Not a Movie Snob - Top 10 Movies of 2010

Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 05:00 PM

Top 10 Movies of 2010

2010 started off pretty slow, but by the time the Oscar race heated up I had to pare down my favourite movies from about 15 to 10. It wasn't easy, but I did it. I saw pretty much every movie released last year that I wanted to except Another Year and Biutiful, which is why I'm posting this midway through January. I've seen almost all of these films at least twice, to ensure they'd pass the repeated viewings test. They did.

So here's the top 10 list to end all top 10 lists for the year of 2010. No it's not, ignore that horribly egotistical comment.

10. The King's Speech

The King's Speech was one of those boring concept movies executed with such great skill by all involved that it turned out be an exciting, easy watch that was both entertaining and even inspiring in its own way. 

9. Winter's Bone


Winter's Bone was another surprise not only in its quality, but also in its intensity, realism, and effectiveness. It was the scariest movie of the year without even being a horror. The flawless performances from the largely unknown, but incredibly talented cast went a long way in helping to create this atmosphere. It moves slow, but with great purpose.

8. Shutter Island

When I initially saw Shutter Island at the start of the year, I was convinced there wouldn't, couldn't be a better film in 2010. After many other fine films and repeated viewings diminishing the effect of the film (slightly), it has sadly dropped to 8th spot. Being a huge Dennis Lehane fan, who wrote the original novel, and with Scorsese being one of my fav filmmakers and my being a big fan of DiCaprio's, to say I was on pins and needles anticipating the much delayed (a victim of America's economic collapse) release of this film would be a gross understatement. Happily, the film played just as the novel did in my head as I read it (twice) and even though I knew the big twist at the end of the film, it didn't stop it from being one of my best moviegoing experiences of the year.

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Anyone who sees Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World and doesn't think it's one of the best, funnest, funniest, most visually exciting movies with great performances and awesome music has something wrong with them. To simply call this movie original is to simply call Guinness a beer, or the Mona Lisa a picture. This is what people mean when they say entertainment. This is the definition right here. 

6. Toy Story 3

Ah the final chapter (hopefully). And what a note to end it on. Movie trilogy's need to be like this, if not necessarily getting better as they go, then at least moving along with the same level of quality and entertainment as the first. Everything about this movie is perfect, I don't care what age you are. The perfect story, the perfect script, the perfect conclusion. Not leaving out any toys from the first two that anyone will miss, introducing new toys that are just as memorable and well voiced as the old ones (Michael Keaton as Ken and Ned Beatty as Lotso is the kind of inspired genius voice casting that has helped make the other toys such icons).

While I personally feel the original Toy Story is still the ultimate one, Toy Story 3 has more action, more danger, more story packed in than the first two put together. And, I must say, the best ending to any film this year. And yes, I do choke up every time I watch it, so what?

5. The Social Network

Sometimes, timing is everything. A piece of entertainment comes along just when the world knows it will be most relevant and effective. Nirvana's Nevermind album came along when the music world needed something new and fresh sounding to replace the monotonous sounds of 80's hair metal and the slick and safe pop cheese of Michael Jackson and his many imitators. The Social Network is like that. Not in that it's replacing anything, but its timing couldn't be more relevant, it came along at just the right time.

Wherever this Facebook thing goes in years to come and however people are finding ways to communicate, The Social Network will be forever be a time capsule of our generation. It doesn't matter how much of this perfectly written, acted and directed film is fact or fiction, this is the world today. The greed, the distrust, the betrayal, the invention, the relationship status. How many friends do I have on
Facebook?...It's complicated.

4. Inception


I've said it before, I'll say again: Christopher Nolan is a magician. A true wizard of the cinema. Nobody bends the minds of moviegoers today like this guy. From Following to Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight. This is a resume. What's harder for me to wrap my mind around than the intricacies of the plot of this fine film, is how someone can make a story like this up from scratch. I've seen this movie three times now and it still exposes me to something new with every watch that I didn't catch before. This is pure fantasy wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in a heist flick, wrapped in an action film, wrapped in a psychological thriller...should I keep going?

You haven't seen a film like this before, you won't see one like it again, I promise. Let's just say awe inspiring is a very underwhelming way to describe it.

3. Buried

I want you to do something for me. Take a big, deep breath. That's nice isn't it? Now imagine yourself under your covers, with no openings for air, taking nice deep breaths for ten or twelve hours. Now imagine it's a box instead of your covers and it's three feet under ground. Imagine you're on the opposite side of the world as your family, your home. Imagine all you've got with you in that box is a lighter, an Arabic cell phone and a pencil. Now find a way to get out of that box. Oh, and keep in mind that the United States doesn't negotiate with terrorists, even though your life depends on it...and watch out for that snake, it looks like it bites.

2. The Fighter

Of all the movies I saw at the theatre on this list, which is almost all of them, this was the single greatest moviegoing experience I had this year. This movie is an emotional bully, in a good way. Just when you get over one emotion, it hits another, sometimes it will work on a few of them at once. This is the rollercoaster that is The Fighter and I love it for it. I've always been a fan of boxing movies, even though I'm not really a fan of the sport itself, and this is one of the best. But what makes it work is what makes Raging Bull the best movie of all time: the family dynamic, the character studies, the performances. Christian Bale's work as the crack addicted Dicky Ward is the single greatest performance of the year, hands down. And in a year filled with so many great performances, that's saying a hell of a lot.

I don't know what else to say about this film except that it touched me, entertained me, excited me. I swear there's a part towards the end of the film that was so exciting, it took everything I had not to jump up in the crowded theatre and cheer and yell at the screen. And that's all I ask when I go to the movies. Just that.

1. The Town

Yeah baby. Number one with a bullet. Sorry. I'm kind of tapped out creatively right now. After writing about ten movies at once, my brain's getting a little mushy so I'll makes this nice and simple. The Town takes place in Boston (yeah baby), features a group of bank robbing. Has the most exciting action, some of the most tense scenes, one of the best scripts, fantastic acting, amazing direction from Mr. Affleck himself, now two for two after his last amazing Boston set movie Gone Baby Gone and is just simply the best watch of the year. No contest. The staying power it has on me over the other films on this list in years to come only time will tell. But as it stands right now, movies just don't get much better than this. I could start watching this movie again at any point of any day and be happy as a sunflower to do so. As a matter of fact, I think I'll do that right now.

So there you go. Like I said, there were a bunch of great films that didn't quite make the list, some were more painful than others to give the boot to. A quick list of the runners up: Black Swan, Rabbit Hole, 127 Hours, Kick-Ass, Barney's Version and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (except the ending). All great movies, all worth checking out. And don't tell me when you have the time. Who doesn't have time for movies anyway? Prioritize!



NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to