Day 01 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

The Best Movie You Saw During The Last Year

Out of all the categories for this challenge, this was one of the toughest. I know certain critics who publish their top 5 or top 10 of a given year, but I’m far too indecisive for that. It would probably be a good practice to get into, keeping a running list of my top films seen. This past year, there were several movies that stood out above the rest. Before I get to my best movie, I wanted to share a few runner-ups and honorable mentions.

Number 5 of my top movies from last year was the dark and suspenseful psychological thriller from the mind of Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan. Absorbed with the stress of dancing the lead in a new version of Swan Lake, Natalie Portman is brilliantly absorbed in the challenge of becoming (quite literally) the black swan. Aronofsky’s amazing use of the camera kept the audience looking behind them in fear that they were losing their own grip with reality. The music and visuals had me biting my nails and the hairs on my neck standing on end.

I’ve never considered Colin Firth to be one of my favorite actors, in fact prior to this movie he had flown under my radar. But in The King’s Speech he delighted me and turned me into a fan. But if this movie lacked Geoffrey Rush, it would not have been the new classic that I believe it is. While humorous and lighthearted, it is also painful and heartbreaking. The audience is so invested, that by the final achievement, we rejoice and weep at the beauty of a personal triumph. I think we can expect more great films from budding director Tom Hooper

How could I make a list of the best films if I didn’t include what is possibly the most complex and visually stunning films ever. Inception is quite simply a heist film, but instead of navigating the booby traps and alarms of a bank or casino these thieves traverse the dangerous world of dream. The amazing cast, led by Leonardo DiCaprio, and masterfully directed by the wizard Christopher Nolan, kept me in rapt attention to the point that I began questioning even the mechanics of the world around me. The ending will keep you talking with other film fans for weeks.

Any of these top five could have been my number one, but the challenge is to find the best movie, the next film on my journey to the best was the fast paced and fascinating story of the birth of a sociological giant, David Fincher’s The Social Network. Written by the very capable Aaron Sorkin, the script was alternatively humorous and hard-hitting. I love movies that overflow with talking and Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of the entrepreneurial Mark Zuckerberg was fabulous. Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography reminded me of Facebook itself, simplistic and beautiful. Add to all that the haunting score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and this film was near perfection.

Since God blessed our family with children, Dad became my name. I love being a dad and I really enjoy a well made animated or kids movie. I believe that the limits of animation are as expansive as the limits of the imagination of the artist. For Pixar, the past 15 years have been a chance for them to show us the nearly limitless proportions of those boundaries. I was 12 years old when they first unleashed their magic on delighted audiences. And now at 28, their films are just as special as they were then. Having grown up with Buzz and Woody and the rest of the gang from Toy Story 3, I was worried that, like so many sequels, they would fail to capture the intangible spark that made the first two amazing. But I should have had more faith in John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, and the rest of this amazing team. This has to be the best film that I have seen in the past year, and I rejoice that I will be able to share it with my own kids. I dare you not to cry as this film winds to a close after a whirlwind of action and adventure. If you are listening Pixar, please do not make a Toy Story 4, the trilogy is as perfect as any kid, or kid at heart, could ever dream for it to be.

8 thoughts on “Day 01 – 30 Day Movie Challenge”

  1. Some great choices and some of these were also in my personal top 10, with Black Swan topping the list.

    Agree that another Toy Story movie is not necessary although they have proved that they can make very good movies despite them being a sequel.

  2. Some great choices and some of these were also in my personal top 10, with Black Swan topping the list.

    Agree that another Toy Story movie is not necessary although they have proved that they can make very good movies despite them being a sequel.

  3. I really enjoyed Inception, and especially appreciate that it’s one of the few original high-concept screenplays in recent years, what with all the remakes and re-adaptations we’ve been getting. I wouldn’t put it anywhere near a list of greatest films of all time (I think its greatest fault, actually, is lack of imagination in a movie about dreams), but it’s a lot of fun, entertainingly (but not too seriously) mind-bending, and possessing a satisfactory ending (notably not an open-ended one).

    Toy Story 3 was also tons of fun and a bit tear-jerking, although I confess it didn’t stick fast in my mind like the first two sequels did. Maybe the first one will always have made the biggest impression, since by this time Pixar has produced many movies of such spectacle and caliber, while the first two were still pretty unique in that regard.

    Maybe my favorite from the past year or so was True Grit, though. I love Westerns, and that one was splendidly well done. Best part is that it doesn’t replace the classic John Wayne version — both movies can exist comfortably side-by-side, telling the same story in very different ways.

    1. I loved the look and feel of Inception and thought that the casting and performances were spot on. When you consider the framework of the film, it had plenty of imagination. I mean, the way that the dream within a dream effected time and space was awesome, but the goal in the film was to be deceptive and subversive and as close to reality as possible. In these dreams, if things were too weird then the “dreamer” would know that the jig is up and the whole thing would collapse. I don’t think it is one of the best movies ever, but it was a lot of fun, and one that is very rewatchable.

      I really enjoyed True Grit as well, I’m not that big on westerns, but I think Jeff Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn was better than John Wayne’s. And Hailee Steinfeld was superb. She got robbed at the Oscars. True Grit and 127 Hours are just outside my top 5.

  4. I really enjoyed Inception, and especially appreciate that it’s one of the few original high-concept screenplays in recent years, what with all the remakes and re-adaptations we’ve been getting. I wouldn’t put it anywhere near a list of greatest films of all time (I think its greatest fault, actually, is lack of imagination in a movie about dreams), but it’s a lot of fun, entertainingly (but not too seriously) mind-bending, and possessing a satisfactory ending (notably not an open-ended one).

    Toy Story 3 was also tons of fun and a bit tear-jerking, although I confess it didn’t stick fast in my mind like the first two sequels did. Maybe the first one will always have made the biggest impression, since by this time Pixar has produced many movies of such spectacle and caliber, while the first two were still pretty unique in that regard.

    Maybe my favorite from the past year or so was True Grit, though. I love Westerns, and that one was splendidly well done. Best part is that it doesn’t replace the classic John Wayne version — both movies can exist comfortably side-by-side, telling the same story in very different ways.

    1. I loved the look and feel of Inception and thought that the casting and performances were spot on. When you consider the framework of the film, it had plenty of imagination. I mean, the way that the dream within a dream effected time and space was awesome, but the goal in the film was to be deceptive and subversive and as close to reality as possible. In these dreams, if things were too weird then the “dreamer” would know that the jig is up and the whole thing would collapse. I don’t think it is one of the best movies ever, but it was a lot of fun, and one that is very rewatchable.

      I really enjoyed True Grit as well, I’m not that big on westerns, but I think Jeff Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn was better than John Wayne’s. And Hailee Steinfeld was superb. She got robbed at the Oscars. True Grit and 127 Hours are just outside my top 5.

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