100 Favorite Films To Recommend Part 10: The 2010s

Luis A. Mendez

A Latino Writer Addicted To The Storytelling Power Of Film

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26 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    One dynamic I wonder about is the whole movies-as-lagging-indicator thing. 9/11 was nuts, and the Nolan Batman movies were a response to 9/11. Batman Begins was 2005. Assuming it took a year to make, it took 3 years to get from 9/11 to fumble around with the whole issue of villains who used fear as their main weapon. 2008 until we could really wrestle with The Patriot Act. 2012 gave us Bane and there are a dozen things that we could say about this one. The stuff we intended to help us ended up being used as weapons against us, I guess.

    I wonder what the 2010s were processing, mostly.

    The movies that start coming out in 2023 are going to be *NUTS*.Report

    • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

      I would say, that the movies coming out in 2023 are going to be…

      (puts on sunglasses)


    • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

      What about the Lord of the Rings movies? They must have been written, filmed, and based on a book series that came out during the War on Terror.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

        I think it could be argued easily that those are a little bit out of time. A crazy person made them. Now… did they resonate especially well because of 9/11? Yeah. I’ve no doubt they did.

        Everybody missed the point of the movies… but they resonated.

        (See also: 300. What were we thinkin’? I mean, the source material was awesome but that thing made almost half a billion dollars!)Report

        • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

          We were thinking 300 was awesome, and we were ready to fight anyone who said different! And you know why? You know why?!Report

        • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

          I often wonder what people will think of the LOTR movies from a truly safe distance (say another 20-25 years from now). The books are one of the few things I permit myself to be a bit of a nerd about and I remember liking the movies well enough when they came out but not loving them. Periodically I’ll watch bits and pieces when TNT or some other channel is running the trilogy all day. Now I marvel at how they threaded the needle of doing about the best they probably could have within the constants of a feature film while somehow missing the spirit of the books entirely.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

            I thought that The Two Towers worked really well.

            Part of the problem, for me, is that I saw them in the theater and I couldn’t believe how real everything looked. It was magical. And now, when I watch it, I recoil inside because it looks exceptionally, painfully fake.

            When I was a kid, it was difficult to watch old movies. I knew all about the Universal Monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Werewolf, Creature from Black Lagoon, The Mummy… I had heard of “The Blob” and “Them”… but there was no way for me to watch those movies. I read about them and my parents scoffed at having seen those movies in the theater. You’d think that the local UHF station would play them on a Saturday afternoon monster movie or something but they didn’t (I kept my eyes open).

            It wasn’t until I was a teenager that we got a VCR and, even then, the video stores had new stuff. They didn’t bother with niche b-movie horror.

            It was pop culture that I absorbed from my parents’ generation without ever seeing.

            And now the kids today will have the extended versions of popcorn fare. And they’ll make fun of the olds for having it on Blu-Ray instead of just streaming it. “But this still has the scenes that got removed in 2027!”Report

          • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

            I saw them in the theaters, and was a huge fan of the books growing up. I remember loving the first movie (and being excited! about the how awesome the next two would be), being a bit let down by the second (middle child syndrom, you know), and positively gutted by how bad I thought the third was.

            Not only did it remove some of my favorite bits (where there’s a whip, there’s a way), made a scene I thought was bespoke feminism seem trite, but it showed that somethings, while cool in the book, were possitive uncinematic (The deus ex machina of the army of the dead). And to cap the whole thing off with not one, not two, not three, not… ad nauseum endings (preventing me from going to the bathroom, which is totes important after a 3+ hour film) and I cannot even with it.Report

            • Pinky in reply to Aaron David says:

              I once read a piece arguing that the LOTR movies went downhill as their scale increased. The first one had battles of maybe a dozen participants, the second one was monumentally bigger, and the third one felt obliged to top that. I hated the battle for Gondor. It didn’t help that the movies moved from practical effects to more and more CGI, either.

              The first two movies had the two moments, the only ones I’ve ever experienced, where I said to myself “this is exactly how I pictured it in the book”. They were the Balrog, and the finale of Helm’s Deep. There may have been scenes way at the end of the third movie that would have felt like that, but I was too exhausted by that point.Report

            • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

              I saw all of them in the theater as well. I may or may not have partook in some of the halfling’s leaf in the parking lot on my way in which certainly enhanced the experience.

