Well, last time I brought you the top five worst films of the year to some complaint (apparently Transformers 3 isn’t half as bad as Jack and Jill, but just because I saw a review doesn’t mean I saw the movie). Now, I present the Top five best films of the year, along with two honorable mentions and a wild card. Let’s start with that first.
Wild Card: Paranormal Activity 3 – Again, won’t come anywhere near anybody’s best list, but it impressed me with the amount of “simplicity” in it. In a year that also brought us Fast Five, Horrible Bosses and Paul, we also had the third installation of the Paranormal Activity franchise. I have to admit, this one was the first I saw, but apparently it didn’t matter because the franchise delineates. This movie happens before the other two. I must admit, it actually came across as pretty scary, even a bit freaky. I really enjoy the paranormal; in fact, I’m a big fan of the show Ghost Adventures. Seeing things like shadow people and poltergeist activity in the movie felt believable because I’ve seen those things happen. It’s a basic horror movie, but it also pokes fun on the typicality of horror movies as well. There are a couple of jump scares, but even those are played for laughs even to the characters. While yes, the ending makes no sense, the movie actually proves itself worthwhile. Let’s just hope the franchise doesn’t wear off its welcome.
Honorable Mention 1: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II – yeah, by putting this on the list, it becomes obvious that I am a fan of the books. I would never dress up for the premieres because I’m not THAT big of a dork, but I have never missed a movie. This one ended the franchise well. We all needed this movie not because it provided the final bookend to most of our childhoods but because the movies had their ups and downs. The first three movies were great, but the fourth and fifth movies proved disappointing when compared to the books. The last three movies returned the “magic” to the movies. We’ve seen these guys for eleven years, and they’ve grown up with the characters. Rupert Grint surprisingly gets better with his character as he matures. Of course, the story’s great and the adventures are unforgettable, but this movie relies on the ultimate battle, and did it pay off. Edge-of-your-seat fights with everyone in Hogwarts, all in the name of defending Harry Potter. Like Paranormal Activity 3, this movie suffered in its ending; also Voldemort started to ham up the movie. When he shouted “Avada Kedavra”, he just sounded weird. Other than that, Part II satisfies in the final brawl that we wanted to see, and Emma Watson still looks great as Hermione.
Honorable Mention 2: Rise of the Planet of the Apes – I barely caught this movie this year, but I finally saw it thanks to a friend of mine who pressured me into seeing it. The apes overshadow the humans in performance and even in interest. On the other hand, they really are the point of the movie. Andy Serkis has to be the greatest actor that you never see perform because he’s brought us some really good characters. Gollum, anyone? He really makes Caesar, the lead ape, come to life: something that almost seemed implausible. The facial movements, the physical acting, this almost seemed unlikely in today’s world of extreme special effects. Most people would make all of that look fake. All of the apes look really cool and very realistic despite being CG. James Franco needs to work on his acting; the Academy Awards doesn’t even scratch that surface. However, the apes and an interesting premise make up plenty for that. On top of that, one moment in the movie just blew me away. Most movies tend to “jump the shark”, well this moment does the opposite; it trenched the shark. It happens in the middle of the movie, when Caesar fully evolved as more human, and it was so amazing that nothing could ruin the movie after it. Many people would think this movie explains how the apes took over the world, but it doesn’t really. It actually hints as to how the human race dies out, and it does so much with the few minutes they used to explain it. Smart, entertaining, great effects and a killer second act, Apes really earns recognition.
now for the top five.
5. Contagion – A new tradition for me is that I reserve the five spot for what I think was the most underrated film of the year. Last year, it would have been Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I knew this movie would be underrated after watching it because few people find this style popular anymore. This level of realism regarding the subject matter wouldn’t survive in this era of escapism, but it really works. Upon hearing the premise of the movie, I thought it would be something like 28 Days Later; and although it wasn’t, I wasn’t disappointed. The story really held together pretty tightly, leaving few loose ends and connecting everyone with each other somehow. Even though it had a number of big names, they blend in to the point of being like one of us. Only a couple of performances truly stand out as a result of it; Lawrence Fishburne as the director of the CDC and Jude Law as a conspiracy journalist were truly superb. Fortunately, it works in this case because the ensemble holds everyone up very well. Steven Soderbergh directed a really interesting, really true account of how we as a society will respond to a potentially fatal disease and even shows how it effects not just the people but everyone trying to combat it. The ending of the movie is by far his most clever part of the movie. Not to spoil anything, but it answers a really big question regarding the disease. Well written, well acted, well directed, and well explained, Contagion is a diamond in the rough.
