My Top 10 Movies of 2010

Last year I wrote a blog on the best films of 2009.  Continuing the tradition here are my top 10 films for 2010.  Would love to see your additions to the list as well as thoughts about my list.  Happy New Year!

10.  How To Train Your Dragon
Part of me wants to love this film simply because it's the best non-Disney/PIXAR animated feature since An American Tail.  Visually this film is stunning (the flying scenes are the most exhilarating since The Rocketeer) and -- holy cow! -- it actually has an endearing (and original) story!  I'm rooting for Jeffery Katzenberg at DreamWorks Animation to create more quality work like this and less garbage like Shark Tale, Antz and Shrek 4.

9.  Toy Story 3
This is weird to say, but if anyone other than PIXAR would have made this film it would be number one on my list.  Somehow when you expect greatness you're not as satisfied when it comes as you are when you're surprised by it.  We expect greatness from PIXAR.  With Toy Story 3 they delivered. 

8.  Shutter Island
This film was overlooked because of another little "is it real or is it not?" film starring Leonardo DiCaprio this year.  But Shutter Island is perhaps more haunting than Inception and will leave you talking less about how cool the falling fight scenes were and more about what it means to be sane in the face of extreme loss and shame.

7.  The Social Network
An obvious choice.  Critics loved it.  I mostly loved Aaron Sorkin's expected whip-smart dialogue.  For anyone missing The West Wing's walk-and-talk's as much as I do it was like visiting with an old friend...and listening like mad making sure you don't miss anything brilliant.  I loved David Fincher's direction but was a little confused as to why it was heralded for how AMAZINGLY it captured a generation.  Maybe that's because it captured my generation and I'm like, "Yeah, we wear hoodies.  Big deal."

6.  The Fighter
From my point of view this is not a boxer movie.  It's a movie about the tensions of a dysfunctional family that never really resolve (while just about every other tension does).  I loved the bold direction.  The acting was just plain fun to watch and I shed a tear or two.

5.  Waiting For Superman
The mechanics of this documentary weren't great...but it's message sure is.  If you would have told me 10 years ago that a liberal filmmaker heralded for a documentary about global warming would later make a documentary demonizing teacher's unions I would never have believed you.  These times, they are a-changin'.  The stories of the kids they follow are gripping-- but more so is the film's scathing criticisms of our failing public schools as well as the championing of the heroes who are trying create bold alternatives for those who could never afford it.

4.  Inception
I loved the falling fight scenes.  What can I say?  Christopher Nolan is a genius.

3.  The Town
People are determined not to like Ben Affleck.  I never understood that.  Can't we just remember Good Will Hunting, Dogma, Hollywoodland, Armageddon, Boiler Room, Shakespeare in Love and Gone Baby Gone?  One critic heralded Ben as the next Clint Eastwood.  After Gone Baby Gone and The Town and I tend to agree.  This film was just beautifully done.  Congratulations, Ben.

2. Waking Sleeping Beauty
I got to see a special screening of this film with director Don Hahn (who also produced Beauty and The Best and The Lion King).  The story of Disney's decline in the late 70s and 80s and it's short-lived resurrection from '84 to '94 is a great case study on why organizations rise and fall.  What do Tim Burton, John Lasseter and Brad Bird have in common?  They all left or were fired by Disney Animation in the 80s and they all are some of Disney's greatest assets today.  Go figure.

1.  The King's Speech
I'm getting ready to see this film for the third time tonight.  I love everything about this film.  The vulnerability and power of the characters.  Every scene is both poignant emotionally and beautiful visually.  It is art, and the story of a stuttering shadow of a man desiring to do something extraordinary with his life resonates with me.  If you can handle deliberately paced stories then please go see this movie.

Honorable Mentions:

Get Him To The Greek
Except for one of the most awkward sex scenes I've ever seen this film was by far the funniest film of the year (there weren't that many to choose from).  Unfortunately it won't be recognized as such by anyone other than MTV or the People's Choice Awards.  The Golden Globes seem to think that The Tourist is funnier.  I agree:  The Golden Globes picking The Tourist for their Best Comedy category is downright hilarious.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
What the critics praised The Social Network for in capturing the ethos of my generation this film does for the next.  It's plugged in, pluralistic, bipolar, almost disgustingly hip and indie, and it's optimistic if not idealistic.  As someone who has worked with college students for a living it is the best film I've seen that captures the ethos of the generation to come.  I loved it.

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