Brendan and I recorded our look back at the best films of 2010 in our very subverted and perverted minds. It really did sound like a very good idea at the time: revisiting the movies of 2010, seeing how well they aged over the last five years.
I was really excited by this. I started by scouring through Wikipedia for films released in 2010 and films that screened at Cannes and films that were nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards. There were 21 films that I noted, and I was all set.
I started with the appropriately titled Rabbit Hole directed by John Cameron Mitchell. If you are going to dive into a bunch of movies from 2010, it is sort of appropriate to see it as going down some sort of rabbit hole and into an alternative world. I should have known that it was a sign of things to come.
The notes I made about Rabbit Hole after watching it: Painfully mediocre. It’s an adaptation of a stage play (problem no. 1.) It’s just fine at best. A meditation on grief, all it is is a superficial snapshot. It’s nothing deep. And since it was a stage play, it has some LOUD ARGUMENTS. Disappointing since I like JCM.
There really were some low points. Life During Wartime, Todd Solondz’s sort-of-sequel to 1998’s Happiness. It just flirted with the characters we first met during Happiness and was just plain blah.
I didn’t think much of Inception, thought The Social Network was just fine and only made it through 15 minutes of Exit Through the Gift Shop before angrily turning it off and regretting this endeavor.
But here are my top 5 films from 2010 that was totally worth the pain of going through some pretty awful/mediocre films.
5. Heartbeats (Les Amours Imaginaires)
Directed by French-Canadian Xavier Dolan, it’s yet another movie featuring a love triangle that the French love. It’s not as tragic as Jules et Jim (what is?), but no one is completely happy in the end. Dolan can frame a shot and has impeccable use of color which adds to the richness of
the movie. I loved it when it came out, and I loved rewatching it now.
This Greek film is one of the most fucked up things I have seen in a while. A patriarch who has imprisoned his children in his home, the children are now young adults who are completely stunted. Unlike this past year’s documentary The Wolfpack, these kids have no concept of the outside world. It is one of the most audacious and biting satires made in a long time.
I love Gregg Araki’s movies, and this one is a return to his nihilistic teenage apocalypse films of Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation and Nowhere (my personal favorite.) I love these stiff caricatures, the sexual fluidity, the music, the style. I actually rewatched this to cleanse my palate after watching Life During Wartime. It was very much needed.
2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes that year. It’s a very simple movie of a man preparing to die and is visited by the human ghost of his dead wife and monkey ghost of his long-missing son. You’re expecting something quite supernatural and extraordinary to happen, but it doesn’t. Oh, there is a catfish cunnilingus scene, but apart from that it is pretty straight forward. I just saw the trailer for Weerasethakul’s latest film Cemetery of Splendour which will be released in the States soon, and I must see it.
1. Trash Humpers
Not everyone is going to like this movie. In fact, almost no one is going to like this which is a shame. Directed by Harmony Korine and shot on fucked up VHS tapes, it appears like a bunch of found-footage clips in Gummo-like vignettes which make up a film. This group of miscreants in rubber prosthetic masks fuck shit up, force people to eat pancakes drizzled with dish soap, shoot hoops, light firecrackers and hump trash cans. While Gummo has moments of heart warming sweetness, Trash Humpers doesn’t let you off the hook. This is fucking genius and further proof why everyone should see all of Korine’s films.