The 50 Best Films of the Decade (So Far) #10-#1

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 down to #10 – #1. Let’s get going…

#10 – “Boyhood” (2014)


During last year’s Oscar season it became somewhat fashionable for some to hate “Boyhood”. Some even called it “Oscar bait”. Obviously these people don’t know Richard Linklater. He doesn’t make bait movies and “Boyhood” is far from it. It’s a deep look at growing up that stays away from the big and obvious life moments. Instead it looks at the things which shaped its central character. At the end of the film it gave me a greater appreciation for my son and encouraged me to be a better influence.

#9 – “The Artist” (2011)


Yet another film many dismissed as Oscar bait. I think that is a ridiculous perspective. I love “The Artist” and its unashamed appreciation for the silent film era. The movie features so many stunningly accurate details and Jean Dujardin deserved his Best Actor Oscar. Everything from his expressions to his look seems pulled from that era and his chemistry with Bérénice Bejo shows in every scene they share.

#8 – “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)


One of the most glorious visual experiences I have had came from George Miller’s return to the wasteland. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is an incredible accomplishment within the action genre. It’s a carnival of vehicular carnage but at the same time the film goes to great lengths to be more than a macho movie. Women play a big role in the story which few people expected.

#7 – “Interstellar” (2014)


Christopher Nolan brings originality to every project he takes on. This particular movie reaches out in several interesting directions and explores several mind-bending ideas. There is a deep family element at the film’s center, but it also tips its hat to classic science fiction cinema. Some didn’t go for Nolan’s deliberate presentation. I found it fascinating.

#6 – “Spotlight” (2015)


This is lofty praise but I think “Spotlight” is the best film about journalism ever made. It is ensemble work at its finest and the procedural aspect of it fascinates me. The story looks at an incredible important topic, but it never uses its subject for cheap emotional reaction. It presents its case and highlights the true story of a newspaper’s discovery. Brilliant film from top to bottom.

#5 – “The Tree of Life” (2011)


When Terrence Malick released “The Tree of Life” in 2011 the responses were all over the place. There is no denying it is a unique film that doesn’t follow any routine formula. For me it was a hypnotic and emotional experience that I found challenging and rewarding. Sorting through the film’s message isn’t easy, but I was blown away by what it meant to me personally. It is a beautiful and lyrical film both narratively and visually.

#4 – “Amour” (2012)


Michael Haneke is often slammed for making movies that punish his characters and his audience. Some said the same about “Amour”. I view this film from a completely different perspective. This is a film about love, true genuine love. Love isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t always pretty. It is difficult. It is sacrificial. Haneke shows a side of love that we never get in movies. It is extremely tough to sit through, but my appreciation for what he shows us is huge.

#3 – “Gravity” (2013)


When talking about “Mad Max: Fury Road” I mentioned the incredible visual experience I had. The same could be said for “Gravity”. Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-science fiction movie offers up some of the most extraordinary visual effects I’ve ever seen on the big screen. But while others had problems with the thin plot, I found the story of self-discovery and rebirth to be powerful and satisfying. I recently rewatched “Gravity” and it still has a strong effect on me.

#2 – “Midnight in Paris” (2011)


Woody Allen is such a hit-or-miss filmmaker (mostly miss for my tastes), but he knocked it out of the park with the magical “Midnight in Paris”. So much could be said as to why this film works so well. The humor is whip smart. The city of Paris is perfectly utilized through the brilliant cinematography. Owen Wilson surprises with his fantastic performance. The supporting cast is top-notch. It’s some of Allen’s best writing to date. “Midnight in Paris” is essentially flawless in my opinion from its gorgeous opening montage to the perfect final scene.

#1 – “Inception” (2010)


It’s an impossible task but for me the best movie of the decade so far is Christoper Nolan’s dream thriller “Inception”. Anchored by one of the most original scripts, “Inception” captivates as it twists and turns through layers of dreams and emotional baggage. The cast is superb – DiCaprio, Hardy, Cotillard, Gordon-Levitt, Caine, Page, Murphy, Berenger, Watanabe. Hans Zimmer’s score is amazing and the special effects give us some of Nolan’s greatest visuals. “Inception” may not be for everyone, but I see it as a true modern masterpiece.

