Monday, January 3, 2011

Beta's Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2010

So after much debating I decided to make a Top Ten Films of 2010 list, despite the cliché.  I figure early January is about as good a time as any to post this, so if I were to ever do this again chances are it would be this time frame.  Before we begin I want to make a few points clear:
-I did not see every single movie in 2010.  In order to do that I’d have to spend the majority of my time tracking these things down and watching them.  Seeing as I’m not a professional movie critic I obviously didn’t have the time or cash to watch even half of what was made this year.  What’s more I couldn’t even see all the movies I was especially looking forward to.  Therefore this list will the best movies I managed to get around to seeing rather than "best of the year".
-l like I said there were a lot of flicks I missed out on seeing for whatever reason but a few of them I feel may have altered this list had I gotten around to them.  Movies like The Town, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Other Guys (But especially Let Me In) are just a few of the movies I heard nothing but great things about that I dropped the ball with.  Therefore this list may change once I do in fact get my hands on them.  I may do a follow-up to this post later with an adjusted list.
-Not all of the films on this list were reviewed by me.  Most, if not all, have ones in the works.  For now I’ll put an approximate Panda Score as a placeholder for the future official one (If applicable).  That score may or may not be higher or lower once the review is completed.
-This list is nothing but opinions.  In fact some of these movies made it onto the list because my enjoyment of them may have blinded me from their flaws.  In any case this is my list and you can, and likely do, have your own.  Let’s not fight about it, m’kay?
#10: Salt
Salt was far too badass to be played by a man

Adorable Panda Score: 3? out of 5 (Temporary)
Wow, really?  This movie?  Huh.  Well anyway in case you missed it Salt was an action film thinly disguised as a thriller.  It distracted you with misdirection and twists to try to make you think it was smarter than it actually was.  However it was probably my favorite Popcorn Film of the year.  It had most of the tendencies of film that you can just relax in your chair and numb your brain while the gun fights go down but it actually manages a pretty decently interesting plot for its genre (Especially compared to some of the other action movies I saw this past summer.  Looking at you The Expendables).  Salt may not have been Shakespeare but certainly left me feeling thoroughly entertained which earns it its spot.
#9: The Ghost Writer
Adorable Panda Score: 4? Out of 5 (Temporary)
This film was known as “The Ghost” in the UK which, by the way, is a much better title.  Partly because it’s based on a book called “The Ghost” and partly because the main character refers to himself as such as opposed to any real name but mostly because its American title is basically the same of a 90s kids show called “Ghostwriter” and everyone I knew apparently kept assuming this was a movie adaption of that series.  Groan.  Anyway I feel this drama was somewhat underappreciated but I found the mystery that Ewan McGregor’s character was trying to solve to be very engaging an exciting.  It’s pretty much 80% people talking to each other but I was enthralled throughout.  That’s exactly what I want in a political thriller.  Plus I find Olivia Williams strangely attractive in everything she's in except Dollhouse.  I’m not sure why that is but what I do know is that this great film deserves a spot on this list.
#8: Black Swan
It's like "The Swan Princess" but, you know, with cunnilingus
Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review)
This is pretty low on the list.  This movie has gotten tons of buzz, nominations, and acclaim and yet I put it at #8.  Look kids, I didn’t go to film school so go elsewhere to find lists created by experts and film buffs.  This movie was really well put together and is probably one of the best films I’ve ever seen.  The reason it’s so low is that it’s one of those rare movies that I walk out of saying “Holy shit that was a fantastic movie…and I will never watch it again”.  Usually I have a serious nose/eye bleed when I say that by the way.  Same thing happened when I saw Memento.  Sometimes I rank movies that mess me up inside a bit lower than they deserve out of spite.  Sue me.
#7: Despicable Me
Unless the squeal is called "Despicable Us" it will be under my radar
Adorable Panda Score: 4? Out of 5 (Temporary)
Toy Story 3 made me feel like Pixar wanted both my money and my dignity, Megamind turned out to be a pretty standard affair and Shrek Forever After can go to hell.  Despicable Me was my favorite animated film this year.  Despite its similar premise to Megamind Despicable Me is its superior in just about every conceivable way.  It’s heartwarming without being cliché and unique enough that it stands out among its peers.  It caters to the whole family and, hey, it has cute and buyable sidekicks!  Everybody wins!
#6: The Fighter
Wahlberg plays against type as a tough guy from the east coast
Wait a second...

