The Movies of 2010

At the end of every year I list the movies I’ve seen in some sort of ordinal ranking. I have yet to see “The King’s Speech” and some other Oscar bait, hence their absence from the list.

Documentaries are in italics. The general categories are in ALL CAPS.

PIECES OF FUCKING SHIT

66. Shutter Island
This is my bias: I despise the “it was all a dream” plot twist. I always have. That and the “it turns out the person making all the mischief was someone DISGUISED as the hero” twist have irritated me since they were used in lousy cartoons. Huge misfire, wasted cast, etc. SEEN: Netflix, Unalaska.

65. The Last Airbender
Not the worst movie of the year because it’s so enjoyable in its badness — it has the worst performances by young actors since at least Jake Lloyd in “The Phantom Menace.” Also, a Daily Show correspondent as the key villain? Good casting. I mean that seriously. SEEN: In-flight entertainment.

64. Cop Out
I give Kevin Smith a lot of leeway — I really enjoyed “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” really, and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” was survivable — but this was absolute dreck. Predictable, lazy, unfunny, giving me reason to doubt the talent of Tracy Morgan weeks before his HBO special confirmed that he’s no good without “30 Rock” writers. SEEN: Chris Chandler’s DVD copy, Delaware.

63. Saint John of Las Vegas
Plotless indie waste of time, with a good enough cast (Sarah Silverman, Steve Buscemi, Romany Malco) to avoid the direct-to-DVD fate it richly deserved. SEEN: Netflix streaming, DC.

62. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Why the hell do people like these stories? You mean to tell me that millions of young girls enjoy a book in which a key plot point involves the heroine rubbing up against a dude in jean shorts and no shirt so that she can attain his wolf scent to ward off vampires? SEEN: Download for iPad.

61. Blood Done Sign My Name
Quasi-religious Civil Rights era drama rented on the recommendation of the Flick Filosopher. Meh. SEEN: Netflix DVD, Amtrak from New York to DC.

60. The Human Centipede: First Sequence
Best parts: The title and the ending. SEEN: Ben Miller’s house, on demand.

59. Daybreakers
The cure for vampirism is sunlight-plus-not-dying? Fuck you. SEEN: Netflix DVD, DC.

58. Chloe
Atom Egoyan scrapes the barrel. Good lesbian sex scenes, I guess, if you’re into that. SEEN: Netflix DVD, DC.

MERELY MEDIOCRE

57. The Losers
Ebert loved this for some reason; I thought it was toothless and rote, with one of the year’s worst performances from Jason Patric as the villainous Max. SEEN: Download, iPad.

56. The A-Team
Basically the same thing. SEEN: Ben Miller’s house.

55. Dinner for Schmucks
Mostly interesting for how it gets around a modern problem — cell phones make it difficult to get into goofy situations without someone eventually calling you — with a lazy kludge. Everybody leaves his phone in the wrong place! Duuuueeeehr! An incredible waste of talent with a confusing “message.” SEEN: Airline movie.

54. City Island

Stupid sitcom humor made worse by my least favorite actress, Emily Mortimer. Andy Garcia is one of those great Actors Who Never Made It, and we see why here. SEEN: Netflix DVD.

53. Survival of the Dead
George Romero’s decline continues with a messy, but very well-gore-infused, story about a family feud between Irish people on an island “off the coast of Delaware.” SEEN: Netflix DVD

52. Alice in Wonderland
I actually liked “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” unlike a lot of people, but this? Meh. Nice set design and character design that looked a little lazy post-Avatar, generic plot. Also, the Johnny Depp dance at the end was… yeah, well, that. SEEN: Theater, 3-D

51. Green Zone
Why not just make a real movie about the Iraq War? SEEN: iPad

50. Youth in Revolt
Way to fuck up Michael Cera’s image right before Scott Pilgrim. I guess I dug the animation. SEEN: Netflix DVD

49. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Mediocre. SEEN: Netflix

48. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
The best of Chris Columbus’s three adaptations of children’s fantasy novels. Uma Thurman, though: WTF? Seen: HBO

47. The Book of Eli
How do these people survive so long without water? Fine Michael Gambon cameo. Seen: iPad

WORTHWHILE

46. MacGruber
Surprisingly fun, considering the reviews. The scenes in which MacGruber explains how his arch-enemy came to hate him — for a perfectly good reason! — make the movie.

