Pac’s Best/Worst Films of 2010

5 Jan

Yesterday Chris posted his best and worst films of 2010, I decided to give you a day to mull it over, argue amongst friends, leave comments, and/or whatever it is you do.  Today I give you my list of the ten best and ten worst movies of 2010.  Keep in mind, as with Chris’s lists, that these are only the films that I have seen.  We are just fans like you and have to seek out our own means of viewing these films so it was impossible to see every film we would have liked to in 2010 (as well as those we’re forced to or stumble into).  As a bonus though, I’ve included the ten films I wish I would have seen in 2010 both because some of my films overlap Chris’s and I wanted to add something more and because I don’t want anyone saying “how could you have put (blank) over (blank)?” when I didn’t see (blank).

I want to end on a high note so here are my 10 least favorite films from the past year:

10. Let Me In

Right off the bat I’m going with a film that might make most people discredit the rest of my list, it was included in Chris’s 10 best films and it got great reviews, and there are definitely other films I could have put here instead (see honorable mentions) .  Let Me In was saved by great performances from wonderful young actors (and the always enjoyable Richard Jenkins) but the over-the-top cinematography and slow pace ruined any chance of me enjoying this film.  The film was shot way too tight and I spent more time deciphering what I was seeing on-screen and not enough time immersing myself in the film.  I’m a believer that you need to see a film twice to truly gauge its quality (which I haven’t done yet) but for now it remains on my ten least favorite.

9. Alice In Wonderland

Most all Hollywood couples part ways, so why too can’t the “bromances” between actor and director?  Maybe it is time for Tim Burton to move on from Johnny Depp the same way Scorcese moved on from DeNiro to DiCaprio.  I wasn’t able to see this film in 3D (which I heard was disappointing anyway), but none the less the film boasted some great visuals – and nothing else.  Burton’s story of Alice returning to Wonderland lacked substance and character and attempted to disguise it with the awe of visual appeal.  I wasn’t even able to finish this film (meaning it comes in #9 despite me not seeing the infamous dance sequence), and that almost never happens.

8. Leap Year

It is no secret that I am not a fan of the romantic comedy genre (as evidenced here), but I am always willing to give the newest one a shot given the appropriate company.  While most RomComs have ridiculous premises and over-the-top love stories, Leap Year attempted to top them all with its ridiculous premise about a girl who travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Year only to fall in love along the way.  Amy Adams needs to take cues from actresses like Charlize Theron, you have way too much talent to be wasting it on Romantic Comedies.  If I have to see this film once every four years, it’d be too often.

7. Valentine’s Day

When a movie tries to bank off the success of another film in any other method other than a direct sequel (and many times even that doesn’t work), it is almost destined for failure.  Valentine’s Day clearly tried to use the formula of He’s Just Not That Into You, and take it one step further by including a holiday premise sure to draw in couples to the theater.  Unfortunately, they overlooked the one thing about HJNTIY that actually made it an enjoyable film to watch, a good story.  Valentine’s Day just grabbed as many billable actors as possible, cut them their check and let them check out as they filmed this abomination because they knew the names would be enough to turn a profit.  Hopefully when next years sequel, New Year’s Eve comes to theaters we’ll be a little bit wiser (probably not).

6. My Soul to Take

If Chris gives me credit for convincing him to see The Social Network, then I must too take blame for dragging him to this.  While he and most others would rank this higher on their list of least favorite films of 2010, I saw brief glimpses of what makes Wes Craven the premiere name in the horror genre.  The film lacked so many things including: acceptable performances from its young actors, cohesiveness in the story, and any sort of suspense.  However, after some analysis I determined that it wasn’t the story that was lacking but the execution.  Don’t let me forget that this was the worst 3D that I have seen in any film to date.  Maybe this Wes Craven film will be remade in 20 years like all his others, and this one could actually be improved upon.

5. The Killer Inside Me

I first saw the trailer for this film and immediately thought this was going to be the film that makes Casey Affleck a star.  With two very billable leading ladies (Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson) by his side, the director of a Mighty Heart at the reins, and a compelling story based off a well received book, I had such high hopes for this film.  What I got upon viewing was a shock value film disguised as noir with incredibly slow pacing.  Affleck turns out a good performance in this character piece, as does Kate Hudson but they still couldn’t save this film for me.  However, after spending two hours begging for this film to end I was rewarded with a pretty bad-ass ending, or maybe I was just relieved it was over.

4. Salt

I wasn’t expecting much from this film and didn’t see it til recently, so I can’t say that I was disappointed by it.  Still, Salt was easily the worst of a group of espionage films that were released this year.  Competing with the likes of Knight and Day, Killers, and The Tourist, and trying to live up to the quality of the Bourne series, Salt fell short in almost every aspect.  The performances were weak, the story was boring, the reveal was predictable, and the action was cliché.  Angelina Jolie is quickly becoming an actress whose films I try to avoid; and when Tom Cruise backs out for Knight and Day and is replaced by Liv Shreiber, you’re doomed.

Who Cares?