That wraps up this attempt at listing the 50 best films of the decade so far. What say you? Agree or disagree with by top ten? Please sound off in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.

65 thoughts on “The 50 Best Films of the Decade (So Far) #10-#1

  1. YAS!! Noice! I loved Inception and Midnight In Paris too, both are in my favourite movies ever list!! I’m so so happy we share that in common. This is a fine list by itself, you have some great taste my friend… awesome movies that will stand the test of time! 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I figure these ten may get a little disagreement. Love hearing your appreciation for Inception. I NEVER get tired of it. It is so incredibly original. Did you get to see it in the theater. I remember when the end credits rolled I knew I had seen something special.

      As for Midnight, it is magical. I loved it the first moment I saw it. It is the rare movie that has really grown on me with each viewing. I think it was #3 on my list for that year but it tops them all on this list.

      • Agreed, I get this really fuzzy feeling when I watch Midnight in Paris. Mainly because I love Paris too. But the film was fantastic, really beautiful.
        Oh man I still think I’ve seen something special even after the sixth viewing. It left me speechless. How Christopher Nolan came up with that plot is beyond my imagination haha!

      • I can’t tell you how much I light up every time Hemingway or Fitzgerald pop up. But I also loved it when Wilson. I haven’t always been the biggest fan of his but he is so perfect in that role.

      • I loved how they captured the romantic-era spirit, and how a personality of a city is fleshed out so well. That dilemma between practical new world and idealist old world was a nice touch, and yes the cast was great!
        I would’ve put Drive, Gone Girl, Whiplash and Her in my top 10 as well.

      • Some smart choices there. Oddly other than Gone Girl, they are films they left me underwhelmed for different reasons. I still respect the opinions of the vast number of people who really like those films.

  2. Controversial top ten that’s for sure. Well, controversial is the wrong choice of words, ‘different’ is better. I enjoyed Midnight in Paris as much as the next guy but you’re the first to place it so high. Good job though, not an easy task to crack

    • You’re right. Not controversial. I used that intentionally lofty adjective but ‘different’ is a better word.

      For me Midnight does so many things perfectly. The supporting cast of expats was so much fun. Hiddleston, Stoll, Bates, Brody, etc. I also adored how it captured the allure of the city – better than any movie ever made in Paris. I loved Cotillard and her representation of Wilson’s vision of classic Paris. Well, I’m blabbering, but basically when I was hammering out these final picks Midnight kept holding its own against the others.

      How about Inception? Big fan?

      • When you put it like that I remember how much I enjoyed it as well actually, even if Woody Allen does my head in! Inception I am a huge fan of, extremely well made, a modern classic that’s for sure

      • I am with you on Allen. I often struggle with his movies which is one reason this one was such a wonderful surprise. We actually went to Paris a few months after first seeing the film and I was amazed at how well it captured how I ended up feeling about the city!

        And I never get tired of hearing fellow praise for Inception! My wife and I have an ongoing debate about it. I adore it, her not so much.

  3. I’ve seen all of these except Spotlight. Some real surprises here, but love Inception as your top pick. I think it’s a brilliant movie. Can’t say I feel the same for Midnight in Paris. It was decent, but I thought Blue Jasmine was the far superior Woody Allen movie from this decade.

    Kinda expected to see Gravity and Fury Road. No arguments from me, there. Pleasantly surprised to see Amour, The Artist, and Interstellar so high. I view Amour the same way as you. It’s a film about love. Hard to watch, but about an unwavering love.

    Finally, I just hate both Boyhood and Tree of Life. I mean HATE.

    Anyhoo, I’ve really enjoyed watching this list unfold. I do have a few reservations, of course, but it’s pretty strong overall. I also appreciate how much effort you put into making this. Great work!

