My Quest For 75 in 2010

As I’ve mentioned, 2012 is the third year in which I’ve done a purposeful quest to see a certain number of films in a given year. In 2010, I saw 95 films I had never seen before, exceeding my goal of 75.

Here’s the article I wrote with the list of films I saw and the superlatives I chose from those films:

A year ago, I challenged myself to see at least 75 films in 2010 which I had never seen before, and as you will see, I was quite successful in that endeavor.  As I like lists and ranking things, I’d like to not only share with you the full list of movies in the order in which I saw them, but I’ve also got a few awards to hand out at the end.  I won’t just be saying “this was my favorite actor”, but I’ll be ranking my top 5 (or so) from the movies I saw during The 2010 Quest.

The Field

1. Wild Hogs
2. Paper Heart
3. Big Trouble in Little China
4. State of Play
5. Miracle
6. Extract
7. Wall Street
8. I Love You Beth Cooper
9. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
10. Whip It!
11. The Invention of Lying
12. Post Grad
13. Balls of Fury
14. Law Abiding Citizen
15. Slap Shot
16. Fantastic Mr Fox
17. Aviator
18. Slumdog Millionaire
19. Smokin’ Aces
20. Step Brothers
21. Time Traveller’s Wife
22. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
23. Tale of Despereaux
24. Tootsie
25. District 9
26. Coraline
27. Sherlock Holmes
28. Sideways
29. The Men Who Stare At Goats
30. The Day The Earth Stood Still
31. Inside Man
32. 28 Days Later
33. Where the Wild Things Are
34. John Carpenters Vampires
35. The Game Plan
36. Invinceable
37. Maiden Heist
38. Zombieland
39. Predator
40. Mad Money
41. Valkyrie
42. Gran Torino
43. Boondock Saints II
44. Boyz N the Hood
45. Superman III
46. Crank: High Voltage
47. Mr Woodcock
48. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
49. Night at the Museum
50. Man on Fire
51. Drillbit Taylor
52. Hoosiers
53. Starter for 10
54. Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
55. Valentine’s Day
56. The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.
57. The Love Guru
58. Hard Day’s Night
59. Astro Boy
60. Wristcutters: A Love Story
61. History of the World: Part I
62. True Crime
63. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
64. Youth in Revolt
65. Black Rain
66. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
67. Nine
68. The Marc Pease Experience
69. Ladykillers
70. INCEPTION
71. She’s Out of My League
72. Gamer
73. Dazed & Confused
74. Kick-Ass
75. 48 Hours
76. Sum Of All Fears
77. Up In The Air
78. An Education
79. Date Night
80. Deja Vu
81. Hot Tub Time Machine
82. Stargate
83. Killers
84. Iron Man 2
85. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
86. The Social Network
87. Grown Ups
88. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
89. Martian Child
90. M*A*S*H
91. LEON (The Professional)
92. Die Hard
93. The Karate Kid (2010)
94. The Town
95. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

I realize that at the time of this article, I don’t have reviews for those final three put up yet. I’m not only a slacker, but I’m also cognizant of the fact that we don’t need five movie reviews all in a row here on GuysNation.

Here are the awards.

Supporting Actor

#7 – Ryan Reynolds (for Smokin’ Aces)

Though it wasn’t a huge role, he did help drive the movie, and he had a very powerful part in the ending of the movie.

#6 -Armie Hammer (for The Social Network)

I was very impressed with the uptight twins in The Social Network, and now that I know it was played by one actor, it makes the performances all the better, as the roles were distinct.

#5 – Jeff Bridges (for The Men Who Stare At Goats)

Quirky characters always seem to get recognized, and Jeff Bridges played this one believably well.

#4 – Jeremy Renner (for The Town)

I came away from The Town with lots on my mind, and one of those things was a question of how I might be able to appreciate Jeremy Renner as the good guy in The Hurt Locker when he was so good at being a guy you want Ben Affleck to kick to the curb in The Town, but you can understand why he has trouble with the decision as things start to fully unfold.

#3 – Justin Timberlake (for The Social Network)

I haven’t spent enough time with Justin Timberlake to know what he’s like in real life, but I’d find it hard to believe he was exactly like his manipulative-yet-charming character in The Social Network.  He truly is becoming more and more of an actor and less of “just a musician”.

#2 – Gary Oldman (for LEON (The Professional))

Gary Oldman is a legend in Hollywood these days, one of the best actors on the planet in the eyes of many, and his role in LEON is a big part of that reason, as it surely helped lay a good foundation.  The scene where he talks about music and then the bathroom scene late in the film are both really good.

