The Most Disappointing & Overrated Films Of 2010

by The Playlist
December 29, 2010 7:36 AM
42 Comments
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Contrary to popular belief, we're optimists here at The Playlist. Just as almost every filmmaker goes into a project genuinely wanting it to be the best it can be (“Grown Ups" being a major exception, it would seem), we genuinely hope that every movie released will be worthwhile. Unfortunately, movies are difficult things to make, with any number of things that are liable to go wrong, and more often than not, we come away disappointed. So, if we come across as being cynical when compared to other, more cheerleader-type sites, it's really more a kind of self-preservational realism at work. After all, you can only be disappointed so many times before you grow up about it and learn to manage your expectations.

Below is a list of films that we had high hopes for, and for various reasons, didn't match those hopes. They're also joined by a list of films that we didn't quite respond to in the way that our colleagues did -- what we deem to be the most overrated films of 2010. It's not that these films are truly terrible (although some are) -- some are thoroughly decent films that, for whatever reason, have been praised beyond their means.

You'll almost certainly disagree with at least one pick -- indeed, almost every film here has at least one defender on staff. And if you're feeling a little down with all this negativity, we've got our top films of 2010 coming in a few days.

MOST OVERRATED

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
If 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,' a suspense thriller involving a journalist of unimpeachable dignity and a bisexual fantasy girl superhacker, were shot in English, it would be discarded on the stack of fifth-rate “Kiss the Girls” copycats with a dollop of the worst parts of "The Da Vinci Code.” And yet, it will be in English next year, courtesy of a director (David Fincher) who can make a documentary about gathering moss interesting. Good luck to those guys. The Swedish originals, particularly the first one, were turgid, sophomore philosophy dissertations on rape and Nazi evil, the saving grace being the steely, diamond-out-of-coal performance from Noomi Rapace. But there’s a reason that first film had the laughably direct title “Men Who Hate Women.”

Iron Man 2
The first “Iron Man” was pretty much a wonderful accident. Rush, harried and shot pretty much on the run with the barest semblance of a script, it somehow turned out to be a lighthearted, fun antidote to the self-serious comic book film. So we had high hopes for the sequel, one that we hoped would keep the easygoing zip and tone of its predecessor. If only. A muddled mess of non-threatening villains, inconsistent special effects and endless exposition that was combined with an overabundance of “The Avengers” Easter eggs and eye winks, “Iron Man 2” was less about the adventures of Tony Stark and more a geek “Where’s Waldo” of Marvel clues with a loose and careless story thrown around it. Jon Favreau didn’t quite hide his dissatisfaction at Marvel’s constant meddling and obsession with making their cinematic superhero world whole, so no surprise then that the director has better things to do than make “Iron Man 3,” aka “The Avengers 1.5."

The Ghost Writer"
We love the films of Roman Polanski as much as the next blog, but most of us on staff (the film does have some defenders here) have been baffled all year as to the critical love received by his latest film, "The Ghost Writer." Based on the airport thriller by British writer Robert Harris and put together in relative haste after the big-budget Polanski adaptation of Harris' "Pompeii" with Orlando Bloom and Scarlett Johansson fell apart, it manages to serve as a decent adaptation of the novel, in that it's a thrill-free thriller with a deeply silly plot. The director at least delivers a lashing of atmosphere, but it can't disguise how clunky the script is, packed with laughable dialogue and contrived plot turns. Maybe, as with "Shutter Island," an A-list cast could have papered over the cracks, but sadly it's not the case: there's one top-drawer performance from Olivia Williams, but the rest of the cast range from barely adequate (Ewan McGregor) to the truly dreadful (Pierce Brosnan and Kim Cattrall). We'll have to cross our fingers for Polanski's next, the dark comedy "God of Carnage."

