- The Tree of Life – Malick
- The Master – P.T. Anderson
- Roma – Cuaron
- Dunkirk – Nolan
- La La Land – Chazelle
- Birdman – Iñárritu
- Inception – Nolan
- The Revenant – Iñárritu
- Mad Max: Fury Road – G. Miller
- The Grand Budapest Hotel – W. Anderson
- The Social Network – Fincher
- The Turin Horse – Tarr
- Ida – Pawlikowski
- Black Swan- Aronofsky
- Inside Llewyn Davis – Coen
- The Favourite – Lanthimos
- Cold War – Pawlikowski
- Midsommar – Aster
- Burning – Chang-dong Lee
- Shame – McQueen
- Moonrise Kingdom – W. Anderson
- Melancholia – von Trier
- Columbus – Kogonada
- Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Tarantino
- Call Me By Your Name – Guadagnino
- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – Weerasethakul
- The Irishman – Scorsese
- Mr. Turner – Leigh
- Ad Astra – Gray
- Blade Runner 2049 – Villeneuve
- Moonlight – Jenkins
- Under the Skin – Glazer
- Gravity – Cuaron
- Boyhood – Linklater
- 1917 – Mendes
- Marriage Story – Baumbach
- Before Midnight – Linklater
- The Great Beauty – Sorrentino
- Paterson – Jarmusch
- Waves – Shults
- Whiplash – Chazelle
- Gone Girl – Fincher
- Mommy – Dolan
- Good Time – Safdie
- Hereditary – Aster
- 12 Years a Slave – McQueen
- Django Unchained – Tarantino
- Widows – McQueen
- Little Women – Gerwig
- American Hustle – Russell
- We Need to Talk About Kevin – Ramsay
- Victoria – Schipper
- Blue Valentine – Cianfrance
- Sunset Song – Davies
- Drive – Refn
- The Shape of Water – del Toro
- The Dark Knight Rises – Nolan
- Sicario – Villeneuve
- The Assassin – Hsiao-Hsien Hou
- Phantom Thread – P.T. Anderson
- Uncut Gems – Safdie
- A Hidden Life – Malick
- Archipelago – Hogg
- Only God Forgives – Refn
- Carol – Haynes
- Frances Ha – Baumbach
- Parasite – Bong Joon- ho
- The Lobster – Lanthimos
- The Woman in the Fifth – Pawlikowski
- Blue is the Warmest Color – Kechiche
- The Ghost Writer – Polanski
- The Immigrant – Gray
- Ash is Purest White – Zhangke Jia
- Spring Breakers – Korine
- Two Days, One Night – Dardenne
- Tale of Tales – Garrone
- Skyfall – Mendes
- Nebraska – Payne
- Creed – Coogler
- Somewhere – S. Coppola
- You Were Never Really Here – Ramsay
- American Honey – Arnold
- Black Panther – Coogler
- Joker – Phillips
- Pain and Glory – Almodovar
- The Beguiled – S. Coppola
- Submarine – Ayoade
- Get Out – Peele
- A Fantastic Woman – Lelio
- Shutter Island – Scorsese
- If Beale Street Could Talk – Jenkins
- Interstellar – Nolan
- Everybody Wants Some!! – Linklater
- Her – Jonze
- True Detective – Fukunaga
- Amour – Haneke
- Hell or High Water – Mackenzie
- A Separation – Farhadi
- Arrival – Villeneuve
- Atomic Blonde – Leitch
good list. also what do you think of scorsese’s marvel criticism.
@ m . Thanks. Hmmm. I mean Scorsese has earned the right to say what he wants. He’s not only an all-time great auteur but of course a student, teacher and champion of cinema. He clearly cares. I think if you want to criticize Marvel films for lacking creativity or something that’s fine– but I’m personally not in favor of saying something “isn’t cinema”. If he said it isn’t “good” or “great” cinema that’s a different debate.
Good List. My Top 10 :
1. The Tree of Life
2. The Wolf of Wall-Street
3. The Social Network
4. The Master
6. Gone Girl
7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
8. Moonrise Kingdom
Thank you for sharing! Great list. I love seeing Birdman, The Master and Tree of Life- especially Birdman though. I feel like the other two are all over the place (which is great) on these decade-‘s best lists but Birdman is being forgotten somehow. We’re a ways apart on the two Scorsese films for some reason. Neither of your Scorsese films here landed in my top 100. I’m not sure why we’re so far apart on those two but share so many of the others in common (or very close).
Who is the Best Actor/Actress/Director of the Decade according to you Drake?
@Randy— I’ll be working on that now. I wanted to complete the list of films first
After that can you do the same thing but for every decade since the 1920s?
@Randy– good idea! I want to get back to my director pages after this but I’ll get back to the decades as I update by archives by year after that. i think that makes sense to do it then when I’ve just spent 2 weeks or whatever going year by year in that decade updating the pages.
Very Good List! Here’s my list, not in order of preference ( best to worst ), but mostly randomly because I can’t freakin decide who is better.
1. The Tree of Life (2011)
2. The Irishman (2019)
3. The Turin Horse (2011)
4. The Master (2012)
5. Son of Saul (2015)
6. La La Land (2016)
7. Birdman (2014)
8. Roma (2018)
9. Silence (2016)
10. Amour (2012)
11. Inception (2010)
12. Black Swan (2010)
13. Under the Skin (2013)
14. Whiplash (2014)
15. A Separation (2011)
16. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
17. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood (2019)
18. Cold War (2018)
19. The Revenant (2015)
20. Mother! (2017)
21. The House That Jack Built (2018)
22. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
23. Boyhood (2014)
24. 12 Years a Slave (2012)
25. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
26. Nocturnal Animals (2016)
27. Dunkirk (2017)
28. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
29. Parasite (2019)
30. Moonlight (2016)
31. Get Out (2017)
32. Room (2015)
33. The Social Network (2010)
34. The Favourite (2018)
35. Phantom Thread (2017)
36. Interstellar (2014)
37. Django Unchained (2012)
38. Gone Girl (2014)
39. Shutter Island (2010)
40. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
41. Marriage Story (2019)
42. Paterson (2016)
43. Arrival (2016)
44. Enemy (2013)
45. Midsommar (2019)
46. Ad Astra (2019)
47. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
48. A Pigeon Sat on Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014)
49. Ida (2013)
50. Once Upon A Time in Anatolia (2011)
51. Loveless (2017)
52. Winter’s Bone (2010)
53. In The Fog (2012)
54. Holy Motors (2012)
55. The Lobster (2015)
56. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
57. Melancholia (2012)
58. Carol (2015)
59. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
60. Tabu (2012)
61. Toni Erdmann (2016)
62. Certified Copy (2010)
63. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
64. Hugo (2011)
65. Le Havre (2011)
66. Margaret (2011)
67. Timbuktu (2014)
68. Leviathan (2014)
69. Brooklyn (2015)
70. Goodbye to Language (2014)
71. The Assassin (2015)
72. The Great Beauty (2013)
73. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
74. Spring Breakers (2012)
75. Inherent Vice (2014)
76. Shame (2011)
77. Her (2013)
78. Mysteries of Lisbon (2010)
79. The Artist (2011)
80. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
81. Manchester bu the Sea (2016)
82. Elle (2016)
83. Drive (2011)
84. Columbus (2017)
85. Burning (2018)
86. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
87. The Wild Pear Tree (2018)
88. Shoplifters (2018)
89. Winter Sleep (2014)
90. The Hunt (2012)
91. Incendies (2010)
92. Mommy (2014)
93. Poetry (2010)
94. Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)
95. The Florida Project (2017)
96. Call Me by Your Name (2018)
97. Closed Curtain (2013)
98. Stray Dogs (2013)
99. Cemetery of Splendour (2015)
100. Horse Money (2014)
101. La Flor (2018)
102. The Image Book (2018)
103. The Day After (2017)
104. Li’l Quinquin (2014)
105. Stranger by the Lake (2013)
106. A Touch of Sin (2013)
107. Phoenix (2014)
108. Zama (2017)
109. Sieranevada (2016)
110. A Quiet Passion (2016)
111. Good Time (2017)
112. Before Midnight (2013)
113. Hereditary (2018)
@Cinephile— Nice list! thanks for sharing. Yeah- the order is tough when we’re this close to it. Some of the ordering I feel confident in, in other scenarios, I didn’t feel as confident and will certainly admit it. The list is evolving all the time anyways— I’ll feel differently in 2 weeks, 2 months and certainly in 2 years or whenever I update it some films will move up, some down, and others added or dropped completely.
I love seeing Columbus on your list! That makes me feel good. Ditto for the Turin Horse up that high! … and there’s 4-5 I haven’t seen yet from Sieranevada, Li’l Quinquin, La Flor and a few others.
Great List! It’s impossible for me to order it at this point, but this would be my top 10:
– The Social Network
– The Tree of Life
– Holy Motors
– The Master
– Inside Llewyn Davis
– Mad Max: Fury Road
– Get Out
I’ll throw a few honorable mentions in here:
Certified Copy, Inception, Melancholia, A Separation, Amour, Upstream Color, The Wolf of Wall Street, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Under the Skin, Carol, The Handmaiden, La La Land, Blade Runner 2049, Call Me By Your Name, Burning, The Favourite, First Reformed, Roma, The Lighthouse, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
@Leo– thanks for sharing- great list and honorable mentions. I really want to give First Reformed another look soon. Holy Motors is one that stumps me a little. I’m not attacking you, a lot of cinema lovers are very high on that film. I just can’t get behind it. Do you mind sharing what you love/admire so much about it?
Holy Motors, for me, is just one if the most vibrant, alive, colorful and unique celebrations of cinema I’ve ever seen put to the screen. In making this movie, Leos Carax was forced to shoot the film digitally and he absolutely hates the digital format. This lead him to think more about the whole audience culture of cinema, and how he feels like people don’t care about the capabilities of film anymore, and when they go to the theater, they essentially just fall asleep (hence the opening.) The rest of the film is him creating these diverse sequences of different genres, tones and techniques, all culminating together in a magnificent cataclysm of cinematic exuberance. I get it’s not as conventionally a “great film” as something lie The Tree of Life, The Master, or Moonlight, but it’s just my kind of movie and I absolutely adore it!
@Leo— thank you for sharing. Interesting- the color. Ok. Many people (you included) I respect think a great deal of Holy Motors. I’m open to the idea that I could be missing something. I’ll revisit and keep trying. I admire the ingenuity– it is certainly a one of a kind film. But the beauty in the individual frames, the camerawork, the editing, the narrative…I can’t say anything blew me away. Perhaps there’s a formal reason (closer to the construction of Boyhood) on some level that deserves to be praised. Thanks again.
I get that, but also for me, most of the beauty actually comes in its thematic richness. I personally value a movie’s ability to communicate complex and pressing ideas and themes over pure formal execution, though I think both absolutely matter. Holy Motors maybe doesn’t have the cinematography of Roma, the acting of The Master or editing of Dunkirk, but it’s concerned with much more than that. There is so much to extract from the film about the idea of film/artifice, what the role of the actor and the artist means and how it compares to life in the face of a viewer (or a god) or lack thereof. It’s an existential nightmare that is also excited with what purpose art can serve in our meaningless lives. It’s not a movie that strikes a chord with everyone (in fact, I just watched it last night with some cinephile friends and all of them were incredibly lukewarm about it) but it is CERTAINLY a movie for me.
Really good list. And first scanning I know we can always talk about our differences, but frankly that makes it kind of fun, but the major missions I saw at least on first look were number one moneyball which is a terrific film. Number two midnight in Paris which is my favorite Woody Allen movie. Nightcrawler is better than a huge majority of the films on your list in my opinion. There’s two movies on your list that are on my all-time overrated list. One I wouldn’t argue just because I don’t necessarily think I’m right that it’s overrated but it just didn’t resonate with me which is inception. I don’t have a problem with that movie being on people’s list it just didn’t work for me. But one of my all time most overrated films is mad Max fury road. That movie was infuriating to me and how underwhelming it was. George Miller’s the road warrior with Mel Gibson is so far superior to that dreck. Mad Max fury road is one of those movies I simply don’t understand how people like. All that made the road warrior great is missing in mad Max fury road. Anyway, I had to get that out. Thanks for listening. I’m almost done with my top 50 or top 100 list of movies since 2000. It’s an updated list and revise of one I’ve done before. I’ll send it when I’m done. Really enjoy your site still.
My list for the Top 10 – from best to least best lol:
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
La La Land
The Place Beyond The Pines
12 Years A Slave
I have a whole Top 100 written, but I wouldn’t want to clutter your page haha.
@ Jeff– love it! thanks for sending Scorsese and Leo with 3 a piece in the top 10– wow. Inarritu? Cuaron? Nolan? Wes Anderson? Not as big an admirer of their films from the decade or just ran out of room in your top 10?
With Inarritu – Birdman is No. 30, but I’ve only seen it once and that was a few years back now. Not big on The Revenant – it is well made and worth watching, but doesn’t really connect with me.
Funny you should mention Cuaron because I actually haven’t seen any of his movies from this decade – even though I love Children Of Men.
With Nolan, I think Dark Knight Rises and Inception are pretty great. Both are in the 80-100 section of the Top 100. But I don’t love Dunkirk as much as everyone else and Interstellar lost its way for me about halfway through… granted, I get why people like both.
W. Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel is No. 11, so he literally just missed out. I don’t like Moonrise Kingdom that much – but I think I should rewatch as I literally saw it on a plane, which I imagine is the worst possible way to watch one of his films.
@Jeff– appreciate the insight here. Excited to hear what you think of Cuaron’s work when you get a chance to catch it— not on a plane– haha!
My thoughts on your list:
– I watched 74/100
– The most important choice is number 1 and I agree with yours
– Should be significantly higher in my opinion : Inside Llewyn Davis, Ida, The Favourite, Melancholia, Carol, Parasite, Two Days One Night, Amour
– Should be significantly lower in my opinion : Dunkirk, Inception, Shame, Moonrise Kingdom, Good Time, A Hidden Life
– Have no business being on the list in my opinion : Sunset Song, The Ghost Writer, Somewhere, Black Panther, Everybody Wants Some
– I would add : Son of Saul, The Kid with a Bike, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Hateful Eight, Lady Bird, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
– Hereditary > Midsommer, Widows > 12 Years a slave, Arrival > Sicario (didn’t include these above to not repeat myself)
@Dzoni — Wow this is excellent- I really like the format you sent your feedback over in. So many people complain about a film one way or the other without offering an alternative so thank you.
are Inside Llewyn Davis, Ida, The Favourite, Melancholia all in your top 10 I take it? You think I should have them significantly higher and they’re all in my top 22 so I’m guessing.
Son of Saul, The Kid with a Bike, The Killing of a Sacred Deer I’ve only seen once so far a piece so I look forward to revisiting them soon. The others you would add I’ve seen multiple times and am confident about their placement somewhere off this list.
Happy to hear we agree on Tree of Life as #1.
@Dzoni — also– I caught Inside Llewyn Davis two nights ago (i’ll be updating my wpage on it today) and I agree with you– it should be higher
That’s pretty much my top 5. The Tree of Life, Roma, Inside Llewyn Davis, Ida and, for number 5, either Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel or The Favourite. Melancholia would be just outside top 10. Other than that, I would put Son of Saul in top 20, Amour way up to 20-25 and Parasite in top 40. Nolan is probably what we disagree on the most, especially Dunkirk.
Reading my original comment now it looks like I’m only disagreeing with you, but pretty much everything I didn’t mention is either acceptable to me or I agree with it, so it’s a solid list overall.
@ Dzoni– Well you have an excellent list of films here. Thanks for sharing them. Son of Saul is one i really want to get to again.
Do you have a specific problem with Nolan’s work? Or just think others are superior? I think his work with parallel editing is masterful and essentially Dunkirk is one big brilliant parallel editing sequence.
I prefer more human approach. He is not a good writer, dialogues are always questionable, characters shallow or forgettable apart from Joker. As you said, he is a good visual storyteller, especially with his cross cutting, but his movies are more like a math equation than art to me. You can’t deny that they are skilfully made, but they are bland and lifeless, at least to me.
@Dzoni – Thanks for the comment here on Nolan. Interesting perspective. Obviously I just listed him as the best director of the decade so i largely disagree. I won’t disagree with the math equation comment but I don’t think precision and art have to be adversarial. Not every great auteur is as free-flowing as say Wong Kar-wai (another all-time great auteur who I would not accuse of being a great writer). Kubrick and Hitchcock (I’m not quite ready to put Nolan on that level yet but still) were often described as being cold, lifeless, and overly precise to the point of being purely “technical” directors–like Nolan.
Most apparitions in the « Best Performances of the Year » category, in the 2010’s :
Leonardo DiCaprio (4) :
} 1# en 2010.
} 3# en 2013.
} 1# en 2015.
} 3# en 2019.
Ryan Gosling (4) :
} 2# en 2010.
} 3# en 2011.
} 1# en 2016.
} 2# en 2017.
Joaquin Phœnix (3) :
} 1# en 2012.
} 4# en 2013.
} 5# en 2019.
Adam Driver (2) :
} 2# en 2016.
} 1# en 2019.
Michael B. Jordan (2) :
} 5# en 2015.
} 1# en 2018.
Brad Pitt (2) :
} 2# en 2011.
} 2# en 2019.
Daniel Kaluuya (2) :
} 3# en 2017.
} 2# en 2018.
Christian Bale (2) :
} 4# en 2010.
} 2# en 2013.
Michael Fassbender (2) :
} 4# en 2011.
} 5# en 2013.
Michael Shannon (1) :
} 1# en 2011.
Oscar Isaac (1) :
} 1# en 2013.
Michael Keaton (1) :
} 1# en 2014.
Daniel Day-Lewis (1) :
} 1# en 2017.
Phillip S. Hoffman (1) :
} 2# en 2012.
