Media of the Decade

By Aiden McLean '21

The 2010s has been quite an amazing time for media in every single way. The industry of entertainment has never seen such a diverse variety of styles, stories, characters, and even productions as they did this past decade. While most decades have had some sort of style in their art that stays prevalent, this decade has been all over the place in terms of ideas. We’ve had groundbreaking marvels (that’s a joke) with now legendary characters and unforgettable stories that will become culture classics in the same vein as Star Wars, Psycho, or Casa Blanca. We’ve also had some titles with unoriginal ideas, false promises, and horrible execution. This decade has seen dark, dramatic, and thought-provoking titles, alongside light, goofy, and lovable stories. These past ten years have changed the way that media is made. The way some titles were created in the past ten years is down-right inspiring, and they could be stories on their own. In contrast, others that have come out in this decade stand as symbols on how not to make a good product.

But we’re not here to tell all these stories. We’re here to look at the best. Not necessarily the best made or told titles, but the ones that were the most relevant. As good as some of the movies or shows that came out this decade are, not all will not be remembered in the future. This list will show the titles that were the most relevant and memorable in modern memory. In order for a story or product to be successful and survive in future generations, it needs to be remembered to be told and sold into the future. This list will exclude TV shows, music, trends, and memes, because those forms of media deserve their own lists. Lastly, thank you to the 79 people who voted for these titles. This list was made based off of your choices. Onward! These were the most relevant and best titles in media to come out of every single year in the 2010s.


2010

Winner: Despicable Me

25.3% voted, 20 votes


Looking back, 2010 was a rather great year for entertainment. So many classic titles in every form of media came out this year, especially for animation. After the impressive year of 2009, 2010 had a lot to live up to in terms of animated movies, and boy did it deliver! Some really great animated movies that are now deemed classic 3D animated movies came out this year: How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind, and Toy Story 3. We all would have loved these movies so much more if we weren’t already laughing our hearts out over Despicable Me. The magnum opus of Illumination Studios, Despicable Me can best be described as a comedy about a villain’s life mixed with Annie. It was full of slapstick and stupidity and we all loved it. The animation was quick and exaggerated, allowing for some very entertaining and comedic scenes. Yet, it still had a heart warming story and an entertaining villain. Gru was a very sympathetic character, and the three girls were also very likable. Of course we can’t forget the minions, who were fun too.


Runner up: Toy Story 3

22.8% voted, 18 votes

Oh what a perfect ending for this beloved series. Even though Toy Story 4 may have come out, you are still outstanding!


2011

Winner: Minecraft

31.6% voted, 25 votes


2011 was a rather poor year for movies with some exceptions. 2011 is remembered as a very good year for video games. Many games that came out this year are still played and have large cult followings; the most mainstream of which was, and still maybe is, Minecraft. Everyone knows about this game, and everyone at one time has played it. If you haven’t, the only reason why is because you’ve been living under a rock with 64 stone blocks on your head. Before this game came out, survival and open world (aka sandbox) games were nothing new. Even the combination had already been done in Fallout, but never had it been done with an element of creativity and imagination. A game using blocks to create its world, where a player can either survive and or create, is an ingenious idea. It allows for any person of any age to play with ease and have a fun time. In survival mode, people can explore survive, and experience the enormous world the game had to offer. Others can take the materials and gimmick of the game of using blocks and let their imaginations run wild in the game’s creative mode, creating incredible, imaginative designs. What really pushed Minecraft into popularity was modding and streamers. By changing the code of this sandbox (open world game where a player has freedom of movement and can do as they please), modders could literally create whatever they imagined. They made new game modes, worlds, and ideas. Also, many people got into Minecraft thanks to YouTubers, channels, and organizations who live streamed or recorded their experiences for viewers, promoting interest in people’s minds with the possibilities that this simple blocky game could offer.


Runner up: Snapchat

19% voted, 15 votes

Keeping an eight year streak strong. A humorous and calm place to socialize.


