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Countdown to Oscars

Sunday, December 26, 2010
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PLEASE NOTE: The following rankings and remarks reflect my personal opinions and do/will not in any way impact my projections or analysis on this site, wherein I strive above all else to correctly forecast what will happen, not what I believe should happen. My demonstrated ability to do that over the years is what has led most of you to my site, and any failure to do that will undoubtedly lead you away from it, so you can rest assured that I mean it when I say that one has/will have no bearing on the other.

Scott Feinberg’s Top 10 Films of 2010

1. The Social Network (Columbia, 10/1, PG-13, trailer)

I distinctly remember sitting in a movie theater over the summer when the first teaser for “the Facebook movie” began playing, prompting groans and snickering all around me — stuff along the lines of, “What’s it gonna be about? A server crashing?” How wrong they were. “The Social Network” proved to be not only the best film of the year, but quite possibly the best film of the 21st century thus far (and one with eery similarities to the best film of the 20th).

Critically beloved (it swept all of the major critics awards and placed #1 more than any other film on individual critics’ top 10 lists) and commercially successful (it topped the box-office in each of its first two weeks and will soon have grossed more than $100 million, twice its $50 million budget), it’s one of those rare instances in which everything just clicked: a Chayefsky-esque script from the modern-day master of dialgoue Aaron Sorkin (at 162 pages it should have run 2 hours and 42 minutes, but because of its rapid-fire delivery, which is so appropriate for the brilliant young characters of the film, it runs 42 minutes shorter, and includes the most electric opening and closing scenes of any movie this year); a distinct attitude and visual style courtesy of David Fincher (who famously demanded as many as 100 takes for some scenes, and because — or in spite — of that has created a movie that feels more alive and moving in a deposition room than others do in combat or love scenes — not to mention one with his signature stamp of cool visual effects in the form of the Winklevii); a haunting score from Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and his collaborator Atticus Ross (in some ways the unlikeliest of sources); and an ensemble of young actors in which everyone fit their roles like a glove, from Jesse Eisenberg (who nails Mark Zuckerberg’s awkward genius, and who will never again be confused with Michael Cera by anyone who sees this film) to Andrew Garfield (as Mark’s loyal and then wounded friend) to Justin Timberlake (as a self-invented smooth operator who talks his way into Mark’s operation) to Rooney Mara (who, in just a few minutes of screen time, makes one understand why Mark would go to the end of the world to try to win her character back, and why Fincher wanted her more than anyone else for the lead in his next film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”).

The concern of some about “The Social Network” was that only young people would be able to “get” it, and that they would choose to go to a comic book movie instead. That has proven not to be the case. Indeed, people of all ages have responded to it because you really don’t have to understand the intricacies of Facebook — any more than you have to know how a hedge fund works in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” — in order to follow a story that is ultimately about pride, ambition, friendship, and betrayal; in fact, few can probably understand it better than people who have worked in the film industry. For better or worse, it’s a story that captures the world in which we live today — and the direction in which we appear to be headed — as well as any.

ScottFeinberg.com Interview: Justin Timberlake (11/30)

2. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight, 12/1, R, trailer)

People who go to “Black Swan” expecting to see a chick flick about dancing are in for a big surprise; the film is actually a psychological thriller of the first order that has shaken up more than a few alpha-males. As I recently joked to a friend who asked for a description of it, it’s “All That Jazz” (1979) meets “All About Eve” (1950) meets “All About My Mother” (1999) meets “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930). Moreover, it is not unlike director Darren Aronofsky’s last film, “The Wrestler” (2008), in the sense that both are about performers who prove to be the biggest impediment to their own success and happiness, lose sight of the line between performance and reality, and wind up sacrificing their bodies — and, arguably, their lives — to their professions. What’s remarkable to me is that the same guy could tackle, with equal adeptness, both wrestling and ballet (which are just about polar opposites on the spectrum of athletic/entertainment forms), and in so doing elicit career-best performances from both Mickey Rourke and Natalie Portman (who are also just about polar opposites on the spectrum of anything).

Portman has been around for years now, but she has never been better than she is in this film — her performance, as others have also noted, is, in a very real sense, the female equivalent to Robert De Niro‘s in “Raging Bull” (1980). Portman and her co-star Mila Kunis (who proves in this film that she is indeed a serious actress), whose prior dance experience was limited and came during their childhoods, trained like maniacs for the film — Portman for years, with increasing intensity as production neared, and Kunis from the day after she was cast until its start months later — and as a result completely transformed their bodies and became talented enough not to stand out in anything but a good way in the company of the professional dancers who surround them in the film.

