The 10 Best Movie Soundtracks of the Decade

Best Movie Soundtracks of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

The first commercially issued movie soundtrack was released in 1937 for Walt Disneys Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since then, music has been an integral component to the cinematic experience as a means of storytelling and evoking emotion. While films typically possess a score (music composed specifically for a film that is usually instrumental), a soundtrack differs in that it contains previously recorded music matched up to various scenes. While there were some fantastic scores over the past decade, soundtracks significantly stood out with the experimental blending of musical genres and deep cuts to capture a films tone, theme, and setting. Here are my top 10 soundtracks (in no particular order) from the past decade which all feature pre-existing songs. Each film is fantastic in its own right, and the music is just the cherry on top. 

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best of the decade round-up

It’s the first day of a new year and a new decade, and what better way to usher in 2020 than with a look back at the past 10 years of movies, TV shows, and everything in between? The pop culture landscape has shifted tremendously in the years since 2010, and our favorite movies of the past decade reflect that.

At /Film, we tried our best to capture the pop culture zeitgeist of the past 10 years in our Best of the Decade series, which we ran for the last two weeks of December. Here is a compete round-up of all the features, lists, and rankings of our Best of the Decade series, as we head into a new one.

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The 10 Best Children’s Animated Series of the Decade

Best Children's Animated Series of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

Animation is for kids…but it’s just not for kids. It is for the kids within the adults. The “children” in children’s animation is both a specific and universal term, aimed toward childlike spirits and open to all. Animation makes characters move, worlds breathe, and the heart dance in ways that live-action can’t.

Welcome to our list of the best animated children’s shows of the decade Many illustrate wondrous worlds, many are rib-crackingly funny, many sing sweet songs, many are dark rabbit holes into weirdness, many test the boundaries of storytelling, and many deliver validation for its young—and old—audience. Their gags, stories, and themes will grow even richer when their child viewers adulthood.

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The 10 Best Teen Movies of the Decade

best teen movies of the decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

Ahh, the teen movie. The high school story. The hormonal homage. It’s a genre that has lived in my heart since long before I became a teenager, and will remain there when I am straight-up elderly. The awkwardness and misfitting, the fashion and feelings — there are few other times in our lives when everything is turned up to high-def in just such a way as when we are teenagers.

The 2010s were a terrific time for teen movies. Poignant, funny, raunchy, insightful, it was a decade where everything stopped being about the cookie-cutter popular kids and started being about real teens. And these are, I feel most ardently, the ten best teen movies of the past ten years.

Presented in chronological order…

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The Best Anime of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

The 2010s have seen an interesting change in the world of anime. Anime was once a very niche community with just a couple of shows becoming widely available every few years. But by 2019, anime has become as close to mainstream in the west as it ever has, with fans being able to watch new episodes right after they air in Japan, and seasonal anime bringing dozens of new shows every few months.

This last bit was instrumental in making this such a good decade for anime, yet a nightmare for anyone attempting to summarize the entire decade in a top 10 list. There is simply an embarrassment of riches, and with as wide a variety of anime shows and movies as there is a variety of anime fans, no two people will have the same list. Because of that, this list is alphabetical, because all of these entries have their own different merits.

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The 10 Best Animated Shorts of the Decade

Best Animated Shorts of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

With 2019 wrapping up, another decade of cinema comes to a close. From grand blockbusters to more mature international releases, many will remember the feature-length animated films they witnessed in the 2010s. But what about the “little guys” of the animation world? They deserve their time in the film-loving spotlight as well. They are more than just an excuse to run for more chip dip during the Oscar’s telecast and are thriving.

In celebration of all that the decade had to offer, let’s give a salute to the animated shorts. The obvious Pixar and Disney creations will get their respect, along with the unsung heroes of this small yet mighty category. For they often hold the perfect key to blending visual whimsy with some real-world messages – in ways that many feature-length films can’t quite master.

Now, let’s take a look at the 10 Best Animated Shorts of the Decade.

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The Best Movie Music of the Decade

Best Movie Music of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

Film may have started as a visual medium, but from its earliest days music has been used as a fundamental aspect of its presentation. From tack piano and organs to sweeping orchestral suites, through to modern electronic soundscapes and hipster-approved needle-drops, the soundtracks to our favourite films play an indelible role in our appreciation of these remarkable movies. Some use music as a fundamental narrative point, while others dust it along with the other aspects of filmmaking to sway emotions and draw audiences along with the story. 

The only thing more futile than trying to make a consensus list of the best films of the decade is to make a definitive list of the best soundtrack elements, given that taste in music is even more personal and specific than the mass entertainment of movies, yet ‘tis the season for such futile attempts! Instead, think of this as a celebration of ten years of where the music is either brilliantly integral to the pleasures of the film, or where the exploration of musical ideas is key to the topic being covered, or finally where the entire narrative is structured around the performances of recorded songs.

Here’s is /Film’s list of best musical movie moments for the 2010s.

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The 10 Best Non-Hollywood Animated Movies of the Decade

Best Non-Hollywood Animated Films of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

It’s not that there’s inherently anything wrong with films like the CGI animated remake of The Lion King or the third How to Train Your Dragon movie, but they have oversaturated our big screens purely by virtue of their budgets, parent companies, and the mass-market gamesmanship that fuels them. But audiences crave variety—and I’d argue that we need it to make sense of this world. To that end, the films below are some of my favorite animated films of the decade that weren’t produced in Hollywood.

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The Greatest Female Characters of the Decade

Best Female Characters of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

There are so many amazing female characters who have burrowed their way into our hearts over the last decade that to come up with a list of just a few is painful. Cobbling together this list was a chronic process of killing one’s darlings and I want to reiterate this is by no means a definitive list. There are so many features throughout so many different countries. Essentially, this is a list of just ten of the best female characters of the decade (And apologies – it’s highly American.) Use this as a jumping off point to discover more of the phenomenal women who cinematically shaped us over the last ten years. 

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The 10 Funniest Performers of the Decade

Funniest Performers of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

Choosing the top ten funniest performers of the 2010s was not easy. If there’s one thing to know about comedy, it’s that it is subjective. What’s funny to one person may not be funny to someone else.

One thing I took into account while making this list is how reliable these performers were over the past decade. Did they have stand-out moments in one film or in multiple films over the years? How should a late bloomer be evaluated? If someone delivered a breakthrough performance late in the decade, should that wipe away someone else if they were consistently reliable for years? These are the questions I pondered.

As this decade comes to an end, one can only hope to see Daniel Craig and Charlize Theron take on more comedic performances. Craig crushed it in both Logan Lucky and Knives Out. While both Young Adult and Tully were more of a dramedy than outright comedies, Theron’s performance in Long Shot shows that she’s ready to be taken seriously as a comedic actress. That being said, if a film otherwise classified as a dramedy was submitted to an awards show as a comedy, I’m counting it as a comedy.

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