The 50 Best Films of the Decade (So Far) #20-11

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 #20 – #11. Let’s get going…

#20 – “The Illusionist” (2010)


As a huge fan of the classic French filmmaker Jacques Tati it is impossible for me not to love Sylvain Chomet’s fabulous homage. Taken from one of Tati’s most personal stories, “The Illusionist” stays true to Tati’s special brand of humor and the gorgeous animated style portrays a classic feel that feels perfectly in tune. I adore this film.

#19 – “Take Shelter” (2011)


“Take Shelter” was not only made by one of my favorite young filmmakers (Jeff Nichols), but it features one of the very best performances of the decade (Michael Shannon). The story deals with the weight of mental illness on a loving family. Shannon is amazing playing a man trying to maintain a mental footing through his intense emotional storms. Superbly realized through Nichols’ script and his camera.

#18 – “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)


Many people had problems with Christopher Nolan’s finale to his Dark Knight trilogy. Personally I thought he wraps it up remarkably well. Expectations were through the roof after the brilliance of “The Dark Knight”. While this isn’t on that level of greatness, it is still an exciting and intelligent finish to the best superhero series to date.

#17 – “About Elly” (2015)


While it is a bit of a cheat (“About Elly” came out overseas in 2009 but 2015 in the United States), it’s a movie I insist be included. Farhadi’s third film on this list takes many of the previously mentioned elements and incorporates them into a different story. He is still examining relationships, deception, and personal revelations and he still does it in the most honest and thought-provoking way.

#16 – “Mud” (2013)


Jeff Nichols finds himself represented again this time in the southern gothic, coming-of-age drama set in small town Arkansas. Matthew McConaughey saw his career resurgence reach a new level with his performance as a mysterious drifter known only as Mud. Tye Sheridan is wonderful as is the supporting cast of Nichols favorites.

#15 – “The Rover” (2014)


It’s hard to express how hard I fell for David Michod’s dystopian thriller “The Rover”. The slow moving story weaves two distinctly different but equally fascinating characters together in a mysterious trek across a post-apocalyptic Australia. Guy Pearce leads the way but it’s Robert Pattinson who was the real surprise. The two butt heads throughout this dark and grungy tale.

#14 – “The Revenant” (2015)


I don’t always go for Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s approach to filmmaking, but I also don’t share the disdain for his work that some do. That’s because when he is on his game we get movies like “The Revenant”. Not only is this a riveting story of revenge, but it dabbles in several other deeper thoughts. It features some of the decade’s most stunning cinematography which is imperative in conveying the films many intriguing themes.

#13 – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)


Superhero movies are everywhere and I generally like more than I dislike. My clear favorite of the decade’s batch is “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. While this is a comic book movie through and through it has the smarts to do several new things. It pulls from classic spy movies and features a lot of action sequences that aren’t heavily dependent on CGI. Plus The Winter Soldier is one of the best villains Marvel has brought to the screen.

#12 – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)


How on earth did J.J. Abrams manage to pull this off. Talk about a project ripe for failure. Instead Abrams and company manage to create a true Star Wars experience. “The Force Awakens” channels so much of what made the original trilogy great while also setting a new and promising course. It’s great to be talking about “Star Wars” again.

#11 – “Shutter Island” (2010)


The second Martin Scorsese film on the list that I feel doesn’t get the credit it deserves. This time Marty delves into the psychological thriller arena and creates a truly unnerving experience. The core mystery is filled in through haunting flashbacks and subtle revelations and the setting is genuinely moody and creepy. Top it off with a deep and tragic Leonardo DiCaprio performance – one of the best of his career.

That’s it for now. Follow along and look for #10-#1 tomorrow. Also be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I would love to here your take on the list as it gets closer to my #1 pick of the decade (so far).

36 thoughts on “The 50 Best Films of the Decade (So Far) #20-11

    • Oh man I love Winter Soldier! Don’t you think they did a great job bringing him to the big screen. You really need to see Mud. It was filmed pretty close to me. Great film and Jeff Nichols continues to knock it out of the park.

  1. I’m surprised to see Shutter Island this high on your list. While I did enjoy, I found it quite disappointing compared to much of Scorsese’s other work.

    I know I’m repeating myself, but I think Farhadi’s one of the best filmmakers working today and About Elly really took me away. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

    • Repeat away my friend! I’m right there with you on Farhadi. Easily one of my favorite working filmmakers.

      I absolutely love Shutter Island. I think I really appreciated Scorsese’s willingness to go outside of his norm. And I loved the setting, the story, and the performances. It worked for me on every level. I do know it had a lot of detractors though.

  2. I’m on board with all of these films with the exception of The Rover and About Elly as I haven’t seen either while I would’ve still counted the latter as a 2009 film though I understand why you put it in the list since it did come out in the U.S. last year.

    • Fantastic! Love seeing others appreciating these films. I have a feeling the top 10 will be a little divisive. Anxious to see the responses.

      The Rover is exceptional. I definitely get what you’re saying with About Elly. I admit, it is a bit of a cheat. But I’m guilty. It had to be on here.

      • Interesting take but I couldn’t disagree more. I loved the characters and the story. I really went for the father/daughter dynamic and the death of the classic performing arts. Most importantly the movie is an astonishingly strong homage to Jacques Tati. The main character is Tati himself portrayed in the form of his Mr. Hulot character. It’s uncanny how well the capture him. And then there is the personal element. Tati wrote the story as a statement of remorse for his estranged relationship with his eldest daughter. You see it throughout the picture and I found it incredibly effective. I also adore the animation style. So much more unique than the standard computer generated norm.

    • There has been some mixed feelings on The Rover. I was absolutely absorbed in every minute of it. Pearce is fierce and mesmerizing but Pattinson really blew me away. Wasn’t expecting that strong of a performance.

  3. I’ve seen five of these – 11, 12, 13, 16, 18. Surprised to see them so high, but very glad to see them. Well, except The Dark Knight Rises. Lotta problems with that movie. Love the vote for The Winter Soldier as the top MCU film. It’s fantastic. And a big yes to Shutter Island.

    • Wasn’t a fan of DKR? I know many had issues with it. It really came together well for me.

      Winter Soldier had to be high on my list. It was sooo much fun. Love hearing it is one of your favorites from the MCU. Think Civil War can be on the same level?

      • I liked TDKR, but I didn’t love it by any stretch. I thought it was far inferior to the other two films in the trilogy.

        I really hope Civil War is on that level. I’m looking forward to it, big time.

      • Me too man. Bringing a bunch of other characters in kinda worries me, but I LOVED the Civil War story line from the comics. I hope they do it justice.

  4. great job again Keith. Totally agree about The Force Awakens. I’m actually curious to know if it would break my top ten if I were to do this because it was sooo amazingly done. Cant wait to see the top ten (in moments from now) 🙂

    • Loved it! And truthfully it had every opportunity to fail. I’m so glad it didn’t. Instead it felt like a genuine Star Wars movie but for a new era. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

      • Ditto. Im one of the few who also thoroughly enjoyed the prequels but this brought back the feelings of my youth from when I saw the original trilogy which the prequels weren’t able to do

  5. So glad Take Shelter is on here. Masterful movie in my opinion–this was the first Jessica chastain role I saw, and she impressed me right away. Looking forward to Midnight Special.

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