On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… one black swan, two geeks a-typing… and I can’t do this. The rest of the movies in my list just can’t be fit into that stupid song. 🙂 I hope you’re still enjoying the holidays with good cheer. I’m back with more lists to end the year with, and today we are going to the movies. 2010 hasn’t been a great year for movies, but even in a crappy year, there are some films that stood out and made us want to watch over and over again. One will make history come Oscar time by winning the coveted ‘Best Picture’ category, and the rest will live on forever in our memory, and our Netflix account. What are those movies for me? Well, read on, please.
My Top 10 Movies of 2010
1/ Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky; screenplay by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughin.
There were reports of this film’s ineligibility to enter the Oscars race, but I’m hoping they aren’t true, because I think Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller is quite possibly the best movie of 2010. Not only were Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis amazing in their roles as ballet dancers Nina and Lilly, the story is just so mesmerizing – it’s dark, haunting, and psychotic, which is exactly how I like my ballerina movie. 🙂 Sure, it has been accused of being a tad sexist, but I think it’s not about that at all. It’s all about the darkness that lives inside everyone’s minds… though in most cases, we don’t all start spouting feathers.
2/ The Social Network, directed by David Fincher; screenplay by Aaron Sorkin.
Now speaking of a sexist movie, this based-on-true-events-though-not-exactly-accurate film has also been accused of being one, and I don’t necessarily disagree. Aaron Sorkin wrote a brilliant screenplay for this movie, but it almost seemed like he focused everything on the male characters: Zuckerberg, Saverin and the Winklevoss twins, especially. The female characters seemed like an afterthought or merely a plot-driving device. However, in terms of quality you have to give it to Fincher and Sorkin. Every scene, every dialogue, every argument just sucks you in, quite like what Facebook does, and you somehow don’t want the movie to ever end. Zuckerberg may not like the movie so much, but hey, I’m not him.
3/ Blue Valentine, directed by Derek Cianfrance, screenplay by Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavagne and Joey Curtis.
This movie was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, and it’s set for limited release in a few days, making it the most depressing movie to watch this holiday season. I’m kidding. Only a little though. 🙂 Any movie that chronicles the unraveling of a marriage is quite depressing to watch this time of the year, but the acting of both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams is something you won’t want to miss out on, so I definitely recommend it. It’s not for the fainthearted however, as with most independent flicks, you rarely get neat plot resolutions and a promise of happily ever after, so make sure you’re in the right mood before you head out to the theaters to see it.
4/ Winter’s Bone, written and directed by Debra Granik.
Like Blue Valentine, this film also premiered in Sundance and instantly received rave reviews from critics. It also won the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film on Sundance, as well as a slew of other awards from various international film festivals. I have to admit at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it, after all movies about poverty in rural areas – in this case the Ozarks – usually make me depressed, but the heroine in Winter’s Bone, the amazingly strong, determined and self-sufficient 17-year-old Ree Dolly (played by newcomer Jennifer Lawrence) made me change my mind. It’s such a powerful story about a girl fighting for her home, her life and her family, without being sappy and Lifetime original movie-ish. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest adding it to your Netflix queue. You won’t regret it.
5/ The Kids Are All Right, directed by Lisa Chodolenko; screenplay by Lisa Chodolenko and Stuart Blumberg.
In a slow movie year like 2010, sometimes you really have to turn to independent, low budget, limited-release movies if you want quality. And this heartwarming yet heartbreaking comedy definitely has it. Both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore were fantastic as married couple Nic and Jules, and Mark Ruffalo, the former rom-com king that he is, was endearing as always. Even the kids totally stole the movie, including that girl from Alice In Wonderland. Whatever your sexual orientation is, you can truly appreciate this movie that takes a long look at marriage, relationship and most of all, love.
6/ Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan.
Before he took over the Batman franchise and making it dark, edgy and cool, Christopher Nolan made Memento, a movie that first introduced me to the term “short-term memory loss”. I saw it with two of my girl friends, and they didn’t get the movie at all. It was frustrating having to explain to them the essence of the movie. So when Inception came out and immediately had a polarizing effect on the critics, I knew Nolan had returned to his Memento roots, only on a much grander scale, and I was right. The Twitter-verse was in a frenzy for a few weeks after the movie was released, and the term “mind-fuck” kept being repeated. Until today, there is still a debate on the ambiguous ending, so much so that Betty White made fun of it in the show Community. This movie has a rare combination of big budget, special effects and brilliant story – and even though it’s only number 6 on this list, it’s the one that I’ll watch over and over again.
