Ray’s 2010 Movie Awards


Ray’s 2010 Movie Awards

The Year’s Best Movies.   In Order.

  1. Winter’s Bone.  An amazing Ozark family gothic thriller, this beautiful movie really got under my skin.
  2. The Social Network.  Together, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin hit the ball out of the park with this dizzyingly smart and watchable movie.
  3. True Grit.  Once again Joel and Ethan Coen astound with their filmmaking skills.
  4. Inception.  A flawed masterpiece which gets high marks 1) for sheer chutzpah, 2) for challenging the viewers with something more complex than an episode of Blue’s Clues, 3) for having visual effects that, while spectacular, always served the plot, and finally 4) FOR NOT BEING IN 3D.
  5. How To Train Your Dragon.  An amazingy satisfying movie, written with intelligence, wit and warmth, featuring splendid voice acting and spectacular visuals that really do need to be seen in 3D.
  6. Toy Story 3.  Yeah, big surprise, huh?
  7. The King’s Speech.  Yeah, what everyone else has already said.  It’s really good, except for Guy Pearce.
  8. 127 Hours.  Ewwww.  Look away at the most difficult parts if you must, but this energetic and intriguing film should not be missed.
  9. Never Let Me Go.  Scary and sad film about a group of young people with a horrifying destiny.
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  Absolutely beautifully made warm-up to the end of the Harry Potter saga.  A triumph of pure commercial filmmaking.

Honorable Mention: The Ghost Writer, Let Me In, The Last Exorcism, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Despicable Me, The Town


Hot Tub Time Machine, Just Wright, Agora, Cairo Time, Step Up 3D, Who is Harry Nilsson and Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?, Catfish, City Island, Devil, Life As We Know It, Unstoppable, The Losers


I loathe boxing.  I am uninterested in stories about scrappy underdog fighters.  And I’d rather jam poison-dipped upholstery tacks into my gums than sit through another too-much-acting-per-square-inch performance by Christian Bale.  The Fighter may be the greatest film ever made.  I’ll never know.

Asterisk indicates the winner.  Thank you for playing.


Best Actor

Robert Duvall, Get Low

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

James Franco, 127 Hours

*Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Honorable Mention: Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine Andy Garcia in City Island, Alexander Siddig in Cairo Time

Best Actress

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

Tilda Swinton, I Am Love

Noomi Rapace, The Girl Who Got the International Book And Movie Franchise

*Annette Bening in Mother and Child

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Honorable Mention:  Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine

Best Supporting Actor

John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

*Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Josh Brolin, True Grit

Barry Pepper, True Grit

Honorable Mention:  Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer in The Social Network, Henry Thomas (yeah, from E.T.) in Dear John, Joel Edgerton in The Square and Animal Kingdom, Lucas Black in Get Low

Best Supporting Actress

Dale Dickey, Winter’s Bone

Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Chloe Moretz, Let Me In

*Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech

Best Director

Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone

Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech

*David Fincher, The Social Network

Christopher Nolan, Inception

Art Direction

*Winter’s Bone

True Grit


Tron Legacy

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1


Winter’s Bone


Winter’s Bone


True Grit

Tron: Legacy

The Social Network

Original Screenplay

Inception (Christopher Nolan)

*The King’s Speech (David Seidler)

Despicable Me (Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul)

Adapted Screenplay

Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini)

Never Let Me Go (Alex Garland)

True Grit (Joel and Ethan Coen)

How To Train Your Dragon (William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders)

*The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)


Special Mention to Rob Cron for getting his first on-screen credit in Tron: Legacy!

Visual Effects


The Social Network

Tron: Legacy

Incredible Year for Documentaries

Waking Sleeping Beauty.  The excellent string of documentaries about Disney continues.  Remember when Disney feature animation hit its nadir in the 1980s with The Black Cauldron.  This sprightly film is about how the Mouse House made it from there to the glories of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

Casino Jack and the United States of Money.  Our government:  for sale!

Joan Rivers:  A Piece of Work.  Indeed.

