Each year I predict what my favorite movies for the upcoming year will be. I'm usually so far off that it's funny to look back to 12 months ago. This year, I'm surprised how many stayed in my Top 10. Here are last December's predicitons . . .
BEST MOVIES OF 2010 (as predicted in December 2009)
1. Toy Story 3 (June) How will this not be my #1 movie next year? There isn't a way. Pixar - I've never doubted you.
2. Kick-Ass. Am I overhyped based on a few decent trailers? Maybe. Maybe not.
3. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Little indy comic book does big screen with Edgar Wright directing Michael Cera. Read it now and feel cool later.
4. Iron Man 2 (May). Do I even need to justify this?
5. Arrested Development. I will believe it if I see it. If it happens - it won't be huge which will make it even more lovable.
6 The Green Hornet (July). Seth Rogen gets his chance - we've been hearing about this for a couple years now.
7. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1. Torture and killing.
8. Alice In Wonderland (March). Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and one movie I know I'll be seeing on Spring Break.
9. A Couple Of Dicks (February). Does Kevin Smith have another good one in him? He didn't write this one, so maybe.
10. Paul. Greg Mottola directs Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen. You almost can't mess that up.
11. The Lovely Bones.
12. The Wolfman (February). Surprise of the year?
13. Hot Tub Time Machine. Will probably suck but the trailer is already tickling my fancy. I want John Cusack and Chevy Chase to have another classic comedy hit.
Off that list, I saw six of them in the theater this year, one didn't get made, and two got delayed until 2011. I didn't see as many movies in the theaters as in 2009. I need to make more dates to see flicks in 2011, if possible. But I did see enough to make a Top Ten List.
BEST MOVIES OF 2010 (Actual)
1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1. Why did it take this long for them to make their Empire Strikes Back movie?
2. Inception. This came out of nowhere for me. I expected to be entertained - but I didn't expect to want to talk about it more than any movie I've seen since Pulp Fiction. It will be a movie that college kids will watch over and over for years to come.
3. Toy Story 3. How wasn't it #1? The other two so far surpassed expectations that I couldn't rate them any lower. This was still the most emotional movie experience of the year.
4. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Coming off just reading the books right before the film was interesting. I thought it was filmed in only a way that someone who loved the books and knows how to make a film could do it. Other directors could learn about adaptation from the way the plot was reworked.
5. Kick Ass. I knew this would be good. And it was. "Hit Girl" made me laugh and Nic Cage made me fall in love with him for the first time since Valley Girl practically. Fun time at the theater sitting through this one.
6. Despicable Me. Minions stole the show.
7. Megamind. Clever superhero take that was predictable from the get-go but still delivered.
8. Crazy Heart. It was technically and "under the wire" 2009 release. But since I didn't see it until March - it get's mention here. Great film proved even greater by the crappy Paltrow female version of it coming in 2011.
9. Solitary Man. Much like #10 - both films were about unique characters and I enjoyed riding along with them for a couple hours.
10. Cyrus. I liked this uncomfortable little film but I don't know if it seems as funny now as it did when I sat through it.
11. Iron Man 2. I didn't hate it and I didn't love it as much as the first one. I just didn't want you to think I forgot about it.
Like every year previous, I'm left with a list of films that I didn't get to see that forms my list of places to start with Netflix for this next year. Some are embarrassing and some just make me say "really?". Here's what didn't qualify for the list . . .
BEST MOVIES I DIDN'T SEE IN 2010
1. Winter's Bone. Too many things about little films that I like all come together here. I'm sure it will top many lists of people I respect.
2. The Social Network. How did this escape me?
3. 127 Hours. I need to mentally prepare myself to watch this.
4. The Illusionist. Beautiful animation always catches my interest.
5. Restrepo. I've heard way too many great things about this documentary.
6. The Fighter. The man that gave us I Heart Huckabees looks like he really nailed this with Wahlberg and Bale.
7. Mother. Best Korean film that I didn't watch this year.
8. I Love You Phillip Morris. By the time you read this, I might have got to see it. Same goes for True Grit that just missed making this list.
9. True Grit. Plan on seeing this immediately once the calendar turns 2011.
10. The Town. Still haven't seen Gone Baby Bone. Do I need to respect Affleck as a director, since I don't as an actor?
Since I don't see all the movies - I'm a lover of trailers. I like to make informed decisions about what I'm going to see. That includes trusted reviews and the all important trailer. Here's the best of what I saw in 2010 - the best trailers don't always make the best films.
BEST TRAILERS OF 2010
1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows. The trailer beats any other horror film trailer of the year. "Why do you live?" The trailer combines shots from both Parts and makes me crazy.
2. Toy Story 3. Even the trailer makes me smile/cry. Pixar knows trailers about as well as anyone.
3. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. I lesbian this film. And maybe the trailer is even better. Summarizes the plot for those unfamiliar with the story and captures the tone perfectly.
4. The Social Network. The use of Radiohead sung by the choir is catchy and probably fits the film. Well done piece.
5. Black Swan. It feels like a creepy late '70s / early '80s film. And I say that in the most loving way. It could be a DePalma film.
6. Tiny Furniture. Quirky trailer doesn't really define the movie for me. But I did watch the trailer like 14 times. It tells me in a large font that it's "Irresistibly funny."
7. Blue Valentine. Hint to trailer makers - sometimes just give us a second to meet your characters like this one. Ryan Gosling is about charming.
8. Easy A. Emma Stone seems funny and the trailer uses Lady Gaga. Why do I feel like I can just fill in the rest of the movie from those 2:33 minutes?
9. SALT. How good is it? It almost made me go see this terrible film.
10. Iron Man 2. Trailers for movies that I already want to see are usually pretty boring. This didn't tell me anything I didn't know. In fact, in retrospect, the trailer maked Mickey Rourke look better than it actually turned out.
Worst trailer? Thank you Green Lantern for making me not want to see you ever.
And what might be the best comedy of these lists . . . But this is the quick list of movies I will make time to see this year - anyone want to go? The drink is on me.
BEST MOVIES OF 2011
1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15) Nuff said. This should be #1 by a mile.
2. Winnie The Pooh (July 15). Did they find some movie from 1978 that I'm not aware of? Have you seen this? I'm blown away. You had me at "Oh bother."
3. Arthur Christmas (November). This will be the Thanksgiving weekend movie for me. "Polar Bear. In a hat."
4. Thor (May 6).
5. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20). Penelope Cruz in 3-D!
6. The Tree Of Life. Hard to imagine that this Malick film won't be one of the best films of the year.
7. Cars 2 (June 24) Never doubt Pixar. Never. I did when the first part of this came out. I was wrong. Never again.
8. The First Avenger: Captain America (July 22). A big year for Marvel.
9. Hotel Transyvania (Sept. 30) After the failure of The Wolfman, only a friend and I might see this. But I don't care.
10. Kung Fu Panda 2 (May 26). I might not laugh harder this year.
11. The Hobbit (Dec 31), The Muppets (Dec 25), Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (2011), Rise Of The Apes (Jun 24) And Super 8 (2011). These are only here as a placeholder because I don't believe they will actually come out in 2011. For 2012 expect them to dominate the list.
Lots of pressure, 2011 - you're the Derek Jeter of years - you're coming off a mediocre year last year but we're all expecting big things from you - don't let us down.