Not including film festivals, I’ve only seen 191 films in 2010. That may sound like a lot but it’s way down on previous years. The total was 235 last year. As per my database, it’s the smallest number of releases we’ve seen in Brisbane since 2002.
The field is a little thinner but there’s always room to find a top 10 and bottom 10 for the year. It’s one of my favourite tasks. It’s just a neat way of encapsulating the year of cinema. Such lists are also fun to debate too. I like looking at other critics to see which films they ranked highly.
Before I get to the class of 2010, I should quickly reflect on those films which have topped my list over the past 15 years. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this so long. It seems like only yesterday that I was raving about Romeo & Juliet. On that note, here we go…
1996 – Romeo & Juliet (runners up: Leaving Las Vegas and Fargo)
1997 – Titanic (runners up: The Ice Storm and The People Vs. Larry Flynt)
1998 – The Sweet Hereafter (runners up: Saving Private Ryan and Mulan)
1999 – Being John Malkovich (runners up: Gods & Monsters and Election)
2000 – Billy Elliot (runners up: Magnolia and American Beauty)
2001 – Requiem For A Dream (runners up: Traffic and The Fellowship Of The Ring)
2002 – Mulholland Drive (runners up: Ghost World and Gosford Park)
2003 – Chicago (runners up: The Quiet American and Spellbound)
2004 – Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (runners up: Elephant and 21 Grams)
2005 – Million Dollar Baby (runners up: Sideways and Good Night & Good Luck).
2006 – Capote (runners up: United 93 and The Departed)
2007 – The Lives Of Others (runners up: No Country For Old Men and Zodiac)
2008 – Juno (runners up: Persepolis and There Will Be Blood)
2009 – The Wrestler (runners up: Avatar and Revolutionary Road)
You can view all of my past top and bottom 10 lists by clicking here.
Worst Films Of 2010
Let’s get rid of the bad stuff first. We’ll call this a “venting” exercise for me. It’s healthy to get it off my chest…
10. The Last Airbender was terrible. It's about a young boy who has the power to control air. He will use it as a weapon to defeat an army of "firebenders" who threaten to take over the world. This story is poorly told. It's hard to work out what's going on. Further, the dialogue is laughable. The only positive would be James Newton Howard's film score.
9. The Spy Next Door was a boring family flick starring Jackie Chan as a CIA agent trying to catch bad guys (who all seem to have Russian accents). He has to keep all this a secret though from his girlfriend and her three kids. The stunts were lame (so obvious they're not hitting each other) and the storyline has a "seen it all before" feel. Not my thing.
8. Cop Out was excruciating. Did Kevin Smith really direct this? The same guy behind the brilliant Clerks? Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan play two cops caught up in a ridiculous case. I don't think I laughed once.
7. South Solitary may well be the most boring Australian film ever made. Set in the 1920s, it's about a middle aged woman who goes with her uncle to a small island to help run the lighthouse. Sound appealing? Nothing happens in this movie and I suspect no one is going to see it.
6. Charlie St. Cloud was awful. Zac Efron has potential as an actor but this was horrendous. I didn't feel a single emotion (well, maybe relief on leaving the cinema) during its 99 minutes. I've heard the book is worth a read but it definitely doesn't translate onto the big screen.
5. Heartbreakers was a ludicrous romantic comedy about a French guy who gets paid to seduce women so that they’re break up with their dodgy boyfriends. Two friends help him gather info on his poor victims. I hated the leading characters and this doesn’t have a single shred of believability.
4. Resident Evil: Afterlife was must see viewing... as it meant that I only needed for find 9 more films for my worst of the year list.
3. Vampires Suck well, um, sucked! If you think that joke is lame, wait until you see this pathetic excuse for a movie. You have been warned.
2. The Bounty Hunter was a mess. Gerard Butler plays a bounty hunter with a dream assignment - he has to track down and bring his ex-wife (Jennifer Aniston) into custody for skipping bail. Could the storyline be any dumber?
1. Sex & The City 2 was, without a doubt, the worst film of the year. Was there a plot? I couldn't have cared less for these superficial women and their petty problems. It's such a burden having to fly economy instead of first class. Don't forget about the troubles that come with owning two beautiful apartments in New York City. Boo hoo!
Best Films Of 2010
It terms of my top 10, those just missing out (but still getting a certificate of commendation) are Machete, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3, How To Train Your Dragon, Animal Kingdom, Winter’s Bone, Food Inc and Precious. They were all great films and I wanted to make sure they received some recognition.
For my last show on 612ABC, we went through this list (with one small change) and took feedback from callers. It was nice to see a lot of love for Inception. You can download the podcast by clicking here.
On that note, my top 10 films of 2010 are…
10. The Secret In Their Eyes is an Argentinean film which won the Oscar for best foreign language movie. The story of a justice agent trying to solve a long-running case about a murdered woman. With believable twists and some fantastic conversations, this is a must-see for anyone who enjoys a good crime thriller.
9. The King’s Speech is about King George VI and how he overcame a stuttering problem to help unite Great Britain during World War II. This interesting story is brought to the life thanks for the great performances of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Excellent stuff.
8. I Am Love is a beautiful drama focusing on a wealthy Italian family. This will polarise audiences. Some on the net have called it "pretentious" and "disappointing". I loved it however. The cinematography and film score are stunning. The characters will keep you guessing and I enjoyed the lack of dialogue.
7. Up In The Air is the story of a man who spends almost every day of his life travelling across the country. He's on a quest to chalk up 10 million frequent flyer miles. But what life does he have outside of work? The arrival of two very different women will leave him with this question. Both funny and moving, this is one of the year's best. Plenty to think about.
6. The Stoning Of Soraya M is the powerful true story of an Iranian woman who was stoned to death in 1986 after being falsely accused of adultery. It brutally highlights the oppression of women in Iran. Shohreh Aghdashloo gives an incredible performance. The film finished 3rd in the audience vote at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival (behind Slumdog Millionaire).
5. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is a fantastic comedy about a young guy who, to win the heart of a girl, must defeat her 7 evil exes. This is cute, funny and creative. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead) has pulled off a big ask - crafting an original rom-com. Michael Cera is perfect in the lead role. Plenty of legitimate laugh out loud moments. I loved this.
4. A Single Man is about an English professor who is struggling to overcome the sudden death of his long time partner. With less dialogue than you'd expect, director Tom Ford (a fashion designer by trade) lets his camera do the talking. I loved the facial close ups and creative mix of colours. A beautiful movie.
3. The Social Network has been hyped as one of the best films of the year... and I can't help but agree. It's fantastic. I enjoyed learning how Facebook was created but much more interesting is the way in which Mark Zuckerberg is portrayed. Is he a sociopath or is he just misunderstood? Much to think about.
2. Crazy Heart is the story of an alcoholic country 'n' western singer trying to revive his sagging career. A young woman then enters his life, offering a chance at a fresh start. With a brilliant performance by Jeff Bridges, this is a wonderfully told drama with a superb soundtrack.
1. Inception is the most intelligent action film you will ever see. How can I describe the complex storyline? I won't even try. Words do it no justice. This is a film which can only be experienced... multiple times! Writer-director Christopher Nolan has created a remarkable fantasy world. Incredible story, incredible visuals, incredible score.
I hope you find a few films on the above top 10 list worth checking out over the Christmas break. As I always say though, the only thing more fun that agreeing about a movie… is disagreeing. I’m always up for a healthy debate. Name the time and place. :)
All Rights Reserved. Matthew Toomey. 2012.