The filmmakers’ most amazing accomplishment is how they managed to do so much with so little. They had just $13 million and 35 days to play with, but they made the most of it: they couldn’t afford major special effects (with the exception of the feather-blossoming) to provoke questions about what is real and what is imagined, so they turned to the relatively-inexpensive trick of manipulating images in mirrors, which proved as unsettling as anything could have; they needed to find a way to show Natalie emoting as she danced, so Matthew Libatique employed a lightweight camera, moved amongst the dancers as they danced, and beautifully captured Natalie’s ballet within a ballet; they needed to simultaneously convey both the tradition of the ballet and the inner-turmoil of the ballerina, so Clint Mansell composed a score that takes Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and morphs it into something like we’ve never heard before; and the clock was running out on the production, so they found a way to shoot each act of the epic ballet that culminates the film in just one day. It all could easily have driven someone mad!

ScottFeinberg.com Interviews: Darren Aronofsky (9/16), Mila Kunis (11/26)

3. Blue Valentine (The Weinstein Company, 12/29, R, trailer)

“Blue Valentine,” which debuted as Sundance and is finally hitting theaters nearly a full year later, is the most moving film of the year. It’s a gritty, honest drama for adults about the complexities of love, told through the coming together and falling apart of two young people — portrayed by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, both 30, in performances for the ages — about whom one comes to care deeply. More than one scene involving the two — but especially the one in which Gosling pursues Williams into her place of work, desperately trying recapture her acceptance and love — reminds me of Marlon Brando’s animalistic Stanley Kowalski pursuing Kim Hunter’s Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), which is no small compliment.

It is effectively two movies, set six years apart, interwoven into one through editing, and it packs an emotional wallop, emphasizing how the same things that attract people to one another can later become the things that drive them apart; how people can change over time; and how we are all largely a product of our circumstances (perhaps more than we’d like to admit). As is often the case in real life, but rarely in movies, neither person is the hero or the villain. Instead, both are fundamentally good people (watch them interact with elderly people and, years later, their own daughter) who are deeply curious about love but ultimately unable to adapt to its demands, in large part because they’ve really only heard about it rather than witnessed it in their own lives (his mother left his father when he was young, and it would have been totally understandable if her mom had done the same).

Co-writer/director Derek Cianfrace insisted that the script, which had attracted Gosling and Williams in the first place, be followed only loosely, and that the actors’ instincts take precedence. Cianfrace, who has a background in documentary filmmaking, rarely shot more than one take of a scene, but some of his takes lasted for hours (Gosling literally fell asleep in the middle of one and woke up to the cameras still rolling), until something interesting happened (such as the Gosling’s ukelele/Williams’s tapdance scene and the one in which Gosling threatens to jump off of the Manhattan Bridge, both totally improvised). Much attention has been given to the sex scenes, not because they’re especially graphic but because the very suggestion of intense passion initially made the MPAA uncomfortable enough to bestow an NC-17 rating upon the film. Kudos to them for subsequently acknowledging that female pleasure is not more disturbing to most audiences today than sawed-off heads. This is not a movie that glamorizes sex or its consequences; in this one, nobody gets off the hook easily.

ScottFeinberg.com Interviews: Michelle Williams (11/8), Ryan Gosling (12/19)

4. The Fighter (Paramount, 12/10, R, trailer)

You’ll be hardpressed to find a more crowd-pleasing movie this year than “The Fighter,” a true story which — like the most beloved boxing movies, “Rocky” (1976) and “Raging Bull” (1980) — is less about boxing than family. And what a family! Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), a welterweight boxer, has nine sisters, an older half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), and a mother (Melissa Leo), all of whom display a great interest in him fighting — if not in him winning or in his own well-being — because he’s the engine that’s keeping them all going in Lowell, Massachusetts, an old abandoned mill town not far from Boston. Dicky squandered his own promising boxing career years earlier and is now a crack addict, and Alice, who particularly adores and enables Dicky, might well ruin Micky’s prospects, too, by getting him hurt in the interest of a quick paycheck — that is, until a feisty bartender named Charlene (Amy Adams) enters his life and helps him to see that there’s another way.

