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Notes From the Back Row

Best of 2010




There were 649 movies released in North America in 2010 and I didn't watch nearly enough of them (not to mention all the foreign flicks I missed) but 2010 seemed an overall weak year for movies and an especially poor summer. It was a year plagued by hit-and-miss 3D technology and too many remakes and sequels but there were highlights and from where I sit (in the back row) these were the best films of 2010.

Best Romantic Comedy - This is usually a contest of which pile of shit stinks the least but Cyrus is the darkest, weirdest, creepiest rom-com of the year, and it's also pretty good. John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei use their acting and craft a rare romantic comedy that doesn't make you want to gouge your own eyes out with a straw.

Best Comedy - 2010 was a decent year for laughs. Russell Brand's Get Him to The Greek overachieved and Hot Tub Time Machine proved that no idea is too out there if you have a strong cast (and Jessica Pare topless in a hot tub), but the winner is Fubar 2 for being smart, hilarious, heartwarming, Canadian and a sequel that rocks as much as its predecessor.

Best Documentary - Marwencol played at the Whistler Film Festival and it was one of those strange/awesome docs that transports you to a place you could never imagine, but the winner is Exit Through the Gift Shop . Director Banksy mixes incredible old-school street-art footage with a film-within-a-film-within-a-role-reversal-mindf4ck that hints at how the concept of "Art" as we know it might just be bullshit.

Best Action - Lots to choose from (Hollywood loves action movies) but I'm giving it to Kick-Ass . Runner-up is Machete.

Best Drama - Inception was big, brave and well executed. It also confused most of its audience and still made $800 million Worldwide. The Social Network was slick, smart and very timely. So who wins? Especially considering I haven't yet seen Black Swan or 127 Hours ? I'm giving it to David Fincher's The Social Network - no explosions, no severed arms, just real human drama.

Best Horror - A decent year; Hollywood's unnecessary remake of Let Me In was nearly as good as the Swedish source material and The Crazies , another solid remake, mixed up the zombie genre a bit. There can be only one winner though, and it's Piranha 3D. Prehistoric piranhas attack scantily clad college Spring Break-ers and the only person who can stop them is Elizabeth Shue? It's as if the team from Inception went into my dreams and found my perfect film. A piranha puking up a guy's severed dick and then another piranha eating it again, all in 3D, should also win scene of the year.

Best Animation - Toy Story 3. While Pixar milked that franchise for all they could, they also knew when, and how, to go out with a bang.

Best Movie you didn't see - The Runaways ; sex, drugs and apathy amplified through the minds of some seriously young girls. Michael Shannon, Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning kill it in this overlooked gem.

Worst of the Year - Now I love Amanda Seyfried, last summer I even described her as "creamy," but what is up with Dear John and Letters to Juliet? The only thing more un-visually stimulating than watching a movie about writing letters is watching two of them.

Best of the Year - I couldn't fit it in any other category so Scott Pilgrim vs. The World wins. Director Edgar Wright's ( Shaun of the Dead) videogame-saturated tale of love, ego and growing up was adapted from a graphic novel, filmed beautifully in Toronto, and is chock full of fresh filmmaking and honed storytelling. Plus the chick is hot. Happy New Year!