Another year has crept by, which can only mean one thing: I probably saw a lot of movies this year. Sadly, that’s not totally the truth. While I did get out to the movies and saw some amazing stuff, life kind of happened this year (what with me getting a sort of job and having a kid), and I didn’t quite get to see everything I wanted to.
But, the year wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t pompously spout off about my favorite movies from the last 365 days. Like I said, I didn’t quite get to see everything I wanted to this year, so there will be some omissions from my list that many might find a bit egregious (like The Social Network, Winter’s Bone, 127 Hours, and The Fighter, to name just a few), but if I didn’t see it, I can’t rightly chime in about it.
Anyway, let’s get on with this. My favorite films of 2010…
11.) The House of the Devil - Written & Directed by Ti West
I’ve heard a lot of people bitch about the fact that there weren’t really any good hour films to come out this last year. I don’t know where those people were looking, because I saw several great ones, and The House of the Devil was bar none one of the best. It was everything a horror movie should be: it was tense, tight, and dripping with atmosphere. Plus, it had some great performances from the likes of Tom Noonan, Jocelin Donahue, and Greta Gerwig. After viewing this instant classic, I can’t wait to see what Ti West cooks up next.
10.) Shutter Island - Written by Laeta Kalogridis, Directed by Martin Scorcese
It seems people were a bit split on Scorcese’s latest film. Many thought it was derivative and not up to the standards of one of the greatest filmmakers to ever live. I personally felt just the opposite. I thought it was great, pulpy, atmospheric thriller anchored by some amazing performances from the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Max ovine Sydow. Scorcese hasn’t made a move like this since Cape Fear, but I’d really love to see more like it.
9.) Splice - Written by Vincenzo Natali & Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor, Directed by Vincenzo Natali
I loved Vincenzo Natali’s first feature, the criminally overlooked and underseen Cube, and I’ve been waiting to see what he’d follow it up with. Splice is everything I could have hoped for. I feel like there are too many people out there that love to complain about the lack of originality plaguing the horror genre right now. I wish those same people would pay attention and go out see movies like this. Splice is as original as they come right now, and featured some amazing imagery and special effects, not to mention it was one of the most daring horror films I’ve seen in a long time.
8.) The Last Exorcism - Written by Huck Botko & Andrew Gurland, Directed by Daniel Stamm
I love me a good satanic cult film. Unfortunately, the sub-genre has gotten a bit stale over the years. But here’s The Last Exorcism, doing the seemingly impossible and breathing new, fresh life into a stale concept by turning it on its head and giving the audience a very original hero to root for. I honestly didn’t ace the highest hopes for this one going in, but I was so glad to have my fears assuaged. Easily winning my award as most surprising film of the year, The Last Exorcism is a real treat, full of some great scares and awesome performances from the likes of Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell.
7.) The King’s Speech - Written by David Seidler, Directed by Tom Hooper
Never in a million years did I think Iw old enjoy this movie as much as I did. The King’s Speech is storytelling at it’s finest, anchored by my two of my favorite performances of the year, from the likes of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. This was one I got dragged to by my wife, and boy am I glad she made me go. A great story, and an absolute masters class in acting.
6.) Kick-Ass - Written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn, Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Easily one of the most fun films I’ve seen all year. Kick-Ass was just an ecstatic, exuberant, ultra-violent slice of awesomeness. The thing about this one, though, is that while it could have easily just been a gratuitous, violent film for the sake of being a violent film (and I know there are many out there who saw it that way), I felt that it was superb adaptation of a layered, off-beat superhero story. This is what comic book films should be.
5.) Toy Story 3 - Written by Michael Arndt, Directed by Lee Unkrich
Wow. For the first time in 3 years, a Pixar film is not topping my end of the year list. Oh well. Despite Toy Story 3 being edged out by four other films here, it’s still one of the most amazing animated movies I’ve ever laid eyes on. Wait. Fuck that. It’s just one of the most amazing movies I’ve ever laid eyes on. There really is no need to qualify Pixar films as great “animated” movies. I don’t know how they do it, but Pixar just can;t make a bad movie, and Toy Story 3 might be ht best they’ve made yet.
4.) Inception - Written & Directed by Christopher Nolan
While I didn’t find this film to be quite the head scratcher that most seemed to find it, I still can’t deny that it is one of the best heist films I’ve ever seen, packed to brim with amazing visuals, an awesome, heady concept, and some great performances (I fucking love me some Ken Watanbe). This film is the definition of blockbuster in the best sense of the word.
3.) Frozen - Written & Directed by Adam Green
Yeah, I know this one technically came out last year (same with The House of the Devil), but I live in state that just refuses to exhibit smaller indie films, and I didn’t get to see this until it arrived on DVD this year. I have to say this for Frozen: it is hands down the most nail biting, thrilling film I think I’ve ever seen. As far back I can remember, never has a film caused as mush of a physical, visceral reaction in me, and I say that as the highest form of praise. If you haven’t seen this one, remedy that now.
2.) True Grit - Written for the Screen & Directed by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
A new Coen brothers film is truly a thing to celebrate. In my opinion, these guys are the best American filmmakers working today, and they’ve never made a bad film. That tradition continues with True Grit, one of the best westerns I’ve ever seen, and, haters be damned, a film that is a sight better than it’s forbearer. This film is a fusion of amazing acting, some of the finest music, the best cinematography imaginable, and deft direction from two living legends. A masterpiece.
3.) Black Swan - Written by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and John J. McLaughlin, Directed by Darren Aronofsky
I’m not sure there are coherent sentences that can really describe how amazing this movie really is. It’s something that kind of has to be seen to be fully understood. I really wasn’t prepared for this erotic, beautiful, psychological head-trip. It’s mazing in more ways than I can describe. Aronofsky really outdid himself, and Natalie Portman has reached a new high in her acting. Hands down, the best films I’ve seen all year.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans - Written by William Finkelstein, Directed by Werner Herzog
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - Written by Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright, Directed by Edgar Wright
The Crazies - Written by Scott Kosar and Ray Wright, Directed by Breck Eisner
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Written by Steve Kloves, Directed by David Yates