We are all about ranking things around here - we are a competitive movie blogging website, after all. What other purpose of life is there? But if there's anything more important than ranking, it is surely re-ranking as the slow march of time ebbs on through the mountains of yesteryear. We did this quite a while ago with a few earlier movies, namely every year since we came into existence - 2009. Back in 2017, here is where we ranked 2012 - 2014. And here is where we put 2009 - 2012 four days ago.
Back in 2017, 2016 had JUST happened, so this is pretty new territory, people. Remember when we thought 2016 was a horrible year? Anyway. It's got nothing on 1873! But since that moment each year when we rank all the best films of the year, we ALSO re-rank last year's ranking. This is common practice at this point. A year is a good time to catch up with films we missed, let things digest, and see what film really took hold and we still think about.
I hate to say that so often my far-out rankings reflect that - which films have stuck with me, which do I remember, and which hold up. This is, I think, distinct from the experience of first watching something. Sometimes what might feel fresh in the moment grows stale over time. Or maybe what seemed incredibly interesting fades over time. I loved District 9 (2009) so much when it came out, but I can't say it's something I enjoy returning to. I thought The Muppets (2011) was so new and fun, but now it seems so dated. Sitting in the theater I loved Moon (2009), The Lobster (2016), and Death of Stalin (2018), but none of these were particularly enjoyable re-watches. So, that is something I have to take account of - if I have a recent bad taste in my mouth, it's ranking is falling. I might note that I re-watched Haywire (2012) and Sorry to Bother You (2018) this year and those were just as enjoyable as the first time around.
Without further ado, let's get into this:
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Place Beyond the Pines
The World's End
Pain & Gain
This is the End
The Wolf of Wall Street
It truly, truly broke my heart to leave off Frozen and The Lone Ranger for the first time ever. But I also wanted to half-highlight out legit great Anchorman 2 is and also troll a little bit. Other than that, one thing we've noticed is that there is definitely a core of immutable films that never change, and 2013 is especially egregious with this. I was so high on Stoker in 2017, it's a great film, but definitely faded a bit in the last few years. What is with 2013 and crazy films about the excess of hubris like Wolf, Pain, Spring Breakers, and even Pacific Rim?
Guardians of the Galaxy
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Under the Skin
Something struck me with this list - This is based so damn much on the male perspective. The Skeleton Twins and Obvious Child were 12th and 13th, and I hate to say I want to stick with that with where I'm at right now. Maybe it's quite simply because I am in fact a straight white male that straight white male stories stick with me, but it also doesn't help that the vast majority of stories told are straight white male stories, which perpetuates itself on lists like this. It all makes me a little uncomfortable. But I also think Noah is super underrated as a bizarre cinematic experience (who am I kidding, it's an hour too long). It was definitely 11th. There are a lot of mainstays here that haven't changed. For my money, Under the Skin is also one of the greatest films of all time, so there's that for the female perspective. Sort of.
The Hateful Eight
The Duke of Burgundy
Straight Outta Compton
Mad Max: Fury Road
Anyone remember Unfinished Business? This is really just a means of me to highlight underrated comedies of the past decade. That movie's great! It didn't make this list. It's so weird that the Best Picture winner was Spotlight. It is good, but is it that good? Also, I'm squeezing in honorable mentions, which I typically try to avoid. I actually think about Straight Outta Compton all the time, But Mad Max: Fury Road is still a movie that you can put in anytime, for anyone, at any moment and they will enjoy it. Mark my words! There is a good mix of big blockbuster and small indies no one's ever heard of here. AS IT SHOULD BE.
Captain America: CIVIL WAR
The Neon Demon
The Love Witch
Swiss Army Man
I really thought about this one. I don't want to completely discount super hero films and blockbusters. I think what CIVIL WAR does is really underrated across legitimate great movies. There's still six movies here from my original list, but it feels so different. Maybe that's because only four have been on every list. This year had a lot of films that are in that "haven't held up" zone like The Lobster, Green Room, and Train to Busan. I have watched others like Zootopia and Deadpool recently, and they certainly hold up, but not quite enough to warrant inclusion here. Maybe instead of arrival. I really wanted to add Popstar because it's by far the funniest and one that has grown in time, but it's also still a pretty shit movie that works better as an outlet to make a soundtrack than an actual satisfying plot.
So we still have 2017 and 2018 to think about. 2019 is a little too close to us, but it's worth it to aggressively reexamine these pretty recent but not that recent years. Stay tuned for more hard-hitting entertainment journalism, folks!