4. 50/50 – What Bridesmaids failed to do, 50/50 accomplished. It took a rather dramatic subject and brought some positive light to it. It helped us feel better while the main character tried to feel better about his cancer. I must admit that I wasn’t a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The only thing I saw him in other than 3rd Rock from the Sun was Inception, and no one remembers the acting in that. This movie proved him capable of this level of dramedy. Seth Rogen plays himself like he does in all of his movies, but this role may be his most likable. He doesn’t try to hog the movie; he knows his place and he accepts it. Anna Kendrick’s adorable as always. Of course, this was also a diamond in the rough this year as only a few people saw it. It’s a shame because more people need to see it especially in these times. It’s about how one person can cope with living in a terrible time in your life and figuring out how he’s not alone in the pain. Again, nothing can be spoiled, but let’s just say this is a personal story for the writer of the movie. It had some funny moments and some dramatic moments, but it has a lot of charm and heart despite being very dramatic. Like Funny People, audiences shouldn’t see this as a dramatic comedy but rather a comedic drama. That’s really what it is. 50/50 is 50% comedy, 50% drama and 100% satisfaction.
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Say what you want about the original movie, but this movie really is brilliant. I’ve already exhausted my praise for David Fincher enough. He’s a great director, probably the best working. Watch his other movies and tell me I’m crazy. The mystery really does intrigue people, but the cinematography and pace make it even more gripping. The intense scenes in the book really are more intense in this film. I already compared the original with the American version, so those who read it know how I saw it. Rooney Mara as Lisbeth deserves recognition not just from the Academy but from everyone. Even Daniel Craig gave a good performance, probably his best one yet. He actually gave Mikael Blomkvist a personality. The stylish depiction of the investigation and the mystery really separates this from the original, but few people actually recognize it enough. Sure, the story’s the same, but the dialogue is much better. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross makes the score subtle, quieter in comparison to their Academy Award winning score for The Social Network, but I think this score works. It’s not ostentatious; it blends in with the surroundings and adds to the Impressionism of the movie. I knew this movie wouldn’t do so well on its opening weeks because of the timing and the nature, but surprisingly this movie is getting a lot of positive feedback from the viewers. Maybe this’ll do better on DVD or Blu-Ray like Fight Club. I don’t care how you see it, you need to witness the briskly paced, beautifully shot, well-acted and very compelling version of the international bestseller.
2. The Muppets – I read that this movie tries to espouse some form of leftist politics to children, but even I say that these people need to lighten up. IT’S THE MUPPETS! Nothing is supposed to be taken seriously. Yes, I know the villain is an oil baron trying to destroy the theater for oil, but that’s Mr. Potter stuff. That’s an old hat. Hell, his name is Tex Richman. It’s not like The Day After Tomorrow which tries to scare us into buying global warming or Ferngully which tries to make us save the rain forest. It’s meant to make us laugh. The whole movie tries to make us laugh, and it really entertains. Jason Segel is a better writer than he is an actor, and it shows in this movie. He’s fun, he’s charming, and he’s brothers with a Muppet (don’t ask how that works. I’m not so sure myself). Plus, he has Amy Adams along. Adams not only is pretty but also very talented, giving her trademark cuteness that made her own Giselle in Enchanted. But this movie really isn’t about them, per se. It’s about bringing the next best thing to Mickey Mouse, the Muppets, together. This creation from Jim Henson never grows old no matter how much we may, and this movie proves it. They provide their trademark humor and charm that doesn’t run out in the movie. What could make this movie even better? Music from half of the Flight of the Conchords, Brett MacKenzie. His songs are fun, memorable and make for some great laughs. “Man or Muppet” probably is the best one of the soundtrack. If you think something’s wrong with this movie, you need to really evaluate yourself. The Muppets is just great fun for the nostalgic and the child at heart.
and the number one film of 2011 is…
1. Hugo – I can’t even describe this movie without using the word “magical”. It’s interesting because it’s directed by Martin Scorsese and looks nothing like a Martin Scorsese film. I never expected the director of The Departed and Goodfellas to actually make a kids movie and really make it an incredible experience. I was wrong. It not only glorifies the human ability to achieve things beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations with a little magic, but it also glorifies the foundations of cinema. One of the characters is Georges Melies, played wonderfully by Ben Kingsley, who filmed the first science fiction movie A Trip to the Moon. However, he’s given up on that dream a while ago until he meets Hugo, an orphan who runs the clocks in the train station. He befriends Melies’ bookish niece, played by Chloe Grace-Moretz, and shows what magic he can procure. It’s a beautiful tribute to the human will and ability to create amazing things. Sadly, this movie isn’t doing so well. People need to see this movie when it comes out to DVD. It has some great characters and great moments. It’s perfect for movie lovers and those who believe that movies need to take our breaths away by what we can do with them. Scorsese proves himself a great director if his past movies didn’t appeal to you (and many don’t to me). It’s a beautiful, fun, well-acted, and magical (there I go again) experience that works for everyone. It definitely is the best movie of 2011.
