Choosing my top movies was a very hard process, maybe because you watch too many movies in the span of ten years. I decided to be honest with myself and put the ones I enjoyed the most instead of the ones I know are “objectively” the best.
10. The Big Sick
The Big Sick is a poignant romantic comedy based on the real life story of its protagonist. Kumail is a struggling stand-up comedian that falls in love with a girl he hooked up with, and after dating and breaking up, she falls severly ill and has to be hospitalized. The movie doesn’t fall into the usual rom-com clichés and actually explores intercultural relationships though its characters. There is a palpable honesty to this love story that fills my heart with warm feelings.
A group of scientists have to enter a continously expanding quarantined zone called the Shimmer, which was created from fallen meteorite. Inside, biology doesn’t follow Earth rules and instead goes very, very wrong. There is some disturbing and bizarre imagery that is also very beautiful in a weird way. It is not a perfect movie, but the concept alone sells it for me. The ending creature is just so incomprehensible that I loved it.
Kristen Wiig is hilarious and so is this movie. The jokes are continuous and the whole cast seems to be always having fun, so even if a joke doesn’t land (they can get raunchy) you can’t help but smile all the way through. And there’s also a heartfelt story centered around the friendship between two women, which was refreshing to see at the time. Very rewatchable.
I’ve always had a notalgic soft spot for the X-Men because of their popularity in the 90’s. The movie franchise under FOX was pretty uneven to say the least, but Logan stands out as the best one if you take it as a standalone piece (continuity be damned). It’s a mature exploration of Wolverine as a character and how he deals with failure and a world that doesn’t need him anymore, until he meets Laura, aka X-23. In some regards, it reminded me of Joel and Ellie’s journey in The Last of Us game. Logan finds a reason to live by protecting and caring for her surrogate daughter and it’s a beautiful relationship that leads to a bittersweet send-off for the iconic superhero.
Pixar did what no Mexican animation studio has been able to do yet, honor our culture while delivering a tight, well written and emotional story (looking at you crappy Día de Muertos movie). As a mexican, you recognize the hard work the animation studio did because all the little details in the characters, settings, and soundtrack (I actually own the CD) give it a very authentic feel. The story of Miguel travelling to the underworld and reconnecting with his family is really touching and when he plays Remember Me/Recuérdame to Mamá Coco you might just be dead inside if you’re not moved by it (tears are optional).
An actual Best Picture Oscar winner, Spotlight is an all-around great movie: great script, acting, directing, pacing, etc. What makes this an important movie is its subject matter: the real case of the Boston Globe’s investigation on child abuse by Catholic priests and the Church’s systematic covering and concealment of it. Shedding light on a real-world crisis through art is a pretty big deal, so props to this film.
4. Black Swan
Being an Aronofsky movie, you know from the start that Black Swan is gonna get dark, and it does, and I love it. Nina is a ballet dancer that works hard for her dream of becoming the lead in the Swan Lake, maybe too hard, to the point of losing her mind in the process. This is pure psychological horror with beautiful cinematography and a captivating performance by Natalie Portman.
3. Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett is enthralling as tragic Jasmine. After losing her wealth and getting back in touch with her estranged sister Ginger, she has to learn to get her life back together by working hard and being a good person. Only she cannot, or more precisely, does not WANT to do that. This is a black comedy where shitty people get what they deserve and there is a certain satisfaction to be had when you watch an unlikeable wealthy, privileged person descend into misery by their own doing (schadenfreude is normal, right?).
Recently, mainstream horror had become too predictable and reliable on jump scares, so Hereditary was a fresh breath of air, taking its time to become more disturbing as it goes on and actually delivering a plot twist halfway that severely impacted the plot. The first half of the film actually plays out like a drama about a grief-stricken family, and later on when the supernatural occurs we know these people well enough to understand why they act like they do. Toni Collette gives an amazing performance and practically carries the movie herself. There is very haunting imagery throughout but just as unsettling are the scenes where the family speaks out their repressed anger and trauma.
1. Toy Story 4
Instead of creating a bigger, more out-there story (like, I don’t know, a war between toys and humans), Toy Story 4 scales down the scope and deals with the natural progression of Woody’s journey after leaving Andy. I find it fascinating that a kids’ movie doesn’t shy away from mature themes like finding meaning in life after abandonment or leaving your family behind to pursue your own happiness. There are very clear human-God and parent-child metaphors in display, which make for very good food for thought. And above all that, the movie is very funny and stunning to look at. This movie shouldn’t be this good, but Pixar somehow did it again!
- Your Name
- Ex Machina
- The Witch
- The Favourite
- Spider-Man: Into de Spider-Verse
- Two Days, One Night