10 for 2010 | A 10th Anniversary Retrospective on the Best Films of 2010

Steve turns back the clock to explore the best films of 2010

2010 brought us WikiLeaks and the swine flu. It brought us the death of author J.D. Salinger, historian Howard Zinn, musician Ronnie James Dio, actor Gary Coleman, actor Dennis Hopper, and actor Leslie Nielsen. But 2010 also brought us some really great films. This is a list of my 10 favorite films that were released that year.

10. Robin Hood
I know what you are thinking. So am I. There have been way too many re-boots and re-tellings of the legend of Robin Hood. Personally, my favorite story-wise was the 1991 version with Kevin Costner in the lead role. The casting in that film could have been better as it was hard to see Costner in that role but the story itself was great. The same goes, however, for this one in which Russell Crowe played the titular character. This one was directed by movie great Ridley Scott. This story, although taking a slightly different angle on the classic Robin Hood story, is a good one.

9. The Fighter
This biopic directed by David O. Russell tells the story of professional boxer Micky Ward and his brother, former professional boxer Dicky Eklund. Mark Wahlberg does a great job playing the role of Micky and Christian Bale’s performance as Eklund is nothing short of haunting, even gaining him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the Academy Awards for that year. The film was also nominated for Best Picture, losing to The King’s Speech.

8. Despicable Me
This one is the only animated film to make the 2010 list. This one tells the story of Gru, an aspiring supervillain, and his newly adopted daughters. It was directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and has quite the cast of voice actors: Steve Carrell as Gru, Jason Segel as the antagonist Vector, Russell Brand as Gru’s scientific partner, Miranda Cosgrove as one of Gru’s adopted daughters, and many more. This film spawned a franchise that included a total of 4 full-length films, 15 short films, and a multitude of merchandise.

7. The Expendables
Sylvester Stallone directed and acted in this film that both makes fun of and pays tribute to the blockbuster action films of the late 80s and early 90s. Other than Stallone, the cast is rounded out by big names such as Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others. This one spawned two sequels.

6. Jonah Hex
The first, but not the last, film on this list where the story is an adaptation of a comic book. Starring one of my favorite actors, Josh Brolin, this film was directed by and tells the story of the DC Comics Civil War veteran and western bounty hunter/superhero. It was directed by Jimmy Hayward and starred John Malkovich as the antagonist. Others starring in the film were Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, and Megan Fox. Although this was considered a critical and commercial failure, I enjoyed the movie. I felt like Brolin did a great job in the role of Hex and his on-screen rapport with Malkovich was great.

5. Red
Another comic book adaptation, this one is based on the comic book mini-series written by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner. In this Robert Schwentke-directed film, Bruce Willis takes the lead role as Frank Moses, a former CIA agent that is living in retirement. Other actors appearing in the film included Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, and more.

4. Iron Man 2
The last entry in this list that is based on a comic book character, this one has Robert Downey Jr returning in his role as Tony Stark. In this one, we learn that Stark is dying from the very thing that has kept him alive for so long. It tells the story of his search for a new element while having to face off against a new enemy that has figured out his technology. We also finally get to see Stark’s friend James Rhodes in the War Machine armor. This one was directed by Jon Favreau (who also directed the first Iron Man) and included a cast of Mickey Rourke as the antagonist Whiplash, Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard as the Jim Rhodes character, Scarlett Johansson, in her first appearance as Black Widow, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, the wanna-be competitor to Stark, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

3. Inception
This film was written and directed by Christopher Nolan. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a thief that steals information from his victims by infiltrating their dreams. The cast included Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, and more. This film was nominated for Academy Awards in several categories including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, and won in the Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Cinematography categories.

2. The King’s Speech
Tom Hooper directed this biopic about King George VI of England focuses on his speed impediment and the relationship that he forms with the therapist, Lionel Logue, working to help King George overcome that disability. Colin Firth does a wonderful job as the King. Geoffrey Rush plays Logue. The film received 12 nominations at the Academy Awards, the most of any film that year. The film itself won the best picture and best original screenplay while Firth won the best actor award and Hooper winning best director.

1. The Book of Eli
My favorite film of 2010 stars Denzel Washington plays Eli in this post-apocalyptic film directed by The Hughes Brothers. The film of course centers on Eli and his travels through the wasteland that used to be the United States on his search for a specific location on the west coast. It had a great cast that included Gary Oldman (another favorite actor of mine), Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Mila Kunis, Malcolm McDowell, and Tom Waits. This is another one that did not do very well, critically speaking. Someone even called it Road Warrior without the car chases. While I see a slight similarity to The Road Warrior, the same could be said about just about any movie in a post-apocalyptic setting. I thought the film was great and had some great spiritual undertones.

What are your top ten movies from 2010? Leave us a comment in the section below.

 

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