Movies are important to me. I love getting immersed in a story for a couple hours. These are my ten favorite movies of the decade. It should be noted that, while I have seen a lot of movies, I have definitely not seen everything that came out in this time period. This list is not meant to be scientific or even definitive. But I will share why I love each movie.
Some questions I tried to answer when comparing movies were:
Which movie would I rather watch again right now?
Did I think about this movie a lot after I had seen it?
How much of an impact did it make on me?
Was there anything about the movie (acting, animation, music, cinematography, screenplay) that wowed me?
The 2010s were really the decade I grew up. I started it as a sophomore in high school, and end it at 26 years old, a couple of years out of college. Looking back at these movies, I can’t help but remember where I was when I watched them, and who I watched them with. I went out to the theaters a lot in high school; I stayed in and watched a lot in my dorm room in college and in my apartments out of college. I think my tastes have been influenced by where I was in life while watching these. Coming-of-age and college movies figure prominently in my list.
1. The Social Network (2010)
I think The Social Network is pretty close to a perfect movie. I love Aaron Sorkin’s work and his writing here is impeccable. I love how witty it is. The soundtrack is excellent, and creates an amazing, brooding tone. I’ve seen it several times and I keep loving it every time.
One of my favorite scenes is the opening scene with Rooney Mara. It drops you right into the action with some classic snappy Sorkin dialogue. It’s also amazing that Rooney Mara is so memorable in this movie when this is her only scene.
Another one I love is the regatta scene. With sweeping aerial shots of the regatta zooming into close-ups of the rowers, it looks so cool on the screen. I love the music over it. It is an exciting scene.
2. Interstellar (2014)
Interstellar packs an emotional punch. Christopher Nolan is at the peak of his powers. It feels huge. The scale is ambitious, and it needs to be to convey the vastness of both space and the existential crisis facing humans in the movie. But even beyond all that, the movie is about a father and a daughter’s love for each other. It is a beautiful and thrilling story.
3. Coco (2017)
Coco is another emotional movie. I love the music, I love seeing a family reunite, and I love Miguel as a hero. The story is wonderful; the animation is beautiful. All in all this was a very enjoyable movie. This clip shows Miguel walking into the Land of the Dead for the first time, where the animation is breathtaking. It’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing scenes I have ever seen.
4. Inception (2010)
Inception is the kind of movie I was really into in high school. I love the puzzles in the movie and how it makes you think. I saw this with my friends and have fond memories of talking about it in the car home and in school the next week.
My favorite scene is the chase scene with Eames in Mombasa. There is a lot I love about it. It’s chaotic, exciting, the scenery is beautiful, and the music is is thrilling.
5. Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
My favorite romantic comedy of the decade. Crazy, Stupid, Love is hilarious. It is extremely re-watchable, and I often find myself watching individual scenes when they are on television. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are charming as the romantic leads, and Steve Carrell is classic in his role. It also reminds me of my first apartment out of college, where my friends and I watched this movie more than once.
My favorite scene is the scene where Gosling and Carrell go shopping. It is a lot of fun.
6. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
I love coming-of-age movies, from Stand By Me to Clueless to Superbad to honorable mention for my list Lady Bird. I love how there are so many possibilities for all the characters, and how each decision they make feels so important to them. If I were to ever make a movie, it would be a coming-of-age movie.
Moonrise Kingdom has fun and quirky characters, and looks beautiful on the screen. The scenery is gorgeous, and the camera shots are beautiful. This is the movie that made me like Wes Anderson. My favorite thing about the movie was the whimsicality of the world. The maps and settings were all fun and brightly colored and looked great on the screen.
7. Warrior (2011)
Warrior is a classic sports underdog story that hits you hard. I am a big sports fan, and this is my favorite sports movie of the decade. Even though it is about a sport I do not really care for, it still hits all the right notes for a sports movie.
I remember crying the first time I saw this movie. The acting is great all around, but Nick Nolte gives one of my favorite performances of the decade. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, though he did not win. The National did a couple songs on the soundtrack, and I like that too.
8. A Star Is Born (2018)
My favorite thing about A Star Is Born was the music. The soundtrack was all bangers. The stretch from Ally and Jackson meeting in the bar into performing “Shallow” at the concert was iconic. Then I got very emotional later on in the film.
9. Spotlight (2015)
Spotlight was very well-done. It was interesting; it was well written; it had a great cast. I thought the acting was excellent. I was enthralled by the movie from start to finish. I love a journalism movie. Watching reporters break a story is cool to me. Deadlines create a lot of pressure and tension. I like seeing the energy of the newsroom.
10. Toy Story 3 (2010)
I saw Toy Story 3 at the perfect time. I was a sophomore in college, just a little bit older than Andy was in the movie. I had always been into my toys as a kid, particularly my stuffed animals. I related deeply to Andy saying goodbye to his toys; I kept remembering good times with mine.
Honorable Mentions: La La Land (2016), Hell or High Water (2016), Dunkirk (2017), Knives Out (2019), Lady Bird (2017), Little Women (2019), Rogue One (2016), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), The Martian (2015), Frozen (2013), Pitch Perfect (2012), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)