A noted good friend and I work through our Top 10 favorites.

I brought it up back in December and again at the end of May, but as a quick recap of events: At the end of last year, noted good friend Jesse and I each made our own ranked lists of our Top 10 Favorite Movies of the Decade (2010 – 2019). Since quarantining ourselves, he’s gotten us going on watching through our lists in an alternating fashion (from 10 to one) then Zooming afterward to discuss. In case y’all want to play along at home, here are our lists:

Eric’s (that’s me) Top 10 Favorite Movies of the Decade

10. Midsommar (2019)
9. Nightcrawler (2014)
8. Annihilation (2018)
7. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
6. The Nice Guys (2016)
5. Inception (2010)
4. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
2. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
1. The VVitch (2015)

Jesse’s (that’s my noted good friend) Top 10 Favorite Movies of the Decade

10. The Raid 2 (2014)
9. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019)
8. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
7. The Master (2012)
6. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
5. Sicario (2015)
4. Gravity (2013)
3. Frances Ha (2012)
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
1. Arrival (2016)

(It’s a complete coincidence that my list is made up of a movie from each year, but after putting the years in for Jesse’s, I’m made curious as to what was going on in 2012 that struck his fancy.)

How I Narrowed Down My List

I keep track of the all the things I watch, read, and play, and have done so since at least 2012 (first in Evernote, then shifted to Apple Notes, then moved everything once again — and for the last time I swear it — to Standard Notes, but also here). I know that Jesse keeps track in a similar fashion, so making our individual big lists of all the things seen over the past decade was fairly easy to do since we each had our own references.

For the other years, I had to dig deep and use Wikipedia (2010, 2011). I realize I may have missed a film here or there by doing it this way, but life is long and cruel and I just needed a list to go off of, so get off my back about it.

I can’t speak to Jesse’s method directly at this point, but I‘m 98% certain that he used the Notes app exclusively to make a big list of favorites, then shuffled around the movies until he had a Top 20, then organized them from there.

I took a slightly different approach.

In this Google Sheet, you’ll see that I’ve made a big list of favorites from throughout the decade. I then placed asterisks in a First Round column next to movies I really liked, then asterisks in a Second Round column to sort even further movies I really really liked; this gave me my unsorted Top 20. The Third Round gave me an unsorted Top 15, the Final Round gave me unsorted my Top 10.

After much hemming and hawing over the order of my Top 10, I then deliberated over the order of my Top 11 – 20, and this provided the Ranking.

Three things here to note:

  1. I feel pretty confident with the ordering of my Top 10 overall, but depending on mood, the Top 4 – 20 (ha!) could probably shuffle a spot or two in any direction. I’m okay with this; this isn’t definitive and I’m definitely fallible. For example…
  2. There are a three movies that came out in 2019 that I saw after making this list, and one-or-maybe-even-all-three of them might have been in the Top 20-or-higher. Hard to say, and I’m not re-ranking my list but I want to list them here because they deserve the mention: The Irishman, Little Women, and Honey Boy. Similarly…
  3. Skyfall (2012) would actually be in my Top 10, but it was only after my list was made, ranked, and that we discussed out lists when it came up. I left it off because we had only just somewhat recently created our Top 7 Favorite Bond Films lists and were committed to watching through both lists (Bonds and Top 10 of the Decade); if we were strict about it, we’d’ve had to’ve watched Skyfall twice which I’d be fine with personally, but considered that Jesse might not be. Fallible I am indeed!

Superfluous Information

I crappily documented having watched our #10’s, but we’ve since watched our #9’s, 8’s, and half our 7’s as well. Oddly enough, we also randomly (and without knowing the other was doing it) watched each other’s #19’s. Just so it’s on the record, I watched his #19, What We Do in the Shadows (2014), and he watched mine, The Town (2010).

More on things as they develop…maybe!

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