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Joe’s Top and Bottom 10 of 2010

by on December 27, 2010
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Chris Lloyd already chimed in with his picks for the top and bottom of the 2010 cinematic scrap heap, so here’s my two cents, counting down on each list while noting what I missed (which is surprisingly little compared to previous years).


Didn’t see: Sex and the City 2, Skyline, Yogi Bear, Devil, The Virginity Hit, Charlie St. Cloud

10. Burlesque

Cher and Christina Aguilera remake “Showgirls” and “Coyote Ugly” in one movie. Cher says the line “how many nights did I hold your hair while you threw up everything but your memories?” I only wish I could throw up the memory of this movie.

9. Tooth Fairy

Dwayne Johnson’s continuation into Vin Diesel kiddie land hopefully ended with this dreck, a Santa Clause knockoff where a famous hockey player nicknamed “The Tooth Fairy” because he knocks them out on the ice literally becomes a real tooth fairy, wings and all. Not funny, not interesting, not compelling, not cute.

8. Takers

In my original review I called this “Ocean’s 11” with 50% less caucasian, and I didn’t  mean that in a good way. A flat, pointless, charmless film that thinks it oozes cool because it knows how to put a blue filter on a camera and stars Idris Elba, who is cool but somehow keeps making crappy movies like this. If only he’d known he could have put clauses in his contract forbidding Hayden Christiansen to ever wear that stupid-looking hat again, and forcing Chris Brown to 1) never act in a movie again, and 2) just go away forever.

7. The Wolfman

Overheard outside the Universal Studios lot during a meeting between producers and director Joe Johnston: “What we need for our remake of “The Wolf Man” is a long scene where Benicio Del Toro goes to a mental hospital and is tortured. And Anthony Hopkins as a were-troll. This movie is gonna ROCK!”

6.  Killers

So…you’re an average, everyday, impossibly beautiful suburban housewife (Katherine Heigl) married to a great guy(Ashton Kutcher)…who you find out is a contract killer. So is his best friend (Rob Riggle), who is hired to kill your husband.They fight. You walk in on this.  Typically not a time to crack jokes and make pithy sarcastic banter.

5. Knucklehead

WWE wrestler Paul Wight, aka “The Big Show,” stars in this dunderheaded flick that’s basically “Kingpin,” only subbing some bastardized version of MMA for bowling, and clumsily-executed fart-and-poop jokes for actual comedy.

4. Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

Lookie here…it’s a kids’ movie that references one of the tawdrier James Bond jokes in its title, then throws in a few limpwristed references to a couple of 20-year-old R-rated movies. Did I mention this is about superspy cats and dogs? Someone order a comedy, hold the hilarity?

3. Marmaduke

When was the last time a movie based on a comic strip was actually good? Yes, I know, and this one isn’t going to be the first. Owen Wilson does the doggie “Look Who’s Talking,” Judy Greer cashes what I hope is a big, fat paycheck, and we all suffer the consequences.

2. Furry Vengeance

From skunk spray to homicide gags, “Furry Vengeance” is the fun family entertainment you didn’t want but got anyway. Brendan Fraser stars, Brooke Shields slums, and Ken Jeong goes out of control. And more skunk spray. And one more for good measure. Dance sequence, end credits.

1. The Last Airbender

The utter obliteration of what is by all rights a good cartoon franchise, M. Night Shyamalan unleashes his disasterpiece on the world, combining muddled visuals, action sequences shot in real time but moving in slow motion, fighting styles that look more like a yoga routine, and a complete lack of any sort of gravity or humor. There is not a single redeeming quality about “The Last Airbender.”


Didn’t see: Blue Valentine, The King’s Speech

10. Tangled

Disney’s non-Pixar division bursts back into life with this musical, Disney proper’s best animated feature in more than a decade. This story of Rapunzel features wonderful songs, outstanding visuals, fun characters, and a gutsy, interesting take on a time-tested fairy tale.

9. 127 Hours

A harrowing film about Aron Ralston, who had to amputate his own arm when it became trapped between two large rocks. James Franco gives a virtuoso performance as Ralston in what is essentially a one-man show with only a few brief interludes with other characters. Don’t get too hung up on the gore: this is really about the triumph of the human spirit, even in idiot adventurers who don’t tell anyone they’re going mountain climbing.

