Also, this is also the best of 2010 that I have actually seen/listened to/etc. There's plenty of stuff out there that I didn't get to. The Fighter, Shutter Island and 127 Hours come immediately to mind. Much like last year, where I missed The Hurt Locker until after January first, and that would've definitely cracked the top ten last year, I reserve the right to adjust accordingly.
Also warning you, this blog turned out to be HUGE.
I am a cinephile, and movies are really where my heart lies in this sort of exercise. Anyway, here's the ten movies I really, really liked in 2010.
10 - The Town
9 - The Ghost Writer
OK, yeah...Roman Polanski is a questionable human being.
But he still made a hell of a thriller. The cast is spot on, from Pierce Brosnan's psudo-Tony Blair, to Ewan MacGregor's too-smart-for-his-own-good writer. It's also handsomely shot and brilliantly paced. It's exciting, and never makes you feel stupid to get it's thrills.
8 - The King's Speech
"What are you doing Lieutenant Sebasitan?"
"I'm arranging Matches."
I was somewhat frightened that The King's Speech would end up like that, a handsomely shot, well-acted snoozefest with an air of "good for you" importance. I'm happy to say that it's probably one of the funniest films I saw all year, and not funny in a "fall down, go boom!" moronic sense. No this is humor of character and emotion and feeling. It's great.
7- True Grit
6- Solitary Man
5- The Kids Are All Right
4- Toy Story 3
3- The Social Network
1 - Black Swan
One of the strangest things as I looked over the release dates this year, was the creeping knowledge that I'd just not gone to the movies as much as I usually do. So many people would say, "oh, it's so expensive," or something like that, but frankly, it just came down to the fact that, on many weekends, there wasn't anything that looked good enough to get up and go to.
Long story short, I don't feel like I saw a "bad" movie this year. Disappointing, sure (TRON: Legacy, The Expendables), but I fail to see anything fair about calling a movie that is competent, but doesn't exploit every opportunity, the "worst." I failed to see "bad" movies mainly because there were plenty of films that just drove me away, so I never saw them. So, I present you, in no particular order, the moves that looked so God-awful, they kept me out of the theatres this year;
Extraordinary Measures- Oh, lord, Harrison...
Alice in Wonderland- Depp and Burton need to take a long break from each other, and Burton needs to...find some inspiration.
The Bounty Hunter- I actually like Gerard Butler, but...For God's sake, stop with this trash.
Furry Vengeance- Did anyone else wonder if the end times were upon us, just by looking at the billboards for this nightmare?
Shrek Forever After- More like, Shrek: Give it a Rest.
Killers- If we put the two most annoying actors, nay, human beings, in the world into the same film, will anyone come?
Grown Ups- An all-star comedy cast...and I hate them all when they play to the lowest common denominator like this.
Life As We Know It- Katherine Heigl, I cannot, for the life of me, fathom how you continue to convince studios that people want to watch you do anything, other than apologize for your mouth and bad attitude.
Little Fockers- I enjoyed Meet The Parents. I really did. Analyze This!, too. It was fun to watch DeNiro poke fun at his image...a decade ago. Now, after ten years of increasingly less inspired versions of the same thing, you can see the paycheck held on a fishing line, just out of shot.
Best Leading Male Performance
Best Leading Female Performance
Best Supporting Male Performance
Best Supporting Female Performance
This is a two-horse race. There's two directors who, this year, best represented the total exploitation of film as a visual medium, while still embracing the emotional core of storytelling as the paramount reason to make a film, at all.This year we had two directors who really nailed it. But I hate to pull a "tie"....
The closest competitor, FYI, is Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan.
This year was about discovering the joys of digital music. Yeah, yeah, I always forswore the idea of downloading music (and I still do with illegal downloads), but the ease of being able to download albums from Amazon really won me over. Especially since actually finding stuff I want is getting harder and harder. The end of record stores is just a crime in that regard.
I could hear some buzz about an album or group, check out the samples, and download the album within minutes. Saving a trip in a fruitless search for the albums I want. Hell, Best Buy doesn't even really carry music anymore, and the local music shops we're all supposed to support...I find they're so tied into the hipster wavelength, guys like me are just left out in the cold..
