The Best Films of 2010

This year was not the best for cinema goers. The summer blockbusters for the most part were lackluster. And the Oscar season films are not as good as the last few years. Not to mention that almost every other flick released was presented in the money grabbing gimmick that we now call “3-D”. But even with this collection of rubbish, there were still some gems to shine last year. Some that made a statement about how we interact today. Some that made us think back to a more innocent time in our lives. Some that made us question what is art and what is not. And thankfully there were some whose only purpose was to take us on a thrill ride. Here is my list of the best films of 2010.

1. The Social Network

A popular phrase that has become associated with this film is “The film that defines a generation” or some varient of this. But they are right. This does define the generation of people who grow up in an environment where almost everything is available on the internet. Including a little thing called Facebook. Nearly everyone and their mum (literally) has one. And this movie is the story of how it all happened. Masterfully crafted by Fight Club director David Fincher and brilliantly acted by such people as Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, The Social Network becomes the story of our current state as humans. In twenty years people will still be watching this film, but not just as entertainment. They will watch it to understand, which is one of the hallmarks of a great film.

2. Inception

If there was one film this year that completely ignored conventional film-making this year, it would no doubt be Christopher Nolan’s Inception. In the world of Dream Extractors (people who steal information from people while they dream), Dom Cobb is the best. Given the opportunity to go home, which he can’t do for legal reasons, he accepts a near impossible job. What follows is an edge of your seat thrill ride that takes place in a dream within a dream within another dream. Fantastically directed, acted, and executed Inception is a film that engages and entertains the entire time. Also proved that you can have mind-bending visuals without the gimmickry of 3-D.

3.  Toy Story 3

Without the Toy Story franchise, animated features wouldn’t be where the are today. There would be no Shrek, no Kung-Fu Panda, no Nemo. So what is up with the toys this time around? Nothing much, just…Andy’s going to college, the toys fear be thrown away, they then get sent to a preschool, and then nearly die trying to make it back to Andy. This film really wasn’t for the younger kids, it was for young adults like me who grew up with Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bullseye, and the rest of the gang. And it also had the ability to make grown men cry and think about the fun times they had with their toys growing up.

4. Black Swan

Black Swan is a film that as you are leaving the cinema and getting into your car, you say to yourself “wow, that was messed up”. The story revolves around a young ballerina’s constant strive for perfection in the play Swan Lake.  While in the beginning she is the perfect White Swan she ends up becoming the perfect Black Swan, A person who will stop at nothing to make the role just right. Another shocking and horrifying film from Darren Aronofsky.

5. Exit through the Gift Shop

Possibly the most odd film this year was the street-art documentary/mockumentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.  The film give you an inside look at the process of many famous street artist including Shepard Fairey, Swoon, and the elusive Banksy. And this is all told through the eyes of Thierry Guetta, a film maker who mid-film turns street artist named “Mr. Brainwash”. True or not, this film is entertaining and worth your time just to see the inside workings of Banksy.

6. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Poor Scott Pilgrim. He fared badly at the cinema and was overlooked by many. But he should feel great about one thing. He was one of the most original films of 2010. The entire film felt like a video game, from the opening 8-bit Universal logo to the end boss fight.  Edgar Wright has a tendency to impress and he does once more.

7. The American

This film was really slow. This is not a bad thing, it’s great. It’s a film that reminds us that we don’t need explosions every five minutes to be suspenseful. The American uses the calm, quite moments to really make the suspense creep up behind you. Great film from Anton Crobijn and great performance from George Clooney.

8. Tron: Legacy

If there was one film I didn’t expect to include on my list, it was Disney’s Tron: Legacy. But after seeing this film with little expectation, I walked out of the theater thrilled and mind-blown. With its stunning visuals and great performances, Tron is a fun, captivating adventure for anyone.

9. True Grit

The Coen Brothers were back in the saddle with their revisioning of the Western classic True Grit. With fantastic performances from Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, and Matt Damon, this film stands high on its own and out of the shadow of the original John Wayne film.

10. Salt

Doubt this pick will be on anyone’s “best of…” but what can I say? This film has all the right ingredients of a good action film. A great lead (Angelina Jolie), enough unbelievable action to keep your blood pumping, and just a fun time in general.

Runner-ups: Paul Greengrass’s overlooked war film Green Zone and the true life story of Micky Ward in The Fighter.

This has been a difficult list to put together and apologizes for keeping you waiting. Would love to hear your picks for the best of the year. Leave them below.

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