Another year passes and with it goes another year of movies for us to remember and hopefully some for us to forget. Blockbusters were forged, masterpieces were discovered and stars continued to roll in the dough. 2011 is upon us now and the past is soon to be ancient history along with the movies of last year. Before we say goodbye to 2010, it’s time to honor its importance in film with a list of the winners and losers that this year presented to us. Let the awards begin!
Movie Genre That Didn’t Connect With Audiences
There was no love in theaters this year for romcoms, which is a strange occurrence given the size of the female audience available. Love and Other Drugs, Going the Distance, Letters to Juliet, Just Wright, Life as We Know It, The Last Song, Leap Year, How Do You Know?, The Back-Up Plan, The Switch, Morning Glory, and Remember Me are just examples of films that suffered both critically and financially. Valentine’s Day breached 100 million dollars but the film’s budget alone cost nearly half of its profit. I guess women are just waiting for Richard Gere and Julia Roberts to reunite onscreen again in another chick flick.
Movie Genre That Did Connect With Audiences
3D Animated Films
Yes 2010 was full of 3D being implemented in movies but most were just converted attempts that ruined the experience. Everyone can agree that unless a movie was made for 3D, the third dimension succeeds in animated form. 3D sales helped boost the box office performances of How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled, Despicable Me, Toy Story 3, Megamind and Shrek Forever After well beyond original expectations. This is a trend that will obviously continue into the future and make 3D even more popular.
Best Action Sequence
Hands down the best fight scene of the year and one of the most mind blowing sequences ever filmed. I love talking to people who hated Inception and seeing their reaction when I mention this scene. After bashing the movie for an excessive amount of time they will always respond with, “Yeah, that hallway fight was awesome.” It goes to show that this sequence will stand the test of time no matter someone’s opinion on the actual film. Nicely done Christopher Nolan, now just make the next Batman please.
Most Disappointing Movie
Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are two talented actors who rarely star in bad films. She showed her fighting skills are still intact in Salt and he showed his weirdness is alive and well in Alice in Wonderland. But wow, did they really need more money and a vacation in Venice just to star together, for the first time? They should be ashamed if they want us to believe they both signed onto The Tourist to make a good movie. Come on, audiences aren’t that dumb.
Best Movie No One Saw
Ryan Reynolds basically puts on a one man show and damn, is it a good one. The twists and turns keep the intensity both involving and stressful at the same time. Watching this movie gives you a sense that time is actually running out for this doomed character and watching him struggle to survive proves to be utterly engaging. It’s like an extended sequence of the burial scene in Kill Bill Volume 2.
Worst Movie Everyone Saw
Alice in Wonderland
How on earth did this movie make over 1 billion dollars worldwide? It sucked. Everyone who saw it hated it and the word of mouth regarding its agony spread everywhere. But Tim Burton proved that Johnny Depp plus Lewis Carroll, can overcome anything. I’m just so surprised this ended being Burton’s biggest hit ever, when so many of his other films deserved to be. I never knew the Mad Hatter had such a massive following.
Most Surprisingly Good Movie
A movie about a runaway train with Denzel and Captain Kirk trying desperately to stop it. What the hell? That’s what was going through people’s minds before they sat through Tony Scott’s most recent action picture. The critical reaction proved to be the movie’s biggest selling point, by winning over almost everyone who saw it. The movie remained in the box office top ten way past its due date and ended up being a genuine hit. Unstoppable delivered fun and excitement for a movie about a runaway train.
Needs To Stop Acting
I don’t really feel bad for her at all. Who cares if Brad Pitt cheated on you? He probably got tired of watching her terrible movies and her attempt to entertain outside of Friends. Honestly, Aniston displayed talent in The Good Girl, but that was a long time ago. Since then it has been nothing but a string of garbage romantic comedies and the occasional television appearance. Stop trying to take people’s money and join Matt LeBlanc on the unemployed list.
