“These are the best films of 2010,” say Philadelphia-area critics.

Is it interesting that our local film critics seem to tailor their “best of” lists to their respective readerships or is it just standard practice?  Let’s take a look at Philly’s picks for the best films of 2010.

And by the way, based on a local film programmer’s reaction to this little post, I’d like to assure you that I do not mean to belittle any of our city’s film critics nor their films of choice, I frequently read and enjoy all of their work.

Best Films of 2010 – Philadelphia Inquirer
Steven Rea

127 Hours
Black Swan
Fish Tank
I Am Love
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
Never Let Me Go
A Prophet
The Social Network
Winter’s Bone

NOTE:  Inquirer critic Carrie Rickey weighs in with her 2010 favorites here, but in essay form so I won’t include it here.

Now I’m not sure if the following holds true for The Social Network, though it very well may, but every other film on Steven’s list definitely played at one of the Ritz Theaters in 2010.  Meaning that his entire list is made up of mainstream indie-type films*, movies that received widespread critical acclaim prior to their local theatrical releases and were thus suited for Top 10 lists early on.  Steven is obviously a massive fan of both the Ritz Theaters and the studios/critics that tell us what to like before the films even get to us.  Does this list reflect readers of the Inquirer?
* Don’t bother arguing the term “mainstream indie-type films”, that’s a discussion for another post.

Top 21 Films – Philadelphia City Paper
Contributors:  Cindy Fuchs, Shaun Brady, Sam Adams

12th & Delaware
Certified Copy
Enter the Void
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Four Lions
I Am Love
Last Train Home
The Oath
The Social Network
The Tillman Story
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
War Don Don
White Material
Wild Grass
Winter’s Bone

Top 10 Films – Philadelphia Weekly
Sean Burns’ list

1. True Grit
2. Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
3. The Social Network
4. Black Swan
5. And Everything Is Going Fine
6. Blue Valentine
7. Exit Through The Gift Shop
8. Rabbit Hole
9. Carlos
10. Toy Story 3
Matt Prigge’s list
1. Dogtooth
2. Four Lions
3. Everyone Else
4. Wild Grass
5. Audrey The Trainwreck
6. Carlos
7. Black Swan
8. Winter’s Bone
9. Red, White & Blue
10. Enter The Void

Which of our two alt-weeklies has the most alternative list?  They share eight films in common so let’s remove those and look at the wide releases that remain:  The Weekly cites True Grit, Black Swan, Toy Story 3, Blue Valentine, and Rabbit Hole; City Paper cites Catfish and Splice (does I Am Love count?  Not sure.).  Now we’re down to ten films on the City Paper list and five on the Weekly (due to duplicates on the lists of their two critics), all of which either played only at film festivals, on television, or via Netflix.  I declare City Paper the winner though this entire process is highly questionable/ridiculous.  If the current rumors concerning City Paper/Inquirer‘s new relationship are true then maybe our city’s oldest newspaper will benefit from some fresh, more adventurous opinions in the film department.

The Metro doesn’t specify how their list was determined or by who, but I’m guessing it was an online poll of some sort.  It’s the only list I’ve seen that includes Kick-Ass outside of Tarantino’s.  Editor Heidi Patalano also chimes in with her top 5.
Metro Mystery List
1. The Social Network
2. Inception
3. The Fighter
4. Kick-Ass
5. Black Swan
Heidi Patalano’s list
1. Black Swan
2. The Fighter
3. The Social Network
4. Cyrus
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

And just for kicks, here’s Geekadelphia.com’s two cents, perhaps the only list you’ll see that includes Iron Man 2 and Machete.  Again, ideal for its readership.

Top Films of 2010 – Geekadelphia.com

10. Rubber
9. Let Me In
8. Robogeisha
7. Catfish
6. Machete
5. Iron Man 2
4. Toy Story 3
3. The Social Network
2. Black Swan
1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

If you give a point to each of the films on these lists and tally them up then The Social Network is undoubtedly Philadelphia’s favorite film of 2010.

My favorite films of 2010 included: The Last Exorcism, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Greenberg, Air Doll, The Temptation of St. Tony, The Last Circus, Arriety the Borrower, True Grit.  I can only come up with those eight and they all seem to be genre-related, which doesn’t really represent my broad taste in films, nor (hopefully) the readership of this new website, but there you go.

My favorite re-releases/repertory screenings of 2010:
Best Worst Movie/Troll 2 double feature @ Cinema 16:9
Boarding House @ Exhumed Films’ 24 Hour Horror-thon, International House
Fires On the Plain @ International House
Gone With the Pope @ Danger After Dark Festival, Ritz at the Bourse
Hausu @ IFC Center
Metropolis @ Ritz at the Bourse
Phantom of the Paradise @ Exhumed Films’ 24 Hour Horror-thon, International House
Red Heroine w/ live musical score @ International House
Rocky @ Philadelphia Museum of Art

Be seeing you.

Further links of interest:
AFI Top 10 of 2010
Film Comment top 50 of 2010
New York Times Top 10 of 2010
Roger Ebert Top 10 of 2010

Author: Eric Bresler

Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of Cinedelphia.com whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.

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