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'Films' of the Decade

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  • 'Films' of the Decade

    After 25 years of teaching Film Analysis, I have finally come to grips with the distinction between what I ‘like’ and what is great film-making. I really feel most people (present company excepted, of course) can’t.

    Looking at the past decade, I know what I liked the best:

    1. Inception
    2. Wonder Woman
    3. Skyfall
    4. Dunkirk
    5. Wind River
    6. Winter’s Bone
    7. Gifted
    8. Equalizer
    9. John Wick 1-3
    10. Avenger’s End Game

    But that’s purely subjective. How can we narrow that down to what was the best ‘made’ movies? The answer lies in Citizen Kane. The plot is OK, the acting is wooden, and all-in-all it’s dated in the Hearst era of newspaper-making, but the technical aspects of it are nonpareil.

    Set design
    Cinematography (camera movement, angles, filters, color palate)
    Editing
    Lighting
    Sound
    And most of all: attention to detail

    Director Orson Welles made the template for modern movies, and all the great modern directors have paid obeisance to him: Hitchcock, Kubrick, Coppola, Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron, and today’s greatest Director, who has surpassed Welles at every level, Christopher Nolan. (Kurosawa and Begman were just geniuses on their own.) Every frame of Citizen Kane is highly intentional and meticulously staged. Things happen for a reason, not just because the script called for it.

    To apply this metric to movies ‘ruins’ one’s enjoyment so usually has to happen in rewatchings. Films that stand up to this scrutiny reward its viewers over and over, NOT because we like the characters or the stories or the actors, but because we are amazed by the virtuosity of the director-as-conductor of an orchestra of people and things that becomes more than the sum of its parts.

    With that in mind (and undoubtedly still bathed in subjectivity), here’s my top 10 for the 10s:

    1. Inception
    2. Dunkirk
    3. Mad Max: Fury Road
    4. Revenant
    5. Zero Dark Thirty
    6. Wind River
    7. Winter’s Bone
    8. Boyhood
    9. Skyfall
    10. Wonder Woman

    What were yours?

  • #2
    Of the above list, I saw 4.
    Skyfall was highly entertaining, Wonder Woman so-so, Revenant and Mad Max pretty awful (I lasted through both of them, though). I suppose, my age is showing here .
    "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
    by Thomas Henry Huxley

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    • #3
      Wind River

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      • #4
        Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
        Wind River
        That's the only one you saw - or only one you liked?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Atticus View Post
          That's the only one you saw - or only one you liked?
          That's funny - I remember the day I had my first beer, too.

          The one I liked the best. I saw a lot of films - not like you - both 8-10 this year, maybe 50-60 over the decade

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
            That's funny - I remember the day I had my first beer, too.
            The one I liked the best. I saw a lot of films - not like you - both 8-10 this year, maybe 50-60 over the decade
            I meant . . . saw . . . from . . . my . . . list!

            Sheesh!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Atticus View Post
              4. Revenant
              Shouldn't count; it was a remake (of Man in the Wilderness, 1971).

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 18.99s View Post
                Shouldn't count; it was a remake (of Man in the Wilderness, 1971).
                I think changing the title, director, actor, screenplay, box office success, not to mention Oscars for

                Actor
                Director
                Cinematography

                makes it legit!

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                • #9
                  In no particular order.

                  MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
                  A SEPARATION
                  LADY BIRD
                  LEVIATHAN
                  SON OF SAUL
                  IDA
                  WINTERS BONE
                  WIND RIVER
                  SICARIO
                  FAREWELL

                  Yup 5 are foreign.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jeremyp View Post
                    In no particular order.
                    MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
                    I considered that one, but it was TOO CORROSIVE to my soul, which I guess is a sort of praise.

                    My wife's Prime Directive is

                    no children may get hurt in the making (of the plot) of this movie.

                    Sophie's Choice and Schindler's List are not even allowed to be mentioned around her.

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                    • #11
                      I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned The King's Speech.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                        I meant . . . saw . . . from . . . my . . . list!

                        Sheesh!
                        OK, misinterpreted - I still love ya, Atticus

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bambam1729 View Post
                          OK, misinterpreted - I still love ya, Atticus
                          And yes, of your top 10 (both lists), I actually saw 2 - Wind River and Dunkirk

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                          • #14
                            fwiw, here's the decade's Oscar nominees, organized by IMDB number (and obviously missing a year at this point):

                            8.8 Inception 2010
                            8.5 Whiplash 2014
                            8.5 Django Unchained 2012
                            8.4 Toy Story 3 2010
                            8.3 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing 2017
                            8.3 The Revenant 2015
                            8.3 Spotlight 2015
                            8.3 Wolf Of Wall Street 2013
                            8.2 Green Book 2018
                            8.2 Hacksaw Ridge 2016
                            8.2 La La Land 2016
                            8.2 Room 2015
                            8.2 Mad Max: Fury Road 2015
                            8.1 Call Me By Your Name 2017
                            8.1 Lion 2016
                            8.1 The Martian 2015
                            8.1 Grand Budapest Hotel 2014
                            8.1 12 Years A Slave 2013
                            8.1 The Help 2011
                            8.0 Bohemian Rhapsody 2018
                            8.0 Dunkirk 2017
                            8.0 Arrival 2016
                            8.0 The Big Short 2015
                            8.0 The Imitation Game 2014
                            8.0 Her 2013
                            8.0 Gravity 2013
                            8.0 Dallas Buyers Club 2013
                            8.0 Life Of Pi 2012
                            8.0 The Artist 2011
                            8.0 Black Swan 2010
                            8.0 The King's Speech 2010
                            7.9 Manchester By The Sea 2016
                            7.9 Boyhood 2014
                            7.9 Captain Phillips 2013
                            7.9 Silver Linings Playbook 2012
                            7.9 The Fighter 2010
                            7.8 Roma 2018
                            7.8 Phantom Thread 2017
                            7.8 Hidden Figures 2016
                            7.8 Bridge Of Spies 2015
                            7.8 Brooklyn 2015
                            7.8 The Theory Of Everything 2014
                            7.8 Birdman 2014
                            7.8 Nebraska 2013
                            7.8 Amour 2012
                            7.8 Social Network 2010
                            7.7 A Star Is Born 2018
                            7.7 Get Out 2017
                            7.7 Philomena 2013
                            7.7 Les Miserables 2012
                            7.7 Argo 2012
                            7.7 Midnight In Paris 2011
                            7.7 True Grit 2010
                            7.7 127 Hours 2010
                            7.6 Lady Bird 2017
                            7.6 The Shape Of Water 2017
                            7.6 Hell Or High Water 2016
                            7.6 Moneyball 2011
                            7.6 Hugo 2011
                            7.5 BlacKkKlansman 2018
                            7.5 Moonlight 2016
                            7.5 Selma 2014
                            7.4 Darkest Hour 2017
                            7.4 Zero Dark Thirty 2012
                            7.4 Lincoln 2012
                            7.4 The Descendants 2011
                            7.3 Black Panther 2018
                            7.3 The Favorite 2018
                            7.3 The Post 2017
                            7.3 American Sniper 2014
                            7.3 American Hustle 2013
                            7.3 Beasts Of The Southern Wild 2012
                            7.2 Vice 2018
                            7.2 Fences 2016
                            7.2 War Horse 2011
                            7.2 Winter's Bone 2010
                            7.1 The Kids Are All Right 2010
                            6.9 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close 2011
                            6.7 The Tree Of Life 2011
                            Last edited by gh; 12-23-2019, 11:10 PM.

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                            • #15
                              I recently saw the Big Short....great film...

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