And so the cinema is where I escape from the vagaries of being your favourite blogger. I descend into the dark (row D, centre) with my Justin Biebpipe book* and my lifesize cardboard cutout of Italian Racing Driver Jarno Trulli** to enter worlds unknown to me; the flicks are my safety place, my padded celluloid.
This does not make me a cinema expert like, say, Claudia Winkleman*** or Peter Bradshaw****, and I should point out I have missed an awful lot of notable films this year including Shutter Island, Tron Legacy and Alice In Wonderland (I will see at least two of them in the next few days), but it does give me a right, I think, to foist upon you my top 30 favourite films of 2010.
Actually, it's a top 32 because I'm pretty sure a couple of these are technically oh-nines. The word 'favourite' is also a misnomer, because the ones at the bottom of the list are pretty crud. Think of this, then, as the Top Not-30 Favourite And Unfavourite Films Of Not-All-2010.
I think I'll start at the bottom of the barrel...
32 - Robin Hood
Never mind Men In Tights. I'd rather this have been Men In Tight Nooses, as Russell Crowe brought as much life to our national crook as a Clannad track. And what was going on with the mysterious Lord Of The Flies kids in the trees? Daylight Robinery.
31 - Shrek Forever After
Shrek cannot face up to the distance he has engendered between him and his family, so he is sent into an alternate reality. This is Inception for idiots.
30 - Nine
Daniel Day-Lewis plays a convincing Italian lothario, and Queen Judi of Dench flaps out her pair of lungs in an excellent musical performance. Shame then the songs are as compelling as being stuck inside a cement mixer with Kid Rock.
29 - The Other Guys
I read today that Will Ferrell is now the most unbankable actor in Hollywood. For every dollar he is paid, the KLF burn a million pounds, or something. Anyway, it's a buddy movie and it's quirky and it made me want to watch Anchorman again.
28 - I Love You Phillip Morris
This utterly unbelievable true story zips through the plot too quickly to really make me care, but it's still better than you'll think it is after I've described it as Brokeback Mountain meets Shawshank Redemption meets Liar Liar. No really.
27 - The Ghost
Yesterday, I ate a lovely ice cream sundae, but just before I finished eating it, I smothered it in steaming cat vomit. And today, I constructed a complicated house of cards, ensuring that the last card I placed was encased in five tonnes of petrified excrement. A solid thriller with an ending that I may, possibly, have issues with.
26 - Death At A Funeral
Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan walk into a bar. You already know the conversation they'd have. This film is like that all the way through. With added HILARIOUS COFFIN JAPERY.
25 - Sherlock Holmes
Robert Downey Junior. Robert Downey Junior. Robert Downey Junior. Robert Downey Junior. Robert Downey Junior. Robert Downey Junior. Robert Downey Junior. Robert Downey Junior. And some other people. A truly spirited remake of a tired classic.
24 - Cemetery Junction
Gervais and Merchant reach for Shane Meadows' sentimentality and deliver one of the strongest British films of the year, although I think I only like it because I am old and crumbly like a well-squeezed cheese.
23 - The Road
I stood up at a film lecture thing earlier this year and derided The Road as like driving on a motorway in the rain. I was beaten up and left destitute on the side of the M6, and so I resorted to cannibalism to survive. Fact. Still, despite the lack of emotional pull, it's a strong adaptation of a cracking book.
22 - Four Lions
As a piece of art, as a piece of ART, this film is a devastating commentary on noughties society, as a piece of ART. But as a film, I expected more dark thrills from the man who brought us My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117, Blue Jam and something about cake.
21 - Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans
I should really hate this. It's a cop film, it's Nicholas "Nic" Cage doing kerrrrazy, and it's an entirely unnecessary remake. But it's has been drizzled with Coen Brother magic, or at least, a passable impression of the Coens. Hence the lizards. Yes. Lizards.
20 - Hot Tub Time Machine
Oh screw you, this was good, I tell ya. Yes, I like Miranda and I like Not Going Out and I like Ronnie Corbett. I have cheesy taste in comedy. Worth it for the moment when the film's title is said to camera. I actually clapped in the cinema. Strangest cameo of the year too.
19 - Let Me In
The boy was a little less fragile, the girl was a little less strange, and the title was a little more palatable than "Låt Den Rätte Komma In". This was still a remake you could get your teeth into though, hur hur, and you'll fang yourself for watching it, hur hur.
18 - Up In The Air
Sixty-seventy-two-hundred times better than Come Fly With Me and twelvety-pi-squared times worse than Airplane, George Clooney walks a fine line between a smug git and a compelling shell of a man. A fine film: maybe one for a DVD watch somewhere over Newfoundland.
17 - The Social Network
What? You wanted more? *****
16 - Buried
A big budget, action-packed thriller played out inside a single box, this was a flawed but enjoyable edge-of-your-seat spark of genius. Think of the first time you saw Falling Down. Now bury Michael Douglas alive and play out a similar kind of film. There. That's Buried.