The parallels between Wahlberg and Ward, his boyhood hero, are remarkable — both grew up in hardscrabble Boston-area neighborhoods; have eight siblings; and spent many years in the shadow of a famous older brother who was “the apple of [his] mother’s eye” — and help one to appreciate why the actor connected so strongly with the character. Indeed, Wahlberg’s passion for the project and promise to Ward to get it done led to a five-year struggle, during which he needed to raise financing, and also to get and stay in fighting-shape in order to be ready to go whenever it came through, if ever. He built a fully-equipped gym and boxing ring in his backyard, where he trained each day for hours; paid trainers to travel with him wherever his  other work took him; studied video of all of the fights involving Micky and Dicky; moved the two of them into his home in order to study their relationship and boxing techniques; and the list goes on — all while he was also making other movies and executive producing four HBO television shows.

When things finally began to come together, Wahlberg was smart enough to surround himself with other talented people, none more so than his friend David O. Russell, who had previously directed him in “Three Kings” (1999) and “I Heart Huckabees” (2004). Russell had never previously taken on a project that he hadn’t also written, but was assured that he would be able to put his personal stamp on this one, and ultimately brought to it much of the same sort of humor and heart that are at the center of his other films, all of which also revolve around family dynamics. They saw past the sweetness with which Adams has been associated ever since she portrayed a Disney princess in “Enchanted” (2007), and sure enough we will never underestimate Adams again. They picked Leo to play the matriarch, even though she’s only a decade older than Wahlberg and Bale, and she was perfect. (Melissa is a friend of mine, and Alice is about as similar to Melissa as Dicky is to Micky.) And, most pivotally, having seen Bale in “The Machinist” (2004) and “Rescue Dawn” (2006), they knew that he had it in him to make the physical and mental leap of becoming Dicky, and sure enough he did, making himself almost unrecognizable in his most stunning performance yet. Between all of these components, as well as doc-style cinematography by “Let the Right One In” (2008) lenser Hoyte Van Hoytema and a pitch-perfect soundtrack, this one’s a TKO — total knockout.

ScottFeinberg.com Interview: Mark Wahlberg (12/7)

5. True Grit (Paramount, 12/22, PG-13, trailer)

The Missing” (2003), “The Proposition” (2005), “The Assassination of Jesse James” (2007), “3:10 to Yuma” (2007), “Appaloosa” (2008), and a few others have been solid, but for my money “True Grit” is the best Western since “Unforgiven” (1992). Charles Portis’s 1968 novel on which it is based previously inspired a 1969 film that bagged John Wayne his one and only Oscar, but this incarnation, unlike that one, is strictly faithful to his idiosyncratic tone (“the frontier characters cling to the formalities of speech as shaky proof they’re still civilized,” as Boston Globe critic Ty Burr put it), and is the perfect pairing of great source material with a great director — er, directors.

Like virtually all of Ethan Coen and Joel Coen’s other films, most of which are based on original screenplays, this one blends dark wit and wisdom (consider the scenes in the courtroom and morgue), absurdist humor and sight gags (the man in the bearskin, for instance), and unvarnished depictions of violence (from hangings to shootouts, death is never quick or pretty). It also features their well-oiled stock company working at the top of its game: it’s gorgeously shot by Roger Deakins (every frame is worthy of being framed), powerfully scored by Carter Burwell (largely by tinkering with classic Protestant hymns); and populated by people and places that reek — probably literally, as well as figuratively — of the old West thanks to the work of costume designer Mary Zophres and set designer Nancy Haigh. All have known and worked with the brothers before, as has the nominal star of the film Jeff Bridges, who is only “the Dude” because they thought he could be, and who does as fine a job as any working actor probably could as the mumbling, grumbling, but ultimately decent Rooster Cogburn.

This film’s real star, though, and real revelation, is Hailee Steinfeld, a 13-year-old with no prior acting experience whom they picked from over 15,000 young applicants to play the character who has the truest grit of all, young Mattie Ross. Remarkably, Steinfeld appears to be totally comfortable and confident in the skin of her fast-talking, wise beyond-her-years character, not to mention in the company of her three A-list male co-stars. (In addition to Bridges, Matt Damon plays a fairly large supporting role, and Josh Brolin plays a fairly small one.) It’s one of the most impressive big screen debuts that I have ever seen. So what if the film offers no deeply profound message? (“Girl power!,” “Don’t mess with Texas!,” and “We often get what we deserve in life!” don’t quite qualify.) Largely because of Steinfeld, it makes for first-rate entertainment and escapism, and when that comes in the form of a film like this (as opposed to, say, the sixth sequel to a comic book adaptation), there’s nothing wrong with that.