And that’s my list. I’m looking forward to 2012 and hope that it turns out better.
It’s 2012, folks. Time to start panicking about that end of the world that probably won’t happen but also to reflect on the past year. I don’t know about you guys, but 2011 wasn’t all that kind to me. Compared to the year before which brought us Inception, Black Swan and Toy Story 3, what did 2011 bring us? Super 8 and…? Most critics usually do a Top 10 of the Best and Worst movies of the year, but I’m doing something different because I didn’t see a lot of movies, most I wanted to see (The Artist, The Descendants, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). So instead, I will do the Top 5 Worst movies of 2011 first. After that, I will do the Top 5 Best Films of 2011 with two honorable mentions and one wild card. That’s a movie that won’t come anywhere near the list but deserves some recognition. Take note that these are all movies I’ve seen, so don’t be shocked if certain films don’t appear.
Let’s start off with The Worst:
5. Bridesmaids – my list, my rules. If this was another comedy that everyone thought was funny and moved on, I may have been kinder to it; the fact that many critics hail it as the best comedy of the year is down right insane. One: the movie wasn’t all that funny. Two: HOW IN THE HELL WAS THAT MOVIE FUNNY? Critics hailed it as the “female counterpart to The Hangover“, but I saw it more akin to Superbad, which from me is an insult. A rag-tag team of girls trying to plan one’s wedding. There’s a premise one would find in your typical chick-flick. Throw in ample amounts of raunchy scenes and awkward dialogue, and somehow this wins enough people to declare it “funny”. People aren’t laughing at these jokes because they’re funny but because they’re stupid. Many of them just come off as forced. Wiig’s drunkenness on a plane? Taking a dump in the middle of the street in a wedding dress? It’s not funny, it’s painful. I hope this “awkward is the new punchline” phase dies soon because I actually miss punch lines.
4. The Hangover Part II – speaking of The Hangover, you know that sequel we all were DYING to see? Well, you get what you pay for, folks. Everyone lambasted it for being exactly the same as the first, but that wasn’t entirely the problem. The problem was it tried to be exactly like the first. I’m not just talking about the premise and the formula. Shot-for-shot, moment-for-moment, even the exact detail to the formula emulated the first. No creativity or effort went into this movie, and the stuff Alan says gets old really quickly. It did have some redeeming factors such as Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper, but having the Wolf Pack retrace their steps and running into all the stereotypes of Bangkok is as funny as a bang in the cock…on the receiving end. What made the first movie more pleasant was while it exhausted the typical things to do in Vegas, at least those were somewhat innocent. Stu accidentally marrying a stripper looks like Disney compared to his little encounter with a Bangkok stripper. (P.S. I still didn’t need to see that). On top of all that, Alan in this movie isn’t as likable; in fact, he’s a complete jerk. I know he’s a man-child, but when the character that everyone likes goes sour, you have problems. We all went through the first Hangover; we don’t need another one.
3.Transformers: Dark of the Moon – There’s summer blockbuster, and then there’s summer junk food. Doctors should prohibit diabetics from watching this movie for fear it may elevate their blood sugar. We all use Michael Bay as a movie punchline in the same vein as M. Night Shyamalan, but does that mean we should excuse him from making crap? You don’t go see a movie because of special effects because those age. Ever heard of a 1999 movie called The Haunting? If that alone is why a movie is good, you really need to budget your allowances. I would much rather invest my $15 (because I saw this in 3D) on three albums that I can buy off Amazon than waste it on this. The new chick may not be Megan Fox, but at least Megan Fox had interesting characteristics in the first movie. This chick is so bland and unexplained that it’s just misogynist. I love hot chicks, but I love hot interesting chicks a lot more. If the lack of substance in the story doesn’t get to you, the dialogue will. The development of the plot dies very shortly until you’re just begging for the battles to end quickly. Of course, people are so distracted by the robots that the humans lose all development and usefulness. Shia LeBeouf may be an okay Sam Whitwicky and the robots may look cool, but you will need a REALLY good reason to get me to watch another one of these long, boring, pointless clunkers.
