Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The LiE 10 of 2010

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the much belated, but always anticipated, top 10 films of 2010 - so says Univarn. I have admit that this list was far more difficult for me than those of recent years. It seemed as if every time I was ready to hanker down and get it done, a new film would approach my reason with top 10 prospects. Then you had films I loved on first viewing rising, falling, or just plain flat-lining on a second. Through all of this I kept nudging and bumping, sweating and contemplating, and now I believe I have the list as best as it shall ever get. Besides, if I wait any longer you all will have moved on to 2011 entirely. Luckily the movies being released are helping keep the 2010 momentum alive.

So, here they are. A series of pixels and digital beats which for one year have transpired mere mediocrity in my eyes and achieved something of the highest caliber. I give you my top 10 films of the year 2010:

10. Winter's Bone
Staunch realism in beautiful scenery provides a visual melody to this tale of a woe-begotten town on the edge of civilization.

9. True Grit
From the poetic dialogue, bordering on self-satire, to the hard hitting cinematography, True Grit is a visual feast you'd travel miles to sample. 

8. Blue Valentine
It is not so much a tale of heartbreak as it is one of the tragedy of disconnection; that thin line between our ability to love and our memory of it.

7. Rabbit Hole
A film that seems to age in a way that would make fine wines jealous, Rabbit Hole shows great compassion for people's desire to not let go of the things they love.

6. Restrepo
In an era where manipulation is the defining factor of society, Restrepo shines as a testament to true power realism in cinema can possess when void of applied message.

5. The King's Speech
Despite my reservations, multiple viewings have proven TKS to be a witty, insightful, and hilarious look at the real difficulty of overcoming something as socially debilitating as a speech impediment.

4. Animal Kingdom
Perhaps the most hard hitting, subtle, and brilliantly acted film of the year from top to bottom, Animal Kingdom is an unwavering portrayal of a crime family born of sociopaths.

3. The Social Network
What breaths such vibrant life into The Social Network is a combination of simply having all the right parts moving together in unison with no weakness to speak of. 

2. Black Swan
Aronofsky has been flirting with greatness for some time, Black Swan is the medium through which he has finally found a film that can resonate with audiences afraid of his often somber material.


1. 127 Hours
No matter how I look at it, no film has left as long standing an impact with as few frustrations as 127 Hours. From start to finish I was hooked on every frame, exaggerated cut, and stylized dream sequence. In the end, this movie just plain works exactly how you'd want it to. 

Honorable Mentions: Toy Story 3, The Fighter, and Gasland

So there you have it. My top 10 films of the year 2010. What films made yours? What movies would you add or remove from mine? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!

20 better thoughts:

Anonymous said...

I've only seen three from your list (shame on me!) but I can see from your rationale why you pick these movies. I did my top 5 best and 5 worst last Jan and my top 5 fave movies are: The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, Inception and True Grit. Actually the last one was neck and neck w/ Social Network, in fact, upon further reflections, I should've included that one and put TG in the honorable mention list.

Unknown said...

127 Hours didn't work for me, as much as I wanted it to. I really wanted to like Danny Boyle's hyperkinetic directing style, and the fast-paced editing. I wanted to like the lack of minimalism in a movie that seems to scream for it. But I just couldn't. There are things I appreciate about the movie. I thought James Franco gave a fearless performance and gave the right bit of fear, of longing, of boredom, of despair... It's a very powerful performance. And I really loved the cinematography. I thought it was very good, especially that shot that pans out and shows Aron's isolation in the middle of nowhere.

But 127 Hours left me kind of hollow. Boyle's directing style worked so well for Slumdog Millionaire because it had to keep moving, at almost a mile a minute, never stopping for a breath. It reflected not only the movement of the story, but of the characters. Although Boyle doesn't completely emulate this in 127 Hours, he does enough to make it off-putting. Though I respect those who see more in it than I do, I just don't know where they're coming from.

Lesya said...

I'm going to create my list in few days, finally. I think it'll include some films that you like, too. I'm surprised to see 127 Hours as #1, but it is nice and I've never seen a list with it that high :)

Ben said...

well it's an interesting list. I agree with 4 out of 10.

Lindsay Frost said...

Yes! you have winter's bone on your list. :) I love that movie.

Nikhat said...

I thought 127 Hours was brilliant. I actually didn't like Slumdog as much as everyone, but had really enjoyed Boyle's previous work. This was more like that, only better.

Robert said...

I'm really glad to see your love for "127 Hours". I also really loved it but it seems like a lot of people don't, so your number 1 placement is fantastic! :D Also, great call with "Animal Kingdom" and of course your numbers 2 and 3 are fantastic. :)

Ross McG said...

agree with Nathan above. 127 Hours was good and well made and everything, but in the end it just left me cold. i should have been in tears watching it, but i just wasnt.
be interested Ryan to know what movies bombed for you on a second viewing as you mention...

Castor said...

Glad to see Blue Valentine and Restrepo in your list! I definitely as enamored with The Social Network as just about everyone else though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

In all honesty, I haven't seen most of those. Inception would be my first pick, and How to Train Your Dragon would be in there somewhere. Definitely True Grit!

