My Favorites of 2010: Film
Unlike years previous (*cough*2009*cough*) this past one was a pretty outstanding year for film. Almost every genre was covered by a handful of strong contenders of legitimately well constructed compelling pieces of cinema. It wasn’t easy to narrow down, but here are my choices for “Top 10” of 2010.
When I saw the trailer for ‘Catfish’ initially I thought it would be another ‘Paranormal Activity’ type docu-thriller. But instead what unfolds is an intriguing look into the lives we present to the world via social networking sites and how far some escape into them. If ‘Social Network’ is the film of our generation, ‘Catfish’ should be it’s companion film. While many argue that it’s contrived and faked, I’d say those people are missing the point. Fascinating film.
9. Best Worst Movie
It happens a lot these days. Being famous or known for some piece of art that is bad or embarrassing. There are 2 ways out: either going into denial and get angry at the thing, or embrace it’s hilarious awfulness and the adoring “so bad, it’s great” crowds. This film does the latter in full force. Best Worst Movie is a documentary about “Troll 2” a terribly terrible “horror” film made in the 80’s that never saw the light of day but copies of it’s awfulness made it’s way into circles of adoring fans who embrace it’s atrociousness. The documentarian is one of the “actors” in the film and follows his journey to reunite the cast and crew and bring a reunion to the fans who have made it a “cult classic” for all the wrong reasons. It’s an interesting look into nostalgia, denial, and being able to laugh at your past, no matter how embarrassing it may be.
Superhero movies are coming out in droves these days. I am a bit of sucker for them, even the really bad ones. There’s something about ordinary people rising above evil and taking on extraordinary circumstances. That’s exactly what the movie Kick-Ass is about. I really didn’t expect to love this movie as much as I did, but the truth is I likely didn’t have as much watching any other movie this year. It’s not breaking any new ground story wise but it’s fun, aware of itself, action packed, and at times laugh-out-loud funny. It also has one of my favorite performances this year by Chloe Moretz as “Hit Girl”. [Warning: there is a lot of language and graphic violence involving teens and kids (in Hit Girl’s case) if that sort of thing isn’t your thing.]
7. Easy A
I’m a sucker for teen comedies. It’s a fact. They’re the guilty pleasure that I don’t feel that guilty about. Can’t Hardly Wait: Check. 10 Things I Hate About You: Yes. Mean Girls: Si. “Easy A” is no exception. But it’s also not your normal dumb teen flick. It’s a smart, hip, true to form homage to the teen films of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe. The plot is pretty normal teen romp plot filled with pretty people misunderstandings and good intentions gone bad, but underneath it’s got a great sense of humor, a brain and heart. Emma Stone is completely in her element with the quick wit dialogue and rounds it out with a great supporting cast.
6. Exit Through The Gift Shop
What is art? Who decides what is art? How much do outside influences guide our brains in making those decisions? This documentary takes the viewer on a journey into the world of illegal street artists and the people behind it, and introduces us to Banksy, the illusive master who’s as famous for being mysterious as he is for his art. Beautifully made doc.
5. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Movies are supposed to be fun. Sometimes I feel like the industry forgets that. Especially when awards season comes along. Movies are also supposed to make you think, bend your expectations, and break rules (even the ones they set for themselves.) Every few years one comes along and does all of those things. This year, that movie for me was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. It’s a modern day fairy tale of sorts with all the fun pop geek culture references and winks you can handle. Great casting, fantastic direction and sharp writing. All around one of the most re-watchable movies to come along in a while.
4. True Grit
When I heard that the classic western ‘True Grit’ was being remade, it worried me. When I heard that the Coen Brothers were behind the wheel, I got excited. Re-imagining an iconic film and/or adapting a classic book is not an easy task and the Coen’s did both in one film. Gorgeous filmmaking thru and thru.
What else is there to say about ‘Inception’ that hasn’t been hashed and re-hashed and argued back and forth for months now by nerd on message boards across the net? It’s a new world of cinema and Chris Nolan is at the helm, and thank goodness. I love a good twist, turn, spin, and levels stacked upon levels until I’m wincing from my brain hurting trying to piece together the puzzle. Nolan and guys like him (JJ Abrams, Edgar Wright, etc) are ushering in the “new cinema” and ‘Inception’ is just the kick-off, and that excites me.
2. Toy Story 3
I’m a sucker for nostalgia and the art that evokes it. The newest installment in Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ saga brings nostalgia and knowing when it’s time to “grow up” to a new level. Like most of us, I saw the first film as a kid, and finished the trilogy as an adult. ‘Toy Story 3’ manages to wrap up a great trio of story lines, compel and entertain it’s audience while poetically commenting on the idea of community. Not to mention turning grown adults to streams of tears. You’ve been warned, it will happen.
1. The Social Network
Sometimes I hate agreeing with the masses and jumping on a bandwagon, but when a film is as good as David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’ is, there’s no denying it. It’s compelling, riveting, extremely well written by Aaron Sorkin, and has a dynamite cast to boot. I love how much a movie about the beginnings of a simple website (that changed everything) can be told so dramatically and almost Shakespearean.