The MoFo Top 100 of the 2010s Countdown

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It's easy.

The Conjuring has Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in it. Insidious has Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne and features the lady from There's Something About Mary as a psychic. Sinister has Ethan Hawke.

Of those, The Conjuring is the best of the helped that Lili Taylor was in it as well. Sinister is decent, but should have stayed as a one-off. I didn't even care for Insidious, although Lin Shaye was fine as the psychic and they subverted some of the haunted house tropes...such as moving to a new place.
Was about to post something along those lines too; like, The Conjuring is the great one, Sinister is the good one, and Insidious is the garbage

There goes my afternoon

Admittedly it's not great but I've seen worse fairness I think MoFo takes its posters from TMDb anyway

terrible, 0/5, not enough puppies.

Was about to post something along those lines too; like, The Conjuring is the great one, Sinister is the good one, and Insidious is the garbage
I need to check The Conjuring then. I just checked which is which, and I remember thinking Sinister was merely ok, and Insidious being pretty bad.
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La La Land sent me to La La Land

"This is that human freedom, which all boast that they possess, and which consists solely in the fact, that men are conscious of their own desire, but are ignorant of the causes whereby that desire has been determined." -Baruch Spinoza

Oooh boy, I got lots of catch up. Let's see if I can do this in 15 minutes.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA: Haven't seen. It's probably okay.

SPOTLIGHT - I have seen this. It's probably okay.

MOONLIGHT - Beautiful, understated film and the rare Oscar winner that I think actually qualifies as a great film. Three great performances anchor this moody and quiet story of a delicate boy slowly hardening into a lost and lonely adult. We watch three separate phases of his life, child, adolescent, grownup, and while all three of these characters are completely distinct, a similar sadness lingers in the same eyes. That is what is recognizable between the three. And while it can be argued this is kind of a simple and reductive narrative arc (I suppose it is on paper) it's all about the presentation. While it follows most of the beats you may expect from such a story, it is in the softness of presentation, the small details in character, and the beauty of that cinematography that sells the movies deep emotional heft. A great film I was going to list...was probably destined for my top 10...but then because I just felt like erasing it, I did. I wasn't in a Moonlight kind of mood the morning I sent in my list.

THE FAVOURITE: Haven't seen and probably the one I feel worst about not seeing. Was just chastised by an ex for having not seen it yet. In her opinion "you liked all that guys other crap films...and you skip this one". Yeah, that's basically me in a nut shell. I should have just put it on my list because it's probably destined to be there once I do watch it.

JOKER: Possibly the most surprising film I've seen that I actually legitimately like. I was not in a forgiving mood when I put it on. I was expecting to give up on it and fall asleep. One of those movies that seemed like it was going to cater to the type of audience member I wouldn't want to know in real life. But....then it dared to be good. Yes, it riffs on lots of better movies, and it does play act 70's style, but it is a rare example of a film that doesn't undo itself by attempting this. And a lot of it has to do with Phoenix, an actor it took me so many years to appreciate (****ing Signs), but now I recognize him as one of the all time greats. He owns this movie. A horrible man we are forced to have some amount of empathy for. A truly disturbing take on a completely creatively exhausted character. Kudos. Ledger was still better though....even though I think Joker is probably a better film than Dark Knight. By a hair.

I already did the next I'll skip ahead to....

THE SHAPE OF WATER: Del Toro normally underwhelms me. Like Tim Burton, I love his imagination and the fact that he has a unique aesthetic sense. But I feel a real flatness to his movies (not nearly as flat as I find Burton's, but similar in how I always feel 'this should be something I like', but never really do). And in this instance, with this movie, my underwhelming vibe crystallizes into dislike. At least with a Devil's Backbone or Pan's Labyrinth, I recognize the human elements to his films. I might not like the way they look and move and unravel, but they are very much aware of the characters that inhabit them. But this just felt like a put on. Maybe in the hands of another director I would have felt the sexual chemistry and love between woman and bog monster just felt ridiculous every time they fondled eachother and he flapped his gills. And then the stupid shit about filling the bathroom with water, kept pulling me in the direction that there was no real reality here for me to invest in. It was a comic book pretending to deal with honest emotions and....nope...didn't work for me

HOLY MOTORS: I've got to revisit this film. It's a puzzle and, has already been mentioned, the keys to unlocking it are to understand all the history of cinema it is referencing. But I got way too distracted by Denis Levant's boner to piece it all together. Great performance though. And a fascinating approach to film, even if it didn't necessarily hit me in the guts like I want a movie like this to.