2. The Dilemma – Take note that I did not see either Jack and Jill or Breaking Dawn: Part I, but I would definitely place both of those movies on my list if I did. I did see this movie, though. What makes this worse than Bridesmaids is that the movie only has one joke as opposed to the former’s many. Where you can find some decent jokes in the midst of bad ones, you can’t find any good in one, long, old and unfunny joke: a man sees his best friend’s wife cheating on him and fears telling him. Vince Vaughn’s not a terrible actor but constantly boxes himself in a style that doesn’t work for him; the same can be said about Kevin James. I can’t say the same about Winona Ryder. This little engenue only comes across as an annoying little whiner. I don’t care if that was the intention; it’s chaffing. Her expressions and delivery rub me the wrong way, especially since she cheats on Kevin James for not sleeping with her for six months. Wow, Elizabeth Taylor was more faithful than that. It would help if the characters themselves were funny, but they’re not. Except for Channing Tatum, they have no quirks, no jokes, nothing. If you combined Transformers with Bridesmaids, you’ll get this ninety minute waste of time.
1. Your Highness – Remember when I said that I did not see either Jack and Jill and Breaking Dawn: Part I? Now, I wish I did. Those movies were so bad that they made everyone oblivious to this miserable mess. Here’s something about me: Freddy Got Fingered is my choice for the worst movie ever made because it runs on stupid, childish and gross jokes. Care to wonder why I put Your Highness as number 1? Not only does it also run on one joke, it’s an incredibly stupid joke. A stoner movie in medieval times. Oh, the hilarity. The dialogue and jokes are beyond cringeworthy, especially those coming from the villain (although I do admit enjoying the line “magic…motherfucker”). Everything that came out of his mouth felt like being hit in the head with a giant rock. The jokes are more like bowel movements of actual comedy and are treated just the same. Danny McBride does better when he’s not a poor man’s Will Ferrell; in fact, he should stay as far away from him as possible. But this movie does one worse: it pulls a joke so bad that nothing could redeem the movie’s comedic value. The joke revolves around Danny McBride taking a trophy from a Minotaur he slayed. That said trophy didn’t jump the shark, it pole-vaulted over it. Nothing, not even Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman could save this movie. It is, beyond a doubt, the worst movie I have seen this year.
I am not the biggest fan of rap music. I find most of the lyrics to be really nasty and even a bit degrading. The messages for the longest time have been the same to me: fuck bitches, get money. I don’t live by that lifestyle, so why should I listen to songs that promote it? Anyway, there have been those songs that do get to me, especially rap songs. Here is my list of the Greatest Rap Songs (in my opinion, of course). There’s no specific order because I can’t really pick which one is the greatest.
No Love by Eminem ft. Lil Wayne – 2010 was the year Eminem came back and boy was it a comeback. I enjoyed his song “The Real Slim Shady” when it first hit the airwaves ten years ago, and he did fairly well in the couple of years that followed. What happened between now and then? I don’t know. What I do know is this: Recovery proved to be just that, a recovery. He released two songs in 2010: “Love the Way You Lie” and “Not Afraid”; both became hits. “Love the Way You Lie” proved to be the bigger of the two. The song that makes this list, however, was released after these two. This collaboration with Lil’ Wayne (not the greatest rapper BTW) is just intense. The message of “I have become better despite what you say” is just powerful. Combine it with an actually well-made sample of “What is Love” by Haddaway, and the song just becomes intense. Add Slim’s speed rapping to the mix to complement Wayne’s slow steady rap, and it proves to be awesome. Is there cursing? Yes. Is there sexual references? Yes. Does it have a good message? Yes. “No Love” proves to be a rap song that I actually do love.
The Way I Are by Timbaland ft. Keri Wilson – Has there ever been a song that you really, really like and would really, really love if not for one little thing? Well, this song is mine. I really do enjoy this song. The beat is really catchy. The lyrics aren’t profane at all (unless you’re offended by the word “strip). Keri’s singing really makes the hook really catchy. The best part is the message: I love you for who you are not what you have. Here’s a message to counter the thug ideal of “fuck bitches, get money” we heard these so many years. Hell, Timbaland even comes across as dirt poor in the song. Timbaland has proven to be a good producer and can be a good musician occasionally. This song is definitely one of his best. So what is that one characteristic that holds me from loving this song? It’s simple: it’s called “The Way I Are”. Really? “The Way I ARE”? You don’t have to be an English major to know that it’s grammatically incorrect. It doesn’t even sound right. Oh well, grammar aside, it’s a good song.
