Compiling a list of my favorites proved to be daunting this time around. There were so many fun and amazing, well performed/directed films last year. And as much as I tried to forget, there were also a few sucker-punch-doozies in the mix as well. Below you will find my personal favorites along with my… not so personal favorites. I decided to rank them this year, something I’ve never done before. So without further ado, I present to you my Top Ten Best & Worst Movies of 2010.
The Other Guys
10. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: Ugh! Director David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night - both great films) was an interesting choice for the third Twilight film. But Summit doesn’t allow even its more talented directors to show off their stuff. They’ve got a formula, you see, and for these Twilight movies it’s a mixture of slow pacing with lots of bad overacting, cringe upon cringe-worthy dialogue, and cheap special effects. This film was as predictably painful to watch as it was predictably successful. Sure, it’s the better of the three, but let’s not forget, the bar was set extremely low for the first two films, Eclipse had nowhere else to go but up in quality. It still doesn’t make it a good movie.
And this year’s #1, all time sucker-punch-doozie, which claimed its title with the greatest of ease, is none other than…
The Kids Are All Right
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
10. Black Swan: Definitely Hollywood’s more edgier film of 2010. Natalie Portman's performance as Nina Sayers will tie your stomach in knots in this suspenseful thriller, about a ballerina forced to draw out her evil, seductive side in order to deliver the perfect lead performance in 'Swan Lake.' As her dark side struggles to take control, Nina's grip on reality begins to fall apart, threatening the most important role of her life. Portman blew me away with her dark and stellar performance. If you haven't seen it already, do so immediately, but be prepared for a little darkness.
“I just want to be perfect.”
9. True Grit: This old Western remake is a wonderful tribute to the John Wayne classic. The latest from writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen follows a whipped up smart, headstrong 14-year-old girl (Hailee Steinfeld) who teams up with a drunken, washed-up U.S. Marshal (Jeff Bridges) and a slightly inept, yet heroic Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) to hunt down the man who killed her father. With breathtaking scenic shots, addictive wordplay and top-notch performances all around (especially from up-and-comer Steinfeld, she was amazing), the Coen brothers once again find themselves at the top of their game.
"I am told you are a man with true grit."
8. Shutter Island: When folks like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio collaborate their talents to a crafty new take on a very old story you get pure genies, not to mention exciting entertainment. On one hand, you have an old-fashioned "haunted asylum" thriller, and a fascinating reflection on the deceiving powers of madness on the other. The film is moody, the story is clever, and it's all backed up by some powerfully good acting. I would LOVE to see DiCaprio win an Oscar for this film.
"Do you know what fear does to the mind? Corrodes it, rusts it."
7. The Fighter: Director David O'Russell (I Heart Huckabees, 'Three Kings) packs a real punch in his inspirational take on boxer Micky Ward's (Mark Wahlberg) journey to become a championship boxer. Mark Wahlberg is wonderful in the role, and is supported nicely by Amy Adams, who plays Micky's girlfriend, and Melissa Leo who plays his headstrong mother. But the real reason to see the film is for Oscar front-runner Christian Bale, who, at the risk of using another boxing pun, gives a knockout performance, as Micky's cracked-out brother. No doubt he'll win Best Supporting Actor for this role.
“Mickey has a chance to do something that I never did and he needs me.”
6. Toy Story 3: The third and final installment of the Toy Story series ends with flying colors and proves there are great Trilogies out there. It’s hilarious, heartbreaking, and at times even thrilling. No doubt this movie holds you in the palm of its hand. It introduced us to terrific new characters and brought us full circle with the ones we already love. It isn't just for kids, it appeals to adults as well, who remember what it was like to be a kid. It's the best film of an already great franchise and even though I'd rather see How to Train Your Dragon win, I have a feeling Toy Story 3 will win Best Animated movie at the Oscars instead. Well deserving of course.
“This is the perfect time to be hysterical.”
5. 127 Hours: Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle ('Slumdog Millionaire') brings his A-game in this incredible look at real-life mountain climber Aaron Ralston, who was forced to amputate his own arm after it became trapped by a boulder back in 2003. The heart of the film lies in its brilliantly edgy directing and by its lead performance - James Franco. His one-man show beautifully captured Ralston's humor, sadness, fear and, finally, his determination for survival. Sure, that amputation scene was tough to sit through, (I completely closed my eyes and plugged my ears through the entire scene), but the film's emotional payoff made '127 Hours' a well spent time in the theater. Truly inspirational!
“All you have to remember is that everything will be OK.”
4. The King's Speech: Ten minutes into the film I was completely in love with this movie. It’s definitely a heavy-weight contender for the Oscars, given its outstanding cast - Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter (it was nice to see her in a normal role for a change) and award-winning director Tom Hooper. The film is phenomenal. A true beauty! Writer David Seidler based the remarkable story around King George VI's real friendship with his speech therapist, Lionel, who helped the monarch overcome his nearly career-ending stammer. It's a lot funnier than I expected too, not the mention sweet and endearing. It was very well written and had amazing power-house performances to boot, especially by Firth, who is a shoo-in to win this year's Best Actor Oscar. Had I written a separate review, I would have given this movie an A-.
“Because I have a voice!”
3. How to Train Your Dragon: There are so many cute-but-disposable animated features every year, but there always manages to be one or two that steals just a little of Pixar's (well-deserved) thunder. Last year, that film was the effortlessly (and unexpectedly) charming DreamWorks release 'How to Train Your Dragon.' Half-comedy, half-adventure, and 100 percent insightful. 'Dragon' appeals to a wide array of demographics as well, which is sometimes hard to come by. I simply loved this movie and if you like movie scores you have to check John Powell's amazing score. It’s beautiful! Plus, any animated feature that managed to avoid being overshadowed by the (also lovely) 'Toy Story 3' is most definitely note worthy.
"Dat-da-dah! We're dead.”
2. Inception: Does the totem keep spinning? Does it matter? Christopher Nolan is a genius. This movie will blow your mind! Whether or not Nolan's visually stunning sci-fi mind-bender about a team of "extractors" -- corporate spies who have developed a technique for stealing information from people's dreams -- hired for a risky mission all adds up is secondary to the thrill of tagging along with Leonardo DiCaprio and pals on their wildly inventive ride through the subconscious mind. Truly a cinematic wonder!
“Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.”
It was a real toss-up as to which two films would wind up in first place, with the decision hanging in the air until the very last minute. Christopher Nolan’s Inception is truly unique, thought-provoking and visually striking, but it’s David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s riveting exploration of the creation of Facebook that ultimately won me over in the end. As you can see, my all time favorite movie of 2010 is…
1. The Social Network: The story behind Facebook, the invention that defined a generation, is a phenomenal piece of work! I didn’t expect to love this it as much as I did. From Aaron Sorkin's masterfully crafted script to Jesse Eisenberg's stellar and spot-on performance, backed by Trent Reznor's remarkable score, 'The Social Network' easily became so much more than "that Facebook movie." Director David Fincher (one of my favorite directors) created a tight universe of young people leaning towards something big that changed the world forever. The film is crisp and modern in style and beautifully brought to life, hence it making my all time favorite and #1 film of 2010.
“You know what’s cooler than a million dollars? A billion dollars.”
Did your favorite movie of the year make the list? Something I missed? Let me know what your Best and Worst films of 2010 were and why they belong on your “Best of” list!