David’s Top 100 Movies of the 2010s

David’s Top 100 Movies of the 2010s

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Our film editor, David Ginsburg, took the time to list his favorite flicks of the past decade. Did your favorite make the list? Read on to find out!

Django Unchained, 2012

Set in the Antebellum South, Django Unchained takes chances few films do in telling its story brilliantly like a folktale.

Wolf of Wall Street, 2013

This film does not glorify its protagonist and his cohorts; rather, it is about how excess and the need for it destroying their lives from within.

The Irishman, 2019

Scorsese has not once lost his energy nor creative spirit. This is one of my favorite films of all time, and should be seen as one of the best as well.

Inception, 2010

It’s hard nowadays for broad sc-fi to be as philosophical and action packed and creative as Inception is without producers and companies getting overinvolved. But Christopher Nolan has stood his ground, and the result is one of his greatest achievements.

The Social Network, 2010

Between David Fincher’s directing, Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score, and Jesse Eisenberg’s performance, this film is a terrific balancing act.

Toy Story 3, 2010

What would have been a perfect ending to a perfect trilogy, Toy Story 3 does what most third installments fail at: actually being great.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, 2010

Wildly creative and creatively wild Edgar Wright once again proves he was born to make movies.

Moonrise Kingdom, 2012

A beautiful story about young love with that signature Wes Anderson aesthetic.

Attack the Block, 2011

This is one of the few sci fi comedies that would be considered one of the best films ever, but it truly is. And it’s a look at John Boyega before his rise to stardom as Finn in the new Star Wars trilogy.

The Master, 2012

This one is hard to unpack but the journey from beginning to end is one I’ve been on many times. I’ve seen this film about five times now and I love it every time. It also has some of the best performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Silver Linings Playbook, 2012

This touching and gentle look at mental health with all its ups and downs features an electric chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Inside Llewyn Davis, 2013

One of the best Coen Brothers movies, Inside Llewyn Davis is all about failure. When other movies show how one can overcome the obstacles this film takes the other turn.

Arrival, 2016

A brilliant sci-fi from Denis Villeneuve to continually proves to be one of, if not the, best directors working today.

Blade Runner 2049, 2017

Another example of Denis Villeneuve’s love and execution of what pure cinema is.

Birdman, 2014

Strung together to look like one continuous take, Birdman is both an achievement technically and in the performances as well.

Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015

Although this list is not in order, Mad Max: Fury Road might just be the best of the decade.  George Miller returns to his franchise with more energy than ever.

The Big Short, 2015

What could have been a by the books retelling of the financial crisis of 2008 turns out to be almost a satire.  Adam McKay also proves himself to be more than just a funny guy.

The Lobster, 2015

One of the darkest comedies out there, but a must see for everyone. Colin Farrell’s best performance.

Steve Jobs, 2015

A well-known story told in an unconventional way, Steve Jobs is a character study more than it is a biopic.

Never Look Away, 2018

Nearly three hours and entirely in German (with some Russian peppered in there), yet somehow, I’d never been so locked into a movie screen before.

The Favourite, 2018

What seems like turning history on its head is actually a very sincere look at the truth of this story with wonderful direction by Yorgos Lanthimos.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer, 2017

Dark, funny, disturbing, and completely odd, this film would’ve come out of left field if it wasn’t the directorial follow up to The Lobster. Worth the watch if you have someone to hold on to.

Get Out, 2017

I think we all know this is one of the best scary films ever, with important social commentary to boot.

The Death of Stalin, 2017

Who would’ve thought a movie about Stalin would be one of the funniest movies ever made? I guess the creator of Veep is the only one who could have done it.

Ingrid Goes West, 2017

Even though it flew under the radar, this film is incredibly pertinent to the current generation. It is all about the insanity of social media and the insanity of those who use it endlessly.

Shoplifters, 2018

The wealth disparity in South Korea has struck a chord with filmmakers. This film is only one example of some of the great art expressing this crisis, and it does so with twists and turns and lovely cinematography.

The Handmaiden, 2016

From the director of Oldboy, this is a psychological thriller in a different vein. It is about how intentions can change and if the love someone is giving you is genuine or for personal gain.

Annihilation, 2018

Sci-fi at its best. Annihilation is essentially about what if the Earth got cancer and the implications of that terror.

