Best Movies of 2010

10. THE FIGHTER

141 LISTS | 2 TOP SPOTS
David O. Russell | 116 mins | Biography/Drama/Sport
Mark Wahlberg | Christian Bale | Amy Adams | Melissa Leo

“On the face of it, it’s a conventional drama about a guy who coulda been (and still could be) a contender. But David O. Russell’s gutsy biopic of boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is more concerned with fights outside the ring – inner struggles, mostly – and family ties that bind and confine. Christian Bale, as Ward’s crack-addicted brother, delivers the big-wow performance of the year.” – Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle

9. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

159 LISTS | 8 TOP SPOTS
Lisa Cholodenko | 106 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Annette Bening | Julianne Moore | Mark Ruffalo | Mia Wasikowska

“In a year punctuated by loud public debates about whether gays should have the right to marry and to fight—”yes” and “yes”; can we stop talking about it now?—this comic drama about a lesbian couple in conflict served as a bracing, funny reminder that there are already gay people out there doing plenty of both. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore’s characters didn’t need no piece of paper from the City Hall to be just as messed up, and just as deeply committed to their children, as any pair of straight parents in the movies or out.” – Dana Stevens, Slate

8. 127 HOURS

174 LISTS | 18 TOP SPOTS
Danny Boyle | 94 mins | Biography/Drama
James Franco | Amber Tamblyn | Kate Mara | Sean Bott

“Anyone signing up for this adrenaline-charged, almost painfully beautiful-looking movie knows the terrible thing that will happen before the time frame in the title is up: Just as he did in real life, Aron Ralston, a fit young outdoorsman played with fearless engagement by James Franco, will eventually succeed in cutting off his own arm to free himself from otherwise certain death, alone and pinned by a boulder in a Utah canyon. The wonder of Danny Boyle?s tingling adaptation is how it dramatizes action from the inside out, finding dream-tinged imagery for the mysterious interior emotional process by which a person chooses to do something.” – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

7. THE KING’S SPEECH

202 LISTS | 18 TOP SPOTS
Tom Hooper | 118 mins | Biography/Drama/History
Colin Firth | Geoffrey Rush | Helena Bonham Carter | Derek Jacobi

“It’s not the way that a non-stuttering actor stutters that makes Colin Firth believable as King George VI, but the pitch-perfect emotional resonance of gifted actor. And while the performances of his co-stars—Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth and Geoffrey Rush as the king’s Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue—aren’t highlighted by such an obvious physical obstacle, they’re both subtly brilliant. It’s the interplay between all three actors—and the brief scenes with Michael Gambon as King George V—that make Tom Hooper’s film such a joy to watch, despite a climax that is little more than a man trying to read several paragraphs over the radio. We care so much for his character by the end of the film, that the final speech is indeed a worthy last hurdle to clear.” – Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine

6. TRUE GRIT

214 LISTS | 13 TOP SPOTS
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen | 110 mins | Drama/Western
Jeff Bridges | Matt Damon | Hailee Steinfeld | Josh Brolin

“A classical western except for the prodigiously eloquent and determined teenage girl at its center, “True Grit” finds the Coen brothers keeping a tight rein on their sometimes snide comic inclinations. “True Grit” is folkloric in its hard-nosed evocation of a place and time where the prospect of sudden death is a constant factor, but where a young girl of redoubtable principle and pluck can still stir acts of remarkable self-sacrifice in even the hardest hearts.” – Tom Charity, CNN

5. WINTER’S BONE

251 LISTS | 26 TOP SPOTS
Debra Granik | 100 mins | Drama/Mystery
Jennifer Lawrence | John Hawkes | Garret Dillahunt | Isaiah Stone

“Jennifer Lawrence gives one of the year’s standout performances in Winter’s Bone, the second feature from Down To The Bone director Debra Granik. But while Lawrence’s evocation of a superlatively proud, stiff-necked Missouri teenager supporting her mother and younger siblings is key to the film’s success, Granik’s realization of the Ozarks is rich, specific, and frightening, and it provides the other necessary half of the puzzle. The film functions as a crime procedural as Lawrence hunts down her father, whose disappearance may cause her family to lose the home that allows them to survive with a tiny bit of fiercely protected independence. But it’s also the kind of vivid time-and-place portrait that offers a window into another world—in this case, a meth-ravaged, chilly backwoods country that inspires equal parts intense hatred and intense bonding in its clannish inhabitants.” – AV Club

4. TOY STORY 3

277 LISTS | 34 TOP SPOTS
Lee Unkrich | 103 mins | Animation/Adventure/Comedy
Tom Hanks | Tim Allen | Joan Cusack | Ned Beatty

“Wild and transporting. Dispatched to a day-care center, Woody, Buzz, and the gang must confront their impending obsolescence, which is enough to break your heart. The film then turns into a hilariously elaborate prison-escape thriller, but the toys aren’t just running for their plastic lives. They’re fighting for the right to be playthings again — for the sacred, make-believe pleasures of analog imagination that have been chased out of childhood by technology.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

3. BLACK SWAN

292 LISTS | 43 TOP SPOTS
Darren Aronofsky | 108 mins | Drama/Thriller
Natalie Portman | Mila Kunis | Vincent Cassel | Winona Ryder

