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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Top 10 2010: Part Two – The 10

10. Get Low – A first-time feature filmmaker, dealing with all the limitations of a very small budget, an intense desire to make it look great, years of wrestling with the screenplay, right down the days before production, and three of the great icons in cinema, Duvall, Spacek, and Murray.

And what did he get? An intimate, unexpected, unpredictable comedy with a deep, deep soul. He got Murray working within the lines, where he is always his best. And he got the best lead performance by Duvall in over a decade… a career tree-topper.

Duvall’s speech near the end of the film is one of the truly great moments of this decade of cinema. And you can’t feel it by pulling out a 20 second clip. The whole movie leads, without signaling it, to this moment and when it comes, it is everything it hopes to be. Magnificent.

9. Easy A – Easily my biggest surprise of 2010. Emma Stone went, in one film, from one of those cute girls supporting a bunch of horny boys in comedies to a major movie star. She owns the film in a way that I haven’t seen in a comedy since Winona Ryder made herself an instant icon in Heathers.

And where did Will Gluck come from? He claimed that his last teen comedy was very similar to this one… he was wrong. This one was much, much more sophisticated. And his use of the supporting cast was like having fresh waves of pleasure hitting you in the face, refreshing you so when Stone returned to the screen, you were ready to appreciate her zig-zag. Special kudos to Clarkson & Tucci, the great vaudeville team of the decade.

8. Toy Story 3 – Just plain excellent. For me, it is the best of the series, which is rather rare for a third film. It is the adult episode… deeper themes… greater danger… challenging the audience on all kinds of levels.

I have to say, I don’t know how little kids will suss it all out. The real pain of a toy lost and replaced evolving into a dictatorship that allows him control of his small world, juxtaposed against a group of toys who worry about being forgotten, though they are not. And top that with a boy learning about being an adult and embracing the joy of giving something precious to someone else. A lot going on.

Like I said… excellent.

7. Winter’s Bone – Debra Granik is a documentarian in a feature filmmaker’s body. She makes photorealistic portraits of people she comes to know so well that we don’t know, as an audience, that the camera is something other than one of the family.

This story embraces issues of life and death, and how terrible things can just be a matter-of-fact. At the same time a very mature Ree is coming of age, really, she is challenged by what could be the end of her life as she is ready to live it. The stakes are no less than that. And she has almost no control over the forces that conspire to keep her in her place… forces that care little or nothing about her… and in some ways, resent her for wanting something they never even aspired to.

There is amazing performance after amazing performance here. John Hawkes continues to bring us new colors in virtually every role he plays. Dale Dickey needs to meet John Waters, stat. Ronnie Hall is brilliantly cast in his only film role, looking like a teddy bear and scary as shit. (He could be in the live-action version of Toy Story 3.)

The lead, Jennifer Lawrence, is the great acting story of 2010. She’s pretty amazing in The Burning Plain as well, though much like Bardem, in real life, she’s pretty goofy (in the best way). She is alive! And she has the ability to bring it all in for a character. Remarkable.

6. Shutter Island – Scorsese, in his late 60s, is still pushing himself. This is a pretty straight forward genre film. It could have been made by Dark Castle. But it wasn’t. (Oh, how Joel Silver would love to do a Scorsese thriller!) It was made by a master.

There is stuff in this film that no one else is doing… at least not putting it together in the way that Scorsese and Schoonmaker and Richardson and Ferretti and Powell, etc, etc, etc put it together. The mixture of the delicate and the way way over the top… delicious… like a dessert you can’t stop eating.

Two of my favorite films of this year are hardcore genre… and art. Both have been accused of having flaws that for me and many others, are the virtues of the films. Scorsese’s Cape Fear and Coppola’s Dracula come to mind.

But then you have a sequence like the one with Michelle Williams, which is as powerful as any 5 minutes of any film this year. And it’s more than genius-level movie-movie fun.

I’ll have seconds please.

5. Inside Job – The great doc of 2010, mostly because it tackles a subject too big for a film and yet is so strong, fair, and thorough in its approach that you come out at the end feeling like you have clarity about this subject for the first time. In a wave of personality docs, Charles Ferguson doesn’t make the film about himself. It is bigger than any one man… bigger than any of us.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to kill someone in a suit. But like it’s kissing cousin, Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, you’ll feel like you are ready for the next level of insight into the subject – the conspiracy of greed that crashed our economy – armed to think about it in a real way… without it ever feeling like a lecture.

(Note: You really should see Alex Gibney’s Client 9 in combination with this film. Inside Job can stand without it, but it’s like the perfect pairing, as Spitzer is a big part of both films.)

4. The Social Network – I’ve written it before, but this is as close as you can get to being a perfect film, given the boundaries it chooses to work within. Sorkin’s script is, perhaps, the ultimate expression of his voice. Fincher both let the script breathe and made the visuals of the film into art. The performances are uniformly excellent, with Jesse Eisenberg’s ability to sing Sorkin’s lyrics one of the special events of the years. But equally special are the co-stars and tiny roles played by Rooney Mara and Douglas Urbanski.

If it were about more, it would be higher on my list. But what it is, I respect deeply.

3. True Grit – Ah, The Coens. Westernwesternwesternwestern… then suddenly it’s about the price you pay for your choices, the unrecoverable loss of innocence, the cost of being part of a story so big, so early in your life, that nothing else can ever touch you the same way again.

Bridges and Damon are fantastic in this film, playing two sides of the same coin… masculinity and morality, one hardened and unflinchingly what he is and the other still skulking around, not completely convinced. Both are mostly comic performances. Rooster Cogburn, who has the drinking habits of The Dude, has no pity for those who don’t live by his rules. LeBouff still thinks it’s about “doing the right thing.” And Mattie is stuck between her two new fathers, her two first lovers (metaphorically), her guides. The price of her experience is abstinence.

And the performance by Hailee Steinfeld is encumbered, as all performances in which the character is pretending to be what they are not, to delivered a layered performance. She’s smart and precocious. But she is also slapping on the bravado, thicker when she finds people who buy it. This is, I think, why people experience the performance differently at the start of the film than they do at the end. She grows up before our eyes.

It is certainly true that the Coens have earned some extra consideration of their work each time a new film is presented. And I would say that their out and out comedies tend to be the most on the surface. The dramas have a lot percolating underneath.

