For hardcore film buffs it always comes down to this….THE LIST.
The “BEST OF” list. Now, I was never comfortable to write a “BEST OF”. What I think makes a film “THE BEST” is different from another person.
So, I always prefer to write “Favorite” films. These are the things that spoke to me personally. The ones I watch repeatedly, the ones that struck the strongest cord with me, the ones that I saw that seemed different or special to me.
Now I missed A LOT this year but I still saw enough to create a nice solid list. Now, of course, this list could always change. Some films might rank higher the next year, some films might drop completely to be replaced with a new film, but that’s how it goes.
Before we get into this let me tell you guys about the runner ups, the ones that were quite good and while they didn’t make the top ten, I still though they were good enough to talk about.
So, in no particular order….
* Centurion– Simple, badass, medieval action film. It’s lean, it’s mean, and it’s so much fun.
*Dance of the Dead– A super cool throw back of ’80’s teen action horror films. Fun characters, great directing and a smart script makes this a blast.
*Tron: Legacy– The script has it’s own problems, but as pure spectacle its still thoroughly entertaining. Amazing visuals, action and the best film score (IMO) of 2010, even though it’s flawed, I still enjoyed the hell out of it.
*Frozen– Tense, just fucking tense. Great cast, subtle directing, and a well written script makes this a fantastic and thrilling film.
*Best Worst Movie– A great documentary that actually analyzes how a bad film BECOMES a bad film and how that bad film becomes a CULT film. It’s also pretty great to see how the cast discovers how they became cult actors and then see then see the reality of becoming a cult actor.
*Animal Kingdom– If there was one film that came THIS close to entering my top ten, it would be this one. A great slow burn crime film, the fantastic cast (most notably the incredible Jacki Weaver performance) , script and direction really make this one of the best crime films I’ve seen in the last few years.
10.) Mystery Team- Pure funny. I hope this has the potential to be a cult classic much like how Super Troopers is. It wasn’t a box office sensation, BUT, the audience will grow as the years go on. So much of this flick is quotable and memorable but the best thing about this? These guys (the Derrick Comedy team) are just warming up. If they’re this good now, I can’t wait to see what they bring next.
9) Au Revoir Taipei- This comedy is sweet but not saccharin. I described it as charming after I saw it, and few films can be charming without feeling forced. The movie is filled with a interesting characters, great humor, and a simple but fun story. It’s the kinda of movie that you walk out smiling with a romantic heart.
8.) K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces– So I’m going to admit…this film is a cheat. This ACTUALLY came out in 2008 in Japan, but we only recently got it here. Since I saw it in 2010, I’m going to count it as a film I loved in 2010. This is classic pulp adventure. Its a good ole fashioned romp set in a cool alternate universe 1930’s Japan,has great action scenes and a score that just SCREAMS adventure. Its also a relatively fresh take on the masked avenger film, with some great twist and legitimate surprises. Seek this out!
7.) True Grit- Had the film ONLY had Bridges performance of Rooster Cogburn, that would have almost been enough to recommend this film. If it was ONLY the Coen’s rich and authentic script and directing, it would have been enough to recommend. Hell, it was just added bonuses that Matt Damon and Josh Brolin were so good in their respected roles. No, see the element that took this film over the edge for me was Hailee Steinfeld’s incredible performance as Mattie Ross. This little 14 year old girl held her own against some of the best actors in the business, and much like the character of Mattie Ross, proved she could be taken seriously. P.S. To the Academy: Don’t you DARE nominate her for Best Supporting Actress. She’s the lead. Respect that.
6.) The Social Network- The opening 20 minutes blew me away. The verbal dueling between Mark and Erica (Jesse Eisenberg and Rooney Mara respectfully) was a sight to behold. Sorkin’s dialogue soared as Fincher’s directing was quiet, building you up. These first 20 minutes set everything about this film, and the fact that they nailed it so well I knew the rest of the film was going to work on me, no problem. Every praise it’s been getting and every praise it got, I think it earned. I only saw it once, and but I have a feeling that once I see it again…and again…this might go higher in the list as the years go by.
5.) Kick Ass- Never a more fitting title for a movie. A movie so good, it’s actually BETTER then the comic it is based on. The characters are far more fleshed out, the action beats are far better earned, and the pacing is stupendous. Chloe Moritz is a joy in this film as Hit-Girl. The films shoot outs is also the bets I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a funky blend for some (the hardcore action, the silly sex humor…) but I love this blend. Just awesome.
4.) Toy Story 3- There’s a scene near the end of the film (and if you seen the film, you know EXACTLY what scene I’m talking about) where they emotionally took your heart, and SQUEEZED it just enough to make you think for ONE second, they might go were you think they would never go in a MILLION years. That’s a testament to the great film making in this film. You care so much about the characters that your with them on this tale. When the film gets to it’s emotional ending, I was nearly speechless. Pixar proves, time after time, that if they’re good, truly good, at one thing, it’s making movies with heart. Toy Story 3 didn’t fail to bring it, and it has the wonderful honor of being one of the few great SECOND SEQUEL films ever made (and hell, the rest on that list is debatable) No one will debate this. Toy Story 3 is great.
3.) Black Swan- Some films can be a visually amazing mind trip. Some films can be devastating, emotionally challenging tragedies. This is the rare film that brilliantly combines them both with ease. It’s a career best for both writer/director Darren Aronofsky and actress Natalie Portman. This a film that haunted me for days after seeing it. The visual punch it brings, the use of Tchaikovsky’s original music mixed with Clint Mansel’s original score, and Portman’s pitch perfect performance. Black Swan is a truly original film.
2.) Inception- I don’t remember the last time an audience was so completely captivated with a film that they all held their breath on the finale shot. That’s amazing. I honestly can’t remember the last time that happen. It was one of the many reasons why I loved this movie so much. I’m so glad that the rest of world embraced it too. It just proved that movie going audiences want to see things they haven’t seen before. They want to challenge themselves with a complex narrative. They don’t want to be spoon feed a story. They want good films, and thank god. Inception is a film the left me breathless. P.S. Come on, how incredible is that hallway fight with Joe Gordon Levitt?
1.) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World- Uh, if your surprised that this was my number one choice, then you honestly don’t know me at all. Seriously. I wrote like several blogs about it (here and here) Wow, what else can I say that I didn’t say already? Hmm, how about this. This is a film that I love so much, that I don’t get nerd rage with someone who didn’t like it. That’s fine that someone doesn’t love it as much as me. No worries, like another film that’s more you, I’m not going to get mad at you or think that’s weird. This film is me. I love it for the spectacle of it, I love it for the layers it has, I love it for the humor that for 5 viewings the jokes have still not gotten old. I love it for the cast. The editing (which I honestly think deserves an Oscar nomination for, but I know it won’t happen) and of course the directing from Edgar Wright. I’ve never been more sure of my number 1 choice. What can I say, I’m in lesbians with this film. 🙂