“At once gorgeous and gloriously nutso, a trippy, twisted fantasy that delights and disturbs. Darren Aronofsky takes the same stripped-down fascination with the minutiae of preparation he brought to his Oscar-nominated “The Wrestler” and applies it to the pursuit of a different kind of artistry: ballet. But then he mixes in a wildly hallucinatory flair as “Black Swan” enters darker psychological territory, featuring a brave performance from Natalie Portman as a dancer slipping into madness. Working with his frequent cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, and blending dazzling visual effects, Aronofsky spins a nightmare scenario within a seemingly gentile world.” – Christy Lemire, Associated Press

2. INCEPTION

290 LISTS | 55 TOP SPOTS
Christopher Nolan | 148 mins | Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
Leonardo DiCaprio | Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Ellen Page | Ken Watanabe

“Christopher Nolan messes with our heads in ways no other studio filmmaker dares. He dazzles with his visual effects, wows with his action scenes, thrills with his surprises. All along, he asks us to think as he spins a fantastically entertaining tale of a lost man (Leonardo DiCaprio) clawing his way back to the things that matter through a virtual world of dreams. Nolan has planted the seed of the brainy blockbuster in Hollywood. Here’s hoping the idea doesn’t die of loneliness.” – David Germain, Associated Press

1. THE SOCIAL NETWORK

447 LISTS | 110 TOP SPOTS
David Fincher | 120 mins | Biography/Drama
Jesse Eisenberg | Andrew Garfield | Justin Timberlake | Rooney Mara

“Here is a film about how people relate to their corporate roles and demographic groups rather than to each other as human beings. That’s the fascination for me; not the rise of social networks but the lives of those who are socially networked. Mark Zuckerberg, who made billions from Facebook and plans to give most of it away, isn’t driven by greed or the lust for power. He’s driven by obsession with an abstract system. He could as well be a chessmaster like Bobby Fischer. He finds satisfaction in manipulating systems.
The tension in the film is between Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins, who may well have invented Facebook for all I know, but are traditional analog humans motivated by pride and possessiveness. If Zuckerberg took their idea and ran with it, it was because he saw it as a logical insight rather than intellectual property. Some films observe fundamental shifts in human nature, and this is one of them.
David Fincher’s direction, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and the acting by Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake and the others all harmoniously create not only a story but a world view, showing how Zuckerberg is hopeless at personal relationships but instinctively projects himself into a virtual world and brings 500 million others behind him. “The Social Network” clarifies a process that some believe (and others fear) is creating a new mind-set.” – Roger Ebert

Full Top 50:

RTITLEL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1The Social Network4471103.5675%20%2255272%18%
2Inception290553.8549%10%1242240%8%
3Black Swan292433.8648%8%1261641%6%
4Toy Story 3277344.3446%6%1231440%5%
5Winter's Bone251264.6742%5%1251540%5%
6True Grit214134.8435%2%90329%1%
7The King's Speech202184.0334%3%89929%3%
8127 Hours174184.7129%3%791025%4%
9The Kids Are All Right15985.1127%1%77425%1%
10The Fighter14125.524%0%56018%0%
11The Ghost Writer140105.2723%2%76424%1%
12Scott Pilgrim vs. the World12855.5921%1%54317%1%
13Carlos118274.3820%5%812026%7%
14A Prophet111104.5519%2%57518%2%
15Exit Through the Gift Shop10575.2418%1%62320%1%
16Another Year8874.7915%1%52517%2%
17Shutter Island8676.0114%1%38312%1%
18Mother8144.7214%1%52417%1%
19I Am Love7654.3613%1%51316%1%
20Dogtooth75114.4413%2%46515%2%
21The Town7226.2212%0%2719%0%
22Blue Valentine7294.6912%2%42514%2%
23Animal Kingdom7155.411%1%35411%1%
24Let Me In6105.6510%0%2307%0%
25Inside Job6115.1510%0%38012%0%
26Kick-Ass5905.4710%0%2408%0%
27Everyone Else5874.3510%1%41513%2%
28White Material5424.859%0%36112%0%
29Greenberg5345.199%1%34411%1%
30Enter the Void5255.089%1%32310%1%
31How to Train Your Dragon5215.659%0%2207%0%
32Please Give4825.118%0%30110%0%
33Wild Grass4663.668%1%2939%1%
34Never Let Me Go4825.528%0%2327%1%
35Rabbit Hole4416.147%0%2508%0%
36Vincere4234.067%1%2729%1%
37Four Lions4144.767%1%2036%1%
38The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009)3925.917%0%1715%0%
39Fish Tank3524.936%0%2127%1%
40Sweetgrass3515.456%0%2508%0%
41Secret Sunshine3144.385%1%2036%1%
42The Secret In Their Eyes3014.615%0%1515%0%
43Alamar26554%1%1745%1%
44Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 12605.584%0%401%0%
44Easy A2606.574%0%903%0%
46Restrepo2515.784%0%1214%0%
47Red Riding Trilogy23354%1%1725%1%
48The American2305.764%0%1204%0%
48Buried2305.424%0%803%0%
50Marwencol2325.834%0%1916%0%

Lists Included 596 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 311

R Rank
L Total number of lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
AR Average position on ranked top 10 lists
#1 Total number of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year
L% Percentage of total lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
#1% Percentage of mentions where the film was selected as the best film of the year
TCL Number of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1 Number of times that the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL% Percentage of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1% Percentage of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists

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