Guest Post: 3 Best films of 2010 and 3 worst films from 2010

By Ted Saydalavong (read Ted’s profile)

So 2010 is coming to an end, hard to believe, movie fans and critics everywhere will have their list of best and worst films. For this post I’ll name my top 3 best films (Note: Different people have different tastes in films so this is MY personally favorite films of 2010). And I’ll name my top 3 worst films of 2010. Also, since I didn’t see all of the films that came out this year, I will only focus on the big budgeted ones that studio hoped it will either make a lot of money or earn some Oscar nominations.

I saw some good foreign films this year too that I would include in my top 3 but again since I decided to just focus on big budget Hollywood films, I can’t include them. Side note: In case you’re interested in some of those foreign films, please check out Mother from South Korea and A Prophet from France. Both were released in 2009 in their country but didn’t hit the states till early 2010. I will bet that those two films will get a remake from Hollywood real soon, so check them out before Hollywood will either ruin or maybe they’ll improve them. (Example: The Departed was an upgrade over the original Infernal Affairs from Hong Kong).

Anyhoo, here are my top 3 best/favorite films of 2010:

  1. The Social Network
    So how can you make a movie about how Facebook was created? Well first off you hire a good writer in Aaron Sorkin and a great director David Fincher and make one hell of great film. Whether you’re a Facebook user or not (I’m one of the 500 million users, in fact I signed up with them since they started accepting users from outside of college campuses around mid 2004, I think), you’ll enjoy the great cinematographer, sharp dialogs and great performances. I can’t say enough good things about this film, partly maybe because I’ve started a online company in my early twenties and was caught up in the excitement and/or maybe I was just thrill seeing a movie that didn’t have any shootouts or explosions yet I was on the edge of my seat while watching it. Will it win the best picture of the year, I won’t be surprised if it does, so far it won pretty much all of the prestigious critic awards and I believe most of the respected critics in the country have voted as one of their favorite films of the year.
  2. Inception
    This is by far one of the most ambitious and smartest summer tent pole films I’ve seen since well Nolan’s last film, The Dark Knight. It has great visual effects, soundtrack, performances and editing. This is a good example of how to make a good smart pop corn summer flick without insulting the audience (I’m looking at you Michael Bay, McG, M. Night and Brett Ratner). A lot of us have been complaining about how summer films tend to be either sequels, remakes or comic book based, so when a studio has the balls to release a big summer flick like this, I was truly appreciated.

    If The Dark Knight didn’t make as much money as it did, we probably would never have seen Inception on the big screen.Now with all that said, I do have some problems with the film. Mainly I think Nolan made the story more complicated than it should have been and he just couldn’t figure out how to solve it. Maybe he should’ve brought in his brother to clean up the mess. Also, I just think the main characters weren’t in any real danger even though they were being chase by the “bad guys”, maybe if Nolan had included another team who’s also going after the same thing and somehow they meet in the dream world or something like that, I don’t know. Those are just some minor complaints I have about this film.

    I think Time magazine had it wrong when they named M. Night the next Spielberg a few years ago. They should’ve waited a few more years and name Christopher Nolan instead, let’s face it, what has M. Night done since he was given that throne? Well he made The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening and The Last Air Bender. Raise your hands if you actually think those films are “good” or even decent, anybody? I didn’t think so. Nolan on the other hand has made some good to great films around the time M. Night was on the cover of Time magazine. You may ask why I brought this up? Well I believe Nolan will have a career that’s similar to Spielberg’s. Steven Spielberg has made a lot of films that earned tons of cash at the box office but was never given any respect by his peers until he made Schindler’s List. Now look at Nolan’s career so far, the two Batman films have made well over a billion dollars, Inception made close to $300 million and of course the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises is a guarantee box office gold. Maybe in a few more years, Nolan will make THAT film and get some respect from his peers.
  3. True Grit
    I saw this film just a few days ago and it’s still fresh on my mind, when I see it again I may either move it up on the list or down, not sure yet. In any case, this is a great western from the Coen Bros., filled with great performances and dialog. It’s so surprising how funny it was and yes it does have the Coen Bros. signature violence in it, even though it got a PG-13 rating. I won’t ruin it for you but you’ll be shock at how brutal that scene was for a PG-13 film. The film was gorgeously shot by Roger Deakins, one of my favorite cinematographers. Seriously this man just doesn’t know how to make a movie look bad, he even shot M. Might’s awful film The Village and that film looked amazing.