BLACK SWAN: Aronofsky's best, I think. Perfectly blends the idea of a human destroying their body for the sake of their art, and a kind of phantasmagorical body horror film that you can just about believe in (pay attention Del Toro, you might learn something). I generally like Portman, but this is far and away her best performance. Her anxiety and self loathing are palpable. And that is where the real horror of the film lives. Just about perfect. I think this was on my list.

EX-MACHINA: Great film. Great execution. Great dialogue between robot and person probing the nature of what makes us human. And an ending that is completely befitting of everything that came before it. Also, a movie that introduced me to the twin greatness of Isaacs and Vikander. Extremely good, but also not on my list.

JOHN WICK: Stupid action the way it is meant to be done. Another shock when I realized how good this was. Pure entertainment, but not in a bad way. And the rare film Keanu Reeves doesn't ruin by sucking the life out of every scene (FTR I love Keanu, but he's a terrible terrible actor in 90 percent of everything he's done....bafflingly terrible considering he clearly takes his craft seriously and is clearly a smart guy....come on Keanu, I'm still rooting for you, one of these days you're going to really make it!)

ACT OF KILLING: This was in my top 5. This is a film that should be in contention for the greatest documentary that has ever been made. Ever. It's a film that should provoke lots of in depth conversation about the nature of evil, but is also so brilliantly rendered through its concept and execution, words seem to do it an injustice. Has any film ever made truly gotten so to the heart of what leads people astray towards the darkness? Has any film been better at bringing us into the mind set of both murders as well as their victims, and the terrible relationship the two of them ultimately have, forever intertwined. Has any movie been more searingly provocative in how it places the nature of cinema in the center of how we perceive our own reality. This movie is one for the ages. Send it up in a spaceship to other planets in case other lifeforms get any ideas to come and pay us a visit. It's sure to keep them away...or maybe just blow our planet up from a safe distance.

LOGAN: Wow. A comic book movie that sees the person behind the costume. This is no revelation, but it is actually an interesting study of our superhero myths and the frailty that lays behind being perceived as a savior. Quite good, and probably the best of any of the glut of superhero films that have come out (with the exception of Batman Begins). But, no way was this making my list, even though it was way better than I expected.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS: I understand the charm of this as much as I understand the pleasure of snail guts exploding between my teeth. I really love about 2/3 of Allen's films, and I almost always love his critically revered films. This one though....ooof. Allen sucks at whimsy. Absolutely falling down the stairs lack of ability in conveying the charms of Paris without making it feel like pandering shit. I hate this movie. Also, Adrian Brody should not be allowed to go anywhere near Salvador Dali (and I don't even like Salvador Dali)

THREE BILLBOARDS: This seems to be a weirdly divisive film. I don't quite grasp that. I think it is an inoffensively made quality character study that looks at the complicated relationship between a tenacious woman wanting vengeance for her dead son (husband?), an exhasperated but kindly cop doing his best and a racist deputy. Yes, some character motivations are a little too on the nose, in that cheap kind of way that I usually don't like but....the three main performances are wonderful. Their banter feels authentic. The story eccentrically captivating. It's funny and moving. I like it a lot. But....not enough to place on my ballot

SILENCE: This is one of the films here where I probably have a shit opinion on (unlike all my other miracles of insight). I found it very dull, even though I liked the ideas it was playing with regarding faith. I ended up only kind of half watching it, as some kind of obligation for Scorsese completion (still need to see Kundun though). It definitely needs a second chance, considering lots of people who I respect seem to really dig it.

DREDD: Hey, another superhero film that is actually good (does Dredd count as a superhero). Contains a neat gimmick that allows the film to play its action scenes in slow motion. They are brilliantly rendered. It's got great sets and side characters. This is how you do this kind of thing. Very very good.

