23 December 2010



Typical Cliched Disclaimer: This is a list of MY FAVORITE movies of the year; that does not necessarily include the “best” movies of the year. That’s a different thing. If this was that list, stuff like BLACK SWAN would be on it, because the second hour of that movie was the best thing anyone on the planet has produced in probably fifteen years. But since I found the first hour of the movie listless and marginally uninteresting, it’s not one of my favorites.

Also, hey…maybe there were some films I didn’t get to see this year (“yet” or “because I just didn’t want to” – take your pick). But everyone says that. And what the hell do you know? Maybe I did see everything. So don’t be such a judger.


So here we go:

10. (tie) KICK-ASS/SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD – I think a lot of people are going to lump these two movies in together thematically/stylistically, and I think that’s a big mistake. I’m not doing that here. I simply couldn’t decide which one I enjoyed more, having seen both in the theater twice and multiple times on Blu-ray at home. Hey, both were also criminally overlooked by audiences! See, I only lump movies together non-artistically, which I think is much cleaner.

9. HOT TUB TIME MACHINE – True, this movie was produced by a good friend of mine and written by a good friend of mine. That just means I have awesome friends. And I got to go on set for a day and meet Diora Baird and Billy Zabka, and the movie is fucking hilarious, so I’m now kind of surprised this isn’t higher on my list.

8. WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY – Though I’m still not recovered from the sight of Tim Burton animating Disney films, this is one of the few movies this year that I walked into with high expectations (thanks to a truly dazzling trailer) and found them immediately exceeded. There’s been a rush to vilify Disney in the past couple decades – a lot in life which they have, largely, brought upon themselves – and even if the film was shot through a bit of an emotional vasoline lens, it was heartwarming to see this group of people that cared about quality and creativity above all else and were so unbelievably talented to boot. Also think it was a fantastic decision not to make this into a film with just talking heads; worked so well thematically in this instance.

7. THE TOWN – I know some people still vehemently hate Ben Affleck, but I don’t get it and I never have. OK, the guy took some questionable roles or whatever, but who hasn’t? Fact of the matter is that he’s a fine actor and he’s turning into a better-than-solid director. And as I said at the time…where the HELL did Blake Lively come from in this movie? As far as I’m concerned, she kind of stole the show, which is hard to do when you’re playing the Certified Everyday Boston Whore role that I’m pretty sure they stamp into your brain in most acting classes.

6. A-TEAM – I don’t care. I don’t care what you think. It was loud and dumb and ridiculous (because that’s what they specialize in) and I laughed and clapped and cheered and it was the best time I had at the movies in 2010.

5. INCEPTION – I don’t know that there’s a whole lot left to be said about this one. For the record, I think the top fell. And for the record, I don’t think that’s the point of the movie at all.

4. TRUE GRIT – Hailee Steinfeld deserves an Oscar, plain and simple. This is the first Coen movie in a long time that lacked their particular brand of quirky flourish – which, like just about everyone else, I’m in love with – and I think that fit perfectly within the context of the Western. This movie was also the scene of my greatest Unaided Actor Call-Out of the year; the prosecuting lawyer that grills The Dude in the courtroom scene plays a police officer in VARSITY BLUES. Boom.

3. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP – I think too many people have pointed it out already, but what’s one more: this is the best long-con in feature filmmaking in decades. I don’t think it’s a documentary any more than I think the History Channel isn’t run by freaks who masturbate to quatrains and old Nazi footage. And it’s STILL an amazing chronicle of street art, and it’s so effective that it just made me pissed off that I’m not a street artist. I don’t want to get in shape or be healthy or anything like that, but all I want for myself in my 30s is to get chased by the cops for creating vandal art and then miraculously Parkour my way right out of their grasp. Also, the fact that Banksy has $1 million in fake British currency in cardboard boxes in his loft blows my goddamned mind.

2. THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Again, what is left to be said? Aaron Sorkin is a God. David Fincher is a God. I can immediately understand why a person WOULDN’T like this film. But I hope that person can also immediately understand why I would have no interest in anything about them. Side note, as I want this in print: I’m picking Armie Hammer in the Superman derby. If it’s not him, I think they’ve made a mistake.

1. I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS – Yes, I realize this film was technically released last year, but the screener came THIS year, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a film of 2010. And it’s the best film of 2010. I know the Academy and most “relevant” awards circuits have been ignoring the enormous talent of Jim Carrey for nigh on twenty years now, but he and Ewan McGregor do hero-level work in this movie. The film is funny and clever and dirty and sweet and heartbreaking and just full of unrelenting goodness and I was drawn into every scene of it. As a writer, I think the finest compliment you can give another writer(s) is to say that you wish YOU’D written their piece of material. Here, I’d take that a step further: I saw THE SOCIAL NETWORK this year, generally regarded as the academic height of screenwriting…and I’m jealous that I didn’t write I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS.

As always, your slings and arrows are appreciated and considered, especially when you start attacking my inclusion of A-TEAM.