The Top 20 Movies of 2010, part 2

This took forever to order correctly, just so you're aware. Let's get to it!

10. TRON: Legacy

I will fully admit I have too much of a soft-spot for TRON. I saw it when I was in grade school, and then I wrote a story for English class that was more or less a bald-faced ripoff.

So there's that, plus Jeff Bridges basically playing The Dude in TRON-land, the incredibly kickass Daft Punk score, and Olivia Wilde in skintight leather (see the blog header). It just had to be in the top ten.

Every criticism you may level at it is completely valid, but it's just not enough to countermeasure those other things for me. The 3D was even decently handled, too.

9. The Ghost Writer

Another great ending on this one. You think Tony Blair and his wife have seen it yet?

8. The Way Back

Another movie that might be right up my alley, because I love epic, Lord of the Rings style journeys on foot. But the look and feel and general Peter-Weirness of it more than made up for the hammy ending and the lack of character development. It helps that other than shuffling a few characters around, the extreme nature of the journey is close to the memoir on which it's based.

7. Please Give

If Woody Allen's not going to make Woody Allen movies anymore, then I vote for Nicole Holocefner to take up the mantle.

Credit Please Give for dodging complaints of stuffy New York intellectualism by moving swiftly, being funny, and not taking itself too seriously. Also this movie gets extra credit for passing the Bechdel test so hard you guys.

6. Inception

Once you see Inception enough times, the (admittedly necessary) exposition starts to drag quite a bit. But the most memorable, exciting action of the year makes it one of the best heist films ever- not, as it's frequently misunderstood to be, one of the best films about dreams ever.

It would be higher, though, if there were chemistry between any two of the actors beyond Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's awesome bickering. The central DiCaprio-Cotillard relationship fell flat for me, and Ellen Page's character may as well have been literally named "Audience Surrogate" instead of "Arachne" (which was this year's "Unobtainium" in terms of making me groan out loud).

But if I were to rank my top 40 minute stretches of the year, there's no way the last 40 of Inception doesn't top that list.

5. True Grit

Fitting that the Coens would make a stark, chilling neo-Western (No Country For Old Men) before they make a traditional one. But the genre is a perfect fit for them, with arcane, memorable language and a literally wandering storyline.

Matt Damon and Jeff Brigdes make up a powerfully dynamin triumvirate with young Hailee Steinfeld- every scene between them is a study in shifting authority and social perception in an unusual situation. With Roger F-ing Deakins and Carter Burwell bringing their standard greatness to the look and score, True Grit is right up there with Gangs of New York in the "I Can't Believe it went 0 for 10 at the Oscars" Club.

4. Winter's Bone

The perfect bleak winter movie, chilling and desolate. Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes deliver great performances in a movie that's engrossingly propulsive and quietly artful at the same time.

3. The Social Network

Previously reviewed here. I think noteworthy Best Picture snubs are just as good as wins in the larger scheme of things, as Stephen Spielberg helpfully pointed out right before giving it to The King's Speech.

2. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

How did I not do several posts about how great Scott Pilgrim was? As seen in my preferred Oscar nominations, it was a winner in every department for me.

Edgar Wright was clearly a fan of the graphic novels, and set about dutifully brining them to the screen with the spastic, nostalgic spirit intact- working closely with Bryan Lee O'Malley even as he was finishing the sixth and final volume.

As unique as the video-game style fight sequences are, the rest of the film is more enjoyable to me: wright's trademark whip-cuts are perfect for the pace of the film, and I enjoyed the way the dialogue was countered with odd bits of sound effects.

Plus, it featured the first film soundtrack (not score) that I had to have in a long time, with original songs by Beck and Metric.

1. How To Train Your Dragon

Pretty sure I covered this one already.

I would only add that if this list was titled- "The Best 20 Films of 2010 to watch on DVD," then Dragon might not be #1, but the 3D, in-theater experience (which I experienced an embarassing number of times) makes it the clear winner for the year.

(Coming as soon as he sends it to me: Dave's top ten!)

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