This is apparently a thing going around the internet, and it sounds too fun to resist. Please note this is a list of favorites, not best movies from each year. Some of these were my favorite movie at the time, others are films I’ve seen since that took their spot instantly or over time.
Let’s take a look at the movies a decade at a time.
1987: The Princess Bride
1988: Die Hard
1990: Total Recall
1991: Beauty and the Beast
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Pulp Fiction
I expected a few more animated movies to end up on this part of the list. Not just because I was a kid and nostalgia’s powerful, but because there were a ton of great animated movies released throughout the first decade of my life. The Disney renaissance, the rise of Pixar… But Pulp Fiction and Seven are stellar films that managed to edge out the also excellent The Lion King and Toy Story.
Fun fact: the first two years of my life saw the release of two of my favorite movies of all time.
1997: L.A. Confidential
1998: Life Is Beautiful
1999: Office Space
2000: Meet the Parents
2002: Minority Report
2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2005: Batman Begins
2006: Children of Men
1999 put up a challenge: Office Space vs. Fight Club. They’re both excellent films, but the edge definitely goes to the insanely quotable comedy. The rest of the years in this section were really easy to narrow down, even though I only saw a couple of these movies in theaters.
2008: The Dark Knight
2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
2012: The Avengers
2014: Guardians of the Galaxy
2009 was the hardest year to figure out, hands down. I could have easily put Up, The Road, or (500) Days of Summer on this list. They’re all excellent in their own unique ways, but I had to give the edge to one of the only films that’s ever managed to make me tear up in its opening moments.
And yes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has the unfair advantage of being the culmination of one of my favorite franchises in any medium. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what else came out in 2011 without looking it up. That movie simply dominated my life for the year.
The first two sections had several movies I didn’t see until years later, but every movie in this section was an instant favorite from the second I walked out of the theater.
Just For Fun
2017 so far: Get Out
It’s a spectacular movie, but it’s got a lot of stiff competition coming up. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Dunkirk, and others could easily top it if they’re anywhere close to the levels they could reach.
Sci-fi and fantasy make up a good chunk of this list. Christopher Nolan fills four spots, while Alfonso Cuarón and Steven Spielberg each fill two. Big surprises there, with my favorite genres and some of my favorite directors showing up multiple times. My taste obviously skews toward the commercial side of things, but I like to think there’s still some decent variety here.
What are your favorite movies, either broken down like this or in general? Let me know in the comments.