Ethan Hawke (1) :
} 2# en 2013.
Ralph Fiennes (1) :
} 2# en 2014.
Tony Servillo (1) :
} 2# en 2013.
Tom Hardy (1) :
} 2# en 2015.
Jesse Eisenberg (1) :
} 3# en 2010.
Andrew Garfield (1) :
} 3# en 2010.
Jamie Foxx (1) :
} 3# en 2012.
Christoph Waltz (1) :
} 3# en 2012.
Edward Norton (1) :
} 3# en 2014.
Idris Elba (1) :
} 3# en 2015.
Casey Affleck (1) :
} 3# en 2016.
Steven Yeun (1) :
} 3# en 2018.
Bradley Cooper (1) :
} 4# en 2012.
Tom Hanks (1) :
} 4# en 2013.
Bruce Dern (1) :
} 4# en 2013.
Matthew McConaughey (1) :
} 4# en 2014.
Colin Farrell (1) :
} 4# en 2015.
Mahershali Ali (1) :
} 4# en 2016.
Harrison Ford (1) :
} 4# en 2017.
Joe Pesci (1) :
} 4# en 2019.
Ewan McGregor (1) :
} 5# en 2010.
Payman Maadi (1) :
} 5# en 2011.
Chiwetel Ejiofor (1) :
} 5# en 2013.
Miles Teller (1) :
} 5# en 2014.
Jake Gyllenhaal (1) :
} 5# en 2014.
Anders Danielsen (1) :
} 6# en 2011.
Benicio Del Toro (1) :
} 6# en 2015.
Adam Sandler (1) :
} 6# en 2019.
@KidCharlemagne– thank you so much! this is such a nice addition to these pages. This is fun to look at decade by decade with the actors.
Great list! Keep up the good work
@Kidman69 — appreciate the kind words. Thank you!
I agree with your #1. The tree of life is GORGEOUS. Maybe the best cinematography of all time. I agree with ebert. It’s one of the 10 greatest films ever made. What do you think about ebert, drake?. From eberts final top 10, I have seen 9 and all 9 are in my top 50 and 6 of them are in my top 20. Do you agree with ebert. I find that I usually agree with ebert and your reviews about 80-90% of the time.
@Azman– so happy to hear we’re on the same page here with The Tree of Life– it is indeed gorgeous. I think Ebert is brilliant writer and I agree with him very often. I think’s often more caught up in the writing and performances than I am (in comparison with the director and auteur theory for me) but his top 10 of all-time is loaded with auteur-driven works like 2001, Raging Bull, Kane, Floating Weeds… I had a big problem with his top 10 of the 2000’s decade though. If you check it out it contains Monster, Synecdoche, New York, Hurt Locker, Juno, Me You and Everyone We Know, Chop Shop, My Winnipeg…. I think it is pretty weak. I can’t explain it. He misses here.
@Drake, I remember sending a list of 100+ films that I consider great. But it was a period where I didn’t settle down and make a final list so I put every film that was in my mind. Now I think im done and I wanted to share my final list. Of course I will talk and share some of my thoughts for every film, don’t worry im not gonna go in details and talk about all of the 100 films, hahaha. These are the really great ones, so let’s start. Not really in order:
-The Turin Horse
My 3rd favorite Tarr films after Satantango (#1) and Werckmeister Harmonies (#2). Okay, this film achieves transcendence, it’s really one of those creations in cinema history that move the form to another places. The beautiful black and white photography combined with the mind blowing soundtrack gives me an unsurpassed feeling, you watch these people and you learn their miserable lives until the end, as the film moves along the world gets worse and worse until darkness takes over. The direction is superb as expected and damn, that wind in the film makes for some beautiful cinematic moments. The film is ambitious as the viewer just watches the same thing for 2,5 hours, there are some little moments where something different happens but really Tarr chooses something risky. One of the most pessimistic films, when it ended I was depressed, I mean is that good, is good to be depressed from a film ? I don’t know, but it’s a feeling so powerful, I guess the film succeeded. Wow…
Probably the greatest performance of the decade by Phoenix and one of the best supporting performances by the master himself Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s really a sad story. A man who tries to belong somewhere but he really can’t, he’s a free spirit, he doesn’t want restrictions, the final meeting between Phoenix and Hoffman is really fantastic, I mean boy one of the great scenes of the decade, very poignant. What really gets me about this film is the relationship between these two men, so much chemistry. The jail scene is one of the best rage moments captured on film. The final shot just impressive, the motorcycle scene also wonderful. But really P.T Anderson is at his best, from film form standpoint, the direction amazes me, the framing in some scenes, the cinematography, the lighting in some others, really an excellent piece of cinema, gob-smacking masterpiece.
-Son of Saul
This film is pure, real, an experience at least. I know you have it as an R but I’m gonna disagree here, big masterpiece for me, maybe the best piece of filmmaking in 2015, but yeah The Revenant is great also so I’m happy that you have it as the best of 2015. This film is super ambitious, really like Apocalypse Now and Agguire it’s a vision of madness, a film of wild passion, it puts you through hell from the start and it takes you through a trip of anxiety and craziness, it puts you into its world immediately, following its protagonist at every step and decision he makes, there are certain scenes that stand out but the finale where Saul finally smiles is a scene of strong emotion, one of the best endings of the decade for me. The film really captures horror, a personal journey for the ages! A Grand Achievement!
Okay, I think this is another film that you can’t really get behind but i love it. Often, we find originality, ambition, visual beauty in great films, but wisdom ? Wisdom is gone, this is one of the films where I can proudly call wise, it features a twist ending for the ages, it’s really poignant, it captures so many emotions, it shows love like nothing else, day by day you watch the relationship between the old couple and the test their bond faces, really you feel the old man and how he feels. But really the film wouldn’t have the same impact if it weren’t for the artistry of auteur Michael Haneke, everything is done with wisdom, slow and methodical, passionate and full of truths about life and love. The performances are just perfect. It’s a film with so much meaning, so many emotions, cinema at it’s most calm and strong at the same time. Masterpiece!
Is there a most mind blowing film from 2018 that captures artistic magic better than this film ? So many sequences and scenes. I must confess that it didn’t emotionally connect with me the way the other films on my list did but I really my mind was destroyed by the technical achievement this film is. Every shot is done and captured perfectly, surely a personal film from Cuaron who directs with passion and sure with dynamic vision. The lighting, the cinematography, the beach sequence, the simplicity that the camera finds meaning through the lives of the characters, the production design is gorgeous, a breathing world where we observe the daily routine of a family and the bond between the people. The black and white really helps the film go one step further. I know you love Children of Men, I also do but I think this is better and that’s saying something! Breathtaking film!
So this is the first part, I think I’ll make another 4 so at the end I’ll have a list of 25 great films. Part 2 incoming!
@cinephile— fantastic work here! thanks for sharing!
We’re very much on the same page with The Master and Roma– brilliant! I have only seen Son of Saul once — anxious to do it again- one thing I absolutely respect about it is the dedication to the aesthetic with the camera angle and shot choices— it is absolutely dogmatic in its approach. Amour is tougher for me– I’ve seen it multiple times (and will again) —- I don’t disagree with your take here on wisdom– I just don’t think wisdom is enough in the face of so many other films with transcendence in their cinematography, framing— etc.
i have not seen tree of life but it looks great, though i doubt it would surpass my top. Inside llewyn davis is the best film of the decade. I have seen it four times and it is my second favorite film ever (after ai- spielberg and maybe casablanca). its funny that alot of people seem to have the master as number 2 but so do i. it is in my top 50 films ever. the third best film i’d say is either moonlight, joker, or fury road. not as great but should be in the archives is zootopia. also batman v superman , logan, ragnarok, and black panthr are really good films and superhero films are in my definition cinema.
@Drake, I think the power of Amour is in its story, the relationship between the old couple, those emotional moments, it’s really a once in a lifetime experience and Haneke captures it with simplicity and purity, I get the transcendent cinematography and framing matter but without passion they don’t really feel mindblowing to me, I mean of course I’m gonna praise the film for those elements but I’m gonna praise it more if it has passion. It doesn’t feature the most groundbreaking cinematography of the decade but again I find it technically superb, combined with the subject and the story in general, I can proudly call it a top 10 of the decade worthy film.
So, I don’t want to fill your pages here with my comments so I’m gonna mention some films and really come down to the 2 greatest.
La La Land
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Wolf of Wall Street
Those are films worthy of top 10 of the decade also, there are more deserving but I don’t want to give more than 10.
So, The Tree of Life has got to be the greatest film of the decade, I mean, when i see it i feel it’s made by an inhuman force, it’s the world’s and cinema’s magic captured with ambition, breathtaking editing, mindblowing cinematography, spectacular direction and superb music. It’s the 2001 of our time, a film more like a symphony than a movie, there’s the whole universe inside it. It’s the greatest film from Malick, undoubtedly the best film of 2011 and surely the best film from half the decade (2010-2014 the other half of course being 2015-2019), it has shots I can proudly call some of the greatest ever captured in the medium, it’s highly emotional and it’s the closest cinema has reached in poetry ( yep, closer than Tarkovsky). Its lyrical and rhythmic, transcendent in its execution and unsurpassed in its vision of humanity and universe, it plays like a dream. It’s the definition of the masterpiece.
But…… then came The Irishman. Ok, The Tree of Life feels technically more impressive and the bigger film in general, so The Irishman is the outsider. The Tree of Life is an inhuman creation but The Irishman feels the best humans can give, it’s the equivalent of a Greek or a Shakespearean tragedy. Maybe the most ambitious film of the decade, I mean The Tree of Life is super ambitious but listen to this, never in the medium a master director close to 80 years old got 160 million, brought back three legends of acting also at their final years ( 2 of those can easily be called the greatest actors alive and maybe of all time in general, Pesci is not there but really another icon ) made them appear 40 years younger and put them in a 3,5 hour film for Netflix. Also everyone expected the energy of Goodfellas and Casino and got a film where most of the time men simply have conversations with each other. Wow! I’m tempted to call it the best Scorsese film since Raging Bull ( so that makes for the 3rd best in his career after Raging Bull and secondly Taxi Driver). I’m not saying it’s better than Goodfellas, but it’s up there, I’m sure its Scorsese fourth best, maybe with a fifth viewing it’ll move at #3. It features one of the best endings ever, the best final shot of the decade and one of the best shots in general, it features maybe the greatest sequence of the decade, of course I mean the Hoffa Killing Sequence, it features another sequence I can easily call perfect, that is the Frank Sheeran appreciation night, the final hour is the best cinema in 2019 and one of the best hours of cinema in general this decade, the scenes with Pesci and De Niro old in jail is one of the most heartbreaking pieces cinema has shown us this decade, it has the greatest meaning/message of a film this decade, one of the great opening shots to a film, it features some of the best use of music, it’s full from mindblowing scenes. the barbershop scene- the Joe Gallo hit- the scene were De Niro calls Hoffa’s wife- the Kennedy assassination scene- the Bay of Pigs scene and many others, it has some of the best dialogue of the decade, especially the two scenes with Pacino and Graham, Hoffa is a strong contender for the most tragic man in a film this decade. The performances are great, maybe the best Pesci ever and surely the best of Pacino and De Niro since the 90s. I mean De Niro’s acting and emotions in The Hoffa Killing Sequence, in the call to Hoffa’s wife and his acting in the appreciation night especially the look of his when he sees his daughter dancing with Hoffa, also the film features the best use of cgi de aging until now. I think I’m tired of praising the film but if all of that are true, and for me they are then I can proudly call The Irishman the best film of the decade. Direction, film form, lighting, cinematography perfect for the film’s subject, I mean the subject of The Tree of Life gives it more freedom to show some mindblowing visuals, you can’t have dinosaurs and show planets in a gangster film like The Irishman, acting, music, framing, editing all perfect and orchestrated in harmony from the vision of the great Martin Scorsese, a wise, personal and pure film.
In the end, neither is better than the other for me, I’m cheating here but the best film of the decade is a tie for me. It depends on what you want to see, both films an experience that transcends the form.
@Cinephile– incredible work here. Thank you for sharing. Your summation of Tree of Life and The Irishman are so well done– you make a really compelling case for both. With Amour I guess I disagree on two fronts– 1) i don’t find the story to be THAT strong– and 2)- more importantly for me, I don’t think story should be that heavy a factor… that being said- you are not alone in admiring Amour — many many people who i respect (you included now) think this film is one of the best of the decade — it’s just interesting that with “story” it becomes harder to defend. right? If someone questioned me on Dunkirk I could submit the editing, with Roma I could submit the 70mm rolling tableau photography, etc. You really can’t point to Amour and say “here– right here is why it’s a masterpiece” (whether it’s a sequence, a collection of them, a shot, a frame, or a series of them) and that makes it tougher for me.
Hey Drake, I agree with you on amour and tree of life. What do you think of my decades best films?
1920s Joan of arc
30s city lights
70s the godfather and its sequel. Though i slightly prefer the first
80s Raging bull
10s tree of life
@Azman– thanks for sharing– it is a great list– most (Kane, Raging Bull, Tree of Life, Passion, 2001, City Lights) are either my #1 or right there close– absolutely on the same page. I’m a little further down on Ikiru and Brokeback Mountain as both are between 50-100 of their respective decade — I think they’re great– but obviously not near my top. I’ll shut up about Ikiru because I haven’t seen it in ages and I hope i’m missing something but I just watched Brokeback so I think I have a good read on it. Why do you think that’s the best of the 2000’s? What sets it apart for you?
I have no doubt in my mind that children of men will replace brokeback if I rewatch it. Same with vertigo. If I change it to those two, my list will be VERY similar to yours.
The reason I love brokeback and ikiru is because of its emotional impact. Sure it may not be as good as children of men or vertigo but I look for more than just artistic value when I watch movies. I watch movies to be transported into a new time and place. I dont watch films to critique them or find their flaws/strong points
@Drake, I must admit that you make a strong point for Amour and you are right about that you can’t really defend the film from a story standpoint. I guess I love it because it connects with me personally. I mean as you also mentioned Dunkirk, the film is a technical achievement with a capital A, when it ended I said this was an incredible experience but didn’t really connect with me ( that’s the reason it’s not in my top 10 of the decade, from a technical standpoint I fully agree that it belongs in the top of the list), I guess I find something in Amour that touches all my feelings and that’s the reason I find the story and the subject in general a strong contender for a movie. The Shawshank Redemption for example, when I was a kid I saw it and it was my favorite movie, years after and I really had discovered cinema and understood that really the film is nowhere near something like Goodfellas or Pulp Fiction but I come back to it because the subject connects with me and films are – I think you wrote it somewhere in your website- of course about visual beauty and formal rigor but I must add cinema is a medium giving you emotions and I consider that a big factor. You won’t get an argument from me, I completely understand your point and I really find it reasonable and right but I guess it’s just those films that touch the deepest part of your soul and I find Amour belonging in that category.
I agree with you but disagree about Shawshank.. judging a movie only from a technical standpoint is something only critics do. Theres more to movies than that. Watching movies is an out of body, one of a kind experience. Connecting with the movie emotionally is sometimes the goal of the director. Shawshank does it perfectly
@Azman– We’ve discussed this before so we don’t need to rehash it but I’ll just say give me an expert’s technical opinion on a film all day over someone who really connects to something emotionally. That may work for you– but people are different, moods change, outside factors come in— but a technical artistic achievement is constant and worthy of study.
Yes you are right and I agree with you. But shawshank still is a magical movie for me.
“For the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free”. Wow.
But you need to understand that most critics DO care about emotion/plot/story.
Roger ebert calls ikiru and tokyo story the best films about aging. When he was teaching his film class, he claimed that there was not one dry eye in the room. For the briefest of moments, the students completely forgot about analyzing the movie and were captured by Ozu’s magic.
@Azman– that’s slippery…. hallmark movies and commercials about puppies and orphans make people cry. I’d argue Ozu’s magic was 95% style… if i put great actors on a stage and just turned on the camera and they acted out his screenplay it would be mediocre at best— but the way he directs it, the choices he makes visually and in the editing room— that’s film style.
Also, many famous critics regard la jetee as a sci fi masterpiece. Arguably the greatest film critic of all time Pauline Kael calls it “very possibly the greatest science fiction film ever made”. This film has no acting or camera movement (you will understand if you’ve seen it) and relies completely on its final moment. It relies fully on atmosphere and emotion which is why it’s so eerie and so perfect.
I totally understand your way of evaluating movies but I think it’s unfair that you consider Cinephile’s opinion better than mine just because you think he understands the “technical, artistic”aspects better than I do.
@Azman– I’ve seen La Jetee– It’s just a short and I don’t archive and study shorts.
I think Pauline Kael was a brilliant writer but was very often (too often for a professional critic) terrible at valuating of films (not saying anything about La Jetee specifically- but she was well– really bad). here’s 10 but there are many more http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2016/10-movies-everyone-enjoys-except-pauline-kael/
I’m not sure what you mean in the bottom section– I’m not favoring one opinion over another. Obviously you know by now how I evaluate and study films. I’m always going to take the visual style (technical or artistic or both) over the personal/emotional.
@Cinephile– thank you for sharing– this make sense. And please know that my asking you is not rhetorical or a chance for me to try to “win” an argument or prove a point. I’m legitimately interested in what draws you and others to Amour. There may be something that unlocks it for me that I may be missing or something I need to look for the next time I watch
“A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” But what does stanley kubrick, kael and ebert know about film. Clearly you understand cinema better.. (I’m only joking I agree with most of your reviews?)
@Azman– haha. Yeah we could do this back and forth all day. I’m surprised to see you bring up Kubrick on the emotional/feelings (your side) of the argument here. I feel like he belongs on my (technical mastery, visual artistry)
If it’s easy for you can you tell me where your top 10 films of the decade will end up on the 500 best films of all time? I now it’s hard to place them right now but I’m dying to now ( especially about The Tree of Life, which by your statements until now I think you consider it top 15 of all time film ).
