HT Schuyler: Top Ten Films of 2010

Posted: February 25, 2011 by htschuyler in Lists


After my 2010 Recap, it was only a matter of time before I was to make a list of my 10 favorites from 2010, but before I did it, there were a couple of 2010 films still out there that I wanted to see, so I waited to make my list until I saw them. I’m glad I did, because two of my initial ten were knocked off to make room, so not every film that is present here was in my 2010 Recap. As usual, this is my opinion, these are not the films that I think should sweep the Oscars, they are not the greatest movies of all time, they are simply the ones that I enjoyed most from 2010. To further emphasize this point, let’s begin with my number 10 film of 2010:

10.) SAW 3D (VII)

Release Date: October 29th, 2010.

Directed by: Kevin Greutert.

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russel, Sean Patrick Flanery and Cary Elwes.

Rated: 18A

Yeah I know, this movie sucks. People hate this movie, even PG Cooper stated it’s one of the worst of 2010, and here I am putting it on my best of list. Most SAW fans hate this movie…except me. Also, my number 10 spot on my best of lists are movies that probably shouldn’t be there, that aren’t that well received by critics, and most people don’t like. To be honest, my number 10 spot is reserved for the guilty pleasures. As a SAW movie, this movie is terrible. It pretty much punches the fans straight in the face (in 3D), and takes advantage of their loyalty by filling the movie with trap after trap after trap, little story and hardly any Tobin Bell. But, to be fair to the makers, they were giving the fans what they thought they wanted. I will always defend the first 6 SAW movies, and claim that they are good films, with this one, not so much. Now that all that is out of the way, lets talk about why this film is number 10. Despite it’s flaws, it’s still a SAW movie, which means all the things I love about SAW are present, just not in the quantity I would normally expect. Despite people hating the ending, I actually liked it, as it ended in the vein of the first film, but it was disappointing to see that they had not done anything that original, as that ending had been done before. The traps looked good, and Tobin Bell’s small cameo was as good as ever. Watching the movie again, I start to see the flaws and enjoy it less, but I can’t deny that when I sat down in the theater with those stupid 3D glasses on, I was pumped as hell. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so high that I didn’t care how bad the movie was, as long as it was SAW, that’s all that mattered. So this movie is here because of my initial enjoyment of it, and my satisfaction with how it all ended. Is it the best film of 2010? Of course not, but is it good enough to still be present on my list? Hell yes.

9.) Shutter Island

Release Date: February 19th, 2010

Director: Martin Scorsese.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Ted Levine and Jackie Earle Haley.

Rated: 14A

Leonardo DiCaprio in a crime thriller where he has weird dream-like visions of his dead wife…sounds similar to another DiCaprio movie that came out this year. Whatever, this movie rocked. A very retro feel, which I love, great atmosphere, great acting and a very suspenseful story that kept you guessing till the end. Some really intense scenes and an amazing performance from Jackie Earle Haley. Martin Scorsese’s amazing direction mixed with an extremely talented cast makes for an intense thriller that keeps you guessing right up until it’s shocking conclusion.

8.) Exit Through the Gift Shop

Release Date: March 5th, 2010

Director: Banksy.

Starring: Banksy, Space Invader, Shepard Fairey, Thierry Guetta and Rhys Ifans.

Rated: PG

For those of you who have never heard of this movie, it’s a documentary made by Banksy. For those of you who don’t know who Banksy is, what’s wrong with you? Exit Through the Gift Shop tells the story of a man living in LA obsessed with filming everything he does. He tags along with his cousin as he goes around doing Street Art, a certain form of graffiti that is usually frowned upon. Soon, his obsession with Street Art leads him to meeting and filming some of the top Street Artists around, until he eventually meets up with the mysterious Banksy, who allows him to film the process of his art. I won’t go into too much detail, because it really has to be seen. Now, the reason this movie is here is not just because it’s hilarious, or really interesting, or really entertaining. Though it is all these things, the reason it’s here is because the message this film is trying to get across (at least in my opinion) is so brilliant it deserves all the praise it’s receiving. It’s a film that makes you think, but does so in such an entertaining way. Now, there’s discussion as to whether this film is real or not, as it seems to be a true documentary. To be honest, I don’t care whether it’s real or not, it’s still an incredibly entertaining film with a deep message about how we’ve been brainwashed by the media into thinking something is art, even if it’s not, and the people responsible will always be successful and keep making it as long as we exit through the gift shop.

7.) Buried

Release Date: September 29th, 2010.

Director: Rodrigo Cortés.