Kick-Ass"
On the one hand, "Kick-Ass" was nowhere near as bad as we'd feared it might be, based on the juvenile Mark Millar source material and the patchy trailers for the film. Matthew Vaughn demonstrated he's one of the best action directors out there (with a number of the year's best set pieces in place), and Nicolas Cage turned in one of his better performances in recent years. On the other hand, it still wasn't very good, which makes the brief moments when it promises to be something interesting even more frustrating. The picture flirts with being a true deconstruction of the superhero movie, but doesn't have the courage of its convictions, reverting to rocket launchers and jetpacks in its finale and abandoning whatever loose connection to reality that it had created. This, plus the omnipresent, adolescent desire to shock, and the fact that Christopher Mintz-Plasse's character exists mainly to set up a (never-gonna-happen) sequel, and you're left with a movie that delivers for gore-hounds and comic book fans, but few others.

Tron: Legacy
At the close of “Tron,” it was easy to imagine a sequel where Kevin Flynn let the computer world overtake him, turning him into a twisted Col. Kurtz, so the idea of a big budget sequel made sense to us. Years later, making his son a Willard-type character out to recover what was left of him in that world also sounded like a no-brainer. So why is it that after 28 years, the “Tron” sequel has so many undercooked ideas? We’re not completely against “Tron: Legacy” since we knew a “Tron” sequel would look good (it does) and when Daft Punk came on, we knew it would sound good (definitely). But we’re still wondering why we should care about the apparent brainwashing of Tron, Flynn’s mastery of ISOs being used against him, what kind of program Castor is, and what the deal was with that nonsensical ending.

Tiny Furniture"
Drowned in vast critical favor (along with some of the most cheesy and embarrassing critic quotes which make this writer want to take a xyster to the teeth), this third-rate micro-indie ripe with stilted acting, dry word-for-word line readings, Screenwriting 101 problems, and zero depth somehow went over our heads despite all of the hype and goodwill. What's worse is that it's just not funny. Director Lena Dunham stars in yet another baby of "The Graduate" as Aura, a girl with a liberal arts degree and not much else going for her. She struggles to find her place in the world, starting relationships with egotistical guys and attempting to bond with her mother and sister. At only 23, Dunham's inexperience in the medium (and in life experience) is blatant, with no eye for anything remotely visual or visceral and no ear to know when dialogue sounds believable or stale. Supposedly we're in the minority for thinking post-college malaise is not very fascinating or worth making a half-assed movie about.

Toy Story 3
We’re sure we’re going to get some heat for this one, a critical darling and a geek favorite that seemed to make every nerd who went to this thing weep. And while, yes, “Toy Story 3” was a hugely enjoyable installment in Pixar’s long running and successful franchise, it is not the Best Picture of the year. Not even close. And we’d go so far as to say it doesn’t deserve to be in the final 10 come Oscar time. The sequence that everyone talked about -- the dark, death accepting furnace scene -- is also one of the grandest pieces of emotional manipulation of the year (followed closely by the film’s closing bit with Andy passing on his beloved toys to a new generation). It also says something about North American culture that everyone pulled out their hankies as the fate of some anthropomorphic toys was determined. Really? We wonder how many of animation nerds and geek sites that turned into mush over a cartoon felt the same way about the much more real and powerful closing of “I Am Love” or the tender note of forgiveness closing “The Kids Are All Right.” We wonder if they even bothered sitting through them. Yes, “Toy Story 3” was probably the best kid’s movie of the year by a long shot but the film’s big emotional Hail Mary moments were about as honest and real as the special moments on your favorite sitcom.

MOST DISAPPOINTING

Somewhere
Give Sofia Coppola some credit for her European arthouse balls -- perhaps best exemplified and announced in the opening shot of “Somewhere,” where A-list bad boy actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) drives around a race track over and over and over again going nowhere -- it takes big cojones to make a film this austere, stripped down and unadorned. But this experiment in minimalism goes wrong and it’s like the prettiest girl in school walking around naked with no make-up in a fog of narcoleptic drugs -- you’d think you’d love to see it, but in the end it’s just sad. “Somewhere” is about a man who has everything but cannot find fulfillment in anything. He ostensibly finds it in his little girl who gives him a sense of renewed purpose, but the journey there is like waiting in the most expensive and well-tailored elevator in the history of elevators. Ultimately, it’s shallow, hollow and an empty experience. Sofia, we’re not counting you out yet, but you know, maybe next time play to your strengths instead of running in the opposite direction.