MELANCHOLIA: This was the movie by the wonderful Troll name Von Trier that I included. Probably because it is close to the best movie he's ever made. The idea of an entire planet that represents depression coming to crash into earth and destroy it. How can I possibly resist such an ridiculous yet perfect metaphor like that. All the cast is great. It mixes Triers ability to mix dogma verite filmmaking with his equally impressive stylized approach to cinema. Another perfect film.

TRUE GRIT: I think I already said 'huh'? to this one. And I'm still saying it. Not that there is anything wrong with this movie. At all. It's just one of the Coen's most forgettable (considering how unforgettable almost all of their other films are...they are the masters of lodging in your brain, even if you hate them). It's fine but I have no idea why it would be on a top 100.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: I think this is a bore. I thought I'd like a raccoon with a gun. I didn't. The soundtrack was the only salvation in this film. I think Todd Rundgren has a song on it? If not, **** the soundtrack too.

UNCUT GEMS: I haven't actually watched this. I laid in a room with it while nursing a horror of a hangover, and this is not the kind of movie you want to experience in that state. Everyone was yelling. My eyes were closed and I just wanted it to stop. Definitely should give it another chance though, even though I can still feel those dry heaves coursing through my body whenever I consider it.

MOONRISE KINGDOM: With the exception of Rushmore (which is clearly, top to bottom, the best thing Anderson has ever done and ever will do) I think the first half of this movie is equal to that. The parts with the kids living by themselves on the island is human and beautiful in a way that Anderson seems to only rarely get to. And while I love pretty much all of this guys movies to some level, its usually in how funny I find him presenting his broken characters as little action figures he moves around and lets pantomime in his elaborate sets. The guy is pretty much a genius at doing what he does. But it's nice when a movie like Moonrise Kingdom, for about 45 minutes, makes it clear he has actually met a real person before too. And that he loves them, just doesn't ironically consider the pathology of their existence. As for the second half of the film, I've warmed up to it, but for my money, neither Bruce Willis or Edward Norton belong in Andersons world. They stick out like a peanut stuck in a lacey froth of cake frosting.

Sicario: Thank god I haven't seen this one. Not that I don't want to. I just want to write about less of these ****ing movies.

Burning: Yippee. I've never even heard of this one.

Gravity: The trailer was amazing. Then I watched the movie and I wished I could just go back and watch the trailer again. It's fine, and a technical marvel, but I also couldn't give a shit about it.

Interstellar: This is what happens when a moderate talent like Nolan gets it into his head he can make a giant tour de force a la 2001. He can't and I suitably hated this piece of ****ing trash. Easily his worst movie. Possibly the only one I've seen I'd call straight up bad.

BOYHOOD: Such a brilliant idea for a film, executed in such a basic way. Not necessarily a bad thing, but Linklater must have had reams and reams of material, and the fact that he tailored it all to such a dull narrative ark felt like a missed opportunity. I wanted more of the little pointless scenes like them lining up for the next Harry Potter book. Just the little moments that actually make up an actual life. But he went sort of Hollywood on us and tried to sculpt a narrative when I don't think a narrative was necessary. At all. But....that said....watching the passage of time rendered in this way was deeply affecting to me. So whatever reservations I have about the still has lots of value to me.

THE IRISHMAN: A movie that I didn't find the easiest viewing. It may be one of the most subdued of Scorsese's films that implicitly deal with violence. And it was great to see Joe Pesci's decomposing corpse again. But as for the actual film, as ponderous as it seemed at times, I think the overall effect of the film makes the run time worthwhile. This is a movie about a life that has been lost to all the wrong decisions. And it slowly comes to this realization, over decades or (in the case of the viewer) hours. It's good, but it's also a hard movie for me to get really excited about.

INCENEDIES: I know I've seen this. This has a scene with a bus in it, right? I think it was quite good, but one that I think is gone to the mists of crumbsrooms dumb and broken brain.

