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Best Films of the Decade: The 2010s

Posted on the 07 January 2020 by Kandee @kandeecanread
Best Films of the Decade: The 2010s
Ten years ago up until I moved away to college, I can remember how I watched most of the films: DVR'd and on my mother's couch. I was in no way the film connoisseur (a term I use lightly) that I am, but there has always been something about film that brought me comfort when I felt that I couldn't leave the couch for days on end. As many of you know, I've struggled with depression for most of my life, but as we come to the end of the decade, it is strange to think this is something that I have struggled with for a majority of my earthly existence. Moreover, it's strange to think that I've been watching and re-watching various films as a form of coping with my ailment for just as long. However, the films that I hold near and dear to me are far from those I adored when I was a mere teen. I'd thought I had a very clear view on what I enjoyed and didn't and moreover, I thought that they did for the people that made them. Obviously, things have changed. Blockbuster is simply just a forgotten entity, except for the various DVDs I've occurred with that familiar "RENTAL" sticker on the front. Netflix is now a large conglomerate that exists outside of shipping DVDs to my home every week. Cinema, itself, is constantly in-flux as a format and lifestyle to those who make and watch them. Do they mean more to us now simply because we now live in such a digitally-focused age? Or is it that we feel the need to escape more than ever simply because the real world is no longer as appealing as it once was at the beginning of the decade? Umberto Eco has many essays and books about humanity's appeal for the "fake" or the "hyperreality" that seemingly exists in media and art that allows a person to escape from their own mundanity. I felt it then, sitting on the couch at 12 after missing school for several days because I couldn't get out of bed. And moreover, I feel it now at 22, as I sit at my desk at my "adult" job wishing I'd never gotten out of bed in the first place.
 If you'd asked me a few years ago about my favorite film, I might have said (500) Days of Summer or American Beauty. For obvious reasons, I've grown as a person and am no longer 16 and in awe of movies about white men, made by white men. This list is filled with films that have stood the test through time and although, different in style and format, are films that remind me of the ways I've come into the world and films I like to call "home", or whatever that means. 
Before you begin my list, here are some rules. Firstly, I will not be including films from 2019 because I am crafting another post about those. Secondly, this is not in any order because I am gross and indecisive. Third, best is subjective. Granted, most, if not any, of of these films are feats in film making, but they meant a lot to me/changed me for one reason or another that I will divulge below. Take it or leave it, heathens.
Here is a list of my honorable mentions, or, films that I enjoyed, but didn't feel the need to list here because I either watched them too late or didn't think they deserved a spot: 
- Cabin in the Woods (2011)
- Moonlight (2016)- Skate Kitchen (2018)
- The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010) - Sleeping With Other People (2015)
- The Bling Ring (2013)
Bridesmaids (2011)
Although one of my larger accomplishments of 2019 was discovering that I was non-binary, when I think of one of the first films about women that really stuck with me as a young "girl" at the time, I think of this one. Although directed by a man, Bridesmaids is a ferocious female-driven (and written) comedy and one of the first that was marketed to a mainstream audiences similar to the likes of films like Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle or Superbad. Basically, take the raunchy narrative and make it female. That's what this film did that no others were doing at the time. It was something that the 2012 film, Bachelorette, tried (and somewhat succeeded) to do, but there's something about this film's heart and drama surrounding female friendship and that not only transcends it's comedic demeanor, but also makes it feel like your 40th watch was your first. 
Ingrid Goes West (2017)
Could be about me at 15. Could be about me currently at 22. That's the wild thing and that's why it is here. It's a dark comedy surround the pitfalls of the age of social media that honestly, digs deep into the pitfalls of where and when we all became to both hate ourselves yet seemingly want everyone else to love us instead.
Tangerine (2015)
Tangerine is a hilariously vibrant, robust tale that's gritty, hilarious and beautiful about making the best out of an unideal situation. And more than anything, it feels like it could be happening at any point in time in the past, present or future (but hopefully not). 
   Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
Kristen Wiig kills everything she is in and this film proves that. When I initially wrote about this film, I praised its depiction of virginity and sexuality. I stand by all of that to this day. This film is a terrific and vibrant coming-of-age tale that does not shy away from the awkward, gross and sometimes beauty in being young and learning about your body and one that I will continue to watch as I continue to learn about myself as an adult.