ScottFeinberg.com Interview: Matt Damon (12/23)

6. 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight, 11/5, R, trailer)

Less than two years after “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) stormed the Oscars, many of the same people who were responsible for that film have given us another that is disturbing, moving, life-affirming — only this time it’s based on events that actually took place. “127 Hours” is, like “Slumdog,” the story of a young man (outdoorsman Aron Ralston) who becomes caught in a difficult situation (this time literally), only to find that he already has the tools within himself to extricate himself from it (ditto). Back again is producer Christian Colson, a gentle man who seems drawn to material in which characters wear their hearts on their sleeves; screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, who turned the story of a largely silent and isolated incident into a gripping screenplay; cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, who presents the epic and the intimate equally beautifully, this time in partnership with Enrique Chediak; composer A.R. Rahman, whose energetic score perfectly captures the protagonist’s spirit; and co-screenwriter/director Danny Boyle, who stepped out of his “comfort zone” of films with hyper-kinetic movement and instead took on the challenge of making a film in which movement of any sort is, for most of the film, all but impossible.

The lion’s share of credit for the film’s success, though, must go to James Franco, who gives one of the greatest screen performances of all time as Ralston. He’s in every scene of the film, and in the vast majority of them he’s acting alone and with one arm tied behind his back (to borrow a rather appropriate pun), all the while focusing his attention on something that isn’t actually there (the crushed arm that he’s trying to free). It is only because one comes to like the free-spirited Ralston so much during the brief screen time before his accident occurs, and in the way that he conducts himself afterwards, that one is willing to stick with the film despite the upsetting imagery (and, even more so, sounds) that follow. Everyone goes into the film knowing — and dreading — how it will end; it’s a testament to Franco’s performance that the journey to that point is far more interesting. If nothing else, he reminds us that we need the gizmos and gadgets on which we have become “dependent” far less than we need each other, and that the will to live is far greater than even the heaviest boulder.

ScottFeinberg.com Interview: Danny Boyle (10/13)

7. I Am Love (Magnolia, 6/18, R, trailer)

Based on an original screenplay by Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino and starring 50-year-old Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, who had previously collaborated the experimental films “The Protagonists” (1999) and “The Love Factory” (2002), “I Am Love” is sort of a non-violent, female-centric incarnation of “The Godfather” (1972). It is an epic, operatic saga about the problems of a rich, old-fashioned Italian family, generally, and its poker-faced matriarch (Swinton), specifically, who begins to discover herself, satisfy her long-unfulfilled desires, and come to terms with her fundamental unhappiness at the very moment when her family is going through massive transitions. Her husband and son are succeeding her father-in-law as the heads of the decades-old family business, around which their very existence is built; her daughter is coming to terms with her homosexuality; and she is quietly embarking upon an intense love affair with her son’s best friend, a chef whose delectable creations play no small role in capturing her affections.

One feels as if Swinton is the only actress in the world who could have played her part. Though she didn’t lose dozens of pounds for the role or change her appearance in any significant way, physicality is central to her performance. Over the course of two hours, she make herself seem both regal and simple, sexy and androgynous, and though she exhibits herself completely naked in the throes of passion for extended periods of time, the most unbelievable part of her performance is how much of it takes place in her eyes. (Oh, and incidentally, she learned to speak Italian — with a Russian accent, no less — for the part. Beat that.) Swinton, the food, nature, Milan, and of the rest of the film are shot in rich, sensual colors by Yorick Le Saux and accompanied by a loud, heart-pounding score by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams that will keep you on the edge of your seat right through the shocking, melodramatic crescendo, which is enough to make even Douglas Sirk seem low-key. It’s a crying shame that the film didn’t play in more theaters, and that its subtitles kept so many people from seeing it where it did.

8. Inception (Warner Brothers, 7/16, PG-13, trailer)

“Inception” is the 2010 film that shouldn’t have clicked but did. Sure, it boasted a big-name writer/director (Christopher Nolan), a star-studded cast (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Pete Postlethwaite, and Tom Berenger), and a massive budget for first-rate explosions and visual effects ($160 million)… but it tells a complex story based on an original idea, which not how one would describe most of the films playing at multiplexes over the summer. Nevertheless, it managed to infiltrate — and dominate — the box-office to the tune of $62 million its first weekend and $43 million its second, both of which it won en route to grossing more than $825 million worldwide.

