2010 Leaman Awards - The Part-Time Critic

Friday, July 8, 2022

2010 Leaman Awards

*Last Updated: 7/24/2022  

2010 Films Seen: 102
Number of Films with A or A+ Grade: 1
Key Films Still to See: n/a

Brief Summary: n/a

Not a "best of" list or a "favorite" list - but a list of the films and sequences (action, drama, comedy, & musical) that I think represent the best the year had to offer. So think of it as a strange mixture of favorite, best, and defining. Once you get to the top ten films, it definitely becomes more defined as a Top Ten list of the year. The number one film is my favorite of the year. 

Honorable Mentions: Greenberg, Harry Brown, The King's Speech, Let Me in, Universal Soldier: Regeneration, The Way Back

25. Red (B)
24. Somewhere (B)
23. Megamind (B)
22. Animal Kingdom (B)
21. Despicable Me (B)
20. Exit Through the Gift Shop (B)
19. Unstoppable (B)
18. True Grit (B)
17. The Crazies (B)
16. Get Low (B)
15. The Town (B)
14. Jackass 3D (B+)
13. Little Big Soldier (B+)
12. Winter's Bone (B+)
11. Shrek Forever After (B+)

THE TOP TEN
10. The Fighter (B+)
9. Shutter Island (B+)
8. Tangled (B+)
7. Another Year (B+)
6. Waiting for Superman (A-)

5. Mother (A-)

4. Biutiful (A-) 

3. The Social Network (A-): I wasn't sold on this film the first time I saw it. I thought it was good, but couldn't really see the hype that was selling it as revolutionary and a masterpiece. Re-watches of the film confirms it is a better film than I remembered and initially gave it credit for. It makes a great companion piece to Sorkin's other look at a tech innovator in 2015's Steve Jobs. Although the approach is somewhat similar (using a unique framing device to investigate the character motivations of innovators), the different directorial approaches of Fincher and Boyle make for an interesting contrast. 

2. Inception (A-): Inception's acknowledgment that there are not only clues to ultimate reality, but also doubt about our reality, makes it surprisingly relatable (especially in our postmodern context). Even more so, the films embracement of the necessity of faith in order to experience the realities of life, makes it thoroughly human. In that sense, I think it speaks not just to Christians, but to anyone who has experienced life. Appropriately there is room to doubt for those who look for it (does that top keep spinning?), but Cobb's and Inception's embracement of the real and rejection of the dream (making it very Matrix-esque), symbolized by Cobb's journey to his children, is a full on emotion and humanity. In fact, taken to its conclusion, the film almost insults the viewer. Like the shared dreamers of Mombasa, we viewers connect and share this dream with Nolan, projecting our own subconscious into the film. In our ever increasing media society where we consume films, television shows, and video games for hours a day, are we not like those living their lives away in a dream world? To that, the film's exhortation to reject the dream and embrace the fullness that reality has to offer is both an affront and an encouragement to its viewer. Of course it's the best type of affront, a warning and a clarion call, that reality waits beyond the doors of the theatre. This to me is the humanity of the film, and it comprises the true contribution that Inception has to offer. Read more of my original review of Inception HERE

1. 127 Hours (A):


FAVORITE ACTION SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
*Coming Soon
The Very Good:
  • "Roman Column Ambushed by the Picts While Marching" -Centurion 

The Great:
  •  

The Best: "
Commentary: 


