Two writers (Jake Coyle and Lindsey Bahr) from the Associated Press recently penned an article entitled “A Look at the Decade’s Best Big-Screen Releases.” The list, according to these two, was as follows:
- “Tree of Life”
- “Phantom Thread”
- “Lady Bird”
- “Cold War”
- “Certified Copy”
- “Inside Llewyn Davis”
- “The Grand Budapest Hotel
I would like to comment on their list.
First of all, yes, “Lady Bird” was a great coming-of-age film, especially since it was a directorial debut for actress Greta Gerwig, but the rest of the films on this list lacked audience appeal Big Time. This is a horrible list of the “best” of the decade. I question whether anyone except these two even saw half the films on it, most notably “Somewhere,” “Phantom Thread” (did not cross the million-dollar threshold in tickets bought), “Cold War” and “Certified Copy.”
I nearly walked out of “Tree of Life” and watched as many others did exactly that. Ultimately, I chose to write a review that you can read here: https://weeklywilson.com/terrence-malicks-new-film-the-tree-of-life-wins-at-cannes-but-will-they-get-it-in-the-heartland/ It was not a film that I enjoyed, nor did most of the audience. It was a Terence Malick film. He’s made some wonderful films. This wasn’t one of them. He’s been off his game for the past few years, and I’ve been reviewing non-stop since 1970. Opening night of the 2017 SXSW Film Festival in Austin was a semi-disaster, to hear the audience coming out of Malick’s film, muttering and shaking their heads. Despite a star-studded cast, wonderful cinematography alone cannot “save” a film. “Tree of Life” falls into that category.
The same incredulity about the entertainment factor applies to “Phantom Thread,” despite its Oscar nominations. Daniel Day-Lewis as a dressmaker in post 1950s London. Poison. Fetishes. Not a crowd pleaser. One of the reviews at the time referenced a pervading sense of melancholy.
“Moonlight” was well done and beat “La La Land” as Best Picture in the infamous mis-read Oscar telecast ballot screw-up. The best thing to come out of “Moonlight,” however, was a higher profile for Mahershala Ali, who went on to star in “The Green Book,” which would have been a better film to include on this list. The films selected by Coyle and Bahr were well done, yes. But enjoyable? Check out what the audiences had to say on Rotten Tomatoes.
While I loved meeting Oscar Isaac in Chicago at the premiere of “Inside Llewyn Davis” back in 2013 at the Chicago International Film Festival, the film was not that entertaining.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Wes Anderson’s entry on the list, did get more Oscar nominations than his much more enjoyable film “Moonlight Kingdom,” but it was not nearly as enjoyable by the audience.
As for “Margaret,” “Certified Copy,” “Somewhere” and “Cold War”: what? The list above is horrible and, furthermore, reducing all of the great movies from 2000 through 2019 to 10 is ludicrous. I narrowed my list down to this:
American Hustle (2013)
Amy (2015, Amy Wineberg documentary)
The Babadook (2014)
The Big Sick (2017)
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
Captain Phillips (2013)
Dallas Buyers’ Club (2013)
Ford v. Ferrari (2019)
Get Out (2018)
I, Tonya (2018)
The Irishman (2019)
The King’s Speech (2010)
Twelve Years A Slave (2003)
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Marriage Story (2019)
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood (2019)
The Post (2018)
A Quiet Place (2018)
The Shape of Water (2017)
The Green Book (2018)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
The Social Network (2010)