The film, which Nolan developed the script over 10 years, plays like a heist-thriller — only the things being stolen, or in this case manipulated, are not hundred dollar bills but dreams, which in turn shape reality. It’s silly to try to summarize the plot. Instead, I’ll just say that there are only two other movies that I have ever seen that are even remotely similar to “Inception,” and they are “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) and “Synecdoche, New York” (2008), each of which are towering achievements, like “Inception,” in large part because they manage to create an alternate reality — a world within a world — that viewers not only can follow but want to. In each case, we  sympathize with the protagonist’s quest because it is driven less by monetary gain than by a love that seems impossible. The fact that each also plays with chronology — something that Nolan himself has done before with “Memento” (2001) — only adds to the emotional punch they pack and makes the work of their editors (Lee Smith, in this case) all the more impressive.

Never before has a movie about sleep kept so many people awake at night trying to figure it out — does the spinning top eventually fall?! If you’re anything like me, that question and Hans Zimmer’s booming score will stay with you long after the movie ends. And even if you can’t follow 100% of it, you can follow it enough to appreciate what an ambitious effort it was, and hope that Hollywood will continue to allow films like it to be made.

9. The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company, 11/24, R, trailer)

From Tom Hooper, the Emmy-winning director of the telefilms “Elizabeth I” (2005), “Longford” (2007), and “John Adams” (2008), comes a British period piece that looks, at first glance, like a thousand others of varying quality that we’ve all seen before. What separates it from them, though, is its great — and, just as importantly, true — story, with which few of us were previously familiar, about the unlikely friendship (bromance?) that developed between a monarch with a stammer (Colin Firth’s Prince Albert, who later becomes King George VI when his brother abdicates the throne) and a quirky everyman who worked with  him to control it (Geoffrey Rush’s Lionel Logue, an Australian actor-turned-speech therapist). It was, arguably, only because of the latter that the former could commandingly lead his nation into World War II against another nation being led, ironically enough, by a man who owed his very position to his ability to speak so powerfully.

One could pretentiously argue — and some already have — that what makes the film “important” and relevant to the present is its portrayal of the rise of radio, and the implications that radio and subsequent advances in telecommunication have had on the sorts of people that we, as a society, hold in high esteem (or don’t) — in other words, a societal preference for style over substance. The reality, though, is that what makes it so charming and special is, quite simply, the performances of and interactions between Firth and Rush. When I think about the relationship between the King and Logue, I can’t help but also think of the relationships at the heart of two other great films, “The Miracle Worker” (1962) and “My Fair Lady” (1964), in which a teacher lovingly pushes along a struggling student, helping him/her to find his/her voice (and “voice”), while learning a lot about himself/herself in the process. Rush won the best actor Oscar for “Shine” (1996); Firth should have won it last year for “A Single Man” (2009), and will probably win it this year.

10. The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features, 7/9, R, trailer)

Lisa Cholodenko’s $4 million indie premiered at Sundance in January, was picked up by Focus Features shortly thereafter, enjoyed the second highest per-screen opening of the entire year in July, and wound up taking in $29 million worldwide. Two years after Prop 8 passed, and in the year that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would ultimately be repealed, many Americans were ready for a well-made film in which the homosexuality of its primary characters was not its primary focus but merely one of many interesting things about them, and “The Kids Are All Right” proved to be just that.

The film chronicles a tough patch in the marriage of Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening), two middle-aged lesbians who have been drifting apart over the years. When they find out that Joni and Laser (Mia Wasikowska, one of the world’s most gifted young actresses — see season one of HBO’s “In Treatment” — and Josh Hutcherson), their kids through artificial insemination, have tracked down their biological father (a free-spirited, tremendously likable Mark Ruffalo) and want him to be a part of their life, all sorts of insecurities and personality flaws bubble to the surface, and all sorts of drama ensues.

The film works, above all, because of Stuart Blumberg and Cholodenko’s funny and moving script upon which it is based. The few scenes that ring false (Bening making a scene at a restaurant; Moore confronting a gardener; and the whole family just ditching Ruffalo) are dwarfed by the many that ring strongly and poignantly true (especially Bening’s dinnertime discovery of her partner’s affair; Moore’s apology/soliloquoy on the challenges of marriage; and the whole family dropping off Joni at college). Having come to care so much about them, it’s reassuring to realize that the kids — and the parents — will indeed be all right.

