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108. That would be the total number of films that we, your dedicated writers/reviewers here at Player Affinity Movies, covered for you this year since April. Seem small? How about 363? That’s the unofficial total number of ratings we had for you of films from 2010. So if you think about it, with exception of two days (and likely we're missing some scores), someone on the Player Affinity staff was seeing or watching a 2010 movie every day this year. How’s that for cred?
We meticulously logged all these films and our individual and composite scores to give you the most comprehensive list of the best and worst films of 2010 – unlike anything else you’ll find on any movie site.
Below you’ll find our top 10 highest scoring films based on movies at least three of us saw, our bottom five films based on movies with at least two ratings and our five most disappointing films: ones that at least four PAMers saw that received the poorest ratings that we all agreed were hyped coming into the year. Lastly, we’ve provided the top films in each genre as we see them.
Best of all, in a sister post you can find here, we’ve taken the time to link to every one of our reviews on the site. When you click, you’ll find every film with it’s composite score and the score of every writer who saw it with links to the original main review of that film along with some summary reviews from the other writers. So, let’s get to the results.
The 10 Best Films of 2010
True Grit – 8.3/10 (3 ratings)
True Grit ranks among Unforgiven and 3:10 to Yuma as the great modern Westerns. Leave it to the Coen Brothers to add their signature droll and darkly humorous mark along with their naturally flowing but infinitely witty screenplay to the production while drawing performances nothing short of fantastic from its three stars. Though this may be one of this duo's more mainstream efforts, it lacks none of their usual punch.
The Fighter – 8.3/10 (3 ratings)
Speaking of punch, it wasn’t the punches thrown in the ring that made The Fighter among the year’s best: the emotional bout between family members devoted to the success of an aspiring boxing champ made it rise above typical underdog boxing movies that seem to always go after the big prize every year. Outstanding supporting performances from Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams make The Fighter a real standout and David O. Russell keeps it real.
How to Train Your Dragon – 8.5/10 (4 ratings)
DreamWorks hasn’t been very consistent in regards to animated films, but this is easily one of the studio’s finest and most praiseworthy achievements. This marvelous story of a Viking trying to prove himself while befriending a dragon – sworn enemy of his people – has a big heart and overcomes what could have easily been tepid and cliché.
127 Hours – 8.6/10 (3 ratings)
Danny Boyle had everyone’s attention after winning the Oscar for directing Slumdog Millionaire. Though much more narrow in scope, 127 Hours turns a man with his arm caught under a boulder into a thrilling and even stomach-churning story with a powerful message about survival. Only Boyle could dream up the techniques to keep such a film engaging and James Franco fully emerges as the star many expected he could be.
The Kids Are All Right – 8.8/10 (3 ratings)
Most family drama/comedies feature typical family structures, and breaking that trend is half of what’s so great about “Kids.” Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are excellent (and realistic) as a lesbian couple and the mothers of two kids. The humor and the struggles and the family tensions that arise as the kids’ sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo in his best performance yet) aka “father” comes into their lives are fascinating and entirely understandable despite all the melodrama. Of all the best films of 2010, “Kids” does the most with the fewest “unique” pieces.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 - 9.0/10 (5 ratings)
The kids have grown up and now must deal with the problems that accompany such a transition. This captivating darker take was different from the previous more light-hearted “Potters” as well as young actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, whose work here is among their finest. The only thing holding it back was the desire to see the rest of the story unfold.
The Social Network – 9.1/10 (7 ratings)
No film in recent memory has done a better job of capturing the essence of the Millennial generation than David Fincher's The Social Network. Bolstered by a rapid fire script from Aaron Sorkin and a cream of the crop cast of Hollywood's up-and-comers (led by an electric performance from Jesse Eisenberg), The Social Network is a near perfect blending of deft direction, acting, writing and editing highlighting the current generation's habits of obsession, friendship, greed, advancement and the Billion Dollar Dream.
Black Swan – 9.2/10 (6 ratings)
Darren Aronofsky's creepy thriller disturbed its viewers by showing us a ballerina losing her mind in her quest for perfection. It's high on our list because of its original, refreshing story and Natalie Portman's performance, which is so captivating (yes, even aside from the lesbian stuff) that it should earn her an Oscar. Aside from supporting performances, equally stunning were all technical aspects of the film including cinematography and music.
