Popdose 2010: Top Ten ’10 Movies

“Let’s shoot this fucker!”–Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau) to Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) in Ed Wood.

Elevens (Movies of Merit):


Agora (On DVD)
The American (On DVD and Blu-ray)
Best Worst Movie On DVD and, umm, pictured)
Blue Valentine
Brooklyn’s Finest (On DVD and Blu-ray; also Netflix Instant)
Daybreakers (On DVD and Blu-ray)
The Eclipse (On DVD and Blu-ray; also Netflix Instant)
Farewell
The Ghost Writer (On DVD and Blu-ray)
The Good, The Bad, The Weird (On DVD and Blu-ray; also Netflix Instant)
Greenberg (On DVD and Blu-ray)
I Love You Phillip Morris
Inception (On DVD and Blu-ray)
The King’s Speech
Let Me In
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (On DVD; also Netflix Instant)
Never Let Me Go
Rabbit Hole
Red Hill
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (On DVD and Blu-ray)
Shutter Island (On DVD and Blu-ray; also Netflix Instant)
Solitary Man (On DVD and Blu-ray; also Netflix Instant)
Somewhere
The Town (On DVD and Blu-ray)

-10s (Stinkers): Sticking to my vow to avoid obvious traps I missed, say, Little Fockers and The Last Airbender, but got unlucky and fell into Alice in Wonderland, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Looking for work, Shia?

And now…drumroll please…


10. Unstoppable. Meat-and-potatoes action films are rare these days; from director Tony Scott and Denzel Washington, rarer still. With those two on their best behavior and a straight-up script I was on the edge of my seat: Just how were they going to stop that train? There’s always room on a Top Ten list for a movie like this.


9. Splice. A brainy, irreverent mash-up of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy that draws from what’s come before while adding a fractured family dynamic to the gene pool. (On DVD and Blu-ray)


8. Please Give. Is Nicole Holofcener a filmmaker or an excavator? She certainly has a gift for burrowing into the nooks and crannies of our seemingly well-ordered lives. (On DVD and Blu-ray)


7. The Tillman Story. “By all rights The Tillman Story should be depressing as hell…yet it’s also inspiring.”


6. The Kids Are All Right. “The two actresses are as wonderful as they look, and form a tight, thick and thin bond with the younger performers. No issues, save for thorny, universal matters of the human heart.” (On DVD and Blu-ray)


5. Carlos. Olivier Assayas’ speculative dissection of the infamous terrorist (a legend in his own mind as much as anything else, as played in a transformative performance by Édgar Ramírez) is available on demand in a shortened form, but it’s worth waiting for the whole presentation to show up on DVD, I trust within the year. Its three parts streak by, burning a hole through history.


4. A Prophet. “Completely, nerve-janglingly immersive, and a deserved winner of the Cannes Grand Prix and recipient of an Oscar nomination.” (On DVD and Blu-ray; also Netflix Instant)


3. Toy Story 3. “The movie that saved summer is one of the year’s best.” (On DVD and Blu-ray)


2. The Fighter. “Terrifically entertaining, it provides uplift on its own gritty, foul-mouthed, R-rated terms.”


1. The Social Network. “Whether Mark Zuckerberg invents a way for us to beam messages into each other’s brains, or the Tea Party attains power and confiscates our computers as tools of Satan, The Social Network will endure as an encapsulation of our era.” (On DVD and Blu-ray)




  • http://www.chimesfreedom.com Chimesfreedom

    There are a few here that I haven’t seen yet, but now I want to check them out more than I did because I like your list overall. Glad to see “Please Give” on the list, among others, while avoiding some of the over-hyped year-end movies that really are not that great. I agree that it is difficult to say that any movie in 2010 was better than The Social Network. I’ve been going back on forth whether to watch Splice, but you have convinced me to move it up in my Netflix list.

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    If you like Cronenberg or Cronenberg-ish horror/sci-fi, Splice might be up your alley. It’s very divisive, especially among genre fans, but it has a lot going on. That slot almost went to Let Me In (debuting Feb. 1 on home video) but I gave it the nod for its originality.

