24 January 2017

Top 10 Films Version 3.0: 2009-2011

Movie-liking is a fickle, fickle business. Endlessly subjective and contextual, our Top Ten ranks in years past have proven to be really far off what I now feel are great. Every so often I feel compelled to retcon our Top Ten lists dating back to this site's founding, which is a mind-numbing eight years ago. Generally I think tastes stay kind of in the same ballpark, but it's endlessly interesting to me which films end up having staying power and which fall by the wayside. So, we'll be readjusting here, starting with 2009-2011.

For the original list, which also includes our first realignment, check this out.


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Bad Lieutenent: Port of Call New Orleans
World's Greatest Dad
Observe and Report
The Hangover
The Hurt Locker
The Road
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
I've done nothing!

To be sure, only three films from our original 2009 list made the cut seven years later (Observe and Report, Inglourious Basterds, and A Serious Man), but while Basterds earned the #1 spot in 2014, I'm a firm believer that A Serious Man may not only be the greatest film of 2009 but the greatest Coen Bros film of all time. Six films survive from 2014, but the new ones added are a few that I definitely saw back in the day, but have only grown fonder with since. Mainstays like Funny People and UP fell off because while they contain some really interesting ideas and great scenes, neither is really structurally sound seven years down the line. I've also maintained interest in the Zombieland / Adventureland Jesse Eisenberg combo, but neither makes the cut over Nic Cage being insane or Robin Williams' hilariously dark swan song


Let Me In
Get Him to the Greek
The Fighter
Hot Tub Time Machine
Harry Brown
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The Social Network
Black Swan

I'm still pretty nuts over a lot of 2010 comedies, but while The Other Guys and Jackass 3D fall off, I think Get Him to the Greek holds up, but barely. I can't believe Harry Brown never made this list, and MacGruber has sincerely gotten better with age and comes back after being left off 2014. The Social Network has always ranked high, but I can't believe that Black Swan almost fell off the list in 2014. Overall this year does better, retaining six films from my original 2010 list and six from 2014, although not the same six. Five have made it all the way from the first ranking.


Attack the Block
The Tree of Life
The Muppets
The Raid: Redemption
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Take Shelter
Kneel before Shannon

2011's realignment has all to do with films I have finally gotten a chance to see in the past six years. I originally ranked 11 films, so I repeated that gimmick in 2014, but fuck that, ten is immutable. Only three remain from 2011, but six from 2014, so that's in line with 2009. Rango falls as Take Shelter takes its place at the top. The Descendants, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Bridesmaids fall off the list, which had all been pretty steady. I don't think anyone really remembers The Descendants at all, and while the latter two have held up very well, they can't really compete with the true art that came out of 2011 that seemed to escape critical and cultural examination at the time. That's because Tree of Life and Melancholia are boffo insane movies with little regard for traditional plot or character structure. I think the jury is still out on whether or not these are good movies, but I have grown to deeply appreciate the pure cinema on display.

Some may question the purpose of this - is there really a point in shifting around film ranks of yesteryear? Well, in the three years studied we have three new "Best Films," one of which did not appear at all in previous rankings. I think that's important to acknowledge in our thirst to find the best films we got, especially when we consider checking out of a few films, like I did with Take Shelter for years and years.

Stay tuned, loyal readers, for my re-appraisal of 2012-2014!

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