Top 10 of 2010

My top movies for the year of 2010. I am trying this out because I had a lot to say about these movies, and I figure no one really reads my blog anyway so I might as well spout off on my favorites of this year.

Honorable Mentions

The Book of Eli- This was by far the best post-apocalyptic movies of the bunch that came out around the end of last year and the beginning of this year. It was very entertaining and had an interesting plot that kept you interested until the end of the film. It wasn’t one of the top ten of year for me because it had it’s flaws. The theme was not one that  challenged much, nor did it have you leaving the showing thinking in some way i want to change some part of my life. It was a good and entertaining film. Worth a watch.

 

 

 

 

The Lovely Bones- Obviously not as good as the book. This movie did pull on emotions. The acting was brilliant. Stanley Tucci really made you hate, and despise the antagonist of this film. Mark Wahlberg really makes you feel the pain and anguish of a father that lost his daughter. Saoirse Ronan captured the dreamy and otherworldliness of the role she was in as well. This only deserves an honorable mention because as a film it was not fantastic. Peter Jackson went a little too far with imagery to the point where it lost it’s focus. It was a beautiful film, but not to the point where it was a great one. Very much worth a watch. Great Acting, good plot, visuals that are more than a bit distracting, and a disappointing ending make for an good film that could have been great.

 

The Final Season of Lost- Ok ok i know it’s not a movie, but for me it was the best television of the year. It did justice to the personal relationships of the characters that we had grown to fear, love, and hate. It did not answer many of the questions we had about the island, and there are tons of internet videos devoted to that fact. But I do believe that the final episode made closure for those of us who were hooked from the moment the plane broke and crashed into this mysterious Island. It is not a film so that is why it is only an honorable mention. If you have not seen this series at all, get a netflix membership and watch them all commercial free online. It is worth wasting a good week of your free time to watch all of the episodes of this ground breaking television. There is only one series that rivaled this as the best television of the year in my mind and that was “The Walking Dead”, but it is one to watch to see where it will go in the future.

 

The Top Ten of 2010

10.  She’s Out of My League- Not a fantastic film, but it was very entertaining and reminded me a lot of my own life. I am marrying a girl who i feel is a bit out of my league. We went to see this together. This was a good feel good movie and was worth the time and money spent. So for that I am awarding it the 10th place in my top 10 of the year, but had I watched more movies at the end of the year I am more than positive this would have been bumped. So if you are looking for a fun feel good movie pick this one up.

 

 

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1- The greatest of the potter films thus far. The film makers did a good job of trying to include the important plot points and pieces that had been left out by the other films. It was very dark and foreboding. This film made you feel the hopelessness and lost feelings of the characters. This film does not have all of the novelty and whimsy that the former films had which made this one much much better in my opinion. I watched this film before finishing the book, which I think made it better for me. I was impressed with the film as a film without the foreknowledge of what was to come, or being biased by the writings. I re-watched the film after i had finished the book and found that had influenced my opinions on the film. They did leave out some of the things I wanted to see from the book. But from the perspective of the film being a completely different “Potter” universe it made the experience a lot better. A great beginning of the end.

8. Date Night- I was very impressed by this film. I admit I came in with notions that Steve Carell would never get out from under the shadow of his beloved television character Michael Scott from the popular television series “The Office”, but in this film he did so. I also have to admit I am not a very big fan of Tina Fey, but this comedic pairing worked for me. Their on-screen chemistry and the give and take of the characters made the film worth it. It was a very funny film and was also a good narrative on the modern american marriage seeking a better story. The seeking of a better story reckons back to a book I read this year too, “A Million Miles in a Thousand years”  by Donald Miller (pick it up). Date night was a very amusing movie about being content with what you have and learning more about the one you are with. Pick it up. My recommendation is to buy, since for me this is a movie I will want to watch again and again.

7. Kick-Ass- This movie was well… Kick-ass. This is a movie about a teenage boy who wants to become a superhero, so he does and ends up getting very badly hurt, he ends up meeting some others who have done the same. This film is a fun, but very violent film. I am not one for a ton of violence, but this film actually makes it worth watching. It is a good adaptation of a graphic novel. You certainly feel for the characters and root for them, or hate them. If you have not yet seen Kick-ass and can deal with a lot of violence and blood, it is worth seeing. If that really isn’t your bag i suggest not watching it. It is certainly not family friendly. This was great for me because honestly what boy young or old does not dream about becoming a real superhero.

