Monday, January 17, 2011

Favorite Movies of 2010

2010 was a great year for movies. I can't believe it.

As a side-note, when I looked up the embed codes for the following trailers on YouTube, I noticed how many "likes" and "dislikes" each video received from the YouTube community. When I first made this list, I hadn't seen several of my favorites yet. At that point I had Machete, The Town, and The Kids are Alright in the top ten. Machete and The Kids are Alright got tons of dislikes because of the many bigots and homophobes in the world. On the other hand, The Town got barely any dislikes because it's a conventional, safe genre movie that doesn't stir up as many feelings as the other movies because it's more trite than they are. Movies were liked and disliked predictably. Antichrist was disliked a lot because people are easy.

Also, I still haven't seen True Grit.

10. A Prophet
Pretty awesome. The marketing in the U.S. hides that it's a prison movie which is a shame because it's a great prison movie.

9. The Ghost Writer
Best movie by a pedophile ass-rapist this year (Sorry, Woody, but You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger sucked).

8. Enter the Void
Noe claims the movie's plot is not literal, that it's all a hallucination by the main character, but whatever the "right" interpretation is, Enter the Void is still mysterious.

7. Shutter Island
When I saw it in the theater, I was so anxious to leave my uncomfortable seat that I was kind of like, "whoop de-doo" about the twist. When I watched it again at home on Blu-ray, I appreciated Shutter Island more, maybe because I understood what was actually happening. The movie is about a lot of things, and if it only grazes some of its many epic themes instead of truly doing the themes justice, then that's because Scorsese isn't perfect.

6. Antichrist
John Waters said it best about Antichrist in his top ten for 2009 - "If Ingmar Bergman had committed suicide, gone to hell, and come back to earth to direct an exploitation/art film for drive-ins, this is the movie he would have made"
(Yeah, okay, so Antichrist is technically from 2009, but fuck that. Same goes for A Prophet and another movie on this list. Antichrist wasn't even available on Netflix until like yesterday. Movies nowadays are running on Showtime before they come out on DVD. The world is upside down)

5. The Fighter
Everybody's good in this, but Christian Bale steals the show. Remember the video of David O. Russell screaming at Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees?

4. Greenberg
Props to Jennifer Jason Leigh for co-authoring the story. I didn't think Noah Baumbach would top The Squid and the Whale, but maybe over time he'll turn into a reliable director like Robert Altman, whose entire catalogue of work speaks as one volume. He reminds me of Altman. Maybe it's Baumbach's use of natural lighting, his conversational dialogue, or maybe it was the deliberate throwback 70s art design of Greenberg that made me think of the deceased alcoholic grouch. If Baumbach turns into the type of director Altman was, he won't have to top himself. He'll just have career highlights. Although Margot at the Wedding lacked, Greenberg is on par with The Squid and the Whale, so he still has time to make Margot good in retrospect. He seems to know what's up.

3. The Social Network
A movie as good as The Godfather, Raging Bull, Citizen Kane, and whatever other classic you want to drum up. I used to talk a lot of shit about David Fincher. I said he's style over substance, but now I think that could be only when he's given the wrong material. Who wanted to see an adaptation of Benjamin Button? I sure didn't, and I loved the Fitgerald story. That movie is horrible, Hollywood gloss garbage, and I think the same about Seven, The Game, Panic Room, and especially Fight Club. Fight Club is the dumbest jack-off idea I've ever heard. Dude, it's about male aggression and how we read Ikea all the time when really we wanna just punch each other's brains out, and, dude, the movie is so deep with its visual gimmicks and editing tricks!!! Dumb. Zodiac is Fincher's only other good movie so far besides The Social Network. They're both fact-based stories that take their time and don't overload the audience with gimmickry. Maybe Fincher should stick to true stories. The Social Network isn't good because it's fact based, though. It's good because it has an amazing screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, a scary performance by Jesse Eisenberg, and a story so compelling that I had a hard time ending this sentence.

2. Life During Wartime
If Todd Solondz wants to blend David Lynch and Woody Allen's filmography together for his own then I'm cool with it. He's almost better than they are, so when he makes a movie, it's like I get to see something by three of my favorite directors. Why is this not out on DVD? Never came out in theaters here. It premiered on On Demand. I watched a screener online the first time I saw it. It's playing on Showtime now. As I said, the world is upside down.

1. Exit Through the Gift Shop

Honorable mentions:
Animal Kingdom
Cop Out (for some reason it became popular to hate this movie, which is too bad because it's funny)
Jackass 3
Macgruber (what? I think it's funny)
Machete (more political than most movies. I was rooting for Machete)
The Kids are Alright
The Town
Toy Story 3
Winter's Bone (wish it were better)

Least favorite movies:
7. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
6. I'm Still Here
5. Splice
4. Jonah Hex
3. Sex and the City 2
2. Inception
1. Red

A note on Black Swan:
Probably Marissa's favorite movie of the year. It was decent. It held my attention. Maybe I was more grossed out than scared. Underneath Black Swan's desire to be an art film, it's a fairly conventional horror movie. It's even got sharp bursts of music to highlight sudden "scary parts". Roger Ebert (who's not my favorite guy or anything) wrote in his review for Drag Me to Hell that if someone sees a ghost, theoretically it should be silent, but if someone sees a ghost in a horror movie, it's usually accompanied by piercing strings or some other loud musical burst. The horror genre has a lot of staples, standards, certain things that most horror movies contain, like a cat jumping out to startle the audience. Black Swan's got that, and it seems to have everything else, too - sex, murder, drugs, mayhem. It's a genre picture, a horror movie. Not that there's anything wrong with horror movies, but Black Swan tries to be something bigger than the horror genre, and I don't feel that it succeeds. While The Wrestler succeeds for being what it is, Black Swan doesn't. Natalie Portman's character isn't very deep. Portman is excellent in the role, but the only reason we get for her character's mental breakdown is that she has a crazy mom, and maybe the pressures of being a dancer. Not enough for me. Not only does the movie revel in horror cliches, but it's also full of ballet movie cliches. The brilliant but arrogant instructor, the scheming rival dancer, all the pressure leading up the big night, blah blah. I'm not really sure what Aronofsky's trying to say with this movie. He seems to try to make a grand statement at the end, possibly agreeing with Portman's character as the film fades to white while her instructor gazes at her in admiration. That's kind of scary, and not in a good way. I hope morose little girls don't think they have to be like she is to write great poetry, or music, or whatever it is they do. I liked Black Swan, but I can't say it's one of the best movies of the year. Especially not this year. It's a damn good horror movie though.


1 comment:

  1. Great choices man. You always seem to dust off some that no one else mentions. You also make some great points about Black Swan. I will never value anything Roger Ebert has to say. He is everything I hate in a film critic. I still have quite a few foreign films to watch from 2010 as they have not been released here yet. Check out True Grit. I really enjoyed it.