33. Table for Three

I too am a little surprised to find this one so high up, but I guess we’ll have to trust past Jared.  I can think of a few reasons he liked the film, though.  I’ve long thought this would be a perfect role for Jennifer Morrison.  It was nice to see Jesse Bradford hasn’t fallen off the face of the earth.  And Sophia Bush?  Wow.  Plus, Johnny Galecki in a decidedly un-Big Bang Theory role.  But most of all, there are few people who crack me up as much as Brandon Routh.  Unintentionally, of course.  If you watched Chuck this season (and you should have), you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  The man’s ability to not show any emotion is legendary.

32. Funny People

This one probably deserves its own post.  After the only two films written and directed by Judd Apatow, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, expectations were extremely high both critically and commercially.  Some of us even daydreamed if, coupled with the Academy’s expansion to ten best picture slots, we could see the return of the Oscar-nominated comedy.  And there’s not enough time to go over all the cameos in the film (although it was on a few nights ago, and I have to admit, the Eminem-Ray Romano bit was pretty great).  Ultimately, though, something went wrong.  Of course, Judd Apatow wrong is a lot different from other kinds of wrong.  I’d personally point to two main faults.  First, I think it got away from being funny a little too much.  I think Yo Teach and Raaaaandy ended up being more in-jokes than actual jokes, for example.  And second, it was too ambitious.  The last third of the film, with Leslie Mann and Eric Bana, at times felt like a whole different film.

31. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

John’s the resident animation guy, so I’ll try not to step on his toes.  The film certainly didn’t feel innovative in any particular way.  But it has a good heart, an engaging story, a good voice cast, and a lot of laughs.  Also, there was a Welcome to Mooseport reference.  Which takes some stones.  I was impressed with how they turned the book into a film.  I may have listened to “Raining Sunshine” three or four times after the film.  And right now.  A little confused though, because I watched School of Rock, so I know Miranda Cosgrove can’t sing.  Oh, how great was Steve?  “GUMMI BEARS!”

30. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Two things to keep in mind.  That would be the Oscar-nominated Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Best Achievement in Sound).  And two of the three guys who wrote this film also wrote Star Trek.  I don’t really want to get into a Michael Bay debate.  Or a Megan Fox debate.  Or a Shia LaBeouf debate.  Can we all agree that John Turturro is awesome?  And that we forgot Rainn Wilson was in the movie?  But look at this summer and look at last summer.  I, for one, am missing the crash boom bang of a Transformers.

29. The Brothers Bloom

This one made my initial top five (2010 Top Fives coming as soon as I finish this sucker up).  I still find myself vaguely disappointed, but that’s probably because a con movie written and directed by Rian Johnson and featuring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, and Mark Ruffalo (can someone get this man some Oscar love?)  should have been one of the best films of the year.  Perhaps those are some lofty expectations.  Rinko Kikuchi was great, by the way.  And the film definitely had Johnson’s flair all over it.  And the film did feature one my favorite lines of the year: “Is this the restroom?  No, this is the llamas.”

28. The Damned United

Saw this one at the Avalon with John.  It was never going to play in the US, but I’m kinda curious what it could have made had the distributors pushed it back after the World Cup.  The film is a worthy addition to the sports genre, and certainly one of the best soccer movies out there.  John and I both had Michael Sheen as an honorable mention on our Best Actor ballots, and I’d certainly have given Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney consideration in the Supporting Actor race.  I had serious issues with three prior movies penned by Peter Morgan and am meh on another one, but I’m man enough to admit that I was wrong, he does have some talent.  I didn’t know the story at all before watching and found it to be pretty entertaining.  I am kinda fascinated by the thought process that went into making what I think is a pretty pivotal part of the story as a written line in the epilogue.

27. He’s Just Not That Into You

Well, first, let’s get this film’s big flaw out of the way.  It supposedly took place in Baltimore, but where’s all the Orioles stuff?  Would it really have been so difficult to put one of these lovely ladies into an O’s hat?  Or, heaven forbid, an O’s jersey, which probably would have catapulted the film to the top of my list.  Anyway, this film does a very good job staying within itself.  The ensemble cast is very professional.  The segments that don’t pop (Jennifer Aniston/Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connelly/Bradley Cooper) are still plenty watchable.  The interstitials were interesting, and the connections between the characters were fine, if not entirely given a reason for existing.  Fans of Ed (including yours truly) were no doubt tickled pink at the pairing of Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin, which both fulfilled many of our fantasies and gave us something to watch while constantly refreshing Stuckeyville.com for any shred of hope that the show will be released on DVD.  Finally, and I’ve seen the idea floated elsewhere, so I know I’m not entirely alone here, but I would have given Goodwin serious consideration for a Supporting Actress nomination, especially in what I considered a weak year for the category, nomination-wise.

26. Coraline

Visually magnificent.  This and 9 both stood out to me as beyond innovative, graphically.  I thought the voice cast excelled.  Maybe didn’t have quite the star power of, say, Cloudy, but it worked.  The story maybe faltered a wee bit in the last section.  I really appreciated the demented with a heart of gold sense of the film.  Reminiscent of Nightmare Before Christmas, sure, but it would be wrong to group them together entirely.

25. Adventureland

Tied with a movie I’ll get to above for most mis-marketed film of the year.  Yes, writer/director Greg Mottola  also directed Superbad.  And yes, both movies deal with not-quite-adults.  But really, the similarities end there.  And pretty much at the first scene.  Did the marketers really think people would see this coming-of-age dramedy that’s mostly drama and actually think they were watching a high school/road trip screwball comedy?  The two just aren’t comparable at all.  Anyway, I know three people who absolutely loved this film.  I don’t quite see that, but I did appreciate it.  And was pleasantly surprised by Kristen Stewart.

24. The Young Victoria

We’ve touched upon this film a few times.  Anyone care to explain to me what it means when I like a movie John finds dull?  I think Emily Blunt got jobbed out of an Oscar nomination.  Two main roadblocks: the distributor didn’t have the bucks needed for a hardcore Oscar push.  And while you may automatically think costume drama equals Oscars, you are forgetting the “Young” part of the title.  I’m not even sure you needed “Old” Victoria.  Maybe “Mid-Thirties” Victoria would have done it.  Paul Bettany is pretty good, and Jim Broadbent was only one scene away from a push at Supporting Actor, I believe.  In any case, it isn’t like I don’t see how someone could be bored by the film.  But I found the political machinations fairly interesting.  And the look at a female monarch in training to be fascinating.