Top 10 Movies of the 2010s
Were you thinking of curating every movie from the past decade and ranking the top 10 of that list? I’ll save you the trouble. Here are my top 10 movies of the 2010s!
10) What We Do in the Shadows
Taika Waititi is a treasure too good for this world. He has the ability to completely revive a dying series like Thor with Thor: Ragnarok, and earn an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for JoJo Rabbit. But before he made either of those, he directed, wrote, and starred in What We Do in the Shadows: a hilarious take on what if vampires were in the mockumentary genre. Its deadpan absurdist humor is delivered exceptionally well by Taika and the rest of his cast, giving us something we never really expected – a really well made movie about vampires. Anyone who can take vampires and make them seem interesting again in an age where vampires were well past the over-saturation point has talent to behold, and Taiki shows it off beautifully with What We Do in the Shadows.
9) The Raid: Redemption
Action movies do not get much love in top film lists, but there was no way I couldn’t show my love for The Raid: Redemption in my top 10 list of the 2010s. The plot is simple: police raid a notorious drug house that doubles as an apartment complex, and things go, well, south. The script is simple, but the action choreography in this movie is legendary – inspiring other great action series like John Wick with its intricate martial arts maneuvers. Simply put – this movie kicks ass, and deserves its spot as #9 on this list.
8) Train to Busan
If there has been any other genre besides Vampires that feels like it over-saturated the market in the last couple of decades, it’s the zombie apocalypse genre. The Walking Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, Warm Bodies, Zombieland, World War Z, I Am Legend, and so many others – it’s hard to think there could be any more room for a well-made movie to live in this apocalyptic undead genre. However, along came Train to Busan, with a plot that sounds very familiar: an unknown virus causes zombies to terrorize the world, but on a train! On the surface, it sounds like this would be a run-of-the-mill zombie movie, but it’s far more than that. This movie demonstrates that having a great script with great acting can supersede any genre fatigue the masses may feel. The heart in this film is overwhelmingly touching, and the zombie action scenes are directed and choreographed as well as any of the great zombie genre flicks out there. There’s a lot to dig into with its socio-political themes interwoven throughout the movie, but this movie is able to balance its messages while being tragic, terrifying, entertaining, and firmly my #8 movie of the 2010s.
7) The Lobster
6) The Cabin in the Woods
Take a look at most Best Picture nominations at any year of the Oscars, and you’d be hard-pressed to find horror or comedy movies on those lists. The Cabin in the Woods lives in both genres, but does so extremely well. It has no business being as good as it is, but deserves to be recognized as a champion of the horror/comedy genre. Not since Scream have I seen a movie parody the genre that it’s a part of as well as The Cabin in the Woods does, giving us scene-after-scene of hilarity perfectly taking apart typical horror tropes with a very sharp script. Fran Kranz is fantastic in his stoner-observer role, with Kristen Connolly and Chris Hemsworth also playing into this genre with perfect ease. Fans of horror and/or comedy should find at least 37 different things to love about this film, and fans of film in general should have no problem with finding horrific joy with The Cabin in the Woods.
5) Get Out
Get Out – the film that took one half of Key & Peele, and LAUNCHED Jordan Peele into film super-stardom. In Get Out, Jordan does what he was not known for doing – keeping the audience on edge with suspense, while revealing socio-political themes that will dominate all water cooler conversations. It’s difficult to name too many film directors who produced iconic visuals and moments in their debut movie, but Jordan found a way to do that through a terrifically crafted script, and a truly superb cast. I’m not sure who hasn’t watched this film at this point, but if you haven’t, stop reading this, and do yourself a favor by putting on Get Out – my #5 movie of the 2010s.
From the twisted mind of Ari Aster comes Hereditary – a masterfully done horror movie that thrives off of interloping severely dysfunctional family dynamics with exceptionally dark supernatural lore. The beauty of Hereditary is its willingness to let a scene breathe. While jump scares can be a quick and dirty means to get the audiences’ stomach to plummet, Aster opts to let the visuals and tension to linger, causing every viewer to squirm in their seats, begging for the torment to end. Aster also proved very well adept at utilizing these terrifying metaphoric plot devices to showcase how family trauma can be so severe, that it can linger on through generations, despite your best efforts to move on.
Even if horror movies are not your flavor, this film deserves to be seen by everyone for the truly Oscar-worthy performance by Toni Collette. The Oscars unfortunately doesn’t show love to the horror genre, but it was impossible for me to curate my Top 10 movie of the 2010s list and not include the breath-stealing ride that is Hereditary.
3) Toy Story 3
The Pixar brand is one of the most powerful brands in the film industry, and is usually a safe bet when searching for high quality films for the entire family. Their theatrical dominance began with this very beloved franchise – Toy Story. There are four movies belonging to this franchise, and each movie is exceptionally well-made. The best among them, however, is decidedly Toy Story 3. Premiering 11 years after Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3 takes us on a journey that perfectly balances the classic Pixar/Toy Story wit, with truly heart-wrenching character beats. Tears of joy and heartbreak occur quite frequently in this tale, and it does so while giving these colorful characters new philosophies to ponder in surprisingly mature ways. Whether you’re a parent that grew up watching these movies with your kids, or vice versa, this movie is a reminder that life is growth, and while growth can seem painful, it can often be met with beautiful new beginnings.
2) Avengers: Endgame
The one film on this list that can outpace Toy Story 3 in a laugh-and-cry per minute ratio is our #2 film of the 2010s, Avengers: Endgame. The ultimate penultimate installment of the 23 films in Marvel’s Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame did what seemed nearly impossible – give a truly satisfying ending to a decade-long story. It’s one of the highest grossing movies of all time for a reason – it gives the characters that we love an overwhelming conflict to surpass, while providing these heroes with the payoffs that all seem truly organic to who they are. The plot is very ambitious, exceedingly funny, and repeatedly heartbreaking. Every generation has their set of movies that are a must-see for every subsequent generation, and Avengers: Endgame undoubtedly made that list.
The only movie that could topple Thanos and the Avengers is a much quieter sci-fi film, Arrival. Arrival centers around the age-old question: What would happen if aliens came to Earth? However, instead of the classic aliens-versus-humans-in-an-epic-space-war plot, this film takes a much more cerebral approach. Rather than calling upon a Will Smith-esque protagonist, Arrival leans on Amy Adam’s tremendous performance as a master linguistic, attempting to learn to communicate with the extra-terrestrial visitors. This simple, yet almost unfathomable concept is a great mental exercise in its own right, but the emotional gauntlet that the plot and character moments take you through will leave you sobbing. It earns every tear, and truly deserves to be praised as one of the greatest sci-fi films to ever grace the silver screen. The 2010s granted us plenty of gems to enjoy, but none truly better than Arrival – the #1 movie of the 2010s.