@Cinephile— I’m flattered you asked. So when I did my top 500 I didn’t include any films from 2009-now so it isn’t like I did it and then removed them and they’re easy to find. But many of the directors (Malick, Cuaron, PTA, etc) who represent the top 10 of 2010’s also have films on my top 500 and when I updated their individual pages I included 2010’s films… so for example I have The Thin Red line at #43 of all-time and I have The Tree of Life ahead of it. I’m not willing to commit to much more at this time…. I have Roma ahead of Y Tu Mama Tambien (#182)– I’m willing to share that if you forced me to decide right now I’d have The Master, Roma, and Dunkirk in my top 100— I’m not willing to go further yet….
The Tree of Life is such a good film. Its in my top 10. I think it will probably be in your top 20 if I had to guess
When will you make an updated top 500? Im really curious to see what new films you’d have on your list!
@Azman– thanks for the note here. So I did this most recent update in April of 2019. I’ll probably wait another year at least. It’s fun to do but it is a pretty big project– I do my top 100 of the decades first and that feeds into my top 500 of all-time.
I really like a lot of things about this list. Your number one being the tree of Life, it’s not my number one but I love that film and have no problem with it being your top choice. I was glad to see once upon a time in Hollywood being pretty high up. That’s a movie that after multiple viewings I’ve grown to realize definitely is a masterpiece and Tarantino second best film behind pulp fiction. I find the master much too high but that’s just a personal thing. Same goes for inception which I think is one of the most overrated films ever made. I like that you have a few horror films on here. The biggest emissions I see on a personal level at least, unless I missed it where is the lighthouse? And most importantly where is first reformed which is the top 10 film of the last decade in my opinion there’s no question about that. Out of the furnace which although went under the radar and is highly underrated is better than 90 of the films I see on most top 100 list of the decade. I have no idea how everybody missed the boat on that accept surprisingly Richard roper.
@Kent Crosier- Thanks for sharing- what makes Out of the Furnace belong in that company?
How would you rank every decade in cinema history ( of course 20s and 10s count together) ?
@Cinephile– I wish I had kept better stats of the films included in my top 500 so a lot of this is from memory — the 1960’s were #1, and then the two decades around it- the 1970’s and 1950’s were 2-3. I think the 1990’s were 4th. I’m still a wait and see a little on the 21st century decades but I do think they’re strong. I’m a big fan of every single decade but if you go back to the 1910’s-1940’s there were just less auteurs working. The average studio movie in 1940 may have been better than the average studio movie in 2020 (I have little doubt of that actually) — but the sheer number of ambitious artists working in cinema was lower.
@Thanks- I’m on the same page here. I think the big power of cinema came into the 50s.
Hi, I’m new to “The Cinema Archives”, I’ve been studying cinema all of my life and as a devotee to the 7th art I’ve got to say I’m impressed with your choices, I haven’t find a blog in the internet so truthful to the art of cinema, congratulations and I can’t wait to discuss more about filmmaking in the future.
@Nathan Phillips– thanks for the kind words on the site. Welcome. Look forward to hearing what you think.
I see why you kept Wes Anderson on your top 10 directors list. Seriously, Moonrise Kingdom that high?? It seems you are very much a Wes Anderson fanboy or maybe you love his picturesque cinematography and style to death with little regards for substance. And i am starting to feel Uncut Gems is the most overrated films of recent times. Good Time was a far superior film by The Safdie Brothers with so little praise.
@Ujwal– I didn’t know there were any Wes Anderson-deniers out there left at this point. I’m not a fanboy at all- I admire great cinema and have observed Wes Anderson’s accomplishments including Moonrise Kingdom. Yes, I do love his “picturesque cinematography”. You’re going with the style over substance argument? Can you share a list of the great films that have amazing “substance”? Actually—-nevermind. I’m all set without that list.
I’m 100% with you on Good Time vs. Uncut Gems. I think both are great but have Good Time as the superior work as well.
What are some of your favorite film endings of the decade?
@Cinephile– tough one– so the final shot of the sunken apartment with the sock chandelier in Parasite is fresh in my memory, the great oner tracking shot finale scene in Burning, the dissolves on the faces of our protagonists in The Favourite and Midsommar come to mind immediately… I’m missing a bunch– The Master– Phoenix’s line with the woman he’s with (tough scene/line to describe without being too graphic- haha) – I think it pairs very well with the ending of There Will Be Blood the decade before with DDL’s “I’m finished”
How about you? What did i miss? The spinning top at the end of Inception
@ Cinephile. The Irishman, Black Swan and The Favorite. TDKR would have been at the top if they ended with the bomb blowing off in the sky. I hate the current ending.
@AP and @Cinephile– yes yes- put The Irishman at or near the very front of the list. Thank you AP. The Souvenir has a great final shot as well.
@Drake— All your mentions here are favorites, so fantastic picks. I’d add The Irishman which is probably my favorite or at least up there with the favorites. Others from 2018, is Cold War which broke me with that ending and The House that Jack Built with the inferno section. From 2017, Blade Runner 2049, The Florida Project, The Shape of Water and of course Mother! blew me away. From 2016, La La Land, Silence, Nocturnal Animals wowed me with Adams waiting alone, Arrival is another one and certainly the crazy finale from Neon Demon and the moving finale of The Lost City of Z. From 2015, Mad Max and The Revenant but Son of Saul and The Lobster are up there. From the first half of the decade, Birdman and Whiplash, Under the Skin, Holy Motors, Melancholia, The Turin Horse, Black Swan and Shutter Island, I’m probably missing some.
I love the final scene of Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, particularly the title drop… sublime. But Portrait of a Lady on Fire has one of the greatest final shots ever as far as I’m concerned.
@Matt Harris— Yes, you’re right, Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood and Portrait of a Lady on Fire are up there, where would you have Portrait of A Lady on Fire on your best films of 2019?
Hey Drake! In my opinion MAD MAX: FURY ROAD probably has the best ending. The waterfall, Max walking away, WOW. What are your favorite movie openings of all time? The searchers? Godfather? Raging Bull? Blade Runner? 2001?
Do the opening credits count? If so, Vertigo and Psycho (be a little less). A clockwork orange, i think it’s a good opening
Ya that’s actually a good thing. I hadn’t thought about that. Raging bulls iconic opening is with opening credits, so I guess it kinda counts.
it’s true how i could forget Raging Bull, talking about Scorsese, Taxi Driver has one of the best openings.
oh teah theres this trend of listing 5 perfect movies. whatwould you put.
1. 2001 a space odyssey
3. singingin the rain
4. wizard of oz
5. raiders of the lost ark
No movie is perfect. They all have flaws
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXmv6kt08As. Yes, it’s very minor, but even the best of films aren’t perfect (perfect by definition is 0 flaws). However your top 3 is as close to cinematic perfection as possible. (There are more examples of course, Chinatown, The Godfather, In the mood for love, bicycle thieves etc)
thank you. i´m glad you think that about the apartment. billy wilder and jack lemmon are geniuses and billy wilder is the shakespeare of cinema. i have not seen in the mood for love because it has not been available. neither has bicycle thieves until very recently but i have an important test coming up next week so no time to watch a full movie but i cant wait to see them. obviously the godfather is a masterpiece and so is chinatown. chinatown, i don know how to describe, is so crisp. the use of color rivals singing in the rain and the wizard
@azman. also ive been thinking about what u said about me saying so many movies are the GOAT. i really think i should do the ebert thing and just make a great movies list now. haha. i dont have time to watch much during this week but that would be an interesting project, though there are still many i need to see.
Yup. That’s what I started doing. I rank movies like Drake does (Mp, Ms tier ranking system). So a mix between Drakes system and Ebert’s.
After another viewing of Gravity, I think #33 is a little low for the film. Obviously you’ve studied Cuaron and his work so I respect your evaluation of it, but yesterday, the film blew me away, I think it is at least a masterpiece and closer to the top 10 of the decade or maybe inside the top 10. Excuse me if I’m wrong here but it is artistically transcendent to the level few films were this decade.
@Cinephile– thanks for the comment. Cuaron’s achievement moving the camera, floating around in long takes in Gravity is indisputable. But I do feel that films above it have transcendent stylistic elements in the as well. It may sound like we’re far apart but at 30th of the decade that’s still averages out to #3 for any given year. That’s a remarkable film.
@Drake— Totally fair, I love every other of the 32 films you’ve ranked ahead of Gravity. I agree that those films above have transcendent stylistic elements but if I had to say why i think Gravity is superior to something like Moonlight or Call Me by Your Name my point would be that Gravity’s stylistic elements are more powerful and transcendent and they’re all over the runtime, I mean in every frame of the 90 minutes there’s stylistic magic while some of the others have that “magic” more rare.
@Cinephile — great work here — excellent point. I’m not saying you’re wrong at all– but how would you compare the brilliant work with the camera in Gravity with The Revenant, 1917, Birdman, and Victoria for example. Would you also have those films in or around your top 10– or is there something else in Gravity putting it ahead of them? Perhaps there is something I’m missing.
@Drake— I think the weaker of those 5 films mentioned here is undoubtedly Victoria which I still believe it’s a top 60 film of the decade or something. The film uses the technique of the one-shot but except the nightclub scenes there isn’t visual beauty. I’ll admit that my first evaluation of 1917 was terrible. From the second watch the film has been climbing fast my best of the decade list. The technique of the one-take is employed with stunning camerawork and beauty in the frame. I think I’m overall more impressed with the camerawork in Gravity but that’s not the reason I have it ahead of 1917 because they’re close in that aspect. In my opinion Gravity is without a doubt superior in mise-en-scene and blocking. As for The Revenant and Birdman they’re in my top 15 but I haven’t ranked those 15 in order so there’s a good chance they make the top 10. I really don’t know at this point which of the 3 I’d have higher. I think Birdman wins over the other two in narrative and writing but I still hold the opinion that it’s not quite beautiful as Gravity or features such mastery in the camerawork. The Revenant is a masterstroke of cinematography so they’re pretty much tied with Gravity for me.
You’ve obviously known pretty much all of my points about Gravity before this comment so it’s not something new you haven’t heard before but from a pure technical standpoint, I think that the film is top 10 of the decade worthy (that doesn’t mean it will surely land in those 10 best but I’m pretty sure it’ll make my top 15).
Great evaluation. I personally agree with Drake more than everyone on this site and his ranking of gravity is spot on I feel. I may need a revisit.
Ida is Pawlikowski masterpiece. My ranking is somewhat similar. i have it a bit lower but I dont have much problems with that either. Of course tree of life is nicely ranked too.
I would like to know your opinions on the following movies, Cinephile and Drake(I deviate/disagree slightly on these movies.)(its incredible how I only disagree with such few movies on this list. I agree with most).
2. A separation
3. 12 years a slave.
All MPs or close. I can back up (with reasons) why I would have these movies so high up on my list. But before that I would like to hear what cinephile thinks these movies. Do you agree with me? Have any of these movies moved up(or down) your list since you last updated it Drake?
– I think 12 Years a Slave is somewhere were Drake has it, maybe I could go 5-10 spots lower
– I think Parasite is undoubtedly better than the #67 here but Drake updated the review and moved it to MS so I believe top 40 maybe ? I think I’d place it at 30-40.
– If you asked me before the quarantine I’d say A Separation is “Top” level status film, but I hadn’t seen it since 2011 so I revisited and I feel Drake is spot on. I think with the 2nd watch, the best I’d have it is a place at 95-100 of the decade. I wouldn’t have a problem if someone didn’t include it at all. Do you think it’s better than Gravity? What makes it a MP?
I just want to say that there are TONS of analysis for A separation since it’s even in the top 10 of the TSPDT consensus. This is my brief analysis Cinephile. (Only 5 points)
1st thing is (even Drake praised it,) the dialogue. SO much gets lost in translation if you dont speak Persian or understand Iranian culture. Even if you dont, its impossible to deny how razor sharp the dialogue is. This is a dialogue fed and not a visual fed narrative (unlike 2001)
2. The acting. Do I need to say more…
3. The repetition of gorgeous images throughout the movie. This may be film form kinda of thing. Look at all the times someone falls on the shoulder of someone else and cries. This shot happens at least 3 times.(Nader crying on his dad’s shoulder, Termeh crying on Mom’s shoulder etc)
4. Its Pacing and realism. This film is shot and paced like a Hitchcockian thriller. The mystery (who took the money)is revealed at the very beginning but Farhadi shot the film in such a realist fashion, he decides what information is important to the audience and not so we are kept guessing. The lack of music adds to the emotion.
5. Its just so emotional. (This is a big reason why critics praise it) Ebert praises the way the story is told in a way that we can relate to all the characters. It perfectly hits on the themes of A separation but also talks about the Separation between the Lower and Upper class in Iran (it’s basically a gripping thriller that comments on relationships and social class. Its ‘Parasite’ set in Iran.)
Overall I was thinking of having this as a MP/MS but open 2nd viewing and thinking about it, it’s definitely a masterpiece fosure.
@Azman— Agreed on the acting, dialogue and pacing/realism. I don’t find a form there tho, neither gorgeous imagery. A film being emotional doesn’t equal high cinematic art for me. I don’t care so much about the sociopolitical messages either. I think it features mastery in the narrative so your 4th point about pacing and realism counts as narrative and story bliss. I think the highest I can give it from writing/acting/narrative is an HR rating. Of course it’s your opinion so it’s good that you support it and I respect that. I think for a film to earn masterpiece level status it must feature technical and formal power.
@Cinephile— 1000% correct– kudos— well said
@Cinephile–this is tremendous– thank you again for sharing.
I don’t know which slobbering, “this is a landmark in the history of cinema” review from 2013 I’m more tempted to share here. My own, or yours. :p
@Matt Harris– haha fair. I think it is an important film– but perhaps closer to Hitchcock’s Rope (top 300 all-time, #28 of the decade) than I Am Cuba (top 50 all-time, #9 of a loaded decade)
@Drake and @Cinephile. Fair enough. I like when someone backs up their point with logical reasons like you both have.
I still wouldn’t quite hesitate to have this in my top 10 of the century. I feel like I am greatly in the minority for my love for Persian movies (on TSPDT) on this blog. A lot of them are masterpieces or 2nd tier (few 3rd tier) movies for me (and the consesus agrees with me). Maybe it’s because I speak the language. In fact I am so obsessed with these movies that the reason I started learning the Persian language is because my background is Iranian but mostly because I wanted to understand these movies even more. Kiarostami (one of Goddards favorites)is all the way down at 140(on the best directors list. I would respectfully not agree.
A separation almost missing out on the top 100 of the 2010s isnt right for me either.
Also there is no Children of Heaven in 1997 archives (granted it’s not as good as the other Persian movies I mentioned. You haven’t seen it. I think you may enjoy it. It’s on the top 2000).
It would be interesting to know other bloggers (like Matt Harris’ or Aldo’s) opinion on Farhadi, Kiarostami, Majidi, Makhmalbaf and other Persian greats. It seems like I am greatly in the minority (on the blog) for Persian directors/movies?
I have very little problems with you disagreeing with me tho. You given reasons as to why A seperation shouldn’t be in the top 100 and it’s your opinion.
This is TSPDT’s 20 Best Films of the Decade:
1. The Tree of Life
2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
3. A Separation
4. Holy Motors
5. The Turin Horse
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
8. The Social Network
10. Under the Skin
13. Toni Erdmann
14. The Master
15. Inside Llewyn Davis
16. Once Upon A Time in Anatolia
What do you think of it?
They underrate Nolan so him not being there is not surprising. No innaritu here is disappointing.
They are notoriously slow (most films here are from the first half of the decade). Which makes the absence of Black Swan inexcusable.
@AP Unsurprising perhaps, but unforgivable nonetheless. To exclude not only Inception but also Dunkirk from the top 20 is unconscionable and reveals a paucity of comprehension of Nolan’s aesthetic among an alarming proportion of the critical establishment. One need only listen to Sean Fennessey (someone I otherwise admire a great deal) trip and stumble and spit up all over himself whenever the topic of Nolan arises to realize that there is some aspect of film literacy Nolan’s films demand that is lacking from a significant proportion of the folks who are meant to be the most literate. It’s a problem.
@Matt Harris— Couldn’t have said it better. Bravo!
Obviously you may not be asking this question to me but I think this list (the TSPDT 21st century one)is absolutely incredible. Social Network, tree of life, fury road, parasite, a separation are undoubtedly top 20 so far for me. The rest would probably be somewhere around where they are to.
Fury road.It may (most likely)climb up It’s the only movie from 2013-now on the top 1000 of all time. That’s incredible.
Also, A separation keeps climbing up on the list. I remember when it wasn’t even top 20-25(for the century). I’m certain that it may actually top tree of life(I dont think it’s better than tree of life but it may happen. Critics are giving it praise still. 4 critics and 5 directors voted for it on sight and sound top 10 of all time 2012. Very similar ranking as the tree of life). Its steadily climbing and the 2012 sight and sound poll will heavily influence TSPDT.
Obviously Parasite will climb too (deservingly) because it is such a recent release and already has such praise.
What would your top movies of the 21st century (00s and 10s combined be)
For me(5 really good movies MPs would be):
Tree of life
In the mood for love
@AP— 100% right to everything you say here, what are your favorite films of the decade?
@Azman— If the list was made by a random cinephile it would be superb for me, but when TSPDT makes it, which is very influential and try’s to express the best cinematic achievements, it’s simply a very good list, they miss here on some films. I can’t agree that A Separation is better than Roma or The Master or Dunkirk. There’s not even a reason to make a “VS” statement. I get that it touched a lot of people’s feelings but those films are miles ahead, they’re the continuation of the powerful film art so many auteurs created in the past decades, they represent the cinematic language cinema was born for, either formal or technical.
