I love movies. I love writing them, shooting them, watching them, and analyzing them. There isn't anything like seeing a really great movie, is there?
Here are the movies from last year that I thought were really great. Without further ado, My Top 10 list of movies from 2010:
Yeah, I know. An empty action flick makes it on the "Top 10" list for the entire year? What is up with that?! Well, I loved this movie. It's one of those movies where, once you manage to shut your brain off and just enjoy what you're seeing, you will be thoroughly entertained. There was not a strong story in the slightest, but I still loved it. I know, I know--this is coming from the guy who is all about story, story, STORY!, but sometimes it's nice to not have to analyze a film and just be able to appreciate some good old-fashioned grenade baseball by a mentally-ill John Malkovich...y'know?
#9: Legend of the Guardians
Zach Snyder, the director of Watchmen and 300, is the only director I know of who can manage to make a film about owls so amazingly epic. Legend of the Guardians was the classic hero's journey tale of a supposed weakling experiencing the world through a journey of trials to eventually undergo self-discovery and better themselves and others. It has been a done thousands of times since stories were first told ages ago, but it never gets old--it just works . . . especially when there are owl sword fights, it is amazingly animated (did you see that "water on the feathers" sequence?!?), and is just great storytelling with likable characters.
#8: How to Train Your Dragon
DreamWorks doesn't have what I'd call a perfect score as far as their films go. They are very much hit (Kung-Fu Panda) and miss (Bee Movie, Monsters vs. Aliens, every Shrek after the second one...), but I was pleasantly surprised by How to Train Your Dragon. It had a very good story (definitely the hero's journey, once again), wonderful animation, and lots of "heart" which we aren't used to seeing from Mr. Katzenberg...
Read my full review of the film here.
A heist movie that takes place in . . . the mind?! Directed by Christopher Nolan?!? Are you kidding me?! That combination made this one of my most-anticipated films of last year. Momento and Dark Knight easily rocketed Mr. Nolan to my top 5 favorite directors, and I was very interested to see what he'd do with a completely original work. And he didn't disappoint. There was action, humor, philosophy, and even a great, ambiguous ending that we all love debating so very much. For all of that, though, I feel like it was missing the "x factor"--maybe it's the fact that I had already seen and loved Shutter Island and was kinda sick of seeing Leonardo whining about his dead wife. Maybe I just couldn't relate to the characters' situations. Or maybe it's just that I'm subconsciously upset that Christopher thought of the film premise before I did. Whatever the reason, it is still a phenomenal film, and deserves its #7 slot.
Yeah! The 50th film to come out of Walt Disney Animation Studios has got it all (or at least most of "it"). Humor, heart, gorgeous animation galore, and some of the funniest animated characters I have ever seen . . . it's all there, and it's there in heaping quantities. The story is solid, the characters are well-animated, and it is just great entertainment. My one beef with the film, however, was its soundtrack--there were no good songs! I was very disappointed in Mr. Menken, especially after his previously-impeccable track record. Still, Tangled is a wonderful film.
Read my full review here.
#5: Shutter Island
What a great film. I love period movies, and the 1950s especially. The style of the film--very "Hitchcockian"--was great to look at. The way the shots were lined up, the sets were decorated, the characters acted, and even the color tones used, all helped to really suck you onto Shutter Island. In that respect, the film definitely delivered--a movie should transport you to a different time and place, and Shutter Island definitely did that. And, not only did it do that, but its superb acting performances, major twist, and (yet another) ambiguous ending made it a joy to watch and an Oscar-worthy movie. It had story, great acting, and a twist; what more can you ask for?
#4: The King's Speech
I went into this movie not knowing much about it. I knew it was a period piece about a guy doing a speech or something, but that was about it. I wasn't expecting anything out of it except maybe a history lesson, but I was sorely mistaken--I enjoyed it. Like, really enjoyed it. Taking the simple premise of "A guy who has to give a lot of speeches has a speech impediment," they made something really special. It is funny, dramatic, and engrossing. The suspense and tension the director managed to get across to the audience is awe-inspiring; you really do get butterflies in your stomach when Colin Firth steps up to the microphone to deliver his speech. Easily the best part of the film, however, was Geoffrey Rush's performance as His Majesty's speech coach--he was very funny, very witty, and just a joy to watch. If you haven't seen The King's Speech, go see it. Right now. You won't be disappointed.
#3: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, created something really special with Scott Pilgrim. When I first saw Sin City and 300 and the other Miller adaptations, I thought that was the quintessential "Filmographic Graphic Novel." I was mistaken; Scott Pilgrim is. The more "interactive" components, like the pee meter in the bathroom and the bursts during the fight sequences made this movie the graphic novel movie. It was just so cool to watch. And, not only that, but it was so funny. All of the characters were perfectly cast, and the story was really engaging. I don't think there was one thing wrong with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Not a thing...
#2: The Social Network
Talk about buzz. This is probably the most-hyped film of 2010, and deservedly so. David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, Benjamin Button) is easily in my top 3 favorite directors of all-time. The Social Network portrays a really gripping story and utilizes great acting to enhance the story even further. And, not only was the story great, but the screenplay itself was. The dialogue was so wonderfully-crafted and just perfect--it was witty when it had to be, subtle when that was key, and powerful during the several climaxes. That screenwriter should (and definitely will) win an Oscar. Everything about The Social Network was great. Just great.
#1: Toy Story 3
This should be no surprise to my regular readers out there. I am not choosing this film because it is a Pixar film, but because it truly, truly was the best film of 2010. It had a flawless story, even more character development for characters we've already seen twice before, humor, action, homages to classic movies, a great score, gorgeous animation, and more "heart" than I know what to do with. There is too much to say about how great this film was, so I'll just point you to my full review right here.
Well, there you have it, folks. The best movies of last year. Obviously, I loved many more movies than just those 10, but these are the best of the best, and each one of them deserves its spot. Once the Oscar nominations are announced I'll post my predictions here, but I hope this satiates your film-thirst for the time being.
On to 2011! . . .