Critics and commentators are posting their end of the year “best of” and “worst of” lists in various fields, so I’ll be joining the fray today. I have more to say about movies than anything else (big surprise), so I’ll deal with everything else in a separate post.
Biggest Pleasant Surprise: Despicable Me I went expecting that my kids would be entertained, and I would enjoy the popcorn. But this turned out to be a genuinely funny, charming story. And we are all still saying “What????” just like the minions.
Biggest Letdown: Dinner for Schmucks I went into this one with modest expectations, too, and they turned out to be far too high. I saw “Dinner for Schmucks” with a friend, and I felt guilty for inviting her.
Best Laugh: The Other Guys I saw this not long after “Dinner for Schmucks” and laughed more in the first 10 minutes of “The Other Guys” than I did in all of “Dinner for Schmucks”.
Best Scare: TIE – The House of the Devil Saw this at Cornerstone and even in a crowded tent the suspense almost killed me. There was also a moment when the entire crowd reacted in shock at the same moment. I love that.
The Crazies I thought this was a good horror movie all the way around, but it ties for “best scare” for one reason: the car wash.
Best Worst Movie: Troll 2 Yes, I finally saw it, and it was just as bad as advertised.
Best Documentary: Best Worst Movie The documentary about “Troll 2”, which we saw at Cornerstone, turned out to be as hysterical as expected, but also thought-provoking and touching.
Best Shared Movie-Watching Experience: Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky Saw this one at Cornerstone, too, and the experience of watching perhaps the most bizarre martial arts movie ever made with that particular group of people was priceless.
Best Date Movie for Married Couples: Date Night Not a masterpiece, but Steve Carrell and Tina Fey were consistently funny and the movie leaves you feeling good about being married. Also, between his roles in this movie and “The Other Guys”, Mark Wahlberg earned my respect this year. He’s a solid comic actor.
Best Movie That Never Came to Our Theater: In the Loop It came out in 2009, but never hit the Showplace 12. I finally saw it on Netflix this past spring and enjoyed it immensely. The inside view of political machinations is almost as dark and absurd as “Dr. Strangelove”. And yet it all seems so plausible….
Movies That Were as Good as Their Buzz: The Kids Are Alright The performances were amazingly good and the speech that Julianne Moore’s character gives about marriage is as true as anything in film this year.
The Social Network By the time we saw it I’d heard the arguments about the film’s historical inaccuracies. Consequently, I didn’t go in thinking I’d see what really happened or what Mark Zuckerberg is really like. As a piece of fiction, I thought it was a great movie and I stand by the comparisons that I made on Facebook between “The Social Network” and “Citizen Kane” and “Othello”. I’m not talking about film technique, people. I’m talking about character arcs.
Best Overall, Numero Uno, Favorite Movie of the Year: Toy Story 3 How can you top a sequel which lives up to parts one and two, is faithful to the characters we’ve grown to love, is enchanting from beginning to end – for both children and adults, and grapples with the heaviest questions that weigh on the human heart. It’s going to be a classic.
A Partial List of 2010 Releases I’m Still Hoping to See
4) Get Low
8 ) True Grit
10) The Fighter