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The MoFo Top 100 of the 2010s Countdown

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La La Land was on my watchlist pretty much since the day it was released, but I didn't get around to watching it until this countdown was announced. Maybe my expectations were too high because of all the praise that I'd heard about it, but I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. I liked the movie a lot, but I usually love musicals, and this one just didn't rise anywhere near the top of my favorites list the way I thought it would. Maybe after a few more watches, (and now with lower expectations), it might eventually become a favorite, but it's just not there yet.

However I'm very happy to see that a musical made it this high on the countdown. It gives me a sliver of hope that we might someday do a musicals countdown.
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Here are my next three...

#20. HIGH LIFE
(2018, Denis)



"We were scum. Trash. Refuse that didn't fit into the system. Until someone had the bright idea of recycling us."

My first Claire Denis film was quite an experience. This film follows Monte (Robert Pattinson) as one of a group of criminals that accepts a "suicide" job to travel to a black hole while being the subjects of various experiments. These experiments led by Dr. Dibs (Juliette Binoche) are, umm, weird but eventually lead to the crew getting out of control, which leads to some unexpected consequences. This is a sci-fi on the outside, but inside, I see it as a story of second chances, and what we make with the cards that fate deals to us. Pattinson is great, Denis' direction is mesmerizing and, overall, I dug the hell out of it.




#19. THE BIG SICK
(2017, Showalter)



"Love isn't easy. That's why they call it love."

Really didn't expect much of this, but I was pleasantly surprised by it, to the point that it has become one of my favorite romcoms. It follows the relationship between Kumail and Emily (Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan) as they balance and battle expectations, life goals, cultural differences, her parents, and ultimately a life-threatening illness. Partly based on Nanjiani's own life and relationship, you can pretty much feel the heart and passion behind the film. It's charming, touching, funny, but also deep and profound in the way it explores the many facets of their relationship.




#18. SOURCE CODE
(2011, Jones)



"Any soldier I've ever served with would say that one death is service enough."

One of my favorite "mind-benders" of recent years. This film follows Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who finds himself stuck in a "time loop" while on a train in Chicago. As he tries to figure out things around him, he is tasked to find a dangerous bomber aboard the train. This is a film that I saw and liked well enough back in 2011, but it wasn't until the day after, when I found myself talking endlessly about it with my wife about the possibilities and explanations of what was happening; and that's when I knew I had seen something special. I know it's a bit polarizing; especially the ending, but that's what makes the film for me.





Seen: 72/95

My ballot:  
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I watched The Social Network.
Countdown Rectification #5



The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)

I don't really have a whole lot to say about this. It's fine. David Fincher is a very skilled director who knows how to make a movie. The film looks good, it's paced well, and the performances are solid. I don't have any really major complaints about it and I was never bored by it, but I would be lying if I said I actually liked it. For all its strengths, it still viewed to me as little more than a laundry list of the ways in which Mark Zuckerberg is a prick and, frankly, I didn't need to watch a two hour long movie to know that Mark Zuckerberg is a prick. I kind of already knew that.




For those who don't remember (or weren't using the site at the time), we have a little tool so you can have similar types of fun:

Custom Oscar Card Generator
Might as well give this a try, before I finally give up on hosting the game.



It's here.
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@last two reveals.
Watched them. Liked Social Network. Thought La La Land was alright. I don't really care for musicals.




#18. SOURCE CODE
(2011, Jones)





One of my favorite "mind-benders" of recent years. This film follows Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who finds himself stuck in a "time loop" while on a train in Chicago. As he tries to figure out things around him, he is tasked to find a dangerous bomber aboard the train. This is a film that I saw and liked well enough back in 2011, but it wasn't until the day after, when I found myself talking endlessly about it with my wife about the possibilities and explanations of what was happening; and that's when I knew I had seen something special. I know it's a bit polarizing; especially the ending, but that's what makes the film for me.


I am surprised that neither of Source Code or Looper made the list.



Oh well, I might as well post a few more I know have no chance. I usually wait till the end, but there's no way, man!

