Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bests of 2010

Happy New Year! Here’s a look back at the previous year in film, based on what I’ve seen so far.

Best Trailer: The Social Network, featuring the orchestral rendition of “Creep”

Best Postscript: “[Cherie Currie] is now a chainsaw artist living in the San Fernando Valley,” in The Runaways

Best Standoff: Teardrop and Sheriff Baskin in Winter’s Bone

Best Outburst of Gunfire: Carlos comes out of the bathroom in Carlos

Best Go-for-Broke Action Climax: The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Best Evidence of the Dangers of Overlong, Momentum-Killing Action Sequences: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Best Actor of the Year (not to be confused with Best Actor in a Leading Role): Andrew Garfield, for The Social Network and, even more, Never Let Me Go

Best Supporting Actor: John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone

Best Performance by an Ungulate, Individual: Little Blackie crosses the river in True Grit

Best Performance by Ungulates, Ensemble: A herd of sheep cross Montana’s Beartooth Mountains in Sweetgrass

Best Threatening Lecture: “Anyone who resists will be executed. Anyone who doesn’t obey our orders immediately will be executed. Anyone who panics will be executed. Even if a member of the commando doesn’t obey my orders, or doesn’t follow the instructions outlined in advance, he will be executed,” delivered by Edgar Ramirez as Carlos in Carlos

Best Line: “I’m six-five, 220 pounds, and there are two of me,” delivered by Tyler Winklevoss in The Social Network

Best Catchphrase: “Light bulb!” in Despicable Me

Best Word: “Winklevi” in The Social Network

Best Steve McQueen Performance: George Clooney in The American

Best Death Scene: Jeremy Renner as James Coughlin in The Town

Best Animated Film: How to Train Your Dragon (note: I didn’t see Toy Story 3)

Best Euphemism for Masturbation: How to Train Your Dragon

Best Animated Sequence Within a Live Action Film: The story of the Deathly Hallows, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, animated by Ben Hibon

Best Use of Special Effects: (tie) Armie Hammer plays Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in The Social Network and Nina becomes the Black Swan in Black Swan

Best Evidence that Mickey Rourke is Unfailingly Entertaining: Iron Man 2

Best Evidence that Ridley Scott Hasn’t Read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War: Robin’s men voluntarily give up the high ground in Robin Hood

Best Score: The Social Network by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Best Use of a Single Song: Sigur Ros’ “Festival” for Aron Ralston’s triumphant walk back to civilization in 127 Hours

Best Use of an Orchestral Cacaphony: The “BRRRRRRRAAAAAWWWWRWRRRMRMRMMRMRMMMMM!!!” of Inception

Best Use of Silence: Nic’s discovery of infidelity in The Kids Are All Right

Best 1980s Movie Reference: To The Karate Kid in The Social Network

Best Remake: Matt Reeves’ Let Me In , adapting Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In

Best Historical Recreation: Carlos

Best Art Within Art: Marwencol in Marwencol

Best (Almost) Final Scene: The passing of the note in The Ghost Writer

Best Opening Scene: The breakup in The Social Network

Best Film About Social Media: The first half of Catfish

Best Performance by a Prop: The spinning top in Inception

Best Gut Wrenching Reaction to Impossible Horrors: (tie) Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island and Leondardo DiCaprio in Inception

Best Actress: Natalie Portman for Black Swan

Best Scary-Ass Mother: Jacki Weaver’s Janine in Animal Kingdom

Best Scary-Ass Wife: Dale Dickey’s Merab in Winter’s Bone

Best “Oh shit!” Moment: The stop at the gas station in Let Me In

Best “Oh gross!” Moment: A naked woman produces a cell phone from its, um, hiding place in Machete

Best Moment in an Otherwise Horseshit Film: Aang realizes his potential in The Last Airbender

Best Performance in a Hastily Made Parody of a Horseshit Film: Hokahey as "The Last Carbender"

Best Sight for Sore Eyes: Eli Wallach in The Ghost Writer

Best Eye Candy: Violanete Placido as the oft-naked Clara in The American

Best Film No One Is Talking About: Fish Tank

Best Hope for a Better Year Ahead: The trailer for Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life (which I haven’t actually watched but don’t need to)

What are some of your Bests of 2010?


Kevin J. Olson said...

