RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
Walk down memory lane… And let the movie nerd debate begin.
TOP 10 Lists are always tons of fun. You can debate my choices, while getting a better idea of how I review newer movies. With looking back on years past, you can also stroll down memory lane. You never know, you may uncover a hidden gem or two.
Let’s REWIND to the year 2010.
These are personal TOP 10s that combine Oscar-nominated movies right alongside popcorn munching blockbusters, indie films, and cult classics.
2010 had some strong dramas with an impressive list of nominees at the Oscars. TOY STORY 3 was the #1 film at the world-wide box office with $1 billion! Among the shining gems, there were also some nasty turds like THE LAST AIRBENDER, GROWN UPS, along with stinky remakes for ALICE IN WONDERLAND and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.
My TOP 10 is followed by HONORABLE MENTIONS and the best of ART vs POPCORN.
Let’s dig in…
THE TOP 10
Ryan Reynolds stars in this isolated thriller. His character is buried alive and trapped. Time is ticking. He’s running out of air. He has a phone. A truck driver in Iraq, he must somehow solve the mystery of his kidnapping. This intense story is stylishly filmed. Reynolds commands the screen. Pulse-pounding entertainment. A true hidden gem!
9. EASY A
Emma Stone stars in this John Hughes vibing comedy. A loose riff on THE SCARLET LETTER, Stone’s character is ostracized by her high school peers because of her rumored sexual behavior. There are several laugh-out-loud moments – a memorable one involves a singing gift card. Stone was a revelation here, bursting onto the scene and staking her claim as one of Hollywood’s most talented rising stars.
8. THE FIGHTER
A story about brothers and boxing. David O. Russell (AMERICAN HUSTLE, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, THREE KINGS) directs this character piece starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale (with a truly impressive performance), Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo. This is a simple story executed well. Its themes resonate.
7. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
An incredible documentary. Playful and subversive. An eccentric filmmaker seeks out cult artist Banksy to tell his story. The anonymous graffiti philosopher is more curious about the director, so he turns the tables and shifts the documentary’s focus on the strange and obsessed filmmaker. Satirical commentary reveals the hypocrisy of the art world – the (pink) elephant in the room. Thoroughly entertaining. Provocative in all the best ways.
6. THE TOWN
Ben Affleck directs this action/thriller about Boston bank robbers. Jeremy Renner is impressive in his co-starring role. The team’s plans change when Affleck’s character gets involved with a witness. Strong characters and intense sequences make this a stand-out.
5. SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD
Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ) goes nutso with this super stylish adaption of this Canadian comic book. Scott (Michael Cera) must defeat his girlfriend’s evil ex-boyfriends in this over-the-top adventure. Filled with tons of comedy, this action-packed quest is unlike any other. Gamers, superhero nerds, and stoners alike will all enjoy the beyond bizarre borders SCOTT PILGRIM bombastically bashes apart. The best POPCORN of the year!
4. 127 HOURS
Danny Boyle (TRAINSPOTTING, 28 DAYS LATER, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) stylishly directs this true story of survival. Although we already know the outcome, Boyle spins the narrative with so much energy we get totally absorbed. James Franco delivers an amazing performance that makes this inspirational story must-watch material.
3. THE SOCIAL NETWORK
Aaron Sorkin writes dialogue like a string of firecrackers exploding one after the other. David Fincher directs with an eye for cinema, emphasizing dramatic lighting and striking compositions. Characters lead the way in this biopic. Computers are made exciting. Complex relationships fuel the story with blazing performances from all involved.
Christopher Nolan delivers an original popcorn-munching blockbuster. Despite the heavy action, this adventure is more cerebral. There is enough going on to intellectually engage the audience. Driven by concept, framed with incredible visuals, this is one the best action movies of the decade. The best movies spark a conversation. From the concept, to the ambiguous ending, INCEPTION gets you talking. The perfect blend of ART vs POPCORN.
1. BLACK SWAN
This is the best Hitchcock film, Hitchcock never made. Interpretive themes are beautifully realized. The director brilliantly visualizes the downward spiral into madness – watch those reflections. Natalie Portman leads the cast with an astounding performance, which works on several levels. Mila Kunis delivers her best role as a competing dancer cranking up the pressure Portman forces upon herself. The resulting evolution is haunting and unsettling.
The story balances a complicated narrative with slow-brew tension. Deliberately paced, BLACK SWAN crescendos in an outstanding climax. Operating on several levels, this cinematic tour de force is the year’s standout.
THE AMERICAN / BLUE VALENTINE / CENTURION / THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE / THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST / HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON / IRON MAN 2 / THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT / PIRANHA 3D / WINTER’S BONE
THE BEST OF ART VS POPCORN
THE BOOK OF ELI / CATFISH / CREATION / DAYBREAKERS / DESPICABLE ME / GREENBERG / KICK-ASS / THE KILLER INSIDE ME
LET ME IN / THE LOSERS / LOVE & OTHER DRUGS / MacGRUBER / MACHETE / MONSTERS / NEVER LET ME GO / RESTREPO
THE RUNAWAYS / SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE / SHUTTER ISLAND / SPLICE / TRON: LEGACY / TRUE GRIT / VALHALLA RISING / WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE
ANIMAL KINGDOM / BIUTIFUL / KING’S SPEECH / A PROPHET / TOY STORY 3
notable movies on my must-watch list
What do you think?
Stay tuned for more REWIND & RANK.
Next up… The 1970s.