Disclaimer: This list is based on the films that I have seen over the last decade. There are movies on my “To Watch” list from the last ten years that, after watching, may end up on this list. I’ll include the list of films that I still need to watch, for your reference.
Ingrid Goes West (2017)
This film is one that I continue to recommend to everybody. I saw it on an unbearably hot day in Los Angeles, and on a whim. It was absolutely worth it. Not only are there stellar performances from Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, but Matt Spicer’s film provides some interesting commentary on our “Instagram culture” all while making a film to look like it has an Instagram filter applied to it.
The Florida Project (2017)
Now, this list is in no particular order. However, I will go on record saying that Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is one of the best films, if not the best film, of the decade. This film had phenomenal performances and everything felt so real, which was the point. This film strikes a nerve and deserves more praise.
I only ever watched Nightcrawler once, and it stuck with me. I find myself leaning towards watching the film again, but a pit in my stomach arises, and it’s the same pit that developed when I first watched the film. I did not expect it to be as dark as it was. But, goddammit, was it a good performance from Jake Gyllenhaal.
Get Out (2017)
Talk about a game changer? Jordan Peele, known for his comedy, cam out swinging in his directorial debut and he had something to say. As disturbing as this film is, I watch it over and over again. There is just something about it that is so enticing. It’s a perfect blend of horror and science fiction, with some comedic relief sprinkled in.
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)
Some of the most eye catching and innovative animation goes to this film. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse was gorgeous to watch and the story line was phenomenal. It was a perfect blend of everything we love about comic books in one film.
Hereditary has haunted me every single day since I first saw it in theaters. The real life horror displayed is something that still sends my body into a fit of tense anxiety.
The Witch (2015)
This decade I really grew to love slow-burn horror films. They have been so refreshing in a time where we are shown nothing but Blumhouse jump scares. No film executed the slow-burn better than Robert Egger’s The Witch. Honestly, I had to watch with subtitles (which I hate doing, particularly on films in English) because the English accents were so thick, but the ending of the film just delivered such a good pay off. I will rewatch the film, subtitles and all.
The Cabin In The Woods (2011)
Back in the beginning of the decade, a film came out that turned the horror film genre on it’s head and broke it down to it’s bare bones: Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods. Written by both Goddard and Joss Whedon, the film is a perfect homage while fully calling out what horror films have become.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
One of my favorite films of the decade is, to nobodies surprise, an animated film. Wreck-It Ralph hit all the chords it needed to; it dealt with bullying, acceptance, and PTSD, all while exhibiting wonderful animation with some genius 8-bit touches.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Speaking of wonderful animation and genius touches, The Lego Movie was a blessing to all of us. I mean, look at the details in this film: the shine on the characters because they are meant to be plastic, the water and fire in the film being other Lego pieces, the only foods showcased in their world being food that can fit in their curved hands. Even the entire concept of the “Piece of Resistance” being a superglue cap was smart. Also, Will Ferrell’s “sad eyes” hurts me.
The Big Sick (2017)
This is a film that surprised me when I saw it in theaters. I went in expecting a pretty usual romantic comedy, but what I saw was so much more. The Big Sick touched on some serious stuff, all inspired by real life events. It was heart-wrenching but in the best way possible.
Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
Bad Times at the El Royale is a film that divided critics. Some really loved it and some absolutely did not. I am part of the former. I had such a good time watching this film. Like, a genuinely fun time. Also, the set design on this film is eye-catching and perfectly places the audience in the time of the film.
Eighth Grade (2018)
I don’t remember the last time that I saw a coming of age film that felt so raw. Comedian Bo Burnham’s directorial debut starred Elsie Fischer as Kayla Day, a young girl about to end eighth grade and enter the jungle that is high school. Combine the pressure you already feel at that age with the pressure of social media, and you have a film that feels real. And you want nothing but the best for Kayla.
I absolutely had to include a comedy on this list and it was a tie between this film and Game Night. Ultimately, Tag won. This film makes me laugh out loud every time I have watched it since it’s release. The cast has fantastic chemistry and there’s a perfect amount of realness filtered in.
As Above, So Below (2014)
I need everybody to appreciate this film as much as I do. Not only is the story interesting, but the filmmakers nailed the execution. This could have easily been just another found footage film. But, it had just enough of a well written twist to keep you interested. This film is criminally underrated.
Some honorable mentions:
Under the Silver Lake (2018)
This neo-noir film perfectly captures Los Angeles and, much like the noirs before it, showcases the seedy underbelly of a sunny city.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
This film had such a unique story all based around a newspaper ad.
What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
The only reason that this film is listed in Honorable Mentions and not in Best Films is because it would have been the only foreign film on that list and, honestly, it would have bothered the hell out of me.
Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
Michael Keaton was perfection in this role, especially considering it reflected his own life so much.
The Farewell (2019)
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
The Favourite (2018)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
It Comes At Night (2017)
The Irishman (2019)
Little Women (2019)
Uncut Gems (2019)