Endless Summer: 2010s Tournament Recap

It feels like both yesterday and forever ago that we launched our Endless Summer essay series and these complementary decadal box-office tournaments. Even when time is a flat circle, all seasons must come to an end, and so we close the curtain on our summer tournaments …

… AND LIFT THE CURTAIN ON OUR FALL FILM SEASON BOX-OFFICE TOURNAMENT!

That’s right: We’ll be doing the same thing all over again for films from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s — with rankings determined by box-office, only for titles released from October to December. (Sorry, September, but we still love you. And January? Well … who knows what the future holds?)

Look for Round 1 of the 32-team 1970s tournament to begin next week and for the 64-film fields of the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s to begin after that. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pg/midwestfilmjournal) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/MWFilmJournal for all the polls.

(A side note: Facebook’s latest redesign appears to have borked polls for good. So we’re sticking with old school LIKE for one, LOVE for the other moving forward. We’re also doing away with each matchup’s couplets to focus on essential info of what you need to do by when. Look at it as a summer affair if you must — fun while it lasted, but destined to fade.)

But before all of that, there is the matter of one more champion for our Endless Summer box office tournaments. Thin margin here, again determined by a Twitter rout — where the champion took all the votes, which was enough to put it over the top, meaning it is …

… a second straight win for Christopher Nolan as Inception, an underdog #8 seed, took down the overall #1 seed Avengers: Endgame to take the final summer-tournament title.

Perhaps it’s fitting, as Inception knocked off Endgame’s first half (Infinity War, also a #1 seed) en route to the crown — along with The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America: Civil War and Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, the only time Inception didn’t face a superhero was in the Final Four, where it eked out a win over Inside Out to advance to the title.

Overall, your respective champions were: Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1970s), Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980s), Jurassic Park (1990s), The Dark Knight (2000s) and Inception (2010s).

Here are a few notes about the 2010s territory, with the final bracket embedded below:

  • Setting aside an #8 seed winning the tournament, the biggest Cinderella story here had to be Ant-Man. A #16 seed knocking off a #1 (Jurassic World here) had happened before. A #16 seed making it to the Elite Eight was unprecedented, and Ant-Man had strong showings against Despicable Me 3 and Mission: Impossible — Fallout before succumbing to Inside Out.
  • There were 14 total Marvel Cinematic Universe films in play. Two of them made it to the FInal Four (Avengers: Endgame and The Avengers), competing against each other to get a championship slot. (Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man also made it to the Elite Eight.) The only one to not win its first-round matchup was Thor, but it was also up against The Avengers, so … such traffic patterns are unavoidable.
  • And from the “every movie gets at least one vote” category, the following were able to scrounge up a handful: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (against Avengers: Endgame), Cars 2 (against Incredibles II), Men in Black 3 (against Avengers: Infinity War) and 2014’s Godzilla (against Toy Story 4).


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An award-winning film critic and features reporter, Nick has professionally written or gabbed about movies for Illinois newspapers, national syndicates, Playboy, The Art Immortal, The Film Yap and Midwest radio stations. He once drummed in a Billy Joel cover band known as Silly Joel and freely presents his Letterboxd page to engage and mock if you wish: https://letterboxd.com/ragekage79/


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