8. Black Swan

A nightmarish, hallucinatory X-chromasome comparison to director Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler,” “Swan” features a virtuoso performance from its lead, Natalie Portman, a career-resurrecting supporting performance (from Barbara Hershey). Yes, it’s a ballet movie, but the creepy visuals and odd psychosexual issues make for a mindbending movie experience.

7. Winter’s Bone

A gripping rural drama from director Debra Granik (read The Yap’s interview with her here), features a bravura performance from Jennifer Lawrence and co-stars Dale Dickey and John Hawkes that carries this film to great places. A starkly realistic drama about backwoods middle America that never panders or insults its subjects, but shines a harsh light on them nonetheless.

6. True Grit

Who’d dare remake the classic John Wayne film? Joel and Ethan Coen, and the results are spectacular. Jeff Bridges takes over for Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, who is hired by young Mattie Ross (Hailie Steinfeld) to bring to justice the man(Josh Brolin) who murdered her father. Bearing the Coens’ trademark wit, some brutal action and a strong performance from Steinfeld, “True Grit” is a true winner.

5. The Fighter

Based on the true story of Irish Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), a “steppingstone” fighter who is a body for rising stars to beat on on their way to a title shot. Ward wants more, but feels held back by his crack-addicted brother (Christian Bale, who gives perhaps the best performance of any actor this year) and high-strung mother (Melissa Leo, who had perhaps the best 2010 of any single actor). Amy Adams throws in a tremendous performance as well as Micky’s girlfriend.

4. Rabbit Hole

The calmest, and probably most realistic take on losing a child you’ll ever see in a movie. Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman play a Bohemian yuppie couple coping with the loss of their son. Director John Cameron Mitchell picks up 8 months after, when the numbness has set in, creating a chilling atmosphere. Kidman is remarkable as a wounded mother, and Eckhart puts forth a nuanced performance as her husband, who struggles with having to deal with his own emotions and his wife’s.

3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

A whirling dervish of a hipster video-game romantic comedy, “Pilgrim” is my favorite unheralded movie of the year (following “Fantastic Mr. Fox” last year and “Speed Racer” in ’08). If Scott wants to date the fair Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he first has to defeat her Seven Evil Exes, which is comprised of, among others, a Superman, a Captain America, and…Jason Schwartzmann. And by “defeat” I mean defeat, as in “Mortal Kombat” style. Full of 8-bit video game references (Scott’s band is “Sex Bob-omb,” a “Super Mario Bros.” namecheck), and wonderful, mostly innocent humor (this is also my kids’ favorite movie of the year).

2. Inception

The mindbender of the year, I dare you to recount the narrative to “Inception” and clearly tell me everything that’s going on. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, who invades the dreams of others for a living, often extracting corporate secrets that he sells to their rivals. But if you can extract an idea, what about implanting one? What results is a wonderful, action-packed, gripping, and engaging on every level maze of a film that snakes through 4 levels of dreams. The film you must watch more than once, and one where you might reach a different exit each time you watch.

1. The Social Network

2010’s juggernaut is “The Facebook Movie,” which isn’t really about Facebook at all, but about a somewhat fictionalized version of its creator, Mark Zuckerberg. How much of the story is or is not true isn’t really the point: “Network” is a college-aged “Glengarry Glen Ross,” a film about preppy a-holes who continually try to one-up each other, and not one can trust anyone, least of all their closest friends, to not screw them out of the fortune they see as their birthright. Features the year’s best dialog from Aaron Sorkin, and three of the year’s best performances: one from Jesse Eisenberg, who most definitely does NOT channel Michael Cera, Andrew Garfield (who also puts in an award-caliber performance in this year’s “Never Let Me Go”; he’s bee a terrific Spider-Man), and by Armie Hammer playing twin brothers. You also have Justin Timberlake putting in a good performance as Napster founder Sean Parker, and Rooney Mara is wonderful in a small role as the girl who dared dump the manchild who would become the world’s youngest billionaire. This is likely the most riveting film where nothing actually happens since “Twelve Angry Men,” certainly the best since “Ross” in the early 90s.

Other Yappers’ Top 10 lists:

Chris Lloyd

Nick Rogers