I’m Baaaaaack….and Here’s My Top 50 of the Decade

Hello all! It’s been nigh on four years since I last dropped some knowledge on you here at Reel News Daily. I went off and got a Master’s degree, new job and all that, but have still been rocking films from all over the world. I’m happy to be back in the fold here at Reel News Daily and look forward to contributing more this year. Don’t you feel lucky?

So, I figured my phoenix rising from the ashes post should be something that might start a little conversation – my Top 50 films of the last decade. There were so many great films to choose from, which made this list very difficult. After two days of whittling it down and moving films around, I feel confident with what I decided on. I’m sure I missed a few of your favorites, but this is my list so you’ll just have to deal with it.

Here we go:

50) Shoplifters (2018) dir. by Hirokazu Koreeda
49) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) dir. by Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman
48) Gone Girl (2014) dir. by David Fincher
47) A Hidden Life (2019) dir. by Terrence Malick
46) Annihilation (2018) dir. by Alex Garland
45) Under the Skin (2013) dir. by Jonathan Glazer
44) Her (2013) dir. by Spike Jonze
43) The Favourite (2018) dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
42) Take Shelter (2011) dir. by Jeff Nichols
41) Leviathan (2012) dir. by Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel
40) Upstream Color (2013) dir. by Shane Carruth
39) Death of Stalin (2017) dir. by Armando Iannucci
38) Columbus (2017) dir. Kogonada
37) Holy Motors (2012) dir. by Leos Carax
36) Shame (2011) dir. by Steve McQueen
35) Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010) dir. by Edgar Wright
34) Midnight in Paris (2011) dir. by Woody Allen
33) Stories We Tell (2012) dir. by Sarah Polley
32) Cold War (2018) dir. by Pawel Pawlikowski
31) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) dir. by George Miller
30) Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) dir. by Ethan & Joel Coen
29) The Look of Silence (2015) dir. by Joshua Oppenheimer
28) We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) dir. by Lynne Ramsay
27) BlacKkKlansman (2018) dir. by Spike Lee
26) First Reformed (2017) dir. by Paul Schrader
25) Carol (2015) dir. by Todd Haynes
24) Winter’s Bone (2010) dir. by Debra Granik
23) Citizenfour (2014) dir. by Laura Poitras
22) Animal Kingdom (2010) dir. by David Michôd
21) A Separation (2011) dir. by Asgar Farhadi
20) Meek’s Cutoff (2010) dir. by Kelly Reichardt
19) La La Land (2016) dir. by Damien Chazelle
18) Phantom Thread (2018) dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson
17) The Lobster (2015) dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
16) Calvary (2014) dir. by John Michael McDonagh
15) Best of Enemies: Buckley Vs. Vidal (2015) dir. by Robert Morgan & Morgan Neville
14) Looper (2012) dir. by Rian Johnson
13) Frances Ha (2013) dir. by Noah Baumbach
12) Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) dir. by Benh Zeitlin
11) Lady Bird (2018) dir. by Greta Gerwig
10) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) dir. by Ana Lily Amirpour
9) Moonlight (2016) dir. by Barry Jenkins
8) Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) dir. by Jim Jarmusch
7) Zero Dark Thirty (2012) dir. by Kathryn Bigelow
6) The Tree of Life (2014) dir. by Terrence Malick
5) You Were Never Really Here (2017) dir. by Lynne Ramsay
4) Ex Machina (2014) dir. by Alex Garland
3) Melancholia (2011) dir. by Lars Von Trier
2) The Act of Killing (2012) dir. by Joshua Oppenheimer

1) The Master (2012) dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson

So there you have it. It was a tough job, but I was happy to do it. Here are a few that nearly made the list: Everybody Wants Some!! (underrated Richard Linklater that more people should watch), Tomas Alfredson’s slow burn spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Paul Thomas Anderson’s hippie noir adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. Admittedly, it was hard to weave many of the films from 2019 into the list as they’ll need to sit me a longer. I will say that Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story nearly edged their way on.

Here’s to hoping that the next ten years brings as many great films as the last ten have.

Advanced Screenings of ‘Everybody Wants Some’ Nationwide Contest


Gofobo is running a few contests across the nation to see Richard Linklater’s spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!!, in theaters this April.

The screenings will take place in the following locations:

Altamonte Springs, FL

Atlanta, GA

Bloomington, MN

Boulder, CO

Dallas, TX

Denver, CO

Houston, TX

Indianapolis, IN

Kansas City, MO

Philadelphia, PA

Portland, OR

Sacramento, CA

Salt Lake City, UT

Seattle, WA

Tampa, FL

West Homestead, PA

Wanna go?! Click on the link below and enter!


Check Out Richard Linklater’s Trailer to “Everybody Wants Some’


Paramount Pictures has released the trailer for Everybody Wants Some, spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused directed by Richard Linklater.

