Top Ten Films of 2010

I’ve got to say, this may be one of the finest years for film in recent memory. There were so many, many excellent films that came out this year. While I still have yet to see “Fair Game”, “127 Hours”, and “Blue Valentine” I decided to make my list, and if need be, after seeing these films that I haven’t watched yet – I’ll amend my list.

10. “TRON: Legacy”

I know there are a lot of you haters out there. “Oh it’s not Avatar!” or “the screenplay sucks!” Well you know what motherfuckers? No movie will ever be another Avatar, until James Cameron releases Avatar 2 though 10. As for the screenplay – what did you expect? This film is built upon its special effects and branches out from there. The special effects are amazing, and too me – it’s more imaginative than “Avatar”, but that’s just me. I gave this movie a 9/10, and I saw it a second time and my rating still held up. Get over yourself haters. Go eat sushi and talk about how intuitive and deep “The Social Network” is while you try and keep wasabi out of your recycled Urban Outfitter’s scarf.

9. “The Social Network”

This is not the best film of the year. Jesse Eisenberg does not give the best performance of the year. This is not David Fincher’s first of second best film. Andrew Garfield is not getting snubbed for a nomination, Armie Hammer is. What this film does have to offer us, is a story about an uppity little brat who thinks he’s entitled to everything in the world. It displays an air tight screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (I loved him before all you fucks did, so don’t start with me) and a great score. While I did think this was a good film, and I did enjoy it – I think a Fincher/Sorkin collaboration would have been better suited for the Bill Gates/Steve Jobs story. I have a feeling all the people that are banging the drum for this film were the same ones who thought “The Hurt Locker” was an amazing and incredible film. Get over it.

8. “Life During Wartime”

“Life During Wartime” doesn’t deal with a tangible war, it deals with the proverbial war that we fight with our family, our friends and within ourselves. It deals with forgiveness, absolution and retribution. The themes of this film run in toe with the themes of our American culture. I’m so glad that I got a chance to see this film while flipping through the channels late at night.

7. “The Town”

“The Town” is a slick fusion of “Heat” and “Point Break”. It’s a near perfect heist film that was masterfully helmed by Ben Affleck and has a great ensemble. Renner seems to be the favorite for a Best Supporting Actor nomination, but I prefer Jon Hamm in the film. Even though some elements and situations in the film tend to be a bit stretched, I still think this a very effective and taught film.

6. “Inception”

I don’t know whether or not “Inception” is Nolan’s best film. I still have my preference of his smaller films, “Insomnia” and “The Prestige”. “Inception” is the perfect combination of a summer blockbuster and a thinking man’s movie. The climax of the film is incredible, the four simultaneous dream arcs smashing the screen at the same time is flawless and brilliant. The performances in this film are all a great ensemble, and please people – get over Tom Hardy. He served his purpose but nothing more. Still, “Inception” is a landmark film. Nolan also scores major points for not making it 3-D.

5. “True Grit”

The Coen Brothers deliver again. With their second collaboration with Jeff Bridges, they bring us a great authentic western. Jeff Bridges gives the performance of the year, and along with Josh Brolin and Hailee Steinfeld, they deliver a great, great film. Yeah, I do have a Jeff Bridges “bias” but that’s because he’s amazing and doesn’t get enough credit. True Grit is excellent.

4. “Solitary Man”

Michael Douglas delivers one of the finest performances of his career and one of the top performances of this year as Ben – a womanizer, alcoholic and dishonest solitary man. People have compared his performance to the likes of Gordon Gekko. That’s false. His character is Gekko-esq, but he does have a heart. This is a very, very small and ultra cliché riddled film – but it’s near flawless. Michael Douglas deserves a nomination for this film.

3. “The King’s Speech”

Colin Firth has become one of my favorite actors – yet I am not very versed in his back catalog of his performances. With his performances from last year’s “A Single Man” and this year in “The King’s Speech” – everything with Firth seems so effortless. He gives a triumphant performance along with Geoffrey Rush. This is one of the most inspirational films I have seen in a long, long time. This is a rare cinematic treat that blends a period piece epic and a very small character study.

2. “The Fighter”

Everything about “The Fighter” just lightly touches upon perfection. This is a film that I truly underestimated. I thought it would be good, but not great. Marky Mark’s project is incredible and he gives us a masterpiece. He gives his best performance as does Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. As for Christian Bale – he’s nothing less than flawless perfection. He gives us an incredible tour-de-force performance as the main characters crack addicted, once “great” older brother and mentor.

