The Best of 2010

A strange thing happened to me this year: I finally became a committed “writer”. Sure, I’ve run this blog for close to five years and have been writing my entire life, but it was always a hobby and never something I wanted to stake my very existence on. 2010 was the year writing became my unbridled passion, a key to unlocking the mysteries of whatever ails and haunts me. As those who closely follow my blog know, this transition occurred on the pages of other websites rather than here at Match/Cuts, but it had to happen at some point. Expanding one’s gaze is the only way to evolve in this crazy business called film criticism, and taking on more ambitious assignments forced me to contemplate the scope and magnitude of publishing beyond the friendly confines of my personal blogosphere. I must thank the estimable Ed Gonzalez and Keith Uhlich at Slant, the always engaging Sam C. Mac at In Review Online, and the prolific Rumsey Taylor at Not Coming to a Theater Near You for the opportunity and privilege to grace their pages. I’m grateful to call each one of your websites home.

2010 was also a particularly productive year for movies, but only if you looked past Hollywood’s towering pile of DOA’s. On my “Best List”, you’ll see a few familiar titles and a number of fringe choices, even a few films released around the world years ago that finally found distribution stateside this year. Thankfully, this was the first year I got to see pretty much every movie under the sun (attending film festivals, press screenings, etc.) so this list should be more comprehensive than year’s past. Only a few glaring omissions that I narrowly missed, namely Chomet’s The Illusionist, Ferguson’s Inside Job, Liman’s Fair Game, Wells’ The Company Men, Scott’s Robin Hood, Korine’s Trash Humpers, Weir’s The Way Back, and Garcia’s Mother and Child. I’m sure there’s a few more I’m forgetting. But you can’t see everything, unless you’re the unstoppable viewing machine Matt Lynch of Seattle.

For a more polished take on the trends and patterns of the year in film, I’ve contributed the Introduction for InRO’s Staff Wide Poll and capsules on Claire Denis’ eviscerating White Material and Bong Joon-ho’s intoxicating Mother. The below capsules are all fresh material, unless I’ve already covered a specific film previously at length elsewhere. If that’s the case, I’ve provided a link to the necessary review, with a few complimentary words of adoration.The qualifications for inclusion on my list are simple: A movie had to get a theatrical run for at least a week in the USA to be considered, hence the absence of such 2011 masterpieces Uncle Boonmee, Certified Copy, and Heartbeats. The new year looks fantastic already.

Lastly, I see film critics the world over publish their “Best Films List”, but rarely do I see them cite the professionals/writers/editors/new friends that made their year at the movies worthwhile and engaging. I’d like to change that and start a tradition of thanking those faces and voices of film criticism that positively shaped my year at the movies, if only to let each know how important they are to me and my development as a writer. In alphabetical order: Simon Abrams, Rowena Aquino, Henry Baugh, Steve Carlson, Fernando Croce, Jordan Cronk, Adrian Curry, Alex Fung, Ed Gonzalez, David Hudson, Daniel Kasman, Matt Lynch, Chazz Lyons, Sam C. Mac, James van Maanen, Ranylt Richildis, Chris Scotten, Kathie Smith, Rumsey Taylor, and Keith Uhlich. Thanks Ladies and Gents. It’s wouldn’t be the same without you. And of course I couldn’t do any of this without  my family, friends, and loved ones. Continue reading