PG Cooper: Top Ten Films of 2010

Posted: January 17, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists, PGCMAs

Closing out my award show is my personal list of the top ten films of 2010. Overall, I thought it was a good year and I actually had to make some hard cuts from the list. So without further ado, my list:

10. Kick Ass

Release date: April 16th, 2010

Written by: Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Mark Strong

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 8 (Best Fight, Best Shootout, Best Hero, Best Supporting Actress, Best Breakthrough Performance, Best Comedy, Best Action Film, and Biggest Surprise)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 0

Before I saw the film, I never thought Kick Ass would make my top ten list. And yet, here we are. Kick Ass ponders the question of what it would be like if a normal individual became a super-hero. That individual is Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a teenager and comic book geek sick of seeing injustice and decides to do something about that. He soon finds himself in over his head, going up against the mob and inspiring a vengeful father-daughter duo known as Hit-Girl and Big Daddy (Chloe Moretz and Nicholas Cage) to become crime fighters.

Kick Ass was some of the most fun I’ve had at any movie all year. The film is full of colorful characters that you just love spending time with. I’ve already praised the hell out of Moretz, but I also gotta give a shout out to Nicholas Cage. I’m a huge Batman fan, and seeing Cage play a character who’s in many ways a tribute to Batman really put a smile on my face. The action scenes are awesome, and the film has a sense of fun and humor about it. It’s not for everybody, but for those who appreciate it, it’s an awesome adventure and a great time.

“Three a**holes laying into one guy while everybody watches, and you wanna know what’s wrong with me? Yeah, I’d rather die…so bring it on!”

9. Shutter Island

Release date: February 19th, 2010

Written by: Laeta Kalogridis and Steven Knight

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, and Emily Mortimer

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 4 (Best Cinematography, Best Trailer, Best Horror Film, and Most Under-Rated Film)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 1 (Most Under-Rated Film)

Based on the book by writer Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), Shutter Island follows federal marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule (Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) as they investigate the disappearance of Rachael Solando, a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. But as they try and uncover the mystery, the begin to plunge into Teddy’s mind. Dark secrets are revealed and when all is said and done, things will never be the same.

With Martin Scorsese at the helm, I was pretty excited to see Shutter Island. Scorsese delivered, making an interesting and intense journey through not only the walls of Ashecliffe Hospital, but also through the mind of Teddy Daniels. The film is beautifully shot, and features some great performances, especially Di Caprio. I also love some of the supporting performances. Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow are both great, and then you’ve got Jackie Earle Haley’s brilliant cameo performance. A lot of people thought the ending was predictable. I suppose to an extent they’re right, but I felt the details that make up the end were more then enough to make it acceptable.

“Pull yourself together, Teddy. Pull yourself together.”

8. The Ghost Writer

Release date: February 19th, 2010

Written by: Roman Polanski and Robert Harris

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattral, and Tom Wilkinson

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 3 (Best Chase, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 0

Ewan McGregor plays an unnamed ghost writer, tasked with completing the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). While writing, Lang is faced by potential prosecution from the ICC and thus, must remain in the United States. As the writer digs into the life of Adam Lang, he begins to unravel a mystery with controversies going back decades.

While I enjoyed The Ghost Writer when I first saw it, it wasn’t until after when it settled in just how much I loved the film. The story is fascinating, and watching it progress is a lot of fun. I also really like the acting, especially Pierce Brosnan as the mysterious yet charismatic Adam Lang. Polanski also does a great job revving the suspense and making the slowest of scenes incredibly thrilling and exciting.

“I really don’t think this is a good idea.”

7. The Town

Release date: September 17th, 2010

Written by: Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, and Aaron Stockard

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebbecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, and Blake Lively

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 6 (Best Shootout, Best Chase, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Action Film, and Best Actor)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 1 (Best Shootout)

In Boston, Massachusetts, there is a place called Charlestown. This neighborhood is known as the bank robbery capital of the world. In The Town, we follow a group of thieves, led by Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck). During a heist, the crew grab the bank manager hostage. Later, to make sure she doesn’t know anything, MacRay approaches her. The two hit it off and end up dating. Meanwhile, Doug and his crew are being trailed by an FBI agent, Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm).