 

6. Shutter Island- 2010 was a comeback year for Leonardo DiCaprio. Two excellent films with excellent roles to match. In the first 5 minutes of this film I was thinking oh this must be one of those movies that has a big twist that you won’t get until the end. I guessed at what it was, but the film made me doubt that guess. It had you trilled and at the edge of your seat throughout. It was very Hitchcock-esk in it’s presentation. I was impressed by the character development. DiCaprio did a wonderful job of sub-texting the pain and confusion of his character. This was a great film. I have not watched it a second time, though i still want to. It was one of those movies that keeps you guessing and once the twist is revealed even then you are guessing at what really happened. It makes you want to watch over again and see if you could really tell.

5. Inception- The second DiCaprio movie of the year. I really enjoyed this one. If you loved or hated this film you have to admit you talked about it. This movie still has people saying “WTF?” This film was done in such an artful way that made you want to see what was next. there was not any cheesy CG imagery. All of it looked real and wonderful. It made you believe you were exploring the dreams of other people. But this is something we are coming to expect from Chris Nolan the director. He brings a bit of reality to these otherworldly stories.  His take on the Batman series has been a great re-boot for those movies, and this film helps to show that he can take fantasy and make it a reality. Excuse me for a moment i have to go spin a top…

 

4. The Social Network- The final four of my list could definitely tie as the best films of the year in my opinion. These were all great movies, but they need to be put into an order. So I chose to put them into an order of my own emotional attachment to the films. Unfortunately I am not overly attached to this film, but it was an incredible one. As a fan and user of the popular social networking site “Facebook” this movie was one that brought the journey of its creation into light. Whether or not this story is accurate or not is irrelevant. It is a great story of personal relationships, betrayal, friendships, and what people will do for love and money. It has been called the “Citizen Kane” of our generation and it can well be so. It was well acted, well written, well filmed, and well presented. Certainly one of the best films of 2010

3. Toy Story 3- With the exception of “Up”, never before has an animated movie pulled on my heartstrings so much. Like a lot of people I grew up with the Toy Story films. I recently went through and watched the first two, and was ready for the 3rd to come out. Little did i know the emotional journey this movie would take me on. There were ups, downs, and everything in between. I feel like you could watch this movie as a stand-alone apart from its prequels, and still be emotionally invested in this film. Still as i sit an think about some of the moments in this movie I am on the verge of tears thinking about Buzz, Woody, and the others. For my generation the links to our childhood are very important to us. We hold on to our toys as a memory of “easier” and “simpler” times. This movie makes you want to go up into the attic or basement of your parents house and dig out all your old toys and either put them in a place of honor, or donate them to someone you know will love them just as much as you did. Great film, definitely a contender for one of 2010’s best.

2. Easy A- Certainly the underdog pick of 2010. This movie didn’t get a lot of the recognition it deserved. It was very much in the same arena as the late John Hughe’s classic coming of age movies. This is another great coming of age comedy. This is certainly one I want to show to all Youth ministers in the country. I want them to see what we are making teens into, as well as the good that is in those who aren’t in our ministries. This film has some great moral messages for teens as well as adults (since we all still act like we are in high school anyway). This movie was fun, well acted, and well written. Emma Stone is a great actress and I will expect to see her in more roles that display her talent as an actress. This film also has one of my favorite images of a modern family. Go rent this film! It may not win any awards, but in my book one of the best of 2010.

1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World- To borrow a catch phrase from a beloved “Simpsons” character; best movie ever! I loved this film. For the longest time I have been a fan of cinema without an absolute favorite. I am pretty sure Scott Pilgrim has won that role, at least for now. I identified a lot with the characters, the visuals, the music, the feel, and the general funness of this movie. I am a big fan of Michael Cera’s ever since the short lived television series “Arrested Development” (bad move cancelling it tv people!). He always seems to play the same types of characters that he does so well at; the shy, nerdy, insecure guy. I have to say that is me all over. If i were to make a movie of my life I would cast him but make him gain weight so he could play me better. Back to the film. This film pulls from nerd culture gallore. It is what live action anime movies should have been, what video game movies should aspire to, and just the movie for those of us who love those nerdy things to watch. A romantic movie about a boy who meets a girl, and has to defeat her seven evil exes to be with her. It says a lot about relationships, ourselves, and what we imagine the world to be at times. In my opinion the best movie of 2010.

