My Top Ten Films of 2010

I didn’t put up a list of my favorite movies of last year at the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011 because I knew that there were a lot of titles I hadn’t been able to see yet that looked like viable candidates for a Top Ten. And almost a year later there are still a few holdouts (“Youth In Revolt,” “Cyrus,” “Never Let Me Go,” “Tiny Furniture,” “Another Year,” “Carlos,” “The Fighter,” “Enter the Void” – Yeah, the list goes on…) but there’s still time to amend the list later, right?

For now, after some a little consideration, here’s my own personal best of list for what I managed to see of 2010 movies:

#10 “How to Train Your Dragon

Dreamworks Animation can get a lot of great work done once they take their minds out of the Shrek-universe. “Megamind” was great fun, but “Dragon” manages to tell a great, exciting story AND be funny on an almost Pixar-like level.

#9 “The Social Network

Yes, it was robbed by “The King’s Speech” at the Oscars. Sorkin’s script is a perfect fit to Fincher’s meticulous craftsmanship. From the cast to the score to just the timing – this film got everything right.

#8 “Black Swan

A horror-ballet-thriller is about as unlikely a genre as you can have, but Aronofsky pulls it off, effortlessly. Also: Mila Kunis. Enough said.

#7 “Blue Valentine

The anti-date movie. Don’t watch this with your significant other. It’s heavy stuff, but it’s rewarding in its lead performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, who take us on a tour de force of falling in, and out of, love.

#6 “Un prophète

“A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.” says IMDb’s less than exciting plot description. Yet this is not an ordinary prison-drama but a powerful character study and a fascinating showpiece of actor Tahar Rahim’s skills.

#5 “Madeo” (“Mother“)

There really is no good way to describe what kind of film “Madeo,” the South Korean… thriller? drama? black comedy? Well, you get the idea. But one thing it definitely is, is terrific. Hye-ja Kim plays one of the most memorable movie characters in a long time.

#4 “Rabbit Hole

John Cameron Mitchell follows-up his great everybody’s beautiful and having sex-movie “Shortbus” with a film that could not be more different. Nicole Kidman and a brilliant Aaron Eckhart play grieving parents after having lost their young child a short time before the start of the movie. It sounds like heavy stuff, and there is that element, but it’s also a beautiful, life-affirming tale.

#3 “Happythankyoumoreplease

Josh Radnor channels his inner, early Woody Allen for this wonderful, quirky, funny and honest story of people and chance encounters. (Really, my words can’t do it justice.)

#2 “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I called it “damn-near perfect” a year ago and I’m standing by that statement. “Scott Pilgrim” is the most fun movie in ages and so full of energy you could probably power a small city with it.

#1 “Toy Story 3

No surprise there, I guess. “Toy Story 3” is that rare second sequel that is better than both of its wonderful predecessors, telling an original story that moved not only this viewer to tears. How anyone is not a fan of this movie is beyond me (and I’m sad to say that I in fact do know people who refuse to watch it “because it’s for kids”).

Honorable mentions: “Kynodontas” (“Dogtooth“) would have made this list if I had counted it as a 2010 release (as I did with “Un prophète,” which, like the haunting Greek film, came out in its home country in 2009 but opened to most of the rest of the world in 2010) but I had already included it here. For similar reasons, you will find “Copie conforme” (“Certified Copy“) on the upcoming “Top Ten Films of 2011”-list and not here.

Some great films from 2010 that didn’t make the list are “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” Susanne Bier’s “Hævnen” (“In A Better World”), Nicole Holofcener’s “Please Give,” Will Gluck’s “Easy A,” David Michôd’s “Animal Kingdom,” Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech,” the documentary “Restrepo,” the Coens’ “True Grit,” Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg,” the aforementioned “Megamind,” and Paul Haggis’ “The Next Three Days.”

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