8:  The Mormon Proposition.  The movie that clearly shows the Mormon Church’s vast violations of its tax-exempt status by sponsoring and supporting the notorious California Proposition 8.

Stonewall Uprising.  Hear about the beginning of the revolution from people who where there.

The Tillman Story.  The story of the iconclastic and heroic Pat Tillman and the shameful military and governmental coverup regarding the circumstances of his death in Afghanistan.

*Freakanomics.  Delightful film adaptation of the fascinating best-selling book.

Foreign Language

Micmacs (France)

Patrik, Age 1.5 (Sweden)

*Rare Exports.  You’ve got to rent this insane Christmas horror film from Finland.  No, seriously, you really have to rent it.

A Very Good Year for Jay Baruchel

The talented young star of How To Train Your Dragon, She’s Out of My League, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Good Neighbors (Canadian) and The Trotsky.  Mr. Baruchel is a major talent and I expect big things from him.

It’s Facebook’s World; We Just Live In It

2010 saw not one but two really good movies that centered on the ubiquitous social network:  Catfish and, well, The Social Network.

What Kind of Movies Are These?

Both Catfish and Exit Through the Gift Shop blurred the lines between where a documentary ends and cinematic scam begins.  If you just remember Ray’s mantra (All movies are fiction!) you can sit back and relax these two crazy stories.  Who cares whether they’re true or not?

Best Lines

Owen: But how old are you, really?   Abby: Twelve. But… I’ve been twelve for a very long time.  (A deliciously creepy and telling moment from Let Me In.)

“I’m six-five, 220, and there’s two of me.” – Twin talk from The Social Network.

Funniest Moments

Craig Robinson gets to work in the title of the movie (and then steal a glance at the camera) in Hot Tub Time Machine

Dwayne Johnson and and Samuel L. Jackson cluelessly jump off a tall building in The Other Guys.

The mounted wall décor inside the evil mansion in Despicable Me.

Best Movie About an Ancient Female Astronomer


Please Let  Us See More Of . . .

Craig Robinson.  I can’t watch The Office, so I need him to make more movies.

Chloe Moretz.  After terrific performances in (500) Days of Summer and Let Me In, I am eager to see more work from this talented young lady.

City Island’s Steven Strait.  I’m only human.

Yaniv Schulman, the subject (or star?) of the fascinating hybrid film Catfish.

Jenny O’Hara.  This veteran character woman has got it goin’ on, and she made the surprisingly good Devil even better.

Make fun of me all you want, I say he has genuine star quality:

Channing Tatum.  He proved in Dear John that he’s got actual movie star charisma.  He’s not just another Abercrombie model who got lucky.

Surprisingly Good!

Hot Tub Time Machine.  Believe it or not.  It’s a real hoot, and Craig Robinson is hilarious.

Ridiculously Attractive Movie Couples

Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel in Life As We Know It

Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs

Best Compliance With the “Ray and Tayler Rule”

Alex O’Loughlin, a handsome actor never known for having much of a physique, got into RIDICULOUSLY good shape for his lead role opposite Jennifer Lopez in The Back-Up Plan.  Well done.

Common, who buffed up admirably for his turn as a professional basketball player in Just Wright.

Jake Gyllenhaal, who paid careful attention to the Ray and Tayler Rule for both Prince of Persia and Love and Other Drugs

Eggregious Violations of the “Ray and Tayler Rule”

Did Christopher Egan not read the script of Letters to Juliet when he got the job?  And, you know, notice the scene in Act III in which he went swimming?  What was he thinking?

Puzzling Casting

Why was Guy Pearce, who is seven years Colin Firth’s junior, get cast as his older brother in The King’s Speech?  He also wasn’t very good.

Best in a Historically Weak Field

I’m not saying Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was a great movie, but it was the best movie I’ve ever seen based on a video game franchise.  At the very least, it was a step in the right direction.

I Haven’t Given Up on Zac Efron . . .

. . despite the sappiness of Charlie St. Cloud.  And bonus points to Zac for his faithful compliance with the Ray and Tayler Rule.

