To help illustrate my lack of ill will toward all forms of modernity, I've compiled a list of my top five favorite films from the last five years. It's too early to have a Top Five list for video games (I haven't played half the ones in my library), I think I've only read four books from the last five years, and my other big passions (namely, food and music) would require more time than I'd like to spend researching. Off the top of my head, Mere Churchianity, The Gastronomy of Marriage, All the President's Pastries, Mega Man 9, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, cherry-flavored Tic Tacs, and Foster the People have been welcome additions to my life. Unless Wikipedia's correct and the Tic Tacs are from 2007, in which case I should probably throw out the package I have in the car.
Nathaniel's Top Five Favorite Films of 2008-2013:
How to Train Your Dragon (2010) - Funny, likable characters, an appealing animation style, and seriously one of the coolest climactic battle sequences I've seen in a movie. My wife and I saw Iron Man 2 afterwards, and we both agreed that, for as explosive as the film was, this children's movie had a better final boss. It's that good.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009) - This was a surprise; I'm normally not into gritty crime thrillers and dramas that don't involve spaceships and sentient computers, but the original Swedish adaptation of the book series everyone else was reading left a big impression on me (the extended version in particular). In addition to being one of the most shockingly "adult" movies I've ever seen (remember, this is the guy who just put How to Train Your Dragon in his top five), it's not often that I've seen such a unique, complex, and compelling female lead as Lisbeth Salander (and such an incredible performance, at that). Between her, the storytelling style, the twists and turns of the plot, and the novelty of being the first Swedish film I think I've ever seen, everything came together to make Dragon Tattoo such a fascinating experience that even I couldn't help but get sucked into it.
Inception (2010) - The most satisfyingly cerebral action flick I'd seen in a long time. Interesting concept, great execution, and very pretty. Also nice to see Tom Hardy and a grown-up Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing something completely different from their respective roles in Star Trek: Nemesis and 3rd Rock from the Sun, which is all I'd known them from previously.
Oblivion (2013) - Similar to Inception, Oblivion was the most satisfying science fiction flick I'd seen in a long time. I'd been sorely missing the kind of escapist sci-fi that, in the first five minutes, establishes a sense that this is a universe unlike our own. Decent sci-fi throws hovercars and funny-looking aliens at the viewer; good sci-fi develops settings and situations unlike anything we've ever encountered in real life, but with enough traces of reality that the viewer can still relate. Despite any of the film's shortcomings, Oblivion sticks with me because of the thought-provoking world it created—and great sci-fi keeps you thinking about it long after the credits roll. Plus, the film's got a killer soundtrack by M83, so you can guess what would be on my Top Five list for music, if I had one.
The Avengers (2012) - Ah, the one movie on my list that doesn't end in -ion or have the word "dragon" in it. While I think I might like Iron Man (2008) just a smidge more, The Avengers represents the culmination of film collaboration the likes of which Hollywood has never seen, unless there's another five movies out there with independent storylines that were subtly woven together to form the groundwork for a single film starring all of the other films' characters. The Avengers isn't just an engagingly comedic and action-packed spectacle in its own right; it's proof that movies can be so much more than a string of sequels, remakes, and reboots. The shared continuity of a cinematic universe has been long overdue—television's been at it forever, from Eureka and Warehouse 13 to Frasier, Wings, and Cheers—and you can tell the people involved have actually picked up a comic book before. I think Hollywood is finally realizing that the source material is what makes the source material popular; radically changing it to appeal to a moviegoing audience defeats the purpose.
2008 - Horton Hears a Who!, Kung Fu Panda
2009 - Watchmen, District 9
2010 - Despicable Me, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The King's Speech
2011 - The Smurfs (Kidding! Kidding. Everything I've seen has been decent or pretty good, but not honorable-mentiony.)
2012 - Les Misérables
2013 - I didn't see it in 3D, but does Jurassic Park count?