Top 10 Films of 2010

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     A few weeks ago, Joey Fening posted a YouTube video on my Facebook Wall that was a compilation video 2010 filmography. Under the description, the user stated that the films of 2010 changed his views of what he thought was cinematically possible. I’d have to agree with this, because this year we really saw things that we’d never seen before. 2010 had a fantastic blend of great films that were either innovative or raising new standards for their genre. Picking the ten best was truly a hard task, and it was tough to leave certain titles off the list. In the end, however, I do believe these are the top 10.

10:    127 Hours

     I enjoyed this one a lot. It’s uber-hip, James Franco is incredible, and the music is awesome. Director Danny Boyle may have overplayed his style card here, but for a movie with such little development, he’s allowed to get away with it. Franco really does give the movie its life. He’s portraying a situation so hard to even imagine with honesty and precision. 

9:   Let Me In

     This one is a huge personal favorite of mine. I did get around to seeing the Swedish original, and this one tops it for a number of reasons. The two kid leads, Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-Mcphee, absolutely shine and carry the film, and when you get kids to carry your film, you’re going to get big bonus points. Add this to the fact that it’s full of some of the most original shots you’ve ever seen and makes use of two simple but beautiful color tones, you’ve got what could be considered the best vampire movie ever.

8:   Black Swan

     It’s hard not to be seduced by this film. It takes hold of you early on and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. It’s pretty over-the-top melodramatic, which can be a big problem with some viewers. But each of the performances in the film is brilliant and is key in what gives it its intensity. Director Darren Aronofsky does some technical work that I can’t even wrap my brain around. It’s a bit of a haunting experience, but one you’re going to want to talk about.

7:   The King’s Speech

     This one I was not too excited to see. I judged it early on as a predictable Oscar-tailored period piece. I was happily surprised to find what’s basically a period bromance movie. The performances are all stellar, but what really shines is the cinematography, which is modern, innovative, and flat out bold. In the end, unfortunately, it does fall prey to predictability, but luckily it doesn’t hinder the tension.

6:   The Fighter

     This one is not your typical boxing film like its simple title might suggest, in that it’s barely about boxing at all. You sit for over an hour watching the film, and you realize that you haven’t seen any boxing yet. And honestly, you won’t care that much. The film is an engrossing look into the dysfunctional family life that boxer Mickey Ward had to deal with. Actually, the first half of the film almost doesn’t even involve him. Christian Bale could be considered the lead actor here, as his character and performance take the majority of the focus in the film. You have a great movie that’s just about people, and then towards the end you get your fill of boxing movie excitement.

5:   The Kids are All Right

     This film is unbelievably enjoyable. It’s one of those films you could just watch go on for hours and hours. Writer (and Director) Lisa Cholodenko structures the story at such a loose yet defined pace that she lets you just fall into her characters’ world. The movie gets an enormous boost from its impeccable cast, with Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo really nailing their characters, making them truly believable and relatable. Not a whole lot happens in the movie, but you definitely won’t feel that you wasted your time.

4:   Exit Through the Gift Shop

     This movie is impossible not to love. Its charming narration and engaging story just completely win you over. The story follows a Frenchmen named Thierry Guetta and his journey over nearly ten years. The documentary takes a complete shift in focus halfway through, but it manages to work perfectly. In the end it is a hilarious film with a great commentary on modern art, and what people will consider art.

3:   Inception

     This film cannot be given enough credit. Director Christopher Nolan has consistently been creating some of the most successful and acclaimed movies of the decade, and with this, he has crafted his greatest and most understated film to date. There’s nothing better than when a truly innovative concept is paired with solid characters and a strong emotional plot at its base. Nolan really cuts to the chase with this one, eliminating any unnecessary scenes that would only hinder the film. Leonardo Dicaprio is the absolute perfect choice for the lead, and he just plays the part. All in all, the film is a triumph.

2:    The Social Network

     This movie is just plain awesome. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a film that’s just so perfectly crafted as this one. Each scene and shot has so much thought and inspiration behind it that a new benchmark has been set in filmmaking. The script is whip-smart, and the three young actors each hold their own with very impressive and well-rounded performances. This is probably the most important film of the year, with a subject matter so timely, but a story so timeless.

1:   Toy Story 3

     This gets my top spot just because it is such a landmark film. It is without a doubt the best second sequel ever made, and in my book, it completes the greatest film trilogy ever made. Director Lee Unkrich is absolutely unnerving in his vision, and what he’s created just might be the best Toy Story yet. He so deftly blends adventure, humor, and emotion in a story that really is quite sad in nature. There’s just an overall joy in the film, one that not many films can achieve.

Other’s not to be missed:

True Grit

I Love You, Phillip Morris

Winter’s Bone

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

The Town