A top 5 of the century would be:
1. In the Mood for Love
2. The Tree of Life
3. There Will Be Blood
5. Mulholland Drive
I can’t decide between the tree of life and in the mood for love-haha.
I agree. I would have Dunkirk top 20 for me. But I think I do sound a bit snobbish if I would say that all critics are ‘missing’/’underrating’ Dunkirk and if a critic doesn’t see it as a ‘cinematic achievement’, they are blind and don’t understand ‘cinematic language’. I would never say something like this to a majority of critics since I am actually in the minority for Dunkirk (even if I was in the majority I wouldn’t say something like that).
Cinema was ‘born’ in the late 1800s as a storytelling medium that relies heavily on visuals. The purpose of cinema is a lot. It was born for a lot of reasons. It was to be a magic medium and tell stories and “retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.” (These aren’t my words, they are Kubrick’s. He also said: “A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings…. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”).
This level of emotion and transcendence can only be achieved if the movie is technically brilliant (which I believe a Separation is).
I think a commentator mentioned that Cuaron (with his brilliant camera movement) has achieved a great portrait of the human condition. When you see the children drowning, you think about them and feel for them only because the movie is so brilliant technically and narratively. If it was poor technically and formally, it would have had no impact and not been such a good movie.
Whichever way I evaluate movies, I usually almost always (95 percent of the time) have a similar list to TSPDT.
I agree with them on their top 20 of the 2010s
@ Matt Harris. You are 100% right.
@ CinePhile : My Top 10 of the decade would look like this
(1) The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
(2) Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)
(3) The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)
(4) Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
(5) Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)
(6) Inside Llewyn Davis (Coen Brothers)
(7) The Favorite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
(8) Melancholia (Lars Von Trier)
(9) 1917 (Sam Mendes)
(10) The Social Network (David Fincher)
I saw The Favorite couple weeks back, i was blown away. It has become a favorite (lol, sorry). I am a huge admirer of Black Swan as well.
Not very confident about a Top 10 for the 21st century, but i’ll try nevertheless
(1) The Tree of Life
(2) Punch Drunk Love
(3) Mulholland Drive
(4) There Will be Blood
(5) In the Mood for Love
(7) Werckmeister Harmonies
(8) Children of Men
(9) The White Ribbon
(10) The Irishman
@AP— Amazing list! Very happy to see the Irishman in there!
@Azman— My lists are also similar to TSPDT. Agreed on everything you say here except the claim that A Separation is technically brilliant. I can’t get behind that. If A Separation is technically brilliant then we must invent a new word to describe something as Roma. But fair enough it’s your opinion and you believe its technically brilliant. Do you think it’s so technically brilliant to have a spot in the top 10 of the century?
Im glad you agree with me.
Meh. Whatever. Let’s not spend more time arguing about a separation. We have separate (no pun intended) opinions on that movie.
Instead of arguing on the few movies we disagree with, lets just appreciate all the movies we like. Let’s praise the greatness of movies like in the mood for love, tree of life etc, movies we both love a lot. Pure technical achievements that invoke feelings of longing, pain and wonder for the audience. Transcendent filmmaking. I dont like to do comparisons. So I never spend much time thinking about whether in the mood for love is superior to Tree of life. I just like/appreciate them both a lot.
Haha. Well if defending Nolan and mocking the snide and condescending yet vacuous arguments most frequently marshaled against him makes me a snob, then I guess I’m a snob. I’ll wear that.
21st Century (quick and dirty combination of the two decades lists from last week)
1. There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007)
2. The Tree of Life (Malick, 2011)
3. In the Mood for Love (Wong, 2000)
4. Roma (Cuaron, 2018)
5. Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009)
6. Dunkirk (Nolan, 2017)
7. The Lord of the Rings (Jackson, 2001-2003)
8. Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001)
9. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Tarantino, 2019)
10. (tie) Werckmeister Harmonies (Tarr, 2000)
10. (tie) Gravity (Cuaron,2013)
10. (tie) Inception (Nolan, 2010)
10. (tie) Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006)
Your comment was not snobbish. I wasnt completely referring to your original comment in my previous comment. Anyways, my previous comment was a foolish one. I shouldn’t have called anyone snobbish. Calling other people snobs because they dont have similar opinions and thoughts about critics as myself makes me a snob-haha.
I do however think critics may not be liking the movie for a variety of different reasons. We cant assume that all critics dislike a Nolan movie because they dont like/understand his aesthetic like you said(there may be a few). Maybe they dont like another element of his movies. If they give good reasons for not liking Dunkirk, I’ll be fine with that. Like Cinephile and I disagree with A separation but he backs it up with good reasons as to why he doesn’t like it so I’m okay with that.
I see a lot of love for Nolan and even Dunkirk critically though(94 metacritic score). It’s a surprise TSPDT dont have it higher.
Great list btw. Im confused with the inclusion of the lord of the rings trilogy tho. They aren’t 3 separate movies? Would you include the 2 godfather together on your 70s list? Would the Apu Trilogy be considered as 1?
Since they were shot simultaneously, and since each sequel picks up immediately where the previous film leaves off, I consider them (it) one big 11 hour epic. The Godfather is a singular complete film unto itself, as are its sequels. Even something like Star Wars is different because while they form on overarching narrative, each film is an individual story and there are storytelling gaps between each.
Kill Bill I consider a single film by the same rationale. Likewise, The Hobbit though at a somewhat lower level (not nearly as much lower as the consensus however). Each Harry Potter film is seperate… except the last two which are clearly a single film split in two. etc.
It’s not a completely airtight philosophy (for instance I’m not certain how something like Back to the Future might complicate it), but it’s what I’m going with.
Interesting. If you were voting in sight and sound (where you cannot include trilogies), would any of the lord of the rings movies be in your top 10 of the decade(by themselves)?
How would you rank the 3 LOTR movies?
It’s like Kill Bill, because they were recorded one after another and they were divided because a 4 hour and 10 hour film is not commercial, with respect to the Godfather, there are two years of difference and they did not plan to record the second part, each Godfather is an individual film.
@Matt Harris— An excellent list, I admire that you put Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood already there.
You speak the truth about Nolan, it’s without a doubt a big problem in a large part of the critics, that doesn’t sound snobbish to me at all. You’re absolutely right in your observations.
Great stuff everyone- agree with AP on it being mostly films from earlier in the decade. In fact, no film from 2016-2019 (that’s 4 years out of 10) are in the top 10 on the TSPDT. I still look at it year by year for the 21st century (honestly even the 1980’s and 1990’s are still undervalued on the TSPDT top 1000–frustrating how long it takes). Roma is #1 for 2018. The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are #2 and #3 for 2019. Grand Budapest Hotel is #2 fiction film for 2014. La La Land #3 for 2016. These are great slots.
I’m 100% with Matt Harris on Nolan. The Mexican auteurs are tragically undervalued and I’m confident we’ll look back on this in 20 years and laugh and shake our heads at how underappreciated they were in their own time.
That said- this is TSPDT and it’s not to be ignored. There’s at least 1 film that i’m completely wrong on that I’ve only seen once– something that they have here in their top 20 that I don’t. I don’t know what it is yet- but it keeps me from going on about how Zama shouldn’t be there or something until I get at least two viewings in.
Keep in mind that as frustrating as some of these issues with the list are– time is on our side. It may be hard to be patient but randomly I looked at 1980 and 1960 on a site I like– criticstop10.com… especially good in Dec/Jan when the top 10’s fly out… These are in relative to that year. So in 1960 eight films, all of them nowhere near Psycho in quality, were ranked ahead of Psycho https://criticstop10.com/best-movies-of-1960/ and here’s 1980– Ordinary People and Coal Miner’s Daughter in front of Raging Bull. https://criticstop10.com/best-of-1980/
stylistic films made by the great auteurs rise over time
What’s the case for Roma being so high? I’m usually the one having to convince others to sit through slow moving films but in the case of Roma, I was the one wondering what was going on and trying to understand what I was missing. I felt absolutely nothing. It did not touch me on any emotional or intellectual level and I’m trying to understand what the big deal was about it. Your lists are so thoughtful, so I know that if anyone will convince me, it will be you!
@Leighton, it has the best cinematography of the year, the best image of the decade (probably) the images on the beach are beautiful, just like the tracking shot on the beach, if you think there is any better in this decade i would like to know, an excellent mise-en-scene recreating 1970
Try reading analyses and watching it again to look for the technical achievements. If you dont like 2 or 3 time, no amount of analysis will truly make you like it. Also, what were you confused about in Roma. You dont really need to understand a movie completely to appreciate it tho.
“I don’t like the idea of “understanding” a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you.” – Fellini.
@Leighton— Its not something “deep” that needs unlocking in Roma. It’s value is visible to everyone. Its technically/formally a top 3 film of the decade. Maybe you have other criteria when evaluating films, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you value visual beauty and formal prowess in cinema art I can’t think of why you don’t think highly of it. On the other side, if your criteria is emotional engagement then I can understand how you value Roma although the film is incredibly emotional also for me. What others films from 2018 (and from the decade in general) you think are superior to Roma ?
@Azman & Cinephile – I certainly agree with Fellini’s quote. The film just had nothing to say to me. The films from the decade that I loved the most are: The Tree of Life, The Great Beauty, The Turin Horse, Inside Llewyn Davis, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, A Hidden Life, The Grand Budapest Hotel, A Serious Man, The Revenant, Birdman and Dunkirk. The Tree of Life & The Great Beauty are my top 2. I didn’t have much of a response to Cuaron’s Gravity either.
@Leighton– thanks for the response and these are some great films that you love the most from the decade. I think what we may be talking about here with your issue with Roma is just personal taste and not necessarily whether a film is good or not. That’s totally fine by the way- that’s your opinion. However, it has little to no bearing on the quality of Roma as cinematic art in a vacuum outside of your taste.
Did you read the review(s) here?
As for me, the technical prowess others here have been (justly) praising is only half of the story. More than any film I can think of this side of neo-realism, Roma finds the beauty and poetry, the comedy and tragedy, within the mundanity of ordinary life. It’s a masterpiece of audacious form and aesthetic rapture but also of loving attention to the most minute of details, and as poignant and profound an expression of the human condition as any film in recent memory. And I say this with all respect, as you give the impression of being a thoughtful person, but if you feel nothing during the beach scene, or the hospital scene, or the riot scene, or the fire scene, or any of a dozen other scenes in Roma… I’m not sure I understand how you watch movies.
This comment is genius. It is exactly what I’ve been trying to say. I guess my writing skills aren’t as good as yours. I agree with everything you have said about Roma. The technical prowess is half the story but its expression of the human condition and ordinary life is what makes it so powerful.
Anyways, neo-realism is a powerful way to tell stories of ordinary lives. Bicycle thieves is technically a masterpiece and maybe the best movie of the 1940s. This is very important. However, even today ,it shocks, stuns and moves audiences. It paints a complex portrayal of poverty using a very simple plot. For its entire runtime it is emotional, it makes a statement on poverty, and it is technically brilliant. It tells a story of simple and ordinary human beings. Roma is like this.
Here are some neo realist movies I would recommend that I like:
The movies of Kiarostami
Children of Heaven
Germany Year Zero
What are some of your favorite neo-realist movies? Do you think Roma is Cuaron’s magnum opus? (I still think it is Children of Men).
@Matt Harris & Azman— It probably sounded like I only value the technical prowess in Roma and the masterpiece status comes only from there. I just want to say that I’m 100% on the other points you two make but I still think the strongest part is the aesthetic. Imagine the film expressing the same human condition and ordinary life but featuring the aesthetic of let’s say Shoplifters. This powerful expression is so strong because Cuaron expresses it with frames and compositions that blow your mind. My point wasn’t that “the value comes only from the technical prowess” but more like that “the technical prowess pushes the artistry of the film to the heaven and it’s the strongest attraction”.
Just out of curiosity, what are your feelings about The Bicycle Thief? Does it feature frames and compositions that blow your mind? Or do you consider it a minor achievement on the level of (your example) Shoplifters?
@Matt Harris— I consider The Bicycle Thief a humongous achievement of form and narrative. I remember you have it as a top 3 film of the 40s (I agree). There’s another reason so strong as those that i mentioned that lead you in that placement ? It’s true that the framework isn’t its biggest power.
why exactly do you consider Bicycle Thieves as a huge achievement of form (or even narrative). I can see why you like the narrative, but I can name many other movies with clearly better form. For example In the mood for love 2000.
@Azman— It has to do with the neorealim and the movement’s expressions and themes. The structure based around one object (the bicycle of course) and the character of Antonio pursuing something that will help his life- again it’s form tied to an era’s ( and a country’s) worldview. And how Antonio’s character is built for the stunning finale to finally not take the bicycle. Again as I said, it’s form married to a movement ‘s ideas and thoughts.
@Cinephile Interesting. I love Bicycle Thieves. How many times have you seen it? When was the last time you saw it? I’m long overdue for a rewatch.
Recently when Drake, Matt Harris and I were having a discussion, you said that you would take visuals over narrative/screenplay. You said visuals were the most important to a movie. Yet you still think Bicycle Thieves is a humongous masterpiece but not so good visually.(i would disagree with that. Look at the rain sequences. Also, sooo much is communicated through the faces of the actors(like in Joan of Arc)). Apart from the narrative and form, what else impressed you in the movie?
Anyways, I didn’t understand your second last sentence. Bicycle thieves shows the struggles of the poor. What do you mean Antonio’s character was built to finally not take the bicycle? Antonio DID take the bicycle. He was going to steal it if he hadn’t been stopped. What do you mean by ‘built’? Do you mean that you liked the way it built to the climax? That’s what I liked a lot.
@Azman— I’ve seen it probably 4-5 times, it’s been 2 years or so from the last revisit.
I didn’t meant that Bicycle Thieves is not so good visually. I think the visual beauty isn’t what makes it an iconic film. That doesn’t mean it’s not so good visually. As I said I’m most impressed with the narrative and form. Also I believe form is very important (along with technical mastery) to a film.
Antonio is built as a poor guy, making a journey to find an object that will help his life, in the end not claiming the bicycle back expresses the worldview of the movement, its form married to the neorealism.
How about you Drake? What impresses you in Bicycle Thieves? You agree with me about the form and narrative or you have other things that make it a giant masterpiece for you ?
@Cinephile– I’m with you– great work. I’ll just add how important italian neorealism is as a movement, a counterbalance to expressionism, and hollywood both, in cinema history. Bicycle Thieves and De Sica are one of the absolutely pillars (Mount Rushmore seems to be a term used) of the movement both the film and filmmaker. If you want to make the case for Shoplifters on that level I’d have to study and read more but I don’t currently see it.
I also think the stark black and white photography against the post world war II backdrop is quite breathtaking and if you were to ask me to mount 5 still images from it and shoplifters on a museum or my wall- all 5 would be from the De Sica film
@Drake— Very happy we’re on the same page here. As for Shoplifters, I first expressed that I wasn’t impressed. There’s no debate or comparisons between the 2 films, one is a top 20 film of all time and the other isn’t a top 20 film of its year.
100 percent agreed. I mentioned the same thing in my previous comment to you.
“[The audience]feels for them [the children/family] only because the movie [Roma] is so brilliant technically and narratively. If it was poor technically and formally, it would have had no impact and not been such a good movie.”
This was my previous comment. This applies to all movies not just Roma.
Thanks for sharing everyone. Roma moved me, too. But being moved and feelings is/are tougher to argue for and against and we’re headed into “opinion” and “taste” territory. The visual bravado on display in Roma is not an opinion.
@cinephile. You know a lot about cinema. How long have you been a ‘cinephile’ for?
Speaking of bicycle thieves, the mise en scene also makes it great and dont forget the acting.
What do you mean “at the end not claiming the bicycle back”? He stole someone else’s bike at the end. How could he claim back something he doesn’t own? What worldview are you talking about?
@Azman— I’ve been a cinephile 20 years.
Antonio is trying to find the bicycle stolen from him. At the end he returns home with empty hands, there isn’t justice in the film, it’s a pessimistic finale where the righteous man comes to his limits and to survive becomes himself the thief. I’m talking about the worldview of post-war Italy which influenced the neo realist movement.
Ah I get it. I completely understand now.
This was the 2nd foreign film I ever saw.(not counting the 2 or so languages I speak) (I actually saw Tokyo Story first and then right after Bicycle Thieves). I
‘loved’ how pessimistic bicycle thieves was. It hit me like a bullet. Phenomenal movie.
What are your top 10 sci-fi films of the century? (Also interested hearing the opinions of the other readers).
I can’t even get to 10
1. Children of men
5. Blade Runner 2049
6. Ad astra
@Cinephile I used to do genre rankings, but it’s extremely hard to define genres(I think Drake would agree with me. I’ve never seen him do genre rankings.)
I love Aldos list especially the top 2. I’d probably add Fury Road for sure. Maybe I’d have Eternal Sunshine too. How about inception.
However, there are very few foreign films on the list of Aldo and I and all the movies are in English. If you are looking for an underrated non-English foreign sci fi movie, then I’d probably recommend Bong Joon Ho’s The Host. However, many people may not consider the movie to be sci fi (like I said, genre definitions are very hard to do).
@Azman I’m not even a native English speaker haha, if there were movies in another language at the level of Gravity i would include them, but i have not seen, anyway share your ranking
3. Children of Men
7. Blade Runner 2049
9. Ad Astra
10. Ex Machina
HM: Snowpiercer, Annihilation, Minority Report
This was just off the top of my head so I’m certain I’m missing something.
@Matt Harris– How you’d compare Gravity’s achievement with Ad Astra and Blade Runner 2049. Obviously you have it as the better film but since Drake has those 2 films ranked ahead of Gravity, what makes Gravity for you the best sci-fi of the century ? (I agree with you).
Very happy to see Arrival there! Where you’d have it in the best films of the decade and the best of 2016 ?