    With the Coen Bros.’ direction and Deakins’ great cinematography, this is a highly recommended film. BTW, don’t expect to see a lot of shootouts in the movie, the marketing folks did a great job of making the film look like it’s an action adventure western. If that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll be truly disappointed, Tombstone it is not. For western, I would compare this to Unforgiven and for the Coen Bros. film, I would compare it to Blood Simple.

Now here are my 3 worst films of the year, again there are tons of bad films that came out in 2010 but I’m going to only focus on the high priced pictures Hollywood offered us.

  1. Green Zone
    This is by far the worst film I saw this year and it pains me to say it because Paul Greenglass is one of my favorite directors working in Hollywood today. I also like Matt Damon as actor quite a bit but somehow these two guys totally messed up this movie. I considered myself to be liberal when it comes to politics but wow this movie just rubbed me the wrong way. Not only was it preachy on a subject that most people in America already knew about but Greengrass kept hammering away at it and never lets up. If you saw the film then you know what I’m talking about. I also thought that the film came out a couple of years too late, I mean if the Bush administration were still in the office then maybe it would’ve been more relevant but it’s 2010 and Bush is long gone.

    A little history behind this movie, when it was first announced way back in 2007 the film was supposed to be a satire on the Irag War. But before they started shooting, Greengrass decided to change the script to a straight drama picture. Universal was actually quite excited about the new script and they even scheduled the movie to open on the holiday season of 2008 hoping for some Oscar nominations. Well a month or two into production, Greengrass again decided to change the script, now he wanted to be an action/drama and so they had to push the release date to 2009. With more changes to the script while the film was being shot, Universal didn’t have much faith in the picture so they decided to dump it in March of this year, a hit or miss month for film releases. Also, the film went well over its original $80 mil budget, it came in around $150 mil and of course it tanked at the box office.

    Again it pains me to call this the worst film of year because I know that Greengrass is such a talented filmmaker but I think his political beliefs has overtaken his mind and ruined this movie. Hopefully he’ll come back with a great film in a year or two. He’s currently in pre-production of a film called They Marched Into Sunlight, another political theme film set during the Vietnam war.
  2. Unstoppable
    I don’t know how Tony Scott convinced a movie studio to give him $100 mil to shoot a film about a runaway train and somehow he even convinced Denzel Washington to come on board. The film got some good reviews from critics and I was hoping for some good time when I went to see it. Boy was I wrong, the film has no dept and I didn’t care for any of the characters in the movie. I was so bore that I was sort falling asleep during one of the big action sequences. The film runs about an hour and a half but it felt like 3 hours to me.

    If you really want to see a better movie about runaway train, I suggest renting Runaway Train starring Jon Voight and Eric Roberts, it doesn’t have the cool action scenes like Unstoppable but it has way more interesting storyline and characters. Runaway Train was going to beAkira Kurosawa’s first directing debut here in the states but the project was canceled because the snowstorms were so bad, his crew could not work. The movie might have even better had Kurosawa directed it but I’ve never seen any of Kurosawa’s work so I’m just assuming here.
  3. Robin Hood
    This was one of the films I looked forward to back in the summer but wow I don’t know what happened. The film was a mess from start to finish and everyone in the film looked like they didn’t want to be there, well Cate Blanchet was pretty good in it. Crowe looked like he’d rather be doing something else than playing Robin Hood and Scott’s direction was downright awful. It pains me to say it because Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors but I think he just made the movie for the money. The movie was supposed to be a prequel so why did they cast a forty something Crowe as Robin Hood? We’ll never know.

    The behind the scenes stuff was quite long with this film so maybe they should’ve shelf the project instead of spending close to $200 mil shooting it. My guess is that Universal spent so much money in pre-production that they have to make it and probably pushed Scott to finish it in time for an early May release. Originally it was scheduled for a November 2009 release but because of script changes, they had to move the release date to 2010.

I would’ve included the remake Clash of the Titans on my worst list but it was so bad that I couldn’t even finish watching it, I turned it off after half hour into the movie.

Well those are my best and worst list of 2010, feel free to agree or disagree and of course you can name your best and worst films from 2010.

Happy New Year!


rtm’s note: I should have my own list up by later today this weekend. Well, any reaction to any of Ted’s choices? Please chime in below.

23 thoughts on “Guest Post: 3 Best films of 2010 and 3 worst films from 2010

  1. After watching Devil i think M.Night might be getting his groove back..but then again, he wasn’t the director on it, and he created the story, not the screenplay. Still, one can hope

    As for my list, i’m not sure to be honest.

