This Is a Blog: 2010: Some Movies Got Released

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010: Some Movies Got Released

My movie viewing this year has been severely lacking. Without long stretches of unemployment, I can't spend days at a time catching up on movies. I'm grateful to have a steady job during a recession, but come on, when it comes to movie watching, work really gets in the way. This is hardly a best movies list, but more-so, it's a list of the best movies I've seen this year.

Way Above All Other Movies


Finally, a blockbuster action movie that doesn't skimp on the smarts. It doesn't try to layer in cheapo philosophy like the "Matrix," which I loved. It doesn't try to feign social commentary like "District 9," which I hated. A criticism I lobbed at "District 9" is that its what dumb people think a smart movie looks like, and a lot of people have thrown that back at me about "Inception." The difference, I think, is all the pretension and hype in "Inception" came from the fans, not the movie. Anyone who looks at "Inception" as transcendent or revolutionary is just an idiot. It's nothing more than a very high concept heist film rooted in its main character's neuroses. Christopher Nolan isn't the best thing to ever happen to cinema, but he is the rare blockbuster director who's confident enough in his artistry that he doesn't have to talk down to his audience. As an editor, the way he balances the layers of the dream impressed the shit out of me. On the other hand, it is telling that Mal, the most interesting female character in any of his movies, is a figment of a man's unconscious.

The Social Network

I love Aaron Sorkin. I love the rhythm and rhyme of his writing, and I love his perspective on the world. I love David Fincher. I love his sense of style and character. Put these guys together, and you have a movie that's simply everything I want. Again, nothing revolutionary, but "The Social Network" proves that a movie doesn't have to mess with convention to be superior. It's a very straight-forward character study, but it manages to be far more memorable than any movie like it.

Other Pretty Good Films

The Expendables & Piranha 3D - One day, my girlfriend and I got into a big fight over what movie to see. I wanted to see the former, she wanted to see the latter. We ended up seeing both back-to-back, and it was one of the best days of movie watching of my life. "The Expendables" was fun and mindless and insane, and it was exactly what I wanted from this 80s action star reunion. I got to get my Jason Statham fix for the year, and that fucking mega-shotgun Terry Crews had was the funniest damn thing I've seen in a while. That is, until we saw "Piranha 3D." Keith Phipps at The AV Club made a great point about this film. "Does it count as a guilty pleasure when something’s so clearly designed to be a guilty pleasure?" Every frame of this film was made with one thing in mind: be entertaining. Oh, and James Cameron can suck it; this is why 3D was invented, not whatever the fuck he's doing.

Harry Potter 7, Part 1 - Having never read the books, I can just enjoy these movies on face value. Sure, the middle got repetitive, but the beginning and end more than made up for it. The shape-shifting adventure into the Ministry was pretty exciting. This installment did a great job of setting up the next film without being just an extended setup. I can't wait to see Part 2.

Get Him to the Greek - I love that modern movies allow guys to have emotions without being wuss bags. I hate drug humor, but when it can be balanced with real sincerity, I'll let it slide. Aldous Snow is a rock star with some serious problems. He's a heartbroken has-been with an irreparable drug addiction, and Jonah Hill's exactly the kind of straight man who can pull him through. Yeah, Jonah Hill, not the character. The character's mostly bland. But Jonah Hill's a funny guy.

Honorable Mentions

Despicable Me - Movies about dads just get to me. Yes, I cried.

Kick Ass - Nothing special or new, but it was really, really good. I hope Chloe Moretz can make it to adult stardom without burning out.

Ramona and Beezus - Simple and sweet, and one of the few movies I saw in theatres.

Saw 3D - Not a great movie, but it makes me sad this is going to be the last one.

Best of 2009 That I Didn't See Until 2010

The Invention of Lying - If everyone saw this movie and thought about it enough to not get offended, we might actually have some sort of understanding between atheists and believers. It manages to simultaneously be an earnest perspective on religion from an atheist, and an earnest perspective on atheism the religious could get behind.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - I haven't really liked a Terry Gilliam movie since "12 Monkeys." This one was spectacular. It was fun, quirky, and paced better than Gilliam's usual fare. I hate to say it, but Heath Ledger's death was the best thing to happen to this movie. His fill-ins -- Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell -- added a dimension to the film no one would have considered in a million years had he not died.

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard - Hilarious and over the top in all the right ways. Jeremy Piven is the man. Rob Riggle as a 10-year-old with a developmental disorder that makes him look like a muscular 30-something, no one else could have played that. Too bad it had maybe the worst title ever.

Armored - Not at all what I expected. Instead of being a cat and mouse thing that takes us on chase after chase throughout the city, the movie (for the most part) parks us in one location and stays there for the rest of the film. Color me pleasantly surprised.

Black Dynamite Panther Fist - Who'd have thought the guy from that awful "Spawn" movie could churn this out. This is where movie parody needs to get back to, a simple genre flick that takes the tropes and turns them into pure, goofy fun. Compared to "Meet the Spartans" or "Vampires Suck" or any movie whose name is "[place genre here] Movie," you'll notice it's neither self-aware that it's a parody, nor does it specifically reference the movies its spoofing. It's just a goofy genre pic. Remember when they all used to be like that?

Good Looking Movies I Have Yet To See

Toy Story 3
How to Train Your Dragon
Jackass 3D
The Town
Easy A
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Black Swan
Waiting for "Superman"
The King's Speech

Awful Looking Movies I Kind of Want to See

Narnia 3: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Okay, that's it. Oscar season's up next, so prepare yourselves to listen to bitching and complaining that genre pics, comedies, and popular movies didn't get enough nominations. Actually, this year, there might be so many good animated movies, the academy won't have to shoe-horn in stuff like "The Secret of Kells."

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