Monday, February 28, 2011

18 Films that Weren't: 2010 Films That Didn't Live Up To Expectations

As one film season fades away and leads way to another, this seems like an important time to remember that the "exciting films" of the new year sometimes end up being films that disappear off the map all of the sudden...often when their releases occur with a whisper of a whimper.

Here's a list of the Top 10 films from 2010 that seemed like they would be some of the big films of 2010 that had a far more limited impact than expected...

This list does not necessarily reflect the failings of the film, just that it didn't live up to early award hype.

18. Tree of Life - It's always a little disappointing when the film that has potential moves to the following year. It seems like Tree of Life has been doing that every year for the last half a decade, but this year, it actually seemed like it was going to come out.

17. Waiting for "Superman" - This documentary was one of most successful documentary at the box office (beyond nature film Oceans, and the documentary Babies), but despite Davis Guggenheim's previous Oscar win for An Inconvenient Truth, it failed to get an Oscar nomination. I guess that's what you get for putting punctuation in your film title.

16. Another Year - Some people love Mike Leigh, and this was on some people's list all year long as a serious contender. It showed up to play in award season to some degree, but certainly not in the way some people predicted. Year long favorite Lesley Manville failed to make the Oscar nomination cut, where the screenplay by Leigh was it's sole nomination.

15. Made in Dagenham - this British indy film all of the sudden started to be talked up in the fall, particularly it's performances by Miranda Richardson and Sally Hawkins. But as quick as the excitement came it vanished off the radar as well.

14. Get Low - This little film seemed like the type of film that was going to have some acting awards and some devoted fans. It never grabbed traction, even though I imagine in a 6 field actor race, Robert Duvall may have been on the Oscar ballot.

13. Miral - Did this movie even come out? It's US release has been moved to March 2011, but the Wiensteins' with all their award loving, must not be too excited about this film to move it to March in the United States. Julian Schnabel did something fantastic with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and the anticipation of his return with the biographical film created some anticipation that vanished in the movement of release schedules.

12. Never Let Me Go - Perhaps I put myself in a position to be disappointed here. But this film had a young star cast (Keira Knighley, Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan) and a great story to work with, but I just found it to be so flat and didn't capture the intrigue of the source material one bit.

11. Fair Game - Sean Penn & Naomi Watts seem like ideal performers to get lauded for playing this real-life-contemporary-news-worthy couple. But this Bourne-series producter (Doug Liman) couldn't seem to help this film get the traction or reception it needed to do much of anything.

10. The Tempest - Julie Taymor, genius, or the breeder of disaster? This Shakespeare recreation never sprouted wings and it certainly didn't bring Helen Mirren any extra sparkle to her mantle.

9. Love Ranch - Helen Mirren 2010 fail part II. This time it wasn't Julie Taymor's fault, but her husband Taylor Hackford.

8. Eat, Pray, Love - This is another film that should have had some key components that would at least get Julia Roberts and some of her supporting cast invited to the Golden Globes. Not so. It did suck up some money at the box office due to a heavy marketing push, but that star faded quickly.

7. Love and Other Drugs - The golden globes sort of went for this film, but I think it was just to have Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal come to the award show. When other non-comedic films land a spot in the best comedy category at the globes, you knew this film was toast. Edward Zwick's not making a strong case for his best director nomination.

6. Hereafter - Clint Eastwood working with screenwriter Peter Morgan? They can't seem to keep these two guys away from award shows! Oh wait, this film did.

5. Conviction - Somehow I feel like this film convicted itself to "unimportant film land" when it changed it's name from Betty Anne Waters. The film sounded like an Erin Brokovich-type-of-film but ended up being a one word title type of film that no one's talking about anymore. This wasn't the Sam Rockwell award film that people imagined.

4. The Way Back - This film couldn't find a home in the release schedule and was certainly not a Peter Weir masterpiece come-back film that was hoped for.

3. How Do You Know - This film probably didn't show up to high on many precursor list, but how did James L. Brooks fail so badly. How can the Oscar winning (multiple nominated) director not even get his comedy a golden globe nomination in the comedy category when you have Oscar winners Reese Witherspoone and Jack Nicholson in your cast? We're talking goose-egg nothing here, awful reviews, and weak box office (despite excellent release placement).

2. Shutter Island - This film made last years list for it's schedule adjustment from 2009 to 2010. This film is placed so high on the list, not because of any failings of the film or it's marketing strategy (which moved the film to early 2010 for box office purposes straying away from awards pressure in releasing it late 2009). But even still no one knew whether this film would be an award season contender or not. It ended up having very little play with award season, including zero Oscar nominations.

1. Robin Hood - sure the stories been told before, but it's a grand scale epic film that was directed by Ridley Scott with who knows how many Oscar nominees and winners in the cast and crew. And it's only nominations for the entire year was a costume nod from the Satellite Awards and some teen choice awards? This film would have been expected to do a little more than that award season. Something. Anything. This film didn't even get a technical award bone thrown it's way, despite early enthusiasm.


Peter Chan said...

Wait. I thought Helen Mirren was married to Taylor Hackford and not Columbus. But either way, yeah... Mirren had a double dose of fails this year.

I'm still reeling on how Andrew Garfield managed two great performances and still not get recognized... I guess we'll have to wait for Spiderman, no?

Darren said...

Robin Hood was just so disappointing. Glad I'm not the only one who felt that way. there's playing with a myth, and then there's taking a name everyone knows and sticking it on a very different (and very generic) movie.

He robs once in the film. Twice if you consider medival identity theft a form of robbery.

RC said...

@Peter - oh my bad, strange that I put Chris Columbus instead of Hackford. No idea why...I'm editing that on the post now.