ComingSoon’s 10 Best Movies of the Decade
The 2010s were a decade of mindblowing films that took us through turbulent times with style and substance. It was the decade when superhero flicks came into their own, and horror became a dominant force in the industry. This decade also saw a downturn in the mid-budget studio picture (comedies, star-led dramas), yet still a few managed to rise above. Overall it has been an impressive ten years, and ComingSoon.net is counting down the best of the best with six lists of the 10 Best Movies of the Decade featuring managing editor Max Evry, associate editor Kylie Hemmert, and staff writers Grant Hermanns, Maggie Dela Paz, Jeff Ames and Josh Plainse. Check out our lists below!
1) Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller crafted a singular action masterpiece using bravura storytelling and incisive political subtext. A crowning achievement. Anyone who says I chose this as #1 out of narcissism because it has my name in the title is mostly wrong.
2) The Nice Guys – Shane Black leveraged the success of Iron Man 3 to create the Shane Black-iest movie ever made, full of great noir mechanics, an amazing double act with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe and, of course, Christmas! Surely this decade’s Big Lebowski, a movie whose pleasures only grow on each viewing.
3) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – The great 6-volume graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley was turned into a singular work of pop brilliance by Edgar Wright, who uses every trick in the book to tell a stylized love story.
4) Looper – While Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi would turn out to be a superlative Star Wars movie, his film prior showed an incredible knack for creating sparkling characters and dialogue within an original sci-fi framework.
5) It Follows – The idea of supernatural monster as sexual chain letter is such a great conceit the mind boggles how it wasn’t done before. If it had, it probably would not have been as amazingly executed as David Robert Mitchell made it. Between this, The Myth of the American Sleepover and Under the Silver Lake, Mitchell is absolutely a filmmaker to watch in the coming decade.
6) Green Room – Another brilliant young mind is Jeremy Saulnier, who crafted this killer claustrophobic thriller that became even more relevant with the surge in White Nationalism since 2016.
7) BlacKkKlansman – Speaking of White Nationalism, Spike Lee confronted the dark heart of America with guts and gusto using the incredible story of black officer Ron Stallworth infiltrating the KKK in late 1970’s Colorado. John David Washington announces himself brilliantly as a movie star with this role.
8) John Dies at the End – With a micro budget, underrated director Don Coscaelli crafted a movie of unrelenting eccentric genius. Based on the book by David Wong, the film unravels as a reality-bending narrative about Dave and John’s journey to an alternate dimension after taking the mysterious drug Soy Sauce.
9) Beyond the Black Rainbow – Before he made the killer fever dream Mandy, Panos Cosmatos made this horror experiment that is equal parts arthouse and grindhouse. Made using residuals from his father’s film Tombstone, Cosmatos made a movie that only a dedicated filmmaker with real vision could pull off.
10) Blue Valentine – This drama tracks a relationship that is forged in and ends in chaos. A rare romantic film that alternates between the sweet and the tragic, Derek Cianfrance makes sure every unflinching scene always feels raw.
Honorable Mentions: The Adventures of Tintin, Colossal, Paterson, The Raid, Frances Ha, Moonrise Kingdom, Cloud Atlas, Hobo with a Shotgun, The Tree of Life, A Dangerous Method, Young Adult, The Illusionist, The Duke of Burgundy, Elle, The Lobster, Mandy, Good Time, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Logan
1) The Conjuring – The first installment of James Wan’s masterful Conjuring universe introduced horror fans to a favorite new demon-fighting couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), in a fresh, effective, terrifying scary movie full of heart and fun clapping games.
2) Nightcrawler – Screenwriter Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut stars Jake Gyllenhaal in a powerful performance in the thought-provoking and disturbing neo-noir psychological thriller that explores a darker side of humanity in the name of rising to the top.
3) Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller’s award-winning film features Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron at their best in a visually stunning and exhilarating achievement full of adrenaline and high stakes. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
4) IT – Andy Muschietti’s 2017 take on the Stephen King story, complete with a perfect Pennywise in the form of Bill Skarsgård and an excellent Losers Club cast, is as much a moving coming-of-age tale as it is a horror movie in a special blend of genre essential to effective King adaptations.
5) Gone Girl – Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, David Fincher’s adaptation of the drama thriller features spectacular performances by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck and takes viewers on a darkly disturbing journey into a destructive marriage (to put it lightly).
6) Hereditary – Ari Aster’s directorial feature debut combines ingredients essential to a perfect horror movie: Originality, Toni Collette at her best, beheadings, creepy repetitive noises, unexpected beheadings, unraveling dysfunctional families, and escalating tension that builds into a horrifying and fittingly bizarre end to this one-of-a-kind film.
7) A Quiet Place – John Krasinski showcased his vast acting range and how skilled behind a camera he is in his original horror feature directorial debut. Married couple Krasinski and Emily Blunt star alongside a couple of super talented kids in a very effective scary movie that will make you jump and then make you cry as the Abbott family desperately fights for survival.
8) Prisoners – One of the best crime dramas of the decade that dives into desperation, vigilantism, and how far we go for our family within a gripping mystery. Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman’s raw performances coupled with Denis Villeneuve’s signature directing makes for a heavy, visceral drama.
9) Split – M. Night Shyamalan gave one of his biggest twists yet when it was revealed via a shocking cameo by Bruce Willis at the end of the film that this thriller was actually the sequel to his groundbreaking movie Unbreakable that came out 16 years before Split was released. James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy both shine in the horror film that is a success even before establishing itself as a sequel in a secretly planned trilogy.
10) Shutter Island – Martin Scorsese’s Leonardo Dicaprio-led thriller was a master in psychological storytelling, with a mystery as solid and satisfying as its cast, atmosphere, and multiple twists and turns.
1) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The Marvel webslinger has seen numerous iterations hit the big screen over nearly 20 years but one of the most original, exhilarating, hilarious and powerful outings was the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. With a comic book animation style, an amazing voice cast and an emotionally-rich story, this is one of the greatest animated films of all time.
2) Blade Runner 2049 – Pulling off a sequel to a perceived genre classic is already a tough enough feat, let alone with a 35-year gap, and yet Blade Runner 2049 proves some sequels can even outshine its predecessor thanks to its mesmerizing direction, intriguing story and great performances from Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford.
3) Deadpool – The comic book movie genre has enjoyed a real wave of success since 2008’s Iron Man, but one of the most refreshing and hilarious for the genre is 2016’s Deadpool. Breathing new life into superhero tales with an R-rated sense of humor and violence and featuring great action and a performance from lead Ryan Reynolds, who was born for the role, the superhero action comedy is an absolute delight to watch from start to finish and arguably one of the most important in the genre in the past decade.
4) Inside Llewyn Davis – The Coen brothers have delivered everything from kidnapping mystery to prison break mayhem, but 2013 found them in truly fascinating form with the black comedy period drama Inside Llewyn Davis. Its exploration of the 1960s folk music scene in New York City is rich, its blues-filled soundtrack is incredible for revisiting on any odd day and the performances from its ensemble are superb, namely lead Oscar Isaac, who also lends his very talented singing voice to the titular character.
5) The Conjuring – After terrifying audiences in 2011’s Insidious, James Wan found his most horrifying and chilling project yet in the form of the first installment in the Conjuring franchise. Based around the case files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, the first Conjuring remains as the most effective and shocking horror film of the past decade.
6) Get Out – While many modern audiences know Jordan Peele for his work on Key & Peele and co-starring role in the well-received Keanu, they were treated to an absolute twist in 2017 with his directorial debut in the form of horror hit Get Out. Featuring aa fascinating script, captivating direction and stellar performances from its cast, the film is one of the most original and endlessly rewatchable thrillers in recent years.
