The Best Twelve Films of 2010
Well, as 2010 comes to a close, I decided it would be appropriate to reflect on the past year by discussing the movies. There were some interesting selections of films, some mostly anticipated and some mostly disappointing. A writer from the Wall Street Journal called 2010 the worst year for movies, but is it really? I’ll let you decide. Of all the movies that came out this year, these are the twelve movies that I saw and considered to be the best. There are some that I haven’t seen such as True Grit or The King’s Speech, so if you disagree with some of the selections and believe that other movies should have been added, that’s fine; but bear with me that these are among the films that I have seen. So, here are my top Twelve films (you can think of it as Top 10 with two honorable mentions) of 2010:
12. Tron Legacy – Why did I put this on the list? I originally planned on adding Alice in Wonderland but only because it did rake in $1 billion. Really there wasn’t enough for me to consider it one of the best. If anything,Tron Legacy was like Alice in some aspects but was actually more enjoyable for me. The story was really slow and had very little buildup; Jeff Bridges’ portrayal of Kevin Flynn as a hippie really bugged the living crap out of me; and the effects behind Clu seemed too cheap for what this movie had. Having said that, the atmosphere of the film was extraordinary; Olivia Wilde and Michael Sheen were enjoyable in their roles, more specifically Wilde as Quorra because she added a sense of humanity and importance to her character; the actual combat game scenes were really cool but didn’t happen enough; and, of course, the soundtrack is awesome. Daft Punk doing the music? Genius. Anyway, of all the films that I deemed “not so bad that they should be missed”, Tron Legacy I felt was the best, giving you great escapism in post-Avatar Hollywood, and believe me when I say that it’s totally worth seeing in 3-D.
11. Easy A – Ask me any day on what my opinion was about this movie, and I can easily say that it wasn’t bad. It’s hard for me to say that it was really good, though, but it is actually enjoyable. The one problem I had with this movie was that its pacing was a bit off. The movie went through a series of lulls that just seemed like the movie was over long before the credits came around and that it just seems like the director is taking too long to wrap it up. Having said that, they also followed with entertaining moments, and there were enough of those moments to keep you in your seats. The best thing about this movie is Emma Stone. Not only is she a good-looking actress but is also a good-looking actress who can actually act, giving Olive that trademark spunk and energy that she gave in her past roles. The movie borrows some elements from other high school films such as Mean Girls, and it actually seems like it does pay homage to John Hughes’ classic high school films at times; nevertheless, it’s still a pretty decent movie worth checking out. While it’s not a classic high school film or any better than other high school films out there, Easy A is a good showcase of Emma Stone’s talent and is actually amusing enough for this year.
10. Despicable Me – Summer was interesting this year because there weren’t a lot of big name blockbusters in a period known for them. There were probably five that I could name on the top of my head, but only a few actually stuck. This movie is surprisingly one of them. I thought the movie was predictable, but I guess so did everyone and that was why they came. Steve Carell didn’t really pass off as an Eastern European villain, but he was enjoyable enough to let it slide. Actually, the movie in of itself was pretty enjoyable despite the predictability and formula. There was good humor, good vocal talent outside the lead, and it had the craft to be enjoyable to not just kids but to those taking them which is necessary for everyone. If you make a kids movie specifically for kids, everybody else suffers. Despicable Me, fortunately, was a movie that was made for everyone with the sole purpose of having children enjoy it the most.
9. Jackass 3-D – Yeah, that’s right. I’m putting Jackass 3-D on MY list of the best films of 2010, and do you know why? Because not all movies need to have artistic value, especially comedies.There are movies out there made solely for entertaining. If anything, a movie needs to be enjoyed and just good to watch from beginning to end, and this movie was. It was laugh-out-loud funny to watch, and you never felt awkward about laughing at the misery of these grown men beating the ever-living snot out of each other because everyone else is laughing along and they’re doing this solely to get laughs. We watched them do this in the beginning of the decade, and after the second movie, they stopped. They probably did it for health reasons or some other thing, but it was nice to see Johnny Knoxville and the gang back to give us more pranks and more shocks. In fact, some were so disgusting that a cameraman threw up three times. Because it billed itself as comedic and definitely lived up to expectations as a funny, amusing movie, Jackass 3-D earns a spot on my list.