Toy Story 3 - 9.5/10 (6 ratings)
It made us laugh, it made us cry, and then it made us cry some more. Toy Story 3 took animated filmmaking to the next level this year with a deep exploration of how bitterness takes root with devastating consequences – and this all told from the eyes of a huggable teddy bear and our old friends Woody and Buzz. Pixar made this worthy conclusion to their toy themed trilogy the second best film of the year.
Inception - 9.7/10 (7 ratings)
Complex psychological discussions aside, what Inception truly stands for (this year in particular) is hard proof that creativity is not dead in Hollywood and that the blockbuster formula does not have to be assembled only with empty, joyless fluff. Nolan’s bold direction and faultless integration of big-budget effects and cerebral, stimulating ideas struck home with elitists and the average moviegoers alike. It is no surprise that Inception has topped any number of lists when 2010 was finally dissected and certainly fitting that it should land as Player Affinity’s favorite of the year.
The 5 Worst Films of 2010
5. The Warrior's Way – 3.2/10 (Simon - 4.5, Dinah - 2)
As soon as I heard “Kung-fu Western,” I knew The Warrior's Way was going to be an epic fail. Cheesy in its narration, hokey acting and clueless dialogue, this hybrid was dead on arrival. Its a wonder this movie was ever greenlit.
4. Little Fockers – 2.7/10 (Steven – 3, Kieran – 2.5)
It’s only just been released, but no difficulty identifying Little Fockers as a stinker. Building on tired jokes as if its audience was born yesterday (or simply didn’t see the first two movies), “Fockers” killed every mildly humorous moment it had with an awful gag. This predictable comedy topped off a disappointing Christmas weekend thisyear.
3. The Bounty Hunter – 2.5/10 (Simon – 3, Julian - 2)
Oh, first quarter of the year, how we dread thee. Such dread is instilled in us because of films like this March release, a sloppy and unfunny romantic comedy led by rom-com standbys Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, who don’t have romantic chemistry or seem to care.
2. Vampires Suck – 2.0/10 (Dinah - 3, Simon - 1)
This hollow spoof stands as everything that is wrong with movies today: soulless, money-sucking vessels. And when talented aspiring filmmakers work their entire lives to no avail it is sickening that worthless filth like this can get made. Of course, when all is said and done, the onus falls to audience to make the right choice, so consider this a plea to your future selves: next time you hear even a whisper of the names Friedberg and Seltzer, just stay home.
1. My Soul to Take – 1.6/10 (Julian – 2, Dinah – 1, Simon - 2)
Of all of 2010’s stinkers My Soul to Take was the greatest abomination. Brought to us by a director who should know better (Wes Craven), this so-called “horror film” lacks scares, surprises, good dialogue or acting. Craven even had the nerve to shoot this drivel in useless 3D. Fitting that Player Affinity’s worst film of 2010 was made in the loathed medium.
The 5 Most Disappointing Films of 2010
5. Alice in Wonderland – 4.8/10 (5 ratings)
Sometimes you just want some eye candy, but when you get Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton working on a film together (yet again), it's not unreasonable to expect a little more substance to go with the film's inevitable visual flair. Unfortunately, Alice in Wonderland failed to deliver the total goods, giving the audience a visual feast for the eyes, but little of anything actually filling. While Carter as the Red Queen and Stephen Fry as the criminally underused Cheshire Cat are worth watching, they're often sidelined by Depp's Mad Hatter who regrettably comes off as uninteresting and unlikable.
4. Knight and Day - 4.8/10 (4 ratings)
Knight and Day was able to attach two big-name stars, a top-class director and a fine supporting cast, but it was a failure and a critical and commercial disappointment. Tom Cruise chose to make this film over Salt and The Tourist because it was a comedy -- and he picked the wrong film, not that those others did that well either. The trailers made out Knight and Day to be a fun summery action comedy, but did not deliver the laughs and the action was lacklustre. A note to Mr. Cruise, Ms. Diaz and Mr. Mangold: please try harder next time ‘round.
3. Shrek Forever After - 4.6/10 (5 ratings)
For the final chapter of a beloved franchise, Shrek Forever After lacked the epic feel of the better films of the series and shortchanged its supporting characters for a story about Shrek realizing he should cherish what he has. You could call that a classic motif, but “Forever After” doesn’t repackage it in a fresh way. Unfortunately, Shrek’s curtain call was more a good riddance than a tearful goodbye.
