So, I recently saw Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and…well…I kinda can’t stop thinking about it. It was soinfinity good. Just. So. Good. It was far more earnest and heartfelt than I expected, and its storytelling was nearly flawless. And I don’t mean it was good for an animated movie. It was an incredible movie. Period.
After the movie, my husband asked me the perennial question: “what did you think?” I said it was excellent, and then I blurted out that it might be the best movie I’ve seen in the last ten years. He looked at me quizzically. He agreed it was a very good movie, one worth seeing again and owning in some fashion. But…best movie of the last ten years…?
Inasmuch as Into the Spider-Verse has been on my mind, so too has that question. Is it the best movie I’ve seen in the last ten years? I mean, I don’t watch a ton of movies, and that goes doubly for new releases, which is kind of my limiting factor here. Sure, I spend time watching movies — just watched Real Genius for the umpteenth time the other day — but I no longer seek out new movies on opening day. Waiting until a movie is streamable is my cup of tea these days (as it was with movie rentals in the past). With release-to-[insert your favorite streaming service here] times becoming shorter, it’s easy to catch a new-ish movie within a reasonable zeitgeist-ish window. Hence…this month’s maunder. Could I come up with a list of movies from the last ten years that I saw at or near their initial releases, aiming for one per year from 2008 to 2017 (since Into the Spider-Verse is officially a 2018 release), that I enjoyed as much if not more than Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? Hmmm…. … …let’s see.
2008 – Tropic Thunder
There are movies that I simply have to re-watch every now and again. Most of them are comedies, and I’m pretty sure that I do it to make sure that I’ve not completely lost me sense of humor. Tropic Thunder is one of those movies, And every time I watch it, I thank the gods of film and hilarity and political incorrectness that it exists.
2009 – Inglourious Basterds
I’m a moderate Tarantino fan. For me, when his films hit, they really hit. And when they miss, they really miss. Inglourious Basterds was a BIG win – dark comedy, memorable dialogue, historical shenanigans, nazi killing, that kid from The Office. A++.
2010 – Inception
One of the things that makes me a terrible movie-goer these days is that if I’m not drawn into a movie within its first 30 minutes, I pretty much check out of it. Like, that first impression has to win me over, or I’m done. Inception had me hooked from its beginning moments, and I can’t think of a movie of recent years that I find as totally enthralling and engrossing. It’s utterly fantastic.
2011 – Welp, first snag. I’ve been over numerous movie lists, and although 2011 was a fine year for movies, none of the ones I recall seeing really resonate, especially when compared to Into the Spider-Verse. If I had seen it during its first run, Hugo might be my pick. Really wonderful movie with story that led to some usual surprises.
2012 – 21 Jump Street
I went into this bizarro re-imagining of the 1990s TV show by the same name with incredibly low expectations. So the movie didn’t have to try all that hard to make think I wasn’t completely wasting my time. Not only did Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s chemistry completely win me over, but the movie as a whole cleared the bar with comedic aplomb. It’s just a damn stupid good time.
2013 – Sorry folks, I got nothin’. And I don’t even have anything at which to nod. I mean…the only movie that I can think of from that year that made any sort of lasting impression was The Wolf Of Wall Street. I s’pose that if I were in the right mood, I might choose this mash of mania over other cinematic fare. I really do enjoy watching Ms. Robbie and Mr. DiCaprio…um…argue.
2014 – Muppets Most Wanted
To this day, the phrase “The Mooooopets” is regularly invoked in my household. That’s really all I can say about that. I love this silly mooooovie.
2015 – The Martian
If you really want to have a movie cement itself in my mind, place in it a few cheeky references to disco. Add in a solo performance so outstanding that you just can’t help but root for the protagonist, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Still haven’t read the book, but…I don’t think I want to. I’m quite alright with just Matt Damon and the red planet.
2016 – Doctor Strange
Of all the Marvel movies, this telling of Doctor Strange’s origin story is my favorite. It doesn’t have the best story or even the best characterizations (Mads Mikelssen’s Kaecilius is a waste) of the Marvel movies, but I’m most taken in by its mystical aspects, and I love the weirdly infectious chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton.
2017 – Thor: Ragnorok
Okay, You get it. I like comedies. And big, dumb flicks that don’t make me think too much. And never were these notions better married than in Thor: Ragnarok. It is so well-scripted, well-acted, and well-timed that you almost forget you’re watching head-smashing and heart-pounding supernatural beings who’re trying to save the world. Brilliant, it is. Also, MOAR KORG PLEEZ.