Sunday, February 12, 2017

10 Best Movies

So, following on from my 10 years of movie reviewing anniversary, here are my 10 best movies from the past 10 years.  (For the 10 worst movies, see yesterday's post).


1) The same disclaimer I said yesterday holds for today as well.  The memory fades over the years, which makes it hard to rank these movies as if they were all fresh in my mind.  I'm going to take a stab at it anyway, just for fun, but a fresh re-viewing of these movies would probably re-jigger these rankings.
2) This is not my list of my best movies of all time.  It's simply a list of the best movies since I started the movie review project on this blog.
In fact, all of the movies that really made an impression on me I think I saw before I was 25.  I was younger then, and easier to impress.
Now that I'm approaching middle-age, it's very hard for a movie to impact me the way it did when I was younger.

Those disclaimers aside, here's my best stab at it.

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel ,

About as perfect a Wes Anderson film as you could ask for.

2. The Big Sleep ,

An old movie but a good movie.  The dialogue is just zinging with wit and sass.

3. Lincoln ,

Historical drama at its finest.

4. All the Way ,

Another great historical drama.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road ,

Okay, sure, it's just a stupid action movie.  But it's one of the greatest stupid action movies of all time.  None stop adrenaline from beginning to end.  

6, Hellboy ,  Hellboy 2 ,

Number 6 is a two-for.  Ordinarily sequels disappoint, but in this case Hellboy II was every bit as great as Hellboy I.  Both movies were so fantastical and imaginative.  They were such a refreshing break from the usual bland Hollywood action movie.  Guillermo del Toro is a treasure.

7. Hot Fuzz , The World's End ,

Another two-for.  Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are the best.  (The other movie in the Cornetto Trilogy, Shaun of the Dead, only misses inclusion in this list because I saw it before I started my movie review project.   )

8. Charlie Wilson's War ,

I have some issues with the politics of this movie (as I mentioned in my review) but in terms of great writing, directing, and acting, this film is top-notch.  Aaron Sorkin can write brilliant screenplays, and Philip Seymour Hoffman was a wonderful actor.

9. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers ,

A powerful documentary.  Everyone should see this movie.

10. Selma ,

An important drama about an important moment in American history.

Honorable Mentions

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy ,

Actually, Scottsboro would have gotten a place in my top 10, except that I was unsure if it counted as a real movie, or as a television documentary.
It was produced for the PBS series The American Experience.   But apparently it also got a theatrical release.  When I first saw this movie, I counted it as a TV show, and didn't review it on the blog.  Only later when I found out it had been in theaters, I went back and gave it a delayed review.

...Anyway, it's an excellent documentary.  If you're at all interested in history, check it out.  (And by the way, The American Experience produces a lot of great stuff.  Most of their documentaries I haven't been reviewing on this blog, because I've been counting them as TV shows, but they've done some top-notch documentary work.)

Recount  and Game Change

I love these HBO political films by Jay Roach.  Both Recount and Game Change were excellent dramatizations of recent political events.

The Social Network ,

Wow, can that Aaron Sorkin write, or what?  This is a film overflowing with clever and snappy dialogue.

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens ,

Okay, look, I know the backlash to this film is already starting to set in, and people are complaining about how this is a completely unoriginal film that simply re-played all the same beats from the original Star Wars.  And people are right.  But such is my nostalgia for the original Star Wars that I was over-joyed to see all the original cast back on the big screen.  You'll just have to forgive me for abandoning my critical faculties in favor of nostalgia.

The Maltese Falcon,

The dialogue in The Maltese Falcon isn't quite as good as in The Big Sleep, but the story and pacing may be better.  A fun classic movie.

Moonrise Kingdom ,

Another great Wes Anderson outing.

Pan's Labyrinth ,

Although the plot of this movie is a bit thin, the fantastical elements and imagination are wonderful.

Paper Moon ,

This movie gets a lot of mileage out of just having a grumpy argumentative little girl character, but I found myself laughing along the whole time.

Superbad ,

A great teen comedy movie.

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days ,

This is the kind of movie we need more of.  It makes us remember that not all Germans went along with the Nazis--there were also people who resisted.

Link of the Day
THROWBACK: Noam Chomsky On Karl Marx


Darrell Reimer said...

There's a bunch here I haven't seen, including #1, Selma, Lincoln, All The Way. I've been curious about them all, but haven't had the moment when my interest dovetailed with the interests of the company I keep (the fam). Selma, though, is pretty high on the list of "must see."

Joel Swagman said...

My list probably reflects my personal interests as a history geek. Mileage on all of these movies may vary for different people, I'm sure.

Selma is not a perfect movie (for all of the reasons I detailed in my review), but it I think it's an important movie. So it makes it on to the top 10.

If you ever get a chance to see it, let me know what you think.