Seemingly, at the end of every year, I hear how poor a year it was at the movies. From diminishing box office returns to a mere dearth of quality cinema, it's been a sad refrain that 2000-and-whatever was a down year for the industry. And each year, at least from a critical standpoint (box office performance means little to someone who is spending his own money actually going to all these movies), I'm incredulous at the assertion. When it comes time to make my year-end list(s), I often find myself sad at the exclusion of certain films because I can never find enough room for them and excited at the prospect of exploring the movies on other writers' 10-best lists that I hadn't had the pleasure (and opportunity) of seeing.
But as 2010 wound down, it seemed apparent that it actually was a weak year for movies and only slowly was I able to compile a list of movies I thought fit to include on such a list. Make no mistake, the movies that did finally end up earning their way onto the list are all terrific films and I'll stand by all of them, but on the whole, I would describe the 2010 movie year as... "Meh."