There’s probably nothing I can say about the quality of Paddington 2 that hasn’t already been said, but sometimes I still forget what a visually gorgeous film it is. Every frame is just, warm. And there are animated sequences included, which well frankly every single film should have.
Note that these are (mostly) not what I consider the BEST films of the decade. Honestly I don’t even get to go the movies all that much, so the best ones I might not have even seen. But they are the ones that made me the happiest.
My GOD this film. It was claustrophobic, creepy, gnaw-your-own-arm-off terrifying… and a FANTASTIC power fantasy. Michelle, the protagonist of this film, quickly became one of my favourite sci-fi heroines ever. She suffers a lot of trauma during the movie, unimaginable things (but nothing graphic/titillating/male-gazey) and comes out the other side swinging. Then she downs an entire alien spaceship using nothing but her wits. God I love her and this film so much. I could write essay after essay about female empowerment as portrayed in this flick.
When I was a child I dreamed they would one day make a Pokemon live-action film, and they DID, and it was better than I ever imagined. It was sweet, it was funny, it was packed with references to the Pokemon lore (Pokelore?) that would have gone over most people’s heads but was included anyway, and Bill Nighy was in it. I loved this film so much and I can’t wait to show it to my future children.
Okay here goes: I never saw the original Ghostbusters. I never saw the sequel movie either, or any of the cartoons. Why’d I like this so much then? Well… honestly… because it was all women. Funny, smart, main-character women, the mere existence of which apparently drove some people into teeth-gnashing mania. And that was it. That’s enough, right?
The Greatest Showman
It stills surprises me that this film got such bad reviews on release. Audiences apparently disagreed because not only did it get really high audience ratings it ALSO made a ton of money AND everyone I’ve ever shown it to liked it! I know some of the songs within it ended up massively overplayed (especially This Is Me, thanks a bunch Simon Cowell) but when you see them being performed in the movie they really do seem raw and real and touching.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
I have absolutely no idea if GOTG2 is a good movie or not and honestly, there’s a part of me that doesn’t even care. It fills me with such insane joy every time I watch it. I love the friendships between all the main characters, I love Yondu’s redemption, I love how the music ties into the story, I love Baby Groot. And I especially love how the film is mostly about different forms of abuse and how we all have it within ourselves to overcome them.
Les Mis is a very good movie, but it’s actually on this list not so much for itself but because its existence introduced me to the book, which transpired to shape my entire life. That being said I do really mean that it’s a very good movie (and quite faithful to the book as well it turns out), it thoroughly deserves to be on everyone’s Best of the Decade list. Don’t be put off by the fact that Tom Hooper’s next musical was Cats.
The Lego Movie
I wasn’t expecting much from The Lego Movie. Was anyone?! I thought it was a cheap, cynical cash grab. MAN was I wrong. Instead it was an amazing story about the power of imagination and the importance of childhood. The final speech (“You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe…”) is one of my favourite speeches in any movie, ever. It makes me think of a parent talking to a child and it captures the spirit of Lego perfectly.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Is there anything to be said about Mad Max: Fury Road that hasn’t already been said? It’s been called the greatest action film of all time, a feminist masterpiece, one of the best movies of its era… and all the people claiming those things are 100% right. I don’t think it’s technically perfect but it’s damn close. And special-effects wise it’s a staggering achievement. (All those people REALLY WERE climbing poles on motorbikes, holy heck.) I hope it’s celebrated for years to come.
I love Pacific Rim not because it’s a bonkers, brightly-coloured monsters-vs-robots movie (though that definitely helps) but because how utterly adamant it was that teamwork, collaboration and in some cases love would help humanity save the world. God, the whole movie seems like a relic from a totally different time, doesn’t it? The less said about the sequel the better.
Apparently Paddington 2 is the highest-rated film ever on RottenTomatoes, and despite what you think of RottenTomatoes the site (I personally am not a fan) HOLY HECK IT DESERVES IT. This is a children’s film about a cute teddy bear who lives among humans and loves marmalade sandwiches and somehow it was more hard-hitting, beautiful and poignant than a lot of the “serious” movies released the same year. Hugh Grant deserved an Oscar for playing such a fantastic baddie/hilariously exaggerated version of himself. The whole damn film deserved an Oscar. (As it happened, The Shape of Water won that year. They got the wrong Sally Hawkins Forms A Relationship With A Non-Human Character Resulting In An Emotional Underwater Scene film.)
Honourable mentions: (my god there are a lot) Toy Story 3, Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther (most of the MCU honestly), The Rise of Skywalker, Belle, Their Finest, Big Hero 6, Frozen II, Aladdin, Batman vs Superman (yes really), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the entire Hunger Games series, SO MANY
That one bit in Paddington 2 where Peter Capaldi’s character shows up with a terror level alert type chart set to ‘Mass Hysteria’ is a very obvious pop at Islamophobia and I’m really glad they did that
I saw Paddington 2 today! tis very sweet and also very, very fiercely a pro-immigration parable
Also, curiously, it is the second movie this year where Sally Hawkins shares an emotionally* charged underwater scene with a human-like but non-human character whose existence is a metaphor for something.