Pixar owns the animated arena right now and they deserve to. We all knew their latest would be great but as a sequel to Toy Story and Toy Story 2, it had a lot to live up to even by Pixar’s standards. Not only did it deliver the goods, but it cemented the Toy Story trilogy as one of the best ever made. Pixar is always teaching Hollywood how to make movies correctly but they finally displayed why sequels are important besides milking the original for more money. Keep the film fun and create a new and interesting plot that evolves the characters and story using fresh themes and settings. Batman and Robin could’ve learned a lesson from the Pixar school of filmmaking.
Paranormal Activity 2
God, when will Hollywood learn that a one trick pony technique can’t be applied to horror films. Blair Witch 2 bombed miserably after trying to expand on the original, and rightfully so. Paranormal Activity only worked because at the time it was unique and unknown to audiences. It was only a matter of time before the sequel came which ended up failing to recreate the experience of the original. We know it’s fake, it’s not scary anymore. Paranormal Activity 3 will probably win the next award later this year.
Film Franchise That Needs To Stop
The SAW series
This franchise hit its peak with SAW II and tried gaining momentum each year by releasing a new movie close to Halloween for maximum box office appeal. The theory worked until November 1st hit and each SAW film would plummet in attendance numbers. SAW 3D was the final nail in the coffin (I hope) with the current fad of 3D failing to make more money for the dying franchise. We all knew it was coming but it’s time to finally admit that this series is officially dead and beyond any chance a revival.
Most Fun Movie To See In A Packed Theater
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Kick Ass was close to winning this award but the film’s material got dark and uneven at times. Edgar Wright’s latest film was a total blast from beginning to end. A comedy mixed with romance and action, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was probably the most visual experience of the year. A comic book that was brought to life using special effects and performances perfectly. Seeing this movie in a sold out theater in Toronto (where the movie takes place) was a one of a kind experience. The video game references, sight gags, assorted music, clever jokes, odd tone and compelling story had the audience cheering by the time the credits started to roll. Inception is a film to watch by yourself, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is better viewed with a crowd who are in tune with pop culture and are willing to see something that uses style brilliantly.
Best Movie Cameo
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis
The Expendables wasn’t the best movie made this year, but it was total fan service for all 80’s action movie lovers. It supplied a good cheesy ride with a cameo scene that would end up being the best part of the whole movie. When Arnold and Bruce are onscreen with Sly, distributing insults and innuendos with superb timing, action nerds’ dreams came true. Then the scene ended and the movie went back to being merely ‘okay’. That’s when you know a cameo was successful, when it eclipses the entire film it occurs in.
Best Movie Hero
Ree Dolly from Winter’s Bone
The hero performance this year may involve heavy competition but Jennifer Lawrence embodied the most memorable character of them all. Ree Dolly is someone who just fascinates you. Following her trying to track down her missing father and solely supporting her poor family is a testament to her determined will. Ree lives her life using the opportunities given to her and she doesn’t have time for regret or to dwell on the adult difficulties that surround her. She maintains strength after discouraging abuse as well as an emotional pain of a young girl deprived of her innocence. Ree Dolly is a heroine without special effects or weapons, a realistic brave girl who makes Winter’s Bone a captivating film that doesn’t become overdrawn in its depressing manner.
Best Onscreen Sex Scene
Lesbian sex scene? Automatic winner, but you’d be surprised at how close Black Swan was at losing this award. Love and Other Drugs and Blue Valentine both contain sex scenes that earned them instant R ratings and push the boundaries when it comes to sex in movies. However the scene with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Black Swan is steamy and creepy at the same time. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it but let’s just say it’s a mind trip, not exactly an erotic lesbian scene in the traditional sense. Nonetheless it is something you haven’t seen before and will surely make every man in the world happy.
Most Memorable Death Scene (SPOILERS)
This movie may have been one the most satisfying adult films released this year. Gritty action with excellent performances made it very easy to watch. Jeremy Renner easily had the best character to work with, basically playing Joe Pesci from Goodfellas. The whole movie you are rooting for him but you know his death is inevitable because of his actions and uncontrollable personality. Like Tony Montana, he’s a ticking time bomb that’s not going down without a lot of guns riddling his corpse with bullets. Renner is so good in this movie and his final minute onscreen when he has a sip of soda before he accepts his fate is a subtle intelligent touch.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
This British thriller is a tightly made film that keeps your eyes glued to the screen in anticipation of what comes next. A kidnapping early on turns into a game of mind play with double-crosses and twists abound. The pacing is so brisk for a film that involves only three people, it winds itself up to the point where major reveals sucker punch you unexpectedly. The acting is top notch and Gemma Arterton is the standout as the hostage who has aces up her sleeve. Along with her excellent work in Tamara Drew, another British film released this year, Arterton has proved to be a dynamic actress who is bound to appear in big upcoming movies.