Ben Affleck is making a name for himself as a great director. With The Town, Affleck expands that reputation by capturing the essence of Boston even better than he did in Gone Baby Gone and filming some of the most impressive action scenes of the year. On top of that, The Town features some excellent performances and great dialogue. Ben Affleck and Jeremy Remmer are especially impressive as two theives, though both are good for different reasons. The story isn’t completely original, and Affleck’s own Gone Baby Gone was a lot better, but The Town is still a gripping and exciting film.

“I’ll see you again, this side or the other.”

6. True Grit

Release date: December 22nd, 2010

Written by: The Coen Brothers

Directed: The Coen Brothers

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld, and Barry Pepper

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 13 (Best Shootout, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Hero, Best Poster, Best Trailer, Best Supporting Actor, Best Action Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Ensemble Cast)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 1 (Best Breakthrough Performance)

When young Mattie Ross’ father is shot by the thug Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), Matte (Hailee Steinfeld) sets out to track down Chaney and serve justice. To do this, Mattie enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), the most ruthless bounty hunter in the land. Cogburn reluctantly agrees, and the two are also accompanied by La Boeuf, (Matt Damon) a Texas ranger who has been tracking Chaney for six months.

What makes this film so special is watching the characters go on their journey. Seeing all these characters interact with each other is a lot of fun. Bridges, Steinfeld, and Damon were all nominated for PGCMA’s for their performances. But really, the entire cast was awesome. Every actor on screen, even if they don’t have any lines, bring a lot of  character to their performance. The film is also brilliantly written and directed by the Coen Brothers. Great characters, great writing, great action, this is what you should aim for when making a great adventure film.

“Mr.Cogburn, in your four years as U.S. marshal, how many men have you shot?”

5. The Social Network

Release date: October 1st, 2010

Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Directed by: David Fincher

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Max Minghella

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 6 (Best Score, Best Supporting Actor, Best Breakthrough Performance, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Ensemble Cast)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 1 (Best Original Screenplay)

The Social Network tells the (somewhat) true story of the foundation of Facebook. Creation was credited to Mark Zuckerberg, but the film deals with the others who claimed to have their idea stolen.

This film is being praised by almost every film critic, yet has been relatively ignored by this awards show. Make no mistake, I love this film. The story is really interesting, and the dialogue flows so amazingly well. I also love the acting. Filled with a cast of unestablished, younger actors, they all really delivered fantastic performances and proved themselves as talents in my eyes. The Social Network is smart, funny, and surprisingly tense and thrilling. Awesome film.

“I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try, but there’s no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing.”

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One

Release date: November 19th, 2010

Written by: Steve Kloves

Directed by: David Yates

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Ralph Fiennes

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 13 (Best Chase, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Use of Source Music, Best Score, Best Hero, Best Villain, Best Poster, Best Action Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Ensemble Cast)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 2 (Best Hero and Best Poster)

The world is not safe. Voldemort is alive, the death eaters are running rampant, and maybe most importantly, Dumbledore is dead. This time, Harry, Ron, and Hermione have chosen not to go to Hogwarts, and instead are attempting to locate Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Only with those destroyed will Voldemort lose his immortality.

I’ve always liked the Potter films, but it’s rare that one of them really knocks it out of the park for me. Fortunately, Deathly Hallows is one of those rare exceptions. Deathly Hallows pushes the characters and story farther into darker territory. Everything about this film is improved over the previous entries. The acting, direction, style, music, everything. It’s been a long time since I’ve loved a Harry Potter film, but I do love this one. All I can say is bring on Part Two.

“These are dark times there is no denying. Our world has perhaps faced no greater threat than it does today.”

3. Black Swan

Release date: December 3rd, 2010

Written by: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John McLaughlin

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, and Winnona Ryder

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 9 (Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Villain, Best Poster, Best Breakthrough Performance, Best Horror Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 3 (Best Cinematography, Best Horror Film, and Best Actress)

Nina (Natalie Portman) is a dancer for a ballet company in New York. For their next production, they have decided to adapt the story of Swan Lake. Nina is going for the role of the Swan Queen which while she’s perfect for the White Swan, the role of the Black Swan is one she can’t quite tackle. While she has the talent, she lacks the natural passion for the role. Nina pushes herself to her limits to capture that passion, but her director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) and Nina’s mother (Barbara Hershey) push her even further.

