When you evaluate the first half of any year, you're really evaluating genre flicks, comedies and kids' movies if you're being fair, and to be fair to the haters 2010 has been pretty barren so far for comedies. Date Night was okay, though it leaned heavily on the chemistry between Carrell and Fey, and I've heard good things about Hot Tube Time Machine, Cyrus, and Get Him to the Greek, but most of the comedy this year has been more in the Grown Ups category (that is to say, barely worth mentioning). And while its highly limited (read: glorified DTV) release got it zero attention from all but the geekiest corners of the film community, I can't neglect to include the awesome that is Mystery Team.
But look at the genre films that have come out this year and you'll see a marked uptick in quality: Predators did old-school action like nobody's done in years, and Kick-Ass, probably the year's most fun movie to date, had a blast with the modern, self-referential action mold. Shutter Island gave us Martin Scorsese experimenting with classic horror and noir tropes and lived up to everything that statement could mean, and it's been a good-to-great year for horror as well: we've seen the well-received likes of Daybreakers and Splice, the fun and underrated Nightmare on Elm Street and The Crazies remakes, and Joe Johnston's awesome and painfully underrated The Wolfman, by far the most successful relaunch of a classic Universal monster to date. And while they weren't terribly memorable, Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia admirably delivered the kind of old fashioned sword and sandal B-action you barely ever see these days.
As far as kids' movies go, I have yet to see Toy Story 3 or Despicable Me but have heard very positive things about them both. Dreamworks, with How to Train Your Dragon, manage a feat I never thought they'd even approach: making a movie better than Over the Hedge. And I would argue that in many aspects the Karate Kid remake outshines the original.
All this and we haven't even seen Inception. Plus we've still got The Kids are All Right, Dinner for Schmucks, Scott Pilgrim, The Social Network, Red, Harry Potter, and heavyweights like the Coens' True Grit and David O. Russel's The Fighter to look forward to. And that's just what I could think of off the top of my head. The best picture race may be lame next year, but who cares? It will have been a lot of fun.
Postscript: fuck you, Aaron. Tarantino is still evolving as a stylist and Inglorious Basterds is easily his third best movie, possibly his second. Don't make me open up this can of worms again. Because you know I will.