By Megan Bianco
A decade is a long time for a movie reviewer, so long that when compiling this list I didn’t remember a dozen of the films I had written about. I guess that goes to show you how easy it is to forget mediocre productions with predictable plots.
The decade of the 2010s started in the midst of a dry spell for the film industry. Many releases in 2010 were simply unexceptional, though there were still a few huge hits like Christopher Nolan’s Inception and David Fincher’s The Social Network.
The second year of the decade gave aficionados a boost with Woody Allen’s fantasy romcom Midnight in Paris, Cary Fukunaga’s stunning adaptation of Jane Eyre, and—my pick for best action film of the decade—Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive.
Henry Alex Rubin’s ensemble drama Disconnect was the best of 2012, and 2013 had the widest mix of standouts with Richard Curtis’ About Time, the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
2014 started off on a fun note with Wes Anderson’s comedy-adventure The Grand Budapest Hotel, Lenny Abramson’s indie music romp Frank, and Michael Winterbottom’s meta comedy The Trip to Italy. The year then ended with the suspense of David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash.
The decade’s middle year was a good year for sci-fi with Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and George Miller’s high-adrenaline reboot Mad Max: Fury Road, but also included Joel Edgerton’s surprisingly impressive horror-thriller The Gift.
Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane not only kept the thrills going at the start of 2016, but also demonstrated one of the best marketing strategies of all time, with viewers not even knowing of the film’s existence until a month before release. The year then ended with Damien Chazelle, then 32, becoming the youngest person to win Best Director at the Oscars for his musical pastiche La La Land.
Edgar Wright’s action homage Baby Driver and David Lowery’s artsy drama A Ghost Story were my favorites from 2017 and couldn’t be any less alike.
The decade began winding down with some memorable film making efforts, including Ari Aster’s Hereditary, Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born and Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War in 2018.
And from my perspective, the decade is finishing on a particularly high note with Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite and Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.
These were only a handful of the better efforts of movie making over the past ten years, and we can hope the next decade is even better.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
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