The Year That Was 2010: The Mediocre, The Bad and the Top Ten
LAST UPDATE: 4/05/11
It's not too much of a secret that I found the year in film to be underwhelming. By the publication date of this article, I had only seen 25 movies in total. This same time last year, I had seen a good 32 in theaters alone. There were some other factors that went into not frequenting the multiplexes as much this year (money, lack of money, keeping busy, etc.), but for the most part, aside from a handful of titles, there just wasn't a whole lot to get excited about.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find two pretty nifty YouTube mash-up videos that almost made me think otherwise. I've posted both to the right, but you can also find them here and here, in case you get an error message when you try to play the videos.
The first one, Filmography, is exceptionally well-edited by Gen I. (cue the wood-chopping sequences in Winter's Bone and Get Low). The second, Cinescape, comes from Matt Shapiro, a guy who's end-of-the-year videos are always pretty outstanding. I definitely wouldn't object to at least one of these videos acting as the lead-in for the Oscars. Or hey, there's still time, one could open for the Academy Awards, and one for the Golden Globes next Sunday. Who's with me on that?
So right before I unveil my top ten list (and I was a little surprised that I managed to put one together, honestly), I thought I might share some quick thoughts on all the other films I saw in 2010. And they read like so. . .
Alice in Wonderland - definitely the worst Burton-Depp collaboration so far (D)
The American - George Clooney frowning, barely talking, and driving around an incredibly boring Italian neighborhood does not a good movie make (C)
Catfish - watchable, harmless doc that loses a little steam by the end of the second act (B)
The Fighter - a great ensemble cast helps inject some life into an otherwise average storyline (B)
The Ghost Writer - great ending, but the majority of the film can be pretty monotonous (B)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I - watchable, although it's the least satisfactory entry in HP franchise (B)
Inception - visually impressive, well-directed thriller that actually gets better with subsequent viewings (B)
Iron Man 2 - decent enough super hero sequel, but a far cry from the original (B-)
The Kids Are All Right - it’s blessed with a gifted cast, but the film itself is just okay (B)
Machete - it's a more heavy-handed, less entertaining Grindhouse that doesn't make good on its promise to entertain the whole way through (C+)
Never Let Me Go - a mediocre drama that doesn’t quite capitalize on its potential, despite boasting a fine performance from its lead (B)
Predators - pretty much as generic and predictable as you hoped it wouldn't be (C)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - after the first ten minutes, it became torturous to sit through (D)
Shutter Island - might have worked better as a TV movie (and without the trailer spoilers) (B)
Tron: Legacy - a flawed script is, thankfully, overshadowed by great special effects and impressive technical modifications (B-)
And now, my picks for the top ten films of 2010:
#10. The Town - I've never really had a problem with Ben Affleck as an actor, but I'm thoroughly enjoying what he does behind the camera. The cast is great, especially Jeremy Renner. The shoot-out scenes (particularly the one near the end) are incredible. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. (Grade: B)
#9. Tangled - the animation is gorgeous, and the movie shares a lot in common with Shrek, back when it was still fresh. Between the look of the film, its many likable characters, and Alan Menken's songs, there's something for everybody here. (Grade: B+)
#8. Fair Game - glad to see that a film was finally made about this ordeal, and it was handled appropriately. The ball doesn't really get rolling until the second half of the film, but once it does, things get much more interesting. Naomi Watts and Sean Penn are both fantastic. (Grade: B+)
#7. Winter's Bone - I managed to see the film before the awards circuit got underway, and I immediately knew that it would put Jennifer Lawrence's name on the map, and rightfully so. She carries the film with ease. The rest of the supporting cast members deliver as well, especially Dale Dickey and the extremely underrated John Hawkes. (Grade: B+)
#6. The King's Speech - the best on-screen pairing of 2010 may have been Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The two play off of each other so well that whenever they're not sharing the same scene, everything else we see seems dull by comparison. This is that rare kind of inspirational film that isn't bogged down by excessive sappiness. (Grade: A-)
#5. Black Swan - I'm not sure how many other directors could make a film about competitive ballet dancers and keep us totally engaged throughout, but apparently, it's just one of those things Darren Aronofsky can do. The movie obviously belongs to Natalie Portman, but the supporting players (Hershey, Cassel, Kunis, Ryder) only add to the viewing experience. (Grade: A-)
#4. 127 Hours - if you're squeamish, then you may want to skip that pivotal scene that had some audience members fainting. But try to tough through it if you can, because you'd be missing out on a memorable experience if you avoided the film altogether. Look out for the talk show scene. James Franco nails it. (Grade: A-)
#3. True Grit - it's one thing for a remake to work. It's something else entirely when it outshines the original film. In the same vein as No Country for Old Men, the Coen Bros.' latest western is sharply paced, occasionally humorous and, most of all, extremely entertaining. (Grade: A-)
#2. Toy Story 3 - forget the fact that this is a computer-animated picture. Think of how many film franchises followed up their sequels with entries that were anywhere near this fun, funny and poignant. It's nice to see that eleven years after Toy Story 2, no one involved has missed a beat. (Grade: A)
#1. The Social Network - what can I say? I think the film deserves each and every one of the numerous awards it's received lately. I saw this at the beginning of the fall, after I had already decided that 2010 was not going to be a memorable year for me. At that point, it had become the only film I could truly call "great," and it never budged from the top spot after that screening. Once it was over, I had just one major complaint: I wish it had been longer. (Grade: A)
What's your list for the top ten of the past year look like?
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