First thing’s first, I wasn’t sure what to call this decade, so teenies it is. If anyone has a better suggestion, I’ll use it for the reader recommendations.
If you been following By The Decade for the last few weeks, you know how this works – they don’t necessarily have to be the best films of the decade, or even your favourites, just films that mean something to you.
You can catch up from the 1930s to the 2000s right here, and I’ll add this week’s reader recommendations over the weekend.
Until then, here are my five selections from the 2010s…
A Quiet Place (2018)
I’ve praised films for their ballsy moves before – such as Psycho killing its lead halfway through to deliver a compellingly different second half – but to murder a child in front of his parents within the opening minutes of a movie takes a special kind of courage.
The film that follows somehow manages to live up to the promise of its opening too, offering a glimpse at a family surviving through grief as well as an alien invasion.
But it also offers a sort of hope, as John Krasinski and Emily Blunt prepare to bring a new child into a world where noise gets you killed – quite the optimistic (or short-sighted), move.
I also thought it was great to see sign language feature so prominently in a mainstream movie.
Yes, there are unanswered questions and plot holes you could drive a tractor through, but as an exercise in tension (Blunt’s birth scene in particular), and the love of a parent for a child (that final sign expression and subsequent scream – you know the one), it’s one of the most memorable films of the decade for me.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015)
Never thought I’d nominate a Guy Ritchie film as a recommendation, but this didn’t really feel like one of his did it?
I’m not overly familiar with the series, having only seen the odd episode over the years, but I loved the style of this one.
In many ways, it felt like a vintage Bond caper (and considering Henry Cavill is still being touted as a potential 007, a great audition for him), with the sixties setting a real boost.
On top of that, it’s smart, sexy, funny, the soundtrack is great, it looks terrific and the fights look like they hurt – what more could you ask for?
In my opinion it’s a shame it never launched the franchise it was so clearly meant to.
Get Out (2017)
This is a film I’ve only seen once so far, but whole chunks of it live rent free in my head.
I went into this knowing nothing at all about it, and for me, it was all the more enjoyable for that – to follow Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris from cynical but smitten boyfriend through confusion, fear and into survival mode is a hell of a ride.
This is another film where I didn’t really know what to expect going in, and I think that was a real bonus too – find out too many of the plot details in advance and it’ll genuinely spoil it for you.
As a discussion of race in America, Jordan Peele’s film is important and timely, if occasionally a little on the nose. That being said, as the police cruiser pulls up at the end, I was fully prepared for a bleak, Night Of The Living Dead-style ending, and cheered aloud when I realised I was wrong.
Oh, and it was fun to see Bradley Whitford playing an arsehole after enjoying his good guy work in Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip and The West Wing.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
I loved Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, and this felt like a more mature follow-up than Seven Psychopaths (though I should probably watch that again).
I also love Frances McDormand too, and her angry, wounded Mildred is up there with her finest work for me. Harrelson and Rockwell are also on great form in this too, reminding the viewer how good they can be with decent material.
For a film with such bleak subject matter, it’s genuinely funny, but just when you’re at ease, along comes an incident to punch you in the gut and remind you that life’s not all sunny.
I watched this alone one night, spent the next day recommending it to anyone who would listen, and watched it again the following evening, I was so impressed by it.
While the buzz from the season has long since died down, I can’t recall having heard much negativity about it over time. I also realise now that I haven’t watched it for a while, so I should probably try to rectify that and see if it stands up as well as I think it does.
I’ll admit I probably admire this one on a technical level rather than for its story and performances (though Bullock and Clooney are both very engaging and watchable throughout).
The more I learned about the rigs and computer generated elements used by Alfonso Cuarón and his team to create Gravity, the more impressed I was.
More impressive was that even though I knew about it going into the screening, the film still blew me away – I can still remember the credits rolling and feeling like I hadn’t breathed for 90-odd minutes.
To me, whatever you make of the film, that’s what makes great cinema – to be so totally caught up in the situation on the screen that you barely notice time pass is sadly all too rare these days, but the sign of a great film for me.
As always, I’ve left off some heavy hitters from the 2010s, but I’m pretty confident you folks will include them in your #ByTheDecade #5FromThe10s (or #5MoreFromThe10s if you like) – so get yourself to social media and let me have your recommendations!