The 50 Best Films of the Decade (So Far) #30-#21

50 Best

The decade is a little over half way gone so I thought it would be fun to look back at the first five years and see what movies have stood out the most. It is also a good chance to see how the films stand up against each other as well as how they have stood up with the passing of time. Today we are looking at #30 – #21. Let’s get going…

#30 – “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012)

MOONRISEOh how I love Wes Anderson movies. When you watch one there is no denying he is the man behind what you’re seeing. “Moonrise Kingdom” is a true gem in a filmography filled with gems. So many of Anderson’s favorites fill out the wonderful cast and the humor is the perfect measure of silly and quirky. And as with every Anderson picture there is a beautiful, warm heart at the center.

#29 – “Brooklyn” (2015)


I love that a movie which is so simple can also be so satisfying. “Brooklyn” is such a warm and sweet romantic drama, but I think many are content to leave it there. For me the film also tells the story of a young woman breaking free to take control of her own life. Saoirse Ronan gives the performance of her career and proves herself to be one of the best young actresses in the business.

#28 – “A Separation” (2011)


Writer and director Asghar Farhadi won an Academy Award for his potent drama “A Separation”. As with his other work, Farhadi dives deep into the emotions of his characters and meticulously reveals each layer of moral and psychological complexity. And he goes even further by thoughtfully examining an assortment of other relevant social issues. This is a gem.

#27 – “Nebraska” (2013)


One of the best surprises to come out of 2013 was Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska”. It succeeds in being one-half road trip comedy and one-half family drama. And at its core is the wonderfully ornery Bruce Dern. He’s surly but also sympathetic especially when surrounded by his less than loving family. Shot in gorgeous black-and-white, “Nebraska” looks and feels like classic cinema. It can also be laugh-out-loud hilarious.

#26 – “The Way, Way Back” (2013)


I remember having absolutely no expectations for “The Way, Way Back”. Instead I found it to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the decade. Delightfully warm and unexpectedly funny, the film hits many of the normal teen movie notes while never feeling redundant. And then there is the hysterical, show-stealing performance from Sam Rockwell.

#25 – “Sicario” (2015)


It didn’t take much to sell me on the border crime thriller “Sicario”. Denis Villenueve directing. Roger Deakins handling cinematography. Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin as the stars. All of those ingredients proved to equal an incredibly intense thriller. Blunt is excellent but it is Del Toro who keeps you glued to the screen.

#24 – “Winter’s Bone” (2010)


Before “The Hunger Games” and before her steady run of David O. Russell collaborations Jennifer Lawrence showed her acting chops in the cold, dark “Winter’s Bone”. This small rural thriller gave Lawrence the opportunity to showcase her immense talent, but it also gave us a John Hawkes portrayal of the scariest character of the decade.

#23 – “The Intouchables” (2012)


Olivier Nikache and Eric Toledano could have really dropped the ball with “The Intouchables”. Instead they develop two very different characters and a central relationship that is easy to invest in. Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet have a wonderful chemistry and the script utilizes it perfectly.

#22 – “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (2012)


I love it when movies come out of nowhere and blow me away. That is exactly what happened with Behn Zeitlin’s drama “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. Set in the Louisiana bayou, “Beasts” speaks of a poverty that may seem other-wordly to many, but through the eyes of a six-year old dreamer named Hushpuppy, it is simply home. A moving film that manages to be uplifting and deeply depressing at the same time.

#21 – “The Hunt” (2013)


In “The Hunt” Thomas Vinterberg pulls no punches in asking a host of thought-provoking questions regarding modern society. Mass hysteria, false judgements, gossip – these are just some of the ills at the center of Vinterberg’s story. Mads Mikkelsen gives an Oscar-worthy performance in a film that skillfully deals with troubling but important subject matter. Brilliant in every regard.

That’s it for now. Follow along and look for #20-#11 which will be coming just around the corner. Also be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I would love to hear what you think of the picks so far.

54 thoughts on “The 50 Best Films of the Decade (So Far) #30-#21

      • Beasts of the Southern Wild is a beautiful film that I’m glad has sustained a fan base. I liked all the films here I’ve seen (Nebraska is the only film I haven’t). Not sure I’d say they’re the best of the decade. I’m mixed on films like The Way, Way Back and Sicario, but Brooklyn is a lovely throwback to the romantic weepies of the 80’s, and A Separation is a truly powerful work.

