THE most popular movies and the movies we love most aren't always the ones that shape the industry, reflect the times or change the times of cultural discourse - for better or worse.

The films on the first list, whether we like them or not [and in some cases we very much did], made a difference in the world of entertainment and beyond.

In a politicized time, their impact was often measured in ideological terms, by the arguments they started and the passions they inflamed.

And at a time of block-buster hegemony and streaming ascendancy, they also represented a business and an audience in constant and sometimes confusing flux.


Clint Eastwood's drama about the life and death of the Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, released at Christmas in 2014, went on to finish at the top of that year's box office in the United States. It was the only release of the decade to accomplish that without being a part of the franchise, a Disney property or both.

A testament to Eastwood's mastery, the movie's popularity challenged the fiction of a monolithically liberal Hollywood, even as it revealed the polarization of the American audience.

With its pro-military, pro-gun waving - and fallen warrior protagonist - ''American Sniper'' showed which way the political winds were howling. [Stream on Amazon, Google, Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube.]


Sequels weren't new and neither were long, crowded, noisy superhero spectacles when this juggernaut landed. But ''The Avengers,'' released after Disney's acquisition of Marvel Studios, was nonetheless a big industry bang :

It heralded the dominance of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where we all now live whether we like it or not.
[Stream on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu and YouTube].

''BLACKFISH'' [2013]

Many documentaries that aim to raise awareness of a problem in the world preach to the mindful choir. Gabriela Cowpertheaite's expose of the abuse of orca whales at Sea World changed public perception, corporate behavior and the law. [Stream on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu and YouTube].

''BRIDESMAIDS'' [2011]

The shocking image of Maya Rudolph's bride soiling her wedding dress made it clear that the director Paul Feig's comedy - written by its star, Kristen Wiig, and Anne Mumolo - wasn't just another smiley and sickly sweet wedding picture.

The intestinal distress heard around the world helped demolish the sexist cliche that women can't be funny. Yes, they can, laughing all the way to the bank. Just ask Melissa McCarthy, who went on to become one of the decade's genuine new movie stars. [Stream on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, and YouTube']

''FROZEN'' [2013]

When Elsa belted ''Let it Go'' in Disney's animated musical, she didn't only claim her power, she announced the might of the female moviegoing audience, itself one of the decade's biggest industry stories.

That audience helped make ''Frozen'' one of the highest-grossing animated releases in history, reviving and revising Disney's fairy-tale-tradition for a new generation. [Stream on Amazon, Disney +, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube.]

''GET OUT'' [2017]

Jordan Peele's art-house freakout [and box office breakout] is a brilliant genre mash-up - the supreme example of a new wave in a horror cinema - as well as a ferocious rebuke to the [white] canard that the Obama era had ushered in a post-racial United States.

Opening soon after Donald J Trump's inauguration, it felt like an unnerving sign of the times, a blend of satire and horror so deft that it was hard to say which was which. [Stream on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube].

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on The Most Influential Films of the decade, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Manoihla Dargis and A.O. Scott.


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