The best of 2010: A Film Sackers Point of View

As we wind down 2010 with 58 film sack episodes under our belt, and look forward to a great new year of questionable film selections, we thought it might be fun to give you a look at what each of us thought of movies that came out in theaters this year! Our favorites, why we liked em, etc. Don’t care? Well, you’d better stop reading now, cause here we go!!!!

Scott’s Top 5 Movies of 2010

1. True Grit
If you’ve listened to Film Sack at all, you know that I LOVE westerns, and will take them over just about any other genre. You can add stupid stuff to westerns like zombies and aliens, and I am still as happy as a pig in poop. What makes True Grit so special is not simply that it’s yet another western. The Cohen Brothers, who seem to do no wrong in my estimation, crafted one of the most dialog-rich films ever made. Much of the credit goes to the Charles Portis and his original story on which the film is based, and perhaps a dash of the 1969 film staring John Wayne. But surely, this is ripe material for language artists like the Cohens to wrap their directorial skills around and craft the near perfect western experience. The acting was incredible, the pacing was perfect, and my desire to re-watch is set to high. I loved every second of it. Only complaint? More Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper, please.

2. Inception
Easily one of the most original movies of the year. Or is it? I have a hard time telling for sure because Chris Nolan does that to me. He makes me think I am seeing Batman for the very first time. He gave me a Batman vs Wolverine movie in The Prestige without even winking at me. He is the brightest and most interesting director working today, and I can’t wait to see what comes from him next, capes or otherwise. Also, Tom Hardy is the man.

3. Toy Story 3
No movie made me think more about my childhood, my own children, the power of imagination, or what it means to retain a sense of wonder as you get older, than Toy Story 3. It’s incredible, and proof yet again that Pixar is working on a whole different level than everyone else. As close as others often get, the magic is guarded carefully by John Lasseter and company, and I think we are lucky to have them at the helm.

4. How To Train Your Dragon
And oh how close this one got to Pixar. I am prepared to say they tied, with TS3 with a slight edge. I LOVED Dragon, and found it to be one of the most invigorating animated features ever made. The story was simple to it’s strength, and gave me characters I really got behind and loved. I am on my 5th viewing of this movie, and suspect I won’t stop there. Bonus points for having one of the best scores and soundtracks of the year.

5. Pressure Cooker
Ok, I know I’m cheating. This documentary came out in 2008, but it hit Netflix this year, and turned out to be a complete revelation to me. If you need to be reminded of what humanity is capable of, even in the most difficult of circumstances, you must see this film. I won’t blow what it’s about even…I want you guys to see it that much. Let’s just say, individuals make a difference. A big difference.

Randy’s Top 5 Movies of 2010

Inception
Just to put this in perspective: If you look at Christopher Nolan’s body of work on Rotten Tomatoes, you’ll see seven films with aggregate ratings. All seven are above 75% positive, with Inception at 87%. The only comparison I can think of for that kind of prowess are the Coen brothers, who had 8 great movies before their first mistake (Ladykillers). Inception is the best movie of 2010 for all the right reasons – script, direction, design, cinematography, sound – and comes with a mind-blowing plot and a score unlike anything you’ve heard before. It is a rare experience for a film to reach its end, and the viewer to gasp loudly, yet that is exactly what audiences who saw Inception in theaters experienced. In every screening I attended, the audience was moved to audibly exclaim by the final, memorable shot. Christopher Nolan has done it again.

How To Train Your Dragon
What a masterpiece! From the spot-on perfect voice performances by Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson, to the simple and elegant Dreamworks animation, to the pitch-perfect script, How To Train Your Dragon is a joy to behold. Very little in this film conforms as expected. The screenplay doesn’t follow the book on which it is based at all. The characters are called Vikings and look a bit Viking-esque, but don’t sound much like you’d expect Vikings to sound. They sound more like characters from Torchwood. The music in this film is way, way beyond your expectation. Stratospherically good music. At a time when composers like Michael Giacchino and Alexandre Desplat have cemented themselves as the newer heavy hitters in the film scoring business, John Powell just knocked one out of the park.

The Kids Are All Right
Every year there are surprise indies that you never saw coming. This year, what looked like yet another Sundance-only hit turned out to be a genuinely great film that delivers much more than the sum of its parts. It is the perfect example of what can happen when you give seasoned actors like Annette Benning, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo the right environment in which to act. The film is funny, and touching, and challenging, and purposeful in a way that is all-too-often attempted by inferior films. In a crowded field this year for Best Screenplay awards, I wouldn’t mind The Kids Are All Right winning for writer/director Lisa Cholodenko.