Swiss Army Man, 2016

One of the weirdest and most heartfelt films I’ve ever seen and, one of my favorites of all time.

MacGruber, 2010

Comedies are as important to cinema as any great drama, and MacGruber is the Godfather of comedies.

Super, 2010

Want to see the superhero movie James Gunn did before Guardians of the Galaxy? Well you better be over 18 because this film is messed up, but also wickedly smart with great performances by Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon.

This is The End, 2013

I saw this movie three times its opening weekend: Friday, Saturday and then Sunday. Getting celebrities to play themselves was a nice touch.

Hereditary, 2018

I’ve only recently gotten over some fears to be able to even sit down and watch a horror film of this stature. What I love most about Hereditary, though? NO JUMP SCARES!

They Came Together, 2014

If MacGruber is the Godfather of comedies then this is the Godfather Part II of comedies.

The Fighter, 2010

I’m usually not interested in films about boxing, but this is a great story about what it takes to rise to the top and to fall to the bottom.

Her, 2013

Relationships can take many forms, but what if you fell in love with Siri? Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson show how love can transcend the physical realm.

Blue Valentine, 2010

This is a portrait of a relationship. If you’ve ever been in love this is one of the saddest movies ever, but a very true film.

Drive, 2011

I still have never seen a movie quite like Drive. Part action movie and part romance this film is a joy to watch.

Spring Breakers, 2012

A wild and crazy film nearing the fantasy genre, it’s all about what we expect from life and what we get in return.

John Wick, 2014

Action has rarely ever been this slick and cool. David Leitch and Chad Stahelski (the writers/directors) have taken the action genre into a whole new world and Keanu Reeves has found himself the role of a lifetime.

You Were Never Really Here, 2017

Bad people have the potential to do good things. Those who have the ability to hurt can also save. This film is Taxi Driver on drugs.

Minding the Gap, 2018

What starts as a documentary about friends who have been skating together and hanging out for over a decade turns into something a bit darker and quite relevant to today’s society.

Mandy, 2018

Mandy is on another level. Part of it is a laid back dreamscape that’s as calming as a spa. Then later it’s every 70s/80s grindhouse horror flick pumped full of acid and cocaine.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, 2018

The first film to ever be approved by the Comics Board, this animated film is an achievement within its medium and within the superhero genre. It’s the best Spider-Man movie that exists today.

Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014

Just when Marvel was beginning to feel a little stale, James Gunn comes in to save the day with his signature voice and visual style, taking the Marvel Universe into strange and dark territory.

The Witch, 2015

A disturbing, folkloric horror film that’s hard to look away from.

Lady Bird, 2017

Capturing a slice of life is essentially what every storyteller wants to do. But only great storytellers can achieve it. Greta Gerwig is a great storyteller.

War of the Planet of the Apes, 2017

People keep saying they don’t like these movies because they’re about apes. First of all, that shouldn’t matter if the material is good.  This trilogy was great, but this final installment was brilliant.

The Raid: Redemption, 2011

It’s like if you took Die Hard and then added fifty more characters and a ton of kung fu.

Raw, 2016

What if you were vegetarian but gained a want for human flesh?  That’s what this movie is. And it’s great!

Inside Out, 2015

Some of the best films hold a mirror up to society. What Pixar, and this movie in particular, does is hold a mirror up to the viewer. Ironically it is often animation that can be the most human.

Coco, 2017

I’ve pretty much always feared death. What this movie does, as Mexico does on its Dia de los Muertos, is celebrate and embrace it. If you can make me enjoy life while reminding me of death then you’ve done a great job.

True Grit, 2010

This is the best western made within the last decade. Everything is on point here from the performances down to the sound design.

Ida, 2013

When a nun discovers she is Jewish, she tries to uncover her past.  It’s a simple but very well told story about what it means to be yourself.

Snowpiercer, 2013

Wealth disparity seems to have been a common topic among films this decade, but there are many different ways to tackle that subject. This one does so in a new way with great action throughout.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya, 2013

A film done entirely in pencil and watercolors it is both beautiful to look at and to take in as a film. It’s epic and intimate.

I’m Still Here, 2010

Remember that Joaquin Phoenix interview on Letterman?  It was just a performance, but, wow! What a performance. This mockumentary shows what it means to be a celebrity.

The Cabin in the Woods, 2011

Turning the horror and then sci-fi genres on their heads, this movie is the best horror satire since Scream.

