Danny's Picks: Best Movies I Saw in '10 - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Danny’s Picks: Best Movies I Saw in ’10

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny COMMENTARYHey everyone. I'm kind of late to the 2010 farewell gala, and, frankly, I have my reasons, as silly as they may be. Andrew and Ryan do much more with modern films than I do, and even though I spent the last two weeks hunting down Oscar bait like crazy, very few of the films I saw in '10 left me with much impression.

Since current films aren't really my bag, I thought I'd get more mileage by sharing with you the top 25  films I saw for the first time in 2010. A few are from the year itself, a number are leftovers from 2009 that I'd missed, and some were just a handful of gems that I hadn't seen before. These are in alphabetical order, but all movies that I wholeheartedly recommend:

32 Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993) - Conceptually, emotionally, and structurally a brilliant film. While it may come across as gimicky from its title, it turns out to be one of the most brilliant biographies I've ever seen on film, balancing an illumination of Gould's personal life, his work, and his own feelings on his work into one amazingly short ninety minute bundle.

127 Hours (2010) - You can read my full review of this here.

A Single Man (2009) - A beautiful and sad movie about rediscovering the vitality of life, A Single Man strings these themes along with visual grandeur and what is undoubtedly one of the best scores I've ever heard. Colin Firth is great at portraying his inner turmoil underneath a cold mannered exterior, and the director, Tom Ford, gets a lot of use out of both the original novel and playing with the color palette to engage both Firth's and the audience's emotions.

Branded to Kill (1967) - A strange and almost nonsensical parody of the assassin genre that manages to both be action packed and filled with scathing humor. The film's erratic and strange structure works to its advantage, and its climax-- a boxing match/shoutout between two of Japan's top assassins-- is glorious. Just do yourself and read the plot summary on Wikipedia afterward. It helps.

Broken Embraces (2009) - Pedro Almodovar's film is a lot of things: a throwback to his raucous comedy Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown, a touching melodrama in the old Hollywood style, a visual feast of colors, and a showcase for Penelope Cruz's vulnerabilities. While it's plot may suffer, its emotions are spot on.

The Divorcee (1930) - You can read my review of this film here.

The Heartbreak Kid (1972) - You can read my review of this film here.

Hearts and Minds (1973) - Searing propaganda, this film depicts the Vietnam War as simply a consequence of American moral imperialism and adventurism. The Southern Vietnamese are rich and corrupt, the Northern Vietnamese are poor and dying from the systematic destruction of their country. Americans are ineffectual at best, and happy to have the opportunity to murder and prove their power at worst. While it's certainly one sided, many of what comes out of the American's mouths reaffirms the films points handily; for every soldier proud of 'murdering gooks' there's an American general bragging about how Vietnamese don't value life so they're allowed to be indiscriminate in their bombings. Unbelievably sobering.

Heroes for Sale (1933) - You can read my review of this film here.

I Wake Up Screaming (1941) - You can read my review of this film here.

In the Loop (2009) - Quick witted and unbelievably vulgar satire of the road to the Iraq War, In the Loop is a treasure. It wields words in ways that haven't been seen in half a century, and its goofy earnestness only emphasizes just how silly the world of politics really is inside.

Inside Job (2010) - You can read my review of this film here.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) - How does one continue to be a comedienne after you've already become the punchline? You'll never look at Joan Rivers the same way after this revealing documentary which goes into her motivations and personal battles. She comes across as a workaholic and a crazy old bitch, both in the nicest sense.

Me and My Gal (1932) - Pre-Code comedy that is sadly neglected. Spencer Tracy is a new cop on a beat who, in the course of a tumultuous week, becomes a detective, falls in love, and foils some bank robbers. It's goofy and sweet enough that it put a big smile on my face.

Kill! (1968) - Samurai flick filled with betrayal, sword fighting, and funny interplay. It's one of those buddy action flicks that is so rarely done so well done so very well.

Medicine for the Melancholy (2008) - You can read my review of this film here.

Night Nurse (1931) - Barbara Stanwyck flick full of murder, sex and mystery. A lot of fun.

Passing Strange (2009) - Spike Lee directed the filming of the Broadway performance of Passing Strange, and its a wonder to behold. The story of a young man leaving Harlem and seeing the world, it's both touching, sweet, and has a hell of a soundtrack.

Pitfall (1962) - Haunting Japanese film about a man who is murdered because he looks like another man... or was that why he was murdered? Ghosts abound in a deserted mining town in what has to be one of the least romantic views of the afterlife I've ever seen.

The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) - You can read my review of this film here.

Tangled (2010) - You can read my review of this film here.

Targets (1968) - Michael Haneke, eat your heart out. An indictment of the passive viewer with some fantastic stuff about the aging Boris Karloff coming to grips with his own death, it's a visceral and intense film. One of Bogdonavich's best.

Terrorvision (1986) - I doubt this film has ever appeared on any other 'Best of' list in the history of ever, but it's such a cheesy good time that I can't help but dig it. A family's new satellite dish accidentally hails to Earth a fantastic monster that's hellbent on eating them. The 80's-ness of the film is so overblown that it's astounding that this was made in that decade-- it reaches satire status without even trying. There's some pacing issues and it's anti-climactic, but it's so damned goofy that it's impossible not to enjoy.

Two for the Road (1967) - I'll be hitting this film fairly soon in my Audrey Hepburn Sundays feature (tomorrow, in fact), so I'll leave most of my praise for this film until then.

Wild Boys of the Road (1933) - You can read my review of this film here.

Thanks for reading. Here's to many more movies in 2011... God knows they're out there.

Posted by Danny

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