Adorable Panda Score: 4? Out of 5 (Temporary)
Mark Wahlberg was good.  Amy Adams was better.  Melissa Leo and Christian Bale were best.  This movie basically does everything right but is put over the top by the stellar performers of Leo and Bale.  Bale is a superb actor (Possibly a lousy human being though) who seems to be criminally underrated but I think his time may be coming with this film.  Good cast, good script, good fight choreography, pretty much good everything.  Had some of the fight scenes lasted a little longer this would have cracked the Top 5 easily.
#5: The Social Network
Apparently someone had to sit Eisenberg down to explain what the hell Facebook was
Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review)
I hate to give Facebook even more press than I already did in the review but the fact is that this is a really cool movie.  One part warning about greed, one part bio film, one part "Boy Loses Girl" story.  The plot is griping and the characters feel real...even the one that was technically CGI.  The fun thing about this movie is the more I think about it the more I like it, which is fairly rare for me as I’m fairly deceive about my opinions.  [Insert Witty Facebook Insult Here], and that’s why it’s my #5 pick!
#4: Kick-Ass
Remember kids: swearing makes you a superhero
Adorable Panda Score: 4 out of 5 (Review)
This movie works for two reasons: #1) It’s a Superhero deconstructions that is actually not very dark and ultimately not that cynical, which is rare (And different from its source material) and #2) Chloë Grace Moretz set the world on fire as the foul mouthed, murderous Hit-Girl (And judging from the reviews of Let Me In she may have done similar work later in the year).  Sure there was a lot to like in this film but #2 is pretty much the main Pro of this flick.  Of all the movies I saw this year this as easily one of the most fun.  Hell, this is one of the most fun movies I’ve seen period and thus is a very worthy addition to this list.
#3: True Grit
Wait, I'm not angry at the ending?  Who really directed this?
Adorable Panda Score: 5 Out of 5 (Review)
Okay, so I have a lot say about this movie, possibly more so than any other non-reviewed entry on this list.  I think I’ll save most of this for a proper blog in the very near future.  For now let me just say that the Coen Brothers managed to make a straight Western while still maintaining their credibility as filmmakers that they’ve enjoyed for years.  Plus it’s the first movie of theirs I’ve seen in years that didn’t make me sit in my room in a depressed funk for three days.  Sounds like a winner to me!
#2: Inception
You'll likely be safe so long as you never sleep again
Adorable Panda Score: 5? Out of 5 (Temporary)
What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said last summer?  It’s an action film and a cerebral science fiction film and a heist film all in one.  This movie is as close to perfect as Hollywood tends to come, at least as far as my personal taste go.  I loved this movie and pretty much loved everyone in t.  It was cool to see Ellen Page playing someone out of High School, which is rare, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt once again demonstrates his amazing range.  Under normal, sane circumstances, this would be the #1 pick but even so this movie secured its place this high on my list months before nearly half the other picks had even come out.  This movie is amazing and if you still haven’t seen it yet do it as soon as possible.
#1: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
"We are Sex Bob-omb and we're here to make you think about death
And get sad and stuff"
Adorable Panda Score: 5 out of 5 (Review)
If you know me in real life you probably already guessed this placement seeing as its well known I basically lived in the movie theater watching this film during its run.  If you read my blog regularly this also probably isn’t that surprising considering I gave it a glowing review.  Sadly it bombed and likely destroyed any chances of any future comic book/video game movie adaptation to follow its format which is a goddamn shame.  I think I’ve said all I needed to say about Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World in my review and there’s little I can add at this point, but I will say this: if there’s one movie that speaks to my generation, or at least my generation of nerds and dorks, it’s this one.  We will likely never have another film that speaks to us in the way this does.   If you didn’t like it or even hated this movie I’m honestly not sure that we have any non-superficial common ground at all, that’s how highly I think of it.   It wasn’t perfect by any means but it was still a geek spectacle that no other movie has ever achieved.  This is not only my favorite movie of the year it likely would go into my Top Five movies of all time.  It’s the biggest shame in the world that America had no interest in Scott Pilgrim but I can at least give it the credit it’s due and put it at the top of my list.
2010 is in the books.  Bring on 2011.
Damn it, I jinxed myself!

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