This is a great list, Jason. I won't have something like this ready until February, but I'll give it a shot with what I've seen so far...

Best "Yes, that's so true...I know THAT guy" moment: Mark Ruffalo as Paul in The Kids Are Alright.

Best trailer: I agree with you. Although, the trailer for Dogtooth certainly got me interested in the movie.

Best moment that could have been straight out of a 1970's giallo: Nina's walk through a subway station in Black Swan.

Best example that horror/sci-fi hybrids can still be good: Splice.

Best guilty pleasure: Piranha 3D.

Best casting: Robert DeNiro and Steven Segal in Machete.

Best scene of the year: a three-way tie (how's that for hedging one's bets!) between the opening of The Social Network, the retrieval of a body in Winter's Bone, and the passing of a note in The Ghost Writer.

Best bit of acting from an automated voice: The GPS system in The Ghost Writer.

Best documentary I was expecting to get absolutely nothing from: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.

Best short film: "Boardwalk Empire's" pilot episode. (I was also going to go with the trailer for The Social Network.)

Best actor of the year: Michael Shannon for his work in Herzog's My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done and "Boardwalk Empire."

Best Actress of the year: Emma Stone (Easy A).

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are Alright and Shutter Island.

Best Supporting Actress: Olivia Williams for The Ghost Writer.

Best Judi Dench-like performance (aka being on screen for less than five minutes but totally worthy of an Oscar because they steal the whole show): Ted Levine in Shutter Island.

Best example of 80's action nostalgia: Salt.

Best Director: Roman Polanski for The Ghost Writer.

Best Film (so far): The Social Network (nothing too crazy, there).

I'm sure there's more...but there ya go! Happy New Year!

Richard Bellamy said...

Love it! And thanks for the nod!

Violante Placido in The American - definitely - and she and Clooney pull off the best sex scene of the year.

Also, Olivia Wilde as Quorra stretched out on that couch in Tron was excellent eye candy too.

Another fine moment is Emma Stone strutting her stuff with her scarlet "A" in Easy A.

Little Blackie rules! And because people keeping saying how much better the Coens' True Grit is so much better than the wonderful original, I have to say that Little Blackie was awesome back in 1969 too!

You pick a lot of my favorites here! I'm working on my own list. Glad you mention Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go

Best Bloodletting: Amy rips apart Owen's bullies in Let Me In as he watches from under the water.

Did the coolest stuff: Gordon-Levitt as Arthur in Inception

Daft Punk's music in Tron is also a highlight - as well as Zimmer's score for Inception.

Tony Dayoub said...

Great list, Jason.

I want to add my voice to those celebrating Andrew Garfield. Not only was I impressed with his performances in THE SOCIAL NETWORK and NEVER LET ME GO, he was the best thing about the fantastic RED RIDING TRILOGY. Can't wait to see what he does with SPIDER-MAN.

Jake said...

Big congrats to our friend Hokahey for his towering performance. I am fully prepared to bitchily protest his lack of nomination on both Golden Globes and Oscar night. He is this year's Sam Rockwell/Abbie Cornish.

But I may have to put forward Mickey Rourke's Expendables work as proof he can always be entertaining. Not that he wasn't magnetic as ever in that awful Iron Man 2, but he just commands that one scene he gets in The Expendables despite the fact that what he's actually saying is absurd, clichéd drivel. It doesn't matter: the way he says it is overwhelming, heartrending and piercingly meditative. I haven't even seen the full movie so I'm only judging the stilted dialogue in that scene, but he makes it into such a pure moment I've watched that clip on YouTube dozens of times.

Richard Bellamy said...

Thanks, Jake. Glad you liked my performance. Doing that was great fun!

Craig said...

“[Cherie Currie] is now a chainsaw artist living in the San Fernando Valley,” in The Runaways

Best Fictional Chainsaw Artist: Ree in Winter's Bone.

Kevin J. Olson said...

Curious, Jason, if you got my initial comment? I have a weird message when I sign into Blogger telling me that the comment was saved, but that it might take awhile for it to show up.

Adam Zanzie said...

Hey Kevin, I get that message all the time. It's pretty normal. I can see your first post right now so you should be all clear.

Best Quoting of A Movie Within A Movie: Jack Abramoff (Kevin Spacey) imitating Pacino's "Out of Order" speech from ...And Justice for All in Casino Jack.

