Help me catch up on the great movies of the last 10 years!
February 28, 2018 8:27 AM   Subscribe

I have a chunk of time off and would like to immerse myself in film. In the late 90s and early 2000s I was conversant in What’s Good and now I feel like I haven’t seen a good movie since like 2008.

Please help me become cinematically literate again and recommend what you’ve considered to be great (or even just entertaining or pop culturally relevant) in the past decade. Anything on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or HBO preferred but not necessary. I also realize that we are in a “golden age” of amazing TV but there are lots of threads on that so I’m covered. I’m going to leave out what I like because I’m open to anything (except anime or horror.)
posted by tatiana wishbone to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
I could list many but I'll stick with three which are especially relevant as they each have a unique structure and inventive way of storytelling.



American Splendor

(oops my brain read your dates wrong, but I'll leave those and add):


Ex Machina

posted by The Deej at 8:32 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Get Out (it's kind of horror but so much deeper than that genre usually is)
Black Panther
Hidden Figures
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:39 AM on February 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

Some of my favourite movies from the past decade, sorted sort of by genre:

La La Land
About Time
The Way Way Back
(500) Days of Summer
Crazy Stupid Love
Date Night
Hidden Figures
The King's Speech
The Imitation Game
The Social Network
Slumdog Millionaire
Revolutionary Road
12 Years a Slave
posted by yawper at 8:46 AM on February 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Dallas Buyers Club
posted by london explorer girl at 8:46 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Guardians of the Galaxy
Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water ("Octavia Spencer is underappreciated in Cold War scientific milieux" double feature)
Big Hero
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:47 AM on February 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I really like the Filmspotting podcast for things like this. They see easily 100-200x more films that I do and while they cover the best blockbusters they tend to skew towards the indie and art house circuit. You can film their best of lists/shows:
Best of 2017 part 1
Best of 2017 part 2
Best of 2016 part 1
Best of 2016 part 2

...and so on...
posted by mmascolino at 8:55 AM on February 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

Good recommendations so far. Not listed yet:
Under the Skin
I am Not Your Negro
Inside Out
posted by five toed sloth at 8:59 AM on February 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

2015's The Witch - I literally cannot think of a better movie. It's considered horror, but it's not full of jump scares or anything, and it was pretty well reviewed.
posted by kpmcguire at 9:26 AM on February 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

Inglorious Basterds
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:31 AM on February 28, 2018

posted by Splunge at 9:32 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

My favorites from the last decade:
Shin Godzilla
High Rise
Hell Baby
Young Adult
The Hunter
You're Next
Attack the Block
Troll Hunter
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
posted by heatvision at 9:45 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

My taste in films is admittedly Not For Everyone, so some of these may not be up your street, but I tried to pick some films which were both 'off the beaten path' somewhat, and which hadn't already been mentioned. I can't speak to streaming options, except to say that there are a few I'm certain won't be findable via that route.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Valhalla Rising
Only Lovers Left Alive
The Lobster
A Torinói Ló (The Turin Horse)
Hrútar (Rams)
Левиафан (Leviathan)
Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)
Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past) (Slightly outside your framed request as it was released in 2002, but Kaurismäki's The Other Side of Hope is also worth a view)
posted by myotahapea at 9:55 AM on February 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

The Master
posted by miles per flower at 10:00 AM on February 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

I just so happen to have in my hand: a list of all the movies that have ever been on the 1001 Movies To See Before You Die list, as of the 2017 edition of the book. My recommendations (that I have seen) off this list, going back to 2008:

Inglorious Basterds
The Tree Of Life (I admit this is a controversial choice as it was a little....."arty" to the point that it was hard to follow for some)
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Star Wars: the Force Awakens
The Big Short
Hell or High Water

And other movies that I've heard were good, but didn't see and slightly regret not having seen:

Let The Right One In
District 9
In The Loop
True Grit
The King's Speech
The Artist
The Cabin In The Woods
12 Years a Slave
Under the Skin
Guardians of the Galexy (note: while I haven't seen the original, I did see the sequel, and loved it to the point that I'm confident the first will be equally as fun)
the Theory of Everything

I also concur with Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Hidden Figures, Shape of Water, and Get Out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on February 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not going to make any specific recommendations and instead recommend that you sign up for Netflix discs. The vast majority of the movies you're going to want to watch are going to be digital rental only (no Netflix, Hulu, etc, etc, etc) and renting a bunch of movies gets very spendy.