Japan Cinema said...

Lack of Inception is distrubing...

Univarn said...

@Flix Toy Story 3 originally occupied my #10 spot, but I was torn on whether I wanted it (as much as a representation of Animated films from 2010 as for its own right) or Winter's Bone. How to Train Your Dragon was also a just miss for the list.

@Nathan I knew going in 127 Hours was going to be my #1 and I also knew that it wasn't a film that would receive universal approval from readers. A lot of people seem quite divisive on that one, but it worked wonders for me.

As to the movement: I think the frenetic style here plays up a wonderful contrast between the high paced, "let's go!" attitude of Ralston trapped in his current climate.

@Lesya I know Mad Hatter (Dark of the Matinee) had it at #1 on his top 10, but that's about all for the #1's I can recall.

@Ben Mind saying which ones? I don't mind disagreement, but ambiguity is a no-no! :P

@Lindsay It was a beautifully shot and choreographed film. Flashy in all the ways the other films aren't.

@Nikhat I loved (and to some extent still quite like) Slumdog and think 127 Hours was a good continuation of that style. But I don't think it's a style that can be transferred well into all films.

@Robert Good to know I've got at least 1 supporter :).

@Ross Amusingly enough, my biggest fall from grace was probably The Kids Are All Right, which I rewatched for the Oscar Battle. Something about it the second time around just felt very bleh and snooty. Didn't cut the mustard for me.

@Castor I feel The Social Network's greatest weakness is perhaps the mass praise that has been bestowed unto it. Creates that alienation factor I was talking about a while back with Exit Through the Gift Shop. A wormhole, if you will, of mixed emotions.

@AlexJ You best get on that, otherwise everyone will secretly judge you negatively forever. That being said, I'm not sure how many of these would be your cup of tea....

@Japan You might be surprised but that movie would maybe be an outside shot at my top 20. I find its intriguing qualities stumble over themselves once you go any deeper than surface level. I firmly believe it's a film where the parts are better than the sum.

Andy Buckle said...

2010 ended up being a pretty good year. I will have to rearrange my Top 10 (I completed mine on Jan 1) to include some of the films not released in Australia until this year.

Love the top 3 very much!

I think mine now stands:

10. Another Year
9. Winter's Bone
8. Toy Story 3
7. Blue Valentine
6. The Kids Are All Right
5. Exit Through the Gift Shop
4. 127 Hours
3. Inception
2. Black Swan
1. The Social Network

Ben said...

Blue Valentine, Restrepo, Black Swan and Animal Kingdom

Franco Macabro said...

You put the one I least expected as #1, I havent seen it but for some reason its the one of all the Oscar contenders that least interests me for some reason. Im sure that Im underestimating it a lot, I will be seeing it soon.

You have a lot of choices that I have not seen, a very unexpected top ten! I personally didnt think much of True Grit, and I love the Coens, but I thought it was a True Bore. And to me, The Social Network has gotten hyped beyond measure, I mean, the attention its getting is only because of the importance of is not a groundbreaking film in any respect as far as Im concerned. But it aint a bad film either, its just nothing truly special in my book.

Univarn said...

@Andy I do want to see Another Year quite badly. Love the talent involved and it looks like the kind of film I'd go for, it just hasn't made the NC push and I was tired of putting off my list.

@Ben Fair enough. I had a feeling that BS and BV would be the two. No love for Rabbit Hole?

@FilmConnoisseur I put Social Network there because I find it engaging, funny, and emotionally captivating (both times I've seen it). True Grit dragged in the latter middle for me, but I thought on the whole it worked well enough - granted I may be overstating it due to my love of the score and the visuals. Not to mention my long standing love/hate relationship with the Coens.

Tom Clift said...

I've seen all but RESTREPO (which I suspect will just go to DVD in Australia). All of your picks would have made at least my Top 20, with the exception of RABBIT HOLE (which I thought was only ok), and perhaps WINTER'S BONE (which I liked, but thought was a little over-hyped)

Other films you could consider (that made my own top ten): INCEPTION (which you talk about in the comments section), CATFISH, FOUR LIONS, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP and PREDATORS. I also really liked THE AMERICAN, LEBANON and SCOTT PILGRIM.

Ryan McNeil said...

There were only two films I saw in the 'winter nominee catch-up' that would have made my ten - and indeed one of the two would have eclipsed a film in my top five. But rules are rules.

Here's mine...

1. 127 HOURS

Univarn said...

@Tom Rabbit Hole wasn't one I was going to originally add to the list, but the more I think about it the more I like it. Exit Through the Gift Shop wouldn't have made the list on its best day - nothing worked for me with that movie and the constant praise hasn't helped (I did a post entitled The Alienation Theory on it - maybe you should check that one out).

@Mad You and your rules. I still argue edit buttons exist for a reason :P. Nice top 10 however, really hoping for a shot at seeing Incendies soon.

Andrew Robinson said...

nice list sir...

even though I disagree with #6 & #7 it's still a good list. Glad to see Black Swan (my #1) so high on your list.

Blue Valentine & True Grit are movies that I"m sure would knock into my Top 10 had I seen then when I wrote mine...

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