Winner – James Caviezel (for Deja Vu)

Given the phenomenal performance Caviezel gives in Deja Vu makes me wish they would’ve made his part much bigger.  They could easily make a prequel featuring his character and I’d watch it.

[A poll was included on the original article]

Supporting Actress

On a list of movies for a site focused on GUYS, it’s not hard to believe that most of the movies on this list were centered around a male character.  As you’ll see later in these awards, there aren’t many nominees for “Best Actress” as a result, but there are plenty of supporting actresses, which made my job tough for this category, though there were an abundance of great performances.

#10 -Rosamund Pike (for An Education)

She was great as the aloof friend.

#9 -Ahney Her (for Gran Torino)

She actually held her own on screen with Clint Eastwood as the opinion-changing neighbor.

#8 -Anna Kendrick (for Up In The Air)

You could actually feel her iciness melting as the movie progressed.

#7 -Dakota Fanning (for Man on Fire)

She was only present for about half the movie, but she was so powerful in her role that you could understand why she affected change in Denzell’s character.

#6 -Marion Cotillard (for Nine)

Easily the second most powerful character in the film.  I’m not sure why Penelope Cruz got more attention than Marion, though it’s probably because Cruz had a memorable scantily clad dance scene.

#5 -Cate Blanchett (for Aviator)

My wife had to tell me who the actress was halfway through her first scene despite my having seen Blanchett in a couple other films.  After her second scene in the film, I forgot who the actress was.

#4 -Amy Adams (for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian)

I’ve never been disappointed with an Amy Adams performance, and she was a great Amelia Erhart.

#3 -Blake Lively (for The Town)

This was a huge jump for the Gossip Girl, who really looked like she got all drugged out for this film.  It was far more powerful a performance than I could’ve imagined from her.

#2 – Chloe Grace Moretz (for Kick-Ass)

If you haven’t seen Kick-Ass, you probably lost a lot of respect for these awards by Chloe Moretz being the runner-up in this category.  Go watch it.  She overshadowed most of the folks with whom she shared the screen in this film, and after watching the special features, I was really surprised at how much of the action she did.

Winner – Marion Cotillard (for INCEPTION)

This was a phenomenal performance which I expect her to get nominated for an Academy Award.  Very, very powerful.

[Again, another poll]

Disappointment

Not all of the films nominated in this category were bad films, but they didn’t live up to the hype with which I approached them.  Maybe that’s my fault, maybe it’s not, but either way, they were disappointing.

#8 – Hoosiers

I know it’s a classic movie, and I know the reason I don’t appreciate it is because it set a formula from which other movies I enjoy pull, but I was still expecting a lot more.

#7 – Grown Ups

I enjoy Chris Rock and Kevin James.  I love most Adam Sandler movies.  I expected better, even from a movie with David Spade.

#6 – Step Brothers

Most of my friends LOVE this movie and quote it often.  I usually really enjoy Will Ferrell movies, and John C. Reily is becoming a favorite of mine.  This one just didn’t hit it for me, though.  The more I hear it quoted after the fact, the more I can almost appreciate it, but just like Anchorman, it just fell WAY short of my expectations.

#5 – Gamer

I didn’t have high expectations for this movie, but given the premise, it sounded like it could be a fun time.  It wasn’t.  Not unless you enjoy random bits of graphic gore mixed in with some creepiness-infused sexuality.

#4 – Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus

I probably should’ve had lower expectations for Heath Ledger’s last film, but no one had warned me about the polarizing Terry Gilliam prior to my viewing of this film.  I liked how they incorporated Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Farrel, but the script and the drug-trip-inspired scenes just left me wishing I could fast forward.  My high hopes for it kept me watching it at regular speed.  At least I was introduced to Andrew Garfield, the guy who will next be playing Spider-man on the big screen.  It wasn’t nearly enough to save this film for me, though.

#3 – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The premise is very promising, and the relatively big budget should’ve lent itself to this being a good film, especially with the inclusion of Sean Connery.  I found myself very underwhelmed, however, and just wanted it to be over.  If they could’ve changed the portrayal of Mr Hyde and the female vampire, it could’ve been a lot better.

#2 – History of the World: Part I

I had heard so much about this movie, and yet I found myself laughing only a couple times during the entire film.  That counts short chuckles.  Perhaps the only redeeming quality of this film was Gregory Hines.

Winner – Boondock Saints II

Oh, how I loved the first Boondock Saints film.  The fact that they waited so long for the second one to be released made me go wide-eyed when I saw it was being released to theaters.  Not only is this one of the worst films I saw all year, but it was possibly one of my most anticipated.  Terrible combination.