2012

Winner: Marvel Avengers

21.5% voted, 17 votes


Was there any doubt about the biggest thing to come out in 2012? Obviously yes, since Subway Surfers nearly won. However, Marvel’s Avengers was one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Having a superhero movie with multiple main characters and heroes was probably the biggest risk Marvel has ever taken. This was unheard of and thought to be impossible. The Avengers, in all honesty, should have been a huge failure, but not only did it succeed, it shattered all expectations. As a result, it has reshaped the comic book movie industry and the entire film-making industry forever! Now, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is the highest grossing franchise of all time! It was Marvel’s biggest risk, it paid off tremendously well, and it all started with the Avengers. Iron Man may have been the first MCU film, but Avengers jump started the whole machine. Once the Avengers came out, everyone knew that not only was Marvel making some awesome movies, but the movies were all intertwined and connected to a larger narrative. This is probably, for now, the most influential movie of all time. Now everybody wants a cinematic universe. Everyone wants to make movies that combine strong action, dialogue, and story, with great comedy and characters. The MCU owes its success to the Avengers, and the MCU is only as big as it is because of the success of this film.


Runner up: Subway Surfers

19% voted, 15 votes

You have surfed back into our minds and hearts... at least until the next train flattens you, wherever in the world you’re surfing now.


2013

Winner: Vine

39.2% voted, 31 votes


For the past six years the media industry was doing extremely well, producing hit after hit in almost every medium. Then 2013 came along, and this hype train of awesomeness came to a screeching halt. Okay, that may be more dramatic than it was, but in all seriousness this was a lackluster year for media. While there were some good things to come out this year, most ranked from at best decent to abysmal. There just weren’t a lot of notable titles from 2013. Let’s face it, the most animated movies could offer us were animals made out of food, Native American turkeys, and snail jokes (how appropriate). At least Vine was cool... until they pulled the plug too early. A neat idea of using short videos and quick editing to make online posts and content. Vine formed a passionate community and following, with many of its users creating unique and creative content almost daily. While the videos were short and concise, Vine pushed people in developing their abilities to edit and be creative. But all good things must end, and in this case it was just too soon. Everyone who loved this program is in agreement, V2, you can't come sooner, PLEASE GET OUT OF DEVELOPMENT!


Runner Up: Frozen

30.4%, 24 votes

Let it go! Let It GOOO! Let the franchise gooo on! Their cold shoulder’ll never bother you anyway! #noregrets


2014

Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy

17.7% voted, 14 votes


2014, what a great year for cinema, both animated and live action! Again this is a year that produced some really good movies that may soon be regarded as classics. Movies like How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Winter Soldier were spectacles to behold. There were heartwarming pieces like Big Hero 6. There was even a movie literally made out of product placement that made people furious it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar! The LEGO Movie totally deserved the award! Then Marvel decided to break the rules once again, changing cinema forever! Guardians of the Galaxy was, once again, a huge risk. They made a major picture about a group of characters that even some die-hard Marvel comic book fans didn’t know about. Instead of focusing in on the action with a thought provoking narrative like Winter Soldier, Guardians was more centered around comedy and character so to better introduce these characters. It worked. Now, some of the most beloved movie characters include a walking tree and a rodent with a gun! Instead of following the footsteps of all actions before it, Guardians of the Galaxy was more light-hearted and character-based, proving that superhero movies could not only be good and thought provoking, but intentionally funny. The humor is quick, witty, and full of charm. How did they make beating up grass hilarious!? What people remember most, other than Groot’s famous post credits dance, is the music. This has to be one of the best soundtracks for a movie ever. The songs that were used serve a purpose for the story and relevance towards the characters. The music is fun to listen to, and greatly improves the scenery. With such a rogues gallery of heroes, a comedy premise, and perfectly used music, Guardians of the Galaxy proved that MARVEL could expand into whole new horizons of entertainment.


Runner up: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

16.5% voted, 13 votes

Not only does this movie have great action and characters, but it also has an interesting discussion about the relationship between freedom and security and where should the line drawn. Seriously, this is one of the best Marvel movies to date!


