Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2010, your hours have run out

Another year, another Oscar nominations morning, another list of my favorite -- and least favorite -- films from the previous year.

If you haven't been present for my several weeks of hype leading up to the big event, I always reveal my list of movie rankings, from first to worst, on the morning Oscar hopefuls wake up at 5:30 our time (it's 5:27 right now) to watch the reading of the Oscar nominations. (I always watch it on ABC, for some reason.) My reward for waking up early is that I have time enough before going to work to make myself a breakfast complete with eggs and breakfast meat. Mmm, breakfast meat.

The reason I deviate from the usual tradition of publishing my list during the week between Christmas and New Year's is simple -- I need a few extra weeks to watch the movies that get released late in the year. The morning of the Oscar nominations has always seemed like a good amount of extra time. Of course, I don't limit myself to just those movies during these extra couple weeks -- I also watch plenty of bad movies released in February, which have been available on DVD since July.

I fell just short of last year's record total, which was 113. Then again, last year, the Oscar nominations were revealed a full week later, on February 2nd. An extra week this year would have netted me an additional ten movies for sure. But since I'm always suffering from major movie fatigue this time of year, I'm just as glad not to have that extra week. Looking forward to returning to business as usual after the big crunch.

Okay, Mo'Nique is coming out on stage right now ... excuse me for a moment as I watch the nominations live.

A best picture nomination for The A-Team? I didn't see that coming.

But seriously, I've seen ten of ten best picture nominees. I'm getting good at this. Particularly glad to see my favorite film of the year nominated ... no better moment to get down to business ...

Without further ado, my top 109 films of 2010, listed in no particular order. (Wait, scratch that last part.)

1. 127 Hours
2. Tangled
3. The Social Network
4. Agora
5. Winter's Bone
6. Mother
7. Rabbit Hole
8. Exit Through the Gift Shop
9. Cyrus
10. Animal Kingdom
11. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
12. Greenberg
13. Kick-Ass
14. The Human Centipede
15. Four Lions
16. The King's Speech
17. Toy Story 3
18. The Town
19. Black Swan
20. The Living Wake
21. Mother and Child
22. Please Give
23. Easy A
24. Lebanon
25. Blue Valentine
26. Inception
27. Date Night
28. Never Let Me Go
29. I'm Still Here
30. The Kids Are All Right
31. The Ghost Writer
32. Countdown to Zero
33. Let Me In
34. The Last Exorcism
35. Restrepo
36. After.Life
37. Piranha 3D
38. Catfish
39. How to Train Your Dragon
40. The Fighter
41. City Island
42. Get Him to the Greek
43. Daybreakers
44. Splice
45. Shutter Island
46. Micmacs
47. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
48. Buried
49. Casino Jack and the United States of Money
50. Extraordinary Measures
51. Hot Tub Time Machine
52. The Square
53. The Book of Eli
54. The Losers
55. She's Out of My League
56. I Am Love
57. The A-Team
58. Saint John of Las Vegas
59. Frozen
60. Ondine
61. Dear John
62. Youth in Revolt
63. Remember Me
64. Babies
65. Creation
66. Knight and Day
67. Tron: Legacy
68. True Grit
69. Tiny Furniture
70. Sweetgrass
71. Somewhere
72. Machete
73. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
74. Holy Rollers
75. Solitary Man
76. The Killer Inside Me
77. Unstoppable
78. Happy Tears
79. Phish 3D
80. The Joneses
81. The Bounty Hunter
82. The Other Guys
83. The Runaways
84. The Last Airbender
85. MacGruber
86. Easier With Practice
87. The Crazies
88. Edge of Darkness
89. Repo Men
90. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
91. Centurion
92. Killers
93. Brooklyn's Finest
94. Just Wright
95. Finding Bliss
96. Valentine's Day
97. Little Fockers
98. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
99. The Expendables
100. Devil
101. Jonah Hex
102. Operation: Endgame
103. Dinner for Schmucks
104. The Wolfman
105. Vampires Suck
106. The Back-up Plan
107. Legion
108. When in Rome
109. Furry Vengeance

Most regret not seeing before the deadline: Another Year, Biutiful, The Company Men, Get Low, The Tempest, Waiting for "Superman"

Okay, I am waiting -- waiting -- with bated breath for your comments. Even if you don't usually comment, I would love to hear your comments today. I know I've outraged you with certain choices, but I imagine I've also pleased you with others. Tell me about it. This is why I do this.

