Julian Roman’s Top 10 Films of 2010

Another year in the 21st century and still no hover board or flying car!

2010 sails on by and I am still without my hover board and flying car. WTF!? I need to contact Robert Zemeckis and properly chastise him for lying to us in the Back to the Future sequels. Where's all the cool futuristic stuff that's supposed to be around in the 21st century? We've been had people, bamboozled, lied to by the man! We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us...

Anyway, now that spot of complaining is done, we can rejoice in a pretty good year at the movies. I am not sure if there are any 'classics' on my list that will truly stand the test of time, but all are great films in their own right. Christopher Nolan's Inception and David Fincher's The Social Network were tremendous, thought-provoking films cranked out by the big studios. But the Indies were also solid with Black Swan, 127 Hours, and The Town ringing in the fall. Here are my faves:

Top Ten of 2010

  • #1: Black Swan

  • Darren Aronofsky's twisted and surreal tale of a ballerina's (Natalie Portman) descent into madness is the best film of the year. Beautifully photographed by Matthew Libatique, who should win the Oscar for cinematography, Black Swan grabs you from the first frame and takes you on a mesmerizing, highly disturbing ride. The finale, with its sweeping score and choreography, is magnificently unnerving. This film will also see multiple award nominations for its excellent cast (Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel) and screenwriters (Andres Heinz, Mark Heyman).
  • #2: Inception

  • Christopher Nolan is on an epic roll. His follow up to The Dark Knight, Inception, is the most complex studio film I've seen in years. This mega-budget action thriller about a gang that steals and plants thoughts into your subconscious will have you guessing to the last second. The labyrinthine plot is so well conceived and executed; even the simplest audience member is riveted. Nolan's editor, fellow Aussie and longtime Hollywood stalwart - Lee Smith, will win every editing prize come award season. His work on Inception is remarkable, really one of the best edited films of all time.
  • #3: The Social Network

  • Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, have become icons of the modern world; a classic example of pure capitalist success. But the road to five hundred million friends and billions of dollars leaves quite a few casualties in its wake. Leave it to two Hollywood greats, Aaron Sorkin (writer) and David Fincher (director), to artfully depict this tale of genius, betrayal, and greed. A crisp two hours fueled by an awesome Nine Inch Nails soundtrack, The Social Network is the parable for the social media age.
  • #4: 127 Hours

  • James Franco delivers his career best performance in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours. Franco stars as Aron Ralston, an extreme hiker who finds himself in a horrific life or death situation. This unbelievable true story is not for the squeamish, but elevates your spirit as you are captivated by one man's indomitable will to survive.
  • #5: The Town

  • Ben Affleck steps into the elite cadre of writers and filmmakers with his gripping crime drama, The Town. Affleck and Jeremy Renner star as bank robbers in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Career criminals, these men take different paths to escape the poverty and abuse of their childhoods. Gritty and realistic, The Town is my dark horse pick for Best Picture; a far superior film to The Departed.
  • #6: How to Train Your Dragon

  • Finally, DreamWorks trumps Pixar for the best animated film of 2010. How to Train Your Dragon is the fantastic tale of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), a Viking's son who discovers the fire breathing creatures he's been taught to fear and hate are entirely misunderstood. Funny and very entertaining, this film stealthily teaches quite a few valuable life lessons.
  • #7: The Fighter

  • Christian Bale steals the show as the rail-thin, crack-addicted, failed boxer - Dicky Eklund in David O. Russell's The Fighter. Marky Mark Wahlberg stars as Mickey Ward in this true story of a down and out boxer who gets another shot at the big time. Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are also extraordinary as Mickey's meddling mother and girlfriend.
  • #8: Toy Story 3

  • Pixar has never been off my favorite films list and the streak continues. While How to Train Your Dragon is a better children's movie, Toy Story 3 is really meant for parents and teenagers. When Andy grows up and is off to college; Woody, Buzz and the gang are faced with the realities of growing up. Their quest for purpose is poignant and touching. Pixar is on a quest for tears and succeeding every time.
  • #9: The Ghost Writer

