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Was 2010 a Down Year for Movies?

By Dustin Rowles | Comment Diversions | January 5, 2011 | Comments ()


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Now that we've posted our Best Films of 2010, individual and group, and many of you have had your say, I now put the question to all of you: Was 2010 a down year for movies?

On first blush, to me it felt like a good year, one that may not have had many great films, but one that at least had a lot of pretty good ones. Dan's been suggesting for a while now, however, that it's been a pretty mediocre year for movies overall (which probably demonstrates why he had two movies -- Black Swan and The Town -- in his top ten list that he didn't review that favorably). I thought Dan was just being curmudgeonly until I actually looked back at our top ten movies from previous years. Relative to those other years, I'd have to agree: It's been a down year.

Maybe that's the point: You need more than a year to really make an assessment. Looking back at previous years, there are certainly some that have aged better (Children of Men, for instance), while some don't really feel like they should belong on a top ten list (like Babel or even Slumdog Millionaire, which has lost of a lot of its luster). Judging this year's crop against the previous five, I'd probably place 2010 in fourth place, ahead of only 2008, which gave us one of the two or three best movies during the time period (The Dark Knight), but nine other movies that feel a little slight in retrospect.

So, I put the question to you -- in light of the top tens from previous years, how does 2010 stack up? There's even a poll below the list, where you can choose your favorite year of the last five. I'm honestly curious which you think was the best (I'd probably go with 2007, a year where only The Social Network from this year would even break the top ten). And no: You don't have to base that decision on our top 10 list; if you thought Scott Pilgrim or Inception belonged on this year's Top 10, and you feel those two entries would make it the best year, by all means, vote accordingly.

Best Films of 2006*

10. Volver

9. The Queen

8. United 93

7. Babel

6. Little Children

5. Brick

4. Pan's Labyrinth

3. Half-Nelson

2. The Departed

1. Children of Men

Best Films of 2007**

10. Waitress

9. The Bourne Ultimatum

8. Zodiac

7. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

6. Knocked Up

5. Ratatouille

4. Lars and the Real Girl

3. Juno

2. There Will Be Blood

1. No Country for Old Men


Best Films of 2008

10. Doubt

9. The Wrestler

8. Frost/Nixon

7. Wall-E

6. The Visitor

5. Tell No One

4. Iron Man

3. Rachel Getting Married

2. Slumdog Millionaire

1. The Dark Knight


Best Films of 2009

10. Inglourious Basterds

9. Star Trek

8. Fantastic Mr. Fox

7. Adventureland

6. (500) Days of Summer

5. District 9

4. Away We Go

3. Up

2. Up in the Air

1. The Hurt Locker


Best Films of 2010

10. The Ghost Writer

9. Four Lions

8. True Grit

7. Exit Through the Gift Shop

6. Blue Valentine

5. The Town

4. The Fighter

3. Black Swan

2. MicMacs

1. The Social Network



* We didn't rank them in 2006; I took the liberty to rank them based on how I'd rank them now.

** We did a roundtable instead of a top 10 in 2007, but reading between the lines, I named ten and ranked them, again, how I'd rank them now


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