film can be an intelligent, unique story as well as a commercial success.
8. Django Unchained- While slightly ruined by the last 20 minutes of unnecessary violence that did nothing to enhance the film, Tarantino still manages to breathe new life into the Western genre by providing his own take on the Spaghetti Western. It also serves as a reminder of the brilliance of the combination of Waltz and Tarantino.
7. Fruitvale Station- One of the most under-appreciated films in my opinion, this short film (84 minutes) manages to accomplish so much in a short space of time. It allows us to grow so attached to a character that by the time it’s finished, it leaves you speechless. Celebrating the joys of life and second chances while condemning unnecessary violence, Fruitvale Station has perfect subtextual themes for this current decade.
6. The Artist- In an age where technology has dwindled our attention span down to new lows, this silent, black and white film manages to recreate the magic of 1920s and 30s cinema in a way that is undeniably entertaining and enjoyable for all audiences of this century.
5. 12 Years a Slave- The Schindler’s List of slavery, this Steve McQueen directed film beautifully yet gruesomely captures the hardships of slavery and the feelings of desperation felt during that time period. It is not an easy film to watch by any means, but in some year’s time, it may well be necessary viewing.
4. Birdman- A brilliant directorial feat, this film is an exceptional showcase of what can happened when every aspect of filmmaking is done right and sets new ground for creativity in camera movements while accomplishing the seemingly impossible task of reviving Michael Keaton from cinematic limbo.
3. Short Term 12- As I wrote in my previous review on this site, Short Term 12 is essential cinema and so intimate in how relatable it is on an emotional level that it even gives Boyhood a run for its money. No movie has come as close to the emotional levels that Boyhood achieved than this film.
2. The Social Network- Finding a movie that perfectly defines a generation in its themes, plot, and popularity is difficult, but with the Social Network, we may have just found that exact movie for this current generation of youth. Jessie Eisenberg is a revelation as the Facebook pioneer and Fincher places his soon-to-be-classic fingerprints all over the film.
Honorable Mentions: Hugo, Under the Skin, Beasts of the Southern Wild, American Hustle, Whiplash, The King’s Speech, Dallas Buyer’s Club, How to Train Your Dragon, Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity
1. Boyhood- When I was making this list, there was no doubt in my mind that this film would be number one. Epic in its run time and the fact that it was filmed over 12 years, this film would still be able to stand on its own due to its immense emotional depth and realism. Boyhood manages to accomplish one of the quintessential goals of cinema: perfectly capture the definition of the human spirit.