FAVORITE DRAMATIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "Finale: Finding Hikers & Getting Help" -127 Hours
  • "Mum Turns the Cards on her Grandson and Orders Him Killed" –Animal Kingdom
  • "Nicole is Let In, Questioned, and Killed by Pope" –Animal Kingdom
  • "Professor and his Student the Leader of the Assassins Sit and Have Tea and Discuss Democracy" –Bodyguards and Assassins
  • "Car Wash with the Crazies" –The Crazies
  • "Gru Reads the Girls a Nighttime Story" –Despicable Me
  • "Felix Confesses to the Town his Past & Asks for Forgiveness" –Get Low
  • "Hashing Out Old Issues at Night in the Garden Between Old Friends" –Greenberg
  • "Opening Tsunami" –Hereafter
  • "Learning How to Fly and Steer a Dragon" –How to Train Your Dragon
  • "Cobb Explains how Shared Dreaming Works on the Streets of Paris" –Inception
  • "Remembering a Fatal Accident Turns into a Shadow Lesson" –The Karate Kid
  • "Discovering she is Being Cheated On and Returning to Dinner" –The Kids Are All Right
  • "Attempted Kidnapping is Botched at a Gas Station Ending in an Accident" –Let Me In
  • "Mother Gets the Plea Deal from the Attorney at the Karaoke Bar" –Mother
  • "Mother asks J.P. if he has Any Parents" –Mother
  • "Ruth Confesses and Attempts to Make Things Right on the Beach" –Never Let Me Go
  • "Breaking Out of Prison & Out of the Country" –The Next Three Days
  • “Coming Upon a Hut with Two Okinawan Women” -The Pacific
  • "All is Revealed and the Marshall Comes to Grips with the Truth" –Shutter Island
  • "Jem Arrives During Doug & Claires Meal Almost Ruining Everything" –The Town
  • "Choosing Whether to Help Jem to his End or Walk Away" –The Town
  • "Our Cast of Toys Faces their Fate Together Before the Furnace" –Toy Story 3
  • “Cogburn Rides and Carries Mattie to Help” -True Grit
  • "The Lottery" –Waiting for Superman
  • "Ask Yourself, Did We Do Enough" –Waiting for Superman
  • "Retrieving her Father's hands" –Winter's Bone
  • "Tear Drop Comes to Collect Rhee" –Winter's Bone
The Great:
  • "Finding the Chinese Workers All Dead from Gas" –Biutiful
  • "Chan Tells the Story of his Father & Brothers, Let's the General Go, & Finds Liang in Ruins" -Little Big Soldier
The Best: "Aron has see's his family & a premonition of his son" -127 Hours
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE COMEDIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
Not a category I kept good track of - One of the toughest TBH

The Very Good:
  •  

The Great:
  •  

The Best:  
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE MUSICAL SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
*Tangled was the only major musical this year
The Very Good:
  • "I've Got a Dream" -Tangled
  • "Mother Knows Best" -Tangled
  • "When Will My Life Begin?" -Tangled
The Great:
  • n/a
The Best: "I See the Light" -Tangled
Commentary: n/a

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees: 
  • Danny Boyle 127 Hours
  • Joon-ho Bong Mother
  • David Fincher The Social Network
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu Biutiful
  • Christopher Nolan Inception
Commentary: Wow! This category was a tough one because so many of the best films largely depended on the director's vision and particular tastes for what made them so successful. 


FAVORITE FILM ENSEMBLES
Nominees: 
  • Another Year
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE MALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees: 
  • Christian Bale The Fighter
  • Javier Bardem Biutiful
  • Jackie Chan Little Big Soldier
  • Matt Damon True Grit
  • Leonardo DiCaprio Shutter Island
  • Robert Duvall Get Low
  • Colin Firth The King's Speech
  • James Franco 127 Hours
  • John Hawkes Winter's Bone
  • Bill Murray Get Low
  • Xueqi Wang Bodyguards and Assassins
Commentary: If Javier Bardem is not the best and most wide-ranging actor of his generation, then he is at least in the conversation. Bardem is the anchor of Inarritu's melancholic Biutiful providing the pained but hopeful protagonist who struggling through his middle class life of shady business ventures and a broken family. It's a tricky balance giving us a protagonist the viewers could quickly blame and see as a villain worthy of a bad life, but Bardem infuses the character with humanity, his deep eyes filled with thoughtful reflection that ask the viewer, "Did I really have any other good choices here?" 


