The Decade In Movies: Remember When…?


With the roaring ’20s almost upon us, let’s look back and remember a time before jazz hands, flappers and German expressionsim. Or maybe I’m getting my centuries mixed up.

Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable moments in movies over the last decade. Remember when…

…Seth Rogen and James Franco nearly started World War Three?

Perhaps the most accidentally memorable marketing campaign in movie history, the release of The Interview was overshadowed by controversy on a level you’d never expect for a simple comedy movie.

Taking aim at Kim Jong-un and the strange, hermit-like leadership of North Korea, The Interview was the focus of the infamous Sony Pictures hack in late 2014, where cyber-terrorists threatened violent attacks if the film were not pulled from release around the world.

The whole affair got really quite heated, and with viewers’ safety in mind, Sony pulled the film and instead released it online in December of that year (bear in mind this was before direct releases to streaming platforms became a thing).

So, for what ultimately turned out to be an enjoyable but fairly harmless comedy, The Interview stirred up quite a fracas, but despite briefly bringing the world to the brink of war by accident, it actually paved the way for direct-to-online movie releases – something it still doesn’t get much credit for.

…Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his hands on that Oscar?

As one of the best actors working in Hollywood today, it became a running farce that Leonardo DiCaprio still hadn’t won an Oscar, despite 4 previous nominations at the Academy Awards.

That all changed at the Oscars in 2016, however, when DiCaprio finally got his hands on gold statuette for his performance in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s survival thriller The Revenant, releasing all the tension and anticipation that the world had put onto the actor’s shoulders for years beforehand.

And with that, DiCaprio quickly took time out from moviemaking, only returning to the silver screen once more this decade in 2019, starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

As long-overdue Oscars go, DiCaprio’s was one of the biggest. Now, we’ve just got to wait for Amy Adams to get her chance for that top prize – here’s hoping it’ll come one day!

…Let It Go was the only song playing on the radio?

It might not seem all that long ago – mostly because it’s still burned into the memory – but the monumental success of Disney’s Frozen back in 2013 saw its centrepiece song, Let It Go, take over radios, tannoys and everything in between for what felt like an eternity.

There’s no denying that it’s a great song, and its show-stopping, exhilarating feel absolutely merited its countless awards, but it’s fair to say that most of the planet grew weary of hearing it when radio stations wouldn’t stop broadcasting it even once Frozen had left cinemas.

Couple that with Frozen fever striking children all across the world through the mid-part of the decade, and there was nothing to stop Let It Go, a song that – no matter what you think of it – is burned into society’s collective consciousness, and is probably still playing on some radio station not too far away even now.

…they made a movie about emojis?

I’ll be honest – I rather liked The Emoji Movie – but even as one of the film’s very few defenders, it’s one of the most baffling movies of the decade.

Trying to piggyback off the success of The Lego Movie, Wreck-It Ralph and Inside Out, Sony inexplicably decided to turn those random yellow circles at the edge of your phone keyboard into the animated adventure of 2017, although ultimately came up short as the movie was met with bewilderment and revulsion.

I don’t think it’s as bad as many say, but its unashamed use of product placement, along with a basic story and childish humour (the poo emoji was the biggest laugh of the whole affair) led it to release with derision from critics and audiences alike, taking a devastatingly low 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, and winning Worst Picture at The Golden Raspberry Awards.

…YA movies were a thing?

It’s easy to forget looking back now, but in the early/middle part of the 2010s, Hollywood was totally obsessed with young adult (YA) movies, and we were getting no less than three or four new genre releases a year at its height of popularity.

The success of The Hunger Games in 2012 set the wave in motion, being followed by a number of imitators including the Divergent series, The Maze Runner series, and a number of others that didn’t even make it past one movie.

YA fantasy soon fell by the wayside, and even with reception towards The Hunger Games, the stalwart of the genre, fading, the film industry quickly fell out of love with the brand, slowing and halting production of countless planned YA franchises, and in the case of some of those already started, failing to even finish off the series (looking at you, Divergent).

…Al Pacino became ‘Dunkaccino’?

Legendary actor Al Pacino appearing in Jack And Jill – one of the decade’s very worst movies – might seem like enough of an embarrassment, but there are few movie moments from the last ten years more cringeworthy than Dunkaccino.