Jason Bellamy said...

I knew you'd all come through! Awesome! Some replies ...

* Kevin: I actually hated De Niro in Machete, but Segal was a treat -- though perhaps overdone. I love "best acting by an automated voice"! Yes! And while I might not call Emma Stone the actress of the year, I managed to catch Easy A and really enjoyed it -- her especially. Actually, this reminds me that I meant to include the following:

Best Modernization of Ward and June Cleaver: The Penderghasts

* Hokahey: I'm considering seeing Tron just because of all that I've read about the music (and looking at Olivia Wilde doesn't suck).

* Tony: I still haven't seen the Red Riding trilogy. Need to. Also, seeing your comment made me realize I gave no love to your favorite film of the year, I Am Love, which is somewhere in my top 10. Perhaps Best Commune With Nature is appropriate.

* Jake: I actually forgot about Rourke in The Expendables, probably because I've tried to forget The Expendables. But the rule proves true there, too.

* Craig: Best Fictional Chainsaw Artist: Ree in Winter's Bone.

Fuck you, that's good! And it pisses me off because I actually thought about that scene when I was making my awards and couldn't come up with anything. Damn. That's perfect. Well done!

Sam Juliano said...

1 Lourdes
2 Blue Valentine
3 Carlos
4 Another Year
5 Rabbit Hole
6 Un Prophete
7 Toy Story 3
8 White Material
9 My Dog Tulip
10 The Strange Case of Angelika


Fish Tank
Inside Job
Mademoiselle Chambon
Jean-Michelle Basquiat
Never Let Me Go
Shutter Island
How to Train Your Dragon
The Social Network

I must see WASTELAND on Monday, so there could possibly be a revision.

Needless to say the post here Jaon, was creative and wonderful and a delight to read. Terrific comments as well.

Happy New Year to one and all!

Sam Juliano said...

Geez, I forgot WINTER'S BONE and THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, which absolutely belong on the Runners-Up list, replacing WELCOME and THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Thanks for granting me my indulgences.

Ed Howard said...

Great post, Jason, an entertaining list as always! As usual, my own list, due a bit later this month, will have little to do with most actual 2010 films, but I certainly agree with your choice for best line, and really everything to do with the Winklevii consistently cracked me up during that movie.

I just saw The Town last night, and while my own review is forthcoming, I will say that the only category it qualifies for in my world is Most Blatant Michael Mann Rip-Off.

Best Use of 3D: Werner Herzog being unable to resist having a clumsy scientist throw a spear at the audience in Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Best Use of Weaponry: Carlos getting frisky with a hand grenade.

Unknown said...

Here's a few of mine:

Best Film Indirectly About the Current Landscape of Film Criticism: "Exit Through the Gift Shop"

Best Speech: The eulogy from Pat Tillman's brother in "The Tillman Story"

Best Summer Action Movie That Hollywood Doesn't Make Anymore: "The Good, The Bad, The Weird"

Best Illustration That One Simple Twist is Satisfying Enough: "The Ghost Writer" & "Mother"

Best Illustration That Multiple Twist Endings are Creative Dead Ends: "Shutter Island" & "Inception"

Best Unexpected Great Movie: Olivier Assayas' "Carlos"

Best Film to Show the Worst of Humanity: "Inside Job"

Best Film to Show the Best of Humanity: "127 Hours"

Best Use of Silence: "The American"

Best Reason Movies Should Be Silent: The shameless scenery-chewing in "The Fighter"

Best Debut Feature: "Animal Kingdom"

Best Attempt to Remake "Sleepless in Seattle" with the Body Count of a Roland Emmerich Disaster Film: "Hereafter"

James Yates said...

Best "I'm A Great Actor, I Can Be Intimidating When I'm Angry, But When I Try To Shout Or Yell, I Just Sound Whiny:" Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island

Best Use Of Song: "You Can't Roller Skate In a Buffalo Herd:" Jackass 3D

And Jason, I cannot agree more with your "Best Use of Silence: Nic’s discovery of infidelity in The Kids Are All Right" pick. I just watched it last night, and it was handled amazingly, a great combination of pitch-perfect acting and directing in such a simple, yet weighted scene.

Jason Bellamy said...

More great comments! Sorry it's taken me so long to circle back.

