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What Did We Miss? The Overlooked Movies Of 2010

by Ted Hope
February 26, 2011 2:26 AM
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What's with all the attention for the movies that everyone saw? Spirits, Oscars, Critics Groups: doesn't it sometimes seem like the wrong emphasis? All this money is spent, all this noise is made, for what we have all already have seen. Okay, I get it. If you are reading this, you are not like regular people anyway. You probably go to the movies, and all the events of this weekend are actually for the folks that don't go to the movies. Is it ironic that people watch the Oscars, but don't want to pay to see movies (but that's something for later). If we started our own awards show for the films that needed more love than what they got, what films would be this year's nominees?

I recognize my dream of an awards show for overlooked movies would not have much of attendance beyond maybe me and the filmmakers, but that sounds like a good party to me! So any sponsors out there want to back next year's Overlooks? I think we will make the statuettes (they have to be small so that even the recipients overlook them) out of organic material; not only will they be "green", but the awards will perish on the vine, just like the films did!

When a great -- or even a good movie -- does not perform in the US, what's to blame? The distributor? The Superabundance of content? The infrastructure and the release strategy? Timing? The audience? All or none of the above? Or is just because sometimes the world just sucks. What ever it is, we know it is hard out there for a flick.

I do think we can start to get it figured out if we look at what deserved better. It is a healthy activity for us to take a moment this weekend and speak about the great movies that more people would have dug, if only we could have gotten them to the movie palaces.

Now, sometimes there are good movies that do come out that don't get much attention or audience, but I would not call them overlooked. We still make, release, promote, and celebrate movies that have a limited audience. Really a lot of the films on my Top Ten movies, generally fit into this category -- partially because they have limited love returning to them, I feel compelled to love them more.

So... What movies deserved more attention than they got? Now these may well not be "Academy" worthy films. They don't have to be "prestige" titles and smell like vegetables and vitamins. They do have to be films that are however about the craft, about the filmmaker clearly achieving the majority of her goals -- whether we like them or not. I do think they should be films that are fun, but my sense of that, is not everyone's. I have included a few films that did get some love mind you, but not the love I personally feel they deserved.

But without further adieu, allow me to nominate a few:

Animal Kingdom
Daddy Longlegs
The Disappearance Of Alice Creed
Fish Tank
I Am Love
I Love You, Phillip Morris
The Illusionist
Please Give
Red Riding Trilogy
The Square
The Wild And Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia

I haven't yet seen, but suspect I would feel the same about:

Down Terrace

It wouldn't be a list worthy of the title "Overlooked" if I didn't overlook a few myself. Please add to this list.

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More: Audience


  • Week of Wonders | February 28, 2011 3:45 AMReply

    In addition to many great films listed above, I would like to add three debut features by emerging female directors:

    PEEPLI LIVE by Anusha Rizvi

    NOWHERE BOY by Sam Taylor Wood

    THE RUNAWAYS by Floria Sigismondi

  • bob hawk | February 27, 2011 7:44 AMReply

    Two from my personal ten best list:

    Narrative: ANIMAL KINGDOM - Riveting from first frame till last; superbly edited; great ensemble casting (with lioness Jacki Weaver supporting all her cubs); and it's a first feature. (A toast to David Michod!)

    Documentary: AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE - Woefully underexposed and virtually undistributed, Steven Soderbergh's limpid portrait of Spalding Gray managed this unsentimental homage without using any talking head but Gray's own. This awesome achievement -- with much credit to editor Susan Wittenberg -- is one of the most satisfying and poignant 89 minutes of my year.

  • Nick | February 27, 2011 4:49 AMReply

    Another Year is the best film I saw last year.

    Blue Valentine (it's general lack of oscar and spirit recognition is unconscionable)


    Enter the Void

    Two Gates of Sleep (which I saw at Cannes but wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't get a US release)



    Ghost Writer



    Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

    Cairo Time

    My Dog Tulip

    Never Let Me Go

    Tiny Furniture

    Uncle Boonmee

    Trash Humpers

    White Material

    My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done?

    Also, anyone know how I can see Life During Wartime? I'm DYING to but I missed the summer release and have no idea what the DVD timeline is...

    And yes for I Love You Phillip Morris: Ryan and Jim deserved nominations over James Franco and Jeff Bridges.

  • Zak Forsman | February 26, 2011 7:54 AMReply

    watching Carlos as we speak, streaming via netflix.

  • James Devereaux | February 26, 2011 7:47 AMReply

    Yes, Dogtooth and Down Terrace masterpieces both. Might I add:

    Beeswax - for showing us the utter strangeness of our everyday interactions.


    The Ape - I suppose it's a film noir, but by cutting all exposition the filmmaker brilliantly shows us an individual going into meltdown in the modern world. Highly recommend the central performance too, by Olle Sarri.

    Cheers, James

  • Jennifer | February 26, 2011 6:11 AMReply

    Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

  • Neal Dhand | February 26, 2011 5:43 AMReply

    Agreed with many mentioned and would add only one:


  • Dylan M | February 26, 2011 5:34 AMReply

    A little credit where credit is due... Magnolia did a fantastic job on I AM LOVE, and it made over $5 million theatrically... that's a pretty giant number for a film like that (plus, doesn't include their VOD take, which is generally hefty).

    I've got some (and leaving all Variance titles off, or I'd add GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH):

    Living In Emergency
    Night Catches Us
    Valhalla Rising
    Racing Dreams
    Exploding Girl
    The Red Chapel
    The Thorn in the Heart
    And Everything is GOing Fine

  • James Francis Flynn | February 26, 2011 5:26 AMReply


  • Mark Savage | February 26, 2011 4:53 AMReply


    Killer Instinct
    Public Enemy Number 1
    Life During Wartime
    The Killer Inside Me
    A Prophet
    The Secrets in Their Eyes
    The American
    Anonyma - A Woman in Berlin
    Nothing's All Bad
    Life and Death of a Porno Gang


    Cameraman - The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff
    Divine Pig
    12th and Delaware
    Have You Heard From Johannesburg?

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