1) “Black Swan”

Speaking of masterpieces. Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” is incredible. I haven’t felt for Natalie Portman’s character like that in a long, long time. I was beyond sympathetic. The eerie and terribly creepy feeling of paranoia was masterfully displayed by Aronofsky. The ensemble cast is a true work of art. Vincent Cassel and Barbra Hershey’s supporting performances were incredible. This film is one dark trip into painfully brutal beauty.

“True Grit” – 2010. Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen

With Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Barry Pepper, with Matt Damon and Josh Brolin

“What do you plan to do?”

“I aim to kill you in a minute.”

I’ve been exposed to John Wayne more than most of my generation. My Dad is obsessed with John Wayne, and I grew up watching “The Searchers”, “Red River”, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”, “Fort Apache”, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, “The Shootist”, “Rio Grand” and “True Grit”. “True Grit” was the film Wayne won his sole Best Actor Oscar, creating much fuss since Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman were both nominated for “Midnight Cowboy”.

Anyone who considers “True Grit” a classic Wayne film is an idiot. The original “True Grit” is a bad film. Wayne is solid in it (though he did not deserve his Oscar for that film – it was a “career” Oscar). The supporting players of Glen Campbell who plays La Boeuf (Matt Damon in the current film) and Kim Darby who plays Mattie (played by Hailee Steifeld in the new film) are fucking terrible. So terrible they ruin the movie. The original is just a terrible, terrible film.

The new version of “True Grit” by Joel and Ethan Coen is their new masterpiece. Jeff Bridges plays our U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn who is an alcoholic, shoot first and ask questions later bad ass. New comer Hailee Steinfeld plays Mattie Ross, whose father is killed by ranch hand Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) and Mattie enlists Cogburn to track Chaney down, and bring him to justice.

Matt Damon plays Texas Ranger LaBoeuf who has been on Chaney’s trail all the way from Texas (the film takes plays in Arkansas). Together Mattie, LaBoeuf and Cogburn trek into apache territory to bring back Chaney who they believe is running with a gang of bandits lead by “Lucky” Ned Pepper (Barry Pepper).

The Coen Brothers deliver us another instant classic. They’ve flirted with making a western before, with their western noir films like “Raising Arizona”, “No Country for Old Men” and “Blood Simple”. This is a western that would have made John Ford and John Huston proud. This film stacks up against “Tombstone” and “Unforgiven” and is better than both of them, this film is great.

Aside from this seeming like a generic western, the Coen Brothers create this almost haunting “backwoods” western. It feels rough, looks rough – and isn’t very settling. It’s not a Hollywood western – it feels authentic.

Hailee Steinfeld is astounding in the film. She dominates the screen, and when she’s toe to toe with Bridges, or Damon, or Brolin – she holds her own, and holds her own well. She gives a command performance that needs to be recognized. She seems to be picking up steam in the Best Supporting Actress category, but she is the clear lead in the film. All the other characters are supporting to her because the story of “True Grit” is about Mattie, not Cogburn. She should really win Best Actress, but I doubt it’ll happen.

The role of Mattie Ross requires a performance of the highest caliber. She’s a strong and very independent girl. She is the heart and soul of the film. I almost think that this is a role that Ellen Page would have lobbied for really, really hard (if she did play the part of Mattie, it would make me hate such a perfect film).

Matt Damon gives a quality performance, and while it’s not his “best” performance it might just be my favorite. I like the fact that Damon is an A list star, and can pick and choose his roles – but he decided to take a backseat to Steinfeld and Bridges, that shows a plethora of character of Damon.

Barry Pepper portrays “Lucky” Ned Pepper, who Robert Duvall played in the original film. I’ve never liked when actors do impressions. Even when they play the same character in a franchise – notably DeNiro/Brando in the Godfather films, I think DeNiro made the role his own while showing homage to Brando – but I felt that Pepper does the best Robert Duvall impression I’ve ever seen, and he rocked the role.

Josh Brolin gives a standout backseat performance in this film, he’s such a remarkable actor. He gives a reserved and very surreal performance. He seems like a bumbling fool, but he hisses and sneers his lines of dialogue, its fun to watch. I can’t even believe that this is the same actor who played the “bad guy” in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” which came out a couple of months ago. I don’t know if Brolin is a method actor, but whatever method he does use works, and works incredibly well.