The estimable and admirable achievements of Ad Astra and Blade Runner 2049 (both of which I greatly admire for their intelligence and design) are simply an order of magnitude lesser than the world-historic achievement of Gravity, which has a reasonable claim for having the greatest cinematography of all-time… while equaling or bettering each of the other two films at the things they do best.
Gravity is one of the greatest science fiction films ever. The other two are not.
I’ll just add that Ad Astra and Blade Runner 2049 have a lot more going in in terms of their pictorial beauty than Gravity- but give me Children of Men which surpasses Gravity in cinematography and is on par or or even surpasses Ad Astra and Blade Runner as far as photography— best of both.
@Drake— It’s true that both Blade Runner 2049 and Ad Astra are awe-inspiring. But on a technical “craft on display” level I think Gravity is clearly the superior film.
Children of Men is a different story. It’s a huge masterpiece and I think it’s truly worth debating if it’s better than Gravity. If it is, I still think that they are pretty close artistically.
@Cinephile– “clearly the superior film” and then speaking in generalities like “craft on display” rubs me the wrong way here. Not exactly convincing either especially when a simple google search for the screenshots of all three films put Gravity in third place out of three here. Clearly that is— not clear.
I have the three films virtually tied- so I’m not willing to say one is clearly superior to the others- Matt Harris was pointing out a strength of Gravity– and rightly so– undeniable. I was simply pointing out a strength of the other two.
As Matt Harris said the cinematography on display in Gravity, the camera movement specifically, is jaw-dropping. But I think an apt historical comparison is Rope– the 28th best film of the 1940’s. Again- that is no insult.
Yep, you’re right that the word “clearly” is probably not the right one to use, my mistake. A film that is on a “top” list features strong film style anyway, but my point is what is the strongest part of the film. With The Master it’s the form, with Dunkirk is the editing, with Gravity it’s the cinematography ( and if your cinematography is up there with the best in the medium, that itself pushes the film to humongous filmic status). Since it’s a film that I think belongs in the top 10 of the decade, I have to point in it’s biggest strength. But I also think than in mise-en-scene and blocking it’s also impressive, and in the end as a visual/technical experience comes as the more powerful cinematic expression. I hope I explained my position well.
As for Arrival, I had it as the 2nd best film of 2016, and 33rd of the decade.
Oh crap! Somehow I forgot Paprika! It should probably be #3 or #4 on my list.
I don’t think of Fury Road as sci-fi… and I hadn’t considered Eternal Sunshine, but that probably does actually qualify.
I was going to say the same, is not, apocalyptic? haha, i was thinking of including it
Yeah post-apocalyptic. There isn’t really a sci-fi premise at its base either. Children of Men is a dystopian film, but at its base is the sci-fi premise, what if the human race became infertile? Fury Road is just, what if society collapsed and the survivors were ruled by warring warlords fighting for control of dwindling resources? That’s not sci-fi…
@Matt Harris – post apocalyptic is a sub genre of science fiction. The world getting ruined is something that takes place in the future. It hasn’t happened yet. It’s set in a future after a shortage-of-fuel-war. It has no fantasy elements. Just because it is a plausible scenario, does not not make it sci fi. Children of men is also post apocalyptic so Mad Max should qualify too.
“…science fiction is something that could happen – but usually you wouldn’t want it to. Fantasy is something that couldn’t happen – though often you only wish that it could”
Arthur C. Clarke
”Mad Max: Fury Road” is absolutely a science-fiction film, insofar as it portrays an extreme but non magical extrapolation of actual trends in society, technology, the environment and flame-throwing guitars(these don’t exist- so it is sci-fi). It has sci-fi elements like Furiosa’s robot arm and Immortan Joe’s breathing gear. It is also cited regularly among the best sci-fi movies of the 21st century.
Again, genre definitions and list making are very hard so I don’t really have a sci-fi (or any other genre) list
nobody is even bringing up Under the Skin in the sci-fi discussion?
@Draken I absolutely adore Under the Skin. I think it’s on TSPDT top 1000. Would you have it on your top 10 sci fi of the decade list Drake?How about Interstellar, maybe even Black Panther. How about Blade runner with Gosling? Speaking of Blade runner, Ridley’s Scott’s the Martian is also up there.
I dont sort/list my movies by genre so my list was only of the top of my head. There must be some great movies I missed.
@ Drake. I’ll add Avatar, Her and Donnie Darko to the mix as well. Her vs Under the Skin, Both in 2013, Both feature Johansson. Which one do you pick?
What are your best films from every year at the period 2010-2019. (Obviously the question is directed towards the readers of the blog)
I wouldn’t know why does anyone has Roma that high on the list. I think is due to the fact it’s a foreign film and most people will see it not the way it is. Seen it like three times even attended a conference run by social workers like the character displayed by Yalitza, and went trough the importance of the representation of mexican women in the film, even Cuaron himself gave some insight so these conference would approach all the topics of his story. Even myself as a mexican, always lived in Mexico, i couldn’t tell the beauty of it. Besides having a strong representation of women in this complex social sturcture that Mexico is. I just couldnt tell the beauty in it. It didn’t make that much of an impact here tho, must people saw it as a soap opera in black and white with a cinematic approach to it. But i won’t think it makes justice to the subject. I have no problem with Yalitza like the racist people here. I tought she was the strongest asset of the film. My problem is with the screenplay, the way Cuaron direct his actors in general, and something about the pacing i wouldn’t know it just kill the vibe for me. I think is an important movie to foreign film history, but it isn’t that important for Mexico it just doesn’t make justice for the stories behind it. I believe Cuaron made it to the international public, but not for the people in this country
@Alejandro. It is a neorealistic approach, maybe that’s why you think it is a soap opera. I identify a lot with what you write but in the opposite way.
According to you, it is not important for Mexico, what do you consider to be the best Mexican movie? Viridiana? I’m pretty sure it now belongs to Spain. And it is not because the film is foreign, it is because there are no such beautiful films as this constantly, It would be great to have a movie like Roma every year, but it rarely happens, what about the beauty that emerges from each frame? As poetry, what about the follow-up shot on the beach?
I recommend you see Drake’s analysis http://thecinemaarchives.com/2018/12/21/roma-2018-cuaron/
The mise-en-scene? The impeccable handling of the camera
I think you are paying too much attention to the plot, and you are ignoring the rest.
I do not think it’s a soap opera, im saying for most people it came as a version of a mexican soap opera made in cinema, not regarding the acting wich is nothing like that; but regarding to the storytelling. And is not according to me the only imapct it made in Mexico was about the starring of Yalitza in a major film when she come out of nowhere. I appreciate the insight i dont think it doesn’t has cinematic beauty, i just think is not that great of a cinematic experience. I have my issues with the screenplay and like i said it didnt make much of an impact in me nor in the mexican public. I have so many issues with the way Cuaron directed his actors in that movie as well the way the story is told. A story like this it is supposed to make an impact and make people talk, at least that didnt pull off with this audience. Like i said i believe it is a movie made for the international public and most cinephiles but for me it lacks of substance. I apologize for my enlgish it aint my first language but like im saying regardless of the beauty in it, this movie is in my first language and i can’t not see the flaws, is something about the script and the direction that just killed the vibe for me. The movie didn’t started a conversation around me, nor with the people or even with my self, besides the cinematic achievement it was such a forgettable film to me. Not saying that i disliked it is a good film i did watch it several times but i just can’t see it as a masterpiece. In the other hand yes it is maybe the most important mexican film ever made im happy about the noise it made around the globe and i do hope we could have films like these more often, but i believe it is important to have in mind the local public the people that can relate directy with the story i admire Cuaron and like most of his work but i believe he did not make a great effort to connect with that. I believe cinematic achievement is great but not just for the sake of it, it has to have substance. And when it comes to Roma, there is a feeling of a work of art thats not very genuine.
@Alejandro. We will have to agree to disagree
What do you consider a “great cinematic experience”? We can have different perceptions about this.
I would tell you the same, I do not feel nostalgic, because I did not live at that time, i would not say that it had an impact on me, outside of the cinematographic, although i am a big fan of the movie.
Out of curiosity, what would be your top movies of the decade?
I don’t think it’s fair to say that, most of the Mexican people had prejudices from before seeing it, because it was in black and white and described as a soap opera
What do you mean, it’s not genuine? he is inspired by his childhood in Mexico City
For me it is really important that a movie has a strong motif, regardless of the plot the way the srcipt is constructed to me is everything a beautiful cinematography with all the detalis and poetry surrounding it is great but is just a plus. I have a lot of issues with the way he direct his actors in it and with the tone of the movie itself, i like slow movies i don’t care and i do have a connection with that particular place and time even i wasnt living that exact moment i can connect in so many ways i mean Mexico hasn’t change a lot since, at least socially speaking, but regarding the film experience it is something that you may notice if spanish was your mother toungue and way even more if you are mexican born and raised, and in my case i can say there is a nostagic factor that connects me with the film, and believe me i’m not a detractor i did watched several times even attended a Ted talk or some kind of conference where they showed the film they talked about the social issues that are portrayed in the movie. Being honest i really cared about the film i found it harsh when people talked bad about the movie, it was more like people even didn’t care much and its not like is a movie that nobody saw it was a trend in Netflix for many weeks and Mexico has TONS of subscribers is hard to find someone that doesn’t has a suscription, is like everyone saw it but almost nobody cared of it besides all the talk about Yalitza, so i tried not to go with the trend but i find a hard time with the movie i just couldnt see the genius i couldnt see the movie being that great nowhere near close to the masterpiece status. I really believe it has to do with the tone the movie is given. A little bit plain, simplistic, even with all the beatiful cinematography is a movie so forgettable to me, and not that rewatchable.
Im no one to name the exact status of what makes a masterpiece or to give the descrpition of what is a great cinematic experience. But i would say my top ten of the decade with no particular order.
The Tree of Life (not that much rewactchable for me)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood(not the best movie ever just a personal taste)
Social Network (not my personal favorite is not a movie that i want to rewatch; but i can see the genius, it could easily be top 3 of the decade)
Melancholia (i can think about many other important films, better films but i believe this is a must watch i really liked it)
HM: Mother!/The Grand Budapest Hotel (Visually stunning, funny and Fiennes is amazing)
Personal Choice: Knives out(so much fun watching it), Garland’s Ex machina/Anihilation (i loved both stories but i recognize is not the best thing ever)
Similar thing happened to me with Blade Runner 2049 (as with Rome), i just couldn’t find the genius despite the impeccable cinematography.
@Alejandro. Don’t you think they have a similar approach (The revenant and Roma)?
Mad Max would not be simplistic? what is the film about? a chase, a woman escapes with the boss’s handcuffs, can’t find her house and they go back and end, right?
Have you seen Bicycle Thieves? It would also be simply
What is the problem with how you direct the actors?
Well, here we all love Once Upon a time in Hollywood
Bicycle Thieves has many memorable moments, i wouldn’t put it in my top 50 but what i can say about that film is that despite all its despair is a very rich story with many memorable and joyful moments. It really breaks my heart, but at the same time even if i watched the story before, seen it again it feels like seeing it for the first time and its fun.
The Revenant has the greatest performance by DiCaprio and there is nothing mundane about it there is no comparison. Roma is one of the most dull and lifeless experiences i’ve ever had with films and it started a conflict in me. I don’t want to repeat myself but it was a total letdown i have so many issues with the storytelling, the script the tone and again the thing that the movie is in my language, and so close to my context, there are other things that i can see and to me there is something really missing like there is something not geniune about the emotions coming from it. And id blame 100% that on Cuaron on the direction primarly, there is something missing about his vision that he didnt bought to the scene and im afraid he might not be that aware at all is like he has being stranged to his own story and that moment in his life, it gaves you the feeling that he is forcing himself to reconnect with that part of him. I am aware that he was true to the forms its impressive how accurate it came making a work of art that true to the Neorealistic approach, but i think he did failed at selling this characters to the people that is connected with the story, the mexican society. It really felt like a quiet cinematic soap opera despite all the care he put in to pull off his craft. I wish i could see this film like you do, i really do. I am aware is a cinematic achievement for Cuaron but i wouldn’t put it higher than a 50th place on the list.
@Alejandro – thanks for visiting the site and the comments. It sounds like it may be a personal objection to Roma and that’s your choice to make– I’m not going to tell anyone else how to feel about a movie. However, your feeling on it has little to nothing to do with the cinematic achievement of Cuaron’s here.
@Alejandro. I agree with Drake, it is probably a personal matter, either way it was very nice talking to you @Alejandro, i just want to add that i don’t have the problems that you mention, i also speak Spanish, so i don’t think it’s referring to the language.
I do not think that the film needs what you say with Mexican society, for some reason the film had its premiere in art house, like the Cineteca and not in commercial chains.
roma might be boring but it should be recognized for what it does. if the story were told by ron howard or modern gus van sant i probably would have fallen asleep but the visuals are so good that they keep us in awe. i don’t think much of tree of life, but i love the master by pta. think it’s better than blood and one of my favorite seymour hoffman performances (an all time great actor). but personally i’d say the best film visually of the decade is definitely either roma or mad max.
I’ve been debating in my mind about, who gave the best performance in the Master and i think it’s Hoffman, i don’t know, what would be your choice?
aldo, probably a threeway tie between hoffman phoenix and though she is not as prominent in the film, the great amy adams. what do you think is the best scene in the film. for me its the ending with hoffman telling him that if he walks away then they will be sworn enemies. that scene really moved me. i love the film because i think the idea is very interesting. about a man who just wants to fit in so he involves himself in a cult where no one really cares about him. it is one of the most tragic films in recent memory.
My finalized 100 Best of The Decade:
1. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
2. Roma (Alfonso Cuaron, 2018)
3. Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
4. Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)
5. Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron, 2013)
6. Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)
7. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
8. La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016)
9. Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, 2010)
10. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
11. The Revenant (Alejandro G. Inarritu, 2015)
12. The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr, 2011)
13. The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)
14. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
15. Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013)
16. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012)
17. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017)
18. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
19. 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)
20. Waves (Trey Edward Shults, 2019)
21. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
22. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
23. Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)
24. Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2018)
25. Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
26. Birdman (Alejandro G. Inarritu, 2014)
27. Parasite (Bong Joon-ho, 2019)
28. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)
29. Burning (Lee Chang-dong, 2018)
30. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
31. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)
32. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018)
33. Son of Saul (Laszlo Nemes, 2015)
34. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
35. Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014)
36. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)
37. Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)
38. Ad Astra (James Gray, 2019)
39. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
40. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
41. Columbus (Kogonada, 2017)
42. A Pigeon Sat on A Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson, 2014)
43. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2015)
44. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
45. Portrait of A Lady on Fire (Celine Sciamma, 2019)
46. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)
47. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)
48. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
49. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010)
50. Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh, 2014)
51. Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)
52. Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)
53. Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)
54. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
55. Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, 2015)
56. The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
57. Good Time (Josh & Benny Safdie, 2017)
58. Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn, 2011)
59. The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)
60. First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)
61. Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016)
62. Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019)
63. American Hustle (David O. Russell, 2013)
64. We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011)
65. A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)
66. Only God Forgives (Nicholas Winding Refn, 2013)
67. Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015)
68. Uncut Gems (Josh & Benny Safdie, 2019)
69. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)
70. The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013)
71. Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)
72. Sunset Song (Terence Davies, 2015)
73. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)
74. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
75. The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski, 2010)
76. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012)
77. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014)
78. Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2015)
79. Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
80. Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)
81. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
82. Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)
83. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010)
84. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)
85. Le Havre (Aki Kaurismaki, 2011)
86. Horse Money (Pedro Costa, 2014)
87. Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodovar, 2019)
88. An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo, 2018)
89. Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019)
90. Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, 2010)
91. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2017)
92. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins, 2018)
93. The Woman in the Fifth (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2011)
94. Zama (Lucrecia Martel, 2017)
95. Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
96. The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016)
97. The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017)
98. Widows (Steve McQueen, 2018)
99. The Neon Demon (Nicholas Winding Refn, 2016)
100. The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019)
You seem admire/talk a lot about the 2010s. Is it your favorite cinematic decade?
Have you done more top 100s for other decades?
Hi @Cinephile. Do you have The Great Beauty as a masterpiece? Very happy to see Scorsese with 4, I would have those too, but because the Wolf is so tall?, i really like the movie, but i’m not sure he deserves to be in the top 50, if you have any comments i would love to hear them.
Would the Wolf be in the top 10 of Scorsese?
@Aldo– Yes, I have The Great Beauty as a masterpiece. Scorsese has most than any other on the list, with actually 5 films. To keep it brief, I consider The Wolf of Wall Street very accomplished in cinematic craft, from the raw energy narrative, to the writing but also to the filmmaking of display, from the shots, the freeze frames to the use of slow motion and set pieces. I can’t really say about Scorsese ranking, sorry, if it’s in the top 10 it sits at the end at #10 or something but again if it’s out of those 10 it’s close to them.
@Azman– Yes, I deeply admire the 2010s, but no, i don’t consider it the best decade, that title would go to the 60s, I talk about the 2010s because it’s the most recent decade and there’s not much time to reflect, so there’s much discussion to be made.
I haven’t finished any other top 100 other than this and my best films of all time, but I’m working on them.
How about you, have you made a best films list, either about 2010s, of all time or any other decade?
Lists are never final-always changing. I could make one, but splitting hairs is hard and the list will be influenced by recency(or sometimes nostalgic) bias. Also lists keep changing anyways.
So I just rank movies as a mixture between Drakes tier ranking system and ebert’s great movies.
Some movies from your list I greatly admire are mad max, social network, Parasite, Ida, tree of life and much, much more. It’s a great list really. If I were to make a list, Fury Road might be above Parasite but it would be hard for me to explain/justify why, so I just declared them both as big masterpieces.
The Irishman is ranked nicely but you haven’t mentioned why it has dropped so much in your mind. (You may have mentioned it but if you have, I haven’t seen it). I only saw you praise it as the best of the decade. I know you dropped it to 5th of the decade in one of your older lists, but I’m surprised to see it of the top 25 completely.