I expect that people will be unwrapping the gift of True Grit for many years to come. And laughing at Dakin Matthews.

2. Black Swan – The apex of the Darren Aronofsky oeuvre. Most of the negative responses I have heard hate the film for what it is, not anything that’s wrong with it. And for those who love it, there is very little wrong with it.

It’s a horror film. It’s an art film. It’s absolutely insane… yet it couldn’t be any clearer about what it’s saying. It’s a coming of age story using ballet as the metaphor, but universal in its ideas of what it’s like to mature, as a person and as an artist.

It’s all there; anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s just like reading Kubler-Ross in a house of mirrors. With it’s parade of petite brunettes and endless mirrors, what else could it be?

Brilliant work by Matthew Libatique, Thérèse DePrez, Amy Westcott, Judy Chin, and Andrew Weisblum. It is all pretty much flawless… even if it took a lot of CG to make it flawless.

The performances are as good as the casting. It’s hard to imagine any other actor currently on the scene who could play the role nearly as well as Natalie Portman. And in an odd way, the delay in getting the film together and funded worked in its favor. In her late 20s instead of her early/mid 20s, her age makes her ongoing stasis all the more dramatic. When she finally breaks, she will break hard.

The other Ninas, Barbara Hershey, Mila Kunis, and Winona Ryder are all perfection. Ryder’s turn, the briefest, is probably the least appreciated. She brings it, much as Debra Winger showing up in Rachel Getting Married for a small role brought authority in an instant. And Vincent Cassel as The Maestro is smarmy good too, as willing to not seduce to get what he wants as he is to seduce.

There are not many movies about which you can reasonably debate what really happened in one scene or another… even though my opinion is right and yours is wrong. (ha)

It was perfect.

1. Never Let Me Go – The true forever film of 2010.

Ishiguro. Romanek. Garland. Mulligan. Rampling. Garfield. Knightley.

Murderer’s Row.

It’s hard to explain the film to people and navigate the idea that it’s science fiction only in the most literal sense of the phrase. It’s not about science. It’s certainly not an action movie. It’s not even set in the future… or the past, really. It’s set in the spirit of man.

It’s a movie about humanity. It’s a movie about the soul. It’s a movie about acceptance. It’s a movie about not even knowing what you are accepting… you… us… me… not just the characters in the film.

Romanek creates a world of isolation in which these children and then young adults live and know little about any other kind of life. It’s a mostly beautiful world, however ugly the human truth that is so rarely spoken of. Romanek’s vision floats through periods, never quite settling on any one, maintaining the universality… reflections of socialism, fascism, capitalism, religion, and all the other excuses we make to forget the humanity of others.

There are a lot of excellent American movies this year. More than usual, I would say. But for me, the ambition of this film and its fulfillment of all of those ambitions is an achievement that I believe will resonate for many years to come.

You can find all the questions that linger in the nooks and crannies of Never Let Me Go. It will take a little work, but what of value doesn’t demand a little work? The answers? They aren’t in the movie. They are in you.

108 Responses to “Top 10 2010: Part Two – The 10”

  1. actionman says:

    Great list. Love seeing Never Let Me Go at #1. Am amazing film. Also, agree with everything you say on Shutter Island…terrific film/filmmaking.

    My top 10:

    Enter the Void
    Carlos
    Black Swan
    127 Hours
    The American
    Valhalla Rising
    Inception
    Never Let Me Go
    The Social Network
    Unstoppable

  2. lazarus says:

    Glad you are one of the Shutter Island true believers, David. It’s still sitting at the top of my own list, though I still have a good number of the “contenders” to see. A shame that some can’t see through the homage to the pain and sadness beneath. It’s a travesty that DiCaprio probably won’t even get a nomination for what may be his best and most challenging work.

    Never Let Me Go is next up on the queue, some time tonight.

  3. LexG says:

    You’ll probably get some static for it, but EXCELLENT #1 choice. Never Let Me Go wasn’t quite #1 for me, but perfect, queasy, upsetting movie that in a lot of ways contained the great themes of so many other 2010 big guns– Inception, Hereafter, Enter the Void, Biutiful, Black Swan, Let Me In.

    A lot of great movies about death and madness and mortality, which would seem to be the overriding thematic of 2010 cinema were it not for the two big guns– King’s Speech and Social Network– which seem so disappointingly “normal” by comparison.

  4. JoJo says:

    “And where did Will Glick come from?”

    Gluck.

  5. IOv3 says:

    Much like 127 Hours, Never Let Me Go played here for exactly one week. Here’s to checking it out February 1st. That aside, always nice to read/see/hear people giving dap to Easy A and comparing it to Heathers in the whole MAKING A STAR TURN WAY. Which is exactly what I thought while watching that film.

    ETA: Thank fucking god for the freakin EDIT function.

  6. Loved your #1. Nice to see you standing by what you wrote earlier. I had a lump in my throat for hours after seeing it…

  7. David Poland says:

    Argh… typo… hate that… thanks JoJo.

  8. Peter says:

    I agree that Client 9 and Inside Job would make a double header. I like Client 9 better because I felt there is more of a layer to it. But I do think everyone should see Inside Job, they will be angry at the people who started this mess and they should.

  9. leahnz says:

    it’s depressing as hell that i haven’t even seen half the movies on this list yet, hopelessly out of the loop

  10. IOv3 says:

    Do you not have awesome netflix like service down your way Leah?

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, David, I have to ask: When did you see Get Low? At Toronto 2009, or afterwards?

  12. leahnz says:

    no. our version of netflix is called ‘fatso’ and it both sucks and blows at the same time. it takes approximately 3 years of waiting to get a new release delivered via snail mail.

  13. sanj says:

    my favorite DP/30′s …

    Emma Stone + Will Gluck
    William Hurt
    Kat Dennings + Josh Lucas
    Jennifer Lawrence
    Lucy Walker
    Greta Gerwig
    Mila Kunis
    John Hawkes
    Peter Morgan
    Mark Romanek

  14. IOv3 says:

    It’s called FATSO? They got a bunch of Dom DeLuise fans over there? I am serious because what other reason could there be to name something FATSO? I am shocked that Netflix have not spread shit out over the globe. Sorry everyone whose not in the US, who either have a shitty version of netflix or a shitty equivalent.