PLEASE NOTE: For point of reference — yours and mine — here is an alphabetical listing of the 70 2010 films (films that played in New York and Los Angeles for at least a week in 2010) that I have seen as of this writing, many more than once: “12th and Delaware,” “127 Hours,” “All Good Things,” “The American,” “Animal Kingdom,” “Another Year,” “Barney’s Version,” “Biutiful,” “Black Swan,” “Blue Valentine,” “Buried,” “Cairo Time,” “Casino Jack,” “Catfish,” “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” “The Company Men,” “The Concert,” “Conviction,” “Dinner for Schmucks,” “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” “Fair Game,” “A Film Unfinished,” “The Fighter,” “Frankie and Alice,” “Freakonomics,” “Get Low,” “The Ghost Writer,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Greenberg,” “Hereafter,” “Hot Tub Time Machine,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “I Am Love,” “I Love You Phillip Morris,” “Inception,” “Inside Job,” “Iron Man 2,” “Jack Goes Boating,” “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” “Kick-Ass,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “The King’s Speech,” “Let Me In,” “Louis,” “Made in Dagenham,” “Mother and Child,” “Never Let Me Go,” “The Other Guys,” “Precious Life,” “Rabbit Hole,” “Racing Dreams,” “Restrepo,” “Salt,” “Secretariat,” “Shutter Island,” “The Social Network,” “Solitary Man,” “Somewhere,” “Stone,” “Tangled,” “The Tillman Story,” “The Town,” “Toy Story 3,” “True Grit,” “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” “Waste Land,” “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” “The Way Back,” “Winter’s Bone,” and “The Yellow Handkerchief.”

Photo: Rooney Mara and Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network.” Credit: Columbia.

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  • Pingback: SCOTT FEINBERG’S TOP 10 FILMS OF ’10 | Justin Timberlake()

  • Ads1018

    Spot on review of The Social Network. I haven’t seen the rest. Got some major catching up to do.

  • Ads1018

    Wait never mind – I saw 127 hours too. Loved it. The man behind me in the theater threw up and I was told he was the third one that day.

    • Hahaha OMG — I’ve heard about people fainting, but not vomiting. With the way that movie theater floors are angled, I hope you got out of the way quickly! :)

  • So when you said that Colin Firth will win this year, is it your opinion that he gives the best leading male performance this year or is it because you think the Academy will pay him back just like Nicole Kidman back then? because I am on your side about James Franco giving one of the best performances of all time.

    • I’m being objective when I say that Firth *will* win… personally, as great as he is in “The King’s Speech,” I’d have given it to him last year for “A Single Man” and give it to Franco this year… but I don’t have a ballot… at least for the Oscars! :)

  • So when you said that Colin Firth will win this year, is it your opinion that he gives the best leading male performance this year or is it because you think the Academy will pay him back just like Nicole Kidman back then? because I am on your side about James Franco giving one of the best performances of all time.

  • Googergieger

    So did you hear? Apparently there is a place outside of America nowadays. Even heard a rumor there may be more than one.

    • If you’re gonna be a smartass you should get your facts straight: I AM LOVE is an Italian film and THE KING’S SPEECH is a British film.

      • Madskl

        all American critics seem to overlook that the vast majority of great films every year is made abroad. Your top ten resembles the usual oscar awards season fodder…which is lazy at best. I agree with you that TSN was number 1 in 2010, but I could name at least 20 or 30 worthy international releases as well

        • John Doe

          WOW, no need to be so uber-bitchy. It’s just an opinion. I think we have a reasonably different taste in films Scott, Greenberg would have been pretty high up there for me, but I loved the Kids are Alright and TSN.

      • “THE KING’S SPEECH is a British film. ”

        Yup. Much different. Kudos on the two that came over in a rather large capacity though.

        I’d still give top honors to I Saw The Devil myself. I mean I don’t think it was actually the best but it was my favorite. I think it could have done with a better script writer but it was still easily the most memorable picture of the year for me. Not to mention Choi Min Sik proved why he is one of the best actors in the world again. I found most movies this year to be rather forgetful to be honest. Last year I enjoyed a lot more. Speaking of if we are counting movies that barely came to the states this year then Mother(Madeo) is top film. Though I still consider that the best film of last year. I was even lucky enough to catch it at one of film festivals it was playing at last year.

    • Bateman

      Sometimes America just does it better, gg. (Or should I say bb, or rr?) Case in point: Let Me In. Message: “Sweden, you’re welcome.”

      By the way I finally saw Oldboy. It’s OK, not the Second Coming. Coen Bro./Tarantino/Lynch + chock full of incest = BFD.

      Yeah, it’s me, Bateman.