Green Zone
OK, we gave this one a good review, it’s a pretty thrilling experience, but the longtail resonance of Paul Greengrass’ Iraq war film starring Matt Damon, not to mention the repeat-viewing factor value is low. While propulsive with lively clipped editing that induces nail-biting suspense, in retrospect, “Green Zone” suffers from a cliche script that points a lot of fingers and offers no solutions. Bad guys are painted black with all but twirly mustaches (Greg Kinnear) and the 'Bourne'-like freneticism seems to be in place to mask the narrative lapses in the film. Yes, it throbs in the theater, but once you’re passed the dazzling electrics and ‘Bourne’-like aesthetics (while we like them, now might be a good time for a change), you’re left with hollow grandstanding and a film that some could interpret as Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass saving the Iraq-war day thanks to one super hero. Sorry, but that’s just not complex enough for the situation at hand.

Shutter Island
While many writers and sites are saying that Martin Scorsese’s psychological drama was overlooked, this writer thinks it landed exactly where it should have -- i.e. it was never an awards contender to begin with and those who ever thought that (and clearly there were many) can justly be convinced now that an indie like “Winter’s Bone” has a better shot at the Oscar 10 than “Shutter Island.” Overlooked suggests, the film deserved better and this writer contends “Shutter Island” was vastly overrated and not that great to begin with. Overly long (2 1/2 hours that feels like 3), overwrought and with little to anchor itself on emotionally outside of surrealist dream sequences that never quite worked, “Shutter Island” can be admired for its craft and Hitchockian notes -- but ultimately, it’s an empty exercise. Go back to da "Depahted", this didn't feel very different from Scorsese’s soulless early-aughts era (“Gangs of New York” and “The Aviator”).

Greenberg
Yes, Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg” is also on our Most Underrated list. Different strokes for different folks. Some of us were dying for another Noah Baumbach film and the Playlist team in general are huge fans -- even the unfairly maligned “Margot At the Wedding” has tremendous value that most critics missed thanks to a prickly (but awesome and no punches held) Nicole Kidman. Greenberg’s biggest mistake is Ben Stiller. He just cannot compete and or compare to Baumbach’s past protagonists and frankly his dramatic skills have never been proven. Let’s not forget what could have been: the original version of “Greenberg” which was supposed to star Mark Ruffalo in Stiller’s part (a faaaar better actor) and Amy Adams in Greta Gerwig’s role (the same). While it’s not a terrible film by any means, for those of us that see a Baumbach film as another great Jewish holiday, “Greenberg,” was surely a disappointment. Sadly, Baumbach's puzzling fascination and collaboration with one the least textured comedians out there seems like it will only continue in 2011 (see "While We're Young").

Never Let Me Go
Based on a celebrated novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and featuring a trifecta of the hottest young Brit actors (Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield) “Never Let Me Go” was yet another beautifully shot but emotionally barren outing from Mark Romanek. Though based around a sci-fi conceit, the film is essentially a wrenching story of a decades long and ultimately tragic love-triangle. While all three actors are great, they are forced to contend with a script that relegates their characters as one-note constructs. Mulligan’s face is contorted into a pained expression for much of the film, Knightley is a horny bitch while Garfield, the central figure of affection, is one of the least compelling love interests (and most ineffectual) to hit the screen in a while. The film is a wonder to look at, gorgeously shot and framed at every moment and impeccably put together, but much like the eventual fate of the organ donors in the film, it feels decidedly lacking in a vital organ to make it pulse.

Hall of Shame Section No One Agrees With

The Social Network
Heresy! Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite film of the year, it’s probably going to win Best Picture at the Oscars -- and or yes, it’s got a really great shot, but this writer -- the EIC -- is just not feeling it. And look, I went to go see it twice just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. A lot of my issues with ‘TSN’ I’ve already articulated in this piece, but IMHO, there’s little at stake, the friendship that the movie’s major betrayal on is sorely underdeveloped and the entire thing feels like a longer, more expensive and beautifully shot episode of “Law & Order” minus the BONG, BONG gavel sounds. The script always read like a pretty typical courtroom drama told in flashbacks and that’s what the film feels like. Yes, the techniques, the score, the meticulousness of it all is grand and Fincher does an amazing job making pretty dull scenarios -- coding on a computer and creating Facemash -- like a thrilling spy game, but to this writer there’s very little soul to it. Don’t get it twisted, it’s a decent movie with strong performances and lots to admire, but ultimately, it does not move some of us (or just me, maybe).
-- Oliver Lyttelton, Gabe Toro, Chris Bell, Kevin Jagernauth, RP

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42 Comments

  • Bassbait | August 28, 2011 5:46 AMReply

    I'm way late to the party, and I know that...

    but Toy Story 3 is over-rated because it had two tear-jerking scenes?