LIGHTHOUSE: Oh, please let the world put more movies like this in the big theaters. Let people actually experience a film that feels daring and new and impossibly weird and is cast with big stars and has a decent sized budget. This movie is an absolute trip. Adore it. DaFoe is fantastic (is he ever not fantastic). This is my favorite Eggers

THE AVENGERS: Ugh. I definitely don't need to say anything more about this. Maybe I'll just link to that Scorsese interview instead (his opinion was taken out of context, what he was actually saying was very valid regarding what the intent of these movies are vs. the type of films he prefers and why he isn't interested in seeing anymore of them.)

DJANGO UNCHAINED: I was sort of surprised this showed up. I felt that this movie has really gone out of favour the last few years. Personally, I find it to be one of his most purely entertaining movies and I pretty much love everything about. Yes, even his absolutely disgustingly annoying cameo. Who doesn't want to see the most annoying performance in any of his movies, being performed by the most annoying human on the planet, getting blown the **** up. It may have been the best scene in the whole movie. Absolutely on my list (because I'm stupid and forgot that Hollywood came out in this particular decade....probably would have included them both though since QT is good enough to deserve two movies)

SPIDERVERSE: Even though its a cartoon this is probably as good as a pure representation of comic books will ever get on screen. At least for me. Brilliantly animated, full of loads and loads of interesting ideas, funny, moving. This is actually a great film that deserves all the praise it has gotten. Sometimes audiences and critics get something right, and it isn't always just about me correcting them. But, because of principal, this did not make my list. I have integrity. Superhero movies are still lame.

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE: Haven't seen. Will rectify soon.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK: I hate Bradley Cooper. I love Jennifer Lawrence. So, let's split the difference and say this is okay. Probably the only straight up romantic comedy I've seen in years that I was vaguely amused and entertained by. No, I don't think it is a great representation of mental illness, but who cares. It's a sort of enjoyable piece of fluff.

INCEPTION: Seeing what everybody seems to be saying about this movie, I think I'm glad I've never revisited it. I thought it was pretty damn good when I saw it on the big screen. And sometimes the complaints about exposition I think are wrong. And exposition is something I find can really damage a movie when done poorly. But poor exposition to me always comes in the form of trying to thread what the screenwriter is trying to explain to us through naturalistic dialogue. That's when I get very aggravated and it turns the characters into vehicles for storytelling and not autonomous beings. But in the case of Inception, I agree with Popcorn way upthread that the way it is handled here is the way it sort of had to be handled. A concept like this is going to need exposition to some degree, and having a character learning the ropes and being trained on how to navigate all these nonsense at least allows me not to accept the exposition dump as something that would actually have to happen in the real life of these characters. It isn't lying to the audience by trying to play that this is some off the cuff conversation, giving nods and winks to us in the theater. It is directing its instruction to a character who needs to know this information. Thus, retaining some level of realism.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: I'm very pleased this movie seems to have made it to the pantheon of great Coen Brothers films. For awhile, because this is a narrative that is tickling my personal love of the 60's folk scene, and the world that birthed the greatest artist of the 20th century (Dylan, deal with it haters), I thought I was just biased with my overwhelming affection for this. But others seem to be responding strongly to it as well and that's lovely. Also Carey Mulligan playing what is clearly Karen Dalton (completely forgotten genius singer who died of AIDS completely alone and homeless) is jsut about the greatest dream pairing I can think of (other than Cate Blanchette playing Bob about sexual confusion)

BIRDMAN: A movie I like way more in theory than to watch. At least it brought Michael Keaton back to us. I'm also willing to rewatch it again one of these days, hoping to love it as much as everyone else seems to.

HATEFUL 8: I think this is great, and while I get the resistance some seem to have towards it (I do think it possibly has the worst dialogue of any Tarantino film), I feel bad that they miss the pleasures of this luxuriously filmed cabin in the woods, populated by 8 great characters actors, all seething in hatred towards eachother. It's a lot of fun, in that gross mean QT way, and the ending is great (one of the rare exceptions where coming across a deeper reading of the concluding scene, that I had never considered, really adds heft to the whole point of the film)

GET OUT: I can only think about how this is on the Sight and Sound Poll and am too distracted laughing. Does it belong on this list though? Sure. It's very good. And the what it has to say about the relationship between white and black culture in the united states is both very funny, accurate and should cut everyone sitting in the audience a little bit.

