Best of 2010: The Rest of the Best

Top Ten Directors of 2010:


  1. Joon-ho Bong’s Mother
  2. Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  3. Roman Polanski’s Ghost Writer
  4. Mike Leigh’s Another Year
  5. Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void
  6. Olivier Assayas’ Carlos
  7. Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine
  8. Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg
  9. Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valahalla Rising
  10. Maren Ade’s Everyone Else

Top Ten Stories (dialogue, story, characters etc.)

  1. Greenberg (Noah Baumbach)
  2. Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos)
  3. Mother (Bong Joon-ho)
  4. Please Give (Nicole Holofcener)
  5. The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg)
  6. Black Swan (Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John J. McLaughlin)
  7. Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski and Robert Harris)
  8. Carlos (Olivier Assayas and Dan Franck)
  9. Wild Grass (Alain Resnais and Laurent Herbiet)
  10. Buried (Chris Sparling)
Performances
  1. Ben Stiller as Roger Greenberg in Greenberg (Stiller’s Punch Drunk Love)
  2. Christian Bale as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter
  3. Hye-ja Kim as Mother in Mother
  4. Lesley Manville as Mary in Another Year
  5. Olivia Williams as Ruth Lang in The Ghost Writer
  6. Colin Firth as The King in King’s Speech
  7. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine
  8. Tilda Swinton as Emma Recchi in I Am Love
  9. John Hawkes as Teardrop in Winter’s Bone
  10. Édgar Ramírez as Carlos the Jackel Carlos
  11. Mark Ruffalo as Paul in The Kids Are All Right
  12. Armie Hammer as Winklevossx2 in Social Network
  13. Ewan McGregor as The Ghost in The Ghost Writer
  14. George Clooney as Jack in The American
  15. Geoffery Rush as Lionel Logue in The King’s Speech
  16. Chloe Mortz as Hit Girl (Kick Ass)
  17. James Franco as Aron Ralston in 127 Hours
  18. Mads Mikkelson as One Eye in Valhalla Rising
  19. Amy Adams as Charlene in The Fighter
  20. Gary Oldman as Carnegie in Book of Eli
  21. Melissa Leo as Alice Ward in The Fighter
  22. Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko in Wall Street 2
  23. Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy Buried (yes, Ryan Reynolds)
  24. Jim Carrey in I Love You Phillip Morris
  25. Olga Kurylenko as Etain in Centurion
  26. Alison Pill as Kim in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

21 Great Lines:

  1. The thing about you kids is that you’re all kind of insensitive. I’m glad I grew up when I did because your parents were too perfect at parenting- all that baby Mozart and Dan Zanes songs; you’re just so sincere and interested in things! There’s a confidence in you guys that’s horrifying. You’re all ADD and carpal tunnel. You wouldn’t know Agoraphobia if it bit you in the ass, and it makes you mean. You say things to someone like me who’s older and smarter with this light air… I’m freaked out by you kids. I hope I die before I end up meeting one of you in a job interview. Greenberg
  2. “Shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!” King George in King’s Speech
  3. “Fuck this shit, I’m getting the bazooka!” Bad guy in Kick-Ass
  4. “Fill your hand you son-of-a-bitch” Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) in True Grit
  5. “I feel pregnant.” Hot Tub Time Machine
  6. “Machete don’t text.” Machete
  7. “I’m weirdly ‘on’ tonight.” Greenberg (Ben Stiller) in Greenberg (great more due to the context and inflection in which it was said).
  8. “Okay you cunts… Let’s see what you can do now!” Hit Girl in Kick-Ass
  9. “We can do that ourselves. I’m 6’5″, 220, and there’s two of me.” One of the Winklevoss in Social Network
  10. “I have to go pee due to boredom.” Scott Pilgrim
  11. “He can’t drown two ghost writers, for god sake. You’re not kittens!” Ghost Writer
  12. “I need your advice like I need a cock in my ass!” Anette Bening in The Kids Are All Right
  13. “You’re a value.”
    Disgusted “I already know that. You didn’t have to say that.”  Greenberg.
  14. “And now we’re two people walking around with shit in a bag. I mean… I mean, what if we didn’t have dogs with us, and we were doing that? That would be disgusting. But, because we have dogs, it’s normal.” Please Give
  15. “If I’m King, where’s my power? Can I form a government? Can I levy a tax, declare a war? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because the nation believes that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can’t speak.” The future King George in King’s Speech
  16. “I partake not in the meat, nor the breast milk, nor the ovum, of any creature, with a face.” Evil Ex #3 in Scott Pilgrim
  17. “Hey guys I learned the bass line from Final Fantasy II. Check it out.”
    “You are the salt of the earth, Scott.”
    “Thanks.”
    “I meant scum of the earth.”
    “Thanks.” Scott Pilgrim.
  18. “Release the Cracken!” Zeus (Liam Neeson) in Clash of the Titans (the only time that movie and something good happened)
  19. “He punched the highlights out of her hair!” Young Neil in Scott Pilgrim
  20. Bread makes you fat?!” more Scott Pilgrim
  21. “Youth is wasted on the young.”
    “I’d go further. I’d go: ‘Life is wasted on people.” Greenberg
Memorable Moments (spoilers, obviousley):