  15. Sergio says:

    Hehe totally relate to the “lump in the throat” feeling insneider mentioned.

    I absolutely LOVE to be moved by a film in such a way that you’re literally PARALYZED in your seat, as the screen goes black, being washed over by the full spectrum of human emotion as you let the ending sink in. I’m young, and the first time I experienced this in a theatre was “Children of Men”, and later, most intensely, “Synechdoche, NY”.

    There’s something really altering about movies that hit you so deeply, that you KNOW you’ve just had a remarkably SPECIAL experience, however subjective it may be, it’s still DEEPLY meaningful. 100 percent with you, Dave. Cheers!

  16. leahnz says:

    i shit you not, ‘fatso’ (the tv ads for it are actually kinda funny because it’s this somewhat sweaty, portly guy and a skinny indian trainee fellow in this little tinpot office/dvd library with one phone, that’s the entire extent of the operation right there – it’s like they know they’re a freakin joke and they don’t even care, v. bizarre) anyway way off topic. i’m kind of trying to think of my top 10 for the year.

  17. Gus says:

    Mine this year:

    1 I Am Love
    2 The American
    3 Bad Lieutenant
    4 Scott Pilgrim
    5 Dogtooth
    6 Certified Copy
    7 Two Gates of Sleep
    8 Toy Story 3

    Haven’t seen enter the void or never let me go, or the fighter. Had A Prophet on last year’s list.

  18. bulldog68 says:

    As I previously mentioned in another thread, Netflix also sucks balls in Canada. ZipCA is better but sometimes you have to either wait awhile for the new releases to be sent to you, or if you play the game and post enough user reviews and rate enough movies then you can put it in your Gotta-Have-It pile and its sent to you immediately. They advertise that they will be streaming soon.

    I honestly did not expect Netflix to suck this much. After hearing about this so much on this blog and the general mainstream, I never thought the Canadian version would have been the ugly step sister version. Isn’t Canada called North America for Christ sake?

    Leah, don’t any of your cable companies stream? Here in Canada I can stream the new releases from Shaw cable. Its more expensive than a rental from the store but at least you dont have to worry about overdues.

    On topic, but of the two tortured with a dead wife flicks, I had a better time at Inception, and to me it was the better of two. Inception just stayed with me longer.

  19. Don R. Lewis says:

    Happy New Year as I’m so happy to see NEVER LET ME GO hit your number one. Although it’s not my *favorite* movie of the year, I’m totally obsessed by it. Since seeing it in theaters I’ve read the book, listened to Romanek speak on the DP/30, Mitchell’s The Treatment and countless interviews, listened to the AWESOME Creative Screenwriting podcast…I cannot stop hearing enough about this quiet, weird, brilliant, beautiful, sad, unsettling and genre CHANGING film. That no one saw. That gets no love. That people WILL look back on in 10 years and go….wow. Oh, and the pitch-perfect acting across the board.

    What a movie.

  20. sanj says:

    Never Let Me Go vs Repo Men

    Repo Men – it’s more fun being chased for you body
    organs by evil corporations.. it also had
    moments of isolation from a masssive amount of technology..getting totally unconneected from
    computers that track you.

    3 good actors – Forest Whitaker – Jude Law and
    Liev Schreiber it only got 22% on RT

    here’s the trailer for Repo Men

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl9Nvg4yuus

    a lot of the best of list films are set in the middle
    of nowhere – True Grit – Winters Bone – Get Low – Shuter
    Island – Never Let Me Go – 127 Hours – Inception …places that are nearly impossible for google maps to find

  21. Sharon says:

    Never Let Me Go is such an underrated film. I hope that people get to see it when it comes out in DVD.

  22. Hakeem says:

    Fantastic number one choice! I just watched Never Let Me Go last night and it blew me away.

    Still only made it to my number 5 after Inception, Social Network, Toy Story 3 and The Town :)

  23. TC Candler says:

    I loved the following 2010 films…

    Somewhere
    The American
    The Social Network
    Monsters
    Black Swan
    Tron: Legacy
    Buried
    Catfish
    Toy Story 3
    True Grit
    Greenberg
    Never Let Me Go
    Inception
    Unthinkable
    Repo-Men

  24. actionman says:

    Repo Men is definitely gonna find an audience on blu ray. supremely underrated.

  25. Anghus says:

    Id like to jump on the repo mem bandwagon. Loved it. Fantastic pulp. My other favorites this year:

    Black Swan
    Scott Pilgrim v the World
    Four Lions
    Skeletons
    Shutter Island
    Machete
    True Grit
    The Fighter
    Social Network
    Kick Ass

  26. leahnz says:

    bulldog, rather a late reply but yeah we do have on-demand streaming via cable of new releases available roughly the same time as dvd releases, possibly a bit slower, so that’s convenient but also more expensive as you mentioned (it is surprising that the great red maple leaf to the north’s netflix should be so mickey mouse, what’s the deal with that)

  27. sanj says:

    DP – do you expect your #1 pick Never Let Me Go – to end up on newspaper ads or back of the dvd cover ?

  28. Great Scott says:

    Poland picks The Social Network as the fourth best film of the year and yet in his Oscar columns you get the feeling that the idea of it winning Best Picture at the Oscars sticks in his craw for some reason. He always comes across as anti-Social. (Ha, antisocial. Get it?) It might be that every year David surveys the scene, picks one movie as a “sucker bet”, and this year decided that it would be The Social Network.

  29. Hopscotch says:

    Inside Job was my favorite of the year, and I agree completely with Poland that watching Client 9 literally the day before was the perfect precursor. Though Inside Job stands alone just fine. I can’t wait to see it again. Like No End in Sight, it’s a visual essay of a cluster-F of giant proportions. Though this one will likely be more long lasting and damaging to our country.

  30. Don R. Lewis says:

    I like how n00bs like sanj give a shit about stuff like box covers or ads on magazines. No offense sanj (and maybe you’re just being curious) but I swear, the new breed of bloggers/entertainment journos subsist solely on the hopes that they see their name or their sites name on such things.

    If you wanna learn how to get on box covers and ads, learn from these dudes:
    http://efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=3138

  31. LYT says:

    I get what you’re saying, Don, but have you never been thrilled to see yourself quoted on a DVD, and thus forever associated with one of your favorite films?