    Sorry, but you can say they're manipulative scenes, but you have to put it in context - these are characters we've grown to know over 15 years... are you seriously going to say that it's manipulative?

    Sorry, but the only real MANIPULATIVE scene in ANY Toy Story was the "Jesse being abandoned by owner" montage. And again, that was just set up for the moral message of the film, which is timeless appreciation versus timed affection. But Toy Story 1 didn't start out with characters we were supposed to just enjoy immediately, we had to grow to like Woody and Buzz and all of them, and with time, each character developed and faced their own moral dilemmas and issues.

    The reason the furnace scene is NOT manipulative is because we've been with these characters so long, and every other issue up until that point had been division - Woody and Buzz being lost, Woody being stolen, etc. Until then, every major event of life and death still left room. But I consider the furnace scene "Woody's Finest Hour", the scene where they had to face the "no win scenario". As tension built up throughout the films, they always found a way out. But now they couldn't create their own way out. They had to rely on pure luck to be saved. I honestly knew they'd be ok, but it was an engaging moment that made you wonder what they would do, what they COULD do. And it was just a matter of luck that saved them.

    Secondly, with the ending nostalgia scene, it works because it gives depth to the Andy character, which has basically represented the core audience of Toy Story since it's release. And now that Toy Story 3 has hit and he's grown older, so has the major audience of the first two films, and so even though it seems like forcing nostalgia, it IS the end of a trilogy, and it IS the end of the journey with Andy, which we are supposed to assume is the end of the journey for us as well. Getting to know and like these characters with time, we have to be able to let them go, as Andy did in the film, so what else could they have done? It's not like they manipulated us because they couldn't think of a better ending. They couldn't have FOUND a better ending.


    Maybe if you thought about it for a bit longer, you might have taken Toy Story 3 off the list and replaced it with Inception, which isn't even a GOOD film, let alone on par with one of the greatest films in recent years (Toy Story 3).

  • Ian Grey | July 9, 2011 3:21 AMReply

    The Social Network was nothing. It was air with technique floating around it.

    Liking it is only works as an act of snarky, hipster nihilism-lite--and dishonest to boot.

    As there are no people in the film, just zero-soul over-privilege given a light brushing of NIN-remix sorta-angst, the movie is Fincher's contempt, his knowing that if he art directs our laundry list, we'll be impressed with ourselves endlessly.

    And it runs out he was right.

  • Ronnie D. | July 8, 2011 5:42 AMReply

    Could not disagree more about "Somewhere" - loved it, and think it is one the most subtlely beautiful movies made in many years. It also has a deep and profound humanism not displayed too often in cinema.

  • Frustrated Producer | July 8, 2011 1:10 AMReply

    On the whole, I agree with much of the list here - though I was surprised how good Kick-Ass was, and I will staunchly (vigorously) defend The Ghost Writer to anyone who dares says it isn't a return to 70s pulp noir form for Polanski.

    But yes, I too did not like Social Network (a kid could have directed it the same way), Toy Story 3 (too mean, I wouldn't show it to my kid), the follow-ups to Dragon Tattoo, Greenberg, etc.

    My main purpose here though, is to say I cannot agree more that Tiny Furniture is a risible folly of a "feature," from a writer/director who clearly got a push from similarly bankrolled critic friends who immediately identified with the spoiled character in the film, probably because it describes them too.

    No wonder this premiered at and won SXSW - a typically navel-gazing attempt that goes nowhere, shows no skill in terms of direction, performance (save the awesome British friend character), and says nothing intelligent in an attempt to offer something 'profound' about being in your 20s when, in fact, many 20-something should just shut the F up for a decade and return to film directing when they actually see how it's done. It's what SXSW does (promotes) best.