FAVORITE FEMALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees: 
  • Maricel Alvarez Biutiful
  • Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right
  • Greta Gerwig Greenberg
  • Hye-ja Kim Mother
  • Jennifer Lawrence Winter's Bone
  • Melissa Leo The Fighter
  • Lesley Manville Another Year
  • Natalie Portman Black Swan
  • Jackie Weaver Animal Kingdom
  • Michelle Williams My Blue Valentine
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE SCREENPLAYS
(original or adapted)
Nominees: 
  • 127 Hours
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Biutiful
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • Mother
  • Shutter Island
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit
  • Winter's Bone
Commentary: n/a


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nominees:
  • The Art of the Steal
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Waiting for Superman
  • Waking Sleeping Beauty
Commentary: n/a

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Nominees: 
  • Despicable Me
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Megamind
  • Shrek Forever After
  • Tangled
  • Toy Story 3
Commentary: What an incredible year for animation!
BEST FILM EDITING
Nominees: 
  • 127 Hours
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • Shutter Island
  • The Social Network
Commentary: n/a


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nominees: 
  • 127 Hours
  • Biutiful
  • Inception
  • Shutter Island
  • The Social Network
Commentary: n/a


BEST ART DIRECTION
Nominees: 
  • Bodyguards and Assassins
  • Inception
  • Shutter Island
  • Tron Legacy
  • True Grit
Commentary: n/a


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Nominees: 
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • Tron Legacy
Commentary: n/a

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees: 
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Inception
  • The King's Speech
  • The Social Network
  • Tron Legacy
  • True Grit
Commentary: n/a


BEST SOUND DESIGN
Nominees: 
  • 127 Hours
  • The Expendables
  • Inception
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Shutter Island
Commentary: n/a


BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Nominees: 
  • 14 Blades
  • Black Swan
  • Bodyguards and Assassins
  • Inception
  • Shutter Island
  • True Grit
Commentary: n/a


BEST MAKE-UP & HAIR DESIGN
Nominees: 
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Black Swan
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
  • Little Big Soldier
  • Shutter Island
  • The Way Back
Commentary: n/a
BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE
Nominees: 
  • Grown Ups
  • Jackass 3D
  • The Other Guys
  • Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Commentary: n/a


MOST SURPRISING FILM
Nominees: 
  • 127 Hours
  • Biutiful
  • Mother
  • The Social Network
  • Tangled
Commentary: n/a


MOST DISAPPOINTING FILM
Nominees: 
  • Green Zone
  • Robin Hood
  • Saw 3D
Commentary: n/a


MOST UNDERRATED FILM
Nominees: 
  • Biutiful
  • Little Big Soldier
  • Shrek Forever After
  • Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Commentary: Somehow, one of Chan's best films slipped through the cracks of pop culture. It's ancient war-torn China and Jackie Chan plays a Liang soldier that plays dead as his army led a surprise ambush of the Wei army. After the battle Jackie, known only as "The Soldier" in this film, combs the battlefield and finds a still half alive general of the Wei army whom he believes he can turn in to the Liang king for "five acres of good land" and restart his life. As he pushes a cart carrying the General back to Liang to receive his reward, Chan faces many different people and obstacles along the way - each affected by the war in some way, each presenting their own unique conflicts. The biggest obstacle is a band of top Wei warriors who are following Chan's footsteps to find and kill the General. The trip allows the film to show a lot of stunning scenery. What action there is in the film is decent stuff, but the focus is much more on the relationship between Jackie and the General and an examination of life amidst perpetual warring factions.  Along the journey Chan and the General fight, argue, and discuss things like being a deserter, what is honorable, the plight of war, goals in life, etc. It makes up the core of the film and it's done surprisingly well here. Jackie Chan's acting really shines here in the role of a honorable weasel. He's essentially a good man in circumstances that have forced him to take become a bit of a trickster to keep alive. The character allows for Chan to make use of his comedic abilities, his physical nature (he does a great job at being a man who knows his way around nature), and the dramatic range he does possess. It's easily one of Jackie's best and most moving performances. It's a strong movie that's able to balance a love for life with a weariness in war, the light with the more serious. I won't give anything away, but the ending is quite powerful and quite earned. One of Jackie's best overall films. 


MOST OVERRATED FILM
Nominees: 
  • Easy A
  • The King's Speech
  • Splice
  • Toy Story 3
Commentary: n/a


WORST FILM
Nominees: 
  • Easy A
  • MacGruber
  • Saw 3D
Commentary: n/a


BEST COMPILATION OF WORK
Nominees:
  • James Franco: 127 Hours, Date Night


ERIC BANA AWARD
*Given for the best performance in a bad film (See 2004's Troy)
Nominees:
  • Helena Bonham Carter Alice in Wonderland
  • Dev Patel The Last Airbender

THE END!

"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere." -Inception


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