Top Tens are fine, but what about those films and events too idiosyncratic for lists? A few highs and lows of the year:
Most Unfairly Maligned Film: The Tourist
I’m not saying it’s a good movie, and Angelina Jolie’s British accent is laughable, but Johnny Depp’s performance is shrewder than you think. The film is a guilty pleasure with a sly twist at the end, not the horror most critics recoiled from.
Most Overpraised Film: The Social Network
I am saying it’s a good movie, one of the year’s best, just not the second coming of Citizen Kane. Its zeitgeist-y quality helped it along with all those critics’ groups who made it their number 1.
Great Performance In a Pedestrian Film: Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
Firth is amazing and deserves the Oscar he’ll probably get. Tom Hooper’s by-the-numbers film? Uninspired.
Most Thought-Provoking Mediocre Film: Agora
Despite the lumbering script and direction, Rachel Weisz created a fascinating heroine, the 4th century astronomer Hypatia. The original sexy librarian, she made ideas seem dynamic.
Most Underappreciated Television Series: Boardwalk Empire
The zombies on The Walking Dead got all the buzz, but Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter’s colorful Prohibition-era series was the richest on TV. Steve Buscemi, brilliant as Atlantic City's political boss, gave his character moral weight.
The “Now Do You Take Me Seriously?” Prize: Ben Affleck
He directed, co-wrote and starred in The Town, a taut, accomplished movie about crime and brotherhood. The Bennifer years officially no longer count.
Most Amazing “How Did They Do That?” Movie: Ernest Hemingway’s Garden of Eden.
Jack Huston and Meni Suvari, the identically-dressed non-twins in the photo above, star in a film based on Hemingway’s posthumous novel about a man, his rich wife, and the other woman they share -- a movie so stilted it manages to make a menage a trois boring. I still don’t understand how.