As editor of this wonderful platform, I do get tired, and sometimes hand over duties to faithful friends and contributors of The British Blacklist.
Here are some of my friends’ thoughts on some of the best Black films this decade has given us. Sidenote, ‘Black Film‘ is whatever they deemed it to be. Sidenote, of course, they were given rules, but friends being friends, they do what they like hence why some are detailed, others are brief. I kinda like the variety… sigh. Happy reading, agreeing, side-eyeing, etc.
Presenting one-third of Glassmates, Nigel Mark’s 10 films of the decade…
“OK, So there is no Tyler Perry, no Kevin Hart, no Slavery trauma, no Girls Trip, No Michael Ealy, no Tiffany Haddish, no Think Like a Man on this list.
Now that’s out of the way, this list is, however, representative of the predominantly black films I’ve enjoyed the most over the past decade. I honestly thought I’d struggle to get 10 and said as much to the TBB Boss, she laughed and said do what you can. My list is by no means definitive but it is mine so… In no particular order” – Nigel Mark
Top Five (2014) – 75/100
Chris Rock shows believable vulnerability what is more of a Rom-com than anything else. Top Five attacks comedy in so many various ways: sarcasm, quips, one-liners, everything on such an intellectual level, and while it’s not choc-full of belly laughs it is very funny and very smart. Look out for a film-stealing cameo from an unexpected rapper. It’s easy to ignore how slick and clever it is. An enjoyable watch.
Fruitvale Station (2013) – 85/100
A tough but must-see film about a night’s events and what could have been. Ryan Coogler directed a very balanced view of one man’s life with quite sincere clarity. Michael B Jordan earned his stripes with a sometimes raw but gentle performance as the lead, as we know the two will go on to do great things together. Profound and gut-wrenching.
Creed (2015) – 75/100
Next up for the dynamic duo of Coogler and Jordan was this extension of the Rocky franchise but this time through the eyes of Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis. Jordan’s young, tenacious energy is counter-balanced by Stallone’s methodic and slow pacing, to give us great balance and wonderful performances from both sides. The action scenes bring all of that energy together with aplomb.
Dope (2015) – 80/100
A quirky tale of life in the Inglewood hood for three high school geeks with a passion for nineties hip-hop is lively, snappy, and great fun. A smart and refreshing take on an often, derivative subgenre. Rick Famuyiwa’s version has all the elements of a John Hughes film but with his own twist. Great performance by Shamiek Moore; makes this an ideal chill-out movie.
Fences (2016) – 90/100
Denzel Washington directed and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which centres on a black garbage collector in 1950s Pittsburgh and his resentment of how life has treated him. Denzel trades barbs and emotions with fellow Oscar winner Viola Davis in a tour de force of acting which rightfully won this film awards.
Get Out – 85/100
Part social commentary, part potent thriller, Jordan Peele directs Daniel Kaluuya in a superbly written tale of perceptions with pointed satire and tension. A superb debut whose critique of cultural appropriation is more than a clever, anti-racism statement. A film that sticks with you long after you’ve watched it.
Black Panther – 80/100
Marvel have barely put a foot wrong for nearly 15 years and getting Ryan Coogler to direct this episode was a win win. Not only were we given a true representation of the Black super hero experience, Black Panther is one of Marvel’s better movies to date and is going to have a lasting impact not only on comic book fans but an entire generation. Wakanda Forever!
Moonlight (2016) – 92/100
Probably the film I enjoyed the most on my list. The story of a young man’s struggle to find himself told across three defining chapters in his life he tries to come to terms with his own sexuality is a simply beautiful piece of cinema. Barry Jenkins’s screenplay and direction allows each actor to not only shine but also engulf the screen with emotion. Many films are considered “art” but this is exactly that.
Black TV shows have enjoyed a roaring resurgence over the past 10 yrs and have probably kept me more engaged and entertained than a lot of films. Atlanta is by far the standout from a list that includes Black-ish, Insecure, The Carmichael Show, Snowfall, Pose, Treme and Chewing Gum. Often bang on topic and very astute with observations of what the current Black experience is in the western world whether it be with surrealism (Atlanta), Tense drama (Snowfall, Treme) or good old fun (Chewing Gum), we haven’t had it this good for a while.
Keep up with Nigel Mark via Glassmates