Well, it's that time of the year. Top 10 lists dominate the blogosphere, and as usual, I have my thoughts as well. Here are my Top 20 Movies from the past year, starting with 20, and ending with my favorite.
20. Easy A - Emma Stone was fantastic in this. The family dynamic with Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson were the high points. Showed that Emma Stone has a big career ahead of her, and can handle her own in a lead role.
19. The Other Guys - Say what you want, but Will Ferrell kills me. He can make me laugh in anything. Mark Wahlberg was ok in this, not bad but not great. Michael Keaton was very funny as was his love for TLC songs.
18. Dinner for Schmucks - Uncomfortable and amused. That's how I felt throughout this movie. Never quite sure which I felt more, but this movie definitely brought the funny. I didn't think Steve Carrell would consistently make me laugh throughout the movie, but he did. A testament to his talent.
17. The Kids Are Alright - A great movie. And I can see why this is in a lot of Top 10 lists this year. But I just didn't love it. The performances by Annette Benning, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo were all superb, and they should probably all be nominated, but I just didn't love this picture.
16. Unstoppable - Tony Scott's most entertaining movie in years. Denzel was typical Denzel, and Chris Pine coming off of Star Trek showed he is more than capable of handling action roles. Great action.
15. Hot Tub Time Machine - When I saw this movie in April I was confident this would be in my Top 10 at the end of the year. I didn't anticipate the great dramas that were going to be coming out, but this was my second favorite comedy of the year. Hilarious look at the 80s.
14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I - The best Harry Potter movie yet? Methinks not yet. But paired with Part II which will be out next July, then yes it (they) will be. Very dark, just how the book was.
13. Shutter Island - A great thriller. Really enjoyed Leo in this. Nothing is as it seems. Kept me on the edge of my toes, as did the fantastic soundtrack. Not a typical score, but highly effective nonetheless. Top 5 Score/Soundtrack of the year.
12. Cyrus - My favorite comedy of the year. Dark, black humor. Jonah Hill was terrific, as was Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly. This was more uncomfortable than Dinner for Schmucks, and was funnier.
11. Repo Men - My surprise of 2010. I loved this movie. The performances were great. The action was great (and gory). The soundtrack was great (another Top 5). Really enjoyed this film. This was 2010's "Taken" in my book -- a very surprising movie.
10. Scott Pilgrim vs the World - I wanted to see this when it came out in theaters but never got around to it. Bought in on Blu Ray, and just wow. Edgar Wright did an outstanding job making this movie. It was like watching a comic book. Definitely gets better with repeat viewings.
9. The Town - Ben Affleck has taken his talents behind the camera, and it has served him wonders. His two directorial attempts ("Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town") are very skillfully done, showing he has range beyond his acting, which is a good thing because normally his acting isn't great. But he takes center stage in this one and does a very fine job. Jeremy Renner owns his role, and Rebecca Hall is great. Jon Hamm was surprising in his role showing his range. The car chase scene after the second robbery was directed phenomenally.
8. Black Swan - Visually stunning. Musically unchallenged. Darren Aronofsky gives us an outstanding follow up to "The Wrestler." Natalie Portman brought everything to her role, which in my opinion should net her Best Actress at the Oscars. Mila Kunis was great in her supporting role and should also get a nomination.
7. Kick-Ass - Don't remember the last time I had so much fun in a theater. Nic Cage was great, and so was Aaron Johnson, but the movie will be remembered for the breakout of Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl. She was outstanding. One of the Top 5 scenes I've ever seen was her Point of View rescue attempt of Kick Ass and Big Daddy set to John Murphy's score from "Sunshine." Simply put: wow.
6. True Grit - When I saw this trailer I instantly was sold. The Coens doing a western? Sold. With this movie they made their job look incredibly easy. With a fantastic score by Carter Burwell, and Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper (the latter two in limited roles) being perfectly cast, this movie was a win. But the surprise comes from Hailee Steinfeld who went toe to toe with all of these great actors, and came away with the best performance. Kudos to her.
5. The Social Network - David Fincher has become one of my two favorite directors. When I hear that he's making a movie, I instantly get excited. When I heard he was doing this movie, I was a bit confused because he has knack for being drawn to darker movies. But after watching, I can see why this story attracted him. Jesse Eisenberg was great as the neurotic and partially crazy Mark Zuckerberg, and watching how he simultaneously grew a massive online empire and lost connection with everything else is powerful. Doesn't hurt that Aaron Sorkin's script was great and quickly paced.
4. The Fighter - Didn't think this movie would be in my Top 5 when I first heard about it, but here it sits at #4. Christian Bale was outstanding, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams were fantastic, and Mark Wahlberg was surprisingly great in his role as real life boxer Micky Ward. Not just about boxing, but about a family and the relationship between them and the sport they all love, this movie had it all. David O. Russell did a great job with this movie, and is a win.
3. How To Train Your Dragon - Ok, THIS movie was the surprise of 2010. Went into this with zero expectations, and came out in love with Toothless and everything else about this movie. The score by John Powell is simply phenomenal, and is my favorite score of 2010. Dreamworks finally showed they have talent in the storyline department as this would be a shoe-in for Best Animated Feature, had they released it in 2011. But it came out in 2010, and had to go up against...
2. Toy Story 3 - this movie. TS3 completes the best trilogy of all time (not arguable). Such a fantastic story. The ending is simply heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. I've never been able to part with my two favorite toys from my childhood because I wouldn't know how I could do it. And watching Andy do just that, and accept that this would be the end, was so moving. Not ashamed to say I teared up.
1. Inception - My favorite movie of the year was "Inception." Such a mindfuck of a film. Christopher Nolan is my other favorite director (along with D. Fincher) that when I hear he's doing a film, I get giddy. This movie made my head spin, but in the good way. The score by Hanz Zimmer was fantastic, and will probably win for Best Score. It was my second favorite of the year, only behind HTTYD (Movie #3). The gravity-less hallway fight seen with Joseph Gordon-Levitt was jaw dropping and such a pleasure to watch.
Movies not screened yet that would probably crack the Top 20: 127 Hours, Winter's Bone, Let Me In, The King's Speech, Blue Valentine.
And for kicks, my worst movies of 2010 (the one's I've seen, in order from 1-5): When In Rome (a shame because I love Kristen Bell), Clash of the Titans, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Robin Hood, Prince of Persia.