2. Clash of the Titans - 4.0/10 (4 ratings)
Slated as the first big action film of 2010, Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans was expected to make mythology films the next big trend in blockbusters, casting commanding talents such as Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes as the famous Greek gods. With fresh face Sam Worthington as Perseus, the sky seemed the limit, but the film gave no cause to be taken seriously with a hackneyed script. Even Worthington has come out and apologizes for the film’s quality and promises Wrath of the Titans will be better. Even if it does, we have little cause to care.
1. The Last Airbender – 3.2/10 (4 ratings)
For a filmmaker who once received a best original screenplay Oscar nomination to pen something so disastrously crude is both disheartening and simply insulting. Shamaylan’s fall from grace is far from an enjoyable event to behold, but the slapdash approach to assembling this television adaption with its horrendous acting and tedious pacing can neither be condoned or forgiven. A director’s past works considered or not, The Last Airbender is a film incapable of being contorted to any level of watchability.
The Best Films of Each Genre
Best Animated Film
1. Toy Story 3 - 9.5/10
2. How to Train Your Dragon – 8.5/10
3. Tangled - 7.3/10
The fusion of computer animation and an animated musical from Disney might not sound like a great idea on paper, but Tangled goes above and beyond expectations. It’s a terrific film with wonderful music and perfectly cast voice roles, a wonderful throwback to the Disney musicals of old with a modern twist.
Best Action and/or Science-Fiction Film
1. Inception – 9.7/10
2. Unstoppable – 7.8/10
It's the best movie that could have been made from the premise: a runaway train carrying chemicals about to crash in a highly populated town. It does action better than most action movies, and finds time for character development also.
3. Tron: Legacy - 7.3/10
Best Action Comedy
1. Kick-Ass - 8.2/10
Kick-Ass was heavily promoted but disappointed at the box-office: a massive shame. Based on a comic book by Mark Millar, Matthew Vaughn turned it into an excellent parody of and homage to superhero films, particularly Spider-Man. Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz gave excellent performances and the action sequences were bloody and great in what felt like a live-action comic. Plus, it has the best use of swearing in film this year.
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – 8.0/10
Whether you like Michael Cera or not, if you were raised on video games, MTV and/or comics, there's something for you in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It's like an awesome (see the film's tagline) extended music video but with kung-fu. Armed (sometimes literally) to the hilt with a likable cast, memorable fights, believable chemistry and a better-than-expected adaptation of seven books into one movie, there's far more going right than wrong in this high-energy adaptation.
3. Machete – 6.8/10
Best Action Team Movie
1. RED – 7.0/10
In a year full of action comedies, RED is the only one that found the right blend of its divided genres and assembled a cast that is an utter delight to behold, not because they played roles against type, but because they play those roles to perfection. This tongue-in-cheek romp flows so organically. In a year of bloated, sub-par actioners, RED is one entry that doesn’t leave you feeling blue.
2. The A-Team – 6.8/10
3. The Expendables – 6.5/10
Best Comedy (Live Action)
1. Easy A – 7.7/10
It was a rough year for comedy, but Easy A, along with star Emma Stone, was the crown jewel. Surprisingly lovable, the film put a modern slant on a John Hughes-type comedy (hence the many homage moments to the late great filmmaker) and Stone owned every minute of it. Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci also carved out a spot among the greatest movie parents of all time.
2. Jackass 3D - 7.2/10
3. Due Date – 6.7/10
Best Horror Film
1. Shutter Island – 7.5/10
After earning his overdue Oscar for The Departed, the great Martin Scorsese could make any film he wanted. Scorsese turns a Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone) novel into a dark, twisty thriller, oozing with a dark atmosphere and has plenty of tension throughout. There is an excellent cast in what is a very brilliantly acted film, particularly from Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo. This is a film that throws a lot of themes and ideas at you in addition to twists and thrills. Maybe not a true horror film, but dark and creepy no less.
2. The Crazies - 7.5/10
3. Piranha 3D – 7.2/10
1. Black Swan – 9.2/10
2. The Town – 7.8/10
The Town is a thriller (maybe more action/crime drama, but who’s complaining?) in which Ben Affleck shows he's here to stay in the directing sense, thankfully choosing nuanced, realized characters over a sleek presentation. With Affleck's best performance in years, Jeremy Renner being his usual awesome (scary) self, better than expected action sequences and machine gun wielding nuns, The Town is one of 2010's best. It doesn't really do anything that has not been done before and wears its heart on its sleeve, but The Town does it well and deserves recognition.
3. The Ghost Writer - 7.6/10