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Movies & TV

28th Dec 2019

These were the 10 best movies of the decade

Rory Cashin

The best action, horror, comedy, and everything in between from the 2010s.

When you sit down to watch a movie, sometimes you don’t really know what you want to watch, but sometimes you know exactly what you don’t want to watch.

“Something funny” or “Something scary” or “A good action movie” and it is in these moments of preference that you can’t really say that one movie is better or worse than another, it just is or isn’t what you want right then.

To that end, instead of just listing the ten best movies of the decade, we’ve broken them down into categories, with five runners-up in each, and the winner our personal favourite of that type of movie.

Kicking off with…


Runners-Up: John Wick, Edge Of Tomorrow, The Raid, Mission Impossible Fallout, Fast & Furious 5

Winner: Mad Max Fury Road

As a direct reaction to the over-CGI’s movies of the previous decade, everyone turned back to the down and dirty practical effects of action movies. There is something inherently more enjoyable about a big action scene when you know the people involved were likely just inches away from some serious harm. Tie that into the fact that Fury Road didn’t let its slim-but-important plot get in the way of what was essentially one long chase sequence, putting Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron behind the wheels of some OTT vehicles, and then blowing up everything in sight. Truly a one-of-a-kind action experience.

Clip via Warner Bros. Pictures


Runners-Up: The Conjuring, It Follows, Get Out, The Babadook, Cabin In The Woods

Winner: Hereditary

Horror got VERY intelligent this last decade, using it as a shallow mask to cover everything from racism to grief to sexually transmitted diseases, but only in Hereditary was the subtext of depression and mental instability turned into something that was at times so scary, you couldn’t stand to keep looking at the screen. Toni Collette delivered a performance that, in a just world, would’ve won every award going, while the script and direction made sure you never had any real idea where the story was going next.

Clip via A24


Runners-Up: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Ex Machina, Her, Under The Skin, Inception

Winner: Arrival

Even though Hollywood did deliver some big blockbuster sci-fi over the last decade, some of the better examples came in much smaller packaging. Arrival felt like it might have been the former, initially appearing like Independence Day for nerds, before slowly revealing the shockingly deep emotional layers behind the sudden appearance of these aliens and their spaceships all over the planet. Amy Adams rocks you to your core with a performance that peels away in time with the movie itself, and director Denis Villeneuve earmarked himself as a potential master of smart sci-fi (see also: Blade Runner 2049, the upcoming Dune).

Clip via Paramount Pictures


Runners-Up: Bridesmaids, Easy A, Booksmart, Scott Pilgrim VS The World, Paddington 2

Winner: What We Do In The Shadows

Comedy and horror are the two most subjective genres around. What you find funny (or scary), the next person might not. However, there was no arguing that the idea of a mockumentary dealing with a group of vampires in New Zealand forced to live together in small home… that is one of pure genius. Co-directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) and Jemaine Clement (Flight Of The Conchords), it was a mixture of brilliant weirdness and “Why didn’t anyone think of this before??” obviousness, but overall it proved it was a decade that saw brilliantly written comedy scripts pay off, as opposed to just letting “funny” people stand in front of the camera and then say or do whatever they want and hope it comes together in the edit.

Clip via Madman Films


Runners-Up: Sicario, Shutter Island, Whiplash, Nightcrawler, The Guest

Winner: Drive

Thrillers can be a tough one to properly identify, as it can often be just one slash of a knife that pushes it over into the horror genre. However, there is no arguing that the above group were never-less-than-thrilling, but Drive takes the award by simply being so immediately iconic. The soundtrack. That jacket. The neon. The car chases. The shocking instances of harsh, sudden violence. So many movies have tried to copy and paste the effect (some, like The Guest, getting pretty damned close), but none have left a mark the way Drive has.

Clip via Movieclips Trailers


Runners-Up: The Act Of Killing, Blackfish, 20 Feet From Stardom, Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, Minding The Gap

Winner: The Imposter

The 2010s was when documentaries practically became the most-consumed medium. Just look at the explosion of binge watches on Netflix to see how much their popularity has exploded, and in most cases, The Imposter pre-dates them all, but arrived with a style most have tried to emulate since. The story of a missing boy, who was returned to his family, and the huge cover-up that takes place once the truth behind why the boy was missing is revealed is the kind of thing that Netflix would stretch out over ten episodes. Here, you get everything you need in an hour and a half. Just long enough to chew your nails clean off with tension.

Clip via Movieclips Trailers


Runners-Up: Moonlight, Boyhood, Call Me By Your Name, Spotlight, Carol

Winner: The Social Network

LGBTQ movies really, if you’ll excuse the pun, came out in force this last decade, with three of the five runners-up dealing with members of queer society. That being said, Fincher’s tour de force with The Social Network effectively changed the game on biopics, taking something that even now, a full ten years since its release, is in the news pretty much every day, and giving us the Machiavellian backstory to it. Eisenberg, Garfield, and Timberlake have never been better, Reznor and Ross’ score has been copied to the N(IN)th degree, and the script by Aaron Sorkin is firing on all cylinders. Infinitely rewatchable.

Clip via Sony Pictures Entertainment


Runners-Up: The LEGO Movie, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Zootropolis, Anomolisa, Your Name

Winner: Inside Out

Animated movies have effectively cornered the market on either making you laugh more than most movies, or, as is the case with our winner, making you cry more. Sure, Toy Story 3 and Coco had us all in tears too, but Inside Out is the only movie that should be shown to every child around the world as a form of theraputic lesson, letting them know that being sad isn’t only okay, it is very important and healthy as part of a balanced life. In fact, forget the “child” bit, show it every adult too. Some grown-ups need reminded that it is totally okay to cry whenever they feel like it!

Clip via Pixar


Runners-Up: Avengers Infinity War, Joker, Captain America The Winter Soldier, Logan, Dredd

Winner: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

The decade that gave us Superhero Fatigue also gave us some of the best movies of the decade… thanks to superhero movies. You can’t have the good without the bad, obviously, and while not every superhero movie we got needed to be made, we can’t think of a world that isn’t immensely improved upon thanks to the arrive of Spider-Verse. Funny, inclusive, original, and so intelligent and original that it demands an almost immediate rewatch, it is managed to be both an origin story, a continuation story, and a farewell story all at once. It did in one movie what Endgame needed 21 movies of build-up to get to. Again, bring on the sequel!

Clip via Sony Pictures Entertainment


Runners-Up: Sing Street, Michael Inside, A Date For Mad Mary, Brooklyn, Frank

Winner: The Guard

This was a tough one, for as much as we wanted to give it to The Favourite (technically, an Irish co-production), we wanted the award to go to both a movie made with Irish money, and set on Irish soil. And while we’ve made some serious strides in the last decade, with talent both in front of and behind the camera, the one movie we kept coming back to in terms of pure entertainment featured Brendan Gleeson as a profane, drug-taking police officer who finds himself caught up in an international drug ring plot. It isn’t going to change your life, but we imagine, a few decades down the line, people will be looking back on The Guard in the same way we currently look back on The Snapper.

Clip via Movieclips

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