    I don’t go out of my way to be quoted, have actually been told that I don’t write quotably, but still swell with pride to see my name on the front of THE SPECIALS DVD.

  32. sanj says:

    The Social Network / True Grit / Inception has way too many quotes …

  33. LexG says:

    Sanj seems to have only the most tenuous understanding of what this blog is about. It’s practically disarming. He likes the interviews and DPs, and seems to think Poland runs Hollywood.

    He’s like Chucky In Mumbai, if Chucky were nicer.

  34. David Poland says:

    Nothing about The Social Network sticks in my craw. I just haven’t found Academy members that are anywhere as close to being in love with the film as the media is.

    I just got off the phone with a voter who didn’t even put it in his 10… which is not to say that I don’t think it will end up in the top half of the voting. I just don’t see any support for a win, aside from “all those groups voted for it,” which isn’t something I think turns the corner from Like to Love.

    And I am not the new breed… I am the old breed… I was here in the first boat. And I have been quoted on boxes maybe a half dozen times. I don’t write to be quoted. And my experience is that if they can squeeze a quote out of a NYT feature or Peter Travers, much less a critic from a major, they’ll go that way.

    I tend to think that they don’t like “best movie of the year” quotes. It’s too heavy handed. They want stuff that’s more descriptive. Most of the time someone wants to use a quote, they need to adjust it (and ask if they can) because I use too many modifiers.

  35. anghus says:

    the great thing about 2010 is how it can be positioned. First off, you could say ‘it was a bad year’ because there were a lot of really good films but nothing groundbreaking. Media perception is that every year has to be better than the last. That’s why i like 10 best picture nominations. It widens the discussion. It proves, to me at least, that there are a lot of good films worth talking about.

    Last year had films like A Serious Man, Inglorious Basterds and District 9 in the discussion alongside mainstream fare like The Blind Side and Avatar. Genre flicks sitting next to big box office hits. The popular, the unnoticed gems, and the beautifully bizarre in one big discussion.

    This year will be the same thing. You’ll have the big box office hits Inception, Toy Story 3, and (who’d have thunk it) True Grit next to wonderfully weird psychological mind fucks like Black Swan and Shutter Island. The tiny movies that may have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for the awards season (127 Hours, Winter’s Bone).

    I don’t think this was a bad year at all. I saw a lot of really good films. There were no knockout films for me this year. Nothing that put it’s foot down and declared “This is leaps and bounds above the rest”.

    But isn’t that the way it should be? I thought 2010 had a lot of interesting films. 2010 is better than many are giving credit for. I think the reason is that December had a lot of busts. the box office was weak. The year didn’t end strong (other than True Grit which is a wonderful box office surprise).

    For me, i thought 2010 was a great year for cinema.

  36. Rob says:

    Love that you put Easy A in there. I’ll say…

    Black Swan
    Please Give
    The Kids Are All Right
    I Am Love
    Never Let Me Go
    Greenberg
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Let Me In
    The Eclipse
    Rabbit Hole

  37. LexG says:

    It’s just “Eclipse,” not “The Eclipse.”

    But GOOD SELECTION.

  38. leahnz says:

    2010 was fine

    having seen ‘winter’s bone’ recently, i couldn’t place where i’d just seen john hawkes in another role on tv and then it dawned on me that he played kenny powers’ brother on ‘east bound & d’, classic. he’s so terrific in WB, i hope he gets an oscar nom for teardrop just for the hell of it.

    my fave 10 for the year at this moment, but it keeps changing every half hour and i keep thinking i’ve forgotten something really important to me…

    at any rate in no order at all (also i haven’t seen a few apparent faves like ‘exit thru’ and year-end goodies such as the grit or the swan or never let me go, so i guess they’ll have to wait for next year’s list, or not, depending how i like em)

    boy
    un prophete
    monsters
    i saw the devil
    red riding trilogy (does that count? who cares)
    avatar SE
    please give
    restrepo
    the secret in their eyes
    agora
    ondine
    toy story 3

    crap that’s 12. oh well, my fave 12 at this moment in time that i can think of, i’m too indecisive and tired to whittle

  39. My review of the SyFy masterpiece Mega Piranha (twas like The Dark Knight of SyFy Saturday-night cinema) was apparently quoted at length on a pirated-DVD cover in China. Proud day, it was…

  40. movieman says:

    Lex- Your Sanj comment made me laugh out loud. Thanks for adding some levity to a very grim day.
    But, hey: credit where credit is due.
    I made the same Sanj/Chucky comparison several weeks ago, prompted by Sanj’s ceaseless rant about movies on TV which sounded so similar to
    Chucky’s tireless soapboxing crusade against…whatever it was he used to get so worked up about. (Does anyone even remember?)

  41. leahnz says:

    name-checking and oscar-whoring and the legion of doom (i still don’t know what that is)

  42. movieman says:

    Interestingly eclectic list, Leah.
    If Dave P. doesn’t post mine on his “10 Best Lists” link soon, I’ll drop it into one of the Hot Blog threads. Not sure why Dave still hasn’t added my list to the MCN mix: I (first) emailed it to him almost a month ago.

  43. movieman says:

    Oh, **** yes!
    How could I have forgotten Chucky’s endless bitching about “name-checking” and “Oscar-whoring.”
    Thanks for the memories, Leah. (I think, lol.)

  44. leahnz says:

    maybe DP’s going doolally, movieman (edited to add re: forgetting your list, in case it seemed random)

    (please post your top 10 here if not there, i’m keen to see it!)

  45. LexG says:

    Legion of Doom! HAHAHAHAHA!

    And the best was when he’d get his “gun” and go BLAAM! over the Oscar whoring. And the time he wrote a song.

  46. leahnz says:

    my fondest chucky memory is when the projectionist at his local cinema fucked something up during a showing and chucky threatened to put a cap in the manager’s ass if he didn’t get it sorted pronto and ever let such a thing happen again. i rather miss chuckles, he was heavily armed

  47. Monco says:

    That was hilarious Leah. Didn’t he say the guy did not “thread” the film right or something. That post and your response was one of the hardest times I have laughed reading this blog. I also loved chucky’s three strikes bit. I never took anything he said seriously but he made me laugh a lot.

