We know you’ve been waiting with bated breath for our Best of 2010 lists, and we are happy to announce that the wait is over! While Ryan and I enjoyed most of the same films this year, we had some surprising differences in our individual Top Ten lists. Below, you will find our individual favorites lists, followed by a combined Filmhash Best of 2010 list and our personal thoughts on the films. We hope you enjoyed this past year in film as much as we did-here’s to an even better 2011 season!
Filmhash: Best of 2010
1. The Social Network
Jill: Ever since this film came to theaters in October, Ryan has been obsessed with the cult fascination surrounding Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook empire. I appreciate the generational importance of a film like The Social Network, but that is not the reason why it made my top ten list. I have to give props to a film that makes something so mundane, so absolutely fascinating. There’s a reason why I didn’t major in computer science in college, but this film made me want to go home, master the latest coding language, and start my own little social empire. The editing of the film is also worth pointing out; the audience moves between multiple points in time and is never left behind. David Fincher’s masterful direction of the courtroom drama, and the relationships between characters, as well as the performances of Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield are what made this film my number two.
Ryan: Christopher Nolan’s biggest film to date is big on both ideas and spectacle. A rare summer blockbuster that doesn’t treat the audience like a bunch of people who just wandered into the theater for air conditioning. Inception is deep and thoughtful while not shorting on the action. Like The Dark Knight, Nolan has put together an exceptional ensemble, and the interplay between the characters keeps the trainload of exposition engrossing. Like other films on this list, it is an accomplishment in editing as well, shifting between dream levels seamlessly.
3. Black Swan & Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Tie)
Jill: I have loved Natalie Portman since I can remember, first for her mother-daughter films such as Anywhere But Here, and Where the Heart Is, and her first Oscar-nominated role in the highly underrated Closer. In Black Swan, Portman takes her career and her craft to another level, showing audiences that while she has always given quality performances, she can also provide a visceral experience that leaves an observer both haunted and mesmerized.
Ryan: The most blissful experience I had at the theater this year was watching this film. Everything about it just works, from the musical-meets-video game structure to the visual effects and the unique editing style. This is Edgar Wright’s best film to date, and has as much to say about this generation as The Social Network. I have probably watched this film a half dozen times by now, and each time I find some new esoteric detail that delights me. This cast also seems to get it, and features a whos-who of under-30 actors in Hollywood.
5. The King’s Speech
Ryan: While Jill did a great job summarizing why we both love this film in her review, I would like to say that watching this film was a treat. Like the best historical dramas, this film illuminates a period of history and makes me see it in a whole new light. Unlike a lot of those same films, it is not held down by glacial pacing and cold characters. The friendship that develops between Colin Firth’s Bertie and Geoffrey Rush’s Lionel, is perhaps the “Bromance of the Year,” with their chemistry unmatched. And like The Fighter, it is a relief to watch an inspirational underdog story without a schmaltzy, forced ending.
6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Jill: I’m a little disappointed that this film, a media darling in the beginning of 2010, has lost it’s steam this awards season. Foreign Language films are usually hit or miss with me, but there was something about Lisbeth that stuck with me. Her badassery, coupled with a vulnerable underbelly was acted beautifully by the talented Roomi Rapace, and although the film was a staggering 152 minutes, I could have watched the story and drama unfold for hours. It has definitely been a good year for the Swedes.
Jill: Along with Scott Pilgrim, I am sooooooooooooooo sad this movie never found a wider audience, but the audience it did find is one that is passionate and strangely sophisticated enough to know what it’s being shown. Kick-Ass was lambasted as a film using children as pawns in a visual orgy of violence and sex, when in reality, the message couldn’t be more the opposite. The scene involving the character “Hit Girl” as she tries to save her kidnapped father and Kick-Ass, is probably the best commentary on the life-like violence of first-person shooter video games I have ever seen. During the scenes action, the audience becomes Hit Girl, as she shoots and kills with sniper-like percision, reloading magazines with quick and dexerious fury; almost as easy as pushing a button I dare say.
8. Toy Story 3
Ryan: Pixar may be the most consistent film studio around, and if anyone can pull off a “threequel” they could. And did. While I was a little nervous about how this installment in the franchise would hold up, I was blown away by this film. Even rarer than a good third installment is one that trumps what has come before it. This film covers themes also explored in the second film, but does them in a more complete and resonant way, making the second film feel almost superfluous. And for the third picture in a row, Pixar has had me, a grown man, weeping openly at an animated film. The emotional connection Pixar has been able to establish with the audience is staggering, and as difficult as it is for me to say goodbye to Woody, Buzz, and the Gang, this is a more fitting farewell than most characters get.
9. True Grit
Jill: I will admit right off the bat, I do not, and will probably never, like Westerns. This film did not make my top ten, but I will do the movie justice for Ryan. I love the Coen Brothers and their ability to not only come up with fresh and interesting stories, but also adapt and breathe new life to what has already been done. The performance of Jeff Bridges, while reminiscent of many of his previous characters, is a joy to watch, as was Matt Damon’s surprising turn as a Texas Ranger. Hailee Steinfeld also proves that despite the many BS fly by night child stars of today, Hollywood can rest easy that it will at least have a few good seeds to exploit in the future. I mean that in the best of ways.
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Ryan: Although difficult to judge entirely on it’s own merits, being both a seventh of eight films and a part one of two, this was a great installment and really made me appreciate the rarity of long form serial narrative in film. Even with the hinderance of being a middle/opening chapter, I feel this is the second best film in the franchise to date. Pacing here is much more open and relaxed allowing for character development to happen before our eyes rather than being implied between jumps in the story. This also allows for the actors to shine here and I couldn’t help but walk away impressed with Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson. I can’t wait to see a double feature in theaters with part two this summer!
Post Script: Our combined Filmhash list was calculated using a series of high tech calculations invented by our own Ryan Silberstein, and based off of the Academy’s Best Picture voting system.