7/ The American, directed by Anton Corbijn; screenplay by Rowan Joffé.
Don’t be fooled by the picture above, just because it’s George Clooney playing an assassin, doesn’t mean the movie is all Bourne Identity-like. Instead, it’s a quiet, introspective art-house cinema type that not everyone can get into, but one I absolutely love. The American tells the story of Jack, an assassin/custom arms maker, who goes into hiding in a sleepy Italian town, where he befriends – out of all people – a priest and a prostitute. It has the paranoia of any spy thriller, but without the fast cars/guns ablazing action. Instead, it relies heavily on the surprisingly subdued performance of Clooney. And what a nice change from the usual Clooney alpha male characters! This movie sheds another light of this mega movie star, and proves to the naysayers that there’s a reason why he’s the most appealing actor in the world. He is just that good.
8/ Easy A, directed by Will Gluck; screenplay by Bert V. Royal.
Yes, that’s right, the movie at number eight is a teen comedy. But before you make that vomit sound, I suggest you go buy the DVD and watch it. You’d be surprised, and in a very good way. Easy A tells the story of a 17-year-old high school student, Olive Penderghast, who finds herself the victim of her school’s “rumor mill” when she lies to her best friend Rhiannon about a weekend tryst with a fictional college freshman. When word spread of her supposed promiscuity, a bullied gay student comes to her for help and she agrees to help out by pretending to sleep with him. Of course, this is high school so the lies escalate up to the point where she has to quickly do damage control to save what’s left of her reputation. It’s such a fun, hip and goofy comedy with a very likable and surprisingly self-aware and confident heroine and a great homage to John Hughes’ iconic teen comedies. Emma Stone is nominated for the Globes for her performance, and I think it’s very well-deserved. If you love Tina Fey’s Mean Girls, you’ll totally fall in love with this one, and what makes it even better than Fey’s brilliant Mean Girls: no Lindsay Lohan. 🙂
9/ Kick-Ass, directed by Matthew Vaughn; screenplay by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman.
When this movie came out in theaters, I begged my friend The Benevolent Psychopath to see it with me, it’s just right up his alley. But he wasn’t convinced, because he’s never into comic book adaptation. However, when he finally saw the movie, he admitted that he was wrong. The movie, just like its title, is totally kick-ass! Not only does it have McLovin aka Christopher Mintz-Platz and the geeky sexy Brit Aaron Johnson, it successfully makes Nicolas Cage cool again. And the best part of the movie is one Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays Mindy Macready/Hit Girl. She is both sweet and violent, innocent and dangerous, the kind of kid I would love to be friends with. And even though this movie generated controversy for its profanity and violence performed by the underage Moretz, it still kicked ass in the box office. But if you’re a parent, you might want to steer clear of this one.
10/ Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, directed by Edgar Wright; Screenplay by Edgar Wright and Michael Bacall.
Our last movie didn’t do well in the box office, but I think it’ll achieve a cult status very soon. It’s already doing much better on DVD sales, and it has a rabid hipster/gamer/geek fanbase, yours truly included. Based on a graphic novel series, the movie tells the story of Scott Pilgrim, a young Canadian musician living in Toronto, who meets the girl of his dreams Ramona Flowers, an American amazon.ca courier, at a party only to find out later that in order to date her, he has to defeat her “seven evil exes” who are coming to kill him. It’s awesomely fun, with great soundtrack and the charming performances of Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The best part has to be Ramona’s “seven evil exes”, which includes Chris Evans, Superman’s Brandon Routh, Parenthood’s Mae Whitman and the king of quirky oddballs Jason Schwartzman. I recommend watching it right after Kick-Ass, and you’ll be geeking out in no time.
And there you have it, My Top 10 Movies of 2010. Some are award-worthy and some are just crazy fun, but one thing is for sure, these are the movies you’ll remember for years to come. Come back tomorrow, I’ll be counting down the top ten movie screen scorchers of 2010. Which hottie makes the cut? You’ll have to wait and see!