Then, maybe just look through some top 10 lists of critics you like from past years, then if a movie from a particular director grabs you, check out more of their movies.
posted by Automocar at 10:05 AM on February 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Shin Godzilla was so f*cking good, I don't know how I forgot it!!

I liked Drive (2011) with Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Cloud Atlas (2012) was unlike any movie theater experience I have ever had. All of the Marvel superhero movies are loads of fun. Don't miss AntMan! Inception (2010) is the last good movie Leonardo DiCaprio made (it's a Nolan film and you will love it.)

For TV... The first 2 Seasons of House of Cards on Netflix + the 3 short seasons of the BBC original version House of Cards is required viewing IMHO. There's a lot of meat there to chew.


(ps - you can find all the songs from Steven Universe on Spotify and similar services. You're welcome!)
posted by jbenben at 10:54 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I tend to follow writers and directors rather than stars, so I would just recommend anything involving these people:

Denis Villeneuve
Taylor Sheridan
Steve McQueen
Ana Lily Amirpour
Yorgos Lanthimos
Noah Baumbach
Greta Gerwig
Barry Jenkins
Ben Wheatley
the Safdie brothers
Sean Baker

....and probably plenty more I'm forgetting, but that's a quick list of filmmakers who've emerged in the last ten years. Personally I haven't totally loved what I've seen from Lanthimos or Wheatley, just too cold and uninviting for my taste, but a lot of other film fans seem to love them so what do I know. The rest have been almost universally great, fresh and innovative feeling imo.

oh, and seconding 2015's The Witch & 2013's Under The Skin specifically, those are my two fav's of the last decade
posted by mannequito at 10:59 AM on February 28, 2018

Other films I liked that I don't think have been mentioned:
Kubo and the Two Strings
An Education
Big Hero 6
The Big Sick
Lady Bird
Girls Trip
posted by TwoStride at 11:01 AM on February 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

Get Out
12 Years A Slave
There Will Be Blood (its from 2007 so it may not make the cut)
Mad Max
Sicario and Whiplash were really intense
The Wolf of Wall Street
posted by pynchonesque at 11:16 AM on February 28, 2018

- Sicario (intense movie about the war on drugs)
- Moonlight (heartbreaking and beautiful flick)
- Brick (a noir movie)
- Little miss Sunshine (comedy, but also will break your heart)
- Pan's Labyrinth (spooky, dark, beautiful)
- Wind River (my favorite movie of 2017)
- Beasts of the Southern wild (i can't really describe this movie, but its soul stirring)
- Lost in Translation (Murray and Johansson, 'nuff said.)
also, The Royal Tenenbaums. or Life Aquatic ..or the Darjeeling limited. or fantastic mr fox. or all of them.

ah, yes. def. the Hurtlocker. so. good.
posted by speakeasy at 11:40 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some of my favourites which haven't been mentioned:

We are the Best!
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
The Handmaiden
Frances Ha
Certain Women
Bridge of Spies
Computer Chess
Leviathan (the documentary, not the Russian film which I haven't seen)
It's Such a Beautiful Day
A Serious Man
posted by Chenko at 11:41 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

My favorite genre is horror, but barring that, here are some other highlights from 2010-2015

Black Swan
The Act of Killing (documentary)
Blue is the Warmest Color
Killer Joe (not for all tastes)
The Overnighters (documentary)
Mad Max: Fury Road

For more recent things, nthing Moonlight, and also Call Me by Your Name, both are sublime.
posted by cakelite at 12:01 PM on February 28, 2018

Some of my favorites since ~2008:

Synecdoche, New York
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Master
Inside Out
Only Lovers Left Alive
A Prophet
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (actually from 2007, but not many people saw it, so...)
Manchester by the Sea
The Big Short
All Is Lost
Winter's Bone
The Hangover
13 Assassins
posted by Bron at 1:13 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just want to put in a plug for your local library system. I used to be a librarian and still use my system heavily, and they tend to get ALL THE MOVIES. And the ones they don't have, they can borrow for you from other library systems. Save the money you were going to spend on a Netflix disc subscription and support your local library!
posted by jabes at 1:27 PM on February 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

posted by idealist at 1:29 PM on February 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Gone Girl. (Apologies if I missed it.)

