The Best and Worst Movies of 2010

  • Comments: ↓ 54 user comments
  • Publish Date: January 7, 2011

The Social Network is the best-reviewed movie of 2010

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High Scoring Movies by Year
(Minimum 7 Reviews)
2010 The Social Network 95
2009 The Hurt Locker 94
2008 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 97
2007 Ratatouille 96
2006 Pan's Labyrinth 98

For the first time since 2007, a wide-release movie -- one that has played nationwide on hundreds of screens, rather than an independent, foreign, or "arthouse" film -- has captured the title of best-reviewed movie of the year. The Social Network 95, David Fincher's chronicle of the founding of Facebook, is also just the fourth movie since 2000 to achieve a Metascore of 95 or higher.

That high level of acclaim is also manifesting itself on the awards circuit, where The Social Network is dominating the awards and nominations on its way to scoring what is sure to be a large number of Oscar nominations later this month. Unsurprisingly, the film is also turning up on more critics' year-end top 10 lists than any other 2010 release.

However, what was a good year for The Social Network wasn't necessarily a good year for Hollywood as a whole, at least by one measure. In 2010, just 30 films met or exceeded the 81 Metascore threshold that indicates "universal acclaim" from critics. That is well below 2009's total of 37 highly-acclaimed films, and you have to go back to 2006 to find a year with fewer great movies. On the bright side, only three 2010 releases were awful enough to drop below a Metascore of 20; compare that figure with nine terrible films in 2009 and 12 the year before that.

Overall, 45% of 2010 films received positive reviews from critics, a hair shy of the previous year's mark of 46% and a few percentage points short of the decade's best mark, 49%, set in 2007. Yet the average Metascore for all 2010 films ticked up from the year before, from 56.4 to 57.2. If we consider only those films that received a wide release, 26% received positive reviews (the same figure as in 2009), and the average Metascore of all wide release films was 50.2.

Over the next few pages, we'll explore the best and worst wide releases and limited releases of 2010. First, let's look at some of the best overall movies of the year in various categories.

2010's Best-Reviewed Comedies (English-Language, Live Action)
1 2 3 4 5
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The Kids Are All Right Please Give Greenberg Cyrus Easy A
Critics: 86 Critics: 78 Critics: 76 Critics: 74 Critics: 72
2010's Best-Reviewed Dramas (English-Language)
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
The Social Network Winter's Bone The King's Speech Animal Kingdom 127 Hours
Critics: 95 Critics: 90 Critics: 88 Critics: 83 Critics: 82
2010's Best-Reviewed Documentaries
1 2 3 4 5
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Inside Job A Film Unfinished 45365 The Tillman Story Last Train Home
Critics: 88 Critics: 88 Critics: 88 Critics: 86 Critics: 86
2010's Best-Reviewed Foreign-Language Films (Dramatic Films Only)
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
Carlos A Prophet Lebanon Vincere Mademoiselle Chambon
Critics: 94 Critics: 90 Critics: 85 Critics: 85 Critics: 83
2010's Best-Reviewed Animated Films
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
Toy Story 3 The Secret of Kells The Illusionist How to Train Your Dragon Despicable Me
Critics: 92 Critics: 81 Critics: 81 Critics: 74 Critics: 72
Other Top 2010 Releases by Category
Category Best-Reviewed Film in Category Metascore
Overall The Social Network 95
Winter Release A Prophet 90
Winter Wide Release The Ghost Writer 77
Spring Release (tie) Exit Through the Gift Shop and Vincere 85
Spring Wide Release Oceans 75
Summer Release Toy Story 3 92
Summer Wide Release Toy Story 3 92
Fall Release The Social Network 95
Fall Wide Release The Social Network 95
Holiday Release The King's Speech 88
Holiday Wide Release The King's Speech 88
Blockbuster (>$100 million box office) Toy Story 3 92
Action-Adventure Inception 74
Family/Kids (Live Action) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 65
Fantasy Bluebeard 73
Horror Let Me In 79
Musical Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench 84
Sci-Fi Inception 74
Western True Grit 80

For this and all tables in this article, only movies with seven or more reviews released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010 were considered. Re-releases are excluded. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). Although scores have been rounded to the nearest whole number, movies are ranked prior to rounding.

On the next page, we take a deeper look at the past year's biggest films.

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Comments (54)

  • Your Momma  

    I'm surprised Twilight didn't land as worst movies of 2010.. I think this garbage deserves to be on that list. I am disappointed.

  • jenna  

    i love tangled and how to train your dragon. toy story3 sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jenna  

    ilove how to train your dragon but toy story 3 sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sara  

    AGAIN DUMB

  • sara  

    OOPS I MEANT 11 I FEEL DUMD

  • sara  

    BEST TOP TEN MOVIE
    Piranha 3d
    Tron: Legacy
    The Town
    Easy-A
    Toy Story 3 Lottery Ticket
    Kick-Ass Salt
    Red Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
    Tangled
    DATZ WAT UP IF U HATE IT GO SUCK A BIG JUICY DICK ****

  • Devin stevens  

    The best film this year was easily 127 hours. A great plot, backed by terrific editing and music, and truly lifted by one of the best performances of decade. From there on....
    2) Kick-Ass. A close second and easily best comic book movie this year, which deserved a best supporting actress nominee for Chloe.
    3) The Town
    4) True Grit. Newcomer Steinfeld and Bridges were great.
    5) Shutter Island
    6) Scott Pilgrim VS The World
    7) Black Swan. Easily best female performance this year by the great Natalie Portman.
    Inception. Where's Chris Nolans best director nomination? Damn you oscars!
    9) Toy Story 3. The best of the Toy Story trilogy and tentatively the best animated film of all time.
    10) Social Network. And undeniably great film, but maybe a tad overrated. Honorable Mentions
    Cyrus
    The Fighter
    I Love You Phillip Morris
    Get Him to the Greek
    Jackass 3-D
    The Kings Speech
    Predators

  • Analredemption  

    Didn't like anything in 2010

  • the great silence  

    I can't believe Black Swan didn't end up on any list. Here's my top 15 of the year. Think it beats metacritics in diversity.

    http://filmbalaya.com/2011/01/13/adam-filmbalayas-top-15-films-of-2010/

  • Oscar Nomination Rou  

    [...] Metacritic has Toy Story 3 has the second-best reviewed wide release of 2010, as does imdb (to different movies, interestingly enough).  So clearly lots and lots of people really like this film.  Up‘s nomination last year showed that the move to ten best picture nominees allowed the Academy to be OK with nominating an animated film for the big prize, so there’s no real reason it should miss.  I’ve heard a couple people theorize that The Kids Are All Right‘s spot is in danger.  I certainly don’t know enough to dispute that, I’m just a little hard-pressed to see how it could miss when its rivals appear to be indier and/or not having the support from at least one acting nomination, like this one. [...]

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