15 - Winter's Bone
A hilarious comedy in which a resident of the barren Ozark Mountains gets into all sorts of scrapes with a wayward father, weird neighbours and a zany caper involving a boat and a chainsaw. Best watched between Married With Children and Only Fools And Horses.
14 - Youth In Revolt (spoiler alert)
Michael Cera appears three times in this list, two of which were in Youth In Revolt. Kind of like Fight Cl-- wait, that's a spoiler. Try again. Kind of like Psyc-- wait, I've done it again. Kind of like... Being John Malkovich but with only two Malkovich-Malkoviches.
13 - Cyrus
So many comedies have me waiting until winter so I can wee the word "MEH" in the snow, but Cyrus' story of a jealous son delivered buckets of punchlines and pathos in equal measure. It's not only the surprise comedy hit of the year, it's a must-see for anyone with a home studio.
12 - Crazy Heart
So the guy with the fish lips did the wrestling thing, and now the guy with the White Russians does the country singer thing. And yes, he treats women like objects and yes, I've had a rough night and I hate country music. It may be played for Oscar, but it still pulls the rug from under most films in 2010.
11 - The Town
Ben Affleck churns out a slushy romance story whilst constantly bitching at the success of his peer Matt Damon. Wait a second, that's all wrong. This is a gritty heist movie from inside the raw heart of Boston. What have you done with the real Ben Affleck?!
10 - Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
CUT TO: Edgar Wright's snappy directing style is pushed to maximum effect here. CUT TO: It's the best reimagining of a comic book I've seen, although I'm not really a graphic novel reader. CUT TO: It's laugh after laugh, it's just a shame when the plot gets in the way. FADE TO BLACK.
9 - Ponyo On The Cliff
Every bit as visually thrilling as Avatar (my thoughts on James Cameron here), Ponyo was a mesmerising, watery animation that was as weird as it was a political commentary. Think of Andrew Marr dressed as a fish. That's nothing to do with this film. just think of Andrew Marr dressed as a fish. There. Nice, isn't it?
8 - A Single Man
A grieving man plans his death whilst surrounded by the most beautiful actors and the most beautiful film set and the most beautiful acting you have ever seen. You'd think Colin Firth would be grateful, but no, it's all me, me, me. Don't get arsey, Darcy.
7 - Precious
If I said this was a film starring Jonathan King and brought to you by Pat Robertson, you'd not be interested. If I said this was a film starring Westlife and brought to you by the cast of High School Musical, you'd ignore it. Good job then this brilliant film stars Mariah Carey and was brought to you by Oprah.
6 - A Prophet
Things I don't intend getting locked in a room with: showering prisoners; an advice-dispensing apparition; a deceased deer; a prison 'don'; warring religious types; and definitely, definitely not a prophet with a razor.
5 - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
This film looks, sounds and smells great, and it produced the best heroin(e) of 2010 in the form of Lisbeth, the female with the mythical markings. I'm going to don my bike helmet and start hacking my computer immediately gh^(78WIO8--ggG2#p dammit, this is harder than it looks.
4 - Kick Ass
Look at the badger! This is a tremendously entertaining film that -- look at the badger! -- doesn't necessarily mean anything but -- look at the badger! -- packs so much punch per pound, I don't think I've been as easily entertained by anything else for a long time... ooo, look, a badger.
3 - Toy Story 3
A dog, a dinosaur, a donkey, a pig, two potatoes, a cowboy, a cowgirl and a Buzz Lightyear walk into an incinerator, and then... no, I'm not going to say. It's a scene that evoked tears and applause across the country and rightly turned the third Toy Story instalment into something much greater than its (warning, choking hazard, may contain small) parts.
2 - Inception
Jack from the Titanic dives into some fat orchestral chords and goes on a skiing trip to a dilapidated Venice whilst a girl who can't draw mazes folds up reality so she can fit it neatly inside a pocket inside a pocket inside a pocket. The end.
1 - Another Year
Mike Leigh and Ruth Sheen would be enough to get me watching this film (I'm a sucker for Leigh), but when you throw in Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton and THEN have the entire ripped heart of this masterpiece carried on the shoulders of Lesley Manville's tragi-comic turn, you have a meditation on ageing that nudges perfection. It looks exquisite, it twangs your funny bone as well as tickes your heart strings, and it has more to say than half the top ten put together. A true, deadpan, slightly-wrinkled British classic. (Read more here.)
Thank you for reading in 2010. I already have a good feeling about 2011: I'm gonna love it and hug it and pet it and call it George******.
* I got a Biebpipe book for my birthday. That's not really an excuse.
** I won Jarno from Ning Restaurant in Manchester, which also happens to be my favourite restaurant.
*** Is Winkleman any good? Seriously? I don't have a telly.
**** Pan's Labyrinth, Bradshaw once said, was "almost sort of late period M Night Shyamalan".
***** Social Network is not the golden egg the critics are saying it is, but still great. Read more on the Social Network here.
****** Wow, it's nearly two years since I've used an abominable snowman reference on my blog. You don't think you're reading anything original, do you? It repeats and repeats like the Beano, Iyaz's i-pod or your Christmas dinner. Happy new year!