The Man in the White Suit

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Our final dispatch from the last decade of film – an (expansive) list of the pictures that meant most to us, 2010-2019

Before we get going, a moment to doff our caps – this lot don’t rev our particular engines, and as such didn’t fit in our previous article, but it can’t go unacknowledged that in a lot of important ways the decade did rather belong to them. (The stuff we actually liked is in bold.)

J.J. Abrams
Key texts: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Bradley Cooper
Key texts: The Hangover Part II, The Place Beyond the Pines, Silver Linings Playbook, American Bullshit, Guardians of the Galaxy, American Sniper, Joy, Avengers: Infinity War, A Star Is Born, Avengers: Endgame, Joker

Benedict Cumberbatch
Key texts: Four Lions, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years A Slave, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Imitation Game, Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame; and on the telly, Sherlock and Patrick Melrose
Martin Freeman
Key texts: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The World’s End, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther; and on the telly, Sherlock and Fargo

I dunno, man, the appeal of these two largely eludes me, but they seem to moisten the gussets of earnest American co-eds

Robert Downey, Jr.
Key texts: Iron Man 2, Due Date, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Avengers, Iron Man Three, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: End Game

Clint Eastwood
In 2014, Clint directed the highest-grossing film in America. He was 84. In the last decade, at an age when most people have to think carefully before they commit to anything as exerting as a long train journey, Warner and Eastwood have made eight mid-budget dramas for adults – the kind of films we’re so often told just aren’t getting made anymore, anywhere, by anyone – each costing between $30 million and $60 million and grossing a total of $1.3 billion and counting. That octet includes an interesting dud and three or four decidedly mediocre pictures – no one’s arguing this period can hold a candle to what Clint achieved in ’92-’97, or ’03-’09 – but let’s be real, that record is staggering and no matter your barometer, the man is without equal in American cinema.
Key texts: J. Edgar, American Sniper, Sully, Richard Jewell

Jon Favreau
Key texts: as director, Iron Man 2, The Jungle Book, The Lion King; as producer, Iron Man Three, The Avengers, Age of Ultron, Infinity War & Endgame; as actor, five different Marvel pictures and a cameo for Scorsese; and in among all that he also dipped a toe into the Star Wars universe with voiceover duties on Solo and TV’s The Clone Wars before cannonballing off the top board as writer and showrunner of the salivatory The Mandalorian. What Disney properties remain for Favreau to conquer? Could he assume the X-throne of the deposed Singer? Or will he decamp to Orlando and start designing the rides?

Imagine trying to place any money at all on what either of these cats will be doing in another five years.

Kevin Hart
Key texts: The Five-Year Engagement, This Is the End (don’t forget Hart started out as part of the Apatow repertory), Ride Along, Get Hard, Ride Along 2, Central Intelligence, The Secret Life of Pets, The Upside, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jumanji: The Next Level

Samuel L. Jackson
At the turn of the century, the battle for unlikely box office supremacy was between Jackson, with Jurassic Park and three Star Wars prequels (combined gross: 3.33 billion), and Yosser Hughes himself Bernard Hill, captain of Cameron’s Titanic and King Theoden of The Two Towers and The Return of the King (combined gross: 3.89 billion). Fifteen years on, these numbers feel decidedly quaint, even parochial. Since just 2010, the erstwhile Nick Fury has appeared in five of the top 20 biggest films of all time, totalling $9 billion. And if we adjust for inflation, he still scores Nos 5 (Endgame), 12 (Jurassic Park), 14 (Infinity War), 19 (The Phantom Menace) and 21 (The Avengers). By any reckoning, the second-most successful actor in the world is a 71-year-old black man with five action franchises.

Key texts: Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Django Unchained, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Kingsman: The Secret Service, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Chi-Raq, The Hateful Eight, Kong: Skull Island, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Glass, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame

Dwayne Johnson
Key texts: Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, San Andreas, Central Intelligence, Moana, The Fate of the Furious, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Rampage, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Jumanji: The Next Level

(It should be noted that homeboy is leading five active franchises and has another three just chilling.)

