December 31, 2010

2010 Movie Review

This is my sixth year doing this year-end list, a sort of retrospective of the films I've seen this year. Narcissistic? All right, whatever. This is the internet, this is my blog.

This year was different from other years in that I had a big, time-consuming cinematic goal to get through (the entire AFI Top 100 in one year) which took up a lot of moviegoing energy. Now, I'm not disappointed in myself in getting through only 55 of those films (31 of which I'd seen already) -- I'm actually glad that I've stopped worrying about a deadline. I'm making slow and steady progress: I still got through more than one a week! But it didn't allow for as much time to watch other movies, and I did do a lot of rewatching (which I don't normally do) for the blog. Still, the numbers are comparable (listed with my fave film of the year):

2005: 69 (Dogville).
2006: 79 (Little Miss Sunshine).
2007: 87 (Ratatouille).
2008: 74 (WALL-E).
2009: 85 (Up in the Air).
2010: 75.

Anyway, excuses be gone! It was a good year all the same. I had a hard time narrowing down a top ten, and I'm actually surprised by it. I had this inkling in January that by year's end more films from the AFI list would make their way onto this list, but only one has, and it's #95. The Last Picture Show still haunts me for some reason. The only other ones here that aren't really from this year are two I watched in a Halloween marathon, and they were both so effective and exciting that I can't get them out of my head even now.

Narrowing it down to ten is hard enough; picking one favorite has become personal torture. This year it comes down, as it has the past couple of years, to a smart, sublime thrill of a live-action film and the year's Pixar offering. The Social Network so accurately captures an entire generation's struggle with the world the way Network and The Graduate did, in a way that will certainly hold the test of time. It's won nearly every major critics award (as though no other movie was made this year, but don't get me started) so it's nearly a lock for the Oscar. But I don't want to give up hope on the most emotional movie of the year: Toy Story 3. I knew for a long time (a decade, I think) that a second sequel was coming, and everyone loved the first two, but I don't think anyone anticipated such a fitting, heartwarming and devastating conclusion to this groundbreaking trilogy. I cried so much, laughed so much, jumped so much. A movie that took me everywhere.

So how do I choose between them? ... Well. Great question. Ack. I was gonna sleep on this but I know it will just end up being six of one and half-dozen of the other. So this year, there's a tie.

My Top Ten of 2010

  • Black Swan
  • District 9
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inception
  • The Kids are All Right
  • The Last Picture Show
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • El orfanato (The Orphanage)
  • The Social Network (my [other] favorite!)
  • Toy Story 3 (my [other] favorite!)

The Next Ten

  • An Education
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • The Gold Rush
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
  • In the Loop
  • Mary and Max
  • Paper Moon
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • A Single Man
  • Swing Time

Amazing Performances

  • Everyone, especially Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie, in The Hurt Locker
  • Timothy Bottoms and Cloris Leachman in The Last Picture Show
  • The cast of In the Loop (no better ensemble this year than this)
  • Carey Mulligan in An Education
  • Jeremy Renner in Dahmer (not a perfect or even great movie, but such a fearless performance)
  • Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen (they hold that entire movie up!)
  • The cast of The Kids are All Right (Annette's garnering awards attention but the whole group deserves credit)
  • The cast of The Social Network (pitch-perfect casting)
  • Meryl Streep in A Cry in the Dark (is there anything she can't do?)
  • Belen Rueda in El orfanato
  • Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone
  • River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho
  • Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Great Moments/Scenes/Lines

  • The opening bomb sequence (The Hurt Locker)
  • Ruth's "What am I doin' apologizin' to you?" monologue (The Last Picture Show)
  • Pick Yourself Up (Swing Time)
  • "Apple juice. Apple juice flood." (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
  • “You’re not a woman.” (An Education)
  • Normandy (Saving Private Ryan)
  • The final number (Xanadu)
  • Ariadne's street-bending (Inception)
  • The table ballet (The Gold Rush)
  • So many lines but mostly Steve's line deliveries (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs)
  • "I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try - but there's no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention - you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing... Did I adequately answer your condescending question?" (line of the year, from The Social Network)
  • Tina's death (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
  • Laura's game of pili-pili (El orfanato)
  • "Meet me at the waterfront after the social." (Sleepaway Camp)
  • The campfire scene (My Own Private Idaho)
  • That shot where it looks like Nina has six thousand arms (Black Swan)
  • The bone structure monologue (Paper Moon)

Best Endings

  • The Last Picture Show
  • Easy Rider
  • The African Queen
  • Toy Story 3
  • The Social Network
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Sleepaway Camp (best ending to any movie, ever... EVER)
  • Prayers for Bobby

Worst of the Year

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (bored!)
  • The Wild Bunch (worst of the AFI this year)
  • Xanadu (but love to hate it)
  • Sleepaway Camp (worst of the year! but again, LOVE to hate it)
  • The Blind Side (just a gloss of irritated over this whole movie)

All 75 Movies I Saw (for the first time) in 2010

  • Ben-Hur
  • District 9
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Do the Right Thing
  • The Last Picture Show
  • The French Connection
  • In the Loop
  • Swing Time
  • Platoon
  • The Hangover
  • A Night at the Opera
  • Easy Rider
  • Sunrise
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Spartacus
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
  • The Wild Bunch
  • The September Issue
  • All the President's Men
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • An Education
  • Dahmer
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • It's Complicated
  • Eagle vs. Shark
  • Moon
  • Xanadu
  • Unforgiven
  • Black Sheep (2006)
  • The African Queen
  • Toy Story 3
  • Away We Go
  • American Graffiti
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • Sullivan's Travels
  • Inception
  • The Gold Rush
  • Mary and Max
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Rocky
  • Date Night
  • Ponyo
  • Roman Holiday
  • The Social Network
  • MASH
  • A Cry in the Dark
  • Funny Face
  • A Single Man
  • Zombieland
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • El orfanato
  • Sleepaway Camp
  • The Proposal
  • The Blind Side
  • The Evil Dead
  • Winter's Bone
  • Blood Simple
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I
  • My Own Private Idaho
  • Thirteen
  • Grizzly Man
  • How To Train Your Dragon
  • Intolerance
  • It Happened One Night
  • Prayers for Bobby
  • Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
  • Black Swan
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • The Crying Game
  • Paper Moon

1 comment:

  1. I always love reading your wrap ups, Max!

    I know there was a lot of chatter about this being a bad year for movies, but I truly enjoyed almost every single film I saw in theaters, with a couple of exceptions (Fair Game and The Kids Are All Right come to mind, and even those were more underwhelming than bad). I loved Black Swan, True Grit, Harry Potter, Inception, Scott Pilgrim - hell, even How Do You Know and Legends of the Guardians - but The Social Network gets my top prize, too. Aaron Sorkin, I will have your baby any day of the week.