The 10 Best Movies of the 2010’s

An unranked list of the best movie from each year of the past decade

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Rafayel Hovhannisyan, Staff Writer

Movies are a gateway into the minds of different people. There are movies for every and any experience that a person can have, and if there isn’t, then someone will make one. Movies are separate worlds that pull in audiences from every demographic. 

There are way more than ten movies that I believe are worth watching from the past ten years, but I have judged these films based on my standards of influence or philosophical stimulation. 

I also have not included independent films, since they should have their own list and can’t really be compared to these films, due to differences in budget and acting talent. 

To make it easier, I will choose one film from each year, starting with 2010.

Inception (2010)

Inception is a movie about a talented con artist named Dom Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who has a rare ability to enter people’s subconscious. He uses this ability to steal information from people and become an international criminal, which comes with great costs. For a chance at redemption, he has to enter an individual’s mind to plant an idea this time. While this seems like a boring idea, the writer and director, Christopher Nolan, has crafted such an intricate storyline that involves so many twists and turns, and he has turned a simple idea into a complex story that leaves the audience unsure of what to expect. This movie has one of the most amazing scripts of the decade. Other honorable mentions from 2010 include The Social Network, Black Swan, and I Saw The Devil.

Drive (2011)

2011 was not a great year for movies. It was a year for cash-grab movies like the Twilight series and Mission Impossible. While it was very hard to find a movie for this year, I began searching through my Netflix list to find the movie Drive. It is a movie about a getaway driver, Hollywood stuntman, and garage mechanic played by Ryan Gosling. He falls in love with his neighbor, whose husband is in jail. This all ties in together when he has to participate in a car race that gets him involved with the local gang, which in turn connects him with his neighbour’s husband. This movie has been compared to the movie Taxi Driver and is often called the “bloody fairytale”. Many film critics have exclaimed how the unpredictable but calculated nature of the Driver leaves the audience on the edge of their seat. The very first scene is a getaway driving scene and it proves the critics’ points perfectly. Overall, it is an interesting film and the best 2011 can offer us.

Django Unchained (2012)

This was a difficult decision to make. The other very worthy option for 2012 would be The Master. It is an amazing movie with very interesting philosophical theories attached to it, but if we are looking at impact, then Django Unchained takes the cake. I wish I could put every Quentin Tarantino film on this list, because he is the best screenwriter of all time, with movies like Inglourious Basterds, The Hateful Eight, and Pulp Fiction. Tarantino wanted to make a black cowboy movie. He talked about how he was so inspired by cowboy movies in his youth, but then he realized that other people of color may not have the same kinds of heroes in film to look up to. This, combined with his love of the movie Django by Sergio Corbucci, helped him to assemble an all star cast, with Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, and Leonardo DiCaprio to bring the 1800’s to life. It is a story about a former slave named Django (Foxx) that is freed by Dr. Schultz (Christopher Waltz), a bounty hunter. This leads to a friendship and a partnership. Overall this movie is a commentary on how western movies often exclude the slave experience. Other great movies from this year are Looper and Skyfall

Her (2013)

Her, directed by Spike Jonze, is a phenomenal movie that includes the talents of Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. It is a movie that is set in the not-so-distant future, where the main character, Theodore, is struggling with his divorce. He decides to buy an AI system that can serve as your friend and more. He calls his friend Samantha and throughout the movie we watch as their relationship progresses. This movie is about the loneliness people feel when they have no one to love. The vibrant colors, contrasted with dark lighting, are stunning and set much more complex emotions. The movie dives into relationships and how they can’t be programmed to perfection. The movie’s best asset is the character of Theodore himself. Throughout the movie, we see how he feels severely depressed, and his emotions are contrasted by his surroundings, which are full of light and beauty. Other notable mentions from 2013 would be The Wolf of Wall Street, Blue is the Warmest Color and 12 Years a Slave.

Ex Machina (2014)

2014 was a competitive year for movies with amazing titles like Whiplash, Interstellar, and Boyhood, just to name a few. However, the movie that stands out the most is Ex Machina directed by Alex Garland. The title is Latin for “god from a machine” and the movie itself delves into the aspects of achieving artificial intelligence and how that would make their creators an equivalent to a god. It is a movie about a programmer named Caleb, played by Domhnall Gleeson, that gets to participate in a new AI project with his company’s CEO named Nathan, played by Oscar Isaac. As the plot progresses, the programmer starts having doubts about whether or not he himself is an AI and falls in love with Ava, played by Alicia Vikander. This results in many plot twists and scenarios, which result in one of my favorite endings in cinematic history.

Room (2015)

Room is a movie about a mother and son (Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay) who are being held captive in a room. After 7 years, they are finally given freedom and the story revolves around the son Jack’s experiences. This movie is very straightforward and doesn’t offer much of a deeper analysis. It is a movie about a mother and her son getting to experience the real world for the first time together, because Jack hasn’t ever seen the world himself. Overall, it is a very emotional movie and not for the faint of heart. It deals with themes of physical and psychological abuse and how it affects the relationships and environments of the victims. Other notable movies from this year would be Creed, The Hateful Eight and The Revenant.

The Promise (2016)

The Promise is a story about three characters: Michael (Oscar Isaac), Ana (Charlotte Le Bon) and Chris (Christian Bale). The story is set during the Armenian Genocide and describes how the characters manage to escape the execution of the Ottomans. This is a very sad movie that resembles another film called The Pianist. It is a movie that has had a personal impact on the Armenian people and is very hard to watch. Other movies that are worth watching from this year are La La Land and Moonlight.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out is the first thriller written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele. This movie is about a guy named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend (Allison Williams) who go to visit her parents for the weekend. This weekend soon turns into a nightmare for Chris, leading him to discover that the family has a dark secret. The movie is symbolic of white liberalism in America. It shows how even among groups, that go around and feign support for African-American figures, there is still racism and jealousy under the surface. It has a lot of foreshadowing and symbolism, and it is an amazing film by Jordan Peele. Other movies to watch from 2017 include Call Me by Your Name and Logan.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

This is one of the funniest movies of the decade. It follows an African-American policeman named Ron (John David Washington) and a Jewish cop named Flip (Adam Driver) as they infiltrate the Klu Klux Klan in Colorado Springs. Not only does this movie serve as a comedy, but it also is a movie that highlights the severity of racism in the United States. Other worthwhile movies of the year would be Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and Roma.

Joker (2019)

Joker is one of those movies that is going to be considered a classic in the future. It combines the mainstream passion of comic book movies like The Avengers and Justice League with social commentary, and it creates a beautiful masterpiece that doesn’t only entertain but also impacts viewers. This movie definitely has impacted many men around the world, because it deals with the mental and physical issues that men face in society and how they are sort of the “overlooked” group. Throughout the story, Arthur (Joaquin Phoenix), faces abuse and neglect, which leads him to a breaking point, and he becomes a sign of the revolution against the rich. There are so many themes that the movie covers, but overall it shows how society breeds violence in individuals. It doesn’t empathize with the killers and psychopaths of society, but instead it shows how society pushes these people to such an extreme point to turn them into what they are. Other interesting movies to watch from 2019 would be Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Parasite.