Assessing the year's best films, according to my refined tastes and, as usual, in no particular order (except this one). These are the top 10 movies I would select on my ballot for a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
Easy A (PG-13)
Starring: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley
Director: Will Gluck
Yes, this is easily one of the funniest movies this year (although that's not a stretch - I can probably count on my one hand the number of comedies in 2010 that were actually funny). Not only do you have a great premise, but you have the next actress that personifies charm and wit. Emma Stone is the next it girl and she totally delivers in this movie. She plays Olive, a whip-smart girl who's in over her head in high school. But as she navigates the gossip mill, there's something more profound happening in the movie. I think we're seeing a classic John Hughes-esque teen comedy at play. Instead of the jocks versus the geeks, you have the reasoned, well-mannered versus the extremists. It's not political, just emotional - and Olive is just as guilty as taking things to the extreme as her crazy, religious classmates have done. Okay, enough of the bullshit metaphors and analogy about this movie - it's fun-nee and well written. There's a lot to love about the movie - from Thomas Hayden Church's tragically hip English teacher to those crazy parents (played by the impeccable Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) who reminded me of my friend's parents (oh man they were so cool, unlike my parents!). It's destined to be a classic - something that will be remembered as a classic high school movie, like Mean Girls or Sixteen Candles. And as much as the movie is about sex (or the illusion of it), there's something sweet about the whole movie. Maybe it has something to do with the writing or the direction. Or maybe it's just that Emma Stone has got that girl next door thing going for her. Either way, it all ends up coming together as one of the best in 2010.