Friday, December 24, 2010

Best of 2010, Part 1: Movies I Didn't See

There's a reason I haven't been blogging the Top 250. I'm working on my year-end roundup! Here's part one:

For a number of reasons, 2010 was the biggest movie year of my life. My work with the student newspaper thrust me into more conversations about movies than I've ever been in before, and I found myself becoming extremely aware of what was happening in film at all times. In July, I decided to start blogging the IMDb Top 250, and between those movies I've tried to find the time to watch as many others as possible. I may not be a bona fide film critic, but I certainly watch as many movies as one.

In any case, my overwhelming awareness of 2010's films has led me to do something a little unconventional with my list. I'm going to put together a semi-comprehensive list of 2010 movies, break it into a categories, and end with my top 10 list, counting backwards. I say semi-comprehensive because there's tons of 2010 movies that I'm not quite interested enough in to put into a category or write a blurb about. Still, this will be a pretty hefty endeavor, so please bear with me, and feel free to comment at will.

(Note: All movies included saw their first theatrical release, however limited, in the United States in 2010. I don't go abroad or go to festivals to see movies, so a few of these were first seen in 2009, but I couldn't have possibly seen them.)

(Note 2: Anything that I didn't see but plan to I didn't think had a legitimate shot at breaking into my top ten. That's why it got pushed to the back-burner. Once I catch up I might find myself wanting to amend my list, but for now, let's say that's not going to happen.)

Documentaries I didn't see but want and intend to:
The Tillman Story: NFL fans basically know the Tillman story, but a whole film on it would have filled in the blanks.
Inside Job: Looks like the film version of Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail, one of my favorite nonfiction books of all time.
Last Train Home: It made our best of 2010 list at WEEKEND. That's all I've got.
Oceans: I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was 6. A doc that takes place entirely underwater would have found that inner child and reassured him.
Babies: If the only thing it has going for it is cuteness...I might still want to see it.
45365: There have been "a day in the life of a small town" documentaries before, but a) Roger Ebert loved this one and b) it takes place in Sidney, Ohio, a town a mere fifteen miles north of my hometown.

Fake documentaries I didn't see but want and intend to:
I'm Still Here: I still think Joaquin Phoenix should get an Oscar nomination.
Catfish: Hopefully knowing the ending doesn't make it completely unwatchable.

Wide-release movies from the first three months of the year, all of which I sort of meant to see but didn't, that have since lost my interest:

Youth in Revolt: Michael Cera playing kinda-not-Michael Cera. Funny, maybe?
Extraordinary Measures: "I already work around the clock!"
Edge of Darkness: I like redemption stories and I thought this could have been Mel's.
From Paris With Love: John Travolta looks cool bald. That was my rationale for wanting to see this.
The Wolfman: Great cast, a summer movie released not-in-summer.
Cop Out: Kevin Smith, Tracy Morgan, Bruce Willis...what could go wrong?
Alice in Wonderland: I basically hate Tim Burton, but I'm still weirdly attracted to his films.
Hot Tub Time Machine: The title should have been enough to get me out to this one.
Clash of the Titans: Got bullied by critics into skipping what looked like a pretty fun fantasy flick.

Films I was excited for when I heard they existed that I decided to skip when I saw the trailers:
Jonah Hex: Josh Brolin and John Malkovich in an adaptation of a comic book Western scored by Mastodon. Awesome, right? The first "F" I've seen the AV Club give, an 81-minute final cut, and that horrible, horrible trailer suggest otherwise.
The Last Airbender: Nickelodeon's Avatar is one of the only non-comedy cartoon series I've ever watched, so the prospect of a live action version naturally intrigued me. Did I still feel this way after I saw the trailer? Nope. Disaster.
The Tourist: Okay, the universal panning from critics had more to do with it than the trailer, but a Depp-Jolie movie should be good, and, at least right now, clearly isn't.
Hereafter: When this was in early development and all I knew about it was that it starred Matt Damon and was directed by Clint Eastwood, I wanted to see it. Then the trailer came out and I learned that it was like if Crash – a movie I hate – required you to believe in an afterlife. No thanks.

Family films that I didn't see and have no intentions of seeing:

Alpha and Omega: Worst trailer of the year. YouTube at your own peril.
Shrek Forever After: Four Shrek movies?! Four!?!
The Karate Kid: I would only see this if I learned that Jaden Smith whips his hair back and forth in it.
Ramona and Beezus: Even a not-quite-of-age Selena Gomez can't make this look fun.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: Maybe it's a family film, maybe it's not. I stopped reading the books after Book 3 and I stopped watching the movies after Movie 1.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief: Is this even a thing?
Tooth Fairy: You're kidding me.
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore: No, seriously, you're fucking with me.
Nanny McPhee Returns: There's no way this is real.
The Spy Next Door: I fucking quit.