Whiplash, 2014

This is like if you made Full Metal Jacket about jazz. Sounds kind of stupid on paper, but what a film it turned out to be.

Sicario, 2015

This film is a seriously important look at the reach of the United States, particularly the CIA and its involvement in Mexico to combat the drug war.

The Lego Movie, 2014

It could have turned out how Playmobil: The Movie turned out, but instead it was one of the most popular movies of the year. When it wasn’t nominated for best animated film at the Academy Awards it was considered a snub.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014

I wrestled with whether I should put a superhero film on this list but when thinking about the past ten years and the domination they’ve had over the box office and theatres it’s hard to avoid.  Especially when they’re as good as this movie. It’s a ‘70s spy thriller taking place in the modern era with some of the best action put to film.

Cyrus, 2010

Ever hate your mom’s new boyfriend? Well Jonah Hill hates John C. Reilly for being with Marissa Tomei. Need I say more?

The One I Love, 2014

This is one of the most fascinating and original films about what it takes to fix a rocky relationship. Featuring great performances by Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Moss and Ted Danson.

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, 2019

Tarantino has his own take on history, first with the murder of Hitler, and now the rescue of Sharon Tate. This is another example of pure cinema in all its glory.  I can’t get enough of the film and I’ll love it till the day I die.

Ex Machina, 2014

This is both the movie you expect it to be while giving you something unexpected. Our relationship with AI might just turn out to be this way.

Logan, 2017

Somber and melancholy, Logan is an example of where superhero movies can go. Outside of the camp and into the really real.

10 Cloverfield Lane, 2016

It came out of nowhere and impressed beyond expectation. An exploration of shut in paranoia and forced relationships with strangers. 10 Cloverfield Lane is an odd but very welcome entry into the catalogue of film history.

Silence, 2016

Martin Scorsese takes a step back from his usually dynamic camera work and tracking shots to give something quieter and simpler and much different than what he’s given us before.  Jesuit priests go to feudal Japan in order to speak the gospel and instead find horror.

Dallas Buyers Club, 2013

Shining a light on the life of society’s outcasts, this film shows that people can come together despite their personal differences.

Seven Psychopaths, 2012

It’s meta without breaking the fourth wall and a comment on movies today.  What does violence say about us and why do we enjoy it so much in the medium of film and television?  This film explores that with wonderful comedy and a great cast with Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson.

The World’s End, 2013

The third in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) is about growing up and the difficulties therein. What does it mean to look back on the past and not to the future?

Jane Eyre, 2011

With exceptional performances by Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska, this tells the story of the book with brilliant cinematography and the directing helmed by Cary Fukunaga who made True Detective Season 1.

Blue Ruin, 2013

Made for less than a million dollars, this is a pretty standard revenge story, but from the point of view of an not so average protagonist. His family was killed and he’s out for bloody justice. Told simply with dark comedic elements.

Tangerine, 2015

Shot on the iPhone 5S, this tells the story of transgender prostitutes in Los Angeles. The grittiness of the image reflects the lives of the characters working together harmoniously with a great script.

Melancholia, 2011

Lars von Trier has always explored the macabre inspired by his own depression. This is about the end of the world with the perspectives of the hopeful and the hopeless and the nihilistic. While sad, it’s an incredibly well put together story.

Looper, 2012

Time travel stories are overplayed and can become very dumbed down. But this did it in an original and compelling way. When sci-fi can be original and poke fun at its own inconsistencies in regards to paradoxes inherent in time travel, then it’s done its job.

End of Watch, 2012

A look at the lives of police officers in South Central Los Angeles. This film is not afraid to take chances and to show you the cold hard reality of what it means to protect and serve.

Anomalisa, 2015

Remember when I said it is often animation that can be the most human? That could not be more true than with this film. Made entirely with puppets in stop motion, this could have easily been made with human actors and large sets but the animatronic puppets add a whole new layer.

The Act of Killing, 2012

The most disturbing film I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen A Serbian Film). You see movies about people who murder, like American Psycho, and you think to yourself “there’s no one like that in the world.” Well, this documentary begs to differ.  Follow war criminals and passive murderers as they try to recreate their horrors on film.

La La Land, 2016

It’s a love letter to L.A., but also an exposé on the superficiality of its lifestyle. At the end of the day, it is a charming and realistic love story, with singing and dancing the likes of which are normally only seen on Broadway.