Liam Neeson
Key texts: The Grey, Taken 2, Non Stop, The Lego Movie, Taken 3, Silence, Widows

Also, that remarkable disclosure during a routine junket for Cold Pursuit. Here’s Liam’s subsequent appearance on Good Morning America. Is he taking Robin Roberts’ hand, or reaching for his cosh? You decide!

Lupita Nyong’o
Key texts: 12 Years A Slave, Non-Stop, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (bear in mind, that one-two-three was her first three films), Black Panther, Us

Simon Pegg
Pickle is now at the heart of two of the longest-running mega-franchises in cinema, with sufficient clout to score a cameo in a third. His old best friend was Edgar Wright, his new best friend is J.J. Abrams, and he’s been directed by Steven Spielberg twice. This is like if after Filthy Rich & Catflap, Rik Mayall was cast as Burton’s Commissioner Gordon and then wrote Batman and Robin while on the set of First Contact playing Data. Regardless of his dire role selection away from blockbusters, Pegg is living beyond the wildest dreams of every British kid who grew up in the shires watching sci-fi – and when he does return to his comedy wheelhouse, there’s every expectation that’ll be bloody worth watching. Nerd Do Well, indeed.
Key texts: Paul, The Adventures of Tintin, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Star Trek Into Darkness, The World’s End, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Star Trek Beyond, Ready Player One, Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Keanu Reeves
Key texts: John Wick, Knock Knock, The Neon Demon, John Wick: Chapter 2, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Toy Story 4

Margot Robbie
Key texts: The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus, Suicide Squad, I Tonya, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

The Russo Brothers
Key texts: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame
(In the all-time box office ladder, these flicks rank 114th, 22nd, 5th and 1st. How’s that for increasing returns?)

Meryl Streep
Key texts: The Iron Lady, August: Osage County, Ricki and the Flash, Florence Foster Jenkins, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Mary Poppins Returns, Little Women

Yes, and obviously Kevin Feige.


Luke’s Baker’s Dozen

Winnie the Pooh (Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall, 2011)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves, 2014)
Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi, 2016)

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (Mat Whitecross, 2010)
Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, 2010)
I Love You, Philip Morris (Glenn Ficarra & John Requa, 2010)
Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)
Safety Not Guaranteed (Colin Trevarrow, 2012)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 2014)
Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015)

The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)


Fletcher’s Cult Encounters
Beyond the Black Rainbow (Panos Cosmatos, 2010)
Easy A (Will Gluck, 2010)
Hot Tub Time Machine (Steve Pink, 2010)
MacGruber (Jorma Taccone, 2010)
Take Me Home Tonight (Michael Dowse, 2010)

Kaboom (Gregg Araki, 2010)
Burke and Hare (John Landis, 2010)
The Innkeepers (Ti West, 2011)
That’s My Boy
(Sean Anders, 2012)
The To Do List (Maggie Carey, 2013)
Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre, 2014)
Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2014)
Northern Soul
(Elaine Constantine, 2014)
Sisters (Jason Moore, 2015)
Focus (Glenn Ficarra & John Requa, 2015)
Slow West (John Maclean, 2015)
American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015)
Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo, 2016)
Lucky (John Carroll Lynch, 2017)

And we were lucky, for every minute he shared with us. Thank you, Harry Dean Stanton.


Taylor’s Top… 18

Four Lions (Christopher Morris)
Harry Brown (Daniel Barber)

Attack the Block (Joe Cornish)
Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn)

Safety Not Guaranteed (Colin Trevorrow)
Ted (Seth MacFarlane)

Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
About Time (Richard Curtis)

I Origins (Mike Cahill)
Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

You didn’t think we were gonna go three whole end-of-decade articles without mentioning Brit Marling, did you?

Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson)
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy)

Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi)
La La Land (Damien Chazelle)

The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson)
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright)

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (David Slade)

Joker (Todd Phillips)

NB: only one pick each for ’18 and ’19 because those years, according to Taylor, “sucked”.