Black Swan just may be the most powerful film of the year. Aronofsky takes us on a bizarre journey through the mind of Nina. The film is very well written, beautifully shot, and very well directed. But it’s Natalie Portman who deserves the most praise for this film. Like her character, Portman pushes herself to her limits to achieve perfection and I have to say, mission accomplished. The supporting characters are all great as well. Cassel, Hershey, Kunis, Ryder, there all great. Smart, moving, horrifying. Black Swan is one of the most unique and surreal experiences of the year.

“I just want to be perfect.”

2. Toy Story 3

Release date: June 18th, 2010

Written by: Michael Arndt

Directed by: Lee Unkrich

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, and Don Rickles

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 8 (Best Chase, Best Use of Source Music, Best Villain, Best Poster, Best Comedic Film, Best Animated Film, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Ensemble Cast)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 5 (Best Chase, Best Use of Source Music, Best Poster, Best Animated Film, and Best Ensemble Cast)

Andy is seventeen years old and hasn’t played with his toys in years. In fact, he’s soon leaving for college. Not many of the toys are left, and a lot of them are scared for there future. Through a mix up, they find themselves at Sunny Side Day Care. There, they meet new toys and discover they will be played with everyday. While at first everything’s seems great, they soon realize things are not as they seem.

I was so nervous for this film. The Toy Story films are old favourites of mine, and I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to live up to the original films. Not only did Pixar meet this challenge, but they made a film better than any film they’ve made before. All the old favourite characters are back, plus some fun new characters. The story is clever and I love what they do with all these characters, both old and new. But more than that, this film is so very touching. I feel no shame admitting this film brought my to tears but on the whole, made me feel good. A touching, funny, and at times surprisingly dark film. Toy Story 3 is a master piece.

“To infinity, and beyond!”

1. Inception

Release date: July 16th, 2010

Written by: Christopher Nolan

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and Ken Watanabe

Number of PGCMA Nominations: 15 (Best Fight, Best Shootout, Best Chase, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Use of Source Music, Best Score, Best Villain, Best Poster, Best Trailer, Best Supporting Actress, Best Action Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Ensemble Cast)

Number of PGCMA Wins: 7 (Best Fight, Best Visual Effects, Best Score, Best Trailer, Best Supporting Actress, Best Action Film, and Best Original Screenplay)

Surprise! Well, not really seeing as Inception has completely dominated the PGCMA’s. The film tells the story of a group of extractors who break into peoples dreams and extract information for money. The team is led by Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) who has fled from the United States because he’s wanted for murder. After being tested by a businessman named Saito (Ken Watanabe), Saito offers to have the charges dropped against Cobb in exchange for Cobb doing a job for him. But instead of extracting information from someones mind, they have to plant an idea in someone’s mind. It’s called inception.

Many people have praised Christopher Nolan as being one of the next great filmmakers. I find the filmmaker I compare him to the most is Steven Spielberg. Like Spielberg, Nolan makes high-quality films that appeal to both film critics and mass audiences. But is that why Inception is my number one film, because it appeals to everybody? No. Inception is my number one because it’s a brilliantly crafted thriller, an intricate brain-bending puzzle, a well-acted film, and an all in all incredible experience. I’m always surprised when I hear people say they don’t like this film since I can’t understand what’s not to love. Inception isn’t just my favourite film of the year, it’s also one of my favourite films of all time.

“You remember, it’s the chance to build cathedrals, entire cities, things that never existed. Things that couldn’t exist in the real world.”

This concludes the PG Cooper Movie Awards, I had a lot of fun writing these and I hope you liked them too. Here’s hoping I can do them again next year.

  1. ianthecool says:

    A great number one. I’m still compiling my list which is difficult, since the bottom few entries I feel are pretty weak. I’d like to see a few more films first. But I’m almost certain you and I will have the same movie in our number one spot.

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      Yeah, it was hard to not give it number one. I thought about putting Toy Story 3 there, but it didn’t feel right. I look forward to your list when you finally do make it.

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