What We Do in the Shadows, 2014

From two of the creators of Flight of the Conchords this is an incredibly sweet movie made mockumentary style about vampires living in modern day New Zealand. Helmed by Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi this is an original take on the mockumentary film genre.

Parasite, 2019

Wealth disparity in South Korea with twists and turns. Sounds familiar right? Yes, but the story is much different and maybe even darker. One of the best film of 2019, the decade and ever.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014

Ralph Fiennes is perhaps at his best as concierge Gustav H. who presides over a ski resort. Part buddy comedy and part murder mystery and part romance this film is ripe with Wes Andersonisms and has an amazing cast who are all eating up their characters.

Three Identical Strangers, 2018

A documentary that starts off light and funny about three people separated at birth who find each other later in life. Something dark is revealed that comes with many implications of the secret happenings across our country.

Gone Girl, 2014

David Fincher tackled true crime in his 2008 film Zodiac. Gone Girl is not a true story, but has the same procedural outline that many true crime shows have. He does this without falling into tropes and when something is revealed half way the film becomes something completely different. 

The Shape of Water, 2017

Guillermo Del Toro originally wanted to remake The Creature from the Black Lagoon which eventually morphed into this film. People might remember this as the fish sex movie but it’s so much bigger than that. It is about the downtrodden and the underrepresented people of society.

Only Lovers Left Alive, 2013

There are more vampire films on this list than I anticipated–a total of two–but this is truly a remarkable film. Director Jim Jarmusch explores the meaning of infinite life and how people centuries old can find their place as the term “modern” changes from decade to decade.

Before Midnight, 2013

I wanted a Richard Linklater film on this list, but I was disappointed by Boyhood. Before Midnight might be the third in a trilogy of films that are literally just conversations between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy who play longtime lovers, but these movies are undeniably great–and this latest installment may be the best.

Phantom Thread, 2017 

One of the funniest yet darkest takes on a relationship I’ve ever seen. Toxic hasn’t even a place in the vocabulary of these lovers. Daniel Day Lewis in what very well may be his final role does not want to be taken care of until his latest lover finds a dangerous way to love him. 

Force Majeure, 2014

This is a hilarious film about what it means to be a caregiver and when you fail at those expectations. How would your family react? This family sets up a series of challenges and the father must prove himself worthy of his place. 

The Conjuring, 2013

This film helped the broad landscape of horror films showing you could make something artistic and accessible for general audiences. James Wan may not be the master that Ari Aster is, but he deserves his place on this list. 

Edge of Tomorrow, 2014

This is like if you combined an alien hunting video game with an epic war film and tied it all together in a Groundhog Day format. And Tom Cruise finally plays a clumsy character and does a terrific job. But who really shines is Emily Blunt as a hard-hitting warrior. 

Sorry to Bother You, 2018

this film is bats**t crazy with messages for our current state of affairs and what it means to be black in America. It’s an absurdist satire about the corporate world. 

Monos, 2019

This is the closest to Apocalypse Now I’ve seen a modern film get. It’s on a much smaller scale and is about the civil war in Colombia within beautiful and terrifying scenery. It shows the horrors that teenage soldiers go through and how their young minds interpret those horrors.

Midnight in Paris, 2011

I hesitated to put this on the list, but we must separate the art from the artist sometimes. This is Woody Allen’s best film in the past decade, and Owen Wilson’s best role possibly ever (except Zoolander). It’s also so fun to visit with Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. 

The Artist, 2011

In 2011 we, the audience both critical and general, came together to watch a black and white silent film. That is an achievement all on its own but it turned out to be the best film of the year and one of the best of the decade. And includes an incredible dog performance. 

The Florida Project, 2017

At times it feels like you’re watching a documentary. That’s how real the writing is, how true the performances are and how simple the filmmaking is. It also shows the implications of living so close to Disney and what that does to the surrounding area.

Moonlight, 2016

A film told in three parts of a life this is an exploration of what it means to have community around you. There are people in your life you will being you down and people who will lift you up. Life is hard both externally and internally. And it did deserve to beat La La Land at that controversial Oscar ceremony. 

12 Years a Slave, 2013

Unlike Django this is a true story about a slave who survived, barely, for twelve years going from owner to owner who each have their own opinion on the morality of America and of slavery. It’s tough to watch but incredibly important. 

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