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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!