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Robert Paterson (voice), Stephen Tobolowsky (voice) and Samantha Mathis (voice).

Rated: 14A

The second that this movie ended and the credits started to roll, all I could say was “Holy S**t!” And when people ask me what I thought about this movie, that is literally all I can say. The ENTIRE movie is set in a coffin that is buried 6 feet under the ground. That’s right, no flashbacks, just one man in a coffin. He has a lighter, a flashlight, a cell phone with a dying battery, a knife, some glow sticks, a flask and some medication. The whole movie rests on the shoulders of Ryan Reynolds, who is fantastic. There’s nothing special about his character, but Reynolds performance is so perfect that you care very much for him, and hope everything works out for him. Though there are moments in this film that I thought were a little far fetched, there’s pretty much nothing wrong with this movie. Just the fact that the director was able to make a film about a guy stuck in a box for 95 minutes as entertaining and suspenseful as it is, is incredible. Though there were moments when it felt like it was dragging, it would quickly pick up, and something interesting would happen. Most of the movie is dialogue driven, as most of the time he is talking to someone on the phone, but it never drags on, and you are invested in his character the entire film. This film is suspenseful, intense, brilliantly acted extremely unique. Also, the last 30 seconds of the movie was the most intense scene I’ve seen all year. A must see.

6.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Release Date: November 19th, 2010.

Director: David Yates.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane and David Thewlis.

Rated: PG

As the years have gone by and times have changed, I have become less and less interested in the Harry Potter series. But if there was one thing that could completely change my view on the franchise and turn me back into a fan and grave the final installment, it’s this movie. This movie is awesome. The thing I love the most about this film is how unlike the previous films, it’s all about our three leads, no Hogwarts, and it’s dark as hell. This film almost feels like a horror film at times, and it’s a really mature and intense movie. The acting and emotions in characters are better than ever, and you really care for the leads. My only complaint was a slow middle and abrupt ending, but again, it just makes you grave Part 2 even more. Special effects are top-notch, and action scenes, though few and far between, are just plain awesome. Acting is top notch, special effects better than ever, mature, dark storyline and leaves you wanting more. Most likely the best in the series, and most definitely one of the best 0f 2010.

5.) Frozen

Release Date: March 25th, 2010

Director: Adam Green.

Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, Emma Bell and Kane Hodder.

Rated: 14A

If you’ve read either my review or 2010 Recap, you’ll know how highly I think of this film, so it should come as no surprise that this made my top 10. Unfortunately this film is not as well known as it should be, because this is by far the best horror film I’ve seen all year. Three skiers (and snowboarders) are stranded in a chairlift for 5 days and must fight against snow storms, ice, and wolves in order to survive. This is a perfect example of humans vs nature, as the only threat in this movie is simply nature (and the enormous drop between them and the ground). Your 100% invested in these characters the entire movie, and really wish the best for them. Extremely tense and frightening moments, likable characters and edge of your seat thrills are whats in store for you in Frozen. So simple, yet very effective. Great acting from entire cast, impressive storytelling and clever dialogue. An underrated masterpiece, there’s not a single person I wouldn’t recommended this to. A must see for horror/thriller or just film fans in general.

4.) Black Swan

Release Date: December 17th, 2010

Director: Darren Aronofsky.

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

Rated: 14A

Now, when I said Frozen was the best horror film of 2010, that is because I do not consider this to be a horror movie. Psychological thriller maybe, but there is much more drama in this film that horror, therefor I do not consider it one. That being said, that doesn’t mean this film isn’t incredible. A bizarre story about the cost of perfection, the level of desperation humans can go to, sexuality and ballet. Oscar worthy performances from the entire cast, (especially Vincent Cassel), intense and frightening imagery and a story that mirrors the one of Swan Lake, this film is a winner. When I first heard of this movie, I had no desire to see it, stating that it looked dull and boring, I was so wrong. The film moves at a steady pace, flows nicely and has a gripping and surprising climax. A brilliant score from the talented Clint Mansell, really adding intensity and emotion to the movie.  One of the most unique films of the year, and is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen.

3.) Inception

Release Date: July 16th, 2010.

Director: Christopher Nolan.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillain Murphy, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao and Michael Caine.