Have you submitted your top 100 of all time on this page? If yes, do you remember which page? If you haven’t, I’d love to see it. If you’re curious,
I made a top 100 of all time, a long time ago when i was 15 or 16. Obviously lots has changed, but it’s a memoir of the beginning of my cinephilia journey. Now I only have “tier rankings”.
@Azman– I still consider The Irishman a masterpiece, it’s not that I found a big flaw in it or something, I just reconsidered some things and I thought some films are superior. I think I’ve published my top 100 but I don’t remember where, as you rightly say, lists always change, my top 100 looks now a lot different than before 1 month and certainly will look different in 1 month from now. A lot of things change for me, I can publish the list again if you want, but it’s not final, in some time it’ll be different. I still have 2001 as #1 tho- haha. You can also find my top 10 of every decade in the blog, but again, the lists have changed a little from then.
If you want, could you publish your top 100 again? I’d like to see it. I haven’t seen 2001 for almost a year so I’m not sure if its #1. However I’m somewhat sure it probably will be my number 1 too.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. 8 ½
3. Raging Bull
4. Apocalypse Now
5. The Passion of Joan of Arc
6. Seven Samurai
7. Citizen Kane
9. Blade Runner
10. Tokyo Story
12. The Godfather: Part II
14. The Searchers
15. There Will Be Blood
16. Bicycle Thieves
18. In the Mood for Love
21. The Godfather
22. La Dolce Vita
23. Taxi Driver
24. Pulp Fiction
27. A Clockwork Orange
29. The Rules of the Game
30. Battleship Potemkin
32. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
33. Lawrence of Arabia
34. Touch of Evil
36. The Seventh Seal
37. The Thin Red Line
38. The Earrings of Madame De…
40. Pandora’s Box
41. Days of Heaven
43. Do the Right Thing
44. Schindler’s List
45. The Third Man
46. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
47. Blue Velvet
48. The Magnificent Ambersons
51. The Wild Bunch
54. City Lights
55. Children of Men
57. Late Spring
58. I Am Cuba
59. Last Year at Marienbad
61. Rear Window
62. The Shining
63. Andrei Rublev
64. L’ Avventura
65. Hiroshima mon Amour
66. High and Low
67. Once Upon A Time in the West
68. Werckmeister Harmonies
69. Pierrot le Fou
70. North by Northwest
72. Mulholland Drive
73. The 400 Blows
74. Cries and Whispers
75. Red Desert
76. Jules and Jim
79. Annie Hall
80. Inglourious Basterds
81. Eyes Wide Shut
84. Punch-Drunk Love
86. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
87. The Lord of The Rings
88. Singin’ in the Rain
89. The Conformist
90. Rio Bravo
91. Barry Lyndon
92. The Trial
93. Raiders of The Lost Ark
95. The Big Sleep
96. Dead Ringers
97. The Blue Angel
98. Gone With the Wind
99. Bringing Up Baby
100. The General
I’m very interested hearing the best of all time list from the other readers of the blog
Thanks for sharing @Cinephile, very interesting, you will not see mine because I can not even reach 50, it is very difficult, how can you say that Raging Bull is better than Seven Samurai? I would say that they are just as good, it is much easier for me to classify when there is a great difference in quality, but with top 100 films it is not.
I still can’t find I am Cuba, I’m so excited, everyone has it as one of the best. Where did you find it?
@Aldo, I agree, it’s difficult to make a top 100 and split hairs.
@cinephile, no 2010s movies? Is it because the list is made before 2010? If so, where would tree of life rank?
Aldo– I absolutely can’t say if Raging Bull is better than Seven Samurai, just for the purpose of a list you must make some decisions. I found I Am Cuba in an online free movies page.
Azman– I’m using Drake’s “films from the last 10 years not included” system. Tree of Life is certainly top 50, maybe top 30.
Ok. Makes sense. The list is great though.
@Cinephile- great work- thanks for sharing. I’ll have to spend some time on these!
I’m curious, how controversial is thinking The Tree of Life is top 5 of all time? Because I think I do at this point, although I’m less hesitant than most to put modern films high on the list. How impenetrable is your top 5 or top 10?
Regarding the decade, I’m pretty confident that the top 3 are The Tree of Life, The Master and Inside Llewyn Davis.
@Chief Keef– I don’t think it is controversial at all. I just moved In the Mood For Love to #13 recently so I wouldn’t consider the top 5 or 10 impenetrable.
We’re 2 out of 3 on the top 3 of the decade. That’s great. I’d sub Roma in as the third I’m most confident in– but Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t far off and it gets better every time I see it.
What are in your opinion some transcendent scenes/moments of films from the 2010s ? (Directed towards Drake and the other readers of the blog)
@Cinephile– short on time as I’m trying to get started on my next post but quickly- how about the beach scene from Roma? The processing scene from The Master and the final performance in Black Swan? I’m zipping through my top 15 or so at random but those seem like 3 of the 20-25 best for sure.
@Drake– Yeah absolutely. Roma is transcendent for all of the runtime I think haha.
For me, the Top 20 Greatest Films of the 21st Century so far are:
1. The Tree of Life (2011) Dir: Terrence Malick
2. In the Mood for Love (2000) Dir: Wong Kar-Wai
3. There Will Be Blood (2007) Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
4. Mulholland Drive (2001) Dir: David Lynch
5. Roma (2018) Dir: Alfonso Cuarón
6. Boyhood (2014) Dir: Richard Linklater
7. Eega (2012) Dir: S.S. Rajamouli
8. Pan’s Labyrinth (2007) Dir: Guillermo Del Toro
9. The Social Network (2010) Dir: David Fincher
10. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter….. & Spring (2003) Dir: Kim Ki-duk
11. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Dir: Michel Gondry
12. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Dir: Wes Anderson
13. Caché (2005) Dir: Michael Haneke
14. Nenithe (2008) Dir: Puri Jagannath
15. No Country for Old Men (2007) Dir: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
16. Parasite (2019) Dir: Bong Joon-ho
17. Talk to Her (2002) Dir: Pedro Almodóvar
18. A Seperation (2011) Dir: Asghar Farhadhi
19. La La Land (2016)
20. Dunkirk (2017) Dir: Christopher Nolan
The beach scene in Roma, the timelines coming together in Dunkirk, the past/future inversion reveal in Arrival, the tesseract sequence in Interstellar, the return to Earth in Gravity, the Apollo 11 launch in First Man, the ‘Out of Time’ needle drop in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, the “Journey Through the Past” flashback in Inherent Vice, the leap of faith “What’s Up Danger” scene from Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, large swaths of Tree of Life…
I’m sure I’m missing some great ones, but these sprang to mind.
@Matt Harris– How about the ending of La La Land, Inception and Burning, the opening of The Turin Horse and both the Hoffa murder sequence (not only from the time he gets to the plane, but the whole 25 minute silent section) and the final moments from The Irishman?
Brilliant scenes all, but I’m not sure I feel a sense of “transcendence” from them. Your mention of Burning however puts me in mind of the magic hour dance scene which I think absolutely qualifies. I also think there is a transcendent moment in the Inception climax related to Cobb’s reconciling himself with the memory of his wife, but I couldn’t remember the specifics well enough to site it accurately (due for a rewatch clearly!). Turin Horse is more brilliantly mounting despair and hopelessness than transcendence. As for La La Land, the ending is virtuosic and moving but I don’t think it creates a feeling of transcencence… maybe Emma Stone’s audition song would fit better there? The final moments from The Irishman are incredible, but I would describe them as generating deep melancholy moreso than transcendence. The final shot of Portrait of a Lady on Fire feels like it fits better here maybe.
@Matt Harris– Yes, you’re right, transcendence isn’t a word that fits for all those films, the word “brilliant” is probably better. Probably it wasn’t the right word from the start, I mostly meant scenes so powerful in craft that generate strong feelings, on these terms I think the examples I mentioned qualify.
@Cinephile- and @Matt Harris- great choices for sure- inspired pick with Burning and quite right about the entirety of Roma
Have you ever written a review? When I say review, I mean like those we read from critics. Here, it is mostly observations from the viewing (I’m not criticizing or saying this in a bad way, I love what you do).
The question is also directed towards the other readers.
@Cinephile- no offense taken. I’ve written a handful. Doesn’t really suit my skills, the amount of time I have, or the bulk of my interest.
The Best Film of Every Year
2019- Uncut Gems (This showed me that in fact Adam Sandler can act)
2018- BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee’s best film since Malcolm X)
2017- Get Out (underrated by everybody, the best film of the 2010s, absolute masterpiece)
2016- Manchester By the Sea
2015- The Big Short (Adam McKay is a polarizing, but I personally love his style)
2014- Foxcatcher (I know a lot of people don’t like this and think it is slow but I love it, dark and sad and a masterpiece)
2013- The Wolf of Wall Street
2012- Lincoln (Spielberg’s best film in the 21st century)
2011- The Tree of Life
– The Master
– La La Land
What is your opinion on limiting your choice to one pick per director on best of lists ? Obviously, you don’t agree since you have two Nolan and Inarritu films in the top 10 of 2010s, but have you ever thought about it? (I don’t think I’d agree either)
@Cinephile- Never. I don’t think it would be a real list of the best films at that point. What’s the benefit of doing it that way do yo think? (I know you don’t agree but just wondering in general)
The only real benefit is it facilitates more variety. I guess that’s useful if you’re writing a thinkpiece or doing a podcast discussion.
I agree with you three that making a list limiting directors to only one film would be a bit bogus, at least for a large list and one of a singe decade. However, I think it might be understandable not to put multiple movies by a director near the top on all-time lists. I feel that there is an unspoken guideline with polls such as Sight & Sound for critics to only include one per director. Perhaps multiple films by Kubrick, Coppola, Fellini, Kurosawa and such would be more often thought of as top ten films if they did not happen to be created by the same person? Who knows.
@Graham- you could be right about the unspoken guidelines– but I don’t subscribe to that guideline and my all-time top 10 happens to represent 10 different directors. I see what @Matt Harris is saying about variety for a thinkpiece or podcast–and I’m sure that’s the idea. But, for example, the idea that my 11th best film of the 1990’s (Fargo) would somehow make the discussion more interesting than including Boogie Nights (the second of two PTA films in the top ten) seems forced and a little silly
Yes, I wouldn’t specifically make it a point to subscribe to the guideline either, but I understand why some might. The reason why using a larger variety of directors might be interesting would be to characterize what cinema styles are popular during a time period (i.e. it is clear that even if many films are still low shot length today, modern A-List high quality cinema is dominated by tracking shots), but I would agree that comparing multiple films of the same director is just as interesting. I wonder, though, would could happen if an alien critic from another planet that also had a cinema industry saw every movie made on Earth without being told that some were by the same directors. I bet their perceptions might be slightly different, though I do not quite know how. Another interesting experiment might occur if it turned out Kubrick’s movies up to Dr. Strangelove, which have quite a different style than the later films, were in reality directed by a whole different person. Would we see them as better or worse without the context of 2001 and the like? These are all hypothetical.
@Drake, Matt Harris and Graham. As I said, I wouldn’t agree, but yes, the potential of including different names on the best is an interesting perspective I think, but in the end, as Drake says we’re not going to pretend a film is more deserving that another because the second film’s director has another one of his films in there.
1. La La Land: Everything is perfect. So many nemorable scenes. But the ending is something else … it was like Chazelle showing everyone else from his profession: “This is my world and all of you are just living in it …it´s showcase of era defining genius. It´s simply incredible archievement. Considering his age I simply can´t wait for this next project …
2. The Help – no great stories, no great heroes, nothing for the history books … just simple act of kidness and humanity in the most touching story I´ve seen in long time.
3. The Inception- Full of ideas. Most ambitious action movie of all time.
4. Birdman – ugly and beautiful look at human nature at the same time.
5. Kick-Ass – making fun of superhero genre and giving it big tribute at the same time … hell yeah …
6. Edge of Tomorrow – collest movie ever once again proving Cruise is the titan of the industry.
7. Hunger Games saga- most accurate reflection our current society.
8. Silver Lining Playbook – I´m not a great dancer, fortunately neither are J-Law and B-Cop.
9. Drive – Long, silent, magical night and Ryan Gosling.
10. The Social Network – You have to LIKE it, right ?
HM: The Nice Guys, Age of Adaline, Dunkirk, The Favourite, The Martian, Once upon a time in Hollywood, Crazy, Stupid Love …
@Fancipal– thanks for sharing the list. I certainly love La La Land, Inception, Birdman and Social Network that high- Drive not far behind.
Awesome content as always. I’ve been meaning to make a top films of the decade list for a while now, but only just got around to it this week as I started using Letterboxd and I must say it’s an awesome app. Really helped me categorise the movies I’d seen and rate them into groups.
Anyway after extensive ranking and ordering I’ve come away with 15 films from the 2010’s that I gave a 5 star rating to (I guess the equivalent to your MP rating). Here’s the list below.
3. La la Land
4. The Master
5. Blade Runner 2049
7. Mad Max Fury Road
8. The Hunt
9. The Favourite
10. The Grand Budapest Hotel
11. The Social Network
12. Marriage Story
14. How to Train your Dragon
15. Cold War
I have yet to rank all of my 4.5 star rated movies so will be doing that over the next week or so.
I’ve noticed that our lists are very similar, I think we share 6 of the same top 10. I think that’s why I like and always read every review on this website, my favourite website on the whole internet actually.
I feel most of my list is pretty self explanatory but I must say that How to train your dragon is mostly there based on nostalgia and over the years will slide down the ranking I think. A few years ago it was probably top 5 so it already is sliding. I noticed you only have The Hunt as an R and not even on the top 100? I think Mads gives one of the best 3-5 performances of the decade, maybe even best here. Stand out scene in the church is also brilliant.
A couple films from your list that I haven’t seen that I think could be in my top 20 is the tree of life (been meaning to get to it for ages), The Turin Horse and Ida. Also I need to rewatch The Revenant, Moonlight and Parasite as I feel those could also be bumped up another rating with a rewatch.
Also do you use Letterboxd at all or just keep this website as a tracking list for the films you watch?
@Joel– thanks for sharing and for the kind words on the website- this is a great list– yeah so I’ve only seen The Hunt once- look forward to seeing it again (though it is a devastating film)– maybe I can find some time before Mads (who I love) and Vinterberg’s latest collaboration- “Another Round”- should get to it in 2021.
@Joel- sorry I missed this question- I don’t use Letterboxd– but know others that do- I hear it more and more. For now I use my own notes system and the website to keep track
the TSPDT annual 21st century update is here- https://www.theyshootpictures.com/21stcentury.htm
I don’t know who writes these list but these are the best list on the internet by far. Extremely Impeccable
@Tekena Igoni- thank you for visiting the site and the comment here
Hi Drake, I can’t really understeand why you rank Melancholia so low.. I think it’s one of the very bests from Lars. What do you think about it?
@benedetto– So low on it? I mean 22 of the decade is masterpiece level. I don’t have a page on it yet. But it actually came up on one of my random movie generator lists so I’ll be watching it again in 2021.
I mean, If i have to make a list I think i would rank it top 3, but that’s my own taste. I think it’s an incredible masterpiece, every frame is a paint, one of the best use that I ever saw of held hand camera, masterpiece soundtrack, Kristen Stewart, Jon Hart, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland… I can’t really understeand why did you prefer movies like inception, the social network, or even the black swan.. They’re great movies but I think all of em are a step lower than Melancholia. imho
@benedetto- thanks for sharing this. Great work. What would be the other two in your top three?
I don’t know actually.. The three of life for sure at the first place for sure. I think the other one could be Once upon a time in hollywood that is growing on me more and more after every rewartch
My top 20 of last decade:
1. The master
2. Inside llewyn davis
3. The social network
5. 12 years a slave
7. The tree of life
11. Cold war
13. Grand Budapest
15. Under the skin
16. We need to talk about kevin
17. Fury road
20. Black swan
@M*A*S*H – this is marvelous- thanks for sharing.
I have to echo the comments here about “A Separation” being way underrated. I’ve got it at #2. It’s also very high with TSPDT, BBC, and Sight & Sound.
Agree with “The Tree of Life” at #1, though!
Perhaps I’m being unnecessarily picky, but I can’t help noticing that you title your decade ranking lists with apostrophes in the decade names (2010’s, 1960’s, 1980’s and so forth) despite the fact that this is incorrect (they should be 2010s, 1960s, 1980s). A grammar issue in the body text is not usually worth mention, but one appearing in multiple pages’ titles seems a little more significant.
@Graham– Not at all- this is a good, fairly easy fix. Thanks
Dunkirk and Inception are definitely not in ten best movies of the decade so when I saw it I went to some other pages to see where are you guys coming from and the same pattern is repeating over and over again.
let’s take The Fountain, you have it in your highest tier and it’s so obviously a very flawed movie but it’s visually attractive and saturated with bunch of bright lights, glowing sky, colorful world.
my question is: is that all cinema is about? Do you guys not care about film form at all? This film had its budget cut so they had to fit it into smaller time frame which caused all 3 storylines to not be properly developed, pacing was awful and rushed and it resulted in a flawed storytelling. Critics agree on this across the board and big majority of people would hardly call this a masterpiece.
and this is not just one movie, you guys are consistent with this kind of approach resulting in Dunkirk being in five best movies of the decade which I don’t even know what to say about that. Or Midsommar being the best movie of the year 2019. Again, is bunch of colors and cool shots of nature all movies should strive for?
which leads me to the reverse case and Synecdoche, New York (you don’t rate it as high as most people do) which is in terms of form probably the best movie of 21st century in my opinion but the themes dictate that in terms of makeup it has to be gray, gloomy, depressing and it’s not going to have bunch of colorful stuff and rainbows. Does this automatically disqualifies it from being a great movie? That’s just silly. If anything it should be praised because it’s in function of the form and that’s what cinema is all about
sorry if my english is lacking in some places, I think you can understand what I’m trying to say
@Dzoni- Thanks for the comment and for visiting the site. Most of these pages (Midommar here http://thecinemaarchives.com/2020/01/20/midsommar-2019-aster/ , The Fountain here http://thecinemaarchives.com/2017/09/07/the-fountain-2006-aronofsky/ ) where I go into more detail. I’m sorry I don’t do a better job of using hyperlinks on pages like this best of 2010s page.
