Well, I still haven't seen "True Grit", "Tron Legacy", "The King's Speech" and many other acclaimed movies so I have to start off by saying that this is a list of what I saw this year and how I felt about them. I'm not necessarily saying that these movies were "The Best" just the ones I liked (or hated) the most.
Favorite Movie: Kick-Ass
I know this isn't the best way to start if I want any credibility but it's the truth. Admittedly, I've been working on a superhero show and there was a sense of relief that the film didn't go where I was going so that added to the enjoyment but I thought it was a very good movie in its own right. Matthew Vaughn is quietly building up a solid resume and if his old pal Guy Ritchie ever tires of Sherlock Holmes, I wouldn't mind seeing Vaughn pick up the mantle. I'm definitely looking forward to his X-Men reboot.
Least Favorite: Catfish
"When in Rome" was a terrible movie but Catfish was a chore to get through, then had a glimmer of hope, but then became an utter disappointment. My main issue with the film is the lack of self-awareness. The catalyst of the whole film is a guy meeting and chatting up a young girl, like 7 years old or something, on the internet and NOTHING is mentioned about how creepy that is. The guy then starts creeping on the older sister of the girl and, again, nothing is ever made out of that. When the guys started to wonder if they girl they met really existed, it was like "Well, you're creeping people out on the internet, what do you expect?" On top of that, I thought the main characters were annoying hipsters so I was already off on the wrong foot.
I don't want to give away the twist so all I'll say is that the film would have been better if it had been completely about the twist and less about the discovery of it. Now, the approach the filmmakers took got the film sold and made it something people would go see so I realize I'm kind of all wet on this but I just think that it would have been a much more interesting film if there was more investigation into the main issue and more introspection into how the guys found themselves where they were.
Most Overrated: The Kids Are Alright
Honestly, I'm not sure that this one should really count since I think there were higher profile films that got too much love but the arguments in favor of The Kids Are Alright are more annoying. The first is the constant chorus of "This would be great even if it wasn't about lesbians." Now, on a certain level, I agree. The film has it's moments. But if it was about a straight couple, more critics would be unimpressed, calling it a mainstreamed, watered down version of "You Can Count on Me". Although, the bigger problem with the "if it wasn't about lesbians" comment is that it would be a completely different movie because many of the jokes centered around the sexuality. I mean, one of the first "jokes" in the trailer is, "But that would hurt moms' feeling."
If not for the lesbian angle, the film would have been about an unlikable family who doesn't seem to like one another and who seem to treat minorities as if they were disposable. (The only two non-white people I really remember were Ruffalo's lover and the gardener who was fired for doing nothing wrong yet it was played as a comical moment.) I don't know. I'm not saying that the movie doesn't have its charms, I mean, it's OK, but its a forgettable movie and hardly the caliber of film that should be getting floated for awards.
Now I will admit 100% that this film suffers from Critic Fatigue. Much like The Hurt Locker last year, this is a decent film that I start to like less because so many people talk about it like it's the best thing since sliced bread. Also, when critics praise it, they sound obnoxious. I don't particularly care of Entertainment Weekly's writers but Owen Gleiberman went a little extra with this one, "...it has a sophistication and ease, a relaxed cosmopolitan flavor of everyday life as an intimate adventure, that makes it feel casually European." It's like he was trying to nail every obnoxious movie critic stereotype in one run-on sentence.
I also wouldn't recommend this film to any conservatives because it's not going to do much for their belief that homosexuality is a choice, since it certainly seems to be one for Julianne Moore's character.
I don't know. Just typing this (as when I typed my initial review) I feel like I'm being too harsh on the film and don't want to make it seem like it's a bad movie; it was a decent movie and that's that.
Amy Ryan Award: Jennifer Lawrence
Amy Ryan is the actress out there right now that flies under the radar and seems to become her characters. The first time you see her, you just assume that she is like that person. It's only until you catch her in another film or show that you realize how great her performance was. I have friends from Boston who thought she was a local who got cast in "Gone Baby Gone". It was only until they saw her in "The Wire" or "The Office" that they found out she wasn't.
This year, that happened with me with Jennifer Lawrence who gave an amazing performance in "Winter's Bone". The film has a great ensemble cast but she really inhabits the role and is one of the reasons that the atmospheric film is so successful.