    • I really appreciate you following along. It has been fun to hear people’s take on it. It wasn’t easy to do but it sure has been a lot of fun.

      I’m a big fan of Blue Jasmine but for me Midnight was such a fascinating mix of humor, nostalgia, and love for a city. The great cast of characters from Hemingway to Dali to Fitzgerald was so much fun. And as I said elsewhere, no movie has ever captured the beauty and allure of Paris like that film. I’m kind of crazy about that movie.

      Amour – and astonishing and powerful bit of filmmaking. Glad to hear others who feel the same way.

      I knew Boyhood and Tree of Life would get their fair share of hate. I can see Tree not connecting with folks, but the disdain for Boyhood puzzles me. I understand if people weren’t blown away by it, but I really can’t connect with the hate.

    • So it sounds like we have both have strong positive reactions to many of these. Bravo!

      As for Gravity, I remember some critics describing it as science fiction. I never considered it full-blown sci-fi. Yes it is in space, but it is a pretty technologically grounded picture. It doesn’t function as standard science fiction movies normally do.

    • Thanks man. Tree of Life is a polarizing film and I can’t understand why. I thought it was tremendous. We definitely agree on Inception though. Love that movie to death.

      Thanks for reading. Great to hear from ya!

  4. Amour and Boyhood would definitely be in my top ten too – really great films. Inception…maybe, if I had the will to make a list up! There are several others here that I’ve really enjoyed from the decade so far as well …and a couple I’m not so fussed about, but I guess it’s no surprise as all our tastes are different!
    Gravity and The Artist were great fun, too – I should watch both again sometime. Thanks for putting together an interesting, high quality list.

    • No, thank you for following along and sharing your thoughts. To be honest I was pretty encouraged. The whole time I was narrowing it down I kept thinking “somebody is definitely going to have a problem with this one”. But I think they came out pretty well and the input has been fantastic.

      Oh, and I’m really glad to hear enthusiasm for Amour. I have such a strong affection for that film.

      • Well I do have a problem that neither Ride Along or Ride Along 2 were included, but it’s up to me to write my own list to right that particular wrong! Anyway…all joking aside, it has opened me up to a few films I hadn’t heard of before and reminded me to watch others, which is great.
        Amour is a masterpiece – it would definitely be in my top 5.

  5. Great to see some love for Interstellar! I feel as though it receives far too much hate. For me, it’s one of the few films from the past several years that truly felt like a new experience. I lost myself in that film, and I’ve loved it ever since. Excellent list!

    • YES!!!! I agree with every single thing you said! I do think it gets unfairly criticized. I love what you said – it feels like a new experience. So true!

  6. Great to see Interstellar finally getting some love. It seems as though it’s received a strange amount of heat. For me, it was one of the few films of the past several years that truly felt like a new experience. I was lost in that film, and I’ve loved it ever since. Excellent list!

  7. Nice list Keith. The Tree of Life and Amour are both among the best movies of the past five years. I know you didn’t like them, but I’d add Her, The Master, and Holy Motors.

    • Thanks. I appreciate all of the contributions to the conversation. I can’t say how much I love Amour and Tree of Life. I love everything about them.

      I didn’t hate Her or The Master. Liked many things about them. I’ve really intended to watch The Master again. I can see where there would be a lot that I could get from a second viewing. Holy Motors though. I have to admit I REALLY didn’t care for it.

    • Really glad to hear that. It kept sticking around as I was narrowing down my list. I just love the film and I think it does so many different things superbly.

  8. Wow, interesting picks…some of these I wouldn’t have in my own top 50 even though they are technically great they don’t move me enough (Interstellar and Inception). Amour was good, but not for me. Gravity would definitely be in my top 10, but Boyhood…didn’t like that film.

    • I figured there would be some who really didn’t go for these particular choices. Interesting takes on Interstellar and Inception. I found both to be incredibly moving. The father/children dynamic really gets to me. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I still get misty every time I see the end of Inception.

