JASON'S BEST: The Ten Best Films of 2010 (Return to Jason's Best Main Page)


This was an easy choice for me this year. David Fincher's incredible achievement in telling the story of how Facebook came to be, and the betrayals and friendships destroyed in its path to becoming a billion dollar success, is an absolutely seminal movie of our times. In telling a classic story in the contemporary setting of social networking, Fincher created an absolutely flawless masterpiece, crafted as skillfully as any filmmaker could, with an atmosphere provided by the dark cinematography and experimental musical score that gives this movie a completely epic feel. Jesse Eisenberg delivers a performance for the ages as Mark Zuckerberg, and it's fascinating to see how the audience feeling about Mark constantly shifts throughout the film, and by the end, it becomes a Citizen Kane type story for the internet age. Completely fascinating throughout, with one of the best written screenplays of recent years by Aaron Sorkin, this is a monumental film achievement.

FAVORITE MOMENT: The ending where Mark Zuckerberg friend requests the girl he lost at the beginning and continues to hit refresh to see if she accepted

Talk about monumental film achievements. Darren Aronofsky, no stranger to directing films of such bravery, delivered again this year with this incredible masterpiece. Very rarely have films gotten into the mind of a character as deeply and as hauntingly as Aronofsky does here in his story of a ballerina whose desire for absolute perfection in her performance in the production of Swan Lake. Natalie Portman is an absolute revelation, as she morphs from the naive innocent at the beginning to the complete transformation she makes by film's end. As we watch the film, we struggle the same way as Nina does, never knowing what is real and what's haunting her in her mind. From its performances and musical score to its haunting cinematography, this is a film that haunts you long after you see it.

FAVORITE MOMENT: When Nina actually becomes the Black Swan on stage

Christopher Nolan had already proved what an accomplished director he was even before delivering his most original production yet. Nolan finally delivered a story that had been gestating for many years, and created an intelligent and rousing summer blockbuster that made one wish for more directors like him who actually create something unique in filmmaking. In telling his complex story of a journey through the mind to not only steal but plant ideas, Nolan never loses the viewer as dream becomes layered upon dream. It's a pure example of the absolute joy of movies, and is the technical film achievement of the year.

FAVORITE MOMENT: The spinning hallway fight in shifting gravity

Once again, Disney/Pixar hit a home run, but this time, they did it with a sequel, and in doing so, capped a trilogy of films so perfectly as to become one of the greatest film trilogies ever made. Every film in this series was an absolute gem, and this third entry reminded me so much of the wonder and joy seeing the first one in 1995. And to have all this time pass since then, and now have a story where Andy has grown up and is going to college, no longer needing his toys, this animated film was a throwback to a time when animated films weren't afraid to present darker themes, and at the same time, present such an incredibly moving story. And damn it Pixar, you made me cry at a animated film for the second year in a row.

FAVORITE MOMENT: When Buzz Lightyear is reprogrammed in his Spanish language version, some of the biggest laughs all year

This was such a wonderful surprise. A film about a very real and lived in marriage, who just so happened to be lesbians. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore give two of the best performances of the year as a couple who have been married for a very long time, and how their world is turned upside down yet ultimately stronger when their kids decide to seek out the man who donated the sperm that made their lives possible, played by Mark Ruffalo in another incredible performance of his. The other thing I loved so much about this film is how real the dialogue is ... how it lets the characters be awkward around each other, not always knowing what to say. Another one of the best screenplays of the year.

FAVORITE MOMENT: Nic's deeply moving speech about marriage as she breaks down in front of Jules and the others

Wow. That was the one word I could actually utter after experiencing this incredible vivid and raw depiction of the death of love. I don't think I've experienced another film about the history of a marriage and what two people do to each other through the course of marriage's difficulties that was ever this raw and deeply emotional. Director Derek Cianfrance spent twelve some years nurturing this project, and that dedication shows, and so much is due to the incredible performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. By presenting the film in a style that jumps back and forth in time, contrasting the hopefulness of the joyous days when they first fell in love, with the painful days that came later, it makes those experience that much more real, because we so much of ourselves here, and you leave the film so completely shaken from such a painful examination of the true nature and difficulty of love.

FAVORITE MOMENT: The heartwrenching emotion on Cindy's face as she decides to not go through with an abortion

This film was such a delight, surprising me from start to finish. Going in, I expected a movie about a boxer and his drug addicted brother, but this movie is not only one of the best boxing movies ever made, but also one of the best family dramas ever made. Boxing is simply the backdrop to a powerful true story about a family coming apart and finding its way back together again, with an ensemble cast delivering standout performances, most notably Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo. Under the capable directing hands of David O. Russell, he delivers an uplifting film of both the human spirit and its ability to overcome adversity.

FAVORITE MOMENT: The final interview segment in the film where Dickie talks about how much his brother means to him, trying to keep himself from breaking down in tears

After seven films so far, a Harry Potter movie has finally made my top ten. Very rarely do we get to follow a film series of characters this long, and now that we've reached the final film in the series (being split up into two films, which ended being a wonderful decision), the emotion present in the film makes this the pinnacle of the series thus far. For the first time, the characters we've grown to love in this series are no longer in their yearly routines at Hogwarts, but are now out on their own, finally on the journey that they've prepared their whole childhood and adolescence preparing for. By splitting the final film into two parts, this one was able to take its time and really let us experience the emotional depth of this journey and what these characters are about to face.

FAVORITE MOMENT: Harry and Hermoine share an innocent dance in the midst of the death and chaos after Ron leaves in anger

One of the most powerful films of the year was this darling of the independent film circuit, a deeply moving story about one young girl's determination to save her family when her meth-addicted father has gone missing. Jennifer Lawrence clearly demonstrated that she would be a new acting force to be reckoned with in this performance. It plays like a dark film noir thriller, and there's not a false moment or false performance to be found. Raw and moving, it's a reminder and a wish that more of these independent voices could break out and find an audience for truly original works of art.

FAVORITE MOMENT: When Ree shows her vulnerability, bringing her mother out into the woods to ask her what she should do

Martin Scorsese delivered one of the sheer film delights of the year. Even though this was an incredibly dark story, Scorsese shot it so beautifully, and filled it with an amazing cast, particularly Leonardo DiCaprio, in one of his best recent performances. The mystery of what is being encountered on this forbidding island is so well written and unraveled, where we as the viewer are constantly in doubt as to what is the truth, until the stunningly haunting truth is revealed, and the film becomes much more than just a standard dark mystery, but another example of what an incredible film master that Scorsese is.

FAVORITE MOMENT: The mysterious opening, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo first arriving by boat to the mysterious and haunting island

Honorable Mentions:
Inside Job
True Grit
127 Hours
The Town
Fair Game
The King's Speech
Love & Other Drugs
Hot Tub Time Machine
Green Zone