Here they are... Short Ends and Leader's choices for 2010's Best, the cream rising to the top of an otherwise unexceptional year. Watch for our site-wide best film feature when we return to full publication next week.
A few months back, Web Nation was mocking an article by Joe Queenan in which he asserted, right around annual midpoint, that 2010 was destined to be the worst year in film ever. Before the onslaught of awards season fodder, before the full faith and credit of the cinematic circumstance could be fully gauged, he had already given up, declaring all a bust. One wonders what his opinion would be now that Tinseltown has ramped up its End Times talent scouting and publicity machine. A lot of powerful titles arrived in the last two months of 2010, works that reasserted the aesthetic quality of the artform overall - and yet, it's hard to argue that anything here would stand the test of time, let alone a 2011/2009 comparison.
In defense of Mr. Queenan's position, once you get past the Top 20, say, there's not much to celebrate. Bubbling under the surface of this list were worthy entries such as Rabbit Hole, Winter's Bone, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and Four Lions. There was also a smattering of interesting if not wholly classic possibilities like Shutter Island, Biutiful, The Town, and 127 Hours. After that, what's left? Not much, or better yet, not much worth mentioning. There are some smitten with the dour divorce crash-coursing of Blue Valentine or the faux homosexual insights of The Kids Are All Right. Others will tout wholly questionable quirk like Cyrus or obtuse foreign documentaries about subjects important to those affected, if any. As the mainstream continues to buckle under product pressure performance, we get more and more of the mediocre and less and less artistic flights of fancy.
In that regard, here is what Short Ends and Leader came up with as 2010's best. Argue the choices all you want, but within the context of over 300 viewings (film and DVD), these are the ones that stand out, starting with a showcase for sensational acting known as: