The Top 10 Movies of the Decade

The 2010s will be recognized as a decade dominated by people like LeBron James, Drake, the overwhelming integration of streaming services and memes. Although sports, music, renovation, and social media are all vital aspects of modern culture; but I believe there's an argument for cinema as the most impactful medium and form of entertainment on both a spiritual and human level.

Watching a good movie can completely alter one's mood and emotional state for a day or a night's time. Experiencing a great movie can entirely adjust one's mindset for an elongated period of time, like a week or a month. However, becoming lost in a movie that transcends the ability to define the feeling it produces with one word is a blessing and a privilege that knows no expiration date.

With that being said, I felt obliged to construct a list of my favorite films of the last decade (the honorable mentions are not in any specific order), so that way I could share with you, my most valued reader, both my experience with these films and an idea for what you should watch in case you haven't seen any of them.

As always, thank you for reading and enjoy. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.


Good Time (2017)

Directors: Josh Sadie, Benny Safdie

Studio: A24

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 92%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

The Safdie Brothers and Robert Pattinson's cringe-fueled anxiety attack is as riveting as it is breathtaking. Good Time is by definition a "good time" but is far from the fun that one might anticipate from a film about bank robbery located in New York. I'll let my dear friend, and fellow Safdie brothers enthusiast, Jack Martin take it from here:

My pleasure. I have to give a shoutout to Hotto for telling me to watch Good Time because it introduced me to Josh and Benny Safdie, my favorite filmmakers right now.

Good Time doesn't let up from the start, taking you on a 100-minute long thrill ride throughout New York City as Connie (Pattinson) works to get his brother out of Rikers Island. The Safdies have mastered their way of storytelling, combining an electronic score and constant close-up and far tracking shots to create an intense sense of anxiety. They don't let you breathe, even for a second, making Good Time a gripping movie that I've been telling everyone to watch since my first viewing.

Mid90s (2018)

Director: Jonah Hill

Studio: A24

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 81%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Jonah Hill's love letter to the 1990s and skater videos is hysterically wonderful, and also awfully heart wrenching. Loose ends are hardly tied up, as they often are in life, and Hill demonstrates with this film that his skills as a director are nearly parallel to his gift for acting.

Once again, I'd like to hand the Indie film baton to my man Jack Martin:

A24 is the best. Mid90s was my first conscious introduction to the production company and I haven't looked back since.

Jonah Hill crushes it in his directorial debut, making what almost feels like a documentary about skateboarding teenagers in the mid-90s. With a collection of (mostly) first-time actors rounding out the cast, performances felt natural and the chemistry between Stevie and Co. feels genuine. It's a short film, and while it's not necessarily a happy one, it makes me feel good after every viewing.

The soundtrack is absolutely killer, too.

Booksmart (2019)

Director: Olivia Wilde

Studio: Annapurna Pictures and United Artists Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video

The only reason that Booksmart didn't make my official Top Ten is because I've only had the privilege to watch it once thus far. The "female version of Superbad" is outrageously funny, stunningly sympathizing, and an immaculately accurate representation of regret, graduating, moving on from loved ones, and maturation.

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Studio: The Weinstein Company*

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 74%

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes

Tarantino's Western Who-Dunnit? film was brilliantly entertaining, but so absurdly long that Netflix bought the rights to the film and divided it into several different parts. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walter Goggins, Tim Roth, and Channing Tatum collide for one of the most entertaining three hours of the last ten years.

*This hasn't aged well. Disgustingly evil people never do.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Director: George Miller

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes

George Miller’s reinvention of Mad Max is definable through the use of two words: pure chaos. Charlize Theron's ultimate female badass, Imperator Furiosa, takes this 2-hour adrenaline rush from an action movie filmed in the desert to a genre-defining benchmark with themes that emphasize oppression versus agency, and the limitless power of feminism.

The John Wick Trilogy (2014, 2017, 2019)

Director: Chad Stahelski

Studio: Lionsgate

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88.3% (cumulative)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes

Keeanu Reeves’s revival to the Rushmore of contemporary Action cinema is a roller coaster ride of emotions, and, well, violence. There are moments with a little violence. A lot of violence. And an overwhelming amount of violence.

The stylistic approach that the Wick films employs is known as Gun-Fu, and I honestly don’t think there’s a better way to define these movies. Wick is an All-American Badass Motherfucker (if they’re in America, that is) whose comeback to the hitman game is inspired by vengeance for a fallen loved one.

10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Directors: Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothamn

Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

The most original brainchild of the genius comic, Stan Lee, was not the highest grossing film of all-time (Avengers: Endgame), but was renovating piece of animation that challenged the idea and concept of what an animated movie should like and how it should behave.

Into the Spider-Verse took all of those typical conventions and flipped them on their heads by breaking the fourth wall, being visualized and stylized as an ode to the comic book medium that started this whole contemporary montage of heroics, and featured a nihilist Noir Spiderman voiced by Nicolas Cage and a happy-go-lucky Spider-Pig voiced by John Mulaney. Watching this movie makes you think someone slipped a tab of acid into your drink while you weren’t drinking through the inclusion of trippy (for lack of a better term) visuals that blur and smudge the canvas whenever deemed necessary by the animators.

Overall, this is one of the most memorable moviegoing experiences I’ve had in my life let alone the last ten years (granted, I was only 12 years old when the decade began).

9. The Social Network (2010)

Director: David Fincher

Studio: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 96%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes

The Social Network is an even more fascinating film now than it was back in 2010 thanks and no thanks to everything that’s happened with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg since then, but I don’t intend to dive into that here. Instead, I’d like to concentrate on the innate brilliance of the three most important people in this movie: David Fincher (director), Aaron Sorkin (writer) and Jesse Eisenberg (portrays Zuckerberg).

Fincher (also recognized for his work as the director of Netflix’s critically acclaimed series, Mindhunter) illustrates this film’s canvas with a decade-defining blend of darkness and light. Sorkin writes his dialogue at warp speed and a large portion of the 160+ page script is performed flawlessly by Eisenberg whose character seems more like a recently become sentient MacBook than he does a real-life human with, you know, blood and sexual urges and stuff.

Martian: I still can't believe London Tipton sucked off shitty Spider-Man in a bathroom in this movie.

8. Get Out (2017)

Director: Jordan Peele

Studio: Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 98%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is what I would consider to be the pinnacle of the thriller genre. No, it’s not horror, although the themes are as damaging and revolting as the gore in the Halloween series.

This critically acclaimed film is one that’s stuck with its audience for years, and will last with them for decades on end. Peele brought an enlightening and refreshing perspective to a genre that had grown tired by providing a film that didn’t just succeed on the surface, but encouraged its viewers to dip below into the sunken place and grasp onto meaningful undertones.

7. The Favourite (2018)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, HBO Go

If I were to select one film from this decade that stood out in regards to stylistic direction blended with an unparalleled aesthetic, then I wouldn’t hesitate to name The Favourite as the one who wears the crown (although my number two on this list has a valid argument).

Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz deliver hold-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat performances in a film that’s set in a time period that I, for one, typically find boring and predictable, but these three female geniuses’s performances tied in with Lanthimos’s brilliant vision for direction backed by an acute script and plot makes this one of the most memorable artistic moments of the last ten years.

Colman is simultaneously punchable and pathetic as the Queen. Stone delivers a classic underdog performance whilst in competition with the lovely Weisz who is a formidable frontrunner for the crown. The title says it all, and I refuse to spoil this beloved movie because there are twists and turns that are as shocking as they are effective.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 79%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes

This nearly 3-hour expedition into the glorifications and horrifications of living a ludicrously lavish lifestyle is as much of a journey defined by chaos as it is a warning for addiction and abuse. Wolf is one of my personal favorite films on the behalf of two of my individual cinematic idols: Martin Scorsese (other favorites include Goodfellas, The Irishman, and Raging Bull) and Leonardo DiCaprio (other favorites include Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, The Aviator, and The Departed).

But it’s not just the two-headed beast that makes this film special, it’s the performances from the supporting actors that takes it from the higher-ups to the top of the top. Jonah Hill delivers his best performance as Donnie Azoff, a coked up (slash quaaluded out) lunatic, that donates his entire life to DiCaprio’s Belfort purely due to the pursuit of unimaginable riches. Margot Robbie eats the screen alive in her breakout performance as Naomi, otherwise referred to as Duchess, in one of the sexiest performances (man or woman) in the postmodern era regardless of medium. The themes that her character stands for define the film’s essence: sex, lust, the best of the best, drugs, money, greed, and the fact that, in the end, everything comes to an end.