  • Roman Polanski's personal issues continue to dominate the news, but he very quietly directed another excellent film this year. Ewan McGregor stars as a ghost writer hired to pen the memoirs of a Tony Blair-esque British politician (Pierce Brosnan). But foolishly gets involved with his wife (Olivia Williams) and discovers a conspiracy that could shake the world.
  • #10: Waiting for Superman

  • A broken public school system that fosters mediocrity, racial inequity, and the tenure of teachers is the crux of this compelling documentary by Davis Guggenheim. The probable winner of this year's documentary Oscar, Waiting for Superman is a must-see for everyone in America with a thought on how to better teach our children.

The Worst Film of 2010

  • The Last Airbender

  • Writer/Director M. Night Shyamalan has fallen off the good filmmaker tree and hit every branch on his way down to the roots of sucking. He does a double dose of awful in 2010 with the massively disappointing The Last Airbender, and as writer/producer of Devil. Fans of the cartoon, Avatar - The Last Airbender, should have brought airsick bags into the theater to sit through the movie. Shyamalan shot out of the gate like a rocket with The Sixth Sense, but has been spectacularly awful in recent years. I hope/pray he can get it together and make a decent film again, but his work in 2010 has been dreadful.

Best Actor

  • James Franco - 127 Hours

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale - The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress

  • Melissa Leo - The Fighter

Best Screenplay

Best Cinematography

Best Editing

Best Score

Best FX

  • Eric Barba / Quantum FX - Tron: Legacy

Best Documentary

  • Davis Guggenheim - Waiting for Superman

Best Animated Film

  • Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders - How to Train Your Dragon

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Comments (52)


    Never saw half these films but ive read on them enough to where i dont have to. lol

    but its a good list.....though im a Toy Story fan so i think it could have gone up alil higher on the list but thats just me....xP

    4 years agoby @skylalalaFlag

  2. ed_wood

    Pretty good list but I haven't seen Waiting for Superman yet. I liked Social Network but it wasn't the best of the year, in my opinion.

    4 years agoby @ed-woodFlag

  3. Gpanagi

    Julian, this is a good list. Now my $.02:
    1."Writer/Director M. Night Shyamalan has fallen off the good filmmaker tree and hit every branch on his way down to the roots of sucking." I love this line.
    2. I am surprised you had no love for True Grit. It was a western and a Coen brothers film.
    3.I think all the hype around Waiting for Superman kind of ruined it for me. It was ok. I watched Exit Through the Gift Shop again, and that was great. I loved the way Banksy hijacks one man' s footage of street art and makes it into a doc about how much that guy sucks and does not understand street art, or even his own footage. Very innovative and fun, compared to the straight up Waiting for Superman. Off the top of my head, I would say Waiting for Superman is behind Exit..., A Film Unfinished, and Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. I have not seen the Casino Jack one yet. I think the fact that I went to good public schools ( and know how bad most public schools are in comparison) and never want kids made Superman seem less groundbreaking. Yeah, our education system is screwed, anyone who has attempted a conversation with a teenager in the last ten years can tell you that.

    4 years agoby @gpanagiFlag

  4. fake

    Good list.

    4 years agoby @fake343333333Flag

  5. e_Minor

    i agree with this 100 percent

    4 years agoby @e-minorFlag

  6. the Narrator

    @Supes, understood, however, that is regrettable. I know quite a few characters similar to those in the film, and have at times been an Eduardo in the past. However, I find that variety, no matter what, is good for you, and that rule applies to people. Knowing pretentious douche-bags and arrogant *ssholes helps those nearest and dearest to you (yes, I still have a little holiday cheer left in me) seem all the more incredible.

    My two cents. :)

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  7. the Narrator

    @Cartman... .. ... .. wait, what?!

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  8. IlikePie202

    great list. but TS3 is better than HTTYD

    4 years agoby @Ilikepie202Flag

  9. Cartman

    All facebook freaks here,.. I personally hate TSN, the first 15-20 mins was so boring, they start the movie with a date and then no dates at all?? i mean come on??,....how can they list it with Inception/BlackSwan/TS3, i just cld not take this,.