  48. Rob says:

    @Lex, re: Eclipse

    I meant the Irish ghost story with Ciaran Hinds and the chick from High Fidelity, sadly. But I think you knew that.

  49. movieman says:

    Just for you, Leah.
    Here’s my Top 10 for 2010 (although, like your list, it’s actually a “Top 12″ because of a 3-way tie for first place):

    (1) The Kids Are All Right; Please Give; Somewhere
    (2) Carlos
    (3) The Social Network’
    (4) Greenberg
    (5) Vincere
    (6) The Ghost Writer
    (7) Inception
    (8) I Am Love
    (9) Another Year
    (10) Tiny Furniture

    Hope Dave finally gets around to posting my list before disbanding the entire MCN thread. I feel so disenfranchised, sob!

  50. a_loco says:

    Nice list, but correct me if I’m wrong — wasn’t Dave one of the biggest Scott Pilgrim defenders (quality-wise, not box office or marketing-wise)? Didn’t he call it “nearly perfect” or some such, and yet it appears on neither of his lists. Hmmmmmm.

  51. LexG says:

    Scott Pilgrim blows.

    Worst movie of 2010.

  52. Krillian says:

    Scott Pilgrim rocks.

    I’ve only seen five of the ten, but I’m baffled why Shutter Island beats Inception.

  53. a_loco says:

    I’m not a huge fan of it either, but if you say its perfect, aren’t you kind of honour-bound to make it at least an honourable mention?

  54. hcat says:

    Wasn’t a huge Pilgram fan, but I have seen no movie even approach how worthless Alice In Wonderland was. Completly empty, hey what do we have the rights to that might look good in 3D, waste of time, money, and talent.

    And I have noticed one or two people including Valhalla Rising on their lists. Now there were some talented people behind that and perhaps I was just not in the right mood when I saw it but I would be interested in your thoughts on why it was so good. I was incrediblly excited to see it but it just didn’t grab me at all.

    And I haven’t seen enough of the year end stuff to make a complete list but I would like to mention that my most pleasant suprise this year was The Good, The Bad, The Weird. It probably won’t make my top ten but it was such a good time.

  55. Peter says:

    Hcat, I found a lot of Burton movies are like that, good to look at but everything else empty.

    As for Scott Pilgram, I liked it, but I think it’s overrated by many fanboys out there. A little self-indulgent at times. The problem is that I never care for Scott Pilgram’s pursuit of Ramona, that and the countless fight scenes…

  56. IOv3 says:

    This is why people on the internet are down right infuriating. IT’s A MOVIE SOLD ON A BOY WHO FALLS FOR A GIRL AND HE HAS TO TAKE DOWN SEVEN PEOPLE TO GET HER, but you DON’T LIKE THE COUNTLESS FIGHT SCENES? BAT CREDIT CARD? [randomly shoots in the air]

    Hcat, Alice in Wonderland had one of the most profound messages any film had this year. What was it? You didn’t see it, so why in the fuck should I answer that question :D !

    ETA: Yeah, I am calling bullshit on Poland’s omission of Scott Pilgrim. His gushing review should place it in the top 20. The fact that it’s not there proves once and for all that DAVID POLAND IS A GENRE HATING SON OF A GUN! THIS OMISSION IS INDEED… GOD DAMN HATE SPEECH!

  57. arisp says:

    Can’t even think of 10 good movies, let alone great, this year.

  58. yancyskancy says:

    I’m pretty sure the TV movie obsessive was someone besides sanj. Sarina? Something like that?

  59. Don R. Lewis says:

    LYT- yeah man, it’s really cool but c’mon. We had that happen a long time ago….it’s great to “help,” but certainly not the reason for watching movies and writing about em.

    And, here’s my top 10. I actually feel bad for not loving NEVER LET ME GO properly. But it will live onnnn!!!

    1.True Grit
    2. The Social Network
    3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
    4. Black Swan
    5. Never Let Me Go
    6. Trash Humpers
    7. Toy Story 3
    8.Inception
    9. Red White & Blue
    10. (tie) Daddy Longlegs and Let Me In

  60. LexG says:

    What the hell is Scott Pilgrim doing on so many reasonable people’s list? Did you guys get a version WITHOUT that EMBARRASSING SHIT where some Indian guy starts making stupid faces into the camera while singing some Bollywood number?

    I wanted to hide under my seat during that bullshit. Plus Ramona is the unsexiest, most EVIL chick in movie history, and a total cocktease… Scott Pilgrim Runs For the Fucking Hills would’ve been a better movie.

  61. LYT says:

    If anyone cares and hasn’t seen it, my list is here:
    http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b216800_10_best_movies_of_2010mdashan_online.html

    As for Scott Pilgrim, I liked it, but a lot of what it does was already done in a movie called MAD COWGIRL that I was AD on some 6 years back…

  62. Glenn says:

    Lex, that was a funny reply. Don’t forget the part where the female ex is the only one to have sex used against her as a weapon.

    That is all.

  63. leahnz says:

    thanks movieman! (yay, another ‘top 12′) i’m feeling your three-way tie for #1, just not being able to decide and rank one over the other, at least your ‘femme fatales’ are in good company. i haven’t seen several of your pics yet, i’m looking forward to rounding out my year in style with some more good flicks (i hope DP gets you on ‘the big list’ so you don’t feel sad!)

    monco, that’s pretty funny you remember that chucky post too, i think you’re right about the projectionist threading it wrong, one of the quintessential ‘chucky with his gun’ moments in hotblog history

    (‘moon’ is the movie i couldn’t think of that i sadly left off my list; i didn’t see it till this year and i still think about it now and then all these months later, wonder if sam bell somehow defied his fate. ‘moon’ was lovely)

    edited to say, LYT your link isn’t working for me. just fyi

  64. IOv3 says:

    Lex, he’s a pirate. He’s bringing it back. What don’t you understand about that?

  65. hcat says:

    I’m with you on being behind on lots of these films Leah. That just means I am in for a spectacular spring.

    and seeing that I also hold Please Give and the Kids are Alright in high esteem, Movieman gives me hope for Somewhere (If we ever get it out here in the sticks).

    And to be fair to Chucky he is in Jersey and threating to put a cap in someone’s ass is just their version of Chop Chop. “Can we get another round for the table over here before I put a cap in someone’s ass.”

