Almost all of the films up for an Academy Award this year are certified fresh on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every one of those films is one we consider to be one of the best films. We poured over the top 100 Tomatometer scores with the last decade in mind to determine the best films of the past ten years (and no, they’re not all superhero movies).
99/87 – 2017
Are you the only person left that has NOT seen Jordan Peele’s Get Out? Do we REALLY need to explain why this is one of, if not the, best film of the last decade? Do you know how hard it is to retain a 99% rating on the Tomatometer? Get Out is a horror movie that also manages to perfectly put itself in the funny and thought-provoking categories while also inspiring social commentary about all of the genres as a whole. It’s entertaining, memorable, satirical, horrifying, stirring, vigilant, aware, thought-provoking and at least ten other adjectives—while also being scary, thrilling, harsh and scathing in terms of its commentary of modern society. If you haven’t yet seen Get Out you should, if only so you have something to talk with your friends about during the next cocktail hour. HBO
99/81 – 2017
Lady Bird might no longer have the 100% rating that made it one of the best-reviewed movies in Rotten Tomatoes history, but that doesn’t prevent the film from being any less poignant. Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age story about the turmoils of adolescence that stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf and others might be even more influential because of how it can explore the humor and pathos between a mother and daughter without the title of “best. film. we. can. remember.” hanging over its head. Lady Bird is brilliant, heartfelt, evocative, real and impressive in the way that it tells a story we can all relate to on some level while still being completely original and confounding.
98/92 – 2016
In the world of Zootopia, humans never happened. Anthropomorphic animals run the world, and the film is “like nothing you’ve seen be-fur.” In Zootopia, state-of-the-art animation is combined with a fast-paced and an incredibly well-rounded cast of characters to create an inclusive, beautifully rendered and refreshing tale that’s as conventional as it is old-fashioned. Don’t believe us? Check out the cast list: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, and the list goes on and on. Do you really think that many acclaimed, working actors would have signed on to a film that sucks? Of course not, but don’t just take our word for it—watch the damned movie, already! Netflix
98/90 – 2009
With only two percentage points missing from its Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score (Fresh: 283 / Rotten: 5) and a solid 90% in the Audience Score area (with over 1 million ratings!), it’s safe to say that UP is a movie people appreciated. Why? It’s funny. It’s exciting. It’s impeccably crafted, well done and deep—along with the fact that it checks all the boxes that Pixar flicks do. Even with all of those aspects creating a fantastic animated film, the reason that we decided UP belonged on this list has more to do with the fact that the story and composition as a whole left us teary-eyed than with the fact that Pixar continued to raise the bar they’d already set with this film. The heartfelt film might have made us cry, but it’s one of the best films of the best films of the last decade.
98/88 – 2008
Call it the final act, the return to glory, or whatever else your heart desires—like Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, Mickey Rourke revived his career in star-studded fashion with a performance in The Wrestler that’s been described as everything from “a performance for the ages” to “outstanding, iconic and flawless.” We couldn’t agree more. Rourke—and Tomei, for that matter—seem as if they were born to play these roles despite the fact they’ve both done so much before. Even though the entire film is viewed through the lens of one of the masters of mindfuck, Darren Aronofsky, the entire film comes together in a way that’s touching, intense and poignant.
Mad Max: Fury Road
97/85 – 2015
Despite the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road didn’t win the Mad Max franchise spot in our list of Best Dystopian Movies, the film holds up whether you watched it at home or in theaters, or in the “Black and Chrome” cut as part of the Mad Max: High Octane Collection (for the record, this was George Miller’s preferred version of the film). It doesn’t matter if you’re in love with Charlize Theron as Furiosa or Tom Hardy as the titular Max Rockatansky, the effects, story, explosions, carnage and attention to detail will keep you riveted to the edge of your seat for all two hours of the film.
96/90 – 2012
Based on true events. A spy thriller combined with plenty of drama. An ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck (who also directed), Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy and more. What more could you ask for? How about a story line that invoices an American embassy in Iran being invaded by revolutionaries, a hostage situation and a daring escape plan that involved impersonating a film crew despite the fact that foreign security forces were closing in on their plan and their position. Did we mention this film was based on real events, as in, this was something that literally, actually, happened to people that may or may not have been United States spies in the field? Even if the entire plot of Argo was completely fake, it would have been a great film—since it wasn’t, the film is even better.
94/82 – 2016
One of our most anticipated films of 2016, Arrival stars Amy Adams as an incredibly smart linguist paired with Jeremy Renner, a physicist, and a U.S. Army Colonel Weber, played by Forest Whitaker, who are all tasked with figuring out what aliens that they don’t understand are trying to tell them after they appear on Earth with no explanation. As with every other “unknown alien introduces itself to the society” film that’s ever been created, there are bombs, explosions and general violence. And yet, without ruining it, the team manages to find a way to communicate with the “invaders” while also learning things about themselves and their civilization in the process. Even though it’s a far out space epic, this is one of those great films that makes you think. Amazon Prime | Hulu
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
93/88 – 2015
With four films in the last decade, and two more on the horizon in as many years, you knew there had to be at least one Star Wars film on this list because the entire collection (outside of the prequels) can be considered a sci-fi movie every guy should see. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is packed with everything you want in a sci-fi fantasy film: action, adventure, familiar faces, new characters, awesome fight sequences, nostalgia, ridiculous weapons, crazy conflict and a blueprint for everything to come in the The Last Jedi and the other films in the new trilogy and the rest of the anthology series.
93/86 – 2017
Edgar Wright, the man at least partially responsible for Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World’s End, burst back on the scene in 2017 with Baby Driver, the heist film about a young getaway driver with absurd skills behind the wheel and an even better playlist. The ensemble cast is excellent. The tension is palpable. The effects are as real as possible. The action is fast-paced and thrilling without sacrificing continuity or character development. Baby Driver is one of those intricate heist flicks that people will be watching and re-watching for decades—and we’re glad we don’t have to include its Subaru WRX on a list of cars that steals the show.