I think I saw something close to 250 films this year and started with a list of nearly 40 I really liked. But they make you narrow it to 10. They always do. So, sorry, Winter’s Bone, 127 Hours, Four Lions, Black Swan, I Love You Phillip Morris, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Ondine, Rabbit Hole, Wild Grass and Tron: Legacy, I had to chop somewhere.
1. White Material French filmmaker Claire Denis substituted blindly confident Isabelle Huppert for all of doomed French colonialism in Africa and you can guess how that all turns out.
2. Trash Humpers This one isn’t for everybody, since it’s about people who run around having sex with dumpsters and mailboxes, but Harmony Korine managed to make scary, plotless, mentally ill behavior and hysterical shriek-laughing feel like charming, winning social rebellion.
3. Life During Wartime A brutally funny wallow with the world’s most miserable people, including Paul Reubens as a suicidal ghost. Somehow it was also about forgiving the people who put you there.
4. I Am Love Tilda Swinton played a Russian lady married to a mega-rich Italian textiles executive. Then she throws it all away when a handsome young Italian chef rocks her world with the world’s greatest lunch.
5. Enter the Void French director Gaspar Noe unleashed a 150-minute visual assault with a story of a dead drug addict that’ll leave you overwhelmed, exhilarated and possibly motion-sick.
6. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World The coolest movie of the year about how modern culture has been shaped by technology.
7. The Social Network The second coolest movie of the year about how modern culture has been shaped by technology.
8. Inception Sometimes the big summer blockbuster is also great art. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does that’s what makes people love going to the movies. Don’t worry if it confused you.
9. Mother Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host) just delivered the most deranged mom in recent memory, a single-minded woman who’ll do whatever it takes to clear her mentally challenged son’s good name when he’s accused of murder.
10. Toy Story 3 I don’t need to tell you how nearly perfect this was. You probably already saw it, and if you didn’t it’s because no one gave you a ride to the theater. It was the happiest, saddest, brightest, darkest, most funny and most frightening of the three. I’d say they should stop while they’re way ahead, but it’s Pixar so I’d trust them for a fourth.
Check out Jen’s Top 10 of 2010