“A bunch of colours and cool shots” – do you say the same thing when you walk into an art gallery? I find it strange that when so many people listen to music or look at a painting they desire a strong aesthetic style, but when they look at a film they’re immediately sceptical if its style is ambitious. You make it sound like it’s an easy, trivial thing to create as well, which neglects the painstaking effort that goes into the craft. Of course it’s not the only thing important in cinema, but as so many people have said before, this is a visual art form.
As for your argument regarding form – I recommend you look a bit further into this site if you think this aspect has been neglected. Drake gives plenty of praise to formalists like Jim Jarmusch and Michael Haneke, filmmakers who are far from interested in “colourful stuff and rainbows” but whose absolute dedication to the formal rigour of their works should be praised. He also recognises that cinema is at its best when style and form are combined to create something utterly moving like The Passion of Joan of Arc, or psychologically affecting like Apocalypse Now.
I would also argue against the idea that most critics hated The Fountain. You can see that its middling Metacritic score is a result of them being split across the board, with quite a few more in support of it than not. The critics consensus can often be a helpful guide, as their collective opinions usually get it right more than they get it wrong, but it is also far from the arbiter of truth. You can accept what they have to say at face value, or you can apply a critical lens to a film and figure it out for yourself.
I won’t even get started on the idea that Drake rates Synecdoche lower than others because it lacks colour, or because it’s depressing. You just need to look at his appreciation for Bela Tarr to see why that doesn’t hold water.
Why is it so silly that Dunkirk and Inception are ranked so highly? I find this strange because Drake isn’t even that far from many other critics on these, since both are very highly acclaimed. Yes, both are very stylistic in their editing and visuals, but if you think these there are in any way lacking in form then you’re wrong there. You can like whatever films you want to like, but if we’re talking about the full range of artistic elements which make up a film then your assessments are quite narrow.
@Declan- Exceptionally well said
film is a storytelling medium and not just visual like painting for example, but either way what makes any art exceptional is always form. Your reasoning is just like if you said “I don’t care about Cezanne, to me my friend’s Tommy’s painting is more beautiful and therefore better”.
strong aesthetic style is certainly desirable and falls under “intensity of impression” column many people value under film form along with things like emotional response but those things can’t be your key argument if you are analyzing movies especially if striking visuals are not contributing to the film form but are there just to be beautiful. Unity is the most important criterion in cinema and if something doesn’t contribute to film form, it doesn’t hold much value. Other than that it’s obviously always beautiful>ugly
I didn’t say most critics hated The Fountain, I said they were on the same page when it comes to the film’s flaws, hence the mixed reviews. I don’t hate it myself, I just think it’s wrong to call it a masterpiece.
as for the Synecdoche, New York, I think it’s visually a very strong film in some aspects. There’s not a single frame of that film where multiple layers of mise-en-scene are not heavily contributing to the form and that’s what makes films strong visually, not just random shots of a beautiful forest that has nothing to do with the film.
as for Dunkirk and Inception, I think Dunkirk can be at the bottom of top 100 but it simply lacks complexity for any better rank, it would be insulting to other films. Inception is not strong enough in terms of form.
I’m not sure where the leap came from that I was implying that it’s all subjective, or that I believe anyone can just proclaim a children’s drawing the best piece of art because they personally like it. There is still a logic that can be applied to why something is visually appealing, to a certain extent.
I somewhat agree that unity is the most important thing. But if I had to pick between a run-of-the-mill 2000’s romcom that was wholly consistent in its form, and a big, bold artistic statement that had one scene that felt out of place, I would still side with the latter.
I don’t really disagree with your assessment of Synecdoche. I was wholly impressed with it, but it has been a while so I am due for a rewatch. There are times I feel Drake overrates or underrates something (I would be suspicious if anyone were to agree with someone else 100% of the time), but he does often go back to rewatch films he hasn’t seen in years, and the deserving ones do tend to eventually rise up in his estimation. I just really, really don’t think his reason for his current assessment of it is that it’s dark and depressing.
Dunkirk is probably the hill I’m willing to die on more than Inception here haha. I think there is so much complexity in its structure. Not just the three spans of time, but the effect in which one plot thread rises to a climax, while the second comes off its climax, and third sets up its next complication. These aren’t just random images being thrown together, they all cohere with each separate timeline responding to the others intuitively. This youtube video explains it pretty well.
I don’t really consider this mode of criticism that unusual given the similarities between Drake’s lists and the critics consensus on TSPDT. He comes more from the school of David Bordwell who similarly separates style and form while recognising where they intersect, and how they can build on each other. Eisenstein also advocated for this kind of formalist film theory you don’t seem to think is legitimate, which makes me wonder what your assessment is of a film like Battleship Potemkin – would you consider this a complex film?
@Dzoni – I somewhat see where you’re coming from. I don’t think Drake disregards film form – he has praised formal filmmaking many times; just look at his #13 all-time ranking for In the Mood for Love or #10 for Tokyo Story -, but I do think he overpraises style (and even calls it form when I feel like it isn’t).
Of course, Drake has been watching films for longer than I have been able to walk, so I still have a lot to learn, but (as an example) I don’t understand how Christopher Nolan could be the decade’s best director or how Inception could be in the TOP10.
I’m a big admirer of films like Yi Yi and Synecdoche, New York, both of which Drake doesn’t rate highly. Why? I think it comes down to lacking a bold artistic achievement, and those two really aren’t as stylish as perhaps he would like. I don’t know.
I honestly think we all just experience cinema in different ways. You mention “you guys” in your comment a couple of times, but not everyone here thinks exactly like Drake – although I do believe there are many people here who have absorbed his opinions and don’t seem to be able to have their own. It’s just that for him to be able to create a list like this, he has to try to be 100% objective, and to add narrative complexity (or stuff like that) to the mix is dangerous.
Perhaps we just have a lot to learn to get to his level. Perhaps our naive eyes give us a better and fresher perspective. Who knows…
what do you mean he praised formal filmmaking? All of filmmaking is formal filmmaking. If it’s not, then it’s not worth talking about.
I don’t think I have much to learn since I know what I’m talking about and I’m paid for it
also when I said ” you guys” I really had no idea only one person is behind this whole website. I don’t know if that’s more impressive or troubling but I’m going to go with impressive and say my hat is off to Drake
@Dzoni – You’re right. I didn’t mean to include you in “Perhaps we just have a lot to learn to get to his level”. I was talking about myself, and I think some others feel the same.
But I’m really glad we have new voices on the website.
@Dzoni I understand where you’re coming from, and I agree with some of your points. I myself put more emphasis on narrative and what emotional reaction film can elicit from me ( by using different cinematic tools.)
I think @Pedro and @Declan gave good counterpoints, so I’m not gonna repeat them. But what I wanted to mention, I think Drake approach is perfectly legitimate. It’s not like there is only one correct way to experience cinema. He built a system of evaluation that works for him and I think he is pretty consistent with it.
What I’m getting at there are plenty of places on the internet where you can find analysis of the film that is more about things that you mentioned, but Drake approach is rarer (at least in my experience) and I find it very interesting, although personally I cannot imagine using it for myself.)
depends on what do you mean by legitimate. If somebody ranks the films just based on music in them, is that legitimate? I guess it is, who am I to say it isn’t? It’s everybody’s right to do what they want.
The difference in the “legitimacy” of Drake’s system versus viewing one specific element (such as the music, as you suggest) comes back to where every discussion about film must eventually arrive: the definition of the cinematic artform.
Cinema is a sequence of images on a screen, and usually sounds. Therefore, the hypothetical best movie is, by irrefutable definition, the best sequence of images and sounds.
That is the fundamental principle of cinema. Form is something related that arrives as a necessity due to the presence of multiple images and sounds, rather than just a singular entity like a painting. Then come narrative, storytelling, acting, music, and other things simply as possibilities that can be utilized… not fundamentals, just possibilities.
Of course, all elements must be considered to create reliable and praiseworthy criticism. Drake, though, makes the enlightened decision to bring all analysis back to the core elements appearing within the cinematic images and sounds. A person ranking films only based on music, which is just one of the possibilities that eventually results from the basics, is not doing so, and that withers away their legitimacy.
well not really. Every movie is telling a story and watching a movie is actually a process of constructing a story (fabula) based off material you see on the screen (syuzhet). So, no – storytelling is not optional and is the broader term than other elements you mentioned.
random sequences of images and sounds can hardly be considered cinema or else you could just tie together a slide show of 500 most famous paintings appearing one after another and that would be the best film ever.
what are the core elements of cinema is highly debatable. Some would say cinema is closer to theater as an art form, some (like French New Wave guys) prefer comparisons to novel etc. I guess Drake comes from Noel Burch camp and his style above all approach and there is actually a broadly excepted term “parametric filmmaking” for films in which style doesn’t necessarily follow conventions of syuzhet construction and it’s its own justification but that is considered more on an outlier than the criteria you should judge all cinema on.
@Dzoni – I don’t know if your talking about “narrative over visuals” Vs “visuals over narrative” Debate or not but from my experience every time I’ve loved a narrative heavy film without great visual style, I’ve looked down on it on multiple viewings (it’s not a good example coz it’s an excellent film but that happed with marriage story, on first viewing I called it top 100 of all time; same thing happened with Synecdoche) . Where as a film which Is less on narrative or themes but high on visuals, color palette or gorgeous photography , enchants me more with each viewing.
Themes and narrative are important but at the end of the day film is a visual medium. For me films like arrival , annihilation and Synecdoche are not as good as roma, grand Budapest, cold War or 1917.
I still remember when and why I started coming to this site very often. In 2020 I saw 1917 and parasite and I loved 1917 more but everyone was criticizing it calling it Oscar bait and I just didn’t get that, you cannot undermine a film just because it doesn’t have hidden meanings and ambiguity. Only @Drake was the one who had it above parasite .
no, I’m not talking about visuals vs narrative and both you and the guy above seem to equate narrative and form which is not accurate. In order for a film to be great it can’t be flawed either visually or narratively but we also need to understand what that means. Narrative form (different from overall film form) and content (themes) are not the same thing and that’s very important. Also visually strong film doesn’t mean just aesthetically beautiful film and I totally disagree that Synecdoche is a film with no visual value.
@Dzoni- I get that. And I never said anything bad about Synecdoche, it was just a comparative criticism, that it’s not as big of a visual feat as roma Or cold war. I’m really glad that it exists, it’s a daring, daring film.
Also reading your previous comments, you talk about dunkirk and inception and if your argument is about a highly visual film with poor or a one – dimensional narrative should lower, then I’m with you 100%. I’m the biggest critic of nolan, the revenant , gravity etc. myself but you are being really harsh on Dunkirk and inception, they don’t deserve to be thrown out of the list, they can be top 50 easily.
Also would love to hear your thoughts on The revenant.
The 11 best male Performances of the Decade IMHO :
1 – Joaquin Phœnix in The Master
2 – Michael Keaton in Birdman
3 – Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel
4 – Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
5 – Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life
6 – Joe Pesci in The Irishman
7 – Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
8 – Ryan Gosling in La La Land
9 – Michael Fassbender in Shame
10 – Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis
11 – Adam Driver in Marriage Story
Watching Roma next week, hope it lives up to the hype. From what I’ve read it has gorgeous photography and is structured as a “memory” film.
@James Trapp- That is exciting!
I just wanted to see how many actors/actresses have a MAJOR role in most films:
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master, You Were Never Really Here, Joker, Her, The Immigrant
Leonardo DiCaprio – Inception, The Revenant, Once Upon…., Shutter Island
Amy Adams – The Master, American Hustle, Her, Arrival
Marion Cotillard – Inception, Two Days, One Night , The Immigrant, The Dark Knight Rises
Emma Stone – Birdman, La La Land, The Favourite
Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life, Once Upon…., Ad Astra
They are the most consistent and noteworthy actors of this decade.
@Anirudh- I love this breakdown! thank you
Ryan Gosling is in 5 of the films on the list (and I wonder if he should be in a 6th for Place Beyond the Pines), why do you not mention him?
Oh I’m sorry. It was never intentional.
Tom Hardy? Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max, Dunkirk, Revenant and a lesser role in Inceptio.
@Harry @Zane and @Anirudh– well I just caught First Reformed again and I was grossly underrating that film- so Hawke will have four as well I believe
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master, You Were Never Really Here, Joker, Her, The Immigrant
Ryan Gosling- La La Land, Blade Runner 2049, Blue Valentine, Drive, Only God Forgives
Tom Hardy – Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road, Dunkirk, Revenant, Inception
Leonardo DiCaprio – Inception, The Revenant, Once Upon…., Shutter Island
Amy Adams – The Master, American Hustle, Her, Arrival
Marion Cotillard – Inception, Two Days, One Night , The Immigrant, The Dark Knight Rises
Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight, Boyhood, First Reformed, The Woman in the Fifth
Emma Stone – Birdman, La La Land, The Favourite
Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life, Once Upon…., Ad Astra
I am not sure if I have missed anyone else!
@Anirudh Arun- this is great- very interesting to look at. Thanks again
What is the best film score of each decade? I’m looking movies with music that is originally created or arranged for the films themselves, rather than soundtracks that are curated from existing music (though a few of my choices utilize other music in some situations).
1930s – Gone With the Wind: This movie really set the foundation for many future films. It was groundbreaking in terms of its box office success, its epic production, and not least its massive score. Max Steiner mustered up a wonderful resume, but I’m not sure he ever wrote any music better than this. Gone With the Wind is quite a long movie, but I’m forever glad we have Steiner’s expansive symphony guiding us through.
1940s – The Third Man: From a certain perspective, this fun little jig is an extremely odd piece of music to accompany a dark noir. There are touches of both traditional culture and a frivolous outlook on life in these zither themes. Nonetheless, the score paradoxically locks in perfectly to the cattywampus angles and mysterious Viennese setting that provide a backdrop for the magnificent story.
1950s – Vertigo: There are some strong emotions that can simply consume a person. For Scottie Ferguson it is unrelenting obsession, a cacophonic symphony of it, dark and untamable. Something about Bernard Herrmann’s music perfectly captures his complex psychological qualms, be it the powerful crescendos or the luminous, escalating scales.
1960s – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: There are many great Western scores, many great Morricone scores, many great scores in Leone movies, many scores with great instrumentation, many great scores sans any stipulations. Yet I hold the firm opinion that this is the greatest of them all.
1970s – The Godfather: Nino Rota’s magnum opus is calmly tragic, impeccably written, and instantly memorable. In the climactic montage, Rota confronts us with booming organ clangs, but he usually sits back and varies upon the trilogy’s absolutely iconic main musical theme. In bad filmmaking hands, The Godfather might have come across as a far-away dream of the gangster life that couldn’t possibly be true, but the score aids Coppola in completely dispelling this notion.
1980s – Blade Runner: Cinema music can generally be divided along a spectrum between those scores which are songs, whose clear melodies you might hum walking out of the theater, and those which are soundscapes, whose tunes you won’t remember but whose psychological effects can be profound. Blade Runner’s calm, futuristic synthesizer blues may be the greatest of the latter type.
1990s – Dead Man: As with many elements of this film, the transcendence of Neil Young’s score really doesn’t make any sense to me. It seems to me nothing more than some sparse, simple, haphazardly strewn about guitar notes that repeat endlessly, but yet somehow it sends me reeling to another dimension. Maybe that’s how ingenuity is supposed to work.
2000s – I can’t reach a personal consensus here. In the Mood for Love’s luscious violin refrains are beautiful to experience, and they submit a strong case for the win. The most formidable competitor to the Hong Kong romance’s magnificent score is probably Jonny Greenwood’s hauntingly amazing Bernard Herrmann-esque work on There Will Be Blood. The Lord of the Rings is basically the seminal blockbuster score but it, by no fault of its own, falls behind the two winners of this category.
2010s – The Social Network: I can’t lie, when I saw The Social Network on a list of the best scores of the decade, I could barely remember that there had even been a score in that film. The only music I remembered was the masterful rearrangement of In the Hall of the Mountain King that complements the regatta. The rest of the score was simply so ingrained into the film, so perfectly aligned with its mood and tone, that I had absorbed it along with the rest of the experience. I was mistaken; this techno music is masterful. I almost want to switch this selection to a few others, but I can’t deny The Social Network’s right to a win.
What would other readers’ score selections be for each decade?
Great picks, can’t really argue against any of these. If they’re not my #1 picks, they’re certainly at least in my #2 or #3 spots.
My love of movie scores actually predates my love of movies, since I always enjoyed learning John Williams pieces on piano (I learned to play the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme about ten years before I actually saw the film, haha). These are my choices:
1930s: Hard to go past Gone With the Wind here. Epic, moving, and Max Steiner’s best work. The Wizard of Oz is my second pick, and Steiner once again for King Kong would be up there.
1940s: Casablanca. I just adore how the arrangements of La Marseillaise keep developing along with the narrative. I could be one re-watch of The Third Man away from putting that in my top spot though.
1950s: Vertigo for me here too, though honourable mentions go to Max Steiner’s work on The Searchers, Fumio Hayasaka on Seven Samurai, and Bernard Hermann again on North by Northwest.
1960s: I’m split on Psycho and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Both are so ingrained in our culture, they are almost synonymous with horror and westerns. Ultimately I’m going to have to go with Ennio Morricone’s epic work on Leone’s film here though. Lawrence of Arabia is also right there behind them.