Let Me In, True Grit
This rarely happens but 2010 had two remakes that were just as good as the originals they were based on. 1969’s True Grit is a classic western that featured John Wayne’s most memorable character to date. Joel and Ethan Coen’s updated version this year stayed true to the original source material by adding a finely tuned cast and beautiful cinematography. Matt Reeves’ remake of the 2008 vampire classic, Let the Right One In, was shot for shot almost identical. Both remakes didn’t add anything unnecessary to the story but instead honored the movies they were updating by making them accessible to audiences who have never seen the originals. But both 2010’s True Grit and Let Me In are different enough to stand on their own as new versions that are not only great films but respectful remakes as well.
This sounded like such a good idea when it was first announced. Ridley Scott re-teaming with Russell Crowe to film the origin of Robin Hood and how he first met Lady Marian and became an outlaw banished to Sherwood Forest. Then the movie was released and wow, the movie just didn’t work. Ridley Scott’s visceral filming style does not work for a character like Robin Hood. Neither does Russell Crowe’s highly grim acting devoid of any sign of humor. The 1991 Kevin Costner version at least was fun to watch and didn’t try to be a boring overlong epic like the 2010 version. Ridley Scott is an amazing director who knows how to make ambitious action pictures. He just really missed the mark with Robin Hood which is saying a lot for a character who fights with a bow and arrow.
Grossest Movie Moment
The Human Centipede
Why did Tom Six, the director of this movie, think that the image of three people surgically joined from mouth to anus would be interesting? I unfortunately saw this movie and it’s not horrible, it’s just wrong. The events that unfold are gratuitous and disgusting. When the human centipede is finally constructed there is no pay off or joy to be had. Instead you watch as three helpless people struggle, swallowing each others excrement and moaning in distress. It’s not horrendously graphic, it’s just upsetting to watch something this twisted appear onscreen. Tom Six, go see a doctor and stop making movies like this.
Best Movie Trailer
The Social Network
Every year there are awesome trailers that make you want to pre-order tickets for the movie right after viewing it. This year had one of the best ever with The Social Network. The haunting music featuring a choir version of Radiohead’s song Creep, works so well with the dialogue and images presented. The trailer’s tagline, “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies,” is effective and intriguing. After the trailer was released this movie was on everyone’s mind. The guy who directed Fight Club made a movie about Facebook, are you serious? Then the film was released and it became what it is now, a masterpiece. This trailer was expertly crafted and did exactly what it’s supposed to do: it made you want to see the movie.
Waste Of $150 Million
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Tron: Legacy cost over 150 million and sucked but at least it looked good in 3D so it wasn’t a massive waste, plus it didn’t necessarily lose money yet. Prince of Persia on the other hand, was a mistake. So much could have been averted if this movie wasn’t made. Ben Kingsley would not have yet another paycheck for starring in a crappy movie. Instead of spending two months weight training, Jake Gyllenhaal could have actually played a Prince of Persia game for once in his life. Jerry Bruckheimer wouldn’t be as broke as he is now after The Sorcerer’s Apprentice bombs at the box office as well. The film’s budget alone could have been spent on any charity in the world to at least create some benefit. Seriously, who thought this movie would be a good idea, and why did it require so much money?
What’s more lovable then a big furry toy bear? Nothing really, as long it’s not a selfish power-hungry dictator who runs a daycare center like it’s a prison. In Toy Story 3, Lotso is the type of villain who doesn’t look like your average bad guy, but his back story explains his descent into evil. He stands by his reasoning and won’t give up until all toys accept the fate he determines for them. Even at the end of them film when he has a chance for redemption his devious mind takes over. He’s probably the only villain in Pixar history that truly deserves the final predicament he’s left in, and I’m not discounting the chameleon from Monsters Inc.