3. Twilight: Eclipse

The only thing that kept this film from landing any higher was that it did at least feature some pretty cool fight sequences as well as the beautiful Eva Green and Anna Kendrick.  Unfortunately, the rest of the film was littered with unbearable performances from its three main stars, a romance that has become so contrite by the third film that I can’t understand how even tweens can bear it anymore, and unneccessary chest bearing for swooning 12 year olds.  It is disappointing that this saga will be remembered in pop-culture as one of the most popular franchises of our generation, hopefully after the fourth installment reaches theaters the vampire craze will subside.

2. Sex and the City 2

I subject my girlfriend to a lot of bad action and horror movies so I only find it fair that sometimes I suck it up and watch a movie like Twilight: Eclipse and Sex and the City 2.  While Twilight: Eclipse at least boasted a cool fight scene, two very attractive supporting actresses, and some resemblance of a plot; Sex and the City 2 had nothing of the sort.  I strongly considered making this the #1 film on this list but decided against it because I hated the next film just a little bit more.  Take four over the hill women who were only mildly attractive in their prime, send them to the middle east to do absolutely nothing, add some obligatory male nudity, and what you get is this garbage.  Screw you HBO, where is my Sopranos movie?

1. The Last Airbender

What can I say about this film that hasn’t already been expressed in numerous blogs, reviews, and hate mail sent to M. Night Shyamalan?  This movie was terrible and I really don’t have anything else to say about it, I didn’t finish it and I have no interest in watching it all the way through because I genuinely don’t care what happens, hell I don’t even know what was happening during the first 2 acts that I did see.  It is a shame that Shyamalan’s name has been drug through the mud so badly after the release of this film because it caused so many people to dismiss Devil, a decent suspense/horror flick.

Honorable Mentions:  The Wolfman, The Losers, R.E.D., Jonah Hex


 Here are my favorite films from 2010:

10. The Ghost Writer

Let me hand it to my favorite website and one of the greatest resources on the web for movie news, reviews, and opinions for influencing me to see this movie.  It if it weren’t for a weekend film recommendation on this very site, I may never have seen The Ghost Writer, but I’m sure glad I listen to those guys at Chris Petersen’s Film Blog, they sure are smart.  A political crime thriller from across the pond, The Ghost Writer boasts superior performances from Ewan MacGregor and Pierce Brosnan, a stellar plot that unravels at just the right pace, and one hell of an ending.  You can call Roman Polanski a lot of things, and one of them should be an outstanding director.

9. Kick Ass

Not many films these days can feature Nicolas Cage and still make my top ten, but Kick Ass was able to do just that.  Blending just the right amount of superhero fantasy with the harsh reality of life, this film was a very smart, fun romp through the world of superhero fanboys.  What took this film to the next level though was the excellent cast supported by the aforementioned Cage, Chloe Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.  But it was the bold decision to cast the little-known Aaron Johnson as Kick Ass that made this movie great.  Could you imagine how much it would have sucked if they went with, oh say…

This Guy

 8.  Unthinkable

Seriously, read this blog every day, these guys know what they are talking about.  Okay, so it was actually me who wrote the weekend film recommendation for Unthinkable this time, but I did it for a reason.  This film gets a bad rap by some because of its controversial subject matter and torture scene, but make no mistake – this is not torture porn.  Everything shown on-screen is deliberate and important to the purpose of the film, the movie is not supposed to gross you out but rather to make you think, and to question your own morality and the morality of the world we live in.  This film is heavy, and it features Samuel L. Jackson in his best performance from at least the past 5 years as well as Michael Sheen in an Oscar worthy performance.  (This film is available instantly on Netflix for those of you interested).

7. The Town

I’ve put my grievances with the ending to rest and have accepted this film for what it is, a very good heist flick.  Ben Affleck continues to show that he knows how to handle a camera and Jeremy Renner is quickly proving to be one of Hollywood’s heavyweights and they both shine in their respective roles in this film.  Some of their talent even rubbed off on the beautiful Blake Lively who did take a cue from Charlize Theron and disguised her beauty to play Affleck’s drugged out ex-girlfriend.  I wish I could have liked this film more than I did but despite its greatness amongst this years class of film, it doesn’t compare to the greats like Heat, Dog Day Afternoon, and Inside Man.

6. Inception

It was very difficult for me not to rank this film higher on my list but when it came down to it, I wasn’t influenced by all the peer pressure and the media touting this movie as the greatest piece of art ever to grace my eyes.  I do however, give this film all the respect it deserves for a great cast (including a breakout performance by Joseph Gordon Levitt), a great story, incredible special effects and cinematography, and a cliff hanger that will live in cinema infamy.  I truly hope this film will do what many speculate it is capable of and bring some big budget originality back to hollywood in the coming years.  Christopher Nolan truly is a master of his craft and one of three directors (including Martin Scorcese and the director of the #2 movie on my list) whose name alone earns the price of admission from my pockets.

