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Angus' Top XX's of 2010

I’ve been running my ‘Top xx’ of the year posts since 2004 on Live Journal. It’s a personal review of the year of my favourite films, books and bands, and sometimes other things (such as dvds or clubs I’ve been to – when I once lived in London and went clubbing on a regular basis atleast – le sigh).

I usually post this at the beginning of January, but it’s not unusual to be a few days late due to me not usually being at home on the 1st.

2010 is the second year that I’ve not lived in London and this has continued a dismal level of gig-going and the continued rise of cinema trips. That said, I did miraculously manage to see slightly more bands in 2010 than I did in 2009 (probably my all-time low since I was about 16!).

I would like to *try* and get to more gigs in 2011, maybe a festival or two (where I’ll actually see a load of bands unlike Infest this year where I saw a few but mainly spent time catching up with friends who I’d not seen for ages, sometimes in excess of 18+ months). I reckon my cinema trips will probably stay around the 40+ mark again, especially if I stay in Swindon.

Even though I have watched a lot of DVDs this year (especially TV series) I’ve dropped the Best of category as pretty much all the films I saw on DVD I’d previously already seen and I only rate ones I’d never seen before. The category may return next year, we’ll see...

Anyway, on with my favourites from 2010...

Top 20 Films of 2010
20. The Girl Who Played With Fire
19. Let Me In
18. Machete
17. How To Train Your Dragon
16. Alice in Wonderland
15. The Crazies
14. Skyline
13. Clash of the Titans
12. The Road
11. Made in Dagenham
10. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
9. Toy Story 3D
8. Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief
7. London Boulevard
6. Red
5. Burlesque
4. Tron Legacy
3. Inception
2. Kick-Ass
1. Monsters

2010 saw a rise in the number of films I saw at the cinema from 2009. 49 trips in 2010, against 42 in 2009. The continued rise is down to me having slightly more free time on my hands now I’m working fulltime at Cubicle 7 and not trying to juggle two jobs as I was back in 2008 and before. Also having an office and not working from home as much has helped. The cinema is pretty much my ‘downtime’ and relaxation these days. To compare this years figures with 2008 (when I was juggling C7 and Leisure Games) I saw 21 films then (and 30 in 2007, 25 in 2006, 34 in 2005 and 35 in 2004).

Overall, most of the films I saw in 2010 were pretty good, some I’m sure will grow on me more if I see them on dvd at somepoint, and some may fall in my estimation. For instance, I reckon The Road and Machete will continue to be favourites whilst I doubt I’ll see How To Train Your Dragon again... The Top 4 was fairly hard for me to decide on their placings. I really enjoyed all films for a variety of reasons, but the low-budget Monsters, a road movie set to a backdrop of alien lifeforms on Earth, won the day.

The most disappointing film of the year for me, which I was really looking forward to having loved the first part so much that it was my #2 film of 2008 was Iron Man 2. It failed, in my eyes, to live up to the first film and ended up coming in at #28 for the year. I still enjoyed it, just nowhere near as much as the first part.

Choosing my least favourite films of the year was not as hard as choosing my favourites. I did actually like almost every film I saw this year and would probably watch atleast two of my bottom four again (mainly to see if I was wrong about them). It’s worth noting that none of these four would have made the ‘worst’ list in 2009 – which was a year of some truly terrible films.

Worst films of 2010 in descending order:
4. Robin Hood
3. The Book of Eli
2. Daybreakers
1. Solomon Kane

I saw 49 films at the cinema this year (7 up from 2009!). Out of these trips I actually saw Kick-Ass and Inception twice each and also saw Avatar for the second time at the beginning of the year (which was rated in my 2009 list so not included here). The above list is only taken from films I actually saw on the 'Big Screen'.