Easy A
There seems to be an infinite number of teenage comedies that center on a person who is suddenly different, and just wants to *feel* something. Easy A admits this upfront, displays a surprising amount of self-awareness for a movie of its pedigree, and then charges forward on pure performance. The script gives huge opportunities to supporting cast, and every one of them knock it out of the park. Bringing it all together is Emma Stone, who simply must get the Golden Globe she is nominated for. If she does win, it will be a win for Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson and director Will Gluck and writer Burt Royal all rolled into one.

Toy Story 3
It’s hard to believe that a film that is a celebration of a film that was itself a celebration of another film could be great. Strictly speaking, audiences don’t need more than one sequel to a good movie. The exception is, apparently, when the filmmakers have the ability to take the viewer to a place of pure entertainment. No one does that like Pixar.

Brian Ibbott’s Top 5 Movies of 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Ok, so I haven’t read the comic adaptation, so I can’t say much for how well they translated the story from page to screen, but with visuals and writing so sharp, I can’t imagine it being anything but a dead-on interpretation. And the Blu-Ray version even adds the “What If…” ending about Scott walking into the sunset with Knives instead of Ramona. Beautifully done.

Despicable Me
With a year full of animated hits (Toy Story 3, How ToTrain Your Dragon) and misses (Shrek 4), Despicable Me did a great job of working on all levels and having jokes that made both me and my 13 year-old son laugh. Perfect voice acting from Steve Carell.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I
I read the book. I loved the movie. And I loved hearing Nick Cave’s song in the only non-book scene in the film even more.

Inception
At this point for me, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. This movie’s going to end up on everybody’s top ten lists for the year, and deservedly so. It’s got a plot that will keep you thinking about the movie for days after you see it. But don’t spend any time on the is-it-a-dream-or-not ending: of course the top falls over.

Toy Story 3
Another movie that needs to be on everybody’s top ten list. The only film this year that actually made me cry. And it wasn’t because the toys found a new home, and a new child to call their own, it was the thinking about my son going off to college someday. Sniff.

Bonus Best-Movie-I-Saw-This-Year-That-Didn’t-Come-Out-This-Year: Outsourced (2006)
If you’ve given up on the NBC TV show because it’s predictable, stereotypical, or contrived, you need to give the movie that inspired it a viewing. It’s not quite the beginning that goes with the TV continuation, and it’s stands perfectly on its own as a great meshing of cultures and perspectives. And it’s currently on Netflix streaming. Absolutely worth the 90 minutes or so. And for the record, I like the TV show too.

Brian Dunaway’s Top 5 Movies of 2010

Stay tuned! Brian is traveling!

15 thoughts on “The best of 2010: A Film Sackers Point of View

  1. I enjoyed Inception so much that I’d give it the first 3 spots on my top five. I haven’t been on as enjoyable a ride as that in ages. It introduced a few new ideas and was beautifully crafted. I went through boxofficemojo.com and had a look at the past year in movies. Also worthy of mention: shutter island. Yet another fantastic leo pic and very entertaining.

    More an animators perspective it was a fantastic year for cartoons! Toy story 3 was the highest grossing film followed by Despicable me at 7 and How to train your dragon at 9. Based on their budgets I think Decpicable me was the biggest success of the 3. DM cost 60 million to make versus 200 for TS3 and 165 for how to train your dragon. Ts3 once affirms that Pixar is leading company in animation atm.

    Financially Tangled was a bit of a disappointment. It was 8 years in the making and had talents like Glen Keane involved (Beauty and the Beast) . Still after a name change and new directors it didn’t really have the impact it should have. Although it made 150 million at the box office it cost 265 million to make.

    Megamind broke even. nuf said about that. Shrek did well, but was regarded more as a money grab then much else. the Legend of the Guardians, or as everyone calls it “that owl movie” underperformed, which is unfortunate because visually it was one of the best animated films of the year.

  2. Randy! I love that you chose “Easy A” as one of your top 5. I really loved that movie! I loved that it was clearly based on a popular novel that wasn’t Shakespear. I loved Emma Stone (always do). And I love that even though it was a “teen film” it was relevant to a non-teen audience. Thank you for being man enough to admit the awesomeness of this film.

    Scott, I’ll get back to you on True Grit (so looking forward to seeing that now).
    LOVE the show!

    – Teri j.