    Brava to whoever wrote that pinpoint-accurate description of the film, and shame on critics for praising the film because the director had a 20-something vagina. That should not be the key in deciding what makes a film great (or having a penis for the matter).

  • Brian | January 6, 2011 1:08 AMReply

    I love lists like this--way to shove a finger in the eye of your readership! I agree with a lot of what you say here, but Inception should have been all over this: overrated, disappointing, and sure to spawn a legion of even worse imitations (sucker punch) complete with artic G.I. Joe finales.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | January 4, 2011 5:28 AMReply

    As has been noted more than once, the EIC is the biggest dissenter (and even then, not really) of "The Social Network." Our point is: yes, it's a very very good film but certainly not flawless.

    As for "Toy Story 3" again, yes, we liked the film a lot and it deserved to do very well (esp considering the crap that gets released for kids and does boffo box office like "Alice In Wonderland"). But again, our comments are directed at those who have treated the film as the second coming. It's not.

  • Remy | January 4, 2011 5:21 AMReply

    Ken's post finds me in 1000% agreement.
    When "Toy Story 3" had initially smashed the box-office, you posted something like "there's a God, there's justice". When it crossed the billion mark worldwide however, you did a 180o turn: "really? it wasn't THAT good!".
    Same goes for "The Social Network". Gets its first stellar reviews, you follow, then when it very rightfully takes the film world by storm (cause it's a fucking masterpiece, that's why), you, again say "come oooon! it wasn't THAT good!".
    You speak of nerds and hipsters, but you're some kind of u(e)ber-hipsters. You're hipper than the hipsters. You're willing to agree with the majority up to the point where it becomes "fashionable"- then you go completely the other way because you 're so smart and "alternative" and everyone else are just sheep in the flock.
    And of course you give "The Human Centipede" an "A", and now there's nowhere to be found in any of your "Top Ten" lists.

    I read the news on your site, I don't read the reviews. This post reminded me why.

  • ToyMyAss | January 3, 2011 6:09 AMReply

    All the Toy Story movies are sentimental crap. Generation X played Atari and Coleco...we played with toys from TV shows like Transformers and GI Joe. We didn't need to use our imaginations to pretend or make believe because our TVs did all the work. We annoyed our parents to Death begging them for toys which TV commercials shoved down our throats every day. "BUY ME SNAKE MOUNTAIN MOMMY!" The day after receiving said toy, we got bored with them and chucked them in a box. I have No Nostalgic connection with toy cowboys and a Freakin' Slinky Dog. Toy Story is about the toys my parents and grandparents played with. They can watch this sentimental junk...I'm gonna watch Masters of the Universe with Dolph Lungren. By the Power of Greyskull Baby!

  • cirkusfolk | December 30, 2010 11:48 AMReply

    I'll agree with Winter's Bone being vastly overrated...I was expecting the next Fargo going into it, and instead got the next Affliction.

  • Cory | December 30, 2010 5:10 AMReply

    While I disagree with a few of your choices, I completely 100% agree with you on Tiny Furniture. One of the worse films I saw in theaters this year. All of the performances were terrible, except for the actress who played the friend with the British accent. There were many other things wrong with the film, but I just couldn't get past how bad the acting was. There are some great unknown actresses out there, and Lena would have been much better off searching for one rather than trying to play the part herself.

  • Rashad | December 30, 2010 5:09 AMReply

    Kids ..." ending was laughable. It was like a lifetime movie.


    All of Scorsese's films this decade have been better than The Departed, which was a convoluted, overacted mess that tried to be cool

  • RE | December 30, 2010 4:40 AMReply

    "Overrated" is a valid and necessary comment in a culture driven by the fashionable opinion. And the writer here who wrote the first known knock of Toy Story 3 is on record as the most rational film critic in America.

  • Gabe Toro | December 30, 2010 4:17 AMReply

    As someone who isn't ashamed of having cried during Toy Story 3, I understand where you're coming from, Ken. The only solution is to advocate for ME to write all the reviews. Thank you.

    P.S. I detest the word "overrated" and I don't think it belongs in film discussion. But we all have our separate viewpoints at this site.