5. Frances Ha (2012)

Director: Noah Baumbach

Studio: A24

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 92%

Where to watch: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video

Noah Baumbach's literal and figurative black-and-white love letter to New York, friendship, and maturation features what is hands down my favorite performance from a lead female actor this decade on the behalf of Greta Gerwig.

Gerwig, who plays Frances, seemingly plays herself as an independent 27-year old struggling to make ends meet in various New York areas (no thanks to her low income as an apprentice at a dance studio). Frances is lovable, relatable, and an all-around pleasure to spend an hour and a half with. She’s the kind of woman that reminds you how blessed we are to have cinema in our lives, and a point of remembrance for why we’re appreciative of the indie genre.

I'd feel guilty if I didn't mention how much I adore Adam Driver, and his character (who shall not be named for personal reasons) in this film in particular will go down as one of my favorite performances on his behalf. His 20-something New Yorker self is an artifacts dealer that is devoted to nobody other than his best friend, Benji (undateable), and his motorcycle. If you're looking for a movie that's quick, that will take your mind off of the remedial tasks of every day life, and that will make you supremely happy for an hour and a half, then I strongly encourage you to check this brilliant piece of filmmaking out.

4. Uncut Gems (2019)

Director: Benny and Josh Safdie

Studio: A24

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93%

Where to watch: In theaters now

There are many films that I've seen over the last ten years that have made me feel like I fulfilled a large part of their target audience requisites. However, there has only been one film during that time span that has made me say to myself, "This movie was literally made for me. Like, who did the Safdie brothers hire to surveil my anxiety-littered life since the 6th Grade? I'm not just the target audience, I'm the bullseye. Everybody else in this theater might've started liking The Weeknd after they heard 'Can't Feel My Face' for the first time. They might watch an NBA game once or twice a week. They might enjoy going to the movies and appreciate innovative filmmakers. But none of them understand the intimacy of the relationship with this film quite like I do."

And trust me, I'm well aware that that quote sounds absurdly narcissistic and selfish, but part of me has gone full method and converted into Howard Ratner here, so for the time being; I don't give a single fuck what you think. I was the one watching the Philadelphia/Boston Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2012. I was the one who found The Weeknd on DatPiff and didn't have a clue what he looked like in 2011, but made his music my new religion (my finest pioneer moment). The only things that this film and I don't have in common is that I'm not a degenerate gambler, I don't live in New York, I'm not Jewish, nor someone who is both immensely superficial and concerned about his colon. I like money, but I don't live for it and adore it quite to the extent that Howard does.

On the other hand, I did adore Kevin Garnett throughout my adolescence. He was my second favorite athlete in the world (my allegiance to LeBron has never swayed) and I had a jersey of his. I lived and died by the "Anything is possible!" moment after the 2008 Finals that led to a very, very chunky version of me happy-crying for the first time in my young life. KG's tenacity on the floor was the modern day equivalent to a Mad Villain in the Roman Coliseum. His speed, chaos, aggressiveness, and determination to win in the TD Garden wasn't something that I thought I'd see from one of the most beloved actors of the last 30 years: Adam Sandler.

Look, I grew up just like you did, watching Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, and SNL re-runs, but I'd never thought of Sandler as one of my favorite actors in the world even after my countless experiences with those legendary films as an elementary and middle school doofus. Uncut Gems re-revealed the mastery that Sandler possesses in films like Punch Drunk Love and The Meyerowitz Stories. He occupies the mental and physical space of New York's most annoying, selfish, convoluted, delusional asshole with a stupid grin and an even annoyingly dumber voice, yet I was still rooting for him the entire time. I was on this guy's side, and I know that if I had met this man in real life, I would've wanted to punch him in the fucking face just as bad as everybody else in his life did.

I don't want to dive too deep into this movie right now cause I know that I'll be doing that in the near future on a (spoiler) Final Digest article and an episode of The Fro and The Flow solely dedicated to this masterful project, but there's one last thing I have to address; and that thing is just how sexy this movie was. Julia Fox-- don't say it, please don't say it, I know I shouldn't say it, but I want to so bad-- shined like a diamond in this film. One quick side note: Her physique and mannerisms were as intoxicating as they were infuriating knowing that she was/is 1.) completely, 100%, undeniably unattainable and 2.) so madly in love with a douchebag like Howie. Why do the good ones have to have the worst taste?