    1. That’s right, M Night only produced that film. Not sure about him getting his groove back but I’m in the camp that think he might still get a come back one day.

      I’ve got my list ready, just taking time for the writeup.

  2. I didn’t even remember that the bottom three movies existed until you mentioned them. How I hate generic action thrillers starring furrowed eyebrows and the faces that belong to them.

  3. Aww I liked Unstoppable. It wasn’t the worst I saw but then again you have classier tastes than I do:)

    Happy New Year to you Ruth. My best to you and your husband in ’11…oh and how’s the weather up there??

    1. It’s not my list, Marc, I haven’t seen Unstoppable yet 😉

      Happy New Year to you & your wife! There was some freezing rain, with some small hail, too, but luckily no blizzard… yet. Hope it’s all good there in Dallas.

      1. D’Oh I feel dumb…well now I can cite that as last year’s mistake. Ah the folley of youth:)

        Dallas is bordering on Springtime right now and not very conducive to enjoying Christmas and New Year’s that’s for sure…but that just means Feb and March are going to be brutally cold.

        1. Ahah, no problemo Marc.

          So you’re complaining that it’s warm?? Too funny, it’s frigid cold this week (high only in the single digit) and today I could practically hear the powerful wind. Glad my hubby decided against doing the Polar Dash today (5k run along Mississippi river!!) Sorry but I don’t think you can speak about ‘brutally cold’ to a Minnesotan 😉

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  5. I love Mother…one of the best movies I saw this year. I’m glad I found the DVD.

    Glad to see Inception in your top-3 list and Robin Hood in your worst movie. Both deserve their place.

    Happy New Year to you and your husband Ruth 🙂

    1. Yeah, Ted told me how much he loved it, but I’m not as interested in seeing it for some reason.

      Happy New Year to you, Nov! What do you usually do there in Jkt? Btw, I’ve always wanted to ask, which part of Jkt do you live? I grew up in Tebet, same road as Sahid Uni.

      1. I always celebrate my new year at home 🙂
        There are plenty fireworks to see around my house and that’s enough for me.I also enjoy movies on TV, I think you remember how TV becomes so generous with new movies in the end of the year.
        I finally saw Ironman last night 😉

        I live in LA, that’s Lenteng Agung NOT Los Angeles ;p

        1. Yeah I did the same, too. I just watched the ball drop on Times Square on TV, it’s just funny the fact that I was just there a week ago.

          That’s cool that they’re showing Iron Man last night, guess what we almost watched that movie too but ended up seeing Avatar extended version on Blu-ray.

          Ahah, yeah the Indo LA 🙂 I guess we’re both in Jkt Selatan then.

  6. Aw, c’mon, people. Robin Hood was nowhere near being a bad movie. Once again, I am left wondering if everyone else saw a different movie than I did … worst movies I saw this year were all Netflixed: Barbarella, Earth Girls Are Easy, and … GI Joe, let’s say. Now THOSE are bad movies. 🙂

    1. Yeah, I wouldn’t exactly put it in my Best list but certainly not the worst. But hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I know Ted likes Ridley a lot.

      GI Joe looks horrid even from the 2-minute trailer.

  7. Ha, we disagree on a few here. I actually liked Green Zone and Robin Hood. But I agree with you about Nolan being a more appropriate choice for the label ‘next Spielberg’ than Shyalaman. By a long shot.

    I loved The Social Network and totally didn’t expect to. I can’t think of many directors who could have made such a simple story so exciting. It confounded all my expectations.

    I still haven’t seen True Grit. 😦

  8. Whoa, kind of shocked about the inclusion of Green Zone on the list. I feel as if that’s one of the most underrated ones this year….not necessarily essential viewing for me but still I think Greengrass does some fine things with a general rote story-line.

    1. Ted S.

      Like I said on the post, I don’t like being preach to and I believe (hope) that most of Americans knew why we invaded Irag. Most of us knew that there weren’t any WMD in Irag but the film insisted that we should know the truth and it’s wrong that we’ve invaded the country and blah blah blah.

      I agree Greengrass is very good director but not on this film.

      Again, different people have different tastes in films, glad you enjoyed it though.

  9. I think you and I are in the minority of people who just didn’t like the Green Zone but really didn’t like. Great list, similar taste even though Unstoppable was a mindless adrenaline pleasure.

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