* Sam: There's a bunch on your list(s) that I haven't seen, but I was glad to see some love for Fish Tank, after I mentioned how no one is talking about it. (Not that I can bitch; I didn't review it when I had the chance in the spring, and now I need to see it again on DVD to feel I can do it justice.)

* Ed: Yeah, The Town is a Michael Mann ripoff, but I thought in a flattering way. That is, I thought the film enjoyed being an entertaining but not arty action film. It borrowed from Mann, which isn't a bad idea, but I never felt it pretended to be Mann-esque...though others disagree.

* Steven: Good to hear from you, man. I like a lot of your picks. Yes, The American makes great use of silence, too. And I loved your notes on plot twists and "Best Attempt to Remake 'Sleepless in Seattle' with the Body Count of a Roland Emmerich Disaster Film." Genius!

Jamie: That scene from Kids is one of the few things that -- months later -- still clings to me about that movie, other than Ruffalo's charms and, alas, the things that annoyed me about the movie. On another note, I haven't seen Jackass 3D, but I saw a brief clip of the scene you reference and laughed pretty hard. Good pick!

Fletch said...

Fantastic post, Jason! Exhaustive - how many flicks did you happen to catch this year? Seems like you didn't miss any.

Hard to pick out a favorite from all of those, but I think I'm going with this one: "Best Euphemism for Masturbation: How to Train Your Dragon"

Violante...ooh la la

Sheila O'Malley said...

Jason - I am so curious about your compiling process. This is an amazing list. The detail in it!

How to Train Your Dragon. hahahahaha

And I loved your specificity with the moment when Annette Bening realizes what has been going in The Kids Are All Right. That is such a good performance. Fascinating to watch, detailed and prickly and difficult.

Going back to read your choices again!

Alex said...

I love this. Bookmarking your blog.

The Film Cynics said...

Way to bring the fun, feeling and frivolity back to awards season! A+!

Jason Bellamy said...

Sorry for the delay in replying. I'm slammed at work these days.

* Fletch: Many thanks, both for your comments here and your plug at Blog Cabins. I appreciate it!

* Dittoed thanks for Alex and The Film Cynics. I always have fun making this year-end list...whether serious or sarcastic, it puts me back in touch with the year in film. Hope you both come back and comment any time.

* Sheila: The process ... Well ... The process is that having done a list like this for the past few years, I'll make notes for myself during the year -- but most of them are mental, and if they aren't mental I tend to lose them. So the truth is that at the end of the year I look over the long print out of the movies I've seen (hoping I've kept it up to date) and I just see what jumps out at me. It's almost better that way: the movies that leave no impression get overlooked, and the other ones get mentioned (for better or worse).

Glad you're also a fan of that scene in Kids. It's a great moment, for sure!

Sheila O'Malley said...

I could write a thesis paper about Annette Bening's "glasses behavior" in The Kids Are All Right. It was soooo specific.

Thanks for telling me the process. There's a free-wheeling spirit to these lists that I am very drawn to.

Daniel said...

These are my favorite kind of "best" lists. I'll have to remember to come back after I've seen all the films I want see (i.e., Catfish, Tillman, Good Bad Weird), but here are a few comments any way.

Best Trailer - the "Creep" version for TSN was definitely inspired, but I think I ended up preferring the TV spot featuring Kanye West's "Power".

Scariest Mom - Nina's mom in Black Swan is a close second behind Janine in AK.

Best Death Scene - Nice call. And related to that, The Town had some nice candidate scenes for Best Outburst of Gunfire.

Best Art Within Art - Can't take anything away from Marwencol, but Exit Through the Gift Shop might fit the bill as well.

Best Case Against Our Current Strategy in Afghanistan - Restrepo

Most Prescient Cultural Allegory - A Prophet

Best Achievement in Stunt Cinematography - North Face

Best Example of a Film That Could Only be Enjoyed by Early Viewers - I'm Still Here

Best Reasons to Skip All American Romantic Comedies and See All French Romantic Comedies: Valentine's Day (I saw about 3 minutes of it, on a flight, and that was 3 minutes too many) and Heartbreaker

Viagra said...

This year, I didn't have enough time to watch all those movies. but I will take your recommendations and I will watch all those movies. I didn't think that Social Network is a movie that it deserve my to time and mony. but Probably I am wrong.