19. Cold Weather
Ah, the mumblecore movies. It's all about being realistic and capturing authenticity of life and the way people really talk, with much more focus on character development and relationships, but this subgenre often results in movies that are devoid of an actual plot.
Cold Weather is the answer to that. Low budget mumblecore meets Sherlock Holmes; easily my pick for my favorite detective movie of the decade. Warning, this movie will test a lot of people's patience as the first 40 mins go at a very leisure pace, as the movie depicts the mundane lives these characters live and a protagonist who's brilliant, but kind of wasting away his life. Once the mystery begins, a mumblecore style mystery is actually really refreshing different and so rich with comedy. I just loved this brother sister team detective team and not enough movies focus on sibling relationships. When it's time for the movie's climax, it results in one of the most suspenseful chase scenes without any big budget special effects (though a soundtrack reminiscent of Punch Drunk Love definitely does help); all it took was for us to really know, follow and fall in love with these characters and then the intensity and suspense is palpable. I love this movie and it's been quite an influence on the current script I'm working on.
What starts off as a murder mystery turns into one of the most powerful dramas. While this movie is definitely famous for its breathtakingly amazing one take in the soccer stadium (while a bit of a deux ex machina, I'll forgive it for how fucking amazing of a shot it was), it has probably the most powerful ending of any film this past decade that will stick with you for a long time. Instead of being a standard catch a killer crime thriller, this movie is more concerned about its characters, and exploring the power of love (the good and the bad), obsession, our inescapable passions, regret, the chances we should have taken in life, and about being prisoners of our past. Please watch this one and DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THE GOD AWFUL HOLLYWOOD REMAKE!
This is a rare movie where I will say, the best way to watch it is on your laptop, with headphones, by yourself in a darkened room. A horror movie that completely takes place on a skype chat seemed like a risky approach that could have ended disastrously. I think what we ended up getting is not only one of the most creative horror films in many years, but I think the best pure horror film of the decade; the Skype approach is actually successful in making things more tense and suspenseful. Once the movie really gets going, it doesn't give you a single minute to relax. I can't name one thing the movie could have done better with its approach. From its shocking opening to the character reveals at the end, it's great to get a horror movie that actually has a point to make about cyber bulling, about the way we treat each other, and puts into question what truly makes a good person.
What a decade for director Damien Chazelle! Whiplash, La La Land and First Man could be the most impressive resume of the decade. But, it is Whiplash that makes my list. While this definitely felt like Full Metal Jacket applied to music school, I take Whiplash any day over Full Metal Jacket.
It's fitting that a movie about an absolutely obsessive pursuit of greatness just grabs you by the balls and never lets go. Absolutely fucking intense from beginning to end, almost every Hollywood action movie failed to raise my pulse and grip me the way Whiplash did. While Miles Teller is great, I rank JK Simmons's work here as maybe one of the top 5 best performances of the past decade and one of the funniest performances too (Okay. I love myself some politically incorrect humor).
Maybe best described as a combination of Inception, Waking Life, Stranger Than Fiction, and Young People Fucking? An ensemble film juggling 3 stories, and the way the stories connect is quite a meta-mindfuck. It's the best case of high brow meets low brow; an arthouse film mixing different styles of filmmaking with its different stories with the most raunchy low brow sense of humour imaginable. Zoom is unlike anything else out there, it feels very Canadian and the movie is just so much fucking fun, and it may make your brain hurt a little bit trying to put all the pieces together.
For people that lost someone really close to them, I don't know yet if Coco is good as a therapeutic movie, or if would just utterly gut them. I'm curious for someone to weigh in on this.
It's almost an injustice to just call it a romcom. It's also a wonderful friendship movie, a hospital drama, and an interesting exploration of culture clashes between the older traditional generation of a Pakistani family vs. the younger, Westernized generation, and it seamlessly juggles all these stories with hilarity and authenticity. While the chemistry is electric between Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, as she falls into a medically induced coma and her parents show up, the friendship he strikes up with her parents is the most memorable aspect of the movie, not only providing some of the best comedy, but the most touching moments. Kumail has phenomenal comedic chemistry with Ray Ramano and Holly Hunter.
I actually went into the movie having no idea it was based on a true story, written by the couple that lived the experience. It must have been the most horrible time of their lives, but sometimes the most painful life experiences can make for the best stories.
When you watch the trailer, it looks like a FARGO type movie. A mysterious death, with his friends trying to cover it up. I know this formula, and I thought I knew the kind of crime thriller I was in for, and I'm glad to say I was completely wrong. Dick Long is such a refreshingly original film. For one, I think it may have the best ensemble cast of unknown actors. Every single performance is so fucking good. Its depiction of small town life in Alabama where everyone knows each other feels authentic. I have so much respect for this movie because it's fucking hilarious, yet the movie never once feels like it's trying to be funny. All the comedy feels like completely natural reactions to the shitstorm the characters find themselves in, and the hilarious stupid ways they try to cover up their crimes. But hey, I can laugh at these characters, but if I found myself in a situation where I had to cover up a crime, would I be any smarter? I don't know.
Especially if you're tired of the same old shit and want something different, watch this. It's one I'm so eager to discuss and know how you reacted to it and know just how much your jaw dropped.