The Alamo Drafthouse Team’s Top Ten of 2010

The Alamo Drafthouse’s programming team got together and hashed out their top ten films for the year. Expect to see some familiar faves and more than one surprise.

Magic caught on film or Banksy’s biggest prank   yet…  I don’t care, he’s my hero.  I love it either way.  Fabulous commentary the commerce of fine art and an excellent primer on the street art scene. - Tim League

2. The King’s Speech

How can you not love Colin Firth? And thank god someone made Helena Bonham Carter play a nice lady in a period piece again instead of showing off how crazy she can be when she’s hanging out with her husband. Was it real? Was it staged? Fortunately it doesn’t matter because that all happened a long time ago. But when it ended I started fantasizing about putting together a series of showings from the theater that takes us on a journey through the 20th century. I would have loved to go straight into Saving Private Ryan after that… - Henri Mazza

3. True Grit

It’s really no surprise that the Coen Brothers have managed to turn out yet another movie that plays as if making a perfectly whole, pithy, timely instant classic that’s near and dear to the American heart is the most natural thing in the world. - Kayla Williams

4. The Social Network

This was a year for movies that made people wonder just what was real. From documentaries to action flicks about dreams, almost all of the best works in 2010 were about the fine line between our world and the one we see on the screen. Aaron Sorkin had to have dozens of legal teams scour the script of The Social Network to make sure that the man who Time Magazine would finally notice this year didn’t use his considerable billions to sue the crap out of Sorkin, the studio, and everyone who watched the movie. And the movie passed all of that research, there was no law suit, and we know that one of the sources who informed the writers was able to definitively say that Zuckerberg was in fact drinking Beck’s beer, not a screwdriver, on the night when he made that first Hot or Not site.

Still, it’s hard to walk away from the movie with any sure feeling that we know Zuckerberg any better. How much is fiction, and how much of a dick is the real man? In the end, it doesn’t matter. The film is inspiring, exciting, and says more about the times we live in during its release than any movie has since Back to the Future definitively defined the 1980s. - Henri Mazza

5. Marwencol

While the basic subject of this documentary is compelling enough on its own—Mark Hogancamp, a man brutally beaten to near death finds his way back to life through building a miniature WWII fantasy world and captures the complex storylines he dreams up through vivid, life-like photographs only to have his work “discovered” by New York artsy types—the film would have been at least interesting even if it was made by a hack director. But, thankfully, director Jeff Malmberg is no hack. Wisely, he just let the cameras roll and allowed Mark to speak largely for himself while still creating a great story arc and thoughtfully revealing the surprising details of Mark’s life both before and after beating. - George Bragdon

6. Black Swan

Black Swan is a brilliant hallucination, shot incredibly and performed with great courage by Natalie Portman and great carnality by Mila Kunis.  A genre/exploitation film that works the formula to the bone.  Sometimes, like this time, that’s a good thing. - Daniel Metz

7. Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

The documentary genre had a great year – some real (Prodigal Sons), some questionable (Exit Through The Gift Shop; Catfish), some phony (I’m Still Here) – but none top this unbelievable film from the a land where “class” and “elegance” are not included in the local dictionaries. This is a true life exploration into America’s most gnarled family tree: the Whites. Including famed folk dancer Jesco, the Whites are a pack of druggin’, drinkin’ brawlin’, murderin’, cussin’, reproducin’ do-nothings, but their devil-doesn’t-even-care lifestyle is as fascinating as it is lamentable. Think Jersey Shore with more Klonopins, less money, and instead of in a beach house in Seaside Heights, they live in Hell. With brilliant execution that teeters between unabashed depravity and intense desolation, this presents the most captivating subject of the year. – Zack Carlson & Daniel Metz

8. Inception

Here’s a movie that brought smarts to a stupid, bloated genre: the Hollywood summer action blockbuster. Complex heists made even more complicated by being inside dreams (within dreams (within dreams…)), visuals like Escher etchings come to life, masterful choreography, and awesome dudes acting awesome and looking awesome in suits (esp. Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). That hallway fight sequence with Joey Levitt is worth the price of admission alone. Although, deep within my dream (within a dream…), the director’s cut features Ellen Page digitally replaced by a less annoying actress… That, or an alternate ending where Marion Cotillard stabs her in the neck. -George Bragdon

9. Four Lions

Conflict of interest?  Maybe.  All I can say is that I have purchased exactly one film to distribute in the states.  Four Lions is it.  Surely that speaks to my love of this film.  Brash, bold, fresh, intelligent.  I love this film. - Tim League

10. Dogtooth

A completely uncategorizable Greek movie about three adult siblings who have never set foot beyond their parents’ property. The quasi-children are completely unaware of everything from airplanes to television to cats, and are taught that “outside” is a toxic wasteland. Mom and Pop maintain the ruse while conducting unspeakable emotional experiments, but this is in no way a horror film. Instead, all of Dogtooth‘s ugliness seems sadly feasible. -Zack Carlson