One Sensational Shot’s favourite films of the decade

We’ve divided this into two parts.

First up, the stuff we’ve seen only once or twice. They left a big impression and we’re keen to take them in again.

Honorable mentions: Not Fade Away (David Chase, 2012), In the Heart of the Sea (Ron Howard, 2015), It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, 2015)



The Killer Inside Me (Michael Winterbottom)

Attack the Block  (Joe Cornish)
Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols) 
War Horse (Steven Spielberg)

“John Boy, bruv – can you hear that? That’s for you, man.”

Take This Waltz  (Sarah Polley)
Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman)
Killer Joe (William Friedkin)

The Place Beyond the Pines  (Derek Cianfrance) 
Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton)

Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)

Ricki and The Flash (Jonathan Demme)
Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson)

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier)

Baby Driver (Edgar Wright)

Widows (Steve McQueen)



White Material (Claire Denis)

The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar)

Rust and Bone (Jacques Audiard)

Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)

Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)

You didn’t think we were gonna go three whole end-of-decade articles without mentioning Amy Seimetz, did you?

Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
While We’re Young (Noah Baumbach) 

Chi-Raq (Spike Lee)

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Jackie (Pablo Larraín)

Atomic Blonde (David Leitch)
You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)

Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Good Time (Safdie Brothers)

Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)                                     

The Old Man & the Gun (David Lowery)

My Halloween costume for the next five years.


Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan)

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Inside Llewyn Davis (Coen Brothers)

Carol (Todd Haynes)

Elle (Paul Verhoeven)

mother! (Darren Aronofsky)
A Ghost Story (David Lowery)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Cold War  (Pawel Pawlikowski)

Once Upon A Time….In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
Booksmart (Olivia Wilde)
The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent)

Now, these are those crackers that we kept returning to all decade.

Honorable mentions: Green Zone (Paul Greengrass, 2010), Jack Reacher (Christopher McQuarrie, 2012), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves, 2014)Fury (David Ayer, 2014)


Valhalla Rising (Nicolas Winding-Refn)

Young Adult (Jason Reitman) 
The Muppets (James Bobin) 
The Rum Diary (Bruce Robinson)    
The Grey (Joe Carnahan)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher)

Dredd (Pete Travis, Alex Garland)

American Bullshit (David O. Russell) 
This Is the End (Goldberg & Rogen)  
The World’s End (Edgar Wright)

Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt)
All You Need Is Kill (Doug Liman)

Creed (Ryan Coogler)

Demolition (Jean-Marc Vallée)
Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising (Nicholas Stoller)
Sausage Party (Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan)


Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Edgar Wright)

Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)

Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland)    
The Counselor (Ridley Scott)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson) 
Interstellar (Christopher Nolan)        
Pride (Matthew Warchus)
Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
The Lego Movie (Miller & Lord)

Rogue One (Gareth Edwards, Tony Gilroy)

The Lost City of Z (James Gray)
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)
The Florida Project (Sean Baker)    


A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)
The Social Network (David Fincher)
Youth in Revolt (Miguel Arteta)
Four Lions (Christopher Morris)

Drive (Nicolas Winding-Refn)
Bridesmaids (Paul Feig)
Moneyball (Bennett Miller)
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
Cedar Rapids (Miguel Arteta)

Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)
Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik)
Kill List (Wheatley & Jump)

Nebraska (Alexander Payne)

Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)
Cold in July (Jim Mickle)
A Field in England (Wheatley & Jump)
Paddington (Paul King)

Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)

Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs & Steven Soderbergh)

The Nice Guys (Shane Black)
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Schaffer & Taccone)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi)
High-Rise (Wheatley & Jump)
Manchester-by-the-Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh)
Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
(Christopher McQuarrie)

“Our favourite films are the best films. I don’t mean they’re the most virtuous – or, indeed, the least virtuous, or the cleverest, or the stupidest, most expensive or most successful. But, the best. In a word – films about which there is no question.”

Further reading: a long, long list of our favourite people of the decade and a smattering of some of our favourite moments of the decade. See you in ’20!