Best Movies of the Decade Lists

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Best movies by decade

best movies by decades

I'm going to avoid discussing the technical merits of my pick (PhDs have been written on all of them), instead I'll focus on why each of my picks embodies the decade its represents. In my list's case, its not about being the best movie of that decade, rather, its about capturing the Zeitgeist of that period.

DecadeFilm / MoviesReason
1900sLe Voyage dans la LuneRepresents the hopes and aspirations of its contemporaries for whom industry and science were the future of humankind.
1910sThe Birth of a NationControversial picture that embodied the growing tensions within american society through the conflict (civil war) that defined it. These tensions would come to shape america for decades to come.
1920sMetropolisThe "future through industry" narrative of the past is shaping up quite differently than what was promised. Class inequalities will lead to class warfare this silent movie warns...
1930sTriumph des WillensThe golden child of propaganda films, this nazi propaganda movie embodies the weaponization of the grievances of the past decades into dangerous ideology.
1940sWhy We FightIn direct response of Triumph of the Will, this collective of movies made the case for american interventionism. These movies, along with Pearl Harbor, shifted how America sees the world and interacts with it.
1950sNorth by NorthwestPost-WW2 paranoia is slowly setting in and changing the perception of everyone. In a dualistic world, is there room for nuance... or even bystanders?
1960sDr. StrangeloveThe paranoia is still there, but suddenly WMD are entering the public's consciousness. Sure we want to win, but at what cost? If "winning the war" leads to humankind's destruction, can wars ever be won anymore?
1970sStar WarsIf we're going to die, might as well enjoy ourselves in the meantime! Evasion cinema finally finds its flagship.
1980sDie HardEvasion yes, but what we really need is a hero, because we all know one ordinary man ("or Woman!" - James Cameron) can make a difference.
1990sPulp FictionHeroes? Villains? It's all in the eye of the beholder. Say hello to cultural relativism and self-awarness.
2000sLe fabuleux destin d'Amélie PoulainMaybe instead of worrying about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, we should focus on what makes us, our loved ones and the world around us better and happy.
2010sHerWhat is the cost of our unstoppable technological march onward? What defines us as individuals? our intelligence? Our experiences? Our flesh and blood?

  • It was really hard to favor Die hard over The Gods Must Be Crazy. Ultimately, TGMBC lost because it was too ahead of its time suprisingly enough. t would have been a perfect ambassador for the 90s (moreso than Pulp Fiction IMHO).
  • Depending on how the rest of the decade goes, Ex Machina, may become a more suitable ambassador than Her.
  • My knowledge of 1900s cinema is limited. I'm willing to accept that there are better options out there. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Méliès and Jules Vernes.
  • I struggled with the 2000s as I felt The Dark Knight also capture the Zeitgeist of the time. Fighting an unpredictable, unconventional opponent who attacks you at your core, really touched a post-9/11 nerve I felt. Ultimately however, I felt that fear of terrorism was something that really affected the american psyche specifically (it became more global during the 2010s), while the desire to better our lives and our environment was more global in its impact and influence. I see Amélie as an ambassador to the beginning of the expression and influence of Millennials' altruistic concerns with environmentalism, gender issues, reconciliation and third world empowerment that followed their rise into adulthood.

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