As for Jeff Bridges…

Okay look, if you know me, or frequent my blog, you all know that I have a bias for Jeff Bridges. I think he’s an incredible actor and one of the finest actors ever. But, I don’t let my bias get in the way of my thought process. The Dude is not my favorite Bridges performance, and I don’t think he should have won for “Crazy Heart”, Colin Firth should have for “A Single Man”.

This year it seems like Firth is going to win for “The King’s Speech”. I think Firth gives another incredible performance, and he’s amazing in “The King’s Speech”. But if he wins this year, I think he and Bridges should exchange Oscars, because Jeff Bridges gives the performance of the year. He is truly awe inspiring.

This really was a risky role for Bridges to take. First of all, he was playing a part that was made iconic by John Wayne, and the second was that he just got done playing a bloated over the hill cowboy in “Crazy Heart”. Not for one second does Bad Blake bleed into Rooster Cogburn. We watch Cogburn go through drunken stupors, sober up and even save the day. Bridges makes this role his own, with no help from anyone. Bridges is the fucking MAN!

The climactic shoot out at the end of the film literally had me tense and on the edge of my seat. I knew what was going to happen, I’d seen the original film many times, I knew what the story was, where it went and how it went, but I can’t tell you this enough, this film had sunken into me from the opening narration.

Rating: 9.5/10

Jeff Bridges is Rooster Cogburn

Here we go boys and girls – the very first image of OSCAR WINNER (I love saying this now) Jeff Bridges as Marshall Rooster Cogburn in the updated Coen Brother’s film “True Grit”. I am so super excited for December this year with Bridges headlining both “True Grit” and “Tron Legacy”. Who else is super excited?

2010 films that have me JAZZERSIZED!

Let us look forward!

In no particular order:

“The Expendibles”

How could an action film with Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jason Stratham (ehh), Eric Roberts and cameos by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis suck that bad?

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”

This is the film I’m most skeptical of. I love Oliver Stone, but “The World Trade Center” I thought was a disaster of a film, and “W” could have been epically great (it’s still enjoyable). Even though I’m leery of Shia LeBeauf in the film, the fact it takes place in our current economic climate and has Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen returning has me very excited. The addition of Frank Langella and Josh Brolin is equally as great along with Carey Mulligan. I was hoping Stone would also bring back Terrence Stamp, John C. McGinley and Hal Holbrook too.

“The Tree of Life”

Terrence Malick directing a 1950’s period piece about a boy witnessing “the loss of innocence” with Sean Penn (again!) and Brad Pitt. ‘Nough said!

Jeff Bridges' artwork for "True Grit".

“True Grit”

The Coen Brother’s making a western! A real western reuniting them with Jeff Bridges! I feel a sixth Oscar nomination for Bridges on this one. In addition to Bridges the Coen’s also bring Josh Brolin, Matt Damon and Barry Pepper to the table.

“Tron: Legacy”

Jeff Bridges in a new Tron movie… As if the special effects in the original film weren’t groundbreaking enough!

“Iron Man 2”

Robert Downey, Jr. is back as Tony Stark! This time he’s battling Mickey Rourke as a tattooed Russian who builds his own Iron Man suit. Hott! I want to make a prediction here that I told my friends Kevin and Peyton about after viewing the trailer for “Iron Man 2”, Mickey Rourke will get a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

“Fair Game”

The story of Valerie Wilson’s (Naomi Watts) outing as a covert CIA Agent by the Bush administration because her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson (played by Sean Penn) a registered Republican, spoke the truth in his report about Saddam Hussein not trying to purchase weapons of mass destruction.

“Love Ranch”

Taylor Hackford directing his wife Helen Mirren as the wife of Joe Pesci who play the couple that open the first legal brothel in Nevada, and it’s based on a true story.


Robert Rodriguez making a feature length film from his “Grindhouse” trailer with the best cast I’ve ever seen: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Lindsey Lohan, Steven Segal, Don Johnson, Jeff Fahey and Robert DeNiro.

“Company Men”

A film about corporate America with Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones. Awesome.

“The Special Relationship”

The film examines the relationship between President Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid) and Hillary (Julianne Moore) with Tony Blair (Michael Sheen for his third portrayal as Blair).