My seven favorite new records this year:
7 - AB III - Alter Bridge
6 - Croweology - The Black Crowes
5 - Midnight Souvenirs - Peter Wolf
Truly cements Peter Wolf as one of the great, under-appreciated vocalists. The album is full of life, and humor. "Overnight Lows" is probably the funniest track you'll hear anytime soon. Sheer joy.
4 - Wilderness Heart - Black Mountain
This one totally blindsided me. Never saw it coming. Got recommended by Amazon, because I liked The Sword so much. Reached out on Twitter to see if anyone had heard it, and one of the guys from The Sword wrote back to tell me it was awesome. Right from the horse's mouth, I figured. The first chords of "The Hair Song" had me hooked, and it rolled right in to "Old Fangs." Great stuff.
3 - Live Love in London - King's X
Anyone who knows me knows I love King's X. This is the perennial underdog band that I love. Three guys from Texas with a huge, groove-oriented sound. This is, really, their first respectable live release. (Live All Over the Place just seemed so random and the quality wasn't happening.) No new material here, but solid live versions of these tracks are totally worth it. Also love the "Deluxe" version, with a DVD, too.
2 - Caravan - Rush
Unfortunately, it also looks like you can't buy this anymore.
1 - Warp Riders - The Sword
Then I heard Warp Riders. Good God, what a great album. The band may lose some fans moving from the heaving pounding/Norse Mythology vibe of Age of Winters and Gods of the Earth into a much more melodic and hooky style on this album, but it was the right thing to do. I still think "Black Sabbath meets Thin Lizzy" is the most concise and accurate description of this new direction I have encountered. Excellent stuff.
Most disappointing album of the year:
Black Country Communion - Black Country Communion
It could also be bringing up Led Zeppelin a bit too much. That may not seem fair to Jason Bonham, but then again..."Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience?" That's not exactly the classiest move, either.
(Y'know, Reading Material)
Favorite Book of the Year
Best Graphic Novel
Best Ongoing Comic Series
Best Crossover Event
Best New Creative Team
Worst New Series
Most Disappointing Loss of a Creative Team.
Plus, you didn't feel so creepy about the huge boobs when a woman was the artist.
Worst Crossover Event
Most Botched Character Reboot
To be fair, this isn't just a 2010 issue, it started with the abysmal 2009 delays in Flash: Rebirth. However, the ongoing has never found it's footing, or hit a regular schedule, either. Now, what? We're building to yet another Goddamn crossover, "Flashpoint," and I find myself saying "who cares?"
DC, if you want me to invest in Barry Allen, how about we spend some time just getting to know him in day-to-day adventures. His series has been branded with the Brightest Day stuff since day one (though I've yet to figure out why...because Captain Boomerang came back to life in Blackest Night, and is in Flash's Rogues Gallery? WEAK.), and from there right into this "Flashpoint." The Flash is a flagship character, not in the "big 3," no, but he is in the "big 5" just under them. He started the Silver Age, for God's sake! If you're so certain we won't accept Barry back unless he's connected to one lame crossover after another, why did you bring him back? I think he's a strong enough character to carry a series on his own. You let Hal grown as Green Lantern for several years before The Sinestro Corps War, so we were invested in him when the crap hit the fan for a big crossover...
Yes, I'm still reading. I love the Flash, but, again, Geoff, you can do better than this.
Most of my television viewing is via DVD. I have relatively few shows I watch on a weekly basis, or "appointment viewing." I also DETEST watching TV on my computer. So, I am about a year behind on several shows.
Best TV Series
Still Freakin' Funny Award
How Did I Miss This Show Before? Award
The Guilty Pleasure Award
The "Please, Bill, Just Stop" Award
You won Emmys, for God's sake.
Frankly, at this point...I've probably overstayed my welcome with this blog entry, so I'm gonna leave it at that.
I do think, overall, it was a very strong year for media. Yeah, there was a LOT of garbage, but the good stuff was very, very good. That's something to be celebrated, when the cream rises so far you simply forget about the sour crap. Maybe you'll want to check out some of my favorites, or even some of the things that I found repellent. Good! This list is, by it very nature, merely my opinion, and I am wrong all the time.
And...hopefully the formatting doesn't get too screwed up when I post this....