              I think Pinky may be on to something about the scale. I would rate each successive one worse than the previous with the first being best, especially with the Boromir death. From there everything feels rushed milestone to milestone.

              I wonder if it would have been better done now on a streaming service with 12 or so hour long episodes for room to breath (and viewers to pee). I hear there’s a Middle Earth show either out now or coming soon but I expect I to pass on it.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

                Yeah, I agree with Pinky that there is a problem with scaling up the events as they get larger. And CGI just looks like trash. I think that when up on a big screen two stories tall it can look impressive, but on a smaller screen it just looks bad. To the point, I though Moria and Boromirs death were quite well done, but not so much Helms deep. And I already mentioned my peeves (pet or not) about the thrid film.

                Also, I never saw any of the hobbit movies from Jackson. Just couldn’t care by then.Report

              • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

                Yea don’t ever see the Hobbit.Report

              • North in reply to InMD says:

                We do not speak of those abominations. What There and Back Again did to deserve being stretched out in agony on the wrack of three films I do not know.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to InMD says:

            The LOTR movies all have the same problem that the books had for me by the second time I read them. I wanted Gandalf’s story, to know if he was manipulating all the characters, both mortal and not, or if he was just blundering along. The Harry Potter books/movies had the same problem: the real story is Dumbledore vs Voldemort, and Harry’s just one of the tools.

            I know it’s a meme in high fantasy: the mysterious figure who’s pulling strings across the years/decades/centuries that culminates in the grand battle between good and evil. But I want to see an author pull off telling that story, rather than using it as a crutch to get across plot holes.Report

          • gabriel conroy in reply to InMD says:

            I had read the books as an adolescent (b. early 1970s) and found them good, but no big deal. I saw that movies, and they rekindled my interest in the books.

            Now, I think the movies haven’t aged well, even though I thoroughly enjoyed them in the theaters. I agree with what people have said about the battle scenes. They were also emphasized too much, in my opinion. The point of the books, as I read them, wasn’t the battles for the most part.

            For tie-in’s with 9/11: For all I know, maybe production started even before 9/11. However, the speech about “don’t be so quick to deal out death in judgement” resonated to me as a comment on GWB’s talk about “evildoers” and the War on Terror. Again, though, that might have been my reading into it.Report

  2. North says:

    Agreed on Guardians of the Galaxy. That film was an especially remarkable one as tent-pole Marvel movies and is my own favorite out of all the MCU’s lineup bar none.Report

  3. Pinky says:

    I must have turned a corner in 2010. Up until this article, I could generally pick my faves for each year. But looking over this article and other online lists, I’ve seen so few movies from any of these years that it’s meaningless to say which of them was my favorite. I think if the lists included bad low-budget horror movies, I could probably find a few more I’ve seen. But like, my pick for 2012 would be either Pitch Perfect of Chronicle, but they wouldn’t be in the top 50% among movies I saw in the previous decade.Report

  4. Whatever happened to Jennifer Lawrence? For a few years she was the next Meryl Street, and now she seems to have completely disappeared.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      No roles for older actresses. Just kidding; I hope Hollywood’s not that messed up. I think she just got stuck in a dead-end superhero franchise.Report

    • Between Hunger Games and The X-Men franchises, how many movies was/is she on the hook for? How many places in her schedule where she could take three or six months off and go make a different sort of film?Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      She was in red sparrow in 2018, which I think was about training young women to be Russian super spies. But I could see how that can lost in the miasma with there also being out there Scar Jo’s Black Widow, who will soon have an origin story movie about young women training to be Russian super spies, and Netflix’s Russian doll, which apparently is *not* about young women training to be Russian super spies, as I thought when I started this comment.

      (But back to Lawerence, apparently she was also in the Sophie Turner (from Game of Thrones) x-men movie, but I never saw it. But neither did any one else. IMDb also has some projects of Lawrence’s that were supposed to be released this year, but we know how all that went)Report

  5. InMD says:

    Coco is a favorite in my household. To the point we had to institute a no more than one viewing a day rule for my son.Report

  6. Thanks for doing this series. I really enjoyed it.Report