Best films Of The Past Ten Years

The 50 best films of the decade so far, part 1

The middle of a decade isn’t often a cause for reflection, but maybe it should be. We tend to break time down into whatever segments make sense, especially within art, fashion, and culture, where things move quickly and change significantly: The teen world of 1982’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High, for instance, is markedly different from the teen world of 1989’s Say Anything… Inspired by our friends at Pitchfork, The Dissolve polled its regular contributors and some friends of the site about the best films released since January 1, 2010. We compiled the results in an effort to help give shape to the decade in progress, as the cinematic landscape keeps evolving around us. When the math was done, we found the results surprising, with a No. 1 none of us predicted. (Though we probably should have.) Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up with Nos. 50 through 26; then head to part 2 for the top 25.

Gravity (Dir: Alfonso Cuarón, 2013)
Gravity is the rare movie that manages to succeed on two contradictory fronts. On one hand, it’s a spectacle of massive visual scope that demands to be seen on the largest possible IMAX-ified screen. But it’s also perfectly correct to describe it as an intimate, borderline claustrophobic character study of a terrified but determined newbie astronaut deciding between life or death. Thanks to the famous marketing tagline for Alien, everybody knows that in space, no one can hear you scream. While watching Gravity in a theater, it’s difficult to hear, or even feel, yourself breathe.

Gravity won seven Academy Awards out of the 10 for which it was nominated, including Oscars for direction, cinematography, editing, and visual effects. But what makes this a landmark work—one that, in five years, will likely rank on many best-of-the-decade lists—is the way it restores one’s faith in the promise of the modern blockbuster. Alfonso Cuarón and his collaborators raised the bar for awe-inspiring technical artistry, making 3D seem like a newly essential and exciting device at a moment when its popularity was spiraling downward. More importantly, they did that without losing sight of their central mission: to follow a single determined woman on her journey away from grief and back toward Earthly light. —Jen Chaney

Wreck-It Ralph (Dir: Rick Moore, 2012)
Pixar has set a high bar for the thriving American animation field, and it’s been fantastic seeing other studios strive to produce similarly heartfelt, intelligent, beautifully designed, and above-all original work. Under Pixar honcho John Lasseter, Disney Feature Animation rose to the challenge, as Wreck-It Ralph attests. Rich Moore’s sparkling, speedy Disney feature takes place in a world inside videogames, where clumsy, destructive thug Ralph (John C. Reilly) eternally fights prim do-gooder Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) in a Donkey Kong-meets-

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