The Best and Worst Movies of 2010

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

The Social Network is the best-reviewed movie of 2010

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
Image Image Image Image Image
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
Image Image Image Image Image
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)

  • Liana  

    my favorite 1à

  • anon  

    My 10 Favorites:

    1: The Social Network
    2: Inception
    3: The Town
    4: Toy Story 3
    5: Harry Potter/ Deathly Hallows
    6: 127 Hours
    7: Buried
    8: Shutter Island
    9: Jackass 3D
    10: Easy A

  • tj  

    my top 10 film of 2010 were.
    the town
    127 hours
    shutter island
    kick ass
    toy story 3
    animal kingdom
    the kings speech
    the social network
    exit through the gift shop
    [also red and grown ups were fun movies to watch]

  • lee3542  

    Worst? Toy story 3, Inception, Last Airbender, Vampires suck..Best? Winter's bone, Despicable me, young actress in True Grit...2010 was a disappointing year..2011 so far looks to be no better.

  • Antoine  

    My favorites movies (in order, 1 is my favorite).

    10. Buried
    9. Toy Story 3
    8. True Grit
    7. 127 Hours
    6. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
    5. Kick-Ass
    4. The Social Network
    3. The King's Speech
    2. Shutter Island

    Honorables mentions: Machete, Black Swan, Harry Potter ans the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

    Note: I have to see: The Fighter, Winter's Bone, The kid are All Right.

    Note 2: You have to see Incendies, the Canadian's movie who will win the oscar.

  • Armond White is incr  

    My top 10 of 2010 : 10. Winter's Bone 9. Somewhere
    8. Inception
    7. 127 Hours
    6. Greenberg
    5. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
    4. The Kids Are All Right
    3. Black Swan
    2. Blue Valentine
    1. The Social Network

    Honorable Mentions : It's Kind Of A Funny Story , Never Let Me Go , Youth In Revolt , Cyrus , Toy Story 3 , Mother , Exit Through The Gift Shop , Catfish.

  • Chris G  

    1. Winter's Bone
    2. The Social Network
    3. Toy Story 3
    4. Inception
    5. Exit Through the Gift Shop

  • andrew  

    oh and Kick-Ass.
    movies I discovered in 2010 that arent 2010:
    Stardust-the same director as kick-ass made a fun lighthearted fantasy based on a book by Coraline author Neil Gailman
    My Neighbor Totoro: A Japanese animated classic. Even the dub is excellent. from Studio Ghibli and directed by Miyazaki.
    Ponyo-also Miyazaki. this film is so deceptively simple and revels in its own cuteness. some things are left to the audience but that's usually easy blanks to fill in. very easy
    Castle In The Sky-also Miyazaki. best way to describe this movie: if it were made today in America, it'd be a live-action summer blockbuster. the dub is miscast though.

  • andrew  

    My top movies(in no specific order):
    Toys Story 3
    How to Train Your Dragon
    The Social Network
    Harry Potter 7.1
    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

    And I really wanna see all the other oscar nominees

  • Mewtwo465  

    The top three movies released this year for me were Toy Story 3, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Grown Ups. Yeah I actually liked Grown Ups. I'm probably one of the only people who does. My top three worst films of 2010 are Cop Out, Vampires Suck and the horrendously horrible title, The Last Airbender. The cartoon of it is so awesome! The movies just sucks!

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