Helen Mirren in Red
Women firing weapons onscreen in movies is a massive turn on for guys worldwide. It’s even better when the woman looks like she actually knows what she’s doing and makes it look believable. Everyone can admit Angelina Jolie is a bad ass female and her work in Salt was a reminder of that. But Helen Mirren in Red was a surprise to all. Queen Elizabeth, firing a machine gun as if she does it every day. The steal look on her face as she shoots a turret mounted chain gun in an elegant formal dress is the hottest image of the year. Not to mention later in the film she uses a sniper rifle and picks off bad guys with excellent precision. Mirren makes gun violence sexy again and hopefully she stars in more action movies where she apparently fits perfectly.
Most Overrated Movie
I don’t care what you say, this movie was just Showgirls with ballerinas. Someone should have just slapped Natalie Portman’s character and told her to work at McDonalds instead of becoming the perfect dancer and going absolutely crazy. I can’t stand movies that trick you into believing what’s real and what’s not by using hallucinations. It not only makes things confusing but it makes you care less about what’s happening onscreen. Oh, she just imagined that, okay, makes sense. Wait, she just stabbed that other girl, oh my god. No, no, just her being bonkers again. What? She stabbed herself! This has to be in her mind again, right? Who knows and who cares. I have patience with movies but this one really pushed me to just give up on it. Darren Aronofsky, make more movies like The Wrestler and less like Black Swan. After seeing this movie I was immediately terrified of how Aronofsky will handle The Wolverine.
Most Underrated Performance
I Love You Phillip Morris is one of the best movies I saw this year. It always pops into my head when I’m talking about top ten lists with other people lately. The movie is unknown to most even with it earning glowing reviews from critics. But with award season in full swing now I can’t believe how criminally ignored Jim Carrey has been. His character deserved at least two more films, he was an enthralling person. A con artist who had no evil bone in his body, Morris was just a victim of love. The only way he knows how to live is to lie and be deceitful, a curse that will ultimately doom his relationships. Carrey captures the manic energy he displayed in his earlier films along with a tender heartfelt side that makes his character more than just a comedic criminal. I Love You Phillip Morris reminded me of how good Carrey can be and how easy and fun he is to watch.
Best Movie Of 2010
The Social Network
Man, Inception is a great film and one we will remember it for ages. But I have never seen a movie that captures the social state we live in so flawlessly. Its commentary on greed and dominance of ownership is presented at a breakneck speed with dialogue so witty and sharp, only Aaron Sorkin could write it. Never in a million years would anyone have thought that the movie to define a generation would be about Facebook. But that’s why The Social Network is so good, it’s about the evolution of an idea and how it can grow to destroy just as much as it can create. The way the story unfolds from different perspectives, the fantastic performances (especially from supporting ones), the smooth pacing, the musical score and alluring camera work together make The Social Network the best movie of the year. David Fincher deserves every award the film is collecting so far, but recognition as well for creating a film classic.
Worst Movie Of 2010
The Last Airbender
So you know how I feel about Alice in Wonderland, Prince of Persia, Black Swan, Robin Hood and Paranormal Activity 2: all horrible movies. The only movie this year that was an absolute abomination for every person who saw it was The Last Airbender. I honestly think after Signs, M. Night Shyamalan was kidnapped and replaced with an imposter, someone who has nothing to offer the world in film form. Or after three creative (good) movies, Shyamalan’s mind really went off the map with ridiculous ideas that had no chance of becoming good movies. Plants trying to make human beings extinct through suicide? But The Last Airbender is Shyamalan trying to make a special effects blockbuster based on an animated series. Watch this movie and you’ll notice nothing works, literally nothing. This movie was made so Shyamalan would not go broke and keep his mansion in Beverly Hills. Need proof of my reasoning? He decided last minute to convert the movie into 3D to make more money from IMAX screens. The Last Airbender is the worst thing I have seen this year and it’s made by the same guy who did The Sixth Sense. What a shame.