  • The denouement of I Am Love. Rapturous wordless hyperbolic melodrama. Without any direct dialogue the ending floods the senses with images, actions and an overwhelming emotional sensation. There’s tragedy, violence, hatred, a broken family, a pregnancy revealed (a character passes her hand across her stomach) and of course hope. I love how the music swells as the pivotal scene unravels. The final moments of I Am Love move with equal parts grace and brevity. An ending is so powerful and so complete that one does not even need to have watched the movie to be moved by it or to understand what the story is about; though certainly watching is recommended as Love is one of the best movies of the year.
  • Mother dances at the beginning and end of Mother. She dances to forget. We, however, do not forget.
  • Just about every moment in Greenberg–here’s one: Greenberg gets Florence a double double from In n’ Out after she has an abortion. The first thing she sees when she wakes up is a juicy close-up of the burger. Another classic scene: Greenberg attempts to hang out with young adults is just about perfect. His description of them (see best line of the year above) is the most random and humorous (not to mention meanest) description of the youth of today I’ve ever heard. “There’s a confidence in you guys that’s horrifying.”
  • The final close-up of Manville in Another Year. Crushing isolation in the midst of a joyful family moment. Mike Leigh is one of the best filmmakers around when it comes to knowing how to close a movie.
  • Not only is Josh Brolin’s “friend” not dead (as he thought when he stole his unpublished/unready by anybody else novel) but miraculously looks to be pulling out of his coma after all in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. Feigning happiness (not very well), the tortured look of barley concealed despair on Brolin’s face is perhaps the best bit of acting he’s ever done. And he’s a good actor. This is one of the best Woody Allen moments/narrative punch-lines of all time.
  • Hit Girl’s introduction in Kick-Ass. See line above.
  • The King gives his big speech. Proving, among other things, that Beethoven rocks!
  • The swimming scene in Let Me In. A classic horror movie moment that, clearly, may never lose its impact. Michael Bay could re-make the remake and that scene would still probably be ranked here.
  • Samurai vs. Predator in Predators. Every since I was a child I dreamed of who would win in a fight, a Samurai or an alien. I know know. To only thing better would be to watch Joss Whedon’s dream match-up as heard in Angel, a cave man vs. an astronaut.
  • Almost any moment involving Christian Bale in The Fighter. My favorite has to be a musical moment with his mom in her car. Bale earned his Oscar many times over.
  • John Hawkes has a showdown with cop Garret Dillahunt in Winter’s Bone. More effective than the kind of showdowns where people actually shoot at each other. Only great scene in that overrated movie.
  • The Ghost finally unravels the mystery in Ghost Writer. Ewan McGregor busts the CIA… then gets busted back by an off screen car. Evil always wins. Is is logical that he outed everyone during his book’s opening ceremony. No, of course not, but the over-the-top setting makes for a more rewarding cinematic ending.
  • The trio in True Grit meet the BEAR MAN. One of the few moments in the film that feels like it’s from an actual Coen brother movie. “Do either of you need medical attention?” the Bear Man asks. Uhhhh, no thanks Bear Man. You’re awesome!
  • Hit Girl is shot by her father played by Nicholas Cage in a super-wide full shot. She is hit in her bullet proof vest and flies back like a rag doll. When she gets back up he says “One more shot than Ice Cream!” This is their idea fun. Roger Ebert cited this scene for why the film is immoral. I cite it as why it’s so special. Kick Ass.
  • Monsters have hot, steamy tentacle sex in Monsters. A great humanizing moment that brings tears to the actual humans watching.
  • Leo enters the lighthouse in Shutter Island and finds Ben Kingsley waiting for him. The moment of ultimate truth. Like the end of Dark Tower but 100% more insane. Literally. I guess that makes it more similar to “Memento.” Whatever. It’s a good moment either way.
  • The last supper in Of Gods and Men. As the men deal with their fates their fatalistic moments are captured in close-ups. Better than the actual last supper. You know, the one with that Jesus guy.
  • Milla shoots coins at zombies in Resident Evil 4. A great new way to dispatch zombies. I hate when people call this series uninspired. Tell that to the zombie with a quarter embedded in his brain.
  • Laughing at all the trendy L.A. art hipsters that unknowingly line up to see the world’s biggest modern art hoax in Exit Through the Gift Shop. People are very trendy when it comes to “the next big thing.” This doc exposes them.
  • The loooong opening of Enter the Void. The first quarter of the film consists of hanging out, making out (with your sister–eww) then lots of drugs, walking and… death. And the best part is that it’s now GHOST TIME, BITCHES! Now that you’re a ghost what are you going to do, dude? Go to the past to hang out with Jesus? Be a fly on the wall as they film Dark Knight Rises? Watch Blake Lively (not) take naked pictures of herself?…….. Seriously, you’re going to watch your sister strip, get knocked up, have an abortion and get preggers again where you will now be there during the moment of spooging? Ah, I see. Well, that wouldn’t have been my first choice.
  • Art and humanity achieve “perfection” at the end of of Black Swan.
  • The beginning of Monsters is actually… the end. Didn’t see that coming–actually, I did since it was the first thing I saw.
  • Another end-of-the-movie Shutter Island moment. Leo sitting on steps. The film’s final scene. This is a great moment. It comes at the end of the movie after Leo’s ultimate triumph over his situation (and mind). It is also a moment of utter defeat where, symbolically, the truth does not set character free but imprisones him as he regresses back into his fantasy world. His fate is sealed. Time for a cigarette with Mark Ruffalo (juxtaposed with the opening).
  • The final, one sided friending attempt in Social Network. The taping of the keyboard becomes an unlikely metaphor for a nerd’s ambiguous search human connection and, by extension, all of ours.
  • The blindsiding twist in Book of Eli. Didn’t see that coming.
  • Jeff Bridges gets off his lazy zen hippy ass in Tron: Legacy. Way more interesting than his boring son, the bland hero we’re saddled with for the whole movie. And as it turns out can still kick ass. Bridges becomes God crossed with Morpheus with a touch of the Dude abiding. Rad!
  • White guilt backfires in Please Give. Oliver Platt’s reaction to the line “I’m not homeless, I’m waiting in line” after after his wife (Catherine Keener) gives a black dude money is priceless.
  • Gordon Gecko hustles LaBeouf sorry ass out of like a billion dollars in Wall Street 2. After almost two hours of humble pie Gecko is back! A great moment in the vein of the one in Tron where an old-timer schools his annoying twit of a son (in law).
  • The incinerator sequence in Toy Story is improbably thrilling. Amazing looking. Very apocalyptic. And as good as any action movie.
  • The final shot in Pirahana echoes of Sam Jackson’s fishy undoing in Deep Blue Sea. Bring on Parahana 3DD, Aja!
  • Twin strippers do a pole dance in Somewhere as an Amerie’s “1 Thing” song plays. Stephen Dorff, in bed, looks bored then passes out. The film also put me to sleep.

