The Ongoing List of This Decade's Notable Films

by kursetheday | created - 27 Dec 2012 | updated - 11 Oct 2013 | Public

Ten films from each year worth noting, updated yearly. This list includes all genres, mainstream and indie, foreign and domestic. You'll find Oscar fare and awesomely bad flicks. It is nowhere my definitive version of the best of each year, and I'm certainly not saying that other films don't belong on this list because some years were so jam-packed, ten films doesn't do the year justice. Also--and I hate to admit it--there are a lot of stellar films that I have just not seen.

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1. Black Swan (2010)

R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
79 Metascore

A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder

Votes: 600,952 | Gross: $106.95M

2. Easy A (2010)

PG-13 | 92 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
72 Metascore

A clean-cut high school student relies on the school's rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.

Director: Will Gluck | Stars: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley, Dan Byrd

Votes: 305,187 | Gross: $58.40M

3. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

PG | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
74 Metascore

A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.

Directors: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders | Stars: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson

Votes: 545,999 | Gross: $217.58M

4. Inception (2010)

PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
74 Metascore

A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 1,652,493 | Gross: $292.58M

5. Kick-Ass (2010)

R | 117 min | Action, Comedy

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
66 Metascore

Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a superhero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

Director: Matthew Vaughn | Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloë Grace Moretz, Garrett M. Brown

Votes: 469,894 | Gross: $48.07M

6. MacGruber (2010)

R | 90 min | Action, Comedy, Romance

5.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
43 Metascore

Former special operative MacGruber is called back into action to take down his arch-enemy, Dieter Von Cunth, who's in possession of a nuclear warhead and bent on destroying Washington, D.C.

Director: Jorma Taccone | Stars: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe

Votes: 37,967 | Gross: $8.46M

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Comedy, Romance

7.5
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69 Metascore

Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart.

Director: Edgar Wright | Stars: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Alison Pill

Votes: 306,068 | Gross: $31.49M

8. The Town (2010)

R | 125 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.6
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74 Metascore

As he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the F.B.I. Agent looking to bring him and his crew down.

Director: Ben Affleck | Stars: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 302,351 | Gross: $92.19M

9. True Grit (2010)

PG-13 | 110 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

7.6
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80 Metascore

A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin

Votes: 262,544 | Gross: $171.24M

10. Winter's Bone (2010)

R | 100 min | Drama

7.2
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90 Metascore

An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.

Director: Debra Granik | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt, Isaiah Stone

Votes: 119,497 | Gross: $6.53M

11. Bridesmaids (I) (2011)

R | 125 min | Comedy, Romance

6.8
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75 Metascore

Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride's best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.

Director: Paul Feig | Stars: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Terry Crews

Votes: 234,232 | Gross: $169.11M

12. Contagion (2011)

PG-13 | 106 min | Drama, Thriller

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
70 Metascore

Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a worldwide epidemic as the CDC works to find a cure.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow

Votes: 191,188 | Gross: $75.66M

13. The Descendants (2011)

R | 115 min | Comedy, Drama

7.3
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84 Metascore

A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause

Votes: 214,976 | Gross: $82.58M

14. Drive (I) (2011)

R | 100 min | Crime, Drama

7.8
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78 Metascore

A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks

Votes: 480,073 | Gross: $35.06M

15. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

R | 158 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

7.8
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71 Metascore

Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 360,578 | Gross: $102.52M

16. Hugo (2011)

PG | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

7.5
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83 Metascore

In Paris in 1931, an orphan named Hugo Cabret who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley

Votes: 266,855 | Gross: $73.86M

17. Midnight in Paris (2011)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

7.7
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81 Metascore

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s everyday at midnight.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Kurt Fuller

Votes: 331,754 | Gross: $56.82M

18. The Muppets (2011)

PG | 103 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

7.1
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75 Metascore

A Muppet fanatic with some help from his two human compatriots must regroup the Muppet gang to stop an avaricious oil mogul from taking down one of their precious life-longing treasures.

Director: James Bobin | Stars: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones

Votes: 78,884 | Gross: $88.63M

19. The Tree of Life (2011)

PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, Fantasy

6.8
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85 Metascore

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken

Votes: 147,635 | Gross: $13.30M

20. Warrior (2011)

PG-13 | 140 min | Drama, Sport

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
71 Metascore

The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he's trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament - a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother.

Director: Gavin O'Connor | Stars: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison

Votes: 369,706 | Gross: $13.66M

21. Argo (2012)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.7
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86 Metascore

Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.

Director: Ben Affleck | Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin

Votes: 497,048 | Gross: $136.03M

22. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

PG-13 | 93 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
86 Metascore

Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

Director: Benh Zeitlin | Stars: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes

Votes: 74,349 | Gross: $12.80M

23. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

R | 95 min | Horror

7.0
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72 Metascore

5 friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

Director: Drew Goddard | Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz

Votes: 308,569 | Gross: $42.07M

24. Django Unchained (2012)

R | 165 min | Drama, Western

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
81 Metascore

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington

Votes: 1,087,035 | Gross: $162.81M

25. The Grey (2011)

R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
64 Metascore

After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step.

Director: Joe Carnahan | Stars: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts

Votes: 216,305 | Gross: $51.58M

26. Lincoln (2012)

PG-13 | 150 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
86 Metascore

As the War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Votes: 213,430 | Gross: $182.21M

27. Looper (2012)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
84 Metascore

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

Votes: 467,015 | Gross: $66.49M

28. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

PG-13 | 94 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
84 Metascore

A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray

Votes: 264,934 | Gross: $45.51M

29. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

PG-13 | 102 min | Drama, Romance

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
67 Metascore

An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.

Director: Stephen Chbosky | Stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd

Votes: 391,740 | Gross: $17.74M

30. Sound of My Voice (2011)

R | 85 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
67 Metascore

Two documentary filmmakers attempt to penetrate a cult who worships a woman who claims to be from the future.

Director: Zal Batmanglij | Stars: Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius, Brit Marling, Davenia McFadden

Votes: 18,040 | Gross: $0.41M

31. Pacific Rim (2013)

PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
64 Metascore

As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day

Votes: 411,771 | Gross: $101.80M

32. Gravity (2013)

PG-13 | 91 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

7.8
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96 Metascore

Two astronauts work together to survive after an accident which leaves them alone in space.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen

Votes: 646,715 | Gross: $274.09M

33. Mud (2012)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
76 Metascore

Two young boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the vigilantes that are on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.

Director: Jeff Nichols | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Sam Shepard

Votes: 147,408 | Gross: $21.59M

34. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

R | 140 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
68 Metascore

A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.

Director: Derek Cianfrance | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Craig Van Hook

Votes: 208,497 | Gross: $21.38M

35. Iron Man Three (2013)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
62 Metascore

When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Director: Shane Black | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Votes: 613,116 | Gross: $409.01M