  • JonCummings

    I just can’t get on board with “The Fighter.” It’s OK, but a Best Picture contender? Love Amy Adams in it, but that’s about all. Christian Bale’s a ham sandwich (and hopefully he’s been eating some of them since shooting wrapped), and I didn’t respond to the womenfolk, either. As for Wahlberg, his overly earnest acting left me thinking the same thing over and over: “I’m just in it for the truck.” (That’s Stallone in “Over The Top.”)

    More generally, if you’re going to ask me to sit through a boxing movie (make that ANOTHER boxing movie), there oughta be real (or well-imagined) redemption and/or rags-to-riches going on. How did Dickie or Mom redeem their horrible behavior, beyond watching Micky win instead of lose? They even got a trip to London out of the deal!

    What I got out of “The Fighter,” undoubtedly contrary to its intentions, is that boxing in the post-Tyson era is a squalid, made-for-ESPN bloodsport that has become an anachronism … and that it’s way too full of characters like Dickie.

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    I was more engrossed in the peculiar/fascinating family dynamic in THE FIGHTER to care all that much about it as a boxing movie. It is that (and the fights are well-filmed, in a rope-a-dope, cable TV on Saturday way) but everything else that’s going on gives it its energy. It’s no fairy tale, like ROCKY (which I also like), and it doesn’t stress the triumph-of-the-spirit aspect, though it has that. I thought Wahlberg, such a brick usually, was quite touching in the lead, and there’s a sequel to be made from the character’s subsequent career.

    For me, at least, it’s more of a contender than TRUE GRIT or BLACK SWAN. And, you know, it’s been about a century since boxing was a sport of kings; to its credit the movie doesn’t shy away from its squalor.

  • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com Gigi

    Nice to see some love for AGORA!

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    I’d love to see the international version, which runs about 20 minutes longer. The film has a “circular” construction that likely plays more satisfyingly uncut.

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    I’d love to see the international version, which runs about 20 minutes longer. The film has a “circular” construction that likely plays more satisfyingly uncut.

  • JonCummings

    I really hated Black Swan, but loved True Grit. You know, Hailee Steinfeld went to Jacob’s middle school…

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    While I give Steinfeld the edge over KIm Darby (though it’s something of an apples and oranges comparison) and there’s the Glen Campbell issue to consider I still feel the Duke leads the Dude. For a movie that signals “the rebirth of the Western” (which we hear every two years when one comes out) the Coens don’t seem terribly interested in the form. I just found it puzzling.

  • JonCummings

    The Coens definitely DON’T seem interested — I read that they objected to even calling their film a Western. I like how, in the PBS profile of Bridges that just aired, somebody (a Coen?) is quoted saying that his Rooster Cogburn is a direct ancestor to the Dude.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    There was a recent radio interview with Carter Burwell and he likened the movie to a black comedy, that the character of the young girl has entrusted her mission to “heroes of the West” only to find each one of the has feet of clay.

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    That’s what I’m talking about…it’s a mish-mosh of themes and ideas, some interesting, some that don’t come off. I just didn’t know what to make of it, while I got into their unclassifiable SERIOUS MAN.

    That’s…interesting about the Dude, but maybe Bridges has gone to the well too often. It really doesn’t work in TRON: LEGACY, where his formerly straight-arrow truth seeker asks that everyone “stops messin’ with my zen.”

  • JonCummings

    Yeah, but NOTHING works in Tron: Legacy, as far as I’m concerned. Except maybe the age-taking-off machine they used on Bridges. Where can I get me one of them things?

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    Indeed. But I think it’ll take to V.5 to find one that works for us, Jon. ;)

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    Because I was busy with something else yesterday I didn’t realize that CARLOS was rebroadcast in its entirety on the Sundance Channel last night. Which means that it may be on again soon. By all means catch it.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    Bridges will get away from The Dude when movies with him being (or being like) a stoner stop making money.