      I can understand Amour not being for everyone and I can say the same for Boyhood. But at least we have Gravity, right? 😉

      • We do indeed!

        As for Interstellar and Inception I always have the feeling that Nolan isn’t very good in putting emotion into his films….usually get this feeling with his movies that I’m watching a very well put together machine. Beautiful to look at and I can respect the artistry, but it simply doesn’t manage to move me as much as I would like. Not to say that I don’t like any of his movies, but that is the case for these two.

      • That’s completely understandable. I think they work simply because the emotional threads were there for me. I think you make a good point though. If the emotional link isn’t there I can see the films not working as well.

    • AHA!!! So you are a member of the Boyhood Hate Brigade!?!?!?! 😉

      It does my heart good to hear from several people who support the Midnight in Paris choice. I thought it would get a little heat for being so high. I just love it to death. Dare I say this, but it is my favorite Woody Allen picture.

  9. I am a huge fan of Inception – glad to see it rank so highly, and I can totally get on board with you about that. The movie is phenomenal.

  10. Nice list! 🙂 I did a Top Ten since the year 2000 a couple of years ago. I should update it – I think a lot could be added (Fury Road would definitely make my new list). 🙂 Of these, I’ve only not seen Amour & Tree of Life. And I don’t really rate Inception… :-/

    • AAARRRGGHHHH!!!!! You have been poisoned by my wife!!! She doesn’t rate Inception either! 🙂

      You really should seek out Amour. Very tough movie to watch but sooo powerful.

      I had a tough time narrowing this one down. I can’t imagine tackling all the way back to 2000. So many good movies to sort through.

      • It’s just…. No Prestige. At ALL. 😉 I’ll add Amour to my list! I actually can’t remember my list – I’d have to look again but know my number one was a bit of a cheat with “All Pixar films”. 🙂

  11. I love Inception but I honestly don’t know what I would pick as the best movie of the decade so far. Now I feel like I have to think about it a lot…

  12. at least ive seen all 10 of these. only two dont deserve to make the top 10 IMHO, Midnight in Paris (was very good, but not top ten) and Tree of LIfe (I hated it. made no sense whatsoever). I;m actually debating seeing it again one day, but dreading the experience, maybe it’s just me.

    Great list overall, but I must say that I’m a bit surprised that Inside Out didn’t make your list at all

    • Thanks for checking it out. Inside Out is a good movie but I just don’t quite go for Pixar stuff like many do. I do like it though. Just not as one of the best of the decade so far.

      I think Midnight is delightful – Woody Allen’s best film in my opinion. For me it hit every single note perfectly. For me Tree of Life was an incredible experience. I’ve seen it several times now and still it to be a beautifully hypnotic film. That said, I can see how some wouldn’t connect with it.

  13. It’s been a real treat going through these posts man. A fantastic and ambitious project for sure! Loving the number 1 selection; I’d certainly have it in my top 5 and possibly even 3. How long did it take you to put this all together? This would be some month-long thing for me! haha

    • Thanks so much Tom. It took about 10 days to select them and write it up. But that was after I settled on a way to narrow them down. It took me a few days just took figure out the best way to do that. But it was a lot of fun and I’ve really enjoyed the input.

  14. I have been reading but I did not have a dissent to add until the top ten,and even then you are aware of how polarized the audience is for a particular movie here. I loathed The Tree of Life. It makes a fine screen saver but an awful movie. Poetry in film should not be equivocated with aimlessness. Of course film is sometimes a subjective experience, and your opinion is always one I respect. You have directed me to some fine films and more often than not we are in agreement on a lot of films, but here we take different paths. I’ll see you down the road when we can find some common ground even when we disagree. I’m with you on Interstellar though.

    • LOL! No offense whatsoever my friend. It is most definitely a polarizing movie as is Malick’s style. My experience with the film was wonderful. The father/sons dynamic was powerful. The childhood perspective was really strong as well. It really mad a deep impression on me. Obviously there are those who strongly disagree.

Leave a Reply to Keith Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s