SHOPLIFTERS: haven't seen

DRIVE: When I saw this at TIFF, knowing nothing about it, it was like a revelation. Aha, a new voice. It felt completely fresh and unique and I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. But then, it seems to have been coopted by a culture that liked the gross things about it a little too much, and now I feel weird liking it. Very much the Fight Club of this generation. Good movie, embraced for very weird and not terribly cinematic reasons. The soundtrack absolutely kills though. Every song is a banger.

IT'S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY: I've already written enough about this. I do believe everyone needs to watch this until they understand it is one of the most important and pertinent film about the human condition made in years. And if you don't ever grasp it, you are clearly living in an alternate reality from me where pain and confusion and despair and sorrow and laughing at all of it anyways is not the street you live really should move there's a great bit of fun)

PHANTOM THREAD: Ah, I remember Daniel Day Lewis. I miss him. Great film. Vicky Krieps gets unfairly overshadowed by the acting monolith that is Lewis, but the film absolutely does not work without her performance contrasting with his. A great and demented love story. I probably should have considered placing this on my list more seriously but I chose another PTA, which clearly was never going to make it.

THE FLORIDA PROJECT: The most beautiful film made in the last twenty years? I've also written enough about this one. Was my number 2. I could watch this a hundred times in a row until I die of dehydration from all the tears of both joy and sorrow it drains out of me.

THE MASTER: The Phoenix performance that turned me around. A movie I love because of its near impenetrability. A character study where the character continues to remain a mystery. There is something about this movie that haunts me, even though I only saw it once, many years ago, and only have vague recollections of what happens in it.

ARRIVAL: Haven't seen

WOLF OF WALL STREET: Maybe the best comedy of the last ten years. And, no, the movie is not on the side of the douche bros. Come on anyone who takes that away from the film. It's a pure indictment of everything that is going wrong in American now. It is Rome before it burns to the ground. Also one of the most pertinent films to reflect our times. I might have voted for this one. Who knows.

TREE OF LIFE: This is a mid tier Malick for me. I love its dreamy nature. The dinosaurs are weird, but I get why they are there. It has good performances. But, like a few of his films, I feel I'm supposed to be immersed in this world and I never have been. I actually preferred his vaguely similar in style To The Wonder than this. Personally, he's never going to top either Badlands or the other one whose name I forget.

HER: Or maybe this is the most pertinent movie to reflect back to us the perversity of our current world. A really good comedy. And Scarlett Johansson should have been nominated for her voice work here. She is the anchor of the film and it's one of her best performances.

BLADE RUNNER: Haven't seen. But I think the Villeneuve (sp) character knows how to make a movie. He's kind of amazing.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD: A good case can be made that this is Tarantino's greatest film. Certainly not most influential, but this is where he really seems like he has something to say about the kind of Hollywood damaged brain his been living with his entire life. A true love letter to what movies have given him, as well as how he wants to use movies to literally change the history of the world. One of DiCaprio's best performances and I think I am in love with Brad Pitt after this movie. Now I can't be sure anymore that if I want to indulge in a little man love if ever given the opportunity, I should marry Pitt or The Strokes. Life sure can get complicated sometimes.

SOCIAL NETWORK: Whatever I wrote upthread will do. I'm close to dying at this point. This has not been 15 minutes. Dying.

LALA LAND: Haven't seen and got to admit, have pretty much zero desire to.

I need to check The Conjuring then. I just checked which is which, and I remember thinking Sinister was merely ok, and Insidious being pretty bad.

As much as I shit on The Conjuring, it's way way better than Insidious. Insidious is so bad, I won't even talk about it, which is honestly the true metric of how much I loathe a film.

As much as I shit on The Conjuring, it's way way better than Insidious. Insidious is so bad, I won't even talk about it, which is honestly the true metric of how much I loathe a film.
Yeah, that's what I recall.