On to 2011. My rankings so far:

1. The Green Hornet



moviesandsongs365 said...

You've seen a lot. Glad to see Exit through the gift shop mentioned, in my top 5 of 2010 releases.

Some I agree with, some not. I think 2010 had a lot of good films(that I've seen), but maybe only 2 or 3 great films in my mind. I need to be interested in the subject matter to really love a film. I saw more films from 2010 that I disliked than liked.

I see you didn't watch "All good things", I thought it was entertaining. (and on Roger Ebert's top 10). Maybe also look out for In a Better World (2010), which won golden globe for best foreign language film(and I see is oscar nominated today)

Are there cut-off points on your list?, where the movies become ok, and then bad ?

Mike Lippert said...

True Grit and Somewhere are worse than the A-Team. I think I may have thrown up a little. I;m reading all of these lists to see how mine will compare with all the rest (I'm super duper late this year, damn not being able to see as many movies as once upon a time) and so far I have 3 distinct picks that I haven't seen once on anyone elses list.

Vancetastic said...

MAS - You can't tease me like that by not mentioning the ones you agree/disagree with! (Other than Exit Through the Gift Shop.) We've already discussed Social Network -- I know you're not high on that. I must admit, All Good Things is not on my radar (until now). Ditto A Better World. It always saddens me when I "miss out" on movies that aren't on my radar, but then, we're aware of what we're aware of, and that's that. I didn't consume too many other critics' lists this year, and as a result, I'm sure I missed out on some titles. But ease of access to those titles also has something to do with which movies I see. Hence, a lot more mainstream titles readily available on video, at the expense of harder-to-find titles.

As for the cut-off, I do in fact keep track of which ones are thumbs up and which are thumbs down. However, I have a friend who likes to guess where that line is, so I'll let him take a crack at that (if he wants to) before I answer.

Mike - And this is why ranking things is so hard. Ultimately, I am ranking the films against their own potential. Somewhere just didn't do it for me like I wanted it to (and I love Sofia Coppola), and with True Grit, I just didn't get what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, when I watched True Grit, it was late at night and I was tired. But does that mean I should artificially inflate it in my rankings? I don't think so. I would have liked to see it again just to see what I might have "missed," but it just wasn't realistic. As for The A-Team, I know this has been a debate on your blog, but I'm one of those who thought the action choreography was original and entertaining, and liked the actors they chose to inhabit the roles. We all have our preferences -- I don't judge you for liking Just Wright! (Or not too much, anyway.) ;-)

No mention of the things you might have agreed with? I know you love Rabbit Hole.

Don Handsome said...

Yeah, you are dead wrong about Somewhere.

But otherwise, I've got only minor complaints with your list. Glad to see Mother getting respeck from you. Its such a great film, and its just an indication of some of the great things that are coming out of Korean Cinema. Great choice there.

As you've already seen, I've kept my own list. We've got some cross-over, but they are very unique. In addition to knowing where you start disliking films (and maybe I already kind of know that), I'd like to know what your cut-off is in the "Love" category. Where do you stop loving films and start really liking films? Looking at your list, I'd guess its around #11...

Thanks for sharing, man. Today is one of my favorite days of the year.

Vancetastic said...

I think 11 would be fair. I don't know that I can say unequivocally that I love Greenberg -- I think it has some flaws. But Baumbach is definitely employing some terrific observational dialogue in that film -- as I wrote about originally when discussing Greenberg, I found myself nodding along with the dialogue more than I can remember in any recent film. Anyway, I like Greenberg very much but may not love it. It's appropriate that we reserve our love for films where we can be sure of our love, isn't it?

I will watch Somewhere again sometime. I owe it to Sofia.

Vancetastic said...

Funny timing on this discussion of liking vs. loving -- without even realizing what I was doing, I posted on a friend's status about The Human Centipede that I "loved" it. Yet I ranked The Human Centipede several slots below Greenberg. Just another example of the beautiful inexactitude of the ranking process.

Nicholas Prigge said...

First, kudos to ranking every movie you saw. That's gotta be tough work.