  66. anghus says:

    here’s the trailer for MAD COWGIRL which apparently: “a lot of what it does was already done in a movie called MAD COWGIRL that I was AD on some 6 years back…”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwPPBM2hXKo

    i watched the trailer, and i don’t see it. mind you, i haven’t seen the whole movie, but i didn’t watch that trailer and think ‘damn, that looks a lot like Scott Pilgrim’.

  67. IOv3 says:

    Brad Jones should review Mad Cowgirl.

  68. Clean Steve says:

    Winters Bone is tops for me thus far, but have much more to see. Scared the HELL out of me. The swamp sequence towards the end…wow. I almost pooped my pants. And Dave is right. Every performance was incredible. I can’t remember seeing so many characters seem so completely lived-in. It was harrowing, but that’s why the glimpses of heroism and love and goodness hit so hard.

    Still have so much more to see but going through divorce right now so not much time or motivation. Winter’s Bone was actually a respite. Go figure.

    I liked Restrepo more than most, apparently. Also had moments that scared me more than any horror flick I’ve seen this year.

  69. jesse says:

    Lex, I love Scott Pilgrim but I had to laugh at your mention of the Indian guy (Matthew Patel is the character) because I just rewatched it and could not for the life of me figure out what his character’s shtick is supposed to be. Your description of the movie as “camp” is completely wrong EXCEPT for that short sequence, which I remembering finding inexplicable when I first saw the movie, and it threw me for a few minutes. But the rest of the movie is terrific, hilarious, inventive, and strangely thoughtful for a “gamer”-appealing movie, so I let it slide.

    2010:

    1. Inception
    2. Greenberg
    3. The Social Network
    4. Toy Story 3
    5. Black Swan
    6. True Grit
    7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
    8. I Love You Phillip Morris
    9. Fish Tank
    10. The Other Guys

    Also really liked: 127 Hours; The American; Rabbit Hole; Shutter Island; The Fighter; The Town; Please Give.

    Winter’s Bone is fine but overrated. Though not as overrated as Blue Valentine or Get Low. Critics love their tastefully photographed semi-poverty, huh?

  70. There was plenty of allegedly great films I didn’t see, such as Inside Job, Blue Valentine, Never Let Me Go (the last is my wife’s fault as she inexplicably wanted to see the ultimate downer Oscar bait despite constantly making fun of such things, so we’ll wait until DVD). And there are plenty of acclaimed films that I liked a lot but didn’t love (Get Low, The Fighter, King’s Speech, Please Give, etc). But if anybody cares, here are my 15 favorites (NOT best) films of 2010:

    127 Hours, Black Swan, Easy A, Going the Distance, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I, How to Train Your Dragon, The Karate Kid (easily the year’s ‘holy crap, I can’t believe that was good’ award), Legend of the Guardians (a good film, but absolutely stunning to look at), Let Me In, Mega Piranha, Mother, Never Sleep Again, Unstoppable, Winter’s Bone, and my favorite of 2010: Toy Story 3.

    For those who want the whole 2010 wrap-up (‘best’/'worst’, overrated/underrated, etc) – http://scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com/search/label/Year%20End%20-%202010

  71. movieman says:

    Leah- I loved the symmetry of tying “Kids,” “Give” and “Somewhere” (which is why they’re sharing my #1 spot). But if I was ranking them in order of preference they’d probably end up:
    (1) Somewhere
    (2) Please Give
    (3) The Kids Are All Right
    Not sure if I saw any bona-fide, “here’s-one-for-the-time-capsule” “masterpieces” last year, but “Somewhere” was the movie that left the most indelible impression on my heart.

  72. David Poland says:

    I do think Scott Pilgrim is terrific and exactly what it is meant to be. But this list is about my tastes, not objectivity. If it was a list of 25 or there was an Honorable Mention category, it would be there. But it was just short of this group of 20 for me.

  73. anghus says:

    i just saw Rabbit Hole. Great movie. Easily one of the best of the year.

  74. Totally agree about Never Let Me go. Thank you!

  75. yancyskancy says:

    I don’t what the heck is going on with my posts. If I post something short, no problem. A longer post with my favorites list on it doesn’t seem to have gone through, but when I try to post it again, I get the “duplicate comment detected” thing. Weird.

  76. Marc says:

    OK, I’m gonna have to break down and see “Never Let Me Go.” It was one of those few books I read that I didn’t want to sully with someone else’s images other than my own (House of Sand and Fog, same thing. Never did see that one). But you’re all convincing me.

  77. cadavra says:

    Still got a couple of more pictures to see, but I’ll post my list soon. (Sits there amused while everyone flees from their computers.)

  78. David Poland says:

    Yancy… can’t see any long posts that aren’t posting in the innards of the site… not sure what’s going wrong with your post…

  79. LexG says:

    The best retconned rave ever: Harry Knowles’ ORGASMIC review of BLOW which he said was better than GoodFellas and was a devastating immortal classic and had he seen it in time for his 2000 list it’d have been the best movie of the year…

    Then when his 2001 list dropped and he listed his usual three dozen movies, BLOW was nowhere to be found.

    DOUCHE.

  80. yancyskancy says:

    Thanks for looking, David. I just tried it again, making sure not to duplicate exactly the previous try. Still didn’t go through, but at least I didn’t get the duplicate post notice. Head-scratcher!

  81. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I vaguely remember that Lex. Made me look up the review.

    “In the same type of genre as GOODFELLAS… I prefer BLOW. And when I last talked to Moriarty… he was in the same boat.”

    “Right now I am in the process of creating my list of the best films of 2000…. Had I seen this film 2 weeks ago, this would have been my pick for best film of 2000.”

    “When it came to a close and I was actively sobbing, I saw Moriarty facing the wall and hand abreast his temples. Mongo landed on the floor… flat on his ass. We were sucker punched… the air taken out of us.

    This is when I remembered that the guy that put this amazing film together was somewhere behind me. What the hell do you say? I mean, imagine you walk in with two of your buddies to a screening room 4 months before GOODFELLAS came out and it’s just you three… and you see that thing, and Scorsese comes up and wants to know what you think. That’s what I felt like at that moment.”