I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
La La Land is ok. It looks great, certainly, and there are definitely good bits to it. A lot of the best bits though are ripped off from earlier musicals... There's a bit of The Young Girls of Roquefort, a bit of American in Paris etc. I guess it's meant for an homage but it didn't feel like it did enough of its own thing. I thought it was more technically well done than it was emotionally engaging. And there is a limit to my ability to connect with Chazelle's "guys who are just so committed to jazz that they are sort of terrible people but actually also better than other people because they just really love jazz!" (see also Whiplash... I haven't seen Babylon yet).

Burning: Yippee. I've never even heard of this one.
It's from the director of Poetry (which I thought was the more well known one), and if you're a fan of Murakami novels, fwiw, I think it's really good.

PHANTOM THREAD: Ah, I remember Daniel Day Lewis. I miss him. Great film. Vicky Krieps gets unfairly overshadowed by the acting monolith that is Lewis, but the film absolutely does not work without her performance contrasting with his. A great and demented love story. I probably should have considered placing this on my list more seriously but I chose another PTA, which clearly was never going to make it.
Assuming you didn't go really left field, I might as well do one ballot reveal:

My #15 was Inherent Vice.

Speaking of novel adaptations. Sure, this past decade was the decade I finally picked up a Pynchon novel. Probably within a year of this coming out. And PTA and Joaquin Phoenix.

My Ballot  

ETA: Someone mentioned The Death of Stalin earlier. Since it placed relatively well on my all-time comedy countdown, I wanted to give those entries their proper respect here.
The Death of Stalin was my #13

Sorry to Bother You was my #12

The trick is not minding
ETA: Someone mentioned The Death of Stalin earlier. Since it placed relatively well on my all-time comedy countdown, I wanted to give those entries their proper respect here.
The Death of Stalin was my #13

Sorry to Bother You was my #12

These two films have been on my watch list for quite some time. Iíve previously mentioned this, but the amount of films Iíve watched post 2000 is pretty bad compared to, say the 70ís-90ís (although Iíve been going through the 60ís much more often of late.)

So many littler gems that slipped through that I hadnít even heard of.

It is hard to adequately share the invigorated ardor for La La Land.

At its outset, the cinematographic composition and general mise-en-scŤne proffer what is banally mundane: a fair dose of pretty faux Technicolor shots, but more critically, a static realism that plentifully abdicates the deteriorating trial of dramatic impact, combined with middling performances bereft of the aptitude to adequately reflect the incorporeal musical phantasms within.

Nowhere to find is a talented ensemble and a devoted portrayal by master singers/dancers. Acceptable thespians under the direction of a helmsperson who has apparently not gleaned much from Demy's quixotic cinematic style (alas) engage in semi-romantic back and forth as they fake their way into a somewhat lacking but fairly entertaining brouhaha of Revisionist Musical cynicism in the grand finale.

Here, the realism-oneirism dichotomy is subjugated to an almost post-modern styling laden with vanilla imagery directed at serving a lackadaisical undertone. This, unfortunately, engenders a predestined maximalism that agonizes the content.
Yeah! What he said!

I hated it!

I was looking forward to it. It had rave reviews and I was let down. If you are going to do a big Hollywood musical could you please hire some fabulous singers and dancers for goodness sake(not the actual language I used). I spent the whole movie feeling cheated and angry.


ETA: Someone mentioned The Death of Stalin earlier. Since it placed relatively well on my all-time comedy countdown, I wanted to give those entries their proper respect here.
The Death of Stalin was my #13

I promote this pig every chance I get. Just rewatched it again a couple of days ago, still hits home. The writing and delivery by the actors are stellar.

Was about to post something along those lines too; like, The Conjuring is the great one, Sinister is the good one, and Insidious is the garbage

I think Sinister is the great one. The Conjuring is the good one, and Insidious is crap.
In fact, Sinister is my #4. It just stayed with me. Very chilling. The Boogeyman lives rent free in my head.

The trick is not minding
The Conjuring was good, yeah. Iím May be confusing Sinister and Insidious with each other. 🤔
Which had Ethan Hawke trying to piece together a murder mystery in a haunted house? Insidious, right?

Edit: nope, definitely confusing the two. Iím thinking of Sinister.