Song of the Day #4,203: ‘Monday Monday’ – The Mamas & The Papas

Having counted down my top 20 albums of the 2010s, I now turn my attention to the top 20 films of the past decade.

I find that with movies even more so than music, my opinions of a work shift over time. So it wasn’t as easy as looking at my top two or three films from the past ten years and weighing them against each other. For some years, a movie I ranked in the bottom half of my top ten has turned out to resonate far more than those I slotted ahead of it at the time.

Unlike on my albums list, where I restricted myself to one album per artist, I am allowing multiple films by the same directors here. Film is such a collaborative medium that I don’t find it fair to the writers, actors and other artists who worked on a movie to consider the director the sole creative force.

As it turns out, only two directors placed more than one film on this list. I’ll note who they are when I get there.

For some reason, this list favors the back half of the decade. Fourteen of my top 20 titles come from 2015-2019, and only six from the first five years of the 2010s. I think that is in part because I went through a period early in the decade where I wasn’t watching as many films, while lately I’ve made a point to see 50 or more per year.

I also think the decade just improved as it went on.

Let me say up front that what follows is my list, and not an attempt to capture the most important, ground-breaking or universally beloved films of the decade.

For example, you won’t find three films that seem to be on every decade top ten list I’ve read: The Social Network, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Moonlight. I liked all of those films quite a bit (in that order) but not enough to crack my lineup.

They join the company of dozens and dozens of very good movies I had to set aside. It’s a struggle every year to narrow my favorites down to just a Top Ten, and those Top Tens account for 100 titles, 80 of which couldn’t make the cut here.

Finally, I’m glad this list covers a wide range of genres, including Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Animated, Musical, Horror and Western. That tells me I’ve done a good job seeking out great movies of all sorts, and that talented filmmakers continue to find innovative ways to tell rewarding stories.

And now, on with the countdown…

Best Movies of the 2010s
#20 – Tower (2016)

The lone documentary on my Top 20, Keith Maitland’s Tower is visually and emotionally arresting, a triumph of both content and form.

Maitland tells the story of the 1966 University of Texas mass shooting by Charles Whitman, who perched in a tower on the Austin campus and rained bullets down for 96 horrifying minutes.

Through archival footage, recreation of scenes, and present-day interviews with survivors, the former UT Austin student recreates the incident in close to real-time. He makes the thoughtful choice to ignore Whitman completely and instead tell the story of the afternoon’s heroes and victims.

Both the scene recreations and interviews are depicted using rotoscopic animation, which brings a 50-year-old event to vivid new life. It allows men and women in their 60s and 70s to tell their stories through twentysomething versions of themselves. It’s an ingenious solution to a storytelling problem (lack of access to shoot live-action recreations) that makes for a more powerful film.

Today’s SOTD appears on the film’s soundtrack. Throughout this countdown, I will also include a trailer or clip from each movie whenever possible.

Trailer:

Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Bah-da bah-da-da-da

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin’, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin’, Monday mornin’ couldn’t guarantee
That Monday evenin’ you would still be here with me

Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day
Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday mornin’ you gave me no warnin’ of what was to be
Oh Monday, Monday, how could you leave and not take me

Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
A-you can find me cryin’ all of the time

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin’, it was all I hoped it would be
But Monday mornin’, Monday mornin’ couldn’t guarantee
That Monday evenin’ you would still be here with me

Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah (yeah)
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
A-you can find me cryin’ all of the time

{Pause}

Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day
Monday, Monday, it just turns out that way
Oh Monday, Monday, won’t go away
Monday, Monday, it’s here to stay
Oh Monday, Monday
Oh Monday, Monday

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,203: ‘Monday Monday’ – The Mamas & The Papas

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Looking forward to seeing your decade top 10 for movies.

    I do think that, as with your music choices, there may be a tendency to favor more recent films, which might well fall back a bit if you were putting this list together 5 or 10 years from now.

    And Social Network would most certainly be on my top 10. It’s omission might put Daniel’s head into a tailspin.😀

    Meanwhile, I confess I’ve never heard of Tower. It does sound compelling though.

  2. Amy says:

    I’m surprised to see this as the only documentary on your list, as I can’t recall ever hearing you talk about it. I’m not sure which, if any, docs would make my best of decade list, but I’ve had at least one in most of my year end top ten picks. I’ll definitely check this one out.

  3. Peg says:

    I too am looking forward to your posts. I don’t remember this documentary but certainly remember the event. I also thought Minding the Gap was a good documentary.

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