So after all is said and done everyone on the blogospere has a top film list of 2010. I’m no different – just the fact that I write this blog (and several others) means I have some sort of delusions of self-importance in the chaotic whirlwind of self-importance that is life after the introduction of the internet. I’m not trying to sound self-deprecating; the fact is the reason I chose the Opinionated Bastard moniker for this particular site is I feel my opinions are right, to some degree or another. I’m not going to clock in and tell you the best movie of 2008 was Transsiberian even though it was my favorite that year, because, simply put, there were better movies that year. That being said let’s jump into my list of the top three for 2010 with one last notation that yes, Inception would probably have been number four and no, I didn’t get to see all of the movies I wanted to or probably should have in order to do this list, so I’m basing this on what I saw.
I miss 2007, the year the last third of the season that year was PACKED with good, Oscar-worthy films. 2008 was the same way, but now since Hollywood has gone Tent-Pole-All-The-Time, 2009 was tough and this year, well, alright, I’m exaggerating because this year wasn’t too bad, so maybe I’ll just shut up and call ‘em out.
Black Swan – Scared the living fuck out of me and created a beautiful sense of foreboding that clung to the mirrored walls of the sets like an Argento movie from an Argento who had (bless him) worked through some his more crippling proclivities. Dread and unease were palpable and they seemed to create a fourth dimension from which the viewer was able to come at the film – one where they would arguably feel threatened as well.
The nail file scene – WOW!!!
Great performances all around and another slam dunk from Darren Aronofsky, a name we’ve learned to trust will equal well-crafted films and a certain degree of paranoid discomfort for the viewer.
True Grit – I actually saw this before The Social Network and I have to say, until I did see Sorkin’s masterpiece (so now you know where this is going) True Grit was my movie of the year. The Coen’s have once again built one of their marvelous journey-narratives and it is packed with that special movie-magic the brothers do so well. Life-affirming in ways, bleak and down-trodden in others, the Coen’s always put a tear in my eye and a great affinity for the human condition in my brain, and I absolutely love them for it. And Jeff Bridges – Jesus, I don’t think I would have known it was Jeff Bridges until about half way through the film had I not known it was Jeff Bridges going in. I’ve always liked him, but when did his immersive ability reach these kinds of levels? Off the charts man, off the charts. And Hailee Steinfeld – definitely going to see some great things from this actress in the future. Oh yeah, and the other two big names, as well as some of the supporters the Brothers rely on from film to film all did a fantastic job as well.
The Social Network – everybody and their brother loves this movie but this is one of those times when the system works on the correct principles because goddamn was it a fantastic experience! For me it has been very interesting to see David Fincher, a director who once had a very signature feel to his films, mature to the point that he typically moves to the background of the film and really lets the screenwriter shine. This was of course true of 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was written by Eric Roth (Forest Gump), and now in 2010 with Aaron Sorkin’s brilliantly sizzling screenplay for The Social Network. The dialogue… nothing short of amazing and worthy of the creator of The West Wing, arguably the best dialogue for a serialized drama ever. And the actors delivering the dialogue – again, great performances across the board and I liked Andrew Garfield so much it almost makes me want to see the Spiderman re-boot when it arrives.
But no, I’d still prefer not to see it.
And let me not forget the score here. I’m a Reznor and an Atticus Ross fan* but I wasn’t sure how this was going to work in the context of a film such as The Social Network.
Well, it worked.
In fact it worked so well that for me, the score is 40% of the effectiveness of the film and it puts TSN in a league with films such as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, PT Anderson’s There Will Be Blood or Julian Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s Inside. Ross and Reznor have definitely proven themselves members of the elite cabal of film-scorers working for Hollywood, regularly or irregularly, today.
Great. Well, now onto 2011.
* Who endeared himself to me forever with the programming on some of the older Barry Adamson albums, most especially As Above, So Below.