7) The Nice Guys – Shane Black found his first rise to stardom after debuting the script to the first Lethal Weapon movie and after nailing his directorial debut in the neo-noire black comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, he returned to both genres for the Ryan Gosling/Russell Crowe-starring The Nice Guys. The film is endlessly funny thanks to the brilliant chemistry from its leads, features a compelling mystery and some exciting action scenes.
8) The Hateful Eight – While Quentin Tarantino’s first western genre Django Unchained outing was loads of shoot-em-up fun, he found his true form with his second venture The Hateful Eight. Featuring a script full of fascinating characters, compelling dialogue blending outright humor with pulse-racing thrills and twists, the film is a high-tension stand-off that never lets go and never lets audiences in on the secret until the moment’s right.
9) What We Do in the Shadows – The vampire genre saw some resurgence throughout the 2000s thanks to the Twilight series, but Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement sought to deliver their own take on the bloodsuckers with the wildly hilarious, endlessly quotable What We Do in the Shadows.
10) John Dies at the End – David Wong’s bizarro sci-fi horror comedy novel was one of absolute hilarity, genre-blending genius and a seemingly unfilmable story and yet cult classic director Don Coscarelli sought to bring the story to life with the 2012 adaptation and to this day remains one of the best novel-to-film translations in cinema. Though seeing a change in story for practicality purposes, the film remains true to its source material in visuals, tone and features perfect performances from leads Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes at the titular John and Wong, respectively.
Honorable Mentions: Sorry to Bother You, Hereditary, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Disaster Artist, IT, Baby Driver, Logan, BlacKkKlansman, Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road, Furious 7, Dear White People, The Babadook, Birdman, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, Snowpiercer, Skyfall, Seven Psychopaths
1) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
2) Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) – I’ve read Stephen Chbosky’s novel when I was still in high school and now more than five years later, it is still my most favorite book ever. As a reader, I was very satisfied and happy with Chbosky’s heartfelt film adaptation of his novel. The feelings and connection that I’ve felt towards the story and the characters when I was reading the book were also present in the film. The main cast led by Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller did a wonderful job in giving a sincere portrayal of their characters and their incredible chemistry with each other made us believe more in their friendship.
3) Sunny (South Korean Film – 2011) – Written and Directed by Kang Hyeong-Cheol, the film first begins with Im Na-mi, a middle-aged woman who tries to fulfill her dying friend’s wish of reuniting their group of high school friends after 25 years of being apart. I’ve always been a fan of 1980s films and movies that deals with friendship. This comedy-drama has all the elements of those two, combining them into its non-linear storyline that is filled with humor and nostalgia. Sunny is set on two different timelines and has two sets of main actors, who equally delivered great performances that would make you immediately care for their characters.
4) Parasite (2019)
5) Lady Bird (2017)
6) The Croods (2013)
7) The Help (2011)
8) Bad Genius (2017) – Directed by Nattawut Poonpiriya, the film follows a group of high school seniors, who makes money off by helping other students cheat on their exams. The stakes will get higher when they will try to pull off a big-scale cheating operation in the STIC, which is an international test for university admissions. Overall, this film offers a new look at the heist thriller genre and combining it with a coming-of-age story that deals the realities of life and how far you will go just to make your dreams come true. What I like about Bad Genius is that the main characters were all flawed in a way that the film didn’t portrayed them as typical film protagonists in teen dramas, who are always redeemed at the end of the film. I also have a favorite line from the film that I can’t seem to forget since the first time I’ve seen it because it was an unfortunately true statement about life. “Even If you don’t cheat, life cheats you anyways.”
9) John Wick (2014)
10) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
1) Inception – Christopher Nolan’s Inception remains a benchmark in blockbuster cinema. A rollicking, action packed drama that is as intelligent as it is visceral. From the practical stunt work, to the layered and twisted storytelling, Inception represents everything I love about film. It’s weird to say just seven years later, but they really don’t make ‘em quite like this anymore.
2) The Grand Budapest Hotel – Ralph Fiennes shines in this terrific comedy caper from Wes Anderson that is as funny as it is deeply sentimental.
