Sarah Jesse watched 125 films in 2010 and set the new record for films watched with me in a year with the sparkling total of 96. She's director of education and public programs at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa and maintains the blog Twin Pique with her sister Amanda. These are her favorite releases from 2010 in alphabetical order.
Biutiful (Mexico): Javier Bardem blew me away in this intense, visceral, tour de force film that will stick with you for weeks. As much as I love Colin Firth in The King’s Speech, I will be disappointed if Bardem’s unforgettable performance is slighted for the Oscar.
Exit Through the Gift Shop (England): Taking his message from the street to the movie house, elusive graffiti artist Banksy proves once again how duped we all are by bad, derivative art. In this “prankumentary,” the art world appears silly, gullible and impressionable—perhaps not totally off base!
Greenberg (USA): Sadly, it seems I’m in the minority for loving this movie. Though bleak, it’s honest, and the excellent, natural performances of Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig often made me forget I was watching a movie.
Heartbreaker (French): One of the most charming, intoxicatingly sweet, funny movies I’ve ever seen. American filmmakers take note: this is how romantic comedies are done! I have a new celebrity crush in the adorable Romain Duris who has a knack for lighting up every scene he is in.
Inside Job (USA): I’m with Dylan on this one, it’s one of the best "horror" films I’ve seen in a long time besides Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Gutsy filmmaker Charles Ferguson is particularly adept at embarrassing the crap out of these once-invincible men. Thank god these creeps are finally getting what they deserve—obliterated reputations and jail time.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (USA): Rivers has got to be one of the hardest-working women in Hollywood and I respect her for that. Seeing her card catalog of jokes and learning about some of the more painful aspects of her life will convert even her most staunch haters. Also, she has a great line from the film that I still remember: “Bad things can happen, even in a pretty house.”
Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (Canada): Before I saw this documentary I couldn’t identify a single Rush song. While I’m still not into their music, it’s impossible not to appreciate their musicianship, work ethic and their charming personalities. Unlike most rock docs, this one didn’t include any mention of drug addiction, rehab, sex with groupies, inter-band fighting and compromising standards for a record label. These Rush guys are class acts!
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (USA): Why don’t more people acknowledge the sheer creativity of this film? Everyone’s talking about James Cameron inventing a new kind of film, but what about director Edgar Wright’s unique perspective that throws all film conventions out the window? It’s cool, fast-paced and I love it.
Social Network (USA): Like everyone else on the planet, I loved this fast-talking, timely film. Eisenberg hits a home run.
The King’s Speech (England): Again, like everyone else on the planet, I loved this film and think Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush’s performances are impeccable. Its 12 Oscars nominations are well deserved.