  • Kathleen Walsh | December 30, 2010 4:12 AMReply

    Charles, you crazy! But always interesting to have a healthy comment debate. That's what it's all about people.

  • Charles | December 30, 2010 4:08 AMReply

    The biggest disappointment or "overrated" film has to be Winter's Bone. I'm all for slow films, but this movie just really didn't go anywhere. By the end of the movie, I did not care what was going to happen with her family. No real tense scenes or character development made this film interesting. Sure, the main actress was good and I hope to see her in more movies, but I just can't wrap my head around why everyone seems to like this movie.

  • The Playlist | December 30, 2010 4:07 AMReply

    Ken, breathe deep, go outside, no need for the melodrama.

  • ken | December 30, 2010 3:57 AMReply

    I'm not the one to overreact much but I get kinda tired of the way you guys constantly contradict yourselves. I get the fact that there are multiple writers here but it seems like you guys use that as a crutch or an excuse to both praise and bash (or, speak negatively about if bash is too harsh of a word) a film. Shutter Island was a good film, you gave it an A- review. You gave Green Zone an A- review. You gave Toy Story 3 and The Social Network great reviews. But as soon as these films (the latter two films, in particular) get rave reviews across the board, you feel the need to backtracking. Why?

    You know how rare it is for a film to wind up being absolutely perfect across the board? Name the 5 best films of the 2000s and I'm sure someone can find a few things to dislike about any or all of them. I don't understand why you guys just can't stick to your guns. Or come up with some sort of rating system. Here's the problem with the way you guys do things: it gets harder and harder to take your reviews seriously when a few days/weeks/months later you see someone else on your staff say something completely different. And then later in the year, you guys backtrack or try covering your bases by saying "well that's just this writer's opinion."

    Grow some balls!

    Sure, it makes sense to feel different about a film far down the road. But you don't give an A (or better) to a film earlier in the year and then call it overrated in December. It's confusing and it's unprofessional. It's also elementary. Seriously, "overrated"? What are we, in 8th grade?

    You guys have a great site here. When you guys are excited about a film, I get double excited. But sometimes you guys can be a little petty and annoyingly self-contradictory. So when it comes time to make a list like this, it feels absolutely useless. You can't call the same film both underrated and disappointing. That makes absolutely no sense. Is it underrated or is it disappointing? "Well that's just one guy's opinion." Uh guys, unless I'm blind, it would appear that you're all involved in putting these films in these lists. Pick a spot and stick with it. Putting "Greenberg" in both lists shows absolutely no balls.

    I don't know, I've only been exclusively following your site since late last year. Perhaps you guys have always been this juvenile and careless with your lists.

    Keep in mind, I'm not saying all this because I disagree with your opinions. That's not it at all. I just feel like, as a collective whole, you guys are too all-over-the-place with your opinions on these films. Obviously, and ultimately, I will have my opinion and you will have yours. But it's at least nice to be able to read what other people think to see if you share their thoughts and ideas. It's hard to do that when with you guys because you guys flip flop around too much. And it's the snarky way you flip flop around that really gets under my skin. You guys are intelligent, there's no need for the snark. Leave that to CHUD.

  • cirkusfolk | December 30, 2010 3:07 AMReply

    And I'll go ahead and piss more people off by saying I would have included The Town and True Grit in the overrated category. Again, both are films that might very well end up on my Top Ten list, but do they deserve the 95% rating they have on rottentomatoes...I think not. The Town was a Heat knockoff and True Grit is what I would consider minor-Coens.

  • cirkusfolk | December 30, 2010 3:00 AMReply

    It might be too little too late but I'll chime in anyway. First, I'll go ahead and defend the placement of Toy Story 3 in the most overrated category. Like some have said, it doesn't mean they didn't like it, it just means they didn't love it as much as everyone else did (which at this point is everyone in the world, thus making it overrated). I liked it, and it will be on my Top Ten list at the end of the year, BUT all the praise its gotten doesn't seem just as A) both 2 previous Toy Storys were better and B) both 2 previous Pixar movies were better. In fact, if this was Wall-E we were talking about, I'd tell the Playlist to go fuck themselves. Second, I'll agree with posters that Iron Man 2 and Tron: Legacy should've been put in the most disappointing category. Nobody is calling those films classics...they just happened to be giant tentpole films us film snobs actually thought could've been fun and proved us wrong about how we view giant tentpole films. Unfortunately, they sucked.

