I made a post a while ago documenting my favorite movies from the 2000-2009 decade, and I had so much fun doing it that I think it’s time for me to make another. Despite the fact that the last list had five more years of movies to work with, I think this one might be harder for me. 2010/2011 was around the time that I finally started getting into movies and really appreciating them for the art that they are.
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Chris Mintz-Plasse, Nicholas Cage
This isn’t a masterpiece of a movie by any means, but I can’t help absolutely loving it. In case you are unfamiliar, Kick-Ass is based off of a comic book series of the same name, telling the story of an ordinary boy (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who wonders why no one has ever tried to be a superhero in real life. He takes matters into his own hands and becomes Kick-Ass, but realizes that fighting crime in New York City might be much more dangerous and complicated than he imagined. This was the movie that first introduced me to Chloe Moretz, who has been my favorite actress ever since I saw her mutter the c-word dressed as a masked superhero when she was twelve. I have a deep love for superhero movies and a deeper love for dark humor, and those two things collide very well in Kick-Ass.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte
I know I said that I wouldn’t make a list of my all time favorite movies because it’d be too hard for me, but Warrior would without a doubt be on there if I did. I’ve only seen Warrior once, but trust me when I say that once is enough. Warrior tells the story of the Riordan brothers: Tommy (Hardy) and Brendan (Edgerton). While Brendan has a seemingly good family life, he finds himself unable to provide for his family, and thus returns to fighting to keep his family afloat. Tommy, a quick-tempered & angry ex-Marine, enlists the help of his father (Nolte) in helping train him to win the biggest prize in MMA history. Tensions between the brothers and their father keep the action and drama in high paces, and the talent of Tommy & Brendan set them on a path towards being the finalists in the ring. I didn’t do a very good job of explaining it, but trust me when I say it’s an incredible movie with an incredible story, and I think that everyone needs to see it at least once.
The Avengers (2012)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston
I did warn you that I love superheros, so how could I skip out on arguably the best superhero movie ever made? The Avengers, also based off of a comic book series, is a group consisting of some of the greatest Marvel heroes of all time: Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Captain America. The movie’s villain is Loki, brother of Thor, who is trying to open a portal from space to Earth so aliens can invade the planet. The fantastic part of this movie is how they interconnected the stories of all of the heroes. They even hinted at back-stories, notably between Black Widow and Hawkeye. It isn’t necessary to see the individual movies before you see the Avengers, they do a good job catching viewers up, but I would definitely recommend it! They’re also bringing Spider-Man into the movie for the third installment of the series (the second one, Age of Ultron, will be out May 1, 2015).
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons
2014 was undeniably a great year for movies. Whiplash, nominated for best picture at the 2014 Academy Awards, was not only one of the best movies of 2014, but also one of the best I’ve ever seen. Movies about music aren’t usually my favorites, but Whiplash is in a category all by itself. Miles Teller plays Andrew Nieman, a talented drummer who will stop at absolutely nothing to be the best. He finds himself in a program run by Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an abusive instructor who instills fear into his students in order to help them find their potential. Whiplash poses the question: how far can you push someone until it’s too far?
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
Starring: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton
Undeniably the best film of 2014, Birdman tells the story of Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor trying to stay relevant and separate himself from his well-known character, Birdman, by directing, writing, and starring in his own adaption of a play: What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The conflicts he has to deal with, from trying to connect with his daughter to attempting to overcome his ego, are enthralling. Riggan’s relationship with costar Mike Shiner (Norton) is also interesting, and brings forth several underlying emotional problems that Riggan has. This is a movie with a simple premise that becomes increasingly layered and deep without being hard to follow, and the ending leaves room to come to your own conclusions about Riggan and the world he lives in.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway
A movie I reviewed a couple weeks ago on this blog, Interstellar takes the cake as the most thought-provoking movie on this list, as well as one of the most thought-provoking movie I’ve ever seen. This movie really messed me up. I sat in my room for two days after watching it, very deep inside of an existential crisis. In any case, I’m alright now (questionable) and Interstellar raises questions that provide an extremely intriguing look at the fate of the human race. Themes such as death, life, love, fate, humanity, and existence steer the emotional rollercoaster that is Interstellar. It tells the story of Cooper (McConaughey)
The Town (2010)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively
This is one of my guilty pleasure movies, possibly because of my tiny (enormous) crush on Jeremy Renner. I love him. Anyways, the Town is set in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston: a place known for its high percentage of bank robberies. The movie follows a group of bank robbers along with the detectives trying to catch them. Doug Macray (Affleck) is the head of a bank robbery gang whose last heist ended with them taking a hostage, Claire Keesey (Hall), but releasing her unharmed. Macray then begins a relationship with Keesey, who doesn’t know he’s a bank robber. He dreams of leaving that life behind and running away with her, but circumstances call for one last job, despite the fact that the FBI is close to catching them. This movie isn’t anything special, nor is it anything you haven’t seen before, but the acting is decent and the story is exciting, and it’s one I could watch again and again.
Shutter Island (2010)
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo Dicaprio, Michelle Williams
Shutter Island is the movie that sparked my love for psychological thrillers. After the death of his wife, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Dicaprio) and his partner Chuck (Ruffalo) find themselves investigating the mysterious disappearance of a woman from an island insane asylum/prison in 1954. Daniels pushes to take on the case for personal reasons, but begins to believe he has been sent to the island as part of a sinister plot from the head of the asylum. When he starts to suspect that he is unable to leave the island, he begins to wonder if he can really trust anyone there- including himself. Shutter Island is a masterpiece- the characters are interesting, the story is enthralling, and the plot progression is realistic. The performances from all the actors, including Michelle Williams who plays Daniels’ wife in flashbacks, are extremely interesting to watch. Honestly, this is probably the movie I recommend the most to people, because I want everyone to see it and bask in its glory.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
Weird. Lots of drugs and usage of the word ‘fuck’. Boobs, money, yachts, Leonardo Dicaprio throwing lobsters at detectives, and . It’s amazing how all of that happened in one movie, and that movie was praised as being the best of the year. The Wolf of Wall Street is a highly exaggerated visualization of the life of Jordan Belfort, a wealthy stock-broker whose obsession with money causes him to get involved with crime and corruption. Dicaprio gives the best performance of his career as Belfort, with a script that’s just as strong as his acting. Dramatic, hilarious, and cringe-worthy, Wolf of Wall Street is a cinematic masterpiece…not for the faint of heart.
Django Unchained (2012)
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo Dicaprio, Christoph Waltz
No movie list is complete without Tarantino. Though not my favorite Quentin film, I feel as though Django Unchained is the best example of everything that Tarantino has to offer. Django Unchained tells the story of a slave, Django (Foxx), whose freedom is bought by a bounty hunter named King Schultz (Waltz) who needs help finding a criminal. Eventually, the two form a bond, and Schultz agrees to help Django free his wife from a slave master named Calvin Candie (Dicaprio). Django Unchained somehow puts a hilarious twist on one of the darkest periods in human history without trivializing the struggles and tribulations that African Americans went through during the pre-Civil War era. It’s a fantastic showcase of Tarantino’s immense talent. Additionally, the soundtrack is bad-ass.
Honorable Mentions: Black Swan, Inception, Dallas Buyers Club, the King’s Speech, Mockingjay: Part One
This was so hard. There are so many good movies from this time period, and just because one of them might not be here doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it!!
Let me know what your favorite movie from 2010-2015 is!