You got me, Dan. I didn’t see Let Me In this year. But just for the hell of it, just in the interest of full disclosure, here are 25 other films from 2010 that I still haven’t gotten around to. In my defense, I’d be shocked if any critic couldn’t cull together a similar list. This inventory of missed opportunities doesn’t invalidate my Top and Bottom Ten Lists of 2010: They are great movies and terrible ones, respectively. It just means that there may be other great and terrible films out there too.
We here at The Fourth Wall are taking another look out our favorite film work from 2010 in the hopes that we can help get some deserving folks nominated. Some of our picks are long shots (my Best Original Screenplay nomination hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell), while others may in fact be locks. But the point isn’t to highlight the obscure… it’s to highlight the truly deserving.
Any year in which a movie this perfect has legitimate competition for Best Film of the Year is an impressive one indeed. Edgar Wright directs a tale of a young man who falls in love (or rather, ‘in lesbians’) with a young woman with baggage, and struggles to defeat those demons to preserve their relationship. That those struggles take the form of elaborately choreographed martial arts duels and giant monsters generated through the power of indie rock is no mere flight of fancy.
I’m a sucker for a silly romantic comedy, but this particular romantic comedy is for suckers. Kristen Bell stars as a workaholic who learns the value of not being a workaholic because of the power of magic coins in Rome which, when plucked from a fountain, cause their previous owners to fall madly in love with Kristen Bell.
So where exactly are the good videogame movies? They’re everywhere, if you know where to look. They’re just not based on videogames. With TRON Legacy in theaters this weekend, Dan Fields and I (William Bibbiani!) thought this would be a good time to explain why the best videogame movies – so far – aren’t based on a specific videogame. These are movies that capture the distinctive feeling of playing a great videogame or expertly dramatize concepts unique to that medium, something the directors of actual videogame movies rarely seem to grasp.
The Tourist is the kind of cinematic perfection that doesn’t get lauded too often. It’s too cute, too fun, too thrilling to sit on a top ten list next to 127 Hours or Black Swan. At least, that’s what the philistines will say. Just because it’s a caper doesn’t mean it’s capricious. This is assured, skillful and altogether spectacular filmmaking.
Tangled isn’t too cool for school, it’s just really cool, and once the film stops apologizing for being a fairy tale and gets down to the task of just being a fairy tale it reveals itself to be one of the best (non-Pixar) Disney animated films in over a decade. Smart entertainment, sidesplittingly funny and never condescending to the little children making up the target demographic. Tangled is classic Disney.
Morning Glory is a film about morning people. I hate morning people. They’re chipper in the wee hours, charismatic go-getters by mid-day and tend to collapse just when I think things should be getting good. Morning Glory has the same problems.
It’s these moments that comprise the film’s greater theme, that in his final (127) hours even the most confident loner regrets the people he leaves behind. Not calling his mother back is more than a guilt trip, it’s a genuine tragedy, and the fact that this lack of communication will prevent anybody from ever even finding his body is just the punchline to one of life’s most malicious jokes.
Heroes don’t HAVE to be boring stand-ins for the audience (I’m looking at you, everyone who casts Shia LaBeouf). They can be compelling characters overcoming hardships, psychological turmoil and overwhelming odds to save not merely the day but rather their own self-worth. Heroes can be inspiring figureheads, neurotic losers and everything in between. Heroes can be wonderful, but for some reason many of them – often in otherwise very good (or at least popular) movies – again, just plain suck.
The Weekly Listicle presents Scary Movies For The Whole Family. Not kids movies with Halloween themes, and not the kinds of movies that will traumatize your kids for life and keep you up all night as they suffer through sugar withdrawals and nightmares, but great Halloween movies that kids can enjoy without feeling pandered to. Trust me, parents… They’ll thank you for it later.
It’s a cheery film, brought to life with pomp and circumstance by Randall Wallace in what is easily his best outing as a director. Everyone is good in it, and even the great John Malkovich turns in a fine “eccentric supporting character” performance without ever feeling like he’d rather be doing something more substantial. As family films go, Secretariat is one of the best bets of the year… but when viewed any other way it’s merely decent.
Pete Townsend once wrote “I hope I die before I get old,” but it’s important to note that he was only 20 years old at the time. The song “My Generation” was very much on my mind as I watched Harry Brown, which like the song is British and discusses the difficult relationships between young whippersnappers and old farts.
There may be an Academy Award for “Best Original Song,” but where’s the love for all the other songs that films so desperately depend on? It’s hard to believe now, but there was once a time when motion pictures weren’t chockablock with Top 40 pop hits. In the past 50 years or so this has become a common practice (some people blame Martin Scorsese, but I think even Scorsese would point a finger more emphatically at Kenneth Anger), and for every movie like The Bounty Hunter that demonstrates little concern for song choice or placement there are plenty of films and television series that put a lot of thought in selecting just the right song for the right moment. Maybe it’s on the nose, maybe it’s ironic, or maybe it’s just jarring and weird, but there’s a lot of mileage to be gained from using a familiar tune in an unfamiliar way.