I got yer “best films of 2010” list right here!
It’s 2011. Another year bites the dust. The last thing the world needs is another “best films of the year” list, right? Every film site has one, not to mention the “official” lists compiled by SAG, The Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the later of which is far too long, but more on that later). And here I am, too far behind on Hollywood’s current block of must-see films (as usual) to make a best of the year list, and staring at the ranks of my wrap-around-the-block Netflix instant queue, sixty and counting. Where do I begin? What’s a fella to do? It is certainly important to remain current, but my sofa is already under my butt, after all, and my PS3 controller is within reach.
Netflix it is.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I don’t know what I’d do without Netflix instant streaming. As an avid consumer of media, an entertainment glutton, Netflix streaming has become my all-you-can-eat buffet. Its rapidly growing back catalog has nearly caused me to collapse under the weight of my own excitement and intimidation. You may recall my post-holiday wish list, wherein I mention my desire to freeze time so that I can catch up on EVERY FILM EVER MADE without losing any time? Well, Netflix can do little about time—which makes fools of us all—but they can begin to steadily catalog every film, making them easily accessible from the comfort of my aforementioned sofa. Netflix is going to make me a film guru. . . and fat and lazy. That’s okay because people come to gurus, not the other way around. But I digress.
Since I have spent far more time on Netflix this year than in a theater I have decided to create a very specific “best-of” list in lieu of your standard bit of business. And so, in no particular order, here is a list of my favorite films viewed in 2010—but probably made years before—and viewed for the first time on Netflix instant streaming:
- Cropsey (2009)
Streamed on 11/04/10
Filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio explore the origins of the childhood Boogeyman they dubbed “Cropsey,” and discover direct links to a real life boogeyman named Andre Rand, who may or may not be responsible for multiple child murders on Staten Island.
It has everything you’d want from a compelling documentary and everything you’d expect from a great horror film. As the two filmmakers delve deeper into Rand’s case, things become more and more surreal. I won’t spoil the film with any of the details but, suffice it to say, truth is stranger than fiction. In this case, it’s also scarier.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
Streamed on 09/25/10
In the world of computer-animated fare Pixar will always reign supreme, but in 2009 Sony Pictures took a tiny step out of Pixar’s epic shadow with this one. Sure, it may not be quite as sophisticated, but it’s damned funny, relatively clever and pretty as hell to look at. Add in some great voice acting from Bill Hader (underrated), Anna Faris and James Caan and you’ve really got something. Seriously, I’m surprised I liked this as much as I did too!
- Terribly Happy (2008)
Streamed on 7/16/10
In the time-honored tradition of conveying style via hypothetical copulations I shall declare this film to be the product of David Lynch and Coen brothers coital interactions on Paul Thomas Anderson’s sofa. Wha?
In all seriousness, this is a fantastically strange, dark little Danish film* about a Copenhagen cop banished to a small town after being involved in a bit of shadiness I shall not divulge here. His attempts to start anew are eventually foiled by unwelcoming townsfolk who like to dump their “problems” into a local bog, a little girl who keeps pushing around a squeaky, empty baby carriage in the middle of the night, and his own psychosis.
- It Might Get Loud (2008)
Streamed on 10/06/10
Oh man, is this a music nerd’s dream or what? Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page hangin’, jammin’ and talkin’ axes. Simple and sweet.
There is a bit of weirdness involving Jack White jamming with a child version of himself, but it’s more than made up for with the film’s killer intro, in which White constructs a makeshift guitar out of a coke bottle, some wire and a wooden plank. Now that’s rock and roll.
- Spartan (2004)
Streamed on 3/27/10
There is no getting around it. David Mamet’s dialog is fast, smart, and sharp as a tack. I enjoy the hell out of it regardless of the quality of the film it’s in (Redbelt is a bit of a sloppy mess).
If pressed I would admit that you simply cannot beat Glengary Glen Ross (1992) for killer Mamet dialog, but Spartan’s got a coolness factor that shouldn’t be denied. Take, for example, this bit of machismo dialog:
“What they gotcha teaching here, young sergeant?”
“Edged weapons, sir. Knife fighting”
“Don’t you teach ‘em knife fighting. Teach ‘em to kill. That way, they meet some sonofabitch who studied knife fighting, they send his soul to hell.”