Deja Vu Award: Shutter Island/Inception
Wifey issues? Check
Questionable sanity? Check
Great supporting casts? Check
Endings that made me think? Check
Beginnings and middles that made me yawn? Check
All in all, I'd have to say that I was disappointed with both Inception and Shutter Island but they had some very strong filmmaking and great performances. Still, I'm not all that interested in sitting through either film for a second viewing.
The Maybe Film Ain't Your Thing Award: Kristen Bell
She needs to call up Judd Apatow and get them to make a short six or seven episode series of the cop show she was on in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". Granted, I'm biased because I've been trying to write a cop show spoof for years and would love to see one make in on TV but the real issue for Bell is that TV offers better roles for women than films do and I'm just not seeing her find a niche in film. The rom-coms aren't working and she's too far down the pecking order to get a great one. As bad as Heroes was when she was on it, it's one of the better things she's done since Veronica Mars. If she could get a new show and build her brand a little bit more (I mean, yeah she was great in Veronica Mars but not enough people watched that to make her bankable) and then maybe she can take another shot at the big screen.
Worst Movie I Liked: Morning Glory
I know some people would say "Kick-Ass" since I said it was #1 but I'll go to bat for that flick any day. "Morning Glory", on the other hand, is just a movie that tickled me but probably rubs most people the wrong way. I mean, the movie is stupid. The deeper meaning is shallow. The romance is nonexistent. Nothing really makes sense. At All. Still, I was charmed. But I completely understand why other people dislike it and I'm not about to defend it.
Most Infuriating: Salt
Hands down. No movie angered me more that this one. I was let down. I was insulted. I was furious. My blood still starts to boil when discussing this movie. It started off so well and then turned into a parody. It features some of the most laughably stupid moments I've ever seen in a film. When you have the Austin Powers incredibly slow closing door in your film and that isn't even a top five stupid moment, then you've really outdone yourself. What's even more annoying is that part of me wants to go back and watch this again to point out all of the stupidity but I don't want to give this flick any more of my money. The main reason I want to go back is to see if The Worst Moment of the Year really played out the way I remember it. Basically, there's a scene in which the Secret Service are mounting up to protect the President. A non-Secret Service agent who happens to be a double agent walks up to one of the President's body men and asks for a gun. The Secret Service agent opens up a box of weapons and tells the guy that he can't give him a gun because of protocol. The Agent takes a gun out of the box... and then walks away from the box, leaving it wide open for the double agent to pick up a weapon and mow down people. This is "Salt" in a nutshell; every time there was a "How are they going to get out of this?", they just have something ridiculously stupid. The cops catch Salt at one point and put her in a car that's less secure than the average taxi cab. It reminded me of a film my friends made in high school called "Mission Possible", which featured an escape attempt which included the hero telling the damsel in distress to rip the tape off of her mouth and then turn the door knob to free herself. Except that short was intended to be funny.
Also, the movie was rewritten for a woman and they took out a part in which Salt saves her husband because it "castrated the character", according to the director. When you see what they replaced it with... well... this is pretty much an anti-feminist movie. Actually, it's anti-intellect. OK, I'm getting annoyed again so I'll just stop writing about it.
Immediate Remake: Splice
So what movies should immediately be remade? Well, the obvious answer is a franchise flop like "The A-Team" but I want to stay away from those. The film I'll go with is "Splice" and I'd argue that it should be remade as a mini-series or one-off regular series. One of my problems with the film is that it didn't really know what it wanted to be. It switched gears more time than any film I'd seen since "Appaloosa". I think a longer series would give the writers more time to really investigate the different elements of the story and characters. As it was, the film was just kind of there.
Best Trailer: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
It wasn't so much that the trailer was the most captivating or made me want to go out and see the movie right away but it was one of those trailer that once a person saw it, they knew whether or not they would enjoy the movie. Forget reviews or recommendations. If you think the trailer's OK, check it out. If not, there's nothing to see here.
Actors who I'd like to see more from: Jennifer Lewis, Armie Hammer, Clark Duke, Mila Kunis, Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Garret Dillahunt, John Hawkes, the calmer, quieter Jonah Hill, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Actors I've had my fill of: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Will Arnett, Dax Shepard, Josh Hutcherson, the dudes in Catfish, Scar-Jo, Mel Gibson, Karl Urban
I'll probably have an update some time at the beginning of the new year but this is how I'm feeling as 2010 comes to a close.