2015

Winner: Hamilton

44.3% voted, 35 votes


2015 was definitely an oddball compared to the rest of the years. It seemed that this year took the out of place idea from Guardians and put it into all of the titles. Seriously a lot of interesting things came out in 2015: Inside Out, Fallout 4, Mad Max Fury Road, and Ant-Man. Though in the end, Hamilton wiped all of these off the map. Lin Manuel Miranda’s second Broadway show to win a Tony has taken the world by storm, showing the life of the overshadowed founding father: Alexander Hamilton. It is based off of the book by Ron Churnow, which depicts the life, victories, and early demise of the Ten Dollar Father. In the years since its release, nearly everyone has heard about this play or listened to some of its music. It combines hip hop and rap with Colonial-era characters and setting.These songs are so catchy that even four years later we’re still humming some of the tunes. Even school teachers are using scenes or songs from Hamilton to teach their elementary students about U.S. Independence and U.S. history. Another consequence of this play has been propelling the obscure founding father higher into the spotlight of infamy. A once nearly unknown figure, Alexander Hamilton has become a giant in history. Hamilton has also propelled Lin Manuel Miranda higher in popularity for future musicals with Disney! Of all places? So far though, Miranda sure hasn’t wasted his shot, and the world now knows Hamilton’s name.


Runner up: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

13.9% voted, 11 votes

Well it looks like the Star Wars Franchise has awoken once again, for better or worse. Good to see Han, Leia, and Luke again.


2016

Winner: Moana

25.3% voted, 20 votes


Oh boy, 2016. The year full of controversy, hate, and much division between people, and not just because of politics. To be frank, 2016 was a controversial year. While 2013 may have been a little more on the lazy side, 2016 was possibly even worse. There were amazing pieces that came out this year as well as some that were medal-worthy bad. Though it was great to get something fun now and then, a beautifully made original animated musical by Disney, even if it isn’t much different from previous movies. Moana is similar to Frozen in that it has a relevant message about finding your own identity and being passionate about your calling, and it acts as a good satire of previous Disney movies, in this case the “chosen one” movie. Moana and Maui made a great comedic and thankfully platonic duo. Speaking of characters, the two main leads were exceptionally well developed and likable. Maui is a great comic relief to counter Moana’s determined spirit. He teaches Moana how to sail, which makes his purpose as a side character more relevant to the plot rather than adding another celebrity voice cameo. Moana isn’t like past Disney female leads. She isn’t exactly optimistic or naive. She’s passionate about the sea and saving her people, and she’s a genuinely strong female protagonist. Her strength doesn’t come in the presence of a sword, her gender, or ethnicity, but it comes from the problems she faces. Moana is clever and resourceful and isn’t one of those “I want to see more” characters. She wants to leave the island so that she can sail the oceans, which is something that sailors understand. The reward for sailors isn’t in the destination, but the fun is in the challenge and adventure of just getting there. This movie does a fantastic job of showing that. The animation isn’t too impressive with the people and animals, but is absolutely jaw dropping at sea. Those sailing scenes are some of the most stunning visuals by Disney. The soundtrack is fun to listen to, is really catchy, and does a great job in capturing the native feel with the music. The movie is also very atmospheric, showing a lot of heart in representing the Pacific Polynesian island communities. Moana is beautifully well done and fun to watch.


Runner up: Deadpool

I got 15.2% of the vote, only twelve of you made the right choice!

"YOU’RE WELCOME! I'M HERE TO MAKE A CAMEO IN THIS ARTICLE! Though none of you even deserve me to be here since you voted for Moana over ME! But even for my fans I must put in ‘MAXIMUM EFFORT!’” - Deadpool ;)


