Creating a best of the year list is a daunting enough task, much less a best of the decade list. These may not be the films that are technically the best, but they’re the films I’ve loved the most and have come back to the most often.
GONE GIRL – The best romantic comedy of the decade. A deeply cynical and black-hearted look at relationships, the way media exploits tragedies, and why people never trust the housecat in mystery movies.
INSIDE OUT – A deeply affecting and hilarious meditation on why emotions matter. Emotionally rich, beautifully animated, and deeply wise, Inside Out was the rare animated film that had more to offer adults than children. Also my favorite Pixar film.
BRIDESMAIDS – the beginning of director Paul Feig’s string of Melissa McCarthy hits, that lasted for the better part of the decade. Also memorable as the rare female-driven R-rated comedy that truly understood its characters in a significant way, and did not condescend to anyone. Really, I could include any film directed by Paul Feig this entire decade with Bridesmaids. He’s yet to make a film I haven’t loved.
BIRDMAN and 1917 – Two films that narratively could not have less in common. Both breathless, exhilarating examples of what can happen when a gimmick is executed correctly. Two films edited to look like one continuous take, one a biting satire about a has-been actor looking for redemption and the other a brilliant drama about the horrors of war. Both are heightened by powerfully intimate storytelling.
WHIPLASH and LA LA LAND – Damien Chazelle’s one-two punch that earned him immediate Oscar recognition. Both films about the sacrifices artists make for the life they want – one a razor-sharp thriller and the other a dreamlike technicolor musical. Both are endlessly fascinating, overwhelmingly emotional, and evoke a deeply visceral response.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME – A lush, gorgeous and breathtakingly emotional romantic drama that evokes every aspect of the thrill of first love. It’s the kind of slow, methodically paced film you want to spend forever in, and one that becomes even more rich and memorable on repeat viewings.