Top films from the last decade as selected by Daily Arts & Living editors are pictured. Posters via IMDb / Seohyun Shim / The Tufts Daily

The 2010s saw cultural milestones for film. Disney dominated big-box film — in 2015, Disney and Lucasfilm began the epic third trilogy of the “Star Wars” franchise (1977–), while Marvel dropped a whopping 21 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including four “Avengers” movies that mark the beginning and end of an era of Marvel heroes. Horror saw a cultural transition from schlocky flicks to serious cinema, streaming services exploded, making movies easier to access than ever and the #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite hashtags called attention to antiquated Hollywood norms, making way for more diverse players.

With so many films, it’s nearly impossible to boil down a decade so rich with culturally relevant cinema. However, the arts editors have picked a few of their favorites from the past 10 years. Without further ado, here are some of their choices for their favorite movies of the decade.

Steph Hoechst’s picks: 

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018)
  2. Lady Bird” (2017)
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014)
  4. Call Me by Your Name” (2017)
  5. Skyfall” (2012)

Of the popular releases this decade, “Skyfall” artfully capitalized on Bond nostalgia while showcasing a standout performance from Javier Bardem. Meanwhile, “Lady Bird” and “Call Me by Your Name” encapsulate the quiet rise in popular independent cinema this decade, featuring slower, more ruminative pacing and plot. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” represents a mastery of art direction, aesthetic and score, allowing Ralph Fiennes to shine as Monsieur Gustave. However, no film pushed the bounds of cinema more than “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which completely redefined animation, upended traditional tropes and set the bar high for the next decade.

Christopher Panella‘s picks:

  1. Lady Bird” (2017)
  2. High Life” (2018)
  3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017)
  4. Meek’s Cutoff” (2010)
  5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019)

Films that inspire a crisis can be untouchably brilliant. For “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the reaction is visceral: a heavy sob alone on a street corner and a desperate plea to be touched. On the other hand, “Meek’s Cutoff” takes time to settle before the viewer is struck by overwhelming despair of impending doom. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” forces audiences to question legacy and belonging in a way that cannot be undone, while “High Life” is a weird, horny and hilarious reminder of how pointless everything is. But if any film prompts weekly therapy sessions, it’s “Lady Bird;” the film triggers a desire to call mom, get a nose piercing and cry over inescapable childhood memories.

Tommy Gillespie‘s picks:

  1. A Separation” (2011)
  2. Ida” (2013)
  3. 20th Century Women” (2016)
  4. Shoplifters” (2018)
  5. I, Daniel Blake” (2016)

While it’s a prosecutable crime that the 2010s brought an Oscar to Leonardo DiCaprio but not to Amy Adams or Glenn Close, the film industry, as the decade’s top five films remind us, is not all bad. “A Separation,” the 21st century Iranian parable released at the halcyon height of “Teenage Dream” ubiquity, continues to reverberate. The searing portraits of Cold War Poland in “Ida” identified Pawel Pawlikowski as a Neo-noir icon, while “20th Century Women” looked back to a turbulent era with uncommon deftness and sensitivity. “Shoplifters” and “I, Daniel Blake” round out my list with contrasting, deeply empathetic stories from society’s margins.

Danny Klain‘s picks:

  1. The Social Network” (2010)
  2. Lady Bird” (2017)
  3. Boyhood” (2014)
  4. Phantom Thread” (2017)
  5. Moneyball” (2011)

Lists are, as previously mentioned, incredibly arbitrary, so if you don’t like these, that’s really fine. Life will go on for the both of us. But the reason these are the five best movies of the decade is because of their ability in not just the first watching, but the second and the third and so on to elicit a range of emotions from the audience and hold their attention. They’re movies people will be coming back to long after the year 2019.

Tuna Margalit‘s picks: 

  1. Boyhood” (2014)
  2. Blindspotting” (2018)
  3. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” (2019)
  4. La La Land” (2016)
  5. Sorry to Bother You” (2018)

 

Sorry to Bother You” is one of the weirdest movies ever made, and yet every outlandish aspect somehow combines to make thoughtful, brilliant cinema. “La La Land” hits every mark a musical should have – realistic romance, unforgettable songs and a plot that actually matters. “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” has a fascinating structure, with the first 99% of the movie being world-building and the last 1% being the gory, glorious climax. “Blindspotting” is a relatively unheard-of masterpiece set in Oakland, encapsulating all that the city represents, for better or for worse. “Boyhood” is the best, most affecting movie of the decade. Seeing all the emotions of growing up play out, from youth to college age, resonates beyond belief.


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