1970s: As far as I’m concerned, this is the peak of film music. Star Wars is my #1 film score of all time, so it stands to reason it wins the decade here. The Wagneresque leitmotifs John Williams creates here are so intricate in the way they all interlock and weave around each other. Right behind it there is Days of Heaven (Morricone again), Taxi Driver (Hermann again), and Jaws (Williams again). If only Max Steiner was still working, we would have my Mount Rushmore of film composers. It’s also worth mentioning Leonard Rosenman’s work on Barry Lyndon and Nino Roti for The Godfather here.
1980s: I’ll agree on Blade Runner, though Williams is still at the peak of his powers with Raiders, ET, and Empire Strikes Back (worth distinguishing from Star Wars in how it brings in the daunting Imperial March and continues developing other musical motifs).
1990s: Dead Man, easily. In a decade where some of the best movies were turning to established songs for their soundtracks (Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas), Neil Young’s work here stands tall, and is just transcendent.
2000s: I’m going to take your third pick and go the collective Lord of the Rings trilogy. Maybe I’m a sucker for epic Wagneresque scores, but like Star Wars, this one just blows my mind in the sheer detail of its leitmotifs and development of ideas. I feel like a broken record saying this since I’ve mentioned it several times before on this site, but The Soundtrack Show podcast is such a great resource for breaking down scores, and its miniseries analysing Howard Shore’s work on LOTR is remarkable.
2010s: La La Land is my pick here, though Moonlight and The Social Network are not far off at all. I would like to highlight Nicholas Britell’s work for a second though – his collaborations with Barry Jenkins have never failed to blow me away. For some reason he hasn’t really reached the same heights with other directors and on television, but Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk, and The Underground Railroad are all so closely tied with their tender musical motifs. Any time a new Jenkins project is announced, I’m always crossing my fingers hoping to see Britell attached, and then hotly anticipating whenever its soundtrack drops.
Oh how could I forget – Miles Davis work in Elevator to the Gallows is a serious challenger for the best of the 1950s. Before I even really knew what film noir was, I was entranced by Miles Davis and this score.
@Graham- Excellent choices. I’m not sure I would change anything but I have to mention Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, John Barry’s work in Out of Africa, Jerry Goldsmith’s Chinatown, Dimitri Tiomkin’s High Noon, Georges Delerue’s work on Contempt, Philip Glass’s Mishima, and Herrmann’s Taxi Driver– as for Zimmer, I’m not sure if I’m going with Inception or Dunkirk yet. I’ve shared this before but this list by Pitchfork (these people know their music) is something I flip through often https://pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/the-50-best-movie-scores-of-all-time/?page=1
@Graham – I gotta mention Oldboy for 00’s and OUATIA for 80’s.
@Graham – great picks, here are a few suggestions
For the 70s I like The Godfather but would give a mention to Taxi Driver, it is such a hypnotic vibe that immediately puts you into Travis Bickle’s strange world. Also, Aguirre the Wrath of God has one of the most powerful opening images, the legions of explorers descending the mountain through the fog and this indelible image is matched with an appropriately haunting score from German band Popol Vuh. They worked with Herzog several times including most of his best films.
For the 80s Raging Bull has to be mentioned, the opening and closing scenes with De Niro shadow boxing are amongst the most powerful in the history of cinema
For the 1990s I love Jurassic Park. John Williams and Steven Spielberg were a match made in heaven; Schindler’s List, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan and E.T. All great, but the Jurassic Park is such a perfect score that appropriately matches the films epic adventure environment
For the 2000s There Will be Blood (2007), that opening image is perfectly matched with the intense operatic score, it is pure orchestral music and it is magnificent. It is especially important given that there is no dialogue for the 1st 15 minutes or so. I love all of Greenwood’s work with PT Anderson, but this is the peak. And speaking of PT Anderson what about Jon Brion’s score for Punch Drunk Love. That deserves a mention as well.
How about Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ score for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Or Wendy Carlos’ score for A Clockwork Orange
@Finn– Absolutely! I’m with you on these two
@Finn – the opening to A Clockwork Orange is one of the greatest opening images combined with music in any film, talk about setting the tone for the utter weirdness of that film
I agree. It’s the scene that made me obsessed with Stanley Kubrick. The ending is also an all-timer.
@Finn – indeed it is
On Terence Davies page The Deep Blue Sea is in top 100 of the decade but I’m unable to find it here. Have you downgraded it or this page is older than Davies page.
@MASH- The date is at the top in the URL- these two were very close together- The Deep Blue Sea was one of the final slots on the top 100 of the decade and then slid off when another film pushed it off it looks like
What’s your current rating of Martha Marcy May Marlene?
When you redo this list where do you think Vitalina Varela will land? I almost feel crazy saying this but I feel like I might just put it only behind The Tree of Life in the top 2.
@Zane- I have not given much thought to the decade list in awhile. 2019 with Vitalina Varela and others is going to be difficult enough- sort of dreading trying to do that top 10.
Are you aware of the youtube critic Grace Randolph? It’s almost unbelievable how off she consistently is, the absurdity of her reviews always makes me laugh. She’s the Rex Reed of today but even he has his sane moments.
@Ce – I am not, I have not heard of Grace Grandolph
@Ce – Lmao, so true. Her La La Land review baffled me when I first saw it.
Just felt like sharing my top 30 favs. There are some of yours I still have to catch up with and others that I just didn´t appreciate that much.
1. Whiplash – Chazelle
2. Portrait of a Lady On Fire – Sciamma
3. The Killing of a Sacred Deer – Lanthimos
4. The Babadook – Kent
5. Inside Out – Docter
6. Call Me by Your Name – Guadagnino
7. Mother! – Aronofsky
8. La La Land – Chazelle
9. Her – Jonze
10. The Great Beauty – Sorrentino
11. Muchos Hijos, un Mono y un Castillo – Salmerón (not sure if its sense of humor works outside Spain)
12. Ida – Pawlikowski
13. Get Out – Peele
14. Coco – Molina & Unkrich
15. Boyhood – Linklater
16. Nebraska – Payne
17. Tangerines – Urushadze
18. Arrival – Villenueve
19. Phantom Thread – PTA
20. Nocturnal Animals – Ford
21. The Wolf of Wall Street – Scorsese
22. Interstellar – Nolan
23. Annette – Carax
24. A Hidden Life – Malick
25. Pain and Glory – Almodóvar
26. Gone Girl – Fincher
27. The Lobster – Lanthimos
28. Midsommar – Aster
29. Parasite – Joon-ho
30. Shutter Island – Scorsese
Would be happy to read some ranting on this list 🙂
Just noticed Annette doesn’t belong here, so there’s my top 29 of the 10’s
Great list of films! Order aside, the only rant worthy inclusion for me personally would be Nocturnal Animals, but even that might be splitting hairs since I think it’s a solid film. The two pixar films stick out as well, but they are both wonderful and I can respect it. It would add a lot of perspective to see what films just missed your top 30.
My top 10 of the best 2010s films :
1 – The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)
2 – The Master (2012, Paul T. Anderson)
3 – The Social Network (2010, David Fincher)
4 – The Revenant (2015, Alejandro G. Inarritu)
5 – Moonrise Kingdom (2012, Wes Anderson)
6 – Birdman (2014, Alejandro G. Inarritu)
7 – La Vie d’Adèle (2013, Abdellatif Kechiche)
8 – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019, Quentin Tarantino)
9 – Melancholia (2011, Lars Von Trier)
10 – Inception (2010, Christopher Nolan)
Right now I’d go with:
1. The Tree of Life
2. The Revenant
4. The Master
7. The Turin Horse
8. Inside Llewyn Davis
9. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
10. Django Unchained
1. The Master (2012) – I have There Will Be Blood as # 1 of the 2000s
2. Tree of Life (2011)
3. The Social Network (2010)
4. Burning (2018)
5. Parasite (2019)
6. The Revenant (2015)
7. Roma (2018)
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Dunkirk (2017)
10. Gone Girl (2014)
Drake, I found an old message from almost exactly 3 years (January 2020) where I listed my top 5 films of the 2010s… that list included Guardians of the Galaxy and Into the Spiderverse… YIKES, I am eternally grateful for this site helping put me on the right track. That’s rough
@Matthew- I was right there with you- when I first started to take cinema seriously I think my top 10 included films like Shawshank, American History X and others
Those are atleast much more respectable than the two I mentioned above. On that top 5 I atleast had The Irishman and Inception, so there was some promise, I just had to expand the scope of types of films I was watching (which I of course did and am thankful I did)
Finally caught Mad Max, wow!!! Probably on the short list of greatest films to see in IMAX. La La Land is only top 10 film (according to this site) I have yet to see, I’ll get to that soon enough
I am a little concerned about the 2020s. After two amazing years; 2018 and especially 2019 there has been quite a fall off. In fact in the last 3 years; 2020, 2021, and 2022 has there even been a clear cut MP?
I was scanning through the archives year page starting with 1980 and cannot find a single year without at least one MP, 1987 didn’t have one previously but The Belly of an Architect was upgraded to one. We may be looking at 3 years in a row without one or at least without a clear MP.
On the bright side there is some serious potential for one in 2023 with upcoming films from some of the best living auteurs
Check out this article, Drake posted it a couple weeks back
@Matthew – thank you for posting, this gives me some hope. I like the strong casts several of these films have. Prominent directors like Scorsese have criticized this erea of Marvel films and in the past I used to think to myself, who cares these films aren’t for me but why make a big deal of their existence. However, I have recently come to realize that it does matter because these huge franchises can afford to pay big bucks for the best acting talent.
When Malick was making The Thin Red Line after a 20 year hiatus actors were lining up to work with Malick. From Wikipedia:
“Some A class actors including Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Gary Oldman and George Clooney offered to work for a fraction and some even offered to work for free. Bruce Willis even went as far as offering to pay for first-class tickets for the casting crew, to get a few lines for the movie”
It is hard to imagine a scenario like this today.
That’s a great point with the actors that I didn’t even consider
Marvel has undeniably hit a slump recently, their fanbase is not happy with the current state and quality of it. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end, (I likewise never got upset at the MCU’s existence, but I would like for some of our great actors to go back to auteur work and for more of a vacuum to open up for auteur/original blockbuster content) but knowing those guys they will blindly consume whatever marvel throws at them to the end of time, even if they acknowledge it’s poor quality. That sounds a little harsh but it’s an honest assessment of the fanbase and not meant to be an insult. Good for them that they found something they enjoy this much
@James Trapp – Color me concerned for the 2020s as well
Well, TSPDT has updated its 21st century list today and damn, the Sight and Sound poll has really stirred this up. I had never seen so much movement in a single update and I feel there is A LOT to comment. I don’t know if this is the appropriate post to discuss it, but here we go:
Things that I like:
-Moonlight cracked the top 10. It’s my favourite film of its decade so as you imagine I’m delighted by this.
-Toni Erdmann fell out of the top 15. I mean, I love the film, but its placement was ridiculously high. In fact, it thing it needs to go down even further.
-The fellowship of the ring cracks the top 100 at number #60. I still think that is too low, but I’ll take it. What’s curious is that it is now vastly outrunning The return of the king, which actually moved down a few spots.
-Millennium mambo jumps over 100 spots and lands at number #78, which I think is a very suitable place for it.
-Miguel Gomes’s Tabu falls out of the top 100.
-Spring, summer, autumn… jumps almost 100 spots and gets closer to the top 100. It’s about time.
-An elephant sitting still takes one of the biggest leaps upward in the entire list. It jumps from #518 to #171, which pleases me to no end. I still think it’s way too low, but I would call it a step in the right direction. I’ve seen it twice by now and it is truly breathtaking. It’s a tragedy that we’ll never get to see more from Hu Bo, because he gave us what I think is one of the greatest directorial debuts of the past 50 years.
-It’s such a beautiful day also jumps big time. It’s one of the most inventive animated films in recent memory and I’m glad it’s finally getting its due.
-Gladiator moves down 50 spots. I enjoy the film but never loved it nearly as much as most people seem to do.
Things that I don’t like:
-Jia Zhangke got screwed over big time. All his movies (some of which I absolutely adore) move down a few spots.
-Inside Llewyn Davis plummets from #47 to #131, which is a bummer.
-The social network also falls down quite a bit, from #22 to #73. I mean, this is on my shortlist for best screenplay of the century. I would have actually moved it up, but that’s just me. Anyway, Fincher is not getting too much love from this list at all, because Zodiac also moved down (which I’m fine with, to be honest).
-Portrait of a lady on fire cracks the top 10. I love the film, but that’s a massive jump.
-Goodbye, Dragon Inn jumps from #69 to #15. I’ve been wanting to give this movie another chance for a while now because I really didn’t enjoy it. I guess I have to give Ming-liang some credit for being unique and having his own voice, but I haven’t liked any of his films so far.
-Lucrecia Martel and Apichatpong Weerasethakul get far too much love, in my opinion. Both of them have three films in the top 35, which sounds absolutely insane to me.
-Roma doesn’t seem to be getting the love that I expected. It’s actually moved down a couple of spots.
-Wes Anderson also gets unfairly mistreated, I think. All of his movies move down as well.
-Villeneuve is almost missing from the entire top 250. His only film to make it is Arrival.
-Black swan gets a massive downgrade (from #163 to #236).
-The Irishman absolutely crashes down (from #122 to #240). I mean, I kind of understand this one, but it still bothers me a bit. I guess we take Scorsese for granted by now and a great movie from him doesn’t surprise anyone at this point.
-Her goes from #101 to #243. I mean, that’s nasty.
Anyway, it’s just a list, but it’s always fun to discuss these updates, isn’t it?
@David O.- Great share here – thank you. I’m going to have to check this out. New format on the site, too.
Yeah, I like the new format. It’s more polished. I’ll be happy to hear your thoughts on the list, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of them.
@David O.- For sure- it is just so much to try to digest at once. As I update the director’s pages and then, eventually, the yearly archive pages, I’ll be tackling the overrated/underrated and give voice to some of my thoughts there.
@David O. – The Irishman (2019) at # 240 I just don’t understand. You may be correct about Scorsese’s greatness being taken for granted. The Irishman has Pacino giving his best performance in decades, same with Pesci who gives his best performance since Goodfellas (though you could argue Casino). There are several breathtaking tracking shots including the opening scene. The dedication to color throughout and the formal touch in introducing characters by their date of death and how they died (usually murdered). Its 3 1/2 hours yet doesn’t really lag at any point and is powerful storytelling. De Niro’s Frank picking out his own coffin, and being shunned by Peggy (deservingly so) and that final shot of Frank in the nursing home is a fate worse than death. It also fits perfectly into Scorsese’s oeuvre but even just looking at it in isolation there is no way there are 239 better films.
I think it gets caught up in the argument that “it’s Scorsese doing the same thing again”, which I don’t agree with in the slightest. Even if it is another gangster film, it’s very different from his previous crime dramas, both tonally and thematically. The de-ageing technology (which I would say is the biggest mistake the movie made) could have weighed in as well and overshadowed the filmmaking of the movie, which, as you’ve pointed out, is excellent through and through. I don’t know, maybe time will be kinder to it and it will get reappraised in the future.
I’ve taken a second look at the update and there are two other big movements worth mentioning: Long day’s journey into night jumps over 600 slots and Good time falls around 400 slots. I’m 100% on board with the first change, but I’m really sad that the Safdies film plummeted that hard.
@David O. – good points, agree about the de-aging. You are 100 % about the differences in tone and themes. Mean Streets (1973) is the first major gangster film he made and it focuses on youth, The Irishman completes the cycle after the many other gangster films but they are all different. The funny thing is that it was critically acclaimed upon release with amazing RT and MC Scores as well as multiple oscar nominations (though no wins). Not that any of those are exactly full proof but they do show it was highly acclaimed initially.
I have been meaning to watch Long Day’s Journey Into Nigh (2018) for a while, excited to check it out maybe this weekend.
@James Trapp and @David O – I have to think about the TSPDT on a year by year basis. Saying “#240 of the the 21st century” is just too much for me to look at once. The Irishman is #8 of 2019. The seven (7) films above it are below here. Now, 2019 is an all-timer of a year for cinema – but given the recent changes to Sight and Sound I’ll let you draw your own conclusions here on some of these:
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
I think this top is pretty revealing and ties quite well into what I was saying: Martin Scorsese is old. He doesn’t bring anything to the table anymore. New Hollywood has become Dusty Hollywood by now. To be clear, this is not my opinion, but I think it’s how he’s being perceived, especially by the younger generation of voters. No matter how good a Scorsese film is, it doesn’t surprise anyone. It’s expected from him to make good movies, and sure, they will get acknowledged by the Academy with 10 Oscar nominations, but they won’t win any. Same thing happens to Spielberg, whose films keep amassing nominations and leaving the ceremony empty-handed (I’m not saying the Academy is the be-all and end-all, but it can be an accurate reflection of current trends, just look at what happened this year). If you take a look at those who got ranked ahead of The Irishman, most of them, for better or worse, feel fresher, more exciting and more cutting-edge. That’s what helped Ducournau win the Palme d’Or two years ago. They are seen as new voices and new perspectives, even if some of those directors are not necessarily young. Costa and Hogg are over 60, but I don’t think their films are perceived as “old”, at least not in the way Scorsese’s films are. I mean, it’s not only The Irishman. None of his films crack the top 180. I actually find surprising that Once upon a time in Hollywood is placed that high, to be honest. That’s my theory, at least. I’m not sure if that’s the same conclusion that you drew from that top. But who knows, Maybe Killers of the flower moon will prove me wrong and win 50 Oscars next year.
@David O.- Interesting – but not what I was thinking. Tough to tell for sure of course – but I feel like his age being a factor is a stretch given the number of directors in their 50s and 60s on this list ahead of him (5 of the 7).
Maybe if the list was filled with Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, Ryan Coogler, Greta Gerwig, Xavier Dolan and some other younger directors I’d agree.