Top 5 Live Bands of 2010
5. Project Pitchfork
4. Lady Gaga
3. Conjure One
2. Anne-Marie Hurst (Ghost Dance)
1. Rotersand

2010 was another terrible year for live music for me, although somehow actually slightly better than 2009 when I saw only 19 bands... 2010 saw me see a whooping 22 bands ... and two of those I saw twice. That said, I actually saw bands in several different cities – Bath, Bradford, Bristol and London (just to get away from the B’s), all of which (apart from London) were cities I’d never seen bands in before... silver linings being drastically grabbed at here folks...

I’m not going to do a “Worst Bands of 2010” this year. Several of the bands I saw were truly forgettable so I can’t recall anything about them to rate them in their realms of mediocrity.

Top 10 Books of 2010
10. Archangel by Robert Harris
9. A Web of Air by Philip Reeve
8. Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
7. Changes by Jim Butcher
6. A Darkling Plane by Philip Reeve
5. A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin
4. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
3. The City & The City by China Mieville
2. The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
1. A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin

For the second year running I managed to beat my previous years tally of completed books. Increased by two this year, and I’d like to think I’ll be able to maintain the current rate, or maybe push it up by another one or two this coming year.

All the books I read in 2010 were books I’d not read before (which mirrored 2009), and I was also introduced to some absolutely fantastic new series.

This was by far the hardest category to decide my top 10 in, and even harder to decide my top 5. Any other year any of those books would be vying for the #1 spot, and to be fair I thought I’d found this years best read when I read the “Mortal Engines” series by Philip Reeve early in 2010 (I can’t recommend it enough), but then when I read China Mieville’s fantastic “The City & The City” I thought that had scooped it, then “The Time Traveller’s Wife” and then George R R Martins’ brilliant political fantasy “A Game of Thrones”. It was a real dilemma trying to figure out which book should be #1 in my 2010 reads... but “A Game of Thrones” won it in the end.

Anyway, that's it for another year - my "Best Of's" from 2010. I wonder what the next 12 months will bring?

2009 Top 10 – http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/975501.html

2008 Top 10 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/924087.html

2007 Top 15 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/804012.html

2006 Top 15 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/665806.html

2005 Top 15 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/447306.html

2004 Top 10 - http://angusabranson.livejournal.com/186008.html


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
Worst films?
Worst films?

Worst films of 2010 in descending order:
4. Robin Hood
3. The Book of Eli
2. Daybreakers
1. Solomon Kane

Oh bugger. I REALY Enjoyed Solomon Kane, Thought that Daybreakers was far better than it had any right to be... In both cases I wasnt expecting too much, which helped, but Solomon Kane finally allowed us to describe the films lead accurately as 'A god-damned puritanical West-Country superhero'... And Daybreakers was silly and overplayed by all in just the right amounts...

OK, Book of Eli was just a western re-tread and when I saw it it fared better by simply not being Soul crushing like The Road... Cant speak for Robin Hood, not seen that one yet...

Jan. 5th, 2011 10:44 am (UTC)
Re: Worst films?
I'd rewatch Daybreakers and possibly Solomon Kane (and maybe Book of Eli). The problem I had with Book of Eli was it played so strongly to many 80's stereotypes for the post-apoc genre (those punks they keep running into for instance could be straight out of a cheesy Mad Max movie).

All the films I saw this year had their merits. Certainly none came even close to the absolute terribleness of films such as The Spirit wwhich I sadly caught last year. I'm not sure of any of this bunch would actually have made my "Worst" list of 2009 to be fair. I just managed to watch a better calibre of films this year which means films which I thought were ok, but a bit poor, languished at the bottom of my list for longer than they would usually have done.
Jan. 5th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
I had such high hopes for Soloman Kane (that it would be a great "B" movie or a great flawed movie). The cast (esp. Purefoy) and crew seemed to be suited to the film even if they Hollywooded up the story.

As for books, if you have tried Steven Erikson's "Gardens of the Moon" or any of the other Malazan books, what did you think?
Jan. 5th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
I've not actually read Gardens of the Moon or the Malazan books. May have to have a look to see what they are about. Thanks for the tip :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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