I'm not much for the "latest" movie, but this one really caught and held my attention. As in, I sat up half the night with my eyes glued to the screen. I hadn't read the book first though.

Seconding Black Swan.

Also Winter's Bone.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 4:23 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think this list is one of the better distillations of critical consensus that's out there, though, as always, you'll find some critically-acclaimed movies that don't connect, and some masterpieces on the margins.
posted by kingoftonga86 at 8:29 PM on February 28, 2018

Some not mentioned- I watch a lot of foreign film so some of these will have subtitles- in no order at all.
In Bruges
The Virgin Margarida
Swiss Army Man
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Dope (in the Chanel Iman should be in more movies category, and best teen movie)
Looper (in the Bruce Willis category)
Nuts (documentary category)
American Hustle
The Big Sick
Dear White People
The Martian
Turtles Can Fly
Zombieland (in the Bill Murray category)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople/ What we do in the Dark (Taika Waititi category)
Thor Ragnarok (in the wtf did I just watch/ Jeff Goldbloom category)
Birth of A Nation
Gleason (in the ugly crying category- you have been warned)
Author: The JT Leroy story (only if you were a JT Leroy fan back in the day probably. I loved it)
Manchester By The Sea
Gone Baby Gone (crime category)
Age of Adeline
A Separation
Life + 1Day
Under The Shadow (horror but like, feminist arty horror with A Message)
Fruitvale Station
Me and Earl and The Dying Girl
The Hippopotamus
Edge of Tomorrow (in the aliens invade category AND the Groundhog day category!)
Prevenge (funny horror)
Beasts of No Nation
Kwaku Ananse (in the Myths and Fables category, it's a shortish film)
A Man Called Ove (in the heartwarming category)
District 9
Other People
posted by fshgrl at 10:07 PM on February 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh my gosh, so many good movies in these lists. Speaking as a largely SF/F fan, let me second:

Mad Max: Fury Road
District 9
Brick (over 10 years old, but amazing and relevant)

"Mad Max" is the most interesting thing I've seen in the last decade. And this is from a "Solaris" fan. (The Tarkovsky one.)
posted by apjanke at 2:20 AM on March 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Guard
War on Everyone

And his brother's films are even better!
posted by fullerine at 5:19 AM on March 1, 2018

"Mad Max" is the most interesting thing I've seen in the last decade. And this is from a "Solaris" fan. (The Tarkovsky one.)

.....i actually liked the remake with George Clooney, and would consider suggesting it for this list.

please don't hurt me
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:36 PM on March 1, 2018

I watch so many movies that they all kind of melt into one another. But one that stands alone in my mind is Blade Runner 2049. It was excellent.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:21 PM on March 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you might be watching with school-age kids, The Book of Kells has fabulous artistry, and the Queen of Katwe is compelling.
posted by childofTethys at 5:09 AM on March 2, 2018

Seconding check out the library.
posted by TrishaU at 7:29 AM on March 2, 2018

Mad Max Fury Road
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
Little Miss Sunshine
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Blade Runner 2049
Gaurdians Of The Galaxy 1&2
Up In The Air
August Osage County
True Grit
Dallas Buyers Club
The Big Short
posted by WalkerWestridge at 10:04 PM on March 2, 2018

I always use the Rotten Tomatoes yearly Top 100 lists for this:


A lot of times there are really highly rated movies that I hadn't considered ("really? Paddington gets 98% from critics? huh" - and it was really really good! way better than I expected!)
posted by kristi at 11:30 AM on March 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

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