5. The Other Guys

Many posts ago, Chris wrote a post compiling a list of movies that he didn’t like until his second viewing, and earlier in this post I wrote that I believe a movie needs to be seen twice to truly gauge its value.  The Other Guys is the poster child for that theory because when I walked out of the theater after seeing this film I actually disliked it.  A second viewing on DVD changed my mind and this film jumped into my top ten about as effortlessly as Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson jumped off that building.  This movie is hilarious from start to finish, mainly because of its satirical premise and its two leading men: Mark Whalberg and Will Ferrell.  The replay value of this movie is very high (I think I’ve seen it 5x now) and its quotability is just as great, it’s the funniest movie to come out this year and I can’t wait to see Whalberg in more comedic roles.

4. I Love You Phillip Morris

When buzz about this movie started making its way around the internet I thought it was a comedy about cigarettes, much like Thank You for Smoking. I didn’t think much of it past the title til I saw the first trailer and laughed a few times, then saw it after having my wisdom teeth pulled ( I was in need of a good laugh ).  This movie was hilarious from start to finish and was (IMO) the best performance of Jim Carrey’s career, even Ewan MacGregor was great in his supporting role as the titular Phillip Morris.  There seems to be some stigma around this movie for its homosexual content; but the film doesn’t exploit the point that the two men are gay, it simply uses it to supplement to outrageous humor.  I would best describe this movie as a gay Catch Me if You Can.

3. Black Swan

If it weren’t for the first act of this film and its camera work I probably would have ranked this movie higher on my list, but if I’m going to chastise Let Me In for its cinematography I have to hold Black Swan accountable as well.  Despite my issue with the way the beginning of the film was shot, this film delivered on many levels, often in ways that Let Me In could not.  The plot that drove the story was incredibly paced with just enough suspense to keep me attentive without driving me as insane as Nina (Natalie Portman) and I sympathised with each of the characters especially Nina and her mother (Barbara Hershey).  The performances by Hershey, Portman, Cassell, Ryder, and even Kunis were top-notch.  Lastly the climax of the film left me both pondering what I just saw as well as begging for more.  Portman deserves an Academy Award for this performance and she has catapulted herself into superstardom (see her upcoming filmography for 2011, she’s busy).

2.  The Social Network

Like I Love You Phillip Morris there was a stigma surrounding The Social Network that watered down some of the anticipation and respect that this film deserved.  However, that stigma was quickly submerged by critical acclaim and box office success after it was released in theaters.  The Social Network is so much more than “The Facebook Movie”, its a courtroom thriller that doesn’t take place in a courtroom, and it’s a character piece on the now infamous creator of one of the most popular websites in the world.  The performances by young stars such as Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer (who kind of plays both Winklevoss twins) carry this film and it is only supplemented by David Fincher’s outstanding direction and cinematography.  If I had a vote for Best Picture as part of the Academy, I’d vote for this film.

1. Megamind

While I’ve already established that I think The Social Network deserves the Academy Award for best picture, I don’t think it deserves to top my list of favorite movies from 2010.  We go to the movies for many reasons, but the primary reason I go to the theater is be entertained, and Megamind was the most entertaining movie of the year for me – BY FAR.  It may have been a perfect storm that cast this film into the pole position on this list but I loved every second of it.  The movie had a great story (so what if it was mildly similar to Despicable Me), a fun cast with great chemistry (especially between Ferrell and Cross), excellent cinematography (especially for an animated film), and the best 3D that I have seen in any film to date.  So far twice in this post I have written that I believe you need to see a movie a second time to truly gauge its value, well I’ve seen Megamind once and I may purposefully never see it again.  Seeing this movie in 3D in theaters was such an enjoyable experience that I fear subsequent viewings may only diminish the perception I have of this film.  I hope to someday have the capability of recreating the theatrical experience that was Megamind (anyone wanna buy me a 3D TV? and Bose stereo system?).

Honorable Mention: The Crazies, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Easy A

As a small token of my gratitude for reading through this very long post (even if you skimmed it) and making it this far, here is my top ten movies I wish I had seen in 2010, most of which are new or limited releases:

10. Paper Man
9. Winter’s Bone
8. Monsters
7. Toy Story 3
6. Tron: Legacy
5. 127 Hours
4. The King’s Speech
3. True Grit
2. The Fighter
1. Buried


4 Responses to “Pac’s Best/Worst Films of 2010”

  1. Hannah January 6, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Thanks for letting the readers know about Unthinkable on Netflix. It is now in my instant que. I am so sorry you had to suffer through Sex and the City 2. Even as a Sex and the City fan, I knew the movie was going to be awful. This is the third or so movie I’ve seen that seems to think that having an expensive wardrobe means you don’t need a plot or story line…

  2. anonymous January 12, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    “There seems to be some stigma around this movie for its homosexual content; but the film doesn’t exploit the point that the two men are gay, it simply uses it to supplement to outrageous humor. I would best describe this movie as a gay Catch Me if You Can.”

    I’m not sure its just the gay content. Brokeback Mountain was a hit and I didn’t hear much controversy over A Single Man or The Kids Are All Right.Based on comments I’ve read about it I think the idea of a prison love story just sounds bizarre to a lot of people.


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