So it’s a little late but here are my Top Ten Movies of 2010 (Because art is an important part of life and it’s necessary to take a break from the purely serious every so often). (It’s a little late because it took a while for me to finally see The Fighter and The King’s Speech and just from the preview I knew they’d be on this list…and this didn’t seem the best thing to publish last Sunday).
So let us begin with the review of 2010…a year of mostly crap, a few enjoyable films and five truly great movies.
Honorable Mentions (Because I just can’t bring myself to put them in a top ten no matter how hard I try, they’re good but they’re not great):
Alice in Wonderland: Tim Burton’s fun little romp through our childhood favorite walked a very thin line: it stayed true to the original content of Lewis Carroll’s work while still making it an original work. The visuals were typical Burton, but as with most Burton films plot and the human soul are not left behind. That and I’m a sucker for a strong female character.
Morning Glory: Enjoyable little film that has no deep meaning but was fun. And it’s nice to know that Harrison Ford is finally acting his age after a decade of trying to deny that he’s not Han Solo anymore.
The A-Team: How can you not enjoy this movie? Certainly not great cinema, but it was very fun. I really hope that there will be a sequel.
Valentine’s Day: A fun little compilation of love stories. It was a cute date film. Its greatest flaw was that it was trying to be He’s Just Not That Into You and failed (which is made slightly worse by the fact that He’s Just Not That Into You was trying to be Love Actually and failed).
And now the Top Ten:
#10 & 9. I really don’t have a 10 and 9. (It wasn’t a great year for film). But I hear good things about Secretariat and Toy Story 3 even thought I haven’t seen them. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
#8 The Next Three Days: The story of this thriller kept the tension and suspense constantly building and kept me guessing. It wasn’t Hitchcock, but it was well done. And the hero is an English teacher which always makes me happy.
#7 Red: Bruce Willis never ceases to surprise me in how well he can constantly come up with new loveable and badass characters. It is sad that a man who can do comedy, action and drama so well is not more appreciated in Hollywood. This movie is just yet another fun example of how good an actor he really is.
#6 Hereafter: As I’ve stated in a previous blog, this was a great movie, but it is very anticlimactic because people will go looking for answers that aren’t readily there (unless you have faith). Also, as good as it is, the fact is that Eastwood has done much better.
And now the top five…it would be rare for a single movie of the caliber of the next five to appear in any year. The fact that we had five movies of extraordinary caliber in a single year makes this a great year for movies despite the lack of overall quantity.
#5 Waiting for Superman: Probably the first documentary I would consider to be more than just interesting and actually a great movie. Not only is its message desperately important issues (the need for school choice and the need for the annihilation of the teacher’s union) it is exceptionally well produced, providing the kind of drama that usually only comes from fiction.
#4 The Fighter: I’m usually not a fan of boxing (along with football, I find it just a bit too violent for a civilized society) but movies about boxing can be surprising well made. This movie did an exceptional job of showing how an individual can rise above the circumstances in which they find themselves or which they place themselves. It shows that redemption is possible and that in reality people can truly achieve their dreams and the happiness that comes with it.
On a side note Christian Bale should get every award there is for best supporting actor as he almost stole the film with his performance.
#3 The King’s Speech: These last three were hard to put in order as they are all exceptional films. The King’s Speech is a beautiful work of art of one man dealing with the pressures of a job probably none of us would ever want if we really thought about it, and his rising to the occasion when it was called for. If it has a flaw it is the slight historical whitewash of how George VI first supported Chamberlain’s appeasement policy and how much his brother was involved with the Nazi’s—but sometimes art is there to show us the best in human nature and not just what happened, which this movie does quite well.
# 2 The Town: In this touching story of redemption, Ben Affleck not only proved that he is a great actor if he has a good script, but that he is a better writer/director than he is an actor. Honestly, I would prefer to see him behind the camera than in front of it from now on.
# Inception: This movie deserves a full blog in and of itself (and one day it will get it). Action, tension, drama, a little comedy, redemption, philosophy, psychology all in perfect balance for a wonderful cathartic emotional experience and an even greater philosophical ground of questions. And I still, and will forever maintain that it wobbled.
Worst movie of the year: Again so many choices. Clash of the Titans for its’ useless use of special effects? Skyline for no plot, no acting, no logical sense of events? Iron Man 2 for having the best scene in the movie not be in the movie but somehow be in the trailer? No, I’m going to have to go with The Last Air Bender. Do you remember when M. Night could make movies and write dialogue? I do. Which makes this movie all the sadder. If there was a writing, plot, direction, cinematography, music, acting, dialogue, or any other kind of movie making call, the wrong call was made while making this movie. I could watch that movie a million times over and find a new thing wrong with it every time I saw…but I’m not going to do that because I’m not a masochist. Even as a children’s film this movie sucks. Between this and The Happening, Shyamalan has whipped out any credit he should get from his first five films (great works of art that they are). If anyone ever allows him near a camera again (and I’m not sure they should) he had better pull out of his tail spin dive soon or he will be remembered as one of the worst writer/directors of all time.