December 31, 2010, - 3:57 pm

DebbieSchlussel.com Top Ten Movies of 2010

By Debbie Schlussel

Since it’s the end of the year, here’s my Top Ten Movies of 2010 with a link to my complete review under the name of each movie:

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1)  “The King’s Speech“:  King George VI learns to overcome a stutter, in order to rally the English people around the Allied troops in World War II.  Also the charming story of the friendship of two men, a royal and a commoner.  Read My Complete Review.

2)  “True Grit “:  The second movie based on the book of the same title is a terrific Western, beautifully shot with mostly great acting.  A young girl hires a federal marshal to find and hunt down the man who killed her father.  Set in 1800s America.  Read My Complete Review.

3)  “Mao’s Last Dancer“:  A Chinese ballet dancer, who is seized from his family to dance for Communist China, yearns for freedom and realizes his dreams in the United States.  An uplifting, touching, patriotic movie about the greatness of America. Read My Complete Review.

4)  “127 Hours“:  This is the story of Aaron Ralston, a weekend hiker and mountain-climber whose hand gets stuck under a boulder in the wilderness.  Stars the talented James Franco who shows great range of emotion and acting. Read My Complete Review.

5)  “Hereafter“:  Three people’s stories intersect as they try to either reach lost loved ones and/or prove that there is a hereafter.  Touching and can’t miss the cute English twin boy actors, Frankie and George McLaren. Read My Complete Review.

6)  “Despicable Me (Read My Complete Review)“:  Terrific, cute, hilarious animated movie that adults and kids will enjoy, starring Steve Carell as the world’s greatest villain and mean guy who plots to shrink the moon and steal it from the sky, so he can continue to maintain funding from the Bank of Evil.  But he’s touched and softened  by the young orphan girls he adopts. Read My Complete Review.

7)  “The Next Three Days“:  Heart-pounding thriller filled with unpredictable twists from beginning to end, as a man plots to free his wife–who has been convicted of murder–from prison and flee the country.  Top-notch Russell Crowe stuff. Read My Complete Review.

8)  “Heartbreaker [L'arnacoeur]“:  Cute, light, fun French-language film with English subtitles about a man who breaks up relationships for a living.  With his sister’s and brother-in-law’s help, he makes the women fall in love with him, then dumps them.  Funny, quick, and tight. Read My Complete Review.

9)  “Harry Brown“:  Michael Caine, in an even more brutal, British version of “Death Wish,” avenges the British gang killing of his only friend.  A former Marine, he outsmarts the police repeatedly and gives the bad guys what they deserve. Read My Complete Review.

10)  “Inception“:  Pretentious, but cool and inventive sci-fi movie about a gang of dream bandits, led by Leonardo DiCaprio, who enter people’s dreams (and even further dream levels beyond that) to steal information and plant seeds to change behavior in real life.  Is this real life, or are you in a dream?  Better check your talisman.  But don’t enter a dream without bringing an architect to design the maze for you, first.  It was the perfect, ambiguous ending that finally won me over. Read My Complete Review.

Honorable Mention/Documentary – “Exit Through Gift Shop“:  Don’t confuse my enjoyment of this fun, light, very cool movie with an endorsement of either vandalism a/k/a graffiti or Banksy, the anti-Israel director of this movie (who did a little graffiti on Israel’s very necessary counter-terrorism fence).  But you’ll enjoy this story of a French immigrant to Los Angeles who styles himself a street graffiti artist counter-revolutionary and, instead, turns himself into one of the biggest, most commercial capitalists in the pop art world.  Love the Rubik’s Cube stuff his cousin does, too.  If you like pop art, like I do, you’ll have fun with this.  And even if you don’t, it’s entertaining.  Since we don’t want to give anti-Israel Banksy even a penny, best to take this out of the library or wait ’til it’s on cable. Read My Complete Review.

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11 Responses

Debbie, I didn’t think “Inception” had an ambiguous ending. I thought it was a clear cut happy ending. Did I miss something? Also, it was sort of a chick flick pretending to be a crystal meth flick, but “Winter’s Bone” was good too. Did you see it?

A1 on December 31, 2010 at 7:01 pm

The best movie of 2010 is…

KICK-ASS!!!

Inception was OK but not great.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Norman Blitzer on December 31, 2010 at 7:01 pm

I think Black Swan was absolutely the best movie of the year.

Mark on January 1, 2011 at 2:27 am

Inception was so convoluted and ridiculous, it lost me after 1/2 hr into the movie. Waste of time. True Grit was good! Thanks for reviewing the other movies, I usually agree with your assessments.

Joe on January 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Not sure if “Exit through the Gift Shop” is even a real documentary. Type in Google, “Exit through the Gift Shop Hoax” to read some very good arguments that none of it was as it seemed.

Gav on January 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Inception was convoluted and about a half-hour in the first time viewing I was almost lost as well, but the setup was so fascinating, and the characters so interesting, I was hooked and had to know more. A lot of people were hooked as well it turned out as this puzzle and puzzler of a movie was the fifth most popular film of the year, something no one could have predicted. I loved it as much the third time I watched it as the first. The ending is ambiguous, there are several possibilities, but all the interpretations are worth exploring It was one of those rare movies that rewarded the intellect and inquisitiveness of the viewer. Easily the best movie of the year.

J'Kel on January 1, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Great choices, Debbie, all of them. There’s not a one that I strongly disagree with (as I did last year with your choice of Up in the Air).

The ambiguous ending is what won me over to Inception, also.(Commenter A1 above: the top at the end of the film spins for an overly long time, and the eventual reconciliation with the children is so hazily perfect that it suggests the dream is continuing and DiCaprio never does escape. This interpretation is also consistent with Nolan’s other films which are bleakly pessimistic in predicting any person’s ability to escape his own illusions)

I do happen to agree with commenter Mark above that Black Swan was the best picture of the year. I’m biased towards the genre of psychological horror anyway, but what won me over to the movie especially was the fact that I appreciate in it Aronofsky’s auteur vision of the tragedy of impossible or fractured dreams which he has made important to all his films.

I’m glad you gave only a qualified endorsement of Exit Through the Gift Shop. What dampened my liking for the film was the director’s enthusiasm for graffiti vandalism; like you, though, I couldn’t help but see the twists and turns within the movie as fascinating. I think a lot of the critics who applauded that movie enjoyed the vandalism as a kind of protest which allowed them to revisit their own sixties heydays when they used to throw rocks in university windows to show they weren’t going to be ruled by the Man.

Finally, thank you for going to the tremendous effort you do to give a critical, independent, conservative assessment of our current culture. You do a fantastic job.

Burke on January 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

“Despicable Me” is my hands-down favorite from your list, Debbie! I got the DVD for Christmas. The hubby and I watched it last night and we’re still laughing!

Michelle on January 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Oops! Forgot. We’re really looking forward to seeing “The King’s Speech”.

Michelle on January 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

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