Top 10 Films of 2010 – Brandi’s Picks

I love best, worst and “most” lists of all sorts. Whether they can ever escape the inherent flaws of being somewhat arbitrary and never all-encompassing, they are fun. They can make your opinion feel validated, or spark a lively argument, or both. I’ve read dozens of top film lists already this year, and am happy to now provide my own.

I spent a little over two-thirds of 2010 contributing to this site, and I look forward to doing much more in 2011. So, we’ll call this my First Annual Top Ten list. There are other movies I very much admired, but these are the ones that most spoke to me personally.

10. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
directed by Ricki Stern and Ann Sundberg

I was relieved upon consulting Google after watching this film to discover that there already is a Facebook campaign to get Saturday Night Live to let Joan Rivers host. It’s easy to forget in the sweeping over-the-top-ness of her persona that she really is a sharp and clever comedian, and ground-breaking for women, which many scenes in this film remind us of. Of course, Joan admits to her role in the gradual development of the persona that now dominates her image. But the most fascinating parts of this film, which follows a year in her life, are those moments in which she speaks candidly about what others’ perceptions of her have done to her throughout her lifetime. She is honest in a way that maybe we wouldn’t expect, dropping the cynicism to speak candidly about what she’s faced. Then she picks the cynicism right back up, and turns it into a dirty joke.


9. I Am Love
directed by Luca Guadagnino
story by Luca Guadagnino
screenplay by Luca Guadagnino; Barbara Alberti; Ivan Cotroneo; Walter Fasano

Tilda Swinton plays Emma, a Russian-born woman who became the wife of a prominent Italian businessman and has been playing that role ever since. When she begins to have feelings for her son’s new business associate, she considers breaking out a bit from this life she’s fallen into. Not just a movie about an affair, it’s a movie about the difference between letting things happen to you and making things happen for you. Yes, it’s a bit of a melodrama, but I enjoy a good melodrama, especially an exquisitely filmed European melodrama, complete with an ending only an Italian film could pull off. The cast is wonderful as well; Swinton has rightly been heaped with critical praise for her sensational performance, and isn’t out of reach for an Oscar nomination.



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Brandi is one of those people who worries about kids these days not appreciating black and white films. She also admires great moments of subtlety, since she has no idea how to be subtle herself.

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