My Best And Worst Films of 2010

Was 2010 the worst year for movies ever?  This is what a writer for recently asked, and I agree with him that the question needs to at least be asked.  I was able to come up with my top 5 films of 2010, but as I look back on the nearly 40 films I saw this past year, I’d have to say that overall, it wasn’t a good year for film.  Nevertheless, here’s my “best and worst of 2010” – with a few additional categories thrown in for fun.  Enjoy…and let me know what you think.

Films That I Didn’t See

It’s important for you to know that among the top 10 highest grossing films of the year, I only saw two of them: Iron Man 2 and Inception.  I didn’t see many of the top films of the year because they didn’t interest me.  Films like Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland, Twilight:Eclipse, Harry Potter (Part 17), Shrek XXVI, and the Ralph Macchio-less Karate Kid were not worth the $9.50 admission fee.  I’m confident that none of these films would have made my top 5 anyway.  The only movie I didn’t catch that I could see possibly breaking into my top 5 is Social Network.  I’ve heard rave reviews about the film, but somehow I missed seeing it at the theater.  It comes out on DVD in a couple of weeks, and I plan to watch it then.

Films That Didn’t Make My Top 5 But Deserve Honorable Mention

This is a sweet and slow-moving film that follows the life of a little boy and little girl who are neighbors and grow over the years to have feelings for each other despite being total opposites. It’s based on the novel by the same name and stars two young actors who play their roles superbly.  The actor who plays the little girl is especially wonderful.  She’s sweet, yet strong and very believable.  When it came out on DVD, I brought it home for my kids to watch.  Alexis declared it to be “adorable” and immediately asked me to buy it for her!  “Adorable” is a great way to describe this movie, and even though it didn’t make my top 5, it surely deserves mention…and a viewing, if you haven’t seen it yet.

I love Denzel Washington, and I love that he creatively conveys his faith in Jesus Christ in many of his movie roles.  The Book of Eli is a dark, apocalyptic film that has moments of intense violence and feels mostly depressing and hopeless.  However, the ending is amazing, profound, and full of hope.  The Word of God takes center stage, and the extremes that Washington’s character is willing to go to in order to protect and preserve it is stunning and powerful.  The film didn’t quite make my top 5 because of how dark it was.  However, the powerful way in which the film concludes is worth the watch.

My Top 5 Films of 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of my favorite actors.  I get excited every time I hear that one of his films is coming out.  When previews for Inception hit the theaters, I knew that I was going to like the film.  DiCaprio, cool special effects, funky storyline, and the girl from Juno…what else could you ask for?  And the film did not disappoint.  The special effects were phenomenal, the story was fascinating and incredibly intriguing, and Dicaprio was on his A-game.  I also love the fact that the film ended with more questions than answers.  Is the top going to fall or not?  Love it!

What a fascinating movie!  The storyline of this independent film is, “A recently divorced guy meets the woman of his dreams. Then he meets her son.”  The guy is perfectly played John C. Reilly (Step Brothers); the woman is played by the beautiful Marisa Tomei; and her adult son, Cyrus, is played by Johan Hill (Superbad).  The three of them together make for a stunningly real and at times uncomfortably dysfunctional trio.  Watching the film is like watching real people fumbling (but succeeding) to work through real life issues.  There’s humor, discomfort, sadness, irritation, frustration, and ultimately genuine happiness.  The characters are well developed, the acting is superb, and the story is very enjoyable.

For starters, ditto on all of my DiCaprio praise above.  He is excellent in this movie as well.  The reason why I like this movie a bit better than Inception is because the character DiCaprio plays in this film is easier to feel compassion for.  In many ways, his characters in both movies are very similar: loved ones dead, very sad about that, looking for redemption.  In Inception, he’s a man hardened by the pain of his past, while in Shutter Island, instead of being hardened by the pain, he’s just plain gone crazy.  But, we don’t know this until the end when everything DiCaprio’s character has done in the film is revealed to be part of an extreme, last-ditch effort therapy session.  Great twist.  Great film.

You may not have even heard about this one, but in my opinion, it was one of the year’s best films.  It’s a film about a clinically depressed teenager who gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward.  It’s there that he meets a character played by Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Due Date) who befriends him and helps him with his depression – even though he’s  clinically depressed himself.  Galifianakis steals the show.  He’s known in other movies for being funny (even goofy), but in this role, he’s not only very funny, but he’s serious too and invokes a lot of empathy. He’s very believable – somewhat similar to when Jim Carey or Robin Williams venture into more serious roles.  And the occasional cameo by Jim Gaffigan (of “HotPockets” fame) as the boy’s father is a nice addition!

I know.  I know.  It just came out, so how could it already be my favorite movie of the year?  Well, I’m a sucker for a good western, and this one is more than good.  It’s great.  I also love the fact that it’s filmed in New Mexico – the most beautiful state in the country!  Jeff Bridges is superb reprising John Wayne’s 1969 role as Rooster Cogburn.  As he displayed in the movie, Crazy Heart, Bridges plays a drunk very well, and in True Grit, he plays a trigger-happy, drunken U.S. Marshall that has his hard heart melted by a 14-year old sassy but sweet girl who enlists his help in avenging her father’s death.  Although Bridges role is memorable, it’s Hailee Steinfield’s role as young Mattie Ross that steals the show.  She is brilliant and has already been nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role by the Screen Actor’s Guild.  The dialog between her character and Bridges’ produces several great one-liners, and the love/hate relationship between the two makes for some great moments.  I don’t own many DVDs because I’m not one for watching a movie twice.  However, this film is so good that I plan to buy the DVD when it comes out and watch it again and again.  And by the way, Matt Damon as a cowboy?  Believe it or not…it works!

And finally, the worst film of 2010.  It’s a tie between…

Why Americans would waste $162 million on this ridiculously stupid movie is beyond me.  Funny stars.  Not a funny movie.  Stupid to the point of insulting.

Had no desire to see it until I read some reviews saying that it was reminiscent of the funny John Cusak movies from the 80’s.  So, since I’m a sucker for things from the 80’s, Michelle and I rented the DVD when it came out.  Horrible movie.  Not funny at all.  Extremely vulgar and senseless.  Turned it off within 30 minutes…30 minutes of life I’ll never get back.

God and A Few Nuts in Detroit

I’ve always wondered…and now I know.  According to 20 billboards to appear today across metro Detroit, Jesus is returning on May 21, 2011.

An organization called put the billboards up with the goal of reminding folks to prepare themselves for the end. They claim that the “rapture” where Christians will vanish from earth to be with Jesus will take place on May 21.  Five months later — on Oct. 21, 2011, to be exact — they claim that the world will end with God destroying the universe and everything in it.

How did the group arrive at May 21, 2011, as the date Jesus will return? The Web site says it has to do with what the Bible says, citing May 21, 1988, as being the start of 23 years of tribulation.  I graduated from high school on May 21, 1988 but had no clue the tribulation began that day.  I thought it had just ended.

The organization says that it hopes to convince onlookers that the Bible is the infallible word of God through these billboards.  Not quite the method I would suggest for communicating that message.  How stupid will they look on May 22 when they’re still around?  And how stupid will they look on October 22 when the sun comes up for the start of another day?

In Matthew 24:36, Jesus says, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”  However, if you read the fine print at the end of this verse, you’ll see that it says, “…and a few crackpots who pay for billboards in Detroit.”