THE WALKING DEAD's Steve Warren Reviews 2010: A Year in Film
Published: December 15, 2010 - 6:23pm
If I said last year that Hollywood couldn’t get any more unoriginal, I lied. No one ever went broke overestimating the lack of creativity in America’s most creative medium. It was déjà vu all over again in 2010, with a constant parade of sequels, remakes and the latest form of recycling, “reboots.”
2010 in Review (in 3D!)
While the Harry Potter series went off in new, not necessarily better directions, other franchises continued wearing out their welcomes, whether with the seventh edition (“Saw”), the fourth (“Shrek”), the third (“Narnia”) or the second (“Sex and the City”).
Attempts to launch new franchises – as close as Hollywood can come to original thought – fell flat in “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and “The Last Airbender.”
You may not have seen the European films that were remade as “Let Me In,” “Dinner for Schmucks,” “Chloe,” “The Tourist” and “The Next Three Days,” but you probably had all-American flashbacks when you saw “Due Date” (“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”) and “Morning Glory” (“Broadcast News”). “Despicable Me” and “Megamind” were like twins born four months apart.
Look at the year’s boxoffice results (as of mid-December) and the top ten include five sequels and one remake – two if you count Tim Burton’s take on “Alice in Wonderland” - so Hollywood is just giving “you” what you want. “You” is in quotes in the hope that our readers are less mainstream, more independent – the kind of people who recycle but don’t buy someone else’s recycling.
About half of the highest grossers boosted their receipts with the industry’s latest gimmick: 3D. It was also the latest gimmick in the early ‘50s when Hollywood was being hurt by that new upstart, television, and had to give viewers something they couldn’t get at home. It’s popped up sporadically since then but this is the first time it seems to have seriously taken hold.
When used well and incorporated in a film’s planning from the get-go, 3D can be a definite enhancement. The idea of retrofitting films like “Clash of the Titans” and “The Last Airbender,” which had been shot in 2D, soured some people on the process and almost killed the goose before its golden eggs could hatch.
“The Social Network” is the picture of the year, as much for its relevance as its quality, but even it provoked déjà vu with its “Citizen Kane”-like suggestion of the motivation for its hero’s accomplishments. That’s one case in which my taste and the public’s coincided. Some of my other favorites did well for art films – independent, foreign or whatever niche they fit into – while others came and went so quickly you may not have heard of them.
Thanks to DVD, cable and myriad new forms of distribution, you still have a chance to catch up.
This is my annual chance to thank some of the films and filmmakers that gave me pleasure in what was not a great year for movies.
1. The Social Network
2. The King’s Speech
3. Never Let Me Go
5. Exit through the Gift Shop
6. Winter’s Bone
7. A Prophet/Un Prophete
8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
HONORABLE MENTION (alphabetical)
How to Train Your Dragon
The Kids Are All Right
The Last Exorcism
Mother and Child
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Runners-up: Robert Duvall, Get Low; James Franco, 127 Hours
Carey Mulligan, Never Let Me Go
Runners-up: Natalie Portman, Black Swan; Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right and Mother and Child
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Runners-up: Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right; Bill Murray, Get Low
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kimberly Elise, For Colored Girls
Runners-up: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech; Ashley Bell, The Last Exorcism
BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
Runners-up: The Kids Are All Right; Mother and Child
David Fincher, The Social Network
Runners-up: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech; Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
David Seidler, The King’s Speech
Runners-up: Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right; Nicole Holofcener, Please Give
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Runners-up: Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini, Winter’s Bone; Alex Garland, Never Let Me Go
Exit through the Gift Shop
Runners-up: The Tillman Story; Prodigal Sons
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
A Prophet/Un Prophete
Runners-up: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Undertow/Contracorriente
BEST ANIMATED FILM
How to Train Your Dragon
Runners-up: Despicable Me; Toy Story 3
Enrique Chediak & Anthony Dod Mantle, 127 Hours
Runners-up: Matthew Libatique, Black Swan; Roger Deakins, True Grit
With too many movies, too little time and studios shielding more of their product from advance criticism, I spared myself a good bit of probable punishment this year in the form of “Jonah Hex,” “Clash of the Titans,” “Saw 3D,” “Paranormal Activity 2,” “Case 39” and “MacGruber,” among others; so the fact that they’re not on my “worst” list doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be. As the list will attest, I suffered enough this year.
1. The Last Airbender
2. Sex and the City 2
3. Cop Out
4. She’s Out of My League
6. The Bounty Hunter
7. Princess Ka’iulani
8. Furry Vengeance
9. George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead
10. Formosa Betrayed
DISHONORABLE MENTION (alphabetical)
The Back-Up Plan
Charlie St. Cloud
Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky
From Paris with Love
The Last Song
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
No improvement is in sight, with 2011 promising more of “Final Destination,” “The Hangover,” “Fast and Furious” and “Big Momma’s House” among others. Only in Hollywood do they keep trying until they get it wrong.