Despite the sough of end-of-year mediocrity, 2010 has proven to be the best year for cinema in a long, long while.
We saw great filmmakers turn in their very finest work, like Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island. A dreamy art-piece on the outside, a brainy mind-bender on the inside, Shutter Island dares to tackle the normally taboo topic of the holocaust, something that's long overdue in Hollywood. And though many saw the twist ending coming from a long way off, no audience member could have predicted that they'd see the exact same movie just a few months later with Christopher Nolan's Inception, easily the most confusing James Bond movie since Moonraker. Inception also boasts some of the best characters in recent memory, such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt as that one guy with a gun who hits on the girl from Juno and Tom Hardy as the wisecracking funny British guy who might be kind of gay.
Moving further into the year we have arguably the two greatest sequels ever made: Eclipse and Iron Man 2. Eclipse in particular blew me away with its daring choice to copy New Moon's plot beat by beat. It's a testament to the film makers that, in a time of recession they chose the cheaper route rather than waste money on writers. But with Iron Man 2 we have a franchise pinnacle. Shedding all the build up from the first Iron Man film, studio executives chose to hire a stand-up comedian to write the second installment (and arguably the most difficult installment) of a super hero storyline. The results are unanimous: it was refreshing to watch a movie with no plot and a lot of scenes where actors ad lib for ten minutes straight before zapping each other with special effects.
We also had some amazing cinema from directs most people felt were past their prime. But while George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead and M. Night Shymyln's The Last Airbender failed to make their mark at the box office, cinephiles around the world will make sure these two flicks are entered in the Great Film Canon.
Despite these great beginnings, the end of the year has been lackluster. The Coen Brothers definitely screwed the pooch with their misguided True Grit remake, failing to recognize that casting a real actor instead of a borderline illiterate beefeater in the iconic role of Rooster Cogburn would upset fans around the word. Danny Boyle decided to reboot the OW FUCK MY ARM! franchise with 127 Hours, a flick that depended on endless plot cliches and seen-it-all-before action sequences. Give us something new! The original films may be a bit dated but are still worth a watch.
And what was David Fincher thinking with Social Network? I think the fact that his film's box office take was barely over double its budget is proof that emotionally relevant and thought provoking insights to our modern society will always be a financial disaster. Fingers crossed someone will make a YouTube movie next year that we can watch in ten minute installments instead of having to sit through two hours of that garbage.
All in all this was a great year for film, don't let these last few months fool you into thinking otherwise.
I got so bored with movies this year that I fell asleep, but luckily woke up in time to catch The Social Network and True Grit. Wake me up in time for the 2011 blockbusters will ya? Goodnight.