Best Cameo

Runner-Up – Will Ferrell (for The Goods)

I had heard there was a great cameo in “The Goods”, and it turned out to be one of the funniest parts of the otherwise average movie.

Bill Murray (for Zombieland)

Easily the best cameo of the year.  Possibly ever.  The way it plays out for him was awesome.

Worst Movie

I tried to keep my anticipatory bias out of this category and just judge from a quality standpoint.

#5 – Step Brothers

Too many groan-inducing moments.

#4 – Gamer

It wasn’t even cheesey.

#3 – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Special Effects Fail.

#2 – I Love You Beth Cooper

Seriously, how do you mis-cast your top two male roles?  I think they inadvertently switched the offer letters.

Winner – Wristcutters: A Love Story

I had to watch the last hour of it twice because I disliked it so much that it couldn’t hold my attention adequately the first time.

Best Actress

As I mentioned the first time, given the site I’m writing for and consequently the movies I saw, there weren’t many “lead actress” roles amongst the 95 films I saw.  If there were some roles you think would’ve qualified as “lead actress”, let me know.

#4 – Rachel McAdams (for Time Traveler’s Wife)

She really helped with the emotional attachment to the titular character in the film while seeming different at various points in the film.

#3 – Rachel McAdams (for State of Play)

She created a performance which made you hope she helped connect the dots to get the story.

#2 – Carey Mulligan (for An Education)

You could really see the character mature and learn the ways of life as she traveled with her companions, and you could understand why they would want to befriend her.

Winner – Natalie Portman (for LEON (The Professional))

Such a phenomenal performance, quite possibly the best I’ve ever seen from Natalie Portman – or any actress under the age of 14 (aside from maybe Dakota Fanning in I Am Sam).

Best Actor

11 – Michael Cera (for Youth in Revolt)

This award is more about Cera having to perform as the suave alter-ego he created than it is about the primary role, but he does both very well.

10 – Peter Sarsgaard (for An Education)

Very good at being deceptively suave.

9 – George Clooney (for The Men Who Stare At Goats)

Very good at being normal and quirky at the same time, all the while making you believe that’s who he is.

8 – Daniel Day Lewis (for Nine)

Just a great performance for which praise is hard to put into words.

7 – Clint Eastwood (for Gran Torino)

If you’ve seen the film, you aren’t questioning why he’s on this list, though you might questioning why he’s not closer to the winner’s spot.

6 – Denzell Washington (for Man on Fire)

He’s great in the early part of the film as a man battling addiction and getting emotionally attached, and just as great in the second half as a man extracting revenge.

5 – Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network)

There’s just something in that performance which screams to the fact that he delved deep into the character.  You can really buy into the fact that he’s a socially awkward computer nerd capable of creating a billion-dollar website and not caring what other people think about his ways and means.

4 – Jean Reno (for LEON (The Professional))

He’s both cold-hearted and deeply caring all at the same time.

#3 – Leonardo DiCaprio (for Aviator)

A phenomenal job of portraying Howard Hughes.

#2 – Kurt Russell (for Miracle)

Arguably BECAME Herb Brooks.  Halfway through the film it’s hard to really see it as Kurt Russell anymore, which you don’t expect from Kurt Russell.

Winner – Sharlto Copley (for District 9)

He made you sad for his transformation and then he helped you get emotionally attached to a totally different species.

Most Enjoyable Movie

For this category, I took the movies which weren’t in my list of BEST movie and ranked them in the order for which I enjoyed them.  As you’ll see, they’re not all stellar flicks, but I’d sit through them again.

9 – Balls of Fury

When I tell most people that I saw this movie, they act as if I just told them that a family member was sick, but there’s no reason for anyone to be sorry that I watched Balls Of Fury.  Sure, it’s not a cinematic classic, and no one’s going to think about it when remembering some of Christopher Walken’s best roles, but if you’re alright with an evening of slightly absurd humor, I’d easily pick this movie over Step Brothers or Grown Ups.

8 – Crank: High Voltage

I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for the Crank movies.  They’re both like roller coasters with some absurd action.  The strip club scene in this one went a bit too far, but the rest of the way was enjoyable.

7 – Law Abiding Citizen

I still don’t know whether we were supposed to be rooting for Gerard Butler’s character in this movie, but I had fun watching all the crazy schemes which were devised to get to folks.  Not as much of a roller coaster ride as Crank, but a better all around movie which connects a bit deeper emotionally.