List so far:
#2. Moonrise Kingdom #37
#4. Silver Linings Playbook #24
#5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri #44
#6. True Grit #40
#7. Arrival #12
#9. Brooklyn No chance for it.
#10. Hell or High Water #73
#11. Zero Dark Thirty #58
#13. The Nice Guys [i]DNP #103
#15. Edge of Tomorrow #68
#16. The Edge of Seventeen I knew it wouldn't place but I had to vote for it.
#17. War Horse Old-fashioned Spielberg flick I had to include.
#21. 10 Cloverfield Lane I thought for sure this would show up a ways back.
#22. Train to Busan Pretty shocked this one didn't make the Top 100.
#23. Looper Thought for sure this great Sci-Fi flick would show.
#24. Gone Girl #65
#25. Heaven Is For Real Will not place.

16. Edge of Seventeen (2016)



Hailee Steinfeld has one of her best-ever roles as a high school teen who is seemingly terminally depressed and awkward, only to find a kindred soul in childhood friend Krista (a terrific Haley Lu Richardson) who soon "betrays" Nadine by dating Nadine's older brother. A hilarious Woody Harrelson almost steals the movie as Nadine's favorite teacher and unwilling sounding board.

17. War Horse (2011)



Terrific, tug-at-your-heartstrings movie that Spielberg can do with ease. But he didn't just churn it out, he poured all his skills into this beautiful film about a young British man (Jeremy Irvine) whose beloved horse is sold to the cavalry in WWI. He enlists in the Army and we also follow his horse from battle to battle. Great cinematography by frequent Spielberg collaborator Janusz Kaminski and a fine score by the legendary John Williams make this an epic and touching movie with a great final shot.

#21. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)



Tense movie about three people huddled together (or are two of them prisoners?) in an underground bunker, as some sort of terrible disaster is occurring outside. What is happening reveals itself little by little as we begin to see that maybe the real terror is inside the bunker (or is it?). Heh-heh. Some have complained that the ending ruins everything by showing too much but I loved it and wanted more. My favorite in the "Cloverfield" series of movies. If it is a series. I don't know but this can stand alone just fine as far as I'm concerned.

#22. Train to Busan (2016)



I truly thought this one would make the list. This is one of the best-ever zombie movies that's not just zombies chomping on people but a father trying to keep his young daughter safe at any cost, with the help of some and the interference of some. Plus, the zombies closing in from train car to train car. Will Busan offer any help if and when they reach it? I thought it was a great trip finding out. Love it!

#23. Looper (2016)



This movie concerns an assassin called a Looper (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) whose job is to wait in a field for targets from the future to be sent back in time to his spot, where he will shoot them on sight and dispose of their bodies. Problems arise when he faces himself, older (in the form of Bruce Willis, in one of his last great roles) and not willing to be killed, naturally. The chase is on, while Levitt tries to figure out why he must kill the older version of himself, and find out what that target is looking for in the past, as he seems determined not just to escape his pursuer but complete his own mission. Levitt finds a single mother (Emily Blunt) trying to protect her child from someone and finds himself falling for her, which complicates his mission of course. Action-packed and tense and great Sci-Fi fun.
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16. Edge of Seventeen (2016)

I loved this film when I saw it. Everything I want in a comedy. Wasn't in contention for my list but it's so well written



#22. Train to Busan (2016)



I truly thought this one would make the list. This is one of the best-ever zombie movies that's not just zombies chomping on people but a father trying to keep his young daughter safe at any cost, with the help of some and the interference of some. Plus, the zombies closing in from train car to train car. Will Busan offer any help if and when they reach it? I thought it was a great trip finding out. Love it!
So you know you are not alone ... this was my #17, thought it might have had an outside shot at somewhere in the 80-100 range but alas it wasn't to be.
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terrible, 0/5, not enough puppies.



#21. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)


#22. Train to Busan (2016)
Two that were strong contenders for me.



Source Code is good but I remember feeling they totally botched the ending via a massive plot hole, but now I can't remember why.
Yeah, that's how a lot of people felt and I would even concede that they are justified, because as much as the film worked for me, I think it takes a bit of a push to get you there. But anyway...