45. The Crazies
44. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
43. Agora
42. Morning Glory
41. Salt
40. Predators
39. The Killer Inside Me
38. Get Low
37. Edge of Darkness
36. Harry Brown
35. I Am Love
34. The Ghost Writer
33. Smash His Camera
32. Iron Man 2
31. The Runaways
30. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?
29. Cemetary Junction

GOOD MOVIES

28. Who Is Harry Nilsson?
27. Hot Tub Time Machine
26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One
25. The Town
24. Please Give
23. I Love You, Philip Morris
22. 127 Hours
21. How to Train Your Dragon
20. Get Him to the Greek
19. Life During Wartime
18. Easy A
17. Greenberg
16. Kick-Ass
15. Blue Valentine
14. Black Swan

GREAT MOVIES

13. Marwencol
12. The Kids Are All Right
11. Catfish
10. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

9. Winter’s Bone
8. Inception
7. True Grit
6. Four Lions
5. The King’s Speech
4. The Social Network
3. Toy Story 3
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
1. Restrepo

More Goddamn Movies – Christmas Edition

True Grit (2010) – The Coen brothers’ adaptation of this story stays closer to the novel than the 1969 version, but borrows some scenes directly from the John Wayne classic. Observe:

Very good dialogue and acting, and I’d recommend it to anyone, but it seems like minor Coen.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – Why the fuck do people like these movies so much? I cannot say. I didn’t enjoy this: Every story beat was obvious several beats in advance, the dialogue was terrible, the action was rote. I will say that love triangle was amusing despite the complete uselessness of Bella Swan — her father and Jacob are the only tolerable parts of the enterprise, with their relentless sarcasm and disbelief that Bella can be so consistently stupid in her decision-making. But I really wonder what happened to the whole “vampires sparkle in sunlight” thing. Nobody sparkles!

Agora – From the director of “The Sea Inside” and “Open Your Eyes” comes, surprisingly, a two-dimensional swords-and-sandals epic about science and religion in Roman Egypt at the moment that Christianity took over.

Listicles, 2010: The Funniest Stuff I Saw All Year

I’m going to keep adding to this list as things occur.

Tim and Eric, “Italian Massage.” This listicle might collapse under the weight of Tim and Eric skits. Was the final season of their “Awesome Show” a step down from previous seasons? Eh, probably. But there were several fantastically dada sketches I’ve replayed for months. In this one, Heidecker and Wareheim don unrealistic wigs and facial hair and become “Sal and Al,” racist Italian stereotypes who sell massages complete with cheese and tomato sauce. “Almost like a pizza pie!”

The Last Airbender. You’d think M. Night Shyalaman’s career hit the reef with this horrible piece of shit, but it didn’t — it was a hit! That’s nice, because it promises many years of poorly-acted, incoherently-plotted kiddie punch-ups that provide instant fodder for riffs from the guys who made “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

Jeff Greene’s U.S. Senate campaign. Funny story. In 2008, a real estate investor turned a massive fortune into a yet-more-massive fortune by shorting subprime mortgage CDOs. He built a bizarre and cushy life spent getting celebrities to hang out with him on his yacht. And then some political consultants convinced him he could be a U.S. senator. They gave him one of the strangest, least sincere narratives in recent electoral history — in one ad, he claimed that he wished he’d only been in the Senate when he started shorting CDOs, so he could have shared his wisdom with the nation.

Cracked.com’s listicles. When the hell did Cracked become entertaining? At some point the website of a fading Mad magazine competitor was taken over by smart geeks who churned out daily lists of pop culture oddities. One favorite — the five most wildly illegal court rulings in movies.