The 100 Greatest Movies Of The Last 15 Years
By Tyler Smyth
FAM, in all their infinite wisdom, has asked me to create a list of the best movies of the last 15 years for our readers. The films that will populate this list were not chosen simply because they are my favorites, they were chosen based on their cinematic merits. The fact that they happen to also be my personal favorites should only serve to further bolster my reputation as FAM’s de facto “critico cinematografico esperto”.
Let’s face it, most people have horrible taste in movies, and if you are unsure if you fall into this category, just swing by our message boards and tell me your favorite movies and I’ll tell you how bad they are. I don’t blame you though, it’s really not your fault. It has more to do with the fact that you don’t know about some of the greatest films ever made than it does with you actually thinking the 5th installment of the Avengers is a cinematic masterpiece.
I will countdown 5 movies at a time until we reach my number 1 film of the past 15 years, my guess is you’ve never heard of it.
95. The Wrestler (2008)
US. Director Darren Aronofsky.
Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” opened the door to something many of us had never seen before; the dark, depressing, forgotten world of pro wrestling. The story follows the current life of Randy (the Ram) Robinson played by Mickey Rourke, an 80’s professional wrestling superstar holding on to his past and uncertain of his future. There is a great scene where Randy is at a “Legends Convention”, in what looks like an old middle school gymnasium attended by about a half dozen fans, here he gets to see what his life has become and what his future could possibly hold, and you can’t help but feel for him. Aronofsky obviously hits it out of the park with his casting of Rourke, who was a past his prime, forgotten actor that used to be on top of the world himself. Rourke gives us one of the best, most physical, acting performances we have seen since De Niro in “Raging Bull”. There are two other great performances by Marissa Tomei who plays Cassidy, a stripper and Randy’s love interest and Evan Rachel Wood who plays Randy’s daughter who reluctantly opens up to the possibility of letting a broken down Randy back into her life. Aronofsky does the right thing, he doesn’t create a happy ending when exposing us to world that doesn’t have many happy endings and that honesty and the performances make the film.
94. The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
US. Director Wes Anderson.
The best Wes Anderson movie that nobody talks about, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”, is a stop-motion animated film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s childrens book. It was honestly my favorite Anderson film since his sophomore film “Rushmore”, and I love Wes Anderson films so that is nothing to sneeze at. It’s amazing how even though it’s an animated movie, you know it’s a Wes Anderson creation almost immediately. The Story’s main Character Mr. Fox )voiced by George Clooney) is a former chicken thief turned newspaper reporter, who just can’t shake the itch to revert back to his old, more exciting lifestyle. Mr. Fox ends up putting his family and all the other creatures of the valley at risk, as the three farmers he’s stolen from look to bring him and everyone else down. If you love Wes Anderson movies and ever wondered what it would be like if he created an animated film with the same colorful backdrops and smart and quirky dialogue, you don’t have to wonder anymore.
US. Director Denis Villeneuve.
I still don’t understand how “Sicario” didn’t get a Best Picture nod this past year, especially when you consider movies like “Bridge of Spies” got a nomination. Villeneuve exposes us to the violent war between America and the Mexican drug cartels, a war that takes place everyday on both sides of the border. Emily Blunt does an admirable job of playing the green, sometimes naïve FBI agent that gets thrown into the dark side of a world she knew existed but didn’t really understand. The two real stars of this film however are Benicio Del Toro, who plays the wildcard enforcer of the anit-cartel group and cinematographer Roger Deakins, who shoots some of the most amazing scenes of the year. Deakins, who is probably most famous for his work with the Coen brothers, has established himself as one of the best in the business, I thought this was the year that he would breakthrough with his first Oscar, instead he ended up with what was only his 13th nomination in the Best Cinematographer category. This movie received some Oscar love but when comparing it to the other films of the year, it should have received much more.
92. Gomorrah (2008)
Ita. Director Matteo Garrone.
Forget the picture that Hollywood has painted for you of the mafia with movies like “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas”, this is the real mafia, the Camorra. Director Matteo Garrone brings us “Gomorrah”, the film feels much more like a documentary than a feature film, you won’t see any romanticism of the violent world of one of the largest crime syndicates in the world. The movie is based on the best selling book by Robert Saviano, this is a film is based on fact, so much so that Saviano is now living under 24 hour police protection after receiving death threats from the Camorra. This is about as gritty of a film as you will ever see, outside of the performance by kingpin Toni Sevillo, you aren’t going to see any classically trained actors either, as their performances are just as gritty as the subject matter. If you are looking for a film with a happy ending or a glimmer of hope, this isn’t the movie for you.
91. 45 Years (2015)
UK. Director Andrew Haigh.
Andrew Haigh’s “45 Years” gave us the best acted film of the year, with Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay’s portrayal of a married couple rocked by a secret about one of their pasts right before their 45th wedding anniversary. Charlotte Rampling’s performance in this film was the best I have seen by anyone that year, with all do respect to Brie Larson’s Oscar winning performance in “Room”, she doesn’t hold a candle to this performance. Kate and Geoff’s marriage was seemingly fine until Geoff received a letter that the body of his former lover Katya, had been discovered, frozen and perfectly preserved in a crevasse in the Swiss mountain where she had fallen during a hike they were on. It doesn’t take long for this news to create a change in them both, it’s clear that Geoff was deeply in love with this woman who he hadn’t really previously mentioned to Kate. It’s also clear that Kate feels now like she was never the love of Geoff’s life but rather some sort of consolation prize. It’s one of the most intense and best endings you will see, it’s very much an actor’s film, but a must see.
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