6 – Zombieland

I’m not a guy who loves zombie movies, but the humor and the action just made this film undeniably enjoyable.

5 – Sherlock Holmes

I didn’t know what to expect from a Guy Ritchie version of Sherlock Holmes, and while I enjoyed this movie as a Guy Ritchie movie, it’s not the same Sherlock Holmes from the stories I’ve read.  While I partially enjoyed it because of Rachel McAdams, I’ll be looking forward to the sequel regardless of the actresses cast.

4 – Iron Man 2

While it wasn’t as good as the first movie, it was a fun ride with some good action.  The inclusion of Scarlett Johansson in a tight outfit didn’t hurt its case.  Especially because she kicked some major ass.

3 – Smokin’ Aces

If I had an award for the pleasant surprise of 2010, this might’ve won.  I had heard a couple people mention they liked it, but no one particularly raved about it.  It was really violent, but it was a fairly well woven story with a good ending.

Close 2nd – She’s Out of My League

In addition to the fact that Alice Eve shines on the screen in this one, it’s actually a funny movie which defies the conventions of making the main character too dweeby.  They spin the story in such a way that it seems believable that Alice Eve would want to be with Jay Baruchel.  The side characters are well written, too.  Neither the crazy ex-girlfriend, nor her new boyfriend, nor the slightly-bitchy best friend of Alice Eve nor the non-PC best friend of Baruchel are annoying – the same can’t be said for characters cut from the same mold in other similar movies.

Winner – Scott Pilgrim vs The World

As J-Day said in his One Sentence Review, this is quite possibly the most fun I’ve had watching a movie.  Ever.   The moment I was done watching the movie, I added it to my Christmas list, and then I started watching the special features.

Best Movie

14 – Astro Boy

I don’t know why I decided to include 14 options in this category, but I felt like Astro Boy deserved some recognition.  For its story and its artistic merit, it’s a great film.

13 – The Town

While it wasn’t as great as the previews made it seem, it was still a really good film deserving of some serious praise.  Its story wasn’t as complex as The Departed (to which many compared it), but the performances were still of high quality.

12 – 28 Days Later

The opening scenes, prior to actually seeing any characters other than the main one, provided some amazing visuals.  The rest of the film focused on the humanity of various individuals and were a fun ride.

11 – Valkyrie

Great historical biopic about a part of history which isn’t featured in the history books.

10 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

This was easily one of the top two movies in the now-seven part series.  These are no longer kids movies… though you could make the case that they never were.

9 – Fantastic Mr Fox

Wes Anderson took a fun children’s story and not only developed it into a full length movie with deep characters, but he gave it his undeniable sense of style.

8 – The Social Network

I love most everything Aaron Sorkin is involved with, and when you factor in the involvement of David Fincher, that’s a formula I’d take every time for a success.  There were some great performances and the story is an intriguing one.

7 – Slumdog Millionaire

I wondered what all the hype was all about with this one, and I definitely found out.  Incredible story with a fun, clever twist at its backbone to help give part of the movie a positive spin.

6 – Aviator

I also had wondered what all the hype was about Aviator, and I found a film which was not only well developed and enjoyable, but informative at the same time and almost inspiring.

5 – Man on Fire

When I find people who have seen it, this is a movie which people rave about.  I don’t know why they don’t think to talk it up as one of their favorites unless I mention it, as that’s definitely part of the reason I didn’t see it until 2010.  It was hard to watch as a new parent, but it was a phenomenal ride and a great character piece.

4 – LEON (The Professional)

This was a great story which wasn’t too complicated and benefited from at least three great performances.  I’d call it heart-warming, but most folks who would be alright with the subject matter or the way Natalie Portman acts probably don’t like that term.

3 – District 9

I never thought I’d be pro-alien in a movie which essentially features humans vs aliens, but I was, and I’m guessing most people were, too.  This was probably one of the top five best science fiction movies I’ve ever seen, and I’m not afraid to say I nearly cried at one part.

2 – Gran Torino

What a powerful movie!  Clint Eastwood was both gritty and endearing over the course of the film, and if the rough language doesn’t dissuade you, I’d find it hard to believe that anyone would dislike this film.  I struggle to write more about this movie because I hate giving away any spoilers.  There are a few people I hope to watch this with in 2011.

Winner – INCEPTION

This will top the lists of many for 2010, as Christopher Nolan has put together yet another masterpiece.  Some people found it difficult to follow, and while it does have a few layers you have to be cognizant of while you’re watching, it’s a beautiful film with some great performances that you’ll enjoy more during a second showing.


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