Bad for all the wrong reasons, it’s a short, random and terrible Dunkin’ Donuts commercial that was ham-fisted into Jack And Jill for no apparent reason, and features a painfully awkward rendition of the now-infamous Dunkaccino dance by none other than Pacino himself.

It’s the sort of thing that sounds so ridiculous it can’t be true. But it is, and if you’ve never seen or heard of Dunkaccino, give it a watch right now.

…the world couldn’t wait for Star Wars?

There are few movies in history that had a build-up and anticipation like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, arguably the biggest blockbuster event of the decade.

Briefly uniting the whole moviegoing world in childlike wonder, hype for The Force Awakens was at fever pitch not just in the days before release, but for weeks and even months leading up to it. From its return to practical effects and character-driven storytelling after the much-maligned prequel trilogy, to the mystery and intrigue that surrounded it from day one, viewers were frothing at the mouth for the newest Star Wars movie.

And its stunning, record-breaking box office performance is testament to just how much people looked forward to it, ultimately taking over $2bn at the global box office.

Some thought its reception was polarising, but knowing what we know now about the following two Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens stands as the gold standard for exhilarating, crowd-pleasing sci-fi entertainment, and it’s likely we won’t see another film with the same level of excitement and anticipation for a very long time.

…David Hasselhoff starred in Sharknado?

No, I’m not making this up. The Sharknado franchise grew from so-bad-it’s-good ridiculousness to a star-studded affair that we waited eagerly for every year.

Okay, that might me a bit of an exaggeration, but one of the series’ most memorable moments came when David Hasselhoff of all people turned up on screen in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, playing the father of Fin, the film’s lead character.

Hasselhoff has a history of odd cameo roles in film (thinking back to The Spongebob Movie), but in Sharknado, he took on a full role, playing it with a bewildering level of enthusiasm and energy for a film that ultimately saw him fighting sharks in space.

…Minions ruled the world?

You might still think that the little yellow henchmen are everywhere, but I’ll tell you that what we’ve got now is nothing compared to the Minion mania of the middle/late part of the decade.

The popularity of the Despicable Me movies was one thing, but the bizarre love for Gru’s little yellow helpers was something on a level we’d never seen before, leading to the Minions getting their own billion-dollar movie in 2015, and paving the way for one of the most garish and dominating marketing campaigns in recent memory.

As cute as the little guys are, nobody was prepared for just how big Minions would get, reaching its height in the years after 2015 as the world sank in a yellow sea of Minion cafes, costumes, cushions, teacups, onesies and everything else under the sun.

Thankfully, things seemed to have calmed down a little now, but to think that just ten years ago, nobody had even heard of Minions, the domination they came to have is really quite terrifying.

…Nobody understood Inception?

Was it all a dream? To be honest, we’re still asking ourselves that question, but when Christopher Nolan’s Inception launched into cinemas all the way back in 2010, it was met with both critical acclaim and a bit of general confusion.

The film’s intricate plot brought a new level of cerebral storytelling to blockbuster cinema, capturing the imagination of millions around the world, but also leaving them a little bewildered after two and a half exhilarating hours.

Inception’s critical reception and fantastic box office performance remains testament to its brilliance even in the short term, but as such an intelligent film, it took us all a few more years to realise that Inception gets even better and even more engrossing the more times you see it.

…THIS happened?

In what remains the most shocking movie moment not just of the decade, but maybe even all time, the infamous Best Picture mix-up at the 2017 Oscars will undoubtedly go down in history forever.

After a visibly confused Warren Beatty threw his co-presenter Faye Dunaway under the bus to announce La La Land as the winner of Best Picture, all hell broke loose on the Oscars stage as organisers rushed over when they realised Beatty and Dunaway had been given the wrong envelope.

Meanwhile, the cast and crew of La La Land had already made their way onstage and were in the process of giving heartfelt acceptance speeches, only to be interrupted when the real winner, Moonlight, was announced as Best Picture.

Shock took over the whole room, and it could have descended into a rather upsetting affair, but thanks to the heroic and humble actions of La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, who along with his fellow cast and crew graciously handed over the awards they thought belonged to them.

Moonlight’s win was a real upset too, overcoming a record-breaking musical extravaganza set in Hollywood to take Best Picture for an independent film.

It’s safe to say that the Best Picture mix-up is the most memorable moment in movies over the last decade, and whatever you feel about either of the films involved, living through those few minutes of chaos at the Oscars was a brilliantly entertaining moment of drama and shock.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: