2010 in Review: Mike's Top Umpteen Lists (Part One)

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Daybreakers

Looking back at this year's releases, I can say 2010 was a surprisingly prolific year. The sheer number of interesting titles released this year and the overall quality of them, even the duds, was impressive. Some have said Hollywood is dying, but if that's the case, its death throes are glorious. I'm going to list and comment on 75 of this year's releases that I've grouped into various categories. About half I've seen. The other half, I want to see. Here goes ...

TOP FILMS

#15 -- Piranha 3D
There was nothing I didn't love about Piranha 3D. This movie didn't try to be anything other than balls-out stupid fun. It's the best-looking 2D-3D conversion I've seen, and it managed to one-up itself with each new scene. 51% on Rotten Tomatoes and 74% from critics.
How to see it? Will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 11.

#14 -- Despicable Me
Many of my favorites this year were children/family friendly. Steve Carell and Jason Segel are just as funny animated as they are in person. Brillian animation, great story, loved it. 81% from both Rotten Tomatoes audience and critics. (Jenn's review)
How to see it? Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

#13 -- Hot Tub Time Machine
The name itself is hilarious. Clark Duke fits right in with established comis Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Crispin Glover and John Cusack. Only 58% from the Tomatoes audience. (Debbie's review)
How to see it? Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

#12 -- Iron Man 2
This sequel managed to stay fresh and maintain the energy of the first. Hints of great things to come in Captain America. 80% from Rotten Tomatoes audience. (Jenn's review)
How to see it? Available on on Blu-ray and DVD.

#11 -- How to Train Your Dragon
Another fantastic family film. Dreamworks continues to consistently put out fantastic 3D work that Pixar could learn from. 80% from Rotten Tomatoes.
How to see it? Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

#10 -- Micmacs
I actually saw this one in 2009 at Butt-Numb-a-Thon 11, but it wasn't released until much later in 2010. Jeunet insanity is the best kind of insanity. 74% from Rotten Tomatoes. (Jenn's review, Jette's review)
How to see it? Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

#9 -- Frozen
Another BNAT 11 film, and one of two features from Adam Green this year. Exciting, creepy, unbelievably tense. Green's best film yet. Rotten Tomatoes audience was too creeped-out, only gave it 47% but critics rated it 61%.
How to see it? Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

#8 -- The Social Network
A good film about a fascinating story. Although I enjoyed it, especially for the performances from Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, it didn't favor quite as well with audiences (89%) as with critics (97%). (Jette's review)
How to see it? Will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 11.

#7 -- Tangled
Disney animation returns to the top with their 50th animated feature. You can read my review here. 90% from Rotten Tomatoes.
How to see it? Still in Austin theaters.

#6 -- Toy Story 3
Except for one notorious contrarian reviewer, this had a 100% critics rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Just about as great as a film can be, animated or otherwise. This was one entry where 3D presentation hurt in my rankings. Just did not need to be in 3D and almost came in under Tangled because of that. (Elizabeth's review)
How to see it? Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

#5 -- Red
A very smart script, great action, and a practically mythic cast that just clicked put this in my top 5. I'll stand by that in spite of the 75% audience, 70% critics ratings at Rotten Tomatoes. (Jenn's review)
How to see it? Will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 25.

#4 -- Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
This entirely unique take on the Santa Claus story breaks conventions and maybe taboos. Delightful, fun and entirely different than you'd ever expect. 88% from critics and 75% from audiences. (Debbie's review)
How to see it? Still playing at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar.

#3 -- Daybreakers
This was my favorite selection from Fantastic Fest 2009 and one I still love to praise. An original sci-fi script and a successful blend of sci-fi and horror. Somewhat evocative of Gattaca, but much less preachy. Listed everywhere as 2009, but its U.S. release date was January 8, 2010. The Spierig brothers only reached 50% of the Rotten Tomatoes audience and 67% of critics, but this is my kind of movie. (Debbie's review)
How to see it? Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

#2 -- Inception
Christopher Nolan plays with layers of reality, taking you on a mind trip supported by an astonishingly great soundtrack. Some people tried to overthink it, or just couldn't follow. 93% of the audience and 87% of critics loved it. (Jenn's review)
How to see it? Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

#1 -- True Grit
I didn't think anything could top Inception for this year, but then December came along and with it, the Coen brothers greatest film and perhaps the greatest Western ever made. Everything I can say about it is in my review. Just a week old, and it has a 91% audience rating and 95% critics rating making it not just my favorite, but it would appear everyone else's as well.
How to see it? Still in Austin theaters.