Best… Random Stuff:

Music

  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s. The Social Network Soundtrack
  • John Adams, I Am Love
  • Hanz Zimmer, Inception
  • Alexandre Desplat, Ghost Writer
  • Clint Mansell, Black Swan
  • Daft Punk, Tron: Legacy
  • Nigel Godrich, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
  • Lee Byung-woo, Mother
  • Daft Punk, Tron: Legacy
  • Atticus Ross, Book of Eli

Cinematography

  • Wally Pfister, Inception
  • Bill Pope, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Kyung-Pyo Hong, Mother
  • Adam Kimmel, Never Let Me Go
  • Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
  • Martin Ruhe, The American

Editing

  • Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Sae-kyoung Moon, Mother
  • Lee Smith, Inception
  • Walter Fasano, I Am Love
  • Luc Barnier and Marion Monnier, Carlos

Most Underrated:

  1. Monsters
  2. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
  3. The American
  4. Buried
  5. Live Flesh
  • Most Surprisingly Good: How to Train Your Dragon
  • Funniest Scene: Greenberg attempts to hang out with young adults. Then does some coke. #mistake Runner up: Waiting for Crispin Glover’s hand to get cut off in Hot Tub Time Machine was way funnier than it should have been.
  • Best Sight Gag: A lonely male appendage is floating after an attack in Parahana 3D. Then… gulp.
  • Best Moment in Worst Movie: The line “Machete don’t text.”
  • Worst Moment in Best Movie: a
  • Movie Most Ruined by Hype: Social Network
  • Best Sequence: The unbroken 30 minute shot that opens Enter the Void. Also Mother spills water in Mother.
  • Best Action Set Piece: Hit-Girl infiltrates enemy headquarters. Cuteness ensues. And blood. And bazookas! And freakin jet packs with gatling guns! Kick Ass delivers in every way on its title. Runner Up #2: the twisty room shoot-out in Inception. Runner Up #3: the big action scene at the end of Toy Story 3.
  • Best Trend: Artistic films making money. Are we back in the 60s? Black Swan, The Fighter, True Grit, Social Network were all hits last winter. Tron and The Tourist were not. Keep it up Hollywood!
  • Worst Trend: 3D sucking, then sinking–Hey lets pay more for horrible image quality of something that hardly even looks 3D. It’s as if
  • Worst 3D Movie: Tron: Legacy. Airbender and Clash of the Titans were obviously much worse in every respect but Tron was not only a huge let down but possibly the film that killed the surge of 3D event movies.
  • Best Character Name: One Eye in Valhalla Rising. Runner Up: Bear Man in True Grit. Nothing beats a direct name.
  • Underrated Performance: Olga Kurylenko in Centurion. Speechless and angry, this performance from Kurylenko (who was last seen sucking in that horrible Bond movie) not only surprised me but stuck with me long after the film faded. Her menacing performance as a savage warrior stole the movie. She even gives One Eye from Valhalla Rising a run for his money. Though she could cut your head off without hesitation there’s something strangely sexy about this character. Runner Up: Gary Oldman as Carnegie in Book of Eli and Elias Koteas as The Polieceman in Let Me In.
  • Best Death (spoiler a-comin’…): Double kill! The Samurai and Predator deliver a double death blow (not the gay kind either). Also, the crazy microwave scene from Kick Ass and the opening to Monsters.
  • Best Bad-Ass: John Hawks in Winter’s Bone.
  • Second Best Bad-Ass: Hit Girl.
  • Best animal or performance: The King’s Corgis in The King’s Speech. Also, the chicken in Social Network, the unfortunate cat in Dogtooth, and the Sheep stuck in mud in Robin Hood.
  • Best Boobage: None. Nekkedness in movies has hit an all-time low. The 80s and 90s are long gone.
  • Movie So Weird that I’m Not Sure if I Loved it or Hated It: (tie) Super and Book of Eli. Both seemed destined for cult status.
  • Good Movie Ruined by a Bad Central Performance: Animal Kingdom
  • Bad Movie (Almost) Saved By A Performance: Jackie Chan in Karate Kid
  • Most Miscast: Ellen Page in Inception. Oddly enough she was much better in Super.
  • Best Inanimate Object: The book in Ghost Writer, the Jetpack in Kick-Ass, the never-dying camera James Franco uses in 127 Hours, Greenberg’s copy of Heretics of Dune (try spotting all of Dune’s cameos).
  • Great Movies I Watched But Saved for 2011 (their true US release date). Uncle and Certified Copy. Both guaranteed a spot on this year’s list.
  • Movies I Should Have Watched: Agora, Chloe, and of course White Material. Shame on me for being so lazy and not giving these promising titles a chance.
Best Theatrical Posters:

Worst Poster: Takers. Look at this poster! Bad photoshop job. Fire whoever made it. Runner Up: Black Swan. Not only spoils the movie but, when shot in close-up, looks really bad. So bad that it lessens the effect of when you see the full transformation int he movie. So bad that was being mocked by Jim Carey and Tyler Perry. I hate this poster for the same reason I hate the magazine Fangoria. Some monsters should just remain in the dark.

 

Full Best-of List Here:
I’m not happy with how I ranked some of these films but it’s too late to change. Some nagging concerns: that I may have ranked Kids Are All Right too low. That Blue Valentine should have been in my top ten but that would mean losing Carlos and I just can’t let that happen. That ranking Social Network so low was a knee jerk reaction to the insane amount of hype that film got. That Black Swan will either get better with a second viewing and move up on the list or be rediclous now that I’m more objective about it and fall off it. That Monsters ranked too low. Also, the internal debate as to what really is, or, I guesss was the #1 movie of the year ragges on–if I could have a five-way tie for the top spot I would.
  1. Mother
  2. Greenberg
  3. Scott Pilgrim
  4. Ghost Writer
  5. Another Year
  6. Kick Ass
  7. Enter the Void
  8. Dogtooth
  9. Shutter Island
  10. Carlos
  11. Blue Valentine
  12. Wild Grass
  13. Of Gods and Men
  14. Everyone Else
  15. The Fighter
  16. I Am Love
  17. You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
  18. Monsters
  19. Never Let Me Go
  20. The King’s Speech
  21. Predators
  22. Valahalla Rising
  23. Please Give
  24. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  25. Black Swan
  26. Social Network
  27. Final Flesh
  28. True Grit
  29. The Kids Are All Right
  30. Let Me In