    4 years agoby @c-a-r-t-m-a-nFlag

  10. The Dark Knight

    I like this list

    4 years agoby @thedarkknight23Flag

  11. Jakn

    Good List.

    4 years agoby @jaknFlag

  12. Jay.A.Ottley

    Agreed, except for The Ghost Writer, haven't seen waiting for Superman

    4 years agoby @jayaottleyFlag

  13. Supernerdo88

    OK just watched TSN, i would have to agree with Supes. You have to understand their "lingo and culture" thing, it keep me thinking what happen to that Luke Wilson online business movie, oh yeah it feel short under my bed.

    4 years agoby @Supernerdo88Flag

  14. Dan

    Probably when he's telling the lawyers that they only have the minimal amount of his attention lol.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  15. Daveactor7

    @Supes lol. What was your favorite part in the film?

    4 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  16. Dan

    @Dave He wasn't a douchebag, but a pushover. See, I can't relate with any of these people, cuz I'm neither a douchebag, nor a pushover lol. But I suppose many people are in this world, so it's realistic.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  17. Daveactor7

    @Supes I agree about the douchebag part. I think the only character in the film that wasnt a douchebag was Eduardo lol

    4 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  18. Dan

    @Narrator I did like the movie, I understood what I was seeing, that is assured, trust me, it's just as you said, not relate-able for me. I'm a somewhat computer geek myself, I understood most of their lingo and culture, so that part was fun for me to watch others be at the same level and above me, but as I said, it was filled with douchebags, I can only herald so much greatness to it before I'm turned off. It clinched it for me when he turned down the cute lawyer's offer to share her lunch with him. Idiot lol.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  19. Daveactor7

    @Narrator fully agreed

    4 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  20. fanboy

    Glad to see How To Train Your Dragon got best animated, for it deserved it.

    4 years agoby @fanboyFlag

  21. Julian Roman

    Happy New Year folks! Crawling out of bed to check out the article feedback and saw the list numbering was reversed. Sorry about that, we're not that smart...just pretty lol. @TheTarbender, Casino Jack is pretty good. I also really liked Exit Through the Gift Shop, but Waiting for Superman resonated a bit more.

    4 years agoby @julianromanFlag

  22. TheTarbender

    I might switch a few of the locations, but I think there is a tie for the doc*mentary slot with 'Casino Jack and the United States of Money', It was quite intriguing.

    4 years agoby @thetarbenderFlag

  23. T.Clark

    Your numbers are backwards. You have your #1 at #10, and so on.

    4 years agoby @insertusernamehereFlag

  24. the Narrator

    @Cartman, to each their own man. Supes just didn't find the film relate-able, as did other users on here, where-as others simply didn't understand the depths of the film. Whichever spot you fit into is fine. Whereas for me and a few peers of mine, it was f*cking spot on. Not that @Supes isn't a "wise-guy", because he is. :)

    @Dave, understood mate. It's just Inception came out before TSN, like I said, so maybe you just watched Inception recently. Lol.

    As for me, my FAVORITE film of the year: Inception.
    The BEST (there's a difference) film of the year? The Social Network
    The sleeper of the year? The Town.

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  25. Daveactor7

    @Supes I guess lol

    4 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  26. Cartman

    @Supes - Agreed,.. you are a wise guy when it comes to movies!!

    4 years agoby @c-a-r-t-m-a-nFlag

  27. Dan

    I'm going to buy TSN on Blu Ray, but the cover alone makes me roll my eyes, obnoxiously hyping it when it wasn't THAT mind blowing to me.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  28. Daveactor7

    Best actor is Colin Firth. No way James Franco can win this year

    4 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  29. Daveactor7

    @Supes well for you that is :)

    4 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  30. Daveactor7

    @Narrator its going to win best pic but after the arrival of Black Swan and other contenders now im not too sure if itll be my fave movie of this year lol :P

    4 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

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