Family films that I didn't see but still plan to:

Despicable Me: Steve Carell's presence, along with the two funny gags in the trailer involving the little girl ("It's so fluffy I could die" and "Does this count as annoying?") made me want to see it; the annoyingly flaunted 3D (A roller coaster? Seriously?) and, let's be honest, fucking terrible title, stopped me.
Megamind: I love superhero movies, and this one honestly looks better than The Incredibles to me. I can't give you a real reason why I didn't check it out, but I plan to on DVD.
Tangled: Wasn't interested until multiple people, including my ten-year-old sister who's an expert on the subject, told me it was a "Disney princess classic." Guess it'll be a rental.

Movies that critics generally loved that I have no interest in seeing:
127 Hours: This is the biggest one for this category. I saw the 60 Minutes special on Aron Ralston after he wrote his book, so I know the story well. The movie, from what I can tell, does two things I don't like: It tries to convince me that James Franco looks like Aron Ralston (he doesn't), and it makes me watch him cut his arm off. (I'm not scared I'll faint, I just don't particularly think it's necessary.) Danny Boyle is an auteur, but this is one I just have no interest in.
The Ghost Writer: I think Roman Polanski is just about on par with Wes Anderson as the most overrated director in Hollywood. (Okay, not in Hollywood. They don't let child rapists live there.) I know that if I saw The Ghost Writer I'd probably like it at least a little, but it just doesn't have any factors working for it that would compel me to do so.
The Fighter: Jesus Christ, could this look any more cliché? Rocky was tedious enough in Philadelphia; I don't need to see it in Boston.
Greenberg: The whole "terrible mainstream comedy actor doing an indie film" thing has never appealed to me. This looks like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Punch-Drunk Love all over again.
The Town: Did we really need Ben Affleck to direct his own version of The Departed? Aside from the very cool nun and skull masks and the presence of Jeremy Renner, this one looks boring as hell.

Movies that critics generally loved that I didn't get the chance to see but assume I eventually will:
Blue Valentine: The NC-17 rating may have dissuaded some people, but it actually served to insert a move that otherwise wouldn't have been on my radar into my consciousness. The trailer is beautiful, and while I'm not compelled to see it immediately and don't think it could breach my top ten, it does look good.
A Prophet: I don't know anything about it other than it was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and a lot of people whose tastes I respect enjoyed it. That's probably enough for me to eventually get around to watching it.
I Am Love: British actress Tilda Swinton playing a Russian character who speaks heavily accented Italian is enough to make me want to see it. The plot doesn't sound that interesting, but her performance is probably brilliant.

Movies that critics didn't exactly adore that I'd still like to eventually see:
The Human Centipede: First Sequence: If you know the premise of the movie, you know exactly why it's intriguing. Will it suck? Probably, but I want to see exactly how it goes about sucking.
Salt: Sure, it sounds like every other spy movie ever, but it stars Angelina Jolie, whom I love, and hey, who doesn't like a well-executed spy film?
Easy A: 2010 was a pretty awful year for straight-up comedy movies, and this looks like it could be a worthy successor to Mean Girls. It's a shame I haven't had a chance to watch it yet.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: Through a series of unfortunate circumstances and weather complications, I didn't get to see the third movie in the Millennium Trilogy when I thought I was going to. Critics would probably say that that's okay, but when I start a trilogy and enjoy its first two parts, I like to finish it.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: I never saw Prince Caspian, but The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of my favorite fantasy movies of all time.
Date Night: I watch The Office and 30 Rock every week, so even if this movie sucks, seeing Steve Carell and Tina Fey riff for ninety minutes would be pretty fun.


  1. I would suggest checking out THE TOWN. I have only seen like 17 movies in 2010, and outside of INCEPTION, TS3 and SOCIAL NETWORK, it's probably my favorite. Really mainstream, but still smart, well-paced and full of great performances.

  2. Haha, this portion of the roundup has been greeted elsewhere with dozens of people telling me which movies I ws wrong to have skipped, so yes, I'll probably eventually see The Town. I'm just pretty "been there, done that" about crime dramas at this point, let alone ones set in Baaahhhston.