WARNING: spoilers below

The key twist in the film establishes that Stevens is stuck in a time looped simulation, that is not the real world. He's there only to track the killer and he ultimately can't alter the events. However, as he keeps trying and trying, and becomes more involved within that simulation, he ends up "breaking away" from the time loop, and ends up with Michelle Monaghan's character.

So even though it might seem that the film is breaking its own rules, I think it's just a way to show how completely out of their game the scientists were dealing with this technology, and how there are things they can't ultimately control, even though they think they can. If I'm not mistaken, Jeffrey Wright's character even states something to that effect.


Anyway, I haven't seen it in a couple of years so my response might not be as concise as it could've, but that's more or less the gist of it.

I also remember that shortly before or after watching the film, I was watching a show on cable on quantum physics and all that stuff, and it really messed up my mind and I think that extended to the way I perceived the film. So to me, it's just a matter of dealing with things that are entirely out of our control. In the wise words of Ian Malcolm, "life, uhh, finds a way".



Professional horse shoe straightener
Yeah, that's how a lot of people felt and I would even concede that they are justified, because as much as the film worked for me, I think it takes a bit of a push to get you there. But anyway...

WARNING: spoilers below

The key twist in the film establishes that Stevens is stuck in a time looped simulation, that is not the real world. He's there only to track the killer and he ultimately can't alter the events. However, as he keeps trying and trying, and becomes more involved within that simulation, he ends up "breaking away" from the time loop, and ends up with Michelle Monaghan's character.

So even though it might seem that the film is breaking its own rules, I think it's just a way to show how completely out of their game the scientists were dealing with this technology, and how there are things they can't ultimately control, even though they think they can. If I'm not mistaken, Jeffrey Wright's character even states something to that effect.


Anyway, I haven't seen it in a couple of years so my response might not be as concise as it could've, but that's more or less the gist of it.

I also remember that shortly before or after watching the film, I was watching a show on cable on quantum physics and all that stuff, and it really messed up my mind and I think that extended to the way I perceived the film. So to me, it's just a matter of dealing with things that are entirely out of our control. In the wise words of Ian Malcolm, "life, uhh, finds a way".

I think it's something like:

WARNING: "source code ending" spoilers below
Jake Gyllenhall's character ends up surviving, in real world, yet he helped stop a bomb going off in a simulation. Been years since I watched it though.



I think it's something like:

WARNING: "source code ending" spoilers below
Jake Gyllenhall's character ends up surviving, in real world, yet he helped stop a bomb going off in a simulation. Been years since I watched it though.
I'm remembering things now but...

WARNING: spoilers below

...there's also the "time loop" element that "breaks out" of the simulation, since he ends up creating an alternate reality that goes back to the beginning, which also raises the question: did every "time loop" event create an alternate reality, even if the scientists said it couldn't?


I love to dig into all that stuff. I might rewatch this soon.





There are Musicals with a capital M where characters express their feelings and advance the plot in elaborate song and dance numbers, like La La Land, and then there are movies about musicians that have music in them. That is the kind of musical my twenty-fifth choice is. Hearts Beat Loud (2018) is a fictional story about a widower (Nick Offerman) who owns a small record store in New Jersey and whose daughter (Kiersey Clemons) is about to go away to college. Dad loves playing music with his daughter the way a father and son might play catch. They don't play for anyone but themselves. But their latest jam session turns into an original song, which he records and puts on the internet without her knowledge. It becomes a viral hit and now Dad doesn't want to break up the two-person band for something as trivial as a college education. It's sort of a coming-of-age tale for both characters, as Offerman's Frank has been stuck since his wife's death. The daughter also has a girlfriend (Sasha Lane), Frank's best friend is a local bartender (Ted Danson), and Toni Collette is his sympathetic landlord who doesn't want to see the record store go under. Written and directed by Brett Haley (The Hero and I'll See You in My Dreams), this is a charmer that I fell in love with bigtime.

Since it didn't show on the initial list of one-pointers that means at least one of you other MoFos voted for it. Whoever you are, you have excellent taste.