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/7841

  82. Clean Steve says:

    Scott, good call on Never Sleep Again. It was almost exhausting in how far it went to cover every Elm Street movie, and do so objectively. Renny Harlin came off as reasonably intelligent. The exploration of the gay overtones in Elm St 2 was both honest and funny. It was really, really good. I’d forgotten about it until seeing it on your list.

    Even though I have yet to see a lot of important stuff, I’ll throw out a list just to join the fun. LexG will have another object of ire but he needs to remember I follow him on Twitter, and he gives me as many laughs a day as Patton Oswalt. And that’s no small feat.

    WINTER’S BONE
    SCOTT PILGRIM
    HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
    KICK-ASS
    LET ME IN
    RESTREPO
    INCEPTION
    RARE EXPORTS
    SOCIAL NETWORK
    FROZEN
    GET HIM TO THE GREEK
    THE LOVED ONES
    [REC]2
    DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (seriously….one of the funniest family movies I’ve seen in a long time)

    Important “Yet To See’s”

    TRUE GRIT
    BLACK SWAN
    NEVER LET ME GO
    INSIDE JOB
    127 HOURS
    HARRY POTTER

    Hated ROBIN HOOD and ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and I’m a big Burton defender.

    Better than it should have been: THE WOLFMAN.

    Bad year for horror overall, though. And I am on the outside looking in at all the SHUTTER ISLAND love. Well crafted, but left me feeling nada.

  83. LexG says:

    Might as well drop mine:

    1 INCEPTION
    2 ENTER THE VOID
    3 SOMEWHERE
    4 LET ME IN
    5 NEVER LET ME GO
    6 THE FIGHTER
    7 BLACK SWAN
    8 TRUE GRIT
    9 127 HOURS
    10 HEREAFTER
    11 THE AMERICAN
    12 SHUTTER ISLAND
    13 SOLITARY MAN
    14 THE TOWN
    15 KILLER INSIDE ME
    16 THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
    17 THE SOCIAL NETWORK
    18 KING’S SPEECH
    19 LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS
    20 BROOKLYN’S FINEST

  84. JB Moore says:

    Harry Knowles is a fucking idiot. I remember getting kicked off a chat because I used the “John Wayne was a fag” quote from Repo Man and he exiled me with some kind of insta-condemnation function, calling me out as a homophobe, “how dare I speak ill of The Duke”, etc. How can you consider yourself a film geek and not get that line, from one of the most quotable movies ever? Even his dumbass sycophants didn’t get it. Then that blow job on Blow dropped a few weeks later and I was out. Great movie, but better than GOODFELLAS? Fuck AICN. Worthless.

  85. anghus says:

    there’s a book’s worth of material on the embarrassing reviews from aint it cool. Harry’s Blow one was good.

    Drew talking about being so emotionally moved by Adaptation that his wife had to help him to his car because he was just floored, reduced to a quivering mass of something or other because the film touched him so.

    yikes.

    i’ve been affected by some movies before, but not to the level of ‘tweens at a bieber concert’ like those guys.

    and it’s not even a shot at them personally. i just never understood the kind of freakish emotional displays people claim movies have brought them to. and the movies they seem to freak out over are films like Blow and Adaptation.

    If you were a holocaust survivor and you were watching Schindler’s List, i would understand. If you were a Vietnam vet and you were watching Platoon. Completely understandable. A Bassett Hound watching Hotel For Dogs… fine. But some guy watching Blow or Adaptation and suffering an emotional breakdown on par with a girl getting sprayed by foam at a Jonas Brothers concert…. come on.

  86. IOv3 says:

    Brooklyn’s FINEST? BROOKLYN’S FINEST? BROOKLYN’S FUCKING FINEST! JESUS RONALDO CHRIST! [passes out]

  87. a_loco says:

    Brooklyn’s Finest wasn’t half bad. A little undercooked, and Gere’s hair was way distracting, but Fuqua knows how to turn all those gangster movie cliches into something entertaining.

  88. leahnz says:

    funny, my emotional breakdowns almost always come some time AFTER seeing a gut-wrenching movie — i mean, i might feel sad or even shattered and shed a wee tear during whatever moves me to such a reaction in a film, but it’s not until afterwards that i know a movie has really affected me because the melancholy sticks with me and follows me around mercilessly for days, that anxiety/heaviness building in my chest until i can’t take it any longer and just have to have a good cry to release it (perhaps the best example of this for me was after seeing ‘once were warriors’ for the first time; i shed a tear for grace in the cinema but it wasn’t until a couple days later of thinking about it that i had a proper cry for her – and all those like her – made all the more embarrassing by my sig. other at the time walking in on me at that moment, all “what’s the matter?!” alarmed and then having to explain to him i’m having a bit of a sob for a character in a movie and getting that WTF? look)

    anyway, the only time i can remember having an IMMEDIATE devastating, visceral reaction to a movie is when i was home one day not feeling well and i made the huge mistake of watching ‘united 93′ for the first time, by the end i felt absolutely munted, like i’d done a face-plant into the floor, it smashed me along with the plane into these racking sobs i’d just as soon forget, really (and maybe shouldn’t talk about on a blog, but whatever)

  89. leahnz says:

    forgot to say before, biggest let-down of the year for me:

    the social network. there were perhaps three characters i didn’t want to slap upside the head for being total wankers, an exquisitely made film about a bunch of assholes. blech. i hope fincher’s bizarre ‘too soon’ rehash of ‘girl wtdt’ floats my boat because he’s on a bit of a poop roll with me after ‘ben button’ and ‘social network’

  90. IOv3 says:

    How dare you insult the second greatest director living today, Leah. J’ACCUSE, MISS! J’ACCUSE!!!!!

  91. anghus says:

    i’ve reacted to movies before while watching them. A tear here or there. The last movie i remember lingering with me was The Reader. But even then it was just intellectual lingering.

    And leah, i liked the Social Network and agree with you that the movie is about really unlikable people. Even Andrew Garfield’s character felt like a heel. I think that’s why i liked it. A movie where there’s no sympathetic protagonist.

    I think their goal was to make Andrew Garfield the likable one, but i think he came across as jealous, privileged, vindictive, whiny and easily manipulated. When Zuckerberg asks him for the algorhythym for the ‘hot or not’ site, he takes little convincing.

    Whether intentional or not, i took the social network as a movie about the unlikable people responsible for making the website where you ‘like’ things.

    is it ironic, or just interesting. i’m not entirely sure.