Excellent Title

Hot Tub Time Machine

My Very Favorite Rapist Film Director Ever

The Ghost Writer’s Roman Polanski

The Girl Who Got the International Book and Movie Franchise

I can’t get that excited about the books or the movies.  But they’re okay if you like that sort of thing.

Better Than I Expected!


The Last Exorcism

Life As We Know It

It Had to Happen Some Time

An good American remake of a well-received European film.  Really?  Yep, that’s just what Let Me In is.  Check it out.

Strange, but I Liked it Anyway

Easier With Practice.  This movie had a terrible title, but it’s a surprisingly sweet exploration of the unorthodox relationship that grows between two people who only know each other through the telephone.  Brian Geraghty, who was so good in The Hurt Locker, stars.

Face It, I Like the Minimalist Horror Films

Both The Last Exorcism and Paranormal Activity 2 did a terrific job of scaring audiences without special effects or much of a budget.  Well done.

Thought I Would HATE It

But The Losers was really fun!

She Never Lets Me Down

I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a Queen Latifah vehicle that I didn’t really enjoy.  This year’s Just Wright was no exception.  It was fun to root for her to win the heart of the studly basketball player (Common) who was her physical therapy patient.

Like Dance Movies?

Then don’t miss the highly kinetic and sexy Step Up 3D.

Sweet RomComs

Letters to Juliet.  Corny, predictable, and utterly charming fantasy about purloined love letters, with the added bonus of featuring a screen reuniting of real-life lovers Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero.

Life As We Know It.  Also predictable but oddly irresistable bit of fluff about growing up against your will.

They Got the Wrong Annette Bening Performance!

Instead of her excellent work in the sappy and stupidly overrated The Kids Are All Right, the supremely talented Bening should have been lauded for her stunning work in Mother and Child, which no one saw but me.

They Got The Wrong Aussie Noir!

Mountains of praise got heaped on the mediocre “The Animal Kingdom.”  The scrappy little crime thriller from Down Under that everyone SHOULD have seen was The Square, a nasty and fascinating story of greed and murder.

Well-Meaning But Zzzzzzz

The Green Zone


The Illusionist.  The tedious new film from the creator of the breathtakingly good The Triplets of Belleville.

Life During Wartime.  Todd Solondz’s follow-up to his amazing film Happiness was, to be kind, lackluster.

Most Overrated

A Prophet.  This French crime film got reviews like it was the second coming of Pee Wee Herman.  It thought it was just barely okay.

The Kids Are All Right.  Dull and unconvincing.

Please Give.  Dull and whiny.

Black Swan.  Followed closely by Darren Aronofsky.  This movie was overrought, pretentious and boring.

Animal Kingdom.  The reviewers were wrong.

Restropo.  Overrated writer Sebastian Junger reaped huge praise for holding a camera while visiting deployed soldiers in Afghanistan.  And then complaining in interviews about having to go without sex or the internet while he was there.  Oh, how you suffer for your art, Sebastian.

My Dog Tulip.  Great reviews.  Dull as dishwater.

Conviction.  Very pedestrian treatment of a true-life legal battle.

I Just Don’t Get It

Shutter Island.  Martin Scorcese continues to be the most overrated director in American film.

The Year’s Worst Movies

*The Last Airbender.  I never thought I’d walk out of an M. Night Shyamalan film.  But now it’s happened.

Alice in Wonderland.  Tim Burton reaches a new low in excess and bad storytelling in this quasi-3D piece of crap.

Hereafter.  Shallow treatment of a potentially profound subject.  Clint Eastwood was off his game on this one.

In Memoriam

Barbara Billingsley

Leslie Nielsen

Peter Graves

Steve Landesberg

Blake Edwards

Jill Clayburgh

Dino De Laurentiis

Tony Curtis

Rue McClanahan

Dennis Hopper

Gary Coleman

Dixie Carter

John Forsyth

Corey Haim

Please post your comments!   Now get out there and go to the movies!!!


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Vital Information for the Beautiful, the Daring, and the Doomed