2017

Winner: Coco

19% voted, 15 votes


2017 has been regarded as the best year for video games since 2007 and a moderately decent year for movies and animation. Yet the winner couldn’t be more obvious! We all remember you, Coco, and don’t you forget it! Pixar’s Coco is an adaptation of Mexico’s and other Latin American countries’ Day of the Dead, and in no way inspired by Reel FX’s Book of Life three years earlier. Though to its credit, Coco does go more in depth with the culture, traditions, and atmosphere of the Central American holiday than any other movie before it. It offers some really gorgeous animation (save for the ugliest dog ever to be made). The guitar scenes with Miguel were done by hand and made to be as accurate as possible, showing the very notes being played was really well done and impressive. Finally, for once a family message that does not end in family trumps all! Instead Coco’s message about family is about remembering those who have passed, and that no matter how much you may argue, or disagree, your family will always be there for you. This is respectable and a good change in message for Disney. What is also admirable is Coco’s second message about honoring your heroes and choosing your heroes wisely because they may not be as noble as they may seem. In regards to the audio, the songs and sound in this film are phenomenal. Major props to the sound engineers, composers, and musicians who made them come alive. Just like the animation, the music is bold, its vibrant, and it holds your mind and imagination. The songs are catchy and fun to hear. The story may be cliche levels of predictable, but that doesn’t mean Coco isn’t a wonder to see.


Runner up: Get Out

15.2% voted, 12 votes

Best horror-comedy since Evil Dead with Bruce Campbell and a welcomed change in tone for future horror movies.


2018

Winner: Black Panther

30.9% voted, 24 votes


2018 was an amazing year for cinema and media! Every time we went into theaters, we were at the edges of our seats and left satisfied. So many good things came out this year that entertainment burned through all of its creativity fuel, that 2019 was full of just sequels and reboots! While the MCU had been doing extraordinarily well for the past decade, in 2018 they swept away all competition for the top spot. Four out of their six movies could have easily come first. All were well made and extremely entertaining. But there had to be a winner, and as culturally significant Infinity War was, it was Black Panther that truly shone in the spotlight. Possibly one of the best, not only Marvel movie, but superhero movie, Black Panther has everything a person would want in a movie. Great action, dialogue, characters, effects, jokes, acting, and diversity. It even won three Oscars, which was the most awards won by a superhero movie since The Incredibles. But where Black Panther really shines is in its story and message. In a way it’s similar to Captain America: the Winter Soldier. They both use action and story to offer a question to viewers. In this case, questions on multiple things including immigration, oppression, use of materials, hate, morality, and honor. All the questions are asked by the struggle of how Vibranium should be used. Should it be used as a means for justice or as a tool for innovation? Overall Black Panther is an amazing movie, well deserving of all the attention and praise it gets. Wakanda Forever!


Runner up: Avengers: Infinity War

26.6% voted, 21 votes

No one was left “feeling good too good” after watching this film! One of the most anticipated and ballsy films ever killed off half of its cast and angered all of humanity for having us wait one whole year to see what happened next. Oh the humanity!


2019

Winner: Avengers: Endgame

58.2% voted, 46 votes


Good things have come out this year, but we really didn’t care about any of that junk because WE NEEDED TO KNOW HOW INFINITY WAR ENDED! Nothing can be said can hold a light to how anticipated, significant, or breathtaking Avengers: Endgame was for everyone! This has been the most culturally significant icon since Mario or Star Wars! Literally everything done in this movie was done masterfully, from the story down to the marketing. They only showed the first third of the movie along with some fake footage in their trailers so we didn’t know what was going to happen. So many call backs to previous movies, plenty of Easter Eggs and fan service! Cap finally said what we wanted to hear since Avengers came out! All in an attempt to give us the perfect climax we have been waiting for 11 years to see! All of our favorite characters and heroes all came together for one final titanic climax! Nothing has matched or may ever match the significance Endgame had on the world. It received a 94 on Rotten Tomatoes and is currently the highest grossing movie of all time, sitting at 2.8 BILLION DOLLARS world wide! Heck, when you all voted for this list, Endgame got more votes than any other title. With the Avengers all nicely wrapped up, whats next for the MCU? Well, Disney did buy Fox who has access to other MARVEL properties like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, so maybe something with them in the future? All that can be said now, is: “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE”.


Runner up: Toy Story 4

13.9% voted, 11 votes

The sequel absolutely no one wanted, and yet not un-welcomed. Not a bad way to finish Woody’s arc. Starting bid at fifty dollars that Toy Story 5 is under way, ANY TAKERS?

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