      • Fair enough. Glad there are some here you’re really behind. All really struck a chord with me (obviously) and have really held up after repeat viewings. That was an important component for me.

      • Absolutely, Room was frustrating at first but built into something truly special. I’d like to see it win Best Picture but I can’t see it. Brie Larson for Best Actress is a sure thing though

      • I think you’re right. Larson will win Best Actress and you won’t hear me complain. And isn’t it great hearing people get behind her performance? People were surprised when she won the Golden Globe. Now a lot of people are behind her heading into Oscar night.

  1. Love seeing Sicario so high. Do you think it is Villeneuve’s best film out of his recent releases (Prisoners, Enemy, have yet to see Incendies)?

    And after seeing most of the Best Pic nominees (ugh still missed Room) and many of their featured performances, I still think Sicario got screwed hard in Best Director, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Original Screenplay.

    • Huge fan of Sicario and I do think this is Villeneuve’s best film. And I’m with you, how on earth does it not get nominated for Best Picture and especially Supporting Actor?????

  2. There’s so many good ones here! The only ones I wasn’t crazy about were The Way Way Back and Winter’s Bone. I actually wanted to burn down that village in The Hunt when I finished that movie

    • I like that reaction to The Hunt. I think it is how we are supposed to feel. What a despicable lot of people!

      Didn’t care for Winter’s Bone? I really went for it. John Hawkes’ Teardrop character was really creepy.

  3. I’ve seen 6 of the 10, and love five of them. Big yay for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Love the hell out of that movie. Same goes for Winter’s Bone. JLaw is magnificent in that one. Very pleased to also see Moonrise Kingdom, A Separation, and Nebraska. The only one I’m not terribly keen on is The Intouchables. Not terrible, but not that great, either.

    • So we are definitely on the same page with most of these. I was expecting someone to speak against The Intouchables. I have heard it called “light” and I can see that. But I loved the two main characters and their chemistry so much. And I think the script really utilizes it well.

      • Interesting. I definitely had a stronger positive reaction to it. Loved the performances and I really didn’t mind the common ticks because I thought the characters were easy to invest in.

  4. Moonrise Kingdom is a very worthy addition, Keith. Loved that film. It has that quirky offbeat sensibility that distinguishes Anderson’s films but it’s also quite accessible. Good to see Alexander Payne’s Nebraska – I’d have all his films in my top 50.

    • Big Payne fan? Even John Carter, I like him too and I even like JC despite the universal opinion. Moonrise is a wonderful Anderson film and you’re exactly right, it is quite accessible.

      • Yup! When I saw it, it was like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. So surreal, powerful and heartwarming. Glad you love it! Excited for the oscars haha?

      • And there is such a mixture up uplift and devastation by the end. Love it.

        The Oscars? Yes sir I am. I know they aren’t always right and I know some people dismiss them. But I absolutely love Oscar night. It is a great night to celebrate and talk about movies. Plus I love the history of the Oscars which makes adding to that history pretty special.

      • It’s funny, this year all but one of the Best Picture nominees were in my Top 20 of the year. That never happens. Rooting hard for Spotlight (which won the big prize at today’s Spirit Awards). But I wouldn’t be disappointed if The Revenant won. Really impressed with that one too.

      • Aww man was there a live stream somewhere,so bummed I missed it! Haha Spotlight and The Revenant made 10 and 9 on my top 10 respectively. I just looked, Myat Taylor and Beasts Of No Nation won big!!! WOO!

  5. Oh my gosh, I LOVED The Hunt, but that movie made me so angry and sad and makes one think so much about society and lies. Great movie. Mikkelsen, of course, owned that role. He is amazing.

    • Mads is fantastic and the movie definitely had the desired effect. You’re right, its statement on society is clear and powerful. And it leave you boiling mad, doesn’t it?

    • Oh man I love foreign cinema. So often they provide such unique and fresh perspectives on a host of interesting subjects. That said, when I was putting this list together I was surprised to see how many foreign pictures were popping up.

      • Im in the minority when it comes to foreign language films. I feel I need to devote even more when watching them in order to not miss anything. Even a movie like crouching tiger which I love so much feels like its missing something because I dont understand the language

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