10. The Town (2010)
While somewhat overrated, “The Town” is still one of the better action movies of the past several decades. The acting is quite solid, but you often find yourself loathing the characters. Oh, and the ending is frankly ridiculous.
9. The Paper Chase (1973)
A film that accurately captures the rigors of collegiate academics, as well as the frustration of university bureaucracy. The flick fades and loses momentum during the second half. Nonetheless, John Houseman is absolute perfection.
8. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
An underrated crime movie from the 1970’s. Bean Town mobsters believe Robert Mitchum to be way too dangerous on the streets, so they try their best to cap him. The film’s gritty, unrelenting nature is a perfect fit for the era and the city in which it is set.
7. Ted (2012)
Seth McFarlane is modern comic genius and his full powers are on display in this hilarious comedy. You can’t help but love the vulgar, wisecracking title character as he delivers hit one liner after hit one liner. Mark Wahlberg is also quite funny himself.
6. The Social Network (2010)
The formative part of this movie was set at Harvard, so the story of Facebook and its founder make this countdown. “The Social Network” is as much a character piece, as it is about the development of a website that changed the world forever. Success comes at a price though.
5. Mystic River (2003)
“Mystic River” is a multilayered masterpiece that might be Eastwood’s most character-driven work. The acting is absolutely superb and the dialogue is spot-on. The ending is also absolutely perfect.
4. The Verdict (1982)
“The Verdict” ended up being one of Paul Newman’s most interesting roles, playing a lawyer on the edge. A prominent case offer Newman’s character his last chance at redemption, in more ways than one. “The Verdict” is a fascinating character study, something at which Lumet has always excelled.
3. The Fighter (2010)
The true story of Micky Ward is far too strange and amazing than anything Hollywood could ever come up with. Micky’s bizarre relationship with brother Dicky is easily the most interesting part of the movie. As good as Wahlberg is as Ward, Christian Bale steals the show. The only downside to “The Fighter,” is that it doesn’t examine Ward’s legendary brawls with Arturo Gatti, probably the fighter’s lasting legacy.
2. The Departed (2006)
What happens when you mix Martin Scorsese with Chinese crime drama…well, one of the best films of the past decade! Based on Infernal Affairs, The Departed is more tragedy than action flick. The characters are perfectly penned and the acting is on point. While DiCaprio, Damon, Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen are amazing, Jack Nicholson completely steals the show as crime boss, Frank Costello.
- Good Will Hunting (1997)
One of the truly great films of the 1990’s, “Good Will Hunting” is a bildungsroman for Gen X. Robin plays Will’s tortured psychiatrist, who’s a little too smart for his own good at times. This performance was a return to the hefty dramatic work Robin Williams pumped out in the late 1980’s, netting him an Oscar.