  • Mike_M | December 30, 2010 2:39 AMReply

    Well said on Toy Story 3... I agree 100%

  • jimmiescoffee | December 30, 2010 12:51 AMReply

    great stuff otherwise. nice call on the GOOD 'Toy Story 3' however i dont know anyone who believes 'Tron' & 'Iron Man 2' to be overrated. those films are dead weight.

  • jimmiescoffee | December 30, 2010 12:48 AMReply

    'The Ghost Writer' & 'Tiny Furniture' are excellent.

  • PT | December 30, 2010 12:33 AMReply

    FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

    Let's all relax and be grateful that Terrence Malick's Tree of Life will be released within the coming year. What else is there be upset over with news like that!

  • SousChefGerard | December 30, 2010 12:31 AMReply

    "...the tender note of forgiveness closing “The Kids Are All Right.”"

    That sentiment rang about as hollow as the near one-sided character assassination that took place before that of the sperm donor daddy for engaging in a consensual affair with hippie lesbian mom.

  • bonzob | December 29, 2010 11:22 AMReply

    As usual, you guys condescend to your readership and selectively answer their complaints.

    Multiple people pointed out Iron Man 2 was not anyone's idea of a highly rated film, and should have been placed in disappointments, not in overrated. You ignore these comments.

    I commented not on whether or not Toy Story 3 was good, but rather on the tiresome nerd-bashing you continue with, and on the absurd notion that only "nerds" cried at TS3's conclusion. You ignore this comment.

    Others have pointed out several other absurdities in your TS3 piece, including the asinine I Am Love reference and the frankly stupid and insulting assertion that it "says something about North American culture that everyone pulled out their hankies as the fate of some anthropomorphic toys was determined."

    Go fuck yourself, Playlist. Seriously.

    You guys are smart about film, but your sickeningly elitist attitude undermines everything you do, and isn't anywhere near as clever or cute as you seem to think it is.

  • Christopher Bell | December 29, 2010 11:21 AMReply

    Ed I think we should, if only to reinstate the saying "all that and a bag of chips."

  • mister fart | December 29, 2010 11:17 AMReply

    Tiny Furniture absolutely belongs on this list. That film received so much praise from so many respectable critics that it set a bar. Maybe not a high bar, but a bar. And that boring, self-indulgent mess of a film just another sad sack Garden State made by a chick with less talent than Zack Braff. Yeah, let that statement set in.

    Also, fuck "The Kids Are All Right".

  • Edward Davis | December 29, 2010 10:54 AMReply

    As usual, y'all ain't really reading and or the sentiment is not really carrying through. Both writers liked Toy Story 3 and The Social Network. They just didn't LOOOOVE it enough to get super boners about it and possibly are somewhat annoyed at all the super boner praise over them.

    Do we have to write in big, bold, black letters:

    WE DON'T HATE THIS MOVIE WE JUST DONT THINK ITS ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS

    ?

  • Sean | December 29, 2010 9:58 AMReply

    Toy Story 3, though the weakest of the trilogy, was still a marvellous film. Sure, some jokes were a bit cartoonish and wee-bit low brow. But the film as still enjoyable and a great piece of closure to some fantastic kids movies. Does it deserve to get nominated in the Top 10? Yes. Should it win? No.
    And as for the comment about just nerds crying to the ending is just inane babble.

  • Alex | December 29, 2010 9:35 AMReply

    Nice to see I'm not the only person who thought the supposed "emotional potency" of Toy Story 3 fell flat — the pathos were less authentic than Cars IMO, and I honestly couldn't help but snicker at the absurd thought of someone breaking down at the incinerator scene (or the ending).

    Toy Story 3 worked best when it was an entertaining heist flick, and Pixar shouldn't attempt to shackle their films by ham-fisted pathos.

    Ben Stiller was fine in Greenberg, and Ruffalo in the titular role would have bordered on self-parody. And Tiny Furniture belongs nowhere near this list. And Iron Man 2 should be squarely in the "most disappointing" as I don't think there was anyone who liked it remotely enough for it to qualify as "overrated" in any sense of the word.