Rated: PG

In a large group of people, simply mention the word “Inception” and the instant response from everyone is “THAT’S SUCH A GOOD MOVIE!!!!” Yes, everybody loves this movie and are quick to praise it as one of the best movies ever made. Well, it deserves it. By far one of the most unique films out there, an incredible cast, stunning visuals and amazing action scenes. Christopher Nolan already proved he’s one of the best out there when he made Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and as I said in my 2010 Recap, he really outdoes himself. Everything is perfect about this film, perfect cast, perfect story, perfect effects, the only thing that bugged me was the story with Cobb’s wife, but I’m able to overlook that, as the rest is just to awesome to fault. I could praise this film for hours, but I don’t need to, because everyone already knows it’s brilliant, and nothing I say can do it justice. I would say run out and see it, but I’m sure you already have. Well, maybe it’s time to see it again?

2.) Kick-Ass

Release Date: April 16th, 2010.

Director: Matthew Vaughn.

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

Rated: 18A

Yes, that’s right. Kick-Ass. Now, before anyone asks, I do not think that Kick-Ass is a better film than Inception. Kick-Ass is my second favorite film of 2010 because every time I watch this movie, it just gets better. Everyone has wanted to be a superhero at some point, and the idea of a film (and comic) that demonstrates the real consequences of trying to be a superhero in todays world is just great. Great acting from everyone, especially Chloe Moretz, who is just so unbelievably awesome as Hit-Girl. Nicholas Cage is also great, and seeing McLovin in a superhero costume and attempting to fight is hilariously awesome. The film actually has a strong message about standing up for something and staying strong, but is also a hilarious, raunchy comedy, mixed with incredible action and a strong story. One of the most enjoyable and re-watchable movies this year, this film is just plain awesome. Great soundtrack, a good message, badass action, good acting and hilarious moments make this an instant classic and deserving it’s spot as my second favorite film of the year. If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check it out, it’s unlike anything you’ve seen, and is a perfect blend of everything I love about superhero and comedy movies. Simply put, it’s pure genius.

And my number 1 film of 2010 is……………………………………………………………

1.) Toy Story 3

Release Date: June 18th, 2010.

Director: Lee Unkrich.

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

Rated: G

Yup, that’s right. The guy who gave Saw 3D a 9, and loved Piranha 3D, and has Kick-Ass as his number 2 film of 2010, loves Toy Story 3. Why? Because not only is this the best film of the year, it is hands down the best animated movie ever. I don’t like kids movies, I find they talk down to children by assuming they’ll be entertained by flashy images and stupid humor. The excuse “oh but it’s just a kids movie” means nothing, because not all kids films have to be stupid and pointless, and have nothing to offer different demographics. Toy Story 3 proves this point perfectly. I’ve loved Toy Story since I first saw it, and was very eager to see another movie, despite there really not being a need for one. I went in expecting something as good as the first or even second, but what I got was something else entirely. I got the best movie of the year. Excellent voice acting, as usual, and hilarious and engaging plot. The toys get shipped off to a daycare, and must then find a way to escape. So already they’ve mixed animated film with a comedy, and now it’s also an escape film. Later on, as we learn about the history of some of the toys at the Day Care, it also become a drama, and you get really emotionally invested with these characters. Now, despite this movie being G and suitable for all audience, it is dark as hell. Really intense scenes where you think the characters are doomed, and they are put in some pretty damn nasty situations. The Toy Story films have always had a subtle edge of terror to them, but this one breaks new grounds, as some scenes are downright emotionally traumatizing. Not to mention the tear educing ending, that had half the audience in tears. This film is perfect, there’s no other way to describe it. Everything I could possibly want in a film (with minor exceptions) is present here, in a kids movie. Actually, no, this isn’t a kids movie, because to be honest, it felt like it was catered more to the mature audience’s than to the younger ones. Don’t get me wrong, kids will have a blast, but you’ll have just as much fun, if not more if your older. Stunning animation, excellent voice acting, hilarious moments, beautiful story and  a tear jerking ending. This movie is nothing less than perfect.

So there you have it, my top 10 films of 2010. Now again I must stress that this is simply my opinion. I’m not saying they’re the best films ever made or anything, they are just the films that I enjoyed most out of 2010. Overall, 2010 was a pretty good year for film, and I’m hoping 2011 is even better.

-HT Schuyler.

  1. pgcooper1939 says:

    With one glaring exception, really good list. I’ve seen everything but Frozen and Gift Shop. I really like how you praise Vincent Cassel in your Black Swan write-up since I feel a lot of the supporting cast are being unfairly ignored.

  2. ianthecool says:

    Its always interesting to see unorthodox choices on these top ten lists. And Saw is certainly that. But Frozen is another unexpected choice. Toy Story is an interesting number 1. But its clear that the film of 2010 was Inception as it is topping or near the top of almost all top ten lists I’ve seen.

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