The wonderfully talented Jonathan Levine, director of THE WACKNESS, ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE and the upcoming LIVE WITH IT, was generous enough to give Very Aware his exclusive top ten list for 2010. We’re honored to be able to share this with you fine readers so please enjoy. Our thanks to Jonathan for his list and fun commentary!
So Scott asked me to send him my list of the top 10 films I saw in 2010 and here they are. Keep in mind when reading this list that I am something of a contrarian and also that I don’t feel the need to heap praise upon the movies that are going to already win Oscars unless they spoke to me personally in some way (THE SOCIAL NETWORK is technically masterful and rightfully praised, THE KING’S SPEECH I haven’t seen but looks british and good, etc.) Anyway, here’s the stuff I liked most, personally:
1. THE FIGHTER
I really like David O. Russell and I was excited to see him tackle this material with such aggressiveness. The first 30 minutes alone are some of the most kinetic filmmaking i’ve seen in ages. The art direction and casting contribute to an incredibly realistic and grounded feel, and the cinematography finds beauty in the everyday. Not to mention Christian Bale gives the best performance of the year.
2. TOY STORY 3
No film of 2010 made me laugh or cry harder. A wonderfully thoughtful script. Never lazy. If live-action movies were more like Pixar movies, all movies would be better off.
I love Noah Baumbach (even MARGOT AT THE WEDDING) and I feel this is his best film. Also, I saw Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach eating dinner in New York recently and I went up to them and told them how much I love their movies and they were really nice. GREENBERG is like a great Cassavetes movie but less boring. The world of this movie is one that we don’t normally see in film, but it rang so true to me. Harris Savides’ beautiful cinematography contributes to the LA/70’s/Altman/Ashby vibe. Greta Gerwig is so wonderfully cast. I read that it was originally Mark Ruffalo and Amy Adams in this. I think everybody wins because Amy Adams got to do THE FIGHTER and Mark Ruffalo got to do…
4. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
Another beautifully written Los Angeles story. Incredibly acted with a great combination of showiness and subtlety in both the storytelling and the performances.
5. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
I believe it.
6. BLACK SWAN
Aronofsky has done so much for film as a sensual medium. He doesn’t seem afraid to go over the top, not in the self-consciously tacky De Palma way but in the way that he just cares less about shit like story and really wants to show people tripping on ecstasy in a strobe light. I like it when movies use everything they’ve got, and this movie certainly did. So did…
7) TRON: LEGACY
OK. I’m probably alone on this one, but I just really liked this movie and not just cause it was the first time I’ve ever seen 3D that didn’t make my brain hurt. It looked amazing. Daft Punk provided the best score by a band since Queen did FLASH GORDON. Not a brilliant work of art but better than everyone says it is. I think this commercial director guy Joseph Kosinski is good. I mean, someone gives you 100 million to remake TRON and it doesn’t totally suck? This guy should keep making movies.
8 ) CYRUS
I love the Duplass Bros’ movies. The way they capture the rhythms of everyday life, the weird insecurities of people, the strange ways those insecurities manifest themselves – they are so insightful about the way people are. Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly are all incredible in this, the third LA movie on the list. That makes me less sad that I live in LA.
Possessed of the same creative spirit that defined early 90’s independent cinema, this film is so inspired, so unique, and so smart.
10) THE RUNAWAYS
Another weird one, but I really loved the style and the performances. Kinda falls apart at the end, but I admire the creative bravura of it. I tried to get through this whole list without saying bravura and I failed.
OK. That’s it. Everyone should see my movie, the as-yet-untitled film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and many other amazing actors. It will definitely be one of the top 100 films of 2011 and could place even higher depending on how the color correction and sound mix go. Just kidding, I’m really happy with it and can’t wait for everyone to see it! Happy New Year!