Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Best movies of the decade (2010s) - Part 1 - #20 to #11

Here's part 1 of my list #20 to #11 - best movies of the past decade. #11 to 1 should be up next week. Without further ado, let's get on with it...

Honorable mentions:
The World’s End, Flipped, The Raid: Redemption, Birdman, Life in a Day, The Impossible, A separation, Blade Runner 2049, How to Start an Orgy in a Small town, Lone Survivor, Interstellar, La La Land, Maggie's Plan

20.   Mom and Dad

I'm sure it goes through all parents' minds. They love their children and would do anything for them, but sometimes they kinda want to murder their kids too. And from that sentiment is a horror/comedy, about a curse that makes all parents want to murder their kids, and NOBODY could have possibly been more well casted as a dad trying to murder his kids than Nicolas Cage. Sometimes when Nic Cage can turn his batshit insane acting up to 11, there is simply nothing better in cinema, and not only is this movie absolutely fucking hilarious, its brutal violence is kind of delightful, and it's simply the most fun horror movie of the decade. Honorable shout out to another great horror/comedy YOU'RE NEXT which is also fucking hilarious, but I give the edge to Mom and Dad.

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.


18. Mei Ren Yu (The Mermaid)

I think this is the funniest movie to ever come out of China, so if anyone disagrees, please point me in the direction of a funnier movie. I've seen quite a lot of Stephen Chow as an actor and director, and this is his best. I'd maybe kinda describe it as Avatar with hilarious cheesy effects meets Monty Python. There's so much creativity and energy to the comedy, whether it's physical comedy, absurdness, intentionally preposterous plot points, or that scene when the billionaire walks into a police station to report that he'd been kidnapped by mermaids; I knew it would be funny, but I wasn't expecting one of the single funniest scenes in the history of comedy. I think any aspiring comedy directors need to study this film about how to think outside the box when it comes to directing comedy.

17. The Secret In their Eyes (The 2010 Argentina version, please do not mistaken this as a review of the god awful Hollywood remake with Julia Roberts and Chiwetel Ejiofor)

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!


16. Unfriended

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.


15. Whiplash

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).

14. Zoom

The #1 movie to come out of Canada this past decade. It's kind of cool that I discovered this movie by accident. I came home, turned on the TV and it just happened to be on TMN and I don't know what it was about this movie that caught my attention, but once I started watching, I was glued. I have since seen it twice.

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.


13. Coco

Easily the most powerful movie to come out of Pixar this past decade. What started as a seemingly mediocre movie turned to something profound with it a big plot point, of how characters in the land of the dead disappear when the last person that remembers them dies and there's no more memory of them on Earth. Damn. Now Pixar has its fair share of tear jerking moments, from Andy giving his toys away to the opening 6 minutes of UP, but none of them compare to that final moment with Miguel and his grandma. There are movies that make you cry, and then there's Coco where I had to sit through the entire end credits (long credits might I add), because I couldn't stop.

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. 

12. The Big Sick

I'm a huge fan of Judd Apatow and what he's done to the romantic comedy whether he's directing or producing. The Big Sick however is the best movie to come out of the Apatow school of romcoms. It's the first Apatow production worthy of an Oscar; hilarious, but its dramatic material is stronger than its comedy.

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. 

11. The Death of Dick Long

This movie wins for the twist of the decade. This is a movie barely anyone has seen, but the #1 movie I'm dying to see people's reactions for. I almost wish there were hidden cams for audience reactions. Nothing will prepare you for a dark comedy like this one.

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.