Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

Custom Search

© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Moment to moment

I’m as much a sucker for year-end lists as anybody else. But, of course, there is no point in doing a list of my top movies because I have that list going all year, constantly being revised well into the next year and every year after that. So, it would be a bit strange to freeze it at one moment in December and put it out there.

So, let’s try this. Here are my ten movie moments from films released in 2010 that have stubbornly stuck with me for the better part of a year. (Be advised, there will necessarily lurk spoilers within.) Here we go…

  • Against all odds and all laws of physical science, a rickety airplane manages to take flight on an improvised runway in rural Cork, just ahead of villains, in Ian Powers’s The Runway.

  • Young Owen comes to realize that the one friend he has managed to make in his blighted life is something supernatural in Matt Reeves’s Let Me In. “Are you vampire?” he asks. “I need blood to live,” responds Abby. “But how old are you really?” he asks. “Twelve,” replies Abby solemnly, “but… I’ve been twelve for a very long time.”

  • In a post-modern riff on the comic book convention of a tragic death setting a new super-hero off on a glorious crime-fighting career, Dave Lizewski’s mother (Elizabeth McGovern in a cameo) simply falls over one morning at breakfast, in Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass.

  • Giving his prospective new architect Ariadne a tour of a dream in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, Dom Cobb answers her question about what happens when one alters the physics of the dream world by causing an entire section of Paris, in a stunning CGI sequence, to fold over on itself.

  • Meeting a group of female workers who have captured national attention with their strike at a London Ford plant, Barbara Castle (a nice performance by Miranda Richardson), the British Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, loosens up the atmosphere in her imposing oak-paneled office by pouring herself a stiff drink, in Nigel Cole’s Made in Dagenham.

  • In one of those conventional movie biopic moments that means to explain how a great idea came about, an acquaintance asks Mark Zuckerberg if a certain girl is seeing somebody in The Social Network. Annoyed at the distraction, Zuckerberg snaps back that people don’t walk around with signs indicating their relationship status. Then a light bulb figuratively goes off over his head and he rushes out to add a new feature to Facebook.

  • As Ivan Vanko, Mickey Rourke strides out onto the race course in Monte Carlo, using a pair of reactor-powered whips to create a massive car crash in order to go after Tony Stark in Iron Man 2. Comedian/radio show host Dennis Miller would later quip, I don’t think Mickey even realized he was in a movie.

  • In Roman Polanski’s The Ghost, Ruth Lang, the tough-as-nails, cold-as-steel wife of a former British prime minister, is asked by her husband’s ghost writer, “Did you ever want to be a proper politician in your own right?” Without missing a beat, she fires back, “Of course. Didn’t you want to be a proper writer?”

  • In 1973, young Freddie Taylor’s friends come into his room to find him listening to classical music in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s Cemetery Junction. Mocking his constant desire to better himself, they disparage his taste in music. As he pulls out a different LP from Freddie’s collection to put on the turntable and goes to play the rousing “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting),” Bruce admonishes him, “Freddie, stop listening to music made by poofs. Stick on some Elton John.”

  • The title characters of John Landis’s Burke and Hare are looking for graves to rob, as there is a strong demand for cadavers in the Edinburgh medical schools. At one grave sits a forlorn terrier and, in the first of many cross-historical/literary references, we realize that it is Greyfriars Bobby!

    -S.L., 30 December 2010

    If you would like to respond to this commentary or to anything else on this web site, please send a message to Messages sent to this address will be considered for publishing on the Feedback Page without attribution. (That means your name, email address or anything else that might identify you won’t be included.) Messages published will be at my discretion and subject to editing. But I promise not to leave something out just because it’s unflattering.

    If you would like to send me a message but not have it considered for publishing, you can send it to

    Commentaries Archive