  3. I totally agree with Inception being on everyone’s top 5. It had excellent storytelling, beautiful cinematography, superb casting and a moving Zimmer soundtrack. Absolutely my favorite film of the year.

    The biggest letdown of the year, in my opinion, was Tron Legacy. Jeff Bridges was so poorly utilized I was shocked. Everytime there was a transition from one action scene to another and Jeff could finally get the face time we all wanted he goes out of camera and meditates leaving 2 film newbies to keep the drama going. Ridculous that they ignored one of the greatest actors in film. I also thought that so much was poured into the visuals that the director forget that a story was to take place as well.

  4. Of movies I saw this year, I guess How to Train Your Dragon, Shutter Island and Predators are in my… Top 3. Sorry sirs, I haven’t seen any of the movies that people are praising so much, I can’t comment on the likes of Inception or Scott Pilgrim. Oh, in my country, Sherlock Holmes was released in 2010 so I guess I can use said loophole to count that as my favorite film of the year!

    Favorite Film Sack films I’ve watched this year? In no particular order: Bubba Ho-Tep, Convoy, Over the Top, Waterworld and DJANGOOOO!

  5. I found the voices in How to Train Your Dragon to be really distracting, actually– I didn’t understand why all of the “vikings” speak like they’re from Glasgow except for the kids, and Hiccup was played by a 29 year old Canadian who sounds like…well, a 29 year old Canadian. Loved the movie aside from that, though, and I never knew dragons were so much like cats. Thought a better name for Toothless might’ve been Kitty. If this film had been Film Sacked, it would’ve gotten a big tick on the checklist for “dumb adults.”

  6. Good call on favorite film sack stuff!
    Favorite film sack episode: Jason Goes To Hell – Loved team Deluxaway and The Duke!
    Favorite film sack movie: Tough one, so I’ll name a few that come to mind: The Breakfast Club (obviously), Dirty Harry, Troll 2 and Beetlejuice
    Least favorite film sack film by far was Howard the Duck. My wife and I made it as far as the scene where Tim Robbins does Donald-Speak to Howard and we just had to turn it off. Most unwatchable movie of the year in my opinion.

    Looking forward to Film Sack 2011! Keep up the great work boys!

  7. @Gretchen…shut yo mouth! 🙂

    Ok, I can understand why you’d find the voices to be distracting, but come’on!!! Still great dialog, plot, ANAMATION!!! And I agree with you about Toothless needing to be named Kitty, but the other dragons were more like big dumb dogs, imo.

    Otherwise, I agree with the guys: Inception, TS3, Easy A (a surprise!), HtTYD, and True Grit…all great movies!

    You guys are awesomesauce (Scott, Brian, Brian, Randy), please keep up the raddest podcast eva!

    Happy New Year!

  8. Hey, I said I loved the film otherwise– what do you want? It’s not like I can not not comment on something like that! Americans, not paying any attention to accents if they aren’t your own… 😉

  9. I’m glad somebody had Scott Pilgrim on their list. I instantly fell in love with this movie when I saw it. It’s a gamer and comic book fans perfect movie for what can be done to keep that cartoon, otherworldly feel in a movie done in live action.

  10. Agree with most of the lists. I haven’t seen True Grit yet but it’s on my list of Must make it out to see.
    I was so glad to see that Scott Pilgrim was on Brian’s list. I wish it had done better at the box office, I tried to get everyone I could to go. I haven’t read the comic yet but I plan on picking it up.
    My additions would be Kick Ass and The Social Network. I absolutely LOVED Kick Ass and was pleasantly surprised by Social Network. Totally worth the price of a sitter.

    You guys are awesome! Film Sack has jumped to the top of my favorites. I am so excited to see a new podcast up and have been converted on a lot of the other Frogpants offerings. Can’t wait to see what you serve up for 2011!

  11. I’m with Scott on the Western love. There is so much about that genre that I like-the characters, the settings, the themes, etc. And as Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare DLC showed us in 2010, adding zombies to the Western genre just makes it even more awesome.

  12. I like a lot of those choices, but I’m sad to not see “The Social Network” or “The Fighter.”

  13. I really need to watch Inception again. I thought it was OK. Kinda boring. Leaving there I thought everyone would be talking about it like it was a solid 6 or 7. Everyone I know was shaking me by the lapels when I said I didn’t enjoy it that much.

  14. d – I completely agree with you. I thought it was merely OK. It was kind of bland, both in visuals as well as plotting. Were people “gasping” at the top not stopping? That was so predictable and tropeish I would have been far more impressed if they didn’t do that.

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