Monday, 24 January 2011

Walter's Top Ten of 2010

I agree that this was still a somewhat disappointing year in movies, but a step above last year, so I won’t repeat my protest and only choose nine. In fact, I’ll mention a few runners-up. First of all there is only one foreign language film listed (though the Kiwi accents in Boy almost count), partly because I often see them a year or two late. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo came close, and I recently saw The Edukators which might have made the list if it weren’t from 2004 (ok – 6 years late). The American came close with its Graham Greene-like feel (I loved the old priest), but didn’t quite make it for me.

Here are the ones that did:

10. Get Low. I had hoped for more from this one. It was a good film and Duvall does a great job. There was nothing especially disappointing that I can put my finger on, yet it seemed to lack something I had expected -still, an interesting film well worth watching.

9. Despicable Me. This one I liked more than I had expected. I thought Carell did a good job in spite of a wandering accent. I appreciated how they often nailed the sense of how you might like to parent when in a selfish or cynical mood.

8. Boy. Friends from New Zealand highly recommended this barely known movie and I was quite glad they did. Quite a unique tale, well told. Good humour sprinkled through a serious drama, and I suspect that many moments would be even funnier for Kiwis (I kept almost getting jokes but being a little unsure.)

7. Inception. I was tempted to put this lower just because I was a bit mystified by the level of excitement among some. If they’d found a better way to depict the experience of defences in a person’s dreams, it would have received much higher marks.

6. The Social Network. Riding largely on the wit and skill of Sorkin’s screenplay (and some fine acting), this film provides an entertaining if someone depressing look at where our culture is heading.

5. The Ghost Writer. Good atmospheric thriller that was thought-provoking and unpredictable. I think it might have come up higher if I hadn’t watched it alone (though the atmosphere kind of fit with a lone viewing).

4. Shutter Island. Maybe this film didn’t have quite as much originality as Inception, but I thought overall it “worked” better as a cohesive whole than Inception did – in other words, I felt it was a more completed or whole creative effort than Inception, which I felt was weak and unfinished in places. I suspect that some found elements like the music overdone in places, but I liked the somewhat melodramatic effect and the Hitchcock flavour. I guessed enough but not too much to take away from my enjoyment. It’s been a long time and I’m eager to see it again knowing the ending.

3. Winter’s Bone. So well made and such a powerful story. I don’t quite relate to the fear you mentioned, Vic (in some ways I thought it’s an example of how desperation almost dulls the fear to make courage more possible), though it certainly depicts a culture that seems to be formed on fear in many ways. And I liked exactly what you said about getting a “sense of their entire lives in the briefest of glimpses.”

2. The King’s Speech. A movie that makes you feel good about things that it seems you should feel good about – loyal friendship, breaking social barriers, small steps toward getting free of inner limitations, recognition of courage that showed in ways that often are all too easy to overlook.

1. Captain Abu Raed. Definitely my favourite of the year. It’s the kind of film I want to show everyone and talk about. It might not be easy to find, but it’s worth the search.


  1. Good list!

    I haven't seen your favourite yet (though I have owned it for at least a month now) and I did not see your numbers 8 and 9 (though I also own 9 already), but otherwise I would not argue with any of your choices. I had forgotten all about Get Low, which I also enjoyed very much (though not enough to make my top ten).

    I do, however, have one critical comment to make: You and I watched The Ghost Writer together, did we not?

  2. Have you noticed that only three of your top ten films were among the ten films nominated for Best Picture and only two of my top ten were nominated. The only reasonable conclusion one could draw from this is that the Academy doesn't have the best taste in films.

  3. Yes - good observation and correct conclusion.