The best of 2010: Top 5 Movies

Along with books, I’m just as big of a fan of movies. This year I haven’t seen as many as I normally do, but nonetheless here is my top 5 list for 2010. As with my top 5 book list, I’ll post a link to the review I did earlier in the year in case you want to check it out for more info:

5. The Social Network

Garnering a LOT of hype this year was the fictional adaptation of the origin of Facebook. To make it to #5 on my list says a lot for how good this movie was. I was not a fan of the idea of making it, but I was given the opportunity to watch a screening of it, so I said ‘hey, why not?’ I ended up enjoying it a lot, hence #5.

4. It’s kind of a funny story

This one probably won’t win any awards, because it appears to have flown quite under the radar. What makes this one so great for me is how it deals with the issue of depression and suicidal tendencies amongst teenagers. Zack Galifianakis’ role in the film is also a bit of a surprise, since he’s not overtly trying to be comedic, but instead as a patient in the psych ward of the hospital, has meaningful dialogue and shows he can act well. Check out more from my review from October 11.

3. Black Swan

This one had a lot of hype, going back to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) so I’ve wanted to check it out for quite some time. Natalie Portman’s performance was the best I’ve seen from her. She transforms herself into a timid ballerina dancer who is getting “old” and has one more chance to shine in the leading role of the Swan Princess in “Black Swan”. As the movie progresses we see her character unravel and become taken over by the character of the Black Swan, who she’s had trouble grasping. It was quite a trip to watch, and will definitely be a conversation maker with people who’ve seen the movie. Go watch!

2. catfish

As with my review, I’m not going to say much about this one because the more you know, the great the chance it will be ruined for you.

1. Waiting for Superman

This was a tough, emotionally draining movie to watch, as it showed real world examples of how the education system in America is failing. I highly recommend this one and would love to hear your thoughts on it, if you’ve seen it. Here’s my review from October 13: Waiting for Superman

While this year’s crop of movies was good, I think last year had a lot more gems to choose from. Looking over my top 5 list from 2009, I still want to go back and watch each of those movies – I hope this list has the same staying power.

What movie made it to the top of your list for 2010?

Waiting for “Superman”: A must-watch documentary

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for “Superman” is a documentary that digs deeper to explore the statistics of the American education system. He follows five children and their parents journey to do everything in their power to get them a better education.

It was incredibly hard to watch these kids and their parents, each so committed to getting a better education, not able to get anywhere, simply because of where they’re living. A few of these kids’ stories really got to me, and here is one  that got to me the most:

Daisy

Daisy lives in East Los Angeles and is in the 5th grade. She works hard and is determined to go to college. She already knows where she wants to go and has written to the college, asking that she be accepted. Her dream is to be a doctor, but Daisy is about to enter one of the worst performing schools in Los Angeles. In her neighborhood, 6 out of 10 students don’t graduate high school… Daisy’s parents do everything they can to support their daughter because they want her to defy the odds and graduate, but private school isn’t an option… but right down the street from their home is one of the best charter schools in Los Angeles: KIPP LA PREP… KIPP’s students rank among the best in Los Angeles and its demanding program will prepare Daisy for college in ways that her neighborhood public school cannot. But with 135 applicants for 10 spots, Daisy has a 14% chance of getting in. (excerpt from waitingforsuperman.com)

To get their children the best education they can, parents across the country are forced to go to these public-private schools where they can likely come out with the ability to go to college. The point they don’t really focus on here in the movie is the class sizes. It’s fairly obvious that kids from K-12 are going to succeed when there’s a class size of 10. Teachers can focus more on students and they can get that tailored learning experience; something not possible in the public system with ballooning class sizes.

One of the education reformers highlighted in the film was Michelle Rhee. She is the Chancellor for the D.C. school system, and has been since 2007. Her main goal has been to tear up the system, which was failing, by getting rid of the ineffective management at the top and funnel that money back to the schools. In the documentary it clearly shows she means business because she was facing many angry people who didn’t like the prospect of losing their jobs.

There is so much more I could go on about this movie, but I really feel it’s worth watching. It’ll stir all your emotions and put faces, young faces, to the education problem. I found the movie very engaging and got me wanting to learn more about Canada’s system and where it’s at. I give Waiting for “Superman” 5/5.

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