Her performance reminded me of Margot Robbie's breakout in The Wolf of Wall Street. Her presence symbolized the outstanding themes of the movie. Sex, sex appeal, lust, money, DIAMONDS, addiction, drugs, honesty (or a lack thereof), fashion, and the one theme that ties all of them together that she pulled off so unfathomably well: seduction. Fox may not be the same caliber actor that Margot is, but she damn sure captured my attention just as much if not more than the I, Tonya superstar did once upon a time.

Martian: I couldn't help myself. I'll keep this brief because Ralph went in and I have stuff coming about it, but Uncut Gems will go down as one of my favorite films of all-time. As Ralph said, a movie has never felt made more for me. It has so many things I love dearly and the way the Safdies can tell a story in a heart-pounding two hours is incredible and unlike anything I've ever seen. I saw Uncut Gems back-to-back days and god damn it do I want to see it again. Becoming a pretentious film asshole has been very fun and I'll continue to ride for A24 and the Safdie brothers until I win a few Oscars myself.

3. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Studio: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 85%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is a film that reminds me of why I love cinema, and how enthralling it is to participate in the experience of watching superstars be superstars. (Here's a real-life example: I felt the need to see this movie three times in theaters because of the pure superstardom of it. I've never seen a movie that many times in the theaters. I imagine that what Tarantino is to me is the equivalent to what the Russo brothers are to nerds who hate Martin Scorsese for telling them the truth.) Tarantino doesn’t implore any of his typical directing feats like ultra violence until late in the film’s runtime, and there is less of a concentration on plot than there is on a blissful aesthetic. Many critics have defined this movie as Quentin's love letter to Hollywood, and I think that perfectly encapsulates what this movie did for him and the medium itself.

One of the most unique films of the decade features two of my favorite performances of the last 30 years on the behalf of Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, and Brad Pitt as Dalton's stunt double, Cliff Booth. Their buddy-buddy relationship is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Neither character is perfect, in fact, they're very, very far from it, but they are inarguably lovable. Booth has the body and looks of a shoulda-coulda-woulda superstar (I mean, Brad Pitt plays him for Christ's sake), but he seems much more genuinely happy than his friend and boss Rick Dalton does. Dalton spends the entirety of the film trying to reclaim his 15-minutes of fame moment, and in what I believe was my favorite two-scene-string of 2019; his emotions are all over the damn place from his trailer to a little girl sitting on his lap.

The entire film is breathtaking and envy inspiring, but the final scene is the unique garnish on top that makes the movie a most memorable cinematic experience.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Director: Wes Anderson

Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video and iTunes

Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel is nothing short of a dream-like experience. The aesthetics are as effervescent and heartwarming as the storyline, and the performances come on the behalf of an All-Decade cast: Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Tony Revolori, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Kettle, Saoirse Ronan, and Lucas Hedges. Every typical Andersonian cast member is included along with some bright up-and-comers that will define and determine the quality of the next decade's worth of cinema.

Few films like this one succeed in the nearly impossible task of making their audience appreciate the little things in life; whether it be the famous Mendl's Cupcakes or the half-smoked cigarette in Schwartzman's chest pocket. Above all else, love is the defining theme of this film and the relationship between Zero and Agatha is blush-inducing. The Grand Budapest Hotel would've surely been both the best and my personal favorite film of the decade if it weren't for another Saoirse Ronan performance...

1. Lady Bird (2017)

Director: Greta Gerwig

Studio: A24

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 99%

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

It is very seldom that a piece of art perfectly achieves what it's aching to do, and then some. Greta Gerwig's solo directorial debut, Lady Bird, takes the typical trope-littered film about an angsty high schooler and completely subverts the expectations of it by creating the defining film of the Indie genre along with the most memorable movie of the last ten years. There is no doubt in my mind that this the best coming-of-age story I've ever had the privilege of experiencing, and it would be a crime to both my self and cinema if I didn't establish this as not only my favorite movie of the decade, but the overall best one as well.

The film (that is largely autobiographical for the esteemed writer/director) features brilliant performances from the recently established as legendary generation of Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, and Lucas Hedges. These slightly-older-than-adolescents make up the majority of the ensemble cast. Their performances are driven by the tight knit writing on Gerwig's behalf that is brutally honest, heart wrenching, and so gorgeous that it makes every writer of any genre unbearably envious.

Lady Bird is a triumph because it could've very easily been a typical high school dramedy, coming-of-age Indie film that came and went in the blink of an eye had it been created by anybody else. But this cast, and this director transcended it into the most emotionally impactful piece of art (alongside Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag, of course) that I had the privilege of experiencing between the years 2010 and 2020.