The movie stars Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, J. Quinton Johnson, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell, Austin Amelio, Temple Baker, Tanner Kalina, Juston Street and Forrest Vickery

Everybody Wants Some arrives in theatres on April 15, 2016

Retro Review: Savage Steve Holland’s Better Off Dead Turns 30 and Is Still Every Bit As Good (and Weird) as It Was Back in 1985

Better Off Dead poster - original

Better Off Dead recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary. The characters in this film have my co-pilots for so long, it’s hard to remember what it was like before Savage Steve Holland pulled them from the depths of his demented brain. This film is still a treat after 30 years and I don’t doubt that it will continue to be for the next 30. Happy belated birthday, Better Off Dead!

better off dead - lane

It’s hard to describe Better Off Dead to someone who didn’t grow up in the 80s and make it sound watchable. It sounds weird and depressing, which in many ways it is and it certainly was when it was released in 1985. But the endearing humor that is infused throughout and the performance of John Cusack, who I happily think tucked himself into the memories of the youth at the time as the archetypical “good guy” in movies. This is a role he played until his unfortunate decline after what I believe to be his last great film, High Fidelity. But we can save that discussion for another time. As for now, let’s concentrate our efforts on the task at hand…

Better Off Dead tells the tale of one Lane Meyer (John Cusack), a high school student who couldn’t be more in love with his girlfriend Beth (Amanda Wyss). One need look no further than this picture:

Obsessed much?

To Lane, Beth is everything, so when she dumps him for the new kid in school who takes Lane’s spot on the ski team, the prickish and evil Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier), Lane literally doesn’t know what else to do except kill himself. He feels that, yes, he would be better off dead than to live without her (cue Elizabeth Daily). So Lane comes up with several different methods of killing himself throughout the movie (none ever succeeding, of course) as his life spirals into deeper and deeper into depression.

better off dead - lane meyer

Sounds like a fun movie, right? Well, it actually is. Each time Lane is about to take his own life, he thinks better of it and doesn’t commit that act. However, each time something inadvertently occurs that causes him to nearly die through no fault of his own. See what happens when Lane prepares to douse himself with some primer and light himself on fire:

Along the way, Lane is constantly encouraged (“buck up, little camper!”) by his only friend and the town’s residential drug lover, Charles De Mar (played so perfectly by Curtis Armstrong).  Quick to offer words of solace while vacuuming anything he can up his nose, Charles’ wisdom might be the only thing that keeps Lane going. He is without a doubt the finest part of the movie. Here’s a little sample of why:

Lane is a complete chicken shit in his “efforts” to win Beth back and they really never get off the ground. That is until he meets Monique (Diane Franklin), the French exchange student who lives with his gross neighbor Ricky Smith (Dan Schneider) and his mother (Laura Waterbury).

Well hog my hooter! You do speak English!She works with Lane on ways to get Beth back in his good graces – fixing up his Camaro, teaching him how to ski better so he can beat Stalin in a race down the feared K-12 mountain and in general how to be confident. However, as might be foreseen, Lane finally finds the one thing that will help him get over Beth…and this is Monique. After that the only thing he’s interested in is “language lessons” (wink, wink).

Now, go kick eez ass...

The scenery around this Lane’s narrative is what really gives this film life and color. From Taylor Negron‘s (RIP) slacker ass mailman:

to the Dr. Frankenstein/Hamburger/Everybody Wants Some scene:

from the absurdity of the paperboy Johnny Gasparini’s (Demian Slade) quest to collect his $2:

to the two Asian brothers who race Lane Meyer, one who speaks no English and the other who speaks only Howard Cosell (a reference likely lost on many of today’s youth):

this is one of the strangest movies about teenagers maybe ever made. And that it ever got made is all the more perplexing. If this were pitched today, no way anyone takes a chance on it. This movie is pure 80s gold with a killer soundtrack that features Howard JonesRupert Hine, and the aforementioned Elizabeth Daily (Dottie from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure) prominently. And I will say that the usage of Rupert Hine‘s “Arrested By You” is one of the most underrated in 80s cinema, perfectly contextualized, matching the tone of the scene that it plays over. When Meyer breaks out his sax, we clearly see this is the precursor to Lloyd Dobler and his boombox from Say Anything and really the beginning of building the persona he was known for before Cusack started appearing in ridiculous action and horror flicks.

betteroffdead - parents

Better Off Dead still remains one of the most fun movies from when I was a kid. I still relish seeing Roy Stalin get his just desserts. I love watching Lane’s weird ass family as well as seeing him bloom from the meek loner to the guy who gets the girl in the end. It’s just a fantastically bizarre trip with a quality payoff.

Better Off Dead Placemat

So if you haven’t seen, get there. Some of the jokes and gags don’t necessarily translate well to today, but the film has an incredible sense of humor and a real heart, despite the dark nature of Lane’s mindset/circumstances.

Here’s the trailer: