Movies of the Years

As with music, I’ve let my film commentary slide for the past couple of years, and end-of-year round-ups are a thing of the distant past. So once again I’ve corralled my favourites of the decade into a matrix, which by an uncanny coincidence is the same 8 x 11 size as the one I just did for albums.

Inception (2010)
The Social Network (2010) Despicable Me (2010) The Muppets (2011) Django Unchained (2012) Good Vibrations (2012) Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013)
Gravity (2013)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Before Midnight (2013)
The Lego Movie (2014) All is Lost (2013) Captain Phillips (2013) Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Boyhood (2014)
Her (2013)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014) Coherence (2013)
Fury (2014) John Wick (2014) Under the Skin (2013)
Whiplash (2014) What We Do in the Shadows (2014) Paddington (2014)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Ex Machina (2015)
Chappie (2015) Pitch Perfect (2012) Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
The Hunger Games (2012) Inside Out (2015) Selma (2014)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Senna (2010) The Big Short (2015) Bridge of Spies (2015) Everest (2015)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015) Spotlight (2015) The Hateful Eight (2015) Eddie the Eagle (2016)
Arrival (2016)
Toy Story 3 (2010) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Moana (2016)
Manchester by the Sea (2016) Lion (2016) Get Out (2017)
Wreck-It Ralph (2012) Wonder Woman (2017) It Follows (2015) The Death of Stalin (2017)
Hidden Figures (2016)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) Sing Street (2016) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Annihilation (2018) Hail, Caesar! (2016) Paddington 2 (2017) Black Panther (2018) La La Land (2016)
Coco (2017) Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) A Quiet Place (2018) Dunkirk (2017) Bladerunner 2049 (2017)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) I, Daniel Blake (2016) The Impossible (2012)
127 Hours (2010)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
BlacKkKlansman (2018)
Stan & Ollie (2018)
Arctic (2018) Fighting with My Family (2019)
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) Us (2019) Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Captain Marvel (2019) Thor (2011) Animal Kingdom (2010) The Act of Killing (2012)

As in the album matrix, these are ordered by when I saw them, with background colours indicating when they were released. I’ve excluded any movies released before 1/1/10 that I first saw in the 2010s, which otherwise would have meant including several from the closing years of the previous decade: In the Loop, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Iron Man, The Road, Inglourious Basterds, Wall-E and Speed Racer. It would also have meant including an iconic movie I first saw only a year ago, despite it being a cultural landmark for my entire life: The Sound of Music, which was far more enjoyable than its countless parodies implied. I was going to live-tweet my viewing of it, like those YouTubers who film themselves discovering classic albums, but got too wrapped up in it too quickly to follow through. That, and my kids thought it was hilarious that ol’ Dad was going to do some social-media-ing.

In 2010 I saw only two dozen movies, which was twice as many as in each of 2011 and 2012. In 2014, I decided to do something about that, watching a lot more movies at home, even if I still only got to the cinema once a month. By the end of the decade I’m hardly getting to the cinema at all, but watching plenty of films. A lot are series that I’m sharing with my son, like Peter Sellers’ Pink Panther movies, the Bourne series, and Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible. Lately, my daughter and I have been working through the Marvel MCU cycle (we just watched Ant-Man, which was one of the more entertaining ones; Age of Ultron, before it, was dire).

My movie count has been helped by taking long-haul flights every year since 2015, and catching up on a slightly random selection on their personal screens, some of which have been pretty good. In total, I watched over four hundred movies across the decade, so the matrix above represents a little under a quarter of them.

Given that I’ve included all of the new Star Wars movies in this matrix (yes, even Solo, which I liked just fine), I expect The Rise of Skywalker will deserve a spot, but we’ll see. Notable absences are the Hobbit trilogy (should have kept it at two, “There” and “Back Again”), Ridley Scott’s new Alien movies (I didn’t mind them, but didn’t love them), the Planet of the Apes reboots (they were fine; I watched the 1968 original for the first time fairly recently, too) and a few other big releases that didn’t particularly grab me. I’ve seen countless animated movies with the kids in the past ten years, and a handful of the best are included here. (Yes, I have seen Frozen, more than once. It’s fine too, but the ones here were better.)

I’ve bolded the movies I saw in an actual cinema, starred my particular favourites, and double-starred the five that were especially significant. I kept meaning to write something about Moana here, which as a Disneyfication of Pacific mythology was surprisingly satisfying (its consultants included a number of names I knew from my days in Pacific Studies), and the Rock and the songs were great. I wrote about The Last Jedi, at least, and its inclusion in my top five says all I need to say about its haters. Ditto anyone who had a problem with Mad Max: Fury Road, which defied all expectations to be every bit as good as Mad Max 2 was in 1982.

One movie here that seemed to fly under most people’s radar was Coherence, the best of a bunch of low-budget SF films in a great decade for SF film. Eddie the Eagle was a bit more prominent, but also deserves a lot more love.

Worst movie of the decade? I’m tempted to nominate Space Chimps 2: The Return of Zartog (2010), but that would be too easy; it was made for my (then-) three-year-old son, not me. I hold a greater loathing for The Smurfs (2011), which was trying harder to be an animated movie for the whole family, and failing. Trolls (2016) was better in every respect—but note its absence from the list above.

My favourite movie of the decade is a toss-up between Richard Linklater’s masterpiece, Boyhood, and the unforgettable Under the Skin: I think I’ll have to give it to the latter, which haunts me still.

8 December 2019 · Film

How could I forget this? I watched it not long after Selma...

Force Majeure (2014)

Added by Rory on 11 December 2019.

Or this? An incredible achievement.

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

Added by Rory on 17 January 2020.