    (Also, I cannot believe no one would vouch for Inception to be on the "overrated" list.)

  • jonathan | December 29, 2010 9:14 AMReply

    I think you completely missed the point of Never Let Me Go. The coldness and lack of emotion was purposely there because the people in that world believed that the kids raised in those schools had no souls. They accepted their fate without complaints and never dared to dream of escape or anything beyond childish desires. I thought the movie's tone was perfect for this. Yes, we would normally expect some kind of Michael Bay / The Island type of escape plan, but this movie was geat because it told a different story, or people whose minds weren't even capable of imagining that.

  • gedn | December 29, 2010 9:13 AMReply

    I don't get it, is Toy Story 3 only overrated because people actually compare it to I Am Love? Because that'd be pretty silly.

  • Hossam | December 29, 2010 9:03 AMReply

    Toy Story 3 ? The Social Network ? Shutter Island ? oh wow ! .. i'm really glad you didn't put Inception there too !

  • Hayden Maxwell | December 29, 2010 8:54 AMReply

    Honestly, to tsk at people tearing up at "some anthropomorphic toys" is a giant middle finger to the magic of cinema. Not only have they made toys come to life, not only have they turned nearly every character iconic in their own way, they have made them into people we (meaning most of the world) care about. That power of using these cartoons so that nearly everyone, young and old, worldwide can contemplate life, death, love, and aging (and yes the kids are thinking about these things too even though they're not consciously doing so yet) is nothing short of incredible and absolutely deserving of the title of Best Picture of the Year. Don't make harsh judgements just because someone champions a cartoon. Blue Valentine is my number two, you can appreciate mainstream and arthouse cinema at the same time, don't be ridiculous.

  • Edward Davis | December 29, 2010 8:51 AMReply

    oops, he is, sorry. Read that too fast. Oh well, for the rest of the internet that thinks Avatar is a 2010 film, carry on...

  • Katie Walsh | December 29, 2010 8:47 AMReply

    Edward, I think Scott is agreeing with you!

  • billybobsnortin | December 29, 2010 8:43 AMReply

    Toy Story 3 - are you fricking kidding me, guys?!?!

    I love(d?) your site for the past 6 months or so, but these Year-End Lists you have been cooking up are a major major major FAIL

  • bonzob | December 29, 2010 8:34 AMReply

    Alright, Playlist guys, it's time to drop the sneering "nerd" stuff. It's unprofessional and juvenile and you do it every third article.

    We get it. You don't like what you perceive as fanboy movies, or fanboys in general. You think Harry Knowles is the antichrist. Any reader of your blog knows this. At this point it's tiresome at best... you snobby, pretentious Brooklyn hipsters (See? It's not nice, is it?).

    Also, to say that just "nerds" cried at Toy Story 3 is absurd and reductive.

    Oh, and, while I agree with your assessment of Iron Man 2, how is it overrated? Didn't everyone pretty much agree with you?

  • Edward Davis | December 29, 2010 8:13 AMReply

    Avatar release date (common knowledge)

    December 18, 2009
    http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=avatar.htm
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499549/releaseinfo
    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/avatar/

    in Roger Eberts Best of 2009 (special prize, not actually in the top 10
    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/12/the_best_films_of_2009.html

    insist away, guy.

  • Scott Mendelson | December 29, 2010 8:05 AMReply

    Glad to see I'm not the only one for many of these choices. But watch out, apparently most of the Internet thinks calling something overrated is the same as calling it 'bad'. Of course, they also swear that Avatar came out in 2010, so there's that...

  • Sara | December 29, 2010 7:58 AMReply

    I dont think Iron Man 2 overrated,...u know what i think, Batman Dark Knight most overrated film in 2008 ok! c'mon Jon Favreau makes a cool and fun movie.
    I love it.

    I think “The Social Network” is overrated and disappointing movie... i hope dont win the oscar, i want see Black Swan and True Grit,.. they look bettet than TSN.

  • Larry W. | December 29, 2010 7:52 AMReply

    disagree with about half of this. we get it--you have an opinion. just not a very good one...(i.e. who the hell was praising Iron Man 2??)

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