-by Daniel Drach
Being SuperCouch, we like to get off said couch as little as possible. After all, we're mostly about gaming (and collecting priceless Chinese porcelain dolls). However, movies are my other favorite pastime. Sadly, 2010 was somewhat of a lackluster year in film, especially in comparison to the last few. There were still some great shining gems amongst the turds, though, and I find it proper to spew out my personal ten favorite flicks of this year.
Walk with me.
10. Exit Through the Gift Shop
If there was one genre that was in full force this year, it was documentaries. Winnebago Man, Restrepo, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work; all great films. But Exit Through the Gift Shop was a fantastic example of creative filmmaking and style, as well as a great insight into many different graffiti artists and what goes into their work. The crazy works and stunts that Banksy pulls in the film are amazing to see, and the whole film carries a secretive "you're not supposed to see this" vibe that adds to the artist's mystery. Also, Shepherd Fairy.
9. The King's Speech
The minute Oscar season started, The King's Speech rolled into town, and it did not disappoint. Filled to the brim with amazing performances, a well written script, and memorable scenes, the film is a delight to watch. It's amazing that Colin Firth can churn out Oscar-worthy performances two years in a row (he was fantastic, and nominated, in his role last year in A Single Man). Geoffrey Rush, as linguist Lionel Logue, has been long overdue for a film that really lets him stretch his acting chops. And Helena Bonham Carter, well, is very good too (which is great since I has disliked her for some time).
8. Toy Story 3
After Pixar's amazing last outing, Up, I wondered if Toy Story 3 was a good idea. After all, the first two are great by themselves, and third entries (in film anyway) tend to not be so hot. Pixar proved me wrong with what might be the best Toy Story film yet. It was great to see these characters I grew up with again. The story was satisfying, doing a good job of capping off the trilogy (but leaving it open if they want to do more with these characters). The humor is spot on, the action is exciting, and the animation is just as great as you would expect it to be. A great film to add to Pixar's solid lineup (that is, until Cars 2 next year. Ugh).
7. Piranha 3D
Hold on a sec! Stop! I know what you're thinking. You're probably one of the people who saw this and thought "Piranha 3D? Didn't that movie suck?" My answer is a resounding " Hell no!" Piranha 3D is everything I could have wanted out of a schlocky horror film. Last year's My Bloody Valentine remake got close, but this film hits the mark excellently. Gore, humor, boobs, more gore, more boobs. The 3D was fantastic and used in all the right spots, which is more than I can say for many other films this year. With a wink and a nod (and a 3D barfed-up penis), Piranha 3D was some of the most fun I had in a theater all year.
Way before Mark Millar's comic, the concept of real superheroes was explored. Kick-Ass used that same concept, but made it hyper-violent. How does one turn the comic into a watchable movie? Luckily, director Matthew Vaughn knows how to balance violence and a great script. Kick-Ass is smart, bloody, and immensely entertaining. The violence is toned down from the comic, which makes room for more character development. The casting is spot on, with Nicholas Cage turning in a surprisingly fun role as Big Daddy. Aaron Johnson is a great lead, and Chloë Grace Moretz is a crowd pleaser as Hit Girl. It feels odd taking such joy out of a film where a child is killing hand-fulls of men, but who really cares when it's such a fun ride.
5. Black Swan
With all the talk of director Darren Aronofsky doing The Wolverine, his most recent limited release almost passed me buy. Good thing I caught it, as it's an incredible film. Natalie Portman blew me away with her turn as a uneven dancer who attempts to get the lead role in a ballet production of Swan Lake. Just as surprising in Mila Kunis as her rival, who is great on all accounts. Gracefully woven with that familiar touch only Aronofsky can deliver, Black Swan is a crazy, wonderful production.
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
I really cannot say what hasn't already been said. Edgar Wright has made what might be the funnest movie of the year. The film is so sugary sweet, so delightful, I was rather sad when it was over. Consistently funny, with plenty of gaming nods (not too many to overdo it). The casting is great here, with a big surprise from Michael Cera (who I originally was unsure of in the role), and a very cute Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The film is a ADD-fueled ride that is worth taking many times over.
3. True Grit
I was a bit surprised to find two remakes in my top ten this year, but True Grit definitely earns it. The film feels like classic movie making at its finest, with the Coen Brothers crafting a fine western that in many ways surpasses the original John Wayne film. Jeff Bridges, who won Best Actor last year, is flawless as "Rooster" Cogburn, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld is fantastic as well. The Coen Brothers' eye for quirky characters and beautiful environments shines here, making True Grit a worthy western.
These days, anything put out by Christopher Nolan is a sure bet to be a good film. This year he went above and beyond and made Inception, one of his best films yet. The story is complex, but nonetheless entertaining, taking multiple viewing to figure out. The characters are instantly relatable and fun, especially the scene-stealing Tom Hardy. And, as in all of Nolan's films, the set pieces are extravagant. It took me awhile to figure out that Inception is not an action film, but a heist film. Only in the future. And using dreams. And with zero gravity spinning room fights. And it's awesome.
1. The Social Network
It was a tough choice between Inception and The Social Network as my favorite film of 2010, but after viewing both film agains my choice became clear. David Fincher's film is one of the best written movies I have seen in a long time. Aaron Sorkin's script is impeccable, with just the perfect amount of wit, mixing humor with realism. The film is constantly entertaining, with an amazing cast to back it all up. Not going to lie, I used to despise Jesse Eisenberg, but he is marvelous here as Mark Zuckerberg. The film doesn't attempt to pull a lot of punches, but instead tells a good story. And that is part of what makes the film so good.