HOLDEN PIKE’S LIST
1. La La Land (#5)
2. The Tree of Life (#10)
3. The Social Network (#7)
4. Incendies (#30)
5. Take Shelter (#67)
6. The Artist (#87)
8. Silence (#43)
9. Birdman (#21)
10. The Revenant (#53)
11. The Favourite (#61)
12. A Hidden Life (DNP)
13. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (DNP)
14. Nightcrawler (#55)
15. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (#72)
16. Her (#9)
17. The Wolf of Wall Street (#11)
18. Blade Runner 2049 (#8)
19. Silver Linings Playbook (#24)
20. Blue Ruin (DNP)
21. Room (#97)
22. True Grit (#40)
24. Get Out (#19)
25. Hearts Beat Loud (DNP)

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Next in the row of the EU productions I've voted for:


My #19. In den Gängen [In the Aisles] (2018)

Written and Directed by Thomas Stuber
Starring Sandra Hüller and Franz Rogowski


Yes, it was Toni Erdmann (2016), a movie I took with mixed feelings, that introduced to me the German actress Sandra Hüller. Noticing her somehow mysterious charisma, I've immediately started searching for her works. Luckily, then they've released In the Aisles. After that, I was totally obsessed by Hüller, watching the movie couple of times in months.
In my view, the film is one of the best examples of the so called Slice of Life drama genre. It shows several months or something of the every-day life of the lower level staff at a hypermarket. Presented in a calm manner, it is full of hidden emotions. I love this title.

I was about to nominate this in the preliminary Group Watch thread...


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Isn't this the recurring theme with you for all countdowns?
Recent countdowns? Yes. Because the C21st is shit. But you've been around here long enough to know that when we discusss decent decades, I'm there for it. Though that doesn't mean I won't slaughter some sacred cows just because I don't like them, but I have usually seen them at least. I'm too old and uninterested to be doing stuff like that now.



In truth though, there should be at least hundreds of slips of paper in that envelope.

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.
I think it's worth remembering that most of the big, classic H'Wood musicals aren't sung by the people onscreen. It's the kind of thing I think producers would see as a big risk now with 'authenticity' being foremost in peoples minds, even in fantasy.

I didn't feel that many of the musical sequences added that much to the film. If you cut out every single song I actually think the film would have flowed better.)
Isn't that almost every musical?

I enjoyed La La Land, especially the production and set design. The two leads didn't have a lot of chemistry together, and their dance numbers were too amateurish. Also to my taste the ending was inconsistent with a good musical.


I may have been impressed with the idea of the film rather than the film itself.



Still, I put at my #18.
I mean, this is the decade encapsulated, isn't it? I liked it, it was OK, top 25 of the decade. This is one of the reasons I did submit a list when I usually wouldn't. Yeah, I couldn't think of 25 films I loved, but I figured most people couldn't, so why should I be any different.

My #14 - Berberian Sound Studio
I thought about putting this on my list somewhere, but I didn't remember much (naturally) and I remembered not liking the last third very much, so decided against it.
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These two films have been on my watch list for quite some time. I’ve previously mentioned this, but the amount of films I’ve watched post 2000 is pretty bad compared to, say the 70’s-90’s (although I’ve been going through the 60’s much more often of late.)

So many littler gems that slipped through that I hadn’t even heard of.

Looking at my own letterboxd stats (which was only set up roughly 10 years ago, but also looks like it includes things I've flagged as watched in the past)
1900s - 1
1910s - 1
1920s - 22
1930s - 36
1940s - 53
1950s - 75
1960s - 198 (I thought this would be higher)
1970s - 345
1980s - 330
1990s - 146
2000s - 197
2010s - 301


I suspect the 2010s count is accurate and the other ones are undercounted because letterboxd didn't exist back then.
I suspect my 90s count is closer to my 80s count.
Just a data dump, I'm not really sure what to make of it myself. I do recall not really keeping up with recent releases in the 2000s.
I think of my contemporary viewings as being a small fraction of my viewings, but I also think that's just because I don't watch movies the year they're released. Over the decade I probably did eventually catch up with a good percentage of what I meant to see.