8. Iron Man 2 – One of the most anticipated movies of the year and one of the biggest hits of the year, Iron Man 2 brought back the Robert Downey, Jr. we loved in the first film while also trying to give him somewhat of a personal conflict. It’s not as strong as Peter Parker’s was in Spider-Man 2, but it’s good enough I guess. While some may argue that it’s not as fun as the first, I think that this movie was just as good as the first. You have a more interesting villain, Scarlett Johannsen kicking ass and looking hot, and Robert Downey, Jr. as the Tony Stark we loved in 2008. It was a fun experience, but most importantly, it didn’t crash and burn compared to its predecessor and came up as one of the better film of the summer. It’s definitely a movie where you can’t go wrong seeing.
7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World –This movie was AWESOME, and shame on you for missing this. I mean seriously? Y’all thought The Expendables was a better investment than THIS? Yeah it’s Michael Cera playing Michael Cera, but there was so much more in the movie that actually made it fun to watch. It had funny moments, great action scenes, cool visuals, and honestly I thought the video game motif worked. I saw this movie thinking that it would probably be over the top, and I watched this movie having fun from beginning to end. The seven evil exes were just really cool from the skateboarder/actor to the vegan psychic. I’m not joking, one of the exes has psychic powers attributed to his veganism. Some say that it’s too much of a hipster film, and I can see why, but what I don’t see is how this movie is in anyway similar to Kick-Ass. Anyway, there was so much that I enjoyed about this film that I still don’t understand why it did as poorly as it did. It didn’t deserve to be treated like this because it was fun and by far the most fun I had this year in the movies.
6. Black Swan – It’s rare to come across a movie that is actually legitimately scary, and the idea of turning ballet into the subject of a thriller is a bit farfetched, but Darren Aronofsky knew how to bring it across as an effective thriller, and Natalie Portman definitely gave one of the best performances I’ve seen all year. She really had the grasp of the dynamic character that was Nina Sayers, the lead in her production of Swan Lake, giving her character personal turns that just left you in awe of what just happened. The movie in of itself is supposed to be an adaptation of the ballet, and it was actually pretty creative and emotionally exhausting; unfortunately, once you realize this, you know how it ends, and immediately it becomes a matter of “how?” and “when?”. The reason why it’s somewhat low on my list is because while it was an effective thriller, it’s not a movie I’d want to see again. It’s because it strikes at your head and freaks you out at such a level that makes it hard about which not to think. Another reason is that there are a number of scenes that really make it uncomfortable to watch with someone in the theaters, such as Nina Sayers “tickling her fancy” so to say. Despite all of that, Black Swan truly is a good movie and definitely one of the year’s best. We love you Natalie.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I – There were a lot of films that people heavily anticipated this year, none of which were as anticipated as this film except another movie that is on the list (you can guess which one), and for the buildup it was worth every penny. We knew this was coming and were expecting it for years because we read the books and saw Harry Potter grow up throughout the movies. We knew that he would have to fight Voldemort eventually, and we heavily waited for that day. The biggest criticism is that this movie is too much of a prologue, but that is because it is a prologue; we can’t see this as a stand-alone film. My biggest reason as to why it makes the list is because I actually thought that the movies went downhill after the second one until Half-Blood Prince came out. Here, we get the level of maturity in the characters, that dark but still fun atmosphere and thrilling sense of adventure that Harry, Ron and Hermione gave us throughout the decade and brought us back to Hogwarts every year.
