As the 2010s draw to a close we're putting together a new series on 'The Rewind' where our team of writers pick their five favourite movies of the past ten years. These are not definitive 'five BEST movies' selections but are rather personal preference, with a myriad of different selection reasons that each writer will detail.
Today's top five comes from Sean Meehan.
I'd be nothing without my brain, that little guy has allowed me to navigate 23 years of life by avoiding danger and side-stepping chaos. Yet, much like revising for mock exams and remembering the good days, it's letting me down right here. Having to go over a decade's worth of film has left me unable to recall anything I've ever enjoyed watching. Awful Netflix fodder, mostly with Noah Centineo in a starring role, have been the only movies at the fore of my head.
Of course, most of my decade, spanning from teenage malaise to drowning in adulthood, has been spent on the batter and watching St Patrick's Athletic. The odd time I get cultured, I'm usually pretty useless. That being said, there are a few movies that I need to cite that made this decade more bearable. Irish films like Sing Street and Dublin Old School, Ryan Gosling's star-turns in films such as Drive, La La Land, even The Nice Guys can get a shout, sure what about The Wolf of Wall Street? It was a stellar 10 years for film, and without further ado, here are my five favourites.
The Lego Movie
Okay, I needed to get this one out of the way first. The Lego Movie probably tugged on my heartstrings more than any other film from the 2010s. Never mind the ensemble cast (Will Arnett as Batman was an utter masterstroke) and look beyond the fact that it's animated film about building blocks, this movie is combines a compelling narrative with comedy which appeals to every facet of a family.
You genuinely lose the run of yourself in the imagined world, desperately vying for the resistance against the evils of... glue. The film could have defaulted into a mould similar to the Transformers franchise, creating a film that exists solely to sell toys, but it has way too much heart to ever devolve into that. Also, the anti-establishmentarianism rife in the film is brilliant, if a bit strange, considering The Lego Group's total assets combine to a little over €3.5 billion.
Let's not get bogged into that, but instead marvel at a film that is genuinely fun for all the family. Alongside laughing and crying in equal measure, don't sleep on 'Everything Is Awesome', which may be the greatest song ever written.
A distinctly different flavour, but another film that you'll find yourself barrelled over laughing at. It's hardly surprising that Submarine is funny, considering it was written by the off-kilter and ever-hilarious Richard Ayoade. However, the overarching themes of disenfranchisement and teen-romance are felt far more than the comic moments. The casting of Craig Roberts as Oliver gives the character a depth and humanity that allows the audience to root for him, likewise Yasmin Paige as Jordana.
Above all, the style of Submarine is what captivates. Ayoade's first feature film allowed him to test the waters of Submarine's aesthetics. Exposed shots with sparklers and hued wide-angled frames that show the small Welsh seaside town that Submarine lives in give the film a unique look. The style doesn't stop at the aesthetic, as the score of the film rounds it off. The original score was created by Andrew Hewitt, bringing us further into Submarine's world. Most of all, Alex Turner (of Arctic Monkeys fame) and his original soundtrack makes the film whole. Turner morphed his sound, creating a timeline of teen-angst to an acoustic soundtrack.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ah, a Wes Anderson film, how utterly cliche. This is MY list and I can be cliche if I want to. Aesthetic is a given with Anderson, and the colour palette-based wonderment is evident throughout the film. Likewise with the Oscar-winning score from Alexandre Desplat, everything just works. Even right down to the silliness of the cast's performances, all while keeping a police chase at the heart of the story.
You'd be forgiven if you thought that The Grand Budapest Hotel ended with all the silliness, but that's all in the expert nature of Anderson's filmmaking. Plus, just look at the cast, Anderson managed to wrangle a performance out of Bill Murray, Bill Murray! Also, The Grand Budapest Hotel is the only film I've ever enjoyed Saoirse Ronan being in, I felt like I needed to get that off my chest.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Now, we're right back with another music-based misadventure. You're almost guaranteed a good time when Edgar Wright is at the helm of a film, yet with Scott Pilgrim, it truly felt as though the director outdid himself. Considering it was based on a graphic novel series, it was imperative that the ornamentation of the film was as eye-catching as possible. And boy, Wright truly stepped up to the plate. From the impactful visual graphics to the unique cuts that only Wright is capable of seeing, Scott Pilgrim brought the book to life.
Of course, the plot is mad. Running through a seven fights as though they're video game levels all to win the affection of a girl with blue hair. Unfortunately, the aftermath of Mary Elizabeth Winstead's turn as Ramona Flowers meant that every young one with even a streak of colour in their hair is subjected to soft boys messaging them trying to be their Scott Pilgrim. Either way, both Winstead's performance as the aforementioned Flowers and the ever-strange and wonderful Michael Cera as the title character were excellent casting decisions.
We didn't even mention the music! From the garage band stylings of Sex Bob-Omb to the absolute banger that is The Clash at Demonhead's 'Black Sheep', this film is chockfull of brilliant musical moments. It's also insanely funny, though everything goes at a mile a minute. Actually, the editing is class as well, big up Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss.
Probably my favourite film of the last decade, BlacKkKlansman combined all of my favourite elements of Spike Lee's filmmaking into one. From unique shots (the dolly shot at the end of the film made me jump out of my seat in the pictures) to intricate storytelling, all while maintaining a conscious edge, Lee rightfully received his first Oscar for BlacKkKlansman.
Based on an insanely true story, Lee allows the story to speak for itself in its sheer outlandishness, helped along by the performances of Adam Driver, John David Washington and Laura Harrier. Lee even ties the politics of 1970s America into today, utilising footage from the fascist Charlottesville rally of 2017 as a mirror to the racism endemic in America in the 1970s.
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