The 10 Most Crowd-Pleasing Populist Movies of 2010
You know what I don’t get about movie critics? They’re always stuck inside their goddamn heads. They probably overthink their grocery lists. They put a premium on intelligence, craftsmanship and narrative over having a fun experience at the movie house. Not every movie has to mean something. Not every movie has to be important. Some movies, they’re just made to be enjoyed, you know? Two hours of thrilling escapism. And the best movies, IMHO, are those that set out to do exactly that and succeed. They may not be critically important, but they’re more likely to own space on my DVD shelf than Winter’s Bone or Black Swan, both great movies, but not movies that I’m going to chill with over a couple of brewskis or plop my kids in front of after a rough week. Those are more like movies I’d show to a good-looking bird if I were trying to impress her with my smarts, you know?
On the other hand, these are ten movies I’ll dial up on the Netflx queue and know that they won’t sit on top of a shelf for six months before I get around to watching them. They’re the movies I’ll watch instead of those other movies. It’s not that any of these movies were poorly reviewed or particularly dumb (well, maybe four and five); it’s just that they’re good in a different kind of way. My kind of way.
10. Shutter Island: Not the best Scorsese film, and DiCaprio looked a little constipated throughout most of this movie, but it’s a pretty good little flick, solid popcorn entertainment that’ll get inside your head a little and drop a bomb on you.
9. Kick-Ass: Man, this movie was way over-the-top, but in a good way, you know? Lots of violence and lots of profanity, but I have to say: It probably would’ve been a better movie if it’d been called Hit Girl since it was Hit Girl that kicked the most ass.
8. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: This movie was more like watching a really cool video game instead of a movie, but it was a video game I really got into, like Halo or something, with heart. Also, that Ramona Flowers chick was seriously hot, even if I didn’t quite understand why she was worth all the trouble. The best part? Chris Evans. That dude totally rocked his action sequence, which is the only reason I’m looking forward to that Captain America movie.
7. True Grit: This is one of those movies that a lot of the critics loved, too, probably because (*spoiler*) it ended on kind of a bummer note. There wasn’t as much shooting as I’d hoped, but that Hailee Steinfeld was an onscreen marvel. You know what else? I don’t care if Jeff Bridges channeled The Dude throughout most of this movie because I fucking love The Dude.
6. How to Train Your Dragon: This is the kind of movie that my kids will be watching for years to come and because it’s not loaded down with fart jokes and lame pop-culture references that no one will get in five years, it’s a movie I won’t even mind watching with the little crumb snatchers. It’s as close as you can get to Pixar without actually being Pixar, you know? And that’s just about the best compliment I can make for an animated movie.
5. The A-Team: Talk about a good fucking time at the movies, this flick was balls out awesome. Bradley Cooper kills it, and Sharlito Copley is totally hilarious. And did I mention the parachuting tank? Totally ridiculous movie, but Joe Carnahan owns the ridiculousness. This is what one of those lame-ass critics would call a real fucking roller coaster.
4. Piranha 3D: This is what I’m talking about, you know? This movie doesn’t have a brain cell in its head, but if you want to get loaded with some friends and watch naked ladies get chewed in half by killer fish, there was no better experience in 2010 than Piranha 3D. You know what else? Elisabeth Shue is still as hot as she was in Adventures in Babysitting.
3. Easy A: This kind of movie is not usually on my trail track, you know? But Emma Stone is adorable, and there were parts of this movie that had me laughing up a thunder storm. But really, the best reason to watch Easy A, and this is a reason that critics can get behind, too, is Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, who get my vote for best onscreen parents of, like, ever.
2. Toy Story 3: I don’t think this movie lived up to the standard set in Toy Story 2, but truthfully, I don’t think any animated movie has lived up to the standard of Toy Story 2, so it’s hard to hold that against it. I missed a few minutes because I had to leave during the really intense trash sequence to take my kid to the bathroom because he couldn’t stop wailing, but you know what? I had to go to the bathroom for a few minutes myself after watching Andy go off to college. *sniff*
1. Inception: I don’t care what any critic says, for my money, this was the best movie of 2010. I saw Inception six times in theaters because every time I heard a friend was going, I had to tag along, you know? Because it’s almost as fun watching someone else experience Inception for the first time as it is watching it all unfold. Sure, DiCaprio played pretty much the same character that he did in Shutter Island, but Christopher Nolan made the best summer movie since, well, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. And you know what else? After I saw this movie the first time, I ran out and bought a three-piece suit. And if you ask the ladies, it’s probably the best purchase I ever made.
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