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The Ghost of Christmas Present

I went back today to re-read my second post on this blog. I was once told it was very depressing. I read it and realized that the things I was hoping for in that new year did come true. It was a nice thing to go back and read. It was depressing, because i was in a new place. I was alone, but that was going to change quickly. In fact it changed in the next two months. You know the story. I posted in here not that long ago. I met my soon to be wife. I made new friends. I celebrated Christmas with my new family last year. It is incredible how things change within a very short period of time. Now here I am. I am celebrating my Christmas alone once again, but this time it isn’t as depressing. Yes, I am again in a new place. But my life is much more full. I have a new family. I have a soon to be wife, who will be on her way to come see me in 24 hours. I have a church family that is very thankful for me. I have friends that I am making here. I have friends who i will see very soon at my wedding. I am very thankful for all the gifts I have this Christmas. I know I am in thoughts and prayers of others. I am going to have myself a merry little Christmas. I am very blessed and I wanted to share that. I still pray for those who have shared their Christmas’ with me in the past. I pray that this year they will be as blessed as I feel now.

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The Freedom Song

I want nothing more than at this very moment to wax poetic and philosophical, after all it is the time for it. I just wanted to spend some time reflecting on Christmas. As I sat in our lessons and carols service this morning I was struck with a thought. I thought about Christmas, novel concept I know. There had been something rattling around in my head the last couple of days that found that moment to emerge. I had heard a PSA on the “real” reason of Christmas. It talked about the “prophecies” that foretold Christ’s coming. I know this is the time of year that we believe in fairy tales and magic. That is ok! I still believe in a lot of that myself, but I started to think about the true meaning of Christmas. What did it mean for all who were there and involved? This is what I thought:

A long time ago, in a land we know quite well. There lived there a people who had been persecuted. They had once been slaves, not once but many times. These people sought nothing more than a promise. A promise of freedom! Freedom from oppression. Freedom to live. Freedom to no longer be slaves. Their religious leaders told them that this promise had been made, and either scolded them for not having faith that it would come to pass; or comforted them with the reminder that God has promised such. God promised they would be free. They held on to these words. They wrote them down. They remembered. Yet, here they were once again held captive to a law, a way of being, a life that was not their own. They cried out. “Come, Oh, Come God be with us. Ransom us your people. We mourn and wait in exile here. Fulfill your promise of freedom!” They waited…

One day a girl, not more than thirteen years of age, was visited in an uncommon way. She had a vision. What exactly happened may never be clear, but one thing was  clear to her. She had been chosen. She knew that God had chosen her to bring about the fulfillment of that promise. God was coming. God was going to live amongst God’s people! She was going to carry God into the world. But who was she? She was merely a servant, an object, a woman. During that time she was nothing more than a possession, a thing to be used; a slave. History was unclear, but she must have had doubts. She must have had doubts, not in God, or God’s promise of freedom; but in herself. With this amazing and beautiful news came the weight of the world. She would have to tell her betrothed, her family, and others that she was going to give birth to God. Who would believe her? She knew. She was strong, stronger than her age…

A simple carpenter was engaged to marry a woman. We don’t know if he loved her or not, but he must have. He too was part of the people who had been slaves. He knew the stories. He grew up with them. He was not one of the best and brightest in the temple and the law though. He learned his trade. One day, his betrothed came to him and told him. She told him that she was going to give birth to a Son that would be God. He lost it. She surely must be crazy. But he was a good man. He wouldn’t tell everyone. He would just break it off quietly. After he struggled with this he slept. He dreamed. He dreamed he was visited as well. He was told the same thing. God was coming. God had heard God’s people’s cries. God would bring freedom. How would he be father though? Father to the son of God? Flesh not of his flesh, bone not of his bone, but still father to this child. He would do it though. He was a good man…

These were a people who cried out for freedom. God came to them. God came to tell them, “You are free.”

This is what I thought about, and much more. I thought about the paralleled with Moses. I thought about how God chose to use someone else who had lead God’s people to freedom as a picture of what this baby would do. This baby was named Freedom bringer. That is the true meaning of Christmas to me. A time to remember that God came to set us free. Not just one people group, but all mankind. God came to earth. God loved us so much that God could not help but to come and set us free. It was the beginning of our exodus, As the Apostle Paul put it, the exodus of all creation. Yet we choose to still be slaves. Slaves to the law. Slaves to our own separation from God.

So with all my jumbled thoughts now being down in electronic print. Let me boil it down into what I want to say with all of this. The true reason of Christmas is this: “You have been set free by a God that loves you without condition. So go live it, and share it with everyone!”

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