So thrilled to see Rabbit Hole in the Top 10. That movie deserves so much more love. I'm curious to see Kick Ass so high and may have just decided to finally check it out. It goes without saying but I can't abide The Town above Black Swan.

And in regards to Somewhere, I also didn't like it. And yet - yet! - I can't stop thinking about it.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

The Human Centipede is better than Toy Story 3?? Really??

I'm going to need some elaboration on that please.

Vancetastic said...

Nicholas - Thanks. Yeah, the ranking project is made easier by the fact that I do it as I go along, ranking each film relative to the other existing films every time I see a new one. In the old days when I first started this (the mid-90s), I would gather all the titles at the end and then rank them. While it's possible that would yield more pure results, I prefer this as the easier method.

Yeah, Rabbit Hole was terrific, wasn't it? Kick-Ass has its flaws, but when it's right, it's invigorating. Chloe Grace Moretz is worth the price of admission alone, and Nicolas Cage is bizarrely wonderful.

As for Somewhere, I can't say that I've thought of it as much as you have, though I have definitely returned to it more often than some of the other films on this list - including some films that I've ranked much higher. So it's gotta be doing something right.

DGB - An interesting juxtaposition you chose indeed. Quite simply, I consider The Human Centipede to be one of the most original horror films I've ever seen, even if it uses a somewhat familiar template (Frankenstein). Unsurprisingly, some of the images of that film will just stick with you for their sheer bleak grotesqueness, and I found some of the narrative choices to be absolute enthralling.

Toy Story 3 is, of course, great. And you know I'm one of the biggest Toy Story fans out there, as I call the other two TS films my favorite two Pixar films. However, I have to be honest with myself and admit that Toy Story 3 lacked that certain something for me -- even with its undeniable emotional punch, which hit me just like it hit most people. What can I say, it's how I feel.

Groundskeeper Willie said...

My quixotic quest every year with this list is to find the exact dividing line between "Vance mostly liked it" and "Vance didn't."

This year, I propose that the line was between #56 (I Am Love) and #57 (The A-Team). I hope it was lower -- placing the line this high would mean that you sat down and watched fifty movies that you didn't enjoy.

Groundskeeper Willie said...

Why so lukewarm on Inception, by the way? Or did you like it and still find ~25 better movies this year?

Vancetastic said...

Keeper - I wish I were that discriminating. No, the cutoff is actually about 30 spots lower. All year, perhaps as just a kneejerk reaction against the typical negativity directed at M. Night Shyamalan (and I'm usually leading the charge), I've been giving The Last Airbender the most marginal of thumbs up. It's not great or probably even good, but I didn't think it deserved the lambasting it got. So that means there were only 20-something movies I definitely did not like this year. That's pretty good in the sense of having enjoyed the majority of time I spent watching movies. But it's pretty hard on my credibility as a tough critic.

As for Inception, that was the one film I felt really strongly about trying to see again before I finalized my rankings. The time we were lined up to watch it, I discovered too late that it had not yet been released on Redbox, so we missed our window. I think Inception does a lot of things very well, but there's so much of the world to set up that it frequently stumbles over its own exposition. Still, it was the one movie that I thought I might have moved up slightly if I got to see it again. That said, it should be noted that as is, it's still in my top 25% of 2010 movies.

moviesandsongs365 said...

As you know, 2010 for me was a weak cinematic year. Ok, here is my tentative top 10 2010 release list, so you can compare what we agree/disagree on. (I think 4 or 5 you haven’t watched)

1. Armadillo
Exit through the gift shop
Mother and child
Please Give
My dog tulip
Happythankyoumoreplease (2010)
Nothing personal
10. All good things

Here are a few films I thought, based on the hype, should have been better, and in my view should have been more meaningful than just being entertaining :

Shutter Island
the social network
The kids are alright
the secret in their eyes
Winters Bone
Blue Valentine
Black Swan
Jack goes boating

I still have about 20 films from 2010 on my to-see-list on my blog, Somewhere and Restrepo might make my top 10, so this is all incomplete.

Vancetastic said...

MAS - Thanks for sharing. I am motivated to seek out those titles now, especially given that you ranked a movie I don't think I've heard of as #1. Armadillo is now saved in my Netflix queue (not available on DVD yet). Because of the generic title, I don't think I matched All Good Things to its trailer -- now that I know what movie that is, I do want to see it.