   Frances Ha (2012)
This film is kind of like magic. The beauty of mumblecore and why I enjoy it as a genre so much is simply because it's all kind of a big mistake. How can I even begin to describe films that look and feel like everyday life? How can I even begin to describe a film that feels like a portrait of a familiar and intimate time in my life when I haven't even lived and done anything yet? Frances Ha feels like a memory and plays like a song and although I don't know what is coming next, it gives me hope.
  Spring Breakers (2012)
Whether it is having shit, buying shit, stealing shit, our liveliness as a society is all about shit and Spring Breakers feels like a musical, neon nightmare that illustrates and seemingly embraces our longing for immortalization by way of all the shit we have and how far we will go to get it. 
  Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012)
More than often we find ourselves lost when we are single as we yearn for something or someone to fix our problems so we can become whole again. Celeste and Jesse Forever pushes against our hopes and desires and deals with them in a way that is both painstaking yet cared for.
   Support the Girls (2018)
I want to scream and shout with the women in this film. I want to hear their pain. I want them to hear mine and in turn, we all feel heard. Sometimes that is all you need.
   Her (2013)
Are we human because we love or do we love because we are human? How fragile are we that we succumb to falling in love with inanimate objects? Her is a film that made me rethink and question these things and many more about how we, as a species, love ourselves and one another. This isn't to say this film is inherently right or wrong about technology, love or humanity, but in crafting these fragile characters, it illustrates our own longing to be loved and to find love, both romantic and not, and moreover, the limitations and complications of that love.
   Lady Bird (2017)
When I was Lady Bird's age, if you had asked me if I hated my mother, I would've said yes. Now, the answer is a bit more complicated than that. This film made me think about how complicated that question really is and moreover, how complicated everything was at that age. [Initial review]
  It Follows (2014)
I had sex after watching this movie for the first time. I don't think I got it then as I wrote it off as an allegory for sex. I don't think I do now either because all I can think about is the dread and the meandering, dreamy horror of my own adolescent ignorance after watching such a film and again, having sex after such a film. But maybe that is the point after all.
  The Skeleton Twins (2014)
A very human study on character and family dynamics. I appreciated its sentiment on family simply because I've never been (and possibly never will be) close with mine and although it made me hope for different, it helped me understand that there is something to behold about that familial bond even if it's not directly in the same way as Hader and Wiigs' characters.
  An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012)
This debut features Terrance Nance ripping up the narrative structure and trying to piece it back together in a coherent way, but in trying to do so, he confuses everyone, including himself, along the way. I don't think this film quite knows what it wants to be, but I don't think that's a bad thing, especially because it's doing whatever it's doing in way that doesn't seem to require an answer at all. 
  Ernest and Celestine (2012)
This film simply breathes the words, "home" and "comfort" and "warmth." We need  more films like this in the world, not just for our children, but for our own sake as the adults that shape them. 
   Magic Mike XXL (2015)
I vividly remember being in love with this film and standing up to applaud it as the credits rolled in the empty theater next to my very confused friend. Its is comforting and thrilling and truly one of my favorite sequels of all time.
   The Handmaiden (2014)
With the structure of a thriller and the tone of a Shakespearean drama, this is a nearly flawless film. It's an exercise in extremity and its kinky grandiose nature will pull the rug from under your feet and proceeds to, then, sucker punch you in the jaw before you've even hit the ground.
   Green Room (2015)
Very visceral and the literal definition of "punk rock" if it were a film, capitalistic hypocrisy and violent grandiosity included.
   It Felt Like Love (2013)
Though it's also largely about sex, It Felt Like Love is also just a snapshot into the larger thesis of  Hittman's work, which is a lot about self knowledge and coming to terms with yourself in a world where we long to be accepted and loved by others that often do not love us back or use that vulnerability against us, especially being a woman
About Time (2013)
None of the gimmick, but all of the heart, About Time is a bit about everything: love, living and being present and moreover, it is kind of messy, but I enjoy that about it. Life is messy. Give me a break.
Obvious Child (2014)
This movie feels like a warm hug. Though it shouldn't feel as special as it does (a la Frances Ha or Support the Girls), it treats life like life and the "big issues" like abortion that it touches on does not take up the lead characters' space and exists as simply something that people deal with from time-to-time.
  First Reformed (2018)
Sometimes all we can do is sit back and watch the world burn. Sometimes all we can do is actually the opposite of that. This film is about finding the balance and it doesn't leave us with an solutions or moreover, insight, into how to do that, but its worth watching for a bit of inspiration.

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