Nothin’ on You by B.o.B. ft. Bruno Mars – I actually sat down and listened to some of B.o.B.’s songs, and I have to admit that they’re not bad. Some say he’s a carbon copy of Andre 3000, and they may be right. Maybe it’s a Georgia thing. I don’t know. Sure, “Airplanes” may have been overplayed, but check out “Don’t Let Me Fall” when you get the chance. If I had to pick his best song, it would be his first. I keep hearing that rappers are trying to clean up their image, and I find it harder to believe. I still hear the same messages over and over (and even grosser than ever). When I actually listened to this song, I started to get a sense of hope. It has the same characteristics as “The Way I Are” besides issues on grammar: catchy hook, catchy rapping, no profanity, and (gasp) it has a message that contradicts the rap culture. In a world where trying to get as many hot girls as you can symbolizes your status in life, B.o.B. says “I only want one”. It’s the sign of fidelity that makes him stand out to me as a rapper. Kudos to you, B.o.B. You definitely got the magic.
Young Forever by Jay-Z ft. Mr Hudson – I read somewhere that “California Gurls” by Katy Perry was the anthem of summer 2010. That’s a statement on which I couldn’t disagree more. I hate that song so much. It’s annoying and God-awfully cute. The lyrics are vapid. The subject has been SUNG ABOUT TO NO EXTENT FOR THE PAST FORTY YEARS. Also, it bears similarity to Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok”. Don’t believe me? Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2dPA2dCRNY for proof. Why I disagree with this decision is that Jay-Z’s “Young Forever” is a much more worthy candidate of the term “summer anthem of 2010”. It represents everything having to do with summer: enjoying today, living in the moment, wishing you could be forever young. The synthesizer in the background just paints the image of a sunrise over a beach. I listen to this song, and immediately I feel like I’m in summer. It does have a lot of profanity and a couple of drug references, but the message still rings clear.
My Chick Bad by Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj – Nicki Minaj scares me. When she does her freaky character, it just becomes really creepy. She has very animated eyes and teeth that can turn her into an evil doll. Her costumes are very extravagant and out there. She is the Lady GaGa of rap. And yet the freakier she is, the better she is. When she’s sweet and all “cute”, that’s when she starts to lose her luster. Give me more of that “Freaky Nicki”, like she did in Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad”. I always found Ludacris to be somewhat clever in his lyrics (even though he can be really nasty when it comes to politics, see “Politics as Usual”), and “My Chick Bad” is no exception. Even though it uses that strange concept of dropping the “like” in comparisons (“I fill her up, balloons”? “It’s going down, basement”? Using “like” or “as” doesn’t make you look bad. In fact, NOT using them makes you look stupid), it’s still catchy and has the elements from both rappers that I like. It’s profane and sexual; however, Ol’ Luda is using it to describe his girlfriend.
City by Hollywood Undead – I have a confession to make: I may enjoy angry rap songs more than not angry. I’m not mad at the world; it’s just that the anger makes the song more intense and even catchier. It may be why I enjoy Eminem so much. If you haven’t heard of this group, it’s not your fault. Hollywood Undead is a Myspace band: They’re not really big yet, but they still have somewhat of a following. They have this shtick of wearing masks to hide their identity. Why? I don’t know. They had some decent songs off their first album Swan Songs such as “Everywhere I Go” and “Undead”, but the one song that I just love is “City”. It’s this idea of fearing the end of the world because of what it’s doing to us that makes this song powerful, even scary. I don’t approve of its nihilist message (“This city looks so pretty. Do you wanna burn it with me?”), but “City’s” intensity and power is what gets me hooked to this song.
Coming Home by Ditty-Dirty Money – I know I said rap music doesn’t speak to me, but I finally found a rap song that actually does. Ditty sings about all the times he has messed up in the past and how going back to his roots will make him feel better. He lists all of the things that went wrong in his life, including personal matters. When he talks about his divorce, he hits me hard because I understand what he is saying and how he felt. I’m not going into details as to how I understand, so let’s just leave it at that. He starts off every verse with a reference to another song, saying why he hates or loves it. Each verse is very personal, and Ditty’s lyrical structure makes it easier to say with good rhythm and rhymes. The song gets better as it goes on as the third verse gives the listener a sense of hope. It gives Ditty hope that he can go back and fix his mistakes. There’s a powerful message if there ever was one.
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.