 

TOP FLOPS

#12 -- Robin Hood
The first of three on this list I did not see and actually don't intend to see, starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow and William Hurt. How could such an amazing cast make something which met with this much critical derision? Actually sits at 59% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is why it's last on this list. (Jenn's review)

#11 -- Sex and the City 2
Again, one I don't plan to see. 50% at Rotten Tomatoes. Some things just need to die quietly. (Elizabeth's review)

#10 -- Cop Out
The film that caused Kevin Smith's most devoted fans to accuse him of selling out and question his relevance. 46% at Rotten Tomatoes.

#9 -- A Nightmare on Elm Street
I love Jackie Earle Haley, and there's nothing like seeing a Freddy Krueger film with the bladed one himself there to introduce it. As a first-time Elm Street viewer, I personally enjoyed the movie, but the hardcore take on Krueger's back story failed to win over fans of the original series. 41% on Rotten Tomatoes. (Jenn's review)

#8 -- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
I really wanted to enjoy this, but Jake Gyllenhaal couldn't save the awful script. Ben Kingsley proved he'll take ANY role as long as it pays. Still, the American audience proves its cinematic scatolophilia and rates this 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. (Debbie's review)

#7 -- Clash of the Titans
Before this cobbled-together unfinished monstrosity came along, did anyone really yell about bad 3D? I don't remember. I was fortunate enough to see it in 2D, so I haven't clawed my eyes out yet. 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. (Debbie's review)

#6 -- Eclipse
I'll guiltily admit to actually enjoying the first two entries in the Twilight series, but with a script this boring, Bella's moping actually starts to get to you. 74% of the Rotten Tomatoes audience disagrees with me. (Debbie's review)

#5 -- Alice in Wonderland
This one almost tops Sweeney Todd as my least-favorite Tim Burton film. Something that didn't need to be 3D forced into the format. So much potential wasted. 72% of Rotten Tomatoes must be Tweedle-dumbasses. (Jenn's review)

#4 -- The Wolfman
You know the top 3 on this list are REALLY going to suck when this Benicio del Toro remake is only #4. Just shows studios should not play tug-o-war with the filmmakers they hire, nor should they be replaced mid-production. 38% of Rotten Tomatoes viewers ate some mold-infested rye. (Debbie's review)

#3 -- Vampires Suck
It's almost not fair including this on the list. It was SO bad, people were paying for other movies and sneaking in to see it so they could review it without supporting it. Viewers gave it 34% on Rotten Tomatoes but critics rated it an unprecedented 4% Still, there were worse experiences this year.

#2 -- Skyline
To be fair, this isn't really worse than Vampires Suck, but the fact it really wants to be a serious film put it over the top on my list. Watching this with ten of my critic friends and seeing my wide-eyed astonishment at how bad it was reflected in their faces will be one of my my favorite memories from this year. 75% Rotten Tomatoes Audience, but only 14% critics rating. I reviewed it here.

#1 -- The Last Airbender
There was no question this would top my list for worst film of the year, not only because it was so awful, but because it was the most awful maladaptation of some of the most fantastic source material imaginable. Shyamalan has always exhibited hubris in making films from his childhood imagination or bedtime stories he tells his kids, but here, he cut the heart out of an entire universe and delivered a heaping pile of flying bison poo. 42% on Rotten Tomatoes with just 6% from critics. Just may be the worst film of the 21st century. (Don's review)

HONORABLE MENTION: The Walking Dead
As a TV series, this doesn't strictly qualify, but deserves mention here for how quickly it fell from a critical hit to something people didn't bother to watch by the sixth episode. Frank Darabont did a wonderful job with many of his favorite actors in bringing this dark, gritty post-apocalyptic horror to life, but departure from strict adherence to the comic cost some of the target audience while an almost formulaic 4th and 5th episode helped people to lose interested before the season finale. What began as a six-episode arc became a too-short serial introduction to a regular series. It will be interesting to see how Darabont approaches season 2.

Stay tuned for Mike's Umpteen Lists: Part Two, which includes overrated and underrated films in 2010.