(Editor’s Note: Here are our last “Best of 2010″ lists, from contributors John Harvey and Jason Harris.)
THE TOP … errr … 6 MOVIES OF 2010
by John Harvey
Yeah, I know. Six movies is sort of a strange number to use in a “Year in Review” article. Ultimately, there’s six movies that I want to pimp. I didn’t feel like dumping one down the well for the sake of a round number.
This was a fabulously directed and written movie. Also, it proved that American audiences will shell out cash to see a complex film containing characters that have some depth. And they shelled out the money to see it multiple times, because it stayed in the top 10 grossing movies for a helluva long time. Calling Christopher Nolan: More like this, please.
Based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., KICK-ASS was tremendous mix of action-packed fun, general hilarity and shocking violence. This film also introduced many moviegoers to Chloë Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl, who was fantastic as a foul-mouthed, 12-year-old crime fighter. Her performance made me much more willing to see the honorable-mention-worthy LET ME IN, in which she also starred. KICK-ASS also did a lot to help me forgive Nicolas Cage for his many unforgivably bad movies (but then this past weekend I saw a preview for SEASON OF THE WITCH, and now I’m back to hoping that he falls down steep flight of stairs … go figure).
3. TRUE GRIT
Written and directed by the Coen brothers, TRUE GRIT introduced us to another terrific young actress, Hailee Steinfeld, who took the starring role next to Jeff Bridges in this American Western adaptation of the Charles Portis novel of the same name. As usual, Jeff Bridges put in a great performance as Rooster Cogburn, but you should really see this film to catch Steinfeld’s portrayal of Mattie Ross. She’s really an amazing young talent. The film itself is a true Western minus the spaghetti. Listening to the rhythm of the dialogue is worth the price of admission. It’s reminds me a bit of the dialogue style used in the Coen Brothers’ OH BROTHER WHERE ART THOU (2000).
4. THE TOWN
Ben Affleck is an actor who has made several career choices that filled me with ‘meh.’ That said, THE TOWN went a long way toward changing my opinion. Not only did he star in this movie, but he also directed it and shared a partial writing credit. This gritty crime thriller isn’t terribly complex, but it’s filled with interesting, textured characters and great actors in all the main roles. Jeremy Renner steals almost every scene he’s in. In addition to a lot of compelling tension between the characters, THE TOWN features some mighty fine action scenes. I haven’t forgiven Affleck for SUM OF ALL FEARS (2002) yet, but I’m getting there.
The previews made this movie look like a horror monster thriller. Bollocks. Starring Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley and Delphine Chanéac, SPLICE was much closer to straight sci-fi, but no one wanted to call it that because everyone knows that sci-fi has huge space ships and aliens who look a lot like humans with misshapen foreheads. SPLICE used gene science to frame a thoughtfully-paced film dealing with subjects ranging from parenthood and relationships to the potential dangers of genetic manipulation. It’s a very human, emotional story featuring (on average) very good acting.
6. TERRIBLY HAPPY
Speaking of the Coen brothers, if you liked BLOOD SIMPLE (1985) or NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007), then you’ll also probably like TERRIBLY HAPPY. This intense, intelligent little Danish thriller deals with a police officer’s troubled integration into a small town where he’s supposed to be escaping the stresses of big city police work. Predictably, that train comes off the tracks quickly. This isn’t a fast-paced, shoot ‘em up thriller filled with tent-pole scenes. Rather, it focuses on the complex and vicious social politics of small town life versus the big city.
WORST MOVIE OF 2010
This movie gave me the kind of aimless, sprinting rage last seen in the 2002 Danny Boyle zombie film, 28 DAYS LATER. SALT provided movie goers with a paint-by-numbers plot, crap acting, shrug-worthy action sequences, and, frankly, Angelina Jolie’s mouth scares the s#!t out of me.
Movies That PROBABLY Would Have Made My TOP 10 Had I Been Smart Enough to See Them
Before you yell at me for not including certain wide-release movies in my list. Here’s my missed opportunities. I’ll see them all eventually, but I didn’t see them in 2010. Shame on me.
- Black Swan
- How To Train Your Dragon
- Toy Story 3
- The Social Network
This movie was gory, silly and pretty much dreadful … but I can’t help but love it. Alexandre Aja’s PIRANHA 3D was not simply an homage to the ridiculous, drive-in exploitation horror film, it’s an actual ridiculous, drive-in exploitation horror film. It’s just a funny, goofy, gory popcorn-chomping film. Oh … and there’s many fantastic boobies.
Not a lot to say about this movie except that it’s about lunatics doing idiotically-dangerous things. And I’m ashamed to say that I laughed myself nearly to the point of incontinence. Oh, by the way, I saw it in 2D because even the guys in the film thought doing it in 3D was dumb. They were right.
People who know I’m a movie buff continue to ask who I think will win at the Oscars. Let me sum it up for you in two words:
Now leave me alone!
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© Copyright 2011 by John D. Harvey