Digital Polyphony

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Best of: Part One (Genres)

Posted on January 1, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Best of: Part One (Genres)

A look back at the specific genres of 2010. Just a rundown, including some movies I haven't had a chance to write reviews for.

Best Drama

The King's Speech

Just a powerful movie that's going to be remembered for many years. The King's Speech is still lumbering around the art house/festival world but after or around Awards season, it'll probably be released far wider for more people to enjoy. A great ensemble cast and a perfect script make it a great movie. Winter's Bone would be my next up for it, but damn if King's Speech wasn't brilliant. As I mentioned in my older blog from a week ago, the year was full of dramatic movies, many of which didn't get wide release. Even if they have stars (like Rabbit Hole), but King's Speech and Winter's Bone were the ones for me.

Best Romance

Remember Me

I suppose Scott Pilgrim versus the World, but that's not exactly a romance movie. Instead, I'll say Remember Me, a small overlooked movie that has a great romantic angle to it. It's hard to find a romance film that isn't overly mushy or overly sexist (such as any Katherine Heigel film). She's Out of My League wasn't too bad either. None were particularly great, unless you want to count Blue Valentine which I surely won't.

Best Horror

The Crazies

Unless you wish to count Black Swan, and you easily could, the best all-out horror movie this year was The Crazies. You had some decent enough horror movies, but few really stood out like The Crazies. Pirahna 3D was a good solid second for me, though. Overall, though, the year in horror wasn't particularly great. It was good, with some nice smaller horror movies such as Burning Bright, Dread, Daybreakers, The Loved Ones and I'll even throw Splice into the mix on it, but nothing that really made you say "wow."

In the subgenre of thriller/suspense, The Town and Animal Kingdom are probably my choices there. The American is a bit of an odd duck because it's a little bit of a bunch of genres, so it's hard to label that one, but I suppose "thriller" is as close as it can get, though it's more drama/character study than anything. Shutter Island was overall solid, and I didn't mind Edge of Darkness all that much either.

Best Science Fiction

Never Let Me Go

Inception was a melting pot of ideas, but it was never quite "science fiction." That sense of pure sci-fi goes to the nice little flick Never Let Me Go, bringing up motifs of morality, life and the ever elusive search for the soul in a world that puts people in classes rather than seeing them as equals. Overall, there weren't a ton of science fiction flicks this year either. Big genre pictures were in the minority it seemed. Splice, again, is about the only one other one I can note here as well as Daybreakers, but I would consider both more horror than anything. Repo Men? Nah....

Best Comedy

Hot Tub Time Machine

A movie that is destined to be a cult classic. Though 2010 was fairly weak in the comedy department, Hot Tub Time Machine just was a great nostalgic trip and I love the inclusion of an 80s mainstay - John Cusack (at times parodying himself from the 80s). Sure, the script was a bit messy, but like the Wedding Singer from many years ago, it's a celebration of an era and it just rolls with it. Plus, the 80s are damn easy to make fun of. Also Crispin Glover. Get Him to the Greek was about the only other one I kind of liked, but barely because it plays its cards too many times. Most of the other comedies I saw were either just mean-spirted (Dinner for Shmucks) , badly written or just not funny at all.

Best Action

The A-Team

We're talking pure action movie here, and for me it goes to The A-Team. Just unapologetic all the way through. There were a good number of decent action flicks, with none really standing out to me - including the A-Team, which is far from perfect. But it got a lot of amazing set-piece enjoyment going on. It was down to this and Salt, solely because Salt probably had the best directing of action sequences, or maybe Red, which had pitch-perfect comedy going for it as well and the quickly forgotten From Paris With Love, well directed but, like Salt, didn't know what it wanted to do with its story. The best is certainly not The Expendables, despite the cast could not handle action, and certainly not Predators, which is far too messy (but I will say was a good effort considering the franchise was pretty much dead). All decent flicks, sure, but I think The A-Team had the most enjoyable bits of action going on in it. Plus, next to Red, I actually liked the cast here because it manages to offer up just enough to like them and care what happens. I can't say that for a lot of the action movies from 2010.

Oh, and Unstoppable. Though not exactly an "action" movie, it's more a disaster flick, it hits those beats really nicely. One of Tony Scott's better movies in a while.

Best Documentary

Best Worst Movie and Winnebago Man

It's hard for me to really say. Out of all film genres, the documentary is one I consistently neglect. So due to that, I can only say what was my favorite I watched rather than say, from a quantifiable pot of movies, which is the best. The best for me? Best Worst Movie, despite some directorial quibbles, is a celebration of loving movies. No matter how good or bad they may be. It captured that element perfectly, making the documentary a little more than just a movie about the worst movie ever made, but a movie about why we love movies in the first place.  I enjoyed Winnebago Man as well. A viral video about one very odd man given a whole documentary. It's kind of like Marwencol, another great one from this past year, but I really loved Jack in Winnebago Man the most and the payoff of the final ten minutes or so is just great with my only criticism being it would have been nice to know a little more about Jack's life, especially in terms of family, but what we got was pretty interesting stuff. Others I enjoyed: Marwencol, I mentioned, Catfish, despite the controversy, Cropsy, and Exit Through the Gift Shope. I know Waiting for Superman will probably win this year, though.

Best Foreign


If you've seen my Top 25, you knew this was coming. Biutiful is three hours of heartache, but damn good. Off the top of my head, the other foreign films that come to mind are all crime thrillers, as strange as that is. Carlos (if you wish to count it as a film...I did not), Mesrine Parts One and Two and Animal Kingdom are fantastic movies. Another Year and Made in Dagenham were also nice little British movies, I am Love and The Concert quality titles as well (I am Love probably being Tilda Swinton's most impressive role ever).



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