1. In the "going out" scheme of things, I can imagine little else that is as good as the movies. Even when there's something that's as good as the movies, or even better, and we go out and do that thing, I feel a little twinge of regret for the movie-going we missed.
2. I would rather--so much rather!--see a movie-movie than a documentary. (I said it was a confession, okay? I know, it's not right.) I like to be told a story.
3. I like movie stars.
4. But really, I just love a story, told by actors. They don't have to be movie stars.
5. And if a documentary has a story in it, it's good, too.
6. There are some really, really good documentaries. I know this.
All of the above having been confessed, by me, I offer the following list of noteworthy movies:
- Youth in Revolt
- How to Train Your Dragon
- The Maid
- Shutter Island. I defend this choice. Stylistically, I thought it was a knock out, and I also thought it held up, emotionally.
- The Ghost Writer
- The Runaways. So sad it's hard to even stand it. But the performances are great, and the mood and atmosphere are excellent. Its narrative is more implied than told.
- The Secret in Their Eyes
- The Red Riding Trilogy
- Police, Adjective
- Please Give
- The Beaches of Agnes. Please note: documentary.
- Toy Story 3
- Winter's Bone
- Despicable Me
- The Kids Are All Right
- Get Him to the Greek. My son-in-law takes issue with this, but I assert that (a) this was foul but funny, and (b) Russell Brand is beyond in this role. BEYOND.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I love love loved this.
- Get Low
- Animal Kingdom
- The Town. If, as my friend asserted, Ben Affleck was a bit too well-fed to be fully persuasive in his part, he at least kicked ass, full stop, in directing this movie (did you like how I did not stop when I said "full stop" there? That's because the "full stop" was a metaphor.).
- The Social Network
- Howl. A truly beautiful performance by the polymath James Franco.
- The Fighter. Stands up there with most of the great boxing movies. Maybe not Raging Bull. But that's okay.
- Megamind. While I'm at it, I'm just going to go ahead and say Will Ferrell is hilarious in this, and he was also hilarious in The Other Guys. Yes: hilarious.
- Fair Game
- Tiny Furniture. Weirdly understated. Maybe too understated. But still good.
- Hereafter. Just saw this. Thought it was elegant and meditative and beautiful, if not perfect.
I have been thinking this year that the movies haven't been all the good, but this list is not a bad list. So, 2010 in the movies, hold your head up. Nice job.
Here are some 2010 movies I am yet hoping to see, some of which are already here and so I am a little panicky that I might miss them, and some of which won't arrive in the SLC until 2011: True Grit; The Illusionist; Somewhere; Blue Valentine; Another Year; Biutiful; The King's Speech; Rabbit Hole; that documentary about Phil Ochs; Black Swan (seeing this tomorrow with my daughter, for her birthday!); Casino Jack; I Love You Phillip Morris; and The Company Men.
In conclusion: the movies! a great blessing in a time of trial, and also the activity of choice, most of the time, if we're honest with ourselves. And we're nothing if not honest. Most of the time. I'm speaking for myself here, of course.