  92. Rob says:

    But Leah, Zodiac! ZODIAC!

  93. christian says:

    I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!

  94. torpid bunny says:

    Saying “If movie A was made by directors B or C instead of D, no one would take it seriously” is a question-begging counterfactual. It doesn’t actually mean anything. Just sayin’.

  95. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I remember when two colleagues practically had to carry me out of the theater because I was so devastated by the final minutes of John Huston’s film of James Joyce’s The Dead. Had similar responses to Alan J. Pakula’s Orphans — when a friend came up to me in the lobby afterwards and asked me what I thought of it, I proceeded to fall into her arms, crying uncontrollably — and Fosse’s All That Jazz.

  96. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: My year-end wrap. LexG: Looks like we have very similar tastes in movies.

    http://movingpictureblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/2010-that-was-year-that-was.html

  97. IOv3 says:

    Torpid: uh no. It’s not a quantitative question. It’s a conjecture. You can do whatever the fuck you want with conjecture.

    Joe: You put Tiny Furniture on there. Do not get Lexy started on Tiny Furniture.

  98. leahnz says:

    anghus, that’s a fair summation of the nature of ‘TSN’ and i agree with you for the most part on what you said, but i just don’t feel the same way. i realise a great many people have connected with the movie, which is undeniably well made, on some level, and that i’m in the minority of rather disliking it, i really wish that i didn’t. but i just didn’t get hooked in at any point to the drama/pathos. i don’t need a likable protag to feel a film per se, but i do need to get drawn into the story, into the interior world of the characters and their struggles, and it just never happened for me; i went in with a completely open mind and wound up wanting to punch almost every character in the face.

    i do wonder if being female influenced my gut reaction, the portrayal of the women (except for erika in her miniscule part and the lawyer, which felt like a forced, token gesture) is really quite insipid — and i’ve read the arguments of ‘this is how these assholes in their little ‘men are masters of the universe’ harvard bubble see women’, which might wash if the story was told with a bit more complexity and made this perception/perspective clear and necessary, but it didn’t. rather the film just went with the simplistic portrayal of 99% of the women as one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs as basically either bimbos or crazy bitches, serving only the most simplistic purpose to the plot, most disappointing. but really that’s not even the reason i don’t like the movie, it’s just one aspect, part-n-parcel of the greater problem of how the characters just rubbed me the wrong way and never recovered in my esteem.

    and ftr i love love LOVE ‘zodiac’ to death, adore it. the fact that THAT film in all it’s epic meandering, slow-burning menace and languid, incredibly detailed and meticulous 70′s period glory and riveting journalistic/police procedure wasn’t even nominated for a SINGLE oscar (every time i write that i feel compelled to double-check that stat in utter disbelief) – not even for the absolutely stunning production design – and ‘the social network’, which doesn’t even begin to touch the film-making nuance and complexity of ‘zodiac’ for me and yet will likely win a bunch of little gold dudes, WILL MYSTIFY ME TO THE END OF TIME.

    edited to say, that’s a really weird run-on sentence above, but i don’t have the gumption to fix it. hopefully my meaning is clear at any rate.

  99. NickF says:

    My top 10 of 2010.

    The Social Network is my far and away #1. Here’s the rest in alphabetical order:
    Black Swan
    Easy A
    Frozen
    Inception
    Kick Ass
    Salt
    The Town
    Toy Story 3
    Winter’s Bone

  100. christian says:

    MACHETE.

  101. sanj says:

    I noticed the DP/30 with Barry Pepper – Barry looks 20% evil cause of that background lamp – can you go to Ikea and find non evil lamps ..I’d like to see actors outside on DP/30′s but they aren’t allowed outside …fans will bug them for autographs all day long.

    one of my favorite films is 4.3.2.1 – 4 friends find some stolen gems and the thieves want them back.

  102. christian says:

    “can you go to Ikea and find non evil lamps”

    Best quote so far of 2011.

    Sanj, you’re most devious spambot ever devised.

  103. yancyskancy says:

    Is sanj Larry King?

  104. sanj says:

    think of the product placement for the lamps – ikea sells hundreds of lamps and chairs .. 20% of DP/30′s have some type of lamp in them….and 100% of actors sit in chairs .
    water could be sponsored by Evian and coffee by Starbucks

  105. Triple Option says:

    I finally saw Easy A. I thought it was really, really good! I liked how it raised a glass to some old 80′s films, including one film that I think too often gets over looked in the 80′s teen comedy classic conversation, Can’t Buy Me Love.

    I am getting a bit sick of the cool, quirky, hip and laidback ‘rents in some of these teen films. Sure, you don’t want them too stiff and inconsequential but they’re becoming their own stereotype.

    Getting back to Easy A and its 80s-esque throw back persona, I wondered if it wasn’t too adult for its own good. Sure the themes would crossover to any generation but I’m not sure I got the sense that this film was aimed primarily at teens. I kinda wondered if the parents of teens wouldn’t enjoy it more than the teens themselves.

    Emma did do a stand up job. Not someone who was only funny cuz it was all written for her or her being told what to do.

    I didn’t do a top 10 list but I’m sure Easy A would’ve made it.

  106. yancyskancy says:

    I liked EASY A, and loved Stone in it, but I actually thought it was a bit odd to see a contemporary story appropriating the John Hughes style, albeit with all the present-day fixins’ (webcams, texting, product placement). As you suggest, T.O., I did think it seemed aimed more at the director and writer’s 30-something age group than the modern teen, and wondered if that might have meant money left on the table, gross-wise. Not that I WANTED it to be dumbed down, or slicked up, or whatever. I’m glad they got to do their thing. But many scenes seem choppily edited (perhaps to lose lines that didn’t test well, or improv that didn’t come off?), and the plot is only surface-clever and doesn’t really play out very believably. That wouldn’t be a problem for me if the script delivered bigger laughs, or pushed the story into edgier territory. It wouldn’t have to be HEATHERS, but the targets are pretty easy (turns out Christians can be judgmental hypocrites). I dunno, I think basically Stone makes the movie seem better than it is.

  107. sanj says:

    I liked Easy-A but liked Emma Stone way better in Zombieland …if Easy A were and R Rated film i would have
    liked it better ..it needed something more ..

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