Saturday, January 15, 2011

2010 in Review: Movies

By my informal count, there were 204 movies released in theaters in 2010. I have, as of this writing, seen 81 of them. By and large I was pleased with the films released in 2010, though not a great year, I was able to formulate a list of 10 of my favorite films of that year. Also, I have included top performances in 4 acting categories, in my opinion. A disclaimer is that since I have not seen every film released, and not even half, I will probably get into March and see something that should be on this list. An example of this would be The King's Speech. It looks very good and would probably end up in a few of my lists but I haven't seen it yet. That said, let's get deeper into some dream layers.


My pick for absolute best in red

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges- True Grit
Leonardo di Caprio- Inception
Stephen Dorff- Somewhere
Robert Duvall- Get Low
James Franco- 127 Hours

Best Actress

Emma Bell- Frozen
Dakota Fanning- The Runaways
Greta Gerwig- Greenberg
Jennifer Lawrence- Winter's Bone
Emma Stone- Easy A

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale- The Fighter
Matt Damon- True Grit
Jonah Hill- Cyrus
Bill Murray- Get Low

Miles Teller- Rabbit Hole

Best Supporting Actress

Elle Fanning- Somewhere
Ann Guilbert- Please Give
Mila Kunis- Black Swan
Melissa Leo- The Fighter
Hailee Stenfeld- True Grit

Overrated Films of 2010

Though visually pleasing, I thought The Social Network was at heart a biography of a company and do not understand the hype. The Kids Are Alright has nothing new to offer and I am mystified at its heat. Black Swan was a confusing mess, though not bad. Simply overrated.

Underrated Films of 2010

Catfish, a wonderful juxtaposition of documentary and fiction, had me on the edge of my seat. It is a rare thing when you have NO idea where a movie is going. Even when it's done. Splice was more than just a horror film. A complex relationship film, it deserves more viewers. The Joneses, Leaves of Grass, Get Low, and The Human Centipede all may be looked at with fonder eyes years from now. Okay maybe not that last one.

My Favorite Films of 2010
in reverse order

10) Cyrus. What an odd gem of a movie. Curious performances wrapped around
a strange story of an adult son/mother relationship. Jonah Hill proves adept at acting so odd one is afraid he may go violent at any moment or that he may be very funny. John C. Reilly is his usual best in this semi Greek tragicomedy.

9) Paranormal Activity 2. A big fan of the original, I was afraid the sequel would mar my memory. It did not. Using even more cameras with, thankfully, only a fraction of the hand held footage, this movie delivered the scares. Add in a dog and a baby and you have a great sequel Now if they could only stop at this one.

8) Winter's Bone. The Ozarks are another character in this well-acted tale of poverty, gossip, family ties, ad methamphetamine. I felt as if I were with the lovely Jennifer Lawrence as she battled seemingly everyone in order to provide for her younger siblings. It is horrible, the life portrayed by these people and I found it unforgettable.

7) Catfish. If you are online much, if you have arrived at this blog post via Twitter, if you frequent online dating sites, you have probably at one time or another wondered just who the hell is typing to you. Is that person REALLY who they purport to be? Well Catfish takes such a concept to an end. What that end TRULY is, is up for interpretation, for so many people who have seen is STILL don't know if what one sees in Catfish is real. I think I know, but I want you to watch it and tell me your thoughts. Mesmerizing.

6) Get Low. Funny. Touching. Very well acted. This film about an old man who wants to be present at his own funeral showcases redemption, guilt, forgiveness, and letting go. Fabulous performances by Robert Duvall and Bill Murray as well as Sissy Spacek make this a great, great film.

5) True Grit. The Coen Brothers rarely do wrong in my eyes. True Grit is no exception. Incredible performances by newcomer Hailee Stenfeld as well as Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon make this a fun movie to watch. Far superior to the original, the repartee between the three main characters is great fun. My only qualm would be the ending. It should have ended perhaps 10 minutes sooner.

4) Toy Story 3. A very pleasant family film's third go round never gets stale. Woody and Buzz are thrust into new predicaments that they must overcome, along with the rest of the gang and in the end, we watch Andy play with them one last time. Moved me to tears.

3) The Karate Kid. A pleasant surprise was this remake by the People's Repubic of China and Will Smith. New life is brought into a beloved 80's movie and I loved how we saw into China's culture while being given a story that, like Toy Story 3, had me weeping at the end. Props to Jaden Smith for delivering the charisma necessary to make this a hit.

2) 127 Hours. I watche this film twice and enjoyed it equally, for different reasons, each time. What is thought to be a story of a single event where a man is pinned to a rock is made so much more by director Danny Boyle and terrifc acting by James Franco. Boyle's manic celebration of movement and life is so inspiring and an instant classic. Graphic, yes, but not what you've been told. Give it half a chance.

1) Inception. I saw this film twice as well and though my viewing companion brought up troubling logical problems, I enjoyed this inventive, razzle dazzle of a mind bending film. Like nothing I'd seen, perhaps since The Matrix, this film grabbed me and never let go. By the way, I had more fun discussing with my movie watching friend the work of gravity within dream levels than I can remember having with anyone else discussing films. I can't wait to watch more movies with her.

And that's it, the Year in Movies according to me. Great Directors like Boyle, Christopher Nolan, Darron Aronofsky, and the Coen Brothers made it a fun time to watch movies. I hope they all come back with new projects soon. So tell me, what's YOUR favorite movie?


  1. LOVED Inception. Great number one pick. I'd choose that one too and I watched it 3 times.
    I've seen all of the top 5. Great films. Cyrus was great as well. I'm going to watch Catfish soon. Paranormal Activity, no way. I don't do scary.
    You must have a really smart movie watching companion. She sounds awesome!

  2. Having seen none of these, I will use this as a guide as to what I SHOULD watch in the upcoming year.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this up, Rob :)