4. The Town – I have to admit, I barely watched this film before the year ended; however I couldn’t deny the reputation that it picked up. A lot of critics liked this movie, but a lot of people that I knew said they liked it as well, and any movie that critics and audiences agree is good is obviously good. Fortunately, I did see it and actually enjoyed it. I’m not a big fan of heist and crime films, but this one did seem rather interesting. Ben Affleck is a bank robber who falls in love with a witness of one of his robberies and starts to reconsider whether or not he wants to continue his life as a criminal; and as the movie progresses, we see more and more reasons as to why he wants to end it. Prison, the town, the possibility of death and never seeing your loved ones, the reasons add up. It does look a lot like The Departed from the surface, but fortunately it’s nothing like it. The Town is definitely a man movie and brings to the surface the idea that where you’re from doesn’t have to define who you are and that once you know how to get out of the situation, there is redemption. At least, that was what I got out of it.
3. Inception – Of all the films that beat Scott Pilgrim, this was the only movie that I thought deserved it because this movie was also awesome but was fortunate enough to be marketable. Inception does seem a lot like The Matrix, but it was a better version of it. The idea of dreams and the subconscious gave us worlds we’ve never seen before, and Christopher Nolan has proven countlessly that he can truly bring them to life. The effects really paid off with the final end product, and the story was still pretty cool. What I loved about it the most was that a lot of it made sense to me. When the person asleep moved, the dream moved with it; if the sleeper was in the water, water came into the dream. It did seem hard to follow at times, but it was still really cool and left us wondering about the ending. I’m not the biggest fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, but this is actually my favorite role that he’s done. Of course the supporting cast also did a really good job with the movie from Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Ellen Page. Inceptiontruly was the summer blockbuster that was among the most respectable and gave us a world beyond our imaginations.
2. The Social Network – That’s right! The Facebook movie topped the top. How? The Social Network brought out a quality that you rarely see anymore: a movie solely dependent on a good script and good acting, and my God did this film have both. David Fincher is already one of my favorite directors, and this movie is no exception. He made this movie seem very hip, very modern and never slow, and just made every actor blend in with the surroundings. Possibly the best example of this was Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg. So long, Michael Cera’s carbon copy. Eisenberg’s fast talking quick-witted portrayal of Zuckerberg was just amazing to see and truly made his character the genius we thought he would be. The movie definitely benefitted with a great ensemble of actors and performances from Armie Hammer as the Winklevoss Twins to Michael Garfield as Eduardo Saverin to even Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker. The amount of talent put into this was just amazing. Plus the script was so wonderfully written by Aaron Sorkin that there is no comparison. The last line of the movie was just the best thing I’ve heard in a while. While some people argue that it’s not really the TRUE story of the founding of Facebook, take into consideration these two things: 1) it’s Hollywood, and they’re known to embellish the facts, and 2) what was your first impression when you saw the trailers to this movie? Anyway, despite possible romanticism, The Social Network is a smart, hip, well-written, well-acted and well-directed account of the Digital Age.
1. Toy Story 3 – The Social Network is a quality movie and definitely one of the best films of the year, but what separated it from this film was the emotional impact. Toy Story 3 had similar strengths as The Social Network in terms of acting and writing, but it gave us more of an impact on us from beginning to end. We Generation Y-ers grew up with Toy Story; we were there when it first came out, and it was one of the first films that we loved as well as one of the pioneers of computer animation. Fortunately, the franchise aged with us while giving us back the same characters that we loved back then and still love to this day; unfortunately it also gave us the idea that everyone grows up and has to move on, but we don’t have to give up childhood. This movie gave us adventure but also development, tragedy but comedy, suspense but satisfaction, drama but relief, heartwrenching but heartwarmth, sadness but joy. It was everything you could ever ask for in a movie. The best part of this movie was the ending. It was just too perfect of an ending for not just the movie but the idea that childhood never dies. To me, it symbolized us passing down the enjoyment of these movies to younger generations so that they may share the love and joy we had as kids. Just because we grow old doesn’t mean we necessarily have to abandon our childhood altogether. As a result, Toy Story made us enjoy our childhood, andToy Story 3 made us fall back in love with it, leaving us with not only the best film of the year but quite possibly Pixar’s greatest film yet.
So here are my choices for the best films of 2010, and I hope that 2011 brings us some really good ones. Like I said, if you feel like there are certain movies that should have been on this list, feel free to say so. Happy New Year.