Wednesday, December 29, 2010

tops of 2010, and some unwarranted natalie portman hating

The nice thing about top-ten/-five lists is that they give you a chance to reassess your initial raves and pans. Sometimes what dazzles is not what sticks. There are still a lot of said-to-be-good 2010 movies I haven’t seen yet, which may be why my movie list is low on Oscar-bait releases. But I like to think I just have original tastes. Shutter Island was awesome, okay? Also, I may be avoiding Black Swan because, even though it was crazy in just the right way and expertly, physically depicted the implosive nature of perfectionism, I’m kind of pissed at Natalie Portman for getting pregnant despite having zero body fat and a fly-by-night boyfriend.*

The first seven books on my book list are ones I indisputably loved—they said something big about the world, or they struck a nerve personally, or they were lushly textured, or they were more clever than I realized until the very end. The last three and my two honorable mentions are more or less interchangeable in terms of rank—all really good but not quite seared into my brain. Maybe I’m old or distracted, but I found myself to be a pickier and more forgetful reader in 2010. Here’s hoping for a better attention span, and better just about everything, in 2011.

My ten favorite books of 2010**:
1. Silver Lake by Peter Gadol
2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
3. How to Escape from a Leper Colony by Tiphanie Yanique
4. When She Was Good by Philip Roth
5. Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem
6. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
7. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
8. Truth and Consequences by Alison Lurie
9. His Illegal Self by Peter Carey
10. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

Honorable mention: Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link and Breathing, In Dust by Tim Z. Hernandez

My five favorite movies of 2010:
1. The Kids Are All Right
2. Never Let Me Go
3. Please Give
4. The Town
5. Shutter Island
[6. Black Swan?]

*For all I know, they’re very much in love and have been for a solid three years. But I’m a hater these days. And unlike the legions of queer girls out there who are bummed because this apparently means she’s off-the-market (in case being straight and a movie star weren’t enough), I have no Natalie Portman crush to recover from. My hating, ironically, is of the envious Black Swan-esque variety (which according to the movie is not entirely non-sexual, but seriously, that girl is way too porcelain for me).

**Meaning, as always, that I read them in 2010, not that they were necessarily published in 2010. This is not a blog for early adopters.


Peter Varvel said...

I left the theater thinking that, glad as I was that I saw Black Swan, it's not something I will eventually buy on DVD/Blu-Ray (there are some images you should choose not to have seared into your brain, I think).
And yet, I would be willing to pay full price to see it on the silver screen again.

thelastnoel said...

don't hate Portman--she gives good lezzie love on screen. Ur, though I felt uncomfortable seeing it--my mother was sitting next to me.

Cheryl said...

P: Yeah, there are some kinds of crazy you don't really want entering your house.

N: Your mom didn't want to see, like, Little Fockers or something?

Kat said...

Never Let Me Go stuck with me for weeks. I'm glad to see we weren't the only people to see it!

(And if you're hating on Natalie Portman, I usually can't stand Keira Knightly.)

Cheryl said...

They both have those too-perfect faces...and sometimes appear in really good movies.