3) Mad Max: Fury Road – Raw. Emotional. Action packed. Amazing. Fury Road is the Dark Knight of Mad Max films.
4) Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan finds humor in the darkest of places in this powerful drama. Casey Affleck delivers a career best performance, whilst Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges offer incredible supporting turns.
5) The Social Network – David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin went full-on God mode with this exhilarating true-life drama that stands as the perfect time capsule of the last decade.
6) Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Not since The Empire Strikes Back has Star Wars dared to challenge its audience quite like The Last Jedi. Rian Johnson paints an operatic masterpiece that (while admittedly clunky at times) circumvents The Force Awakens’ nostalgic thrills for something far more meaningful and deeper, which is weird to say of a film featuring space wizards and laser swords. Blockbuster filmmaking done right.
7) Skyfall – The best James Bond film, bar none. Sam Mendes (doing his best Christopher Nolan impersonation) burrows deep into Bond’s character and in so doing crafts a film that is both exhilarating and personal.
8) The Descendants – Alexander Payne’s heartbreaking, powerful, and profoundly humorous look at marriage, fatherhood, life, and death. George Clooney has never been better.
9) Inside Out – Pixar’s most accomplished, creative work to date — and that’s saying something. Inside Out, with its gorgeous animation and lively voice work, digs deep into the often-painful world of adolescence to deliver a thoughtful work that truly stirs the soul. Truly, an underappreciated gem.
10) Creed/The Fighter/Moneyball – I’m a sports nut, so I just had to feature the three best sports films of the last decade. Yeah, I’m cheating here, but Ryan Coogler’s Creed, David O. Russell’s The Fighter, and Bennett Miller’s Moneyball represent everything I love (and hate) about professional sports. These are films that go beyond formula to dissect the true heart of a champion, whilst gauging the seedy side of our beloved past times. And they’re absolutely brilliant.
Honorable Mention: Sicario, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I, Tonya, The Dark Knight Rises, Edge of Tomorrow, Django Unchained, True Grit, John Wick
1) Inception – Inception is the movie that truly established Christopher Nolan as a legendary filmmaker. Everyone knew what he could do thanks to films like Memento, The Prestige, and the Dark Knight trilogy; however, once Nolan broke through into mainstream cinema and was given the freedom to embrace his originality (fully supported by a hefty budget), everything opened up for this guy.
2) Wind River – The decade’s breakthrough screenwriter has to be Taylor Sheridan (AKA that cop from Sons of Anarchy). His screenwriting debut came with Sicario in 2015, then he wrote Hell or High Water (which almost made this list, and then Wind River (which was also his directorial debut). The movie tackles an uncomfortable subject a the perfect amount of heart-wrenching badassery.
3) The Social Network – David Fincher masterfully depicting one of the most pivotal cultural/technological/societal shifts in human history (maybe). Also featuring some of this decade’s top-tier breakthrough talent.
4) The Town – Back when Ben Affleck was well on his way to becoming one of the best writer/directors in Hollywood. The Town took everything Affleck was good at and put it into a movie.
5) Arrival – Sci-Fi with Amy Adams and emotion.
6)The Martian – Sci-Fi with Matt Damon and humor.
7) Avengers: Infinity War – Yeah. The best Marvel movie—come at me.
8) Skyfall – Arguably the greatest Daniel Craig James Bond outing. Skyfall is vividly aware of its own franchise fatigue and combats that by giving us what feels like a love letter to the entire saga.
9) Star Wars: The Force Awakens – It was a promising start for Disney…
10) Creed – Ryan Coogler took the Rocky franchise, which was essentially dead, and made it relevant again (all in honor of his father). Next level performances by Stallone and Jordan. Creed honors the Rocky legacy while embracing potential no one knew the franchise even had—this is probably why Marvel hired Coogler for Black Panther.
What are YOUR 10 favorite movies of the decade? Which ComingSoon.net writer’s list did you align with the most? Let us know in the comments below!