My Top 10 of the 2010's: #1 – Spotlight

#10 “Logan”

#9 “The Wolf of Wall Street”

#8 “BlacKkKlansman”

#7 “Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood ”

#5 “Inside Out ”

#4 “Gravity”

#3 – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

#2 – Arrival

#1 Spotlight

Director: Tom McCarthy

Release Date: 01 Dec 2017

Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, Live Schreiber

Oscars: 6 nominations, 2 wins (Picture, Original Screenplay)

#2 Critically acclaimed movie of 2015, #13 of the decade so far

Favourite Line: Walter Robinson: “We’ve got two stories here: a story about degenerate clergy, and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry. Which story do you want us to write? Because we’re writing one of them.”

 Spotlight handles its subject matter with brutal frankness, but at the same time a delicacy and respect for the film’s (and real life) victims that is rare in any kind of movie. Religion-bashing has become fashionable and acceptable and it would have been an easy route for this film to take. Instead, Spotlight understands the difference between the system and the faith.

The movie is a retelling of the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered and published and damning series of Pulitzer Prize winning articles, outlining systematic abuse in the Boston Archdiocese. How the victims were most often boys; poor, fatherless and vulnerable. The reporters digging into the story are themselves life long Bostonian and mostly Irish-Catholic, so the seismic effect of this story on their own lives, communities and cities is not lost on them.

Liev Schreiber plays Marty Baron, the Executive Editor of the Boston Globe at the time. Spotlight refers to the name of the special investigative team, lead by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton). The team is assigned to further investigate the sexual assault allegations of six priests in Boston that appear to have been covered up by the church. Baron insist that this is not about an individual, its about “the system”, from the top down, that let it happen.

On the surface, Spotlight is an engaging procedural movie, documenting the research, interviews, court appeals and anonymous tips that lead to the story. On a deeper level, it’s shows the life long effect on the victims, their guilt, anger, needle tracks on their arms, their desire for answers and closure.

The Oscar winning original screenplay by director Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer is as close to perfect as a movie gets. It wastes not a scene or a line. It does not trivialize or sensationalize the subject matter and is singularly focused on the story. It holds company with “All the President’s Men” as one of the great films about investigative journalism. And like “All the President’s Men”, Spotlight is an equally entertaining and important film.

Side note: Michael Keaton achieved the rare feat of having the lead role in back to back best pictures, Birdman in 2014 and Spotlight in 2015. When the real Walter Robinson saw Keaton perform as him, he quipped “To watch Michael Keaton become me on film, makes me want to apologize to many people I have interviewed.

My Top 10 Films of the 2010's – #10 through #5

Four films really stood out for me at the top of the list of the 2010’s – so I will reveal and write about those all separately. The harder task was filling spots 5 through 10 – simply because there were so many movies I loved that were worth including.

Here are films 10 through 5 of the 2010’s .

#10 “Logan”

Release Date: 03 March 2017

Director: James Mangold

Oscars : 1 nomination, 0 wins

#14 Critically acclaimed movie of 2017

One Minute Review

Easily the best super-hero movie of the decade. And less of a super-hero movie than a compelling film about a super-hero. The X-Men franchise is tired and needs to be put aside for a while. Logan, on the other hand, takes us a few years into the future, few mutants are left and Wolverine is living a quiet life as a limo driver. The films examine aging, death, loss of power, family and signs off this franchise and Hugh Jackman’s time as Wolverine with elegance and action combined. Its violent, too much so for some but a great film.

Favourite line: “This is my father …. Chuck.”

#9 “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Release Date: 25 Dec 2013

Director: Martin Scorsese

Oscars : 4 nominations, No wins

#6 Critically acclaimed movie of 2013

One Minute Review

For five consecutive decades, Martin Scorsese has created a film in the Best of the Decade list. (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Departed, Wolf and arguably The Irishman as well). Wolf of Wall Street examine 80s excess, corruption, stock swindling and the Wall Street life style but also its consequences and where that life eventually leads. Its Leonardo DiCaprio’s best role, it introduced the world to Margot Robbie in the most spectacular fashion.  Its brilliantly entertaining. And it wasn’t even the best movie of 2013!

Favourite line:” Sides? Sides? $26,000 worth of sides? What are these sides? They cure cancer? “

#8 “BlacKkKlansman”

Release Date: 10 Aug 2918

Director: Spike Lee

Oscars : 6 nominations 1 win (Adapted Screenplay)

#6 Critically acclaimed movie of 2018

One Minute Review

Spike Lee’s best movie since his legendary Do the Right Thing in 1989, and that’s saying something. Even when Lee misses the mark for me, his films are never boring. In BlacKkKlansman, he tells a nearly 40 year old story with the expressed, overt intention of making a statement about America and the POTUS today. John David Washington stars and Ron Stalsworth, the first Black detective in Colorado Springs. With the help of another officer (Adam Driver) he infiltrates the local KKK and even talks directly to David Duke, brilliantly played by Topher Grace. Loved every second of the important, audacious film.

Favourite line: “  Let me tell you something sergeant. The day of the Toads in The Records Room is over.” (There are better but not many I can repeat here!) (The best line is spoken by Stalworth at the end to David Duke)

#7 “Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood ”

Release Date: 29 Jul 2019

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Oscars : Eligible 2020, expect 8 to 10 nominations, maybe QT wins for Director

#3 Critically acclaimed movie of 2019 so far

One Minute Review

Some found this overly long and a little tedious. I was sucked in by every frame. (A working knowledge of the Manson Murders and Sharon Tate is helpful). Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood recreates the Golden Age of Hollywood when many of the stars who are now legends where just starting out. It follows a fictional, past-his-prime 50’s TV Western Star, Rick Dalton (Leo) and his stuntman/gofer Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt in what may be an Oscar winning role). Impeccably recreated for the time, it also follows the life of Manson victim Sharon Tate. The film brilliantly juxtaposes the old and new of Hollywood of that time period while slowly building to an epic, unpredictable Tarantino ending.

Favourite line:  “Don’t cry in front of the Mexicans. “

#6 “Tree of Life ”

Release Date: 17 May 2011

Director: Terrance Malick

Oscars : 3 nominations 0 wins

#1 Critically acclaimed movie of 2011

One Minute Review

At this surface, Tree of Life is the story of an unremarkable family in the 50s in Waco, Texas. But it is so much more than that. At its core, it’s a vast, sweeping ambitious film that encompasses that examines all aspects of human existence. Score (Alexander Desplat) and Cinematography (Emanuel Lubezki) are among the best of you will ever encounter. Just before his death, Roger Ebert included this on his list of the 10 Best films ever made for Sight and Sound Magazine.

Favourite line: “Your mother’s naive. It takes fierce will to get ahead in this world. If you’re good, people take advantage of you.”

#5 “Inside Out ”

Release Date: 19 June 2019

Director: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen

Oscars : 2 nominations 1 win (Animated Feature)

#3 Critically acclaimed movie of 2015

One Minute Review

Who other than Pixar could make a movie where the protagonist is the sub-conscious of the 11 year old girl. Inside Out follows the journey of 11 year old Riley and the five emotions live in her head; Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Sadness. Amy Poelher as Joy is brilliant in the lead but it’s Phyllis Smith as Sadness and Richard Kind and Riley’s forgotten imaginary friend Bing Bong that give the movie its soul. Funny, deeply moving and original. Pixar’s best film since WALL-E and the best animated film of the decade (even over Toy Story 